Archive | April 14th, 2011

Swiss court: Ban on anti-Israel signs violates free speech


by crescentandcross

Swiss train service is ordered to allow signs that claim ‘Israel was established with violence on Palestinian land’

A Swiss court has ordered the state’s national train service, the SBB, to allow a pro-Palestinian group to hang anti-Israeli posters in Zurich’s central train station, the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported on Tuesday.

Members of the Palestine Solidarity Action first attempted to hang controversial posters in several locations within the station in 2009, but were ordered by the station’s management to take them down after three days.

The posters appeared to argue against Israel’s right to exist. “Sixty-one years of Israel, 61 years of injustice,” the sign read.

“A country without a people did not exist in the Middle East for the people without a country,” it claimed. “Israel was established with violence on Palestinian land. The injustice demands resistance!”

After being banned from hanging up their materials, the group appealed to the Federal Administrative Court in Berne, claiming that the measure violates their freedom of speech.

Tages Atnzeir reported that the court has sided with the plaintiff in the case, and ordered the train service to allow the movement to distribute their materials. The SBB can appeal the ruling, but it is unclear whether it will do so.

According to the report, The Swiss train service argued in court that its policy prohibits the distribution of materials on sensitive foreign affairs issues. The court rejected the claim, stating that a train station is a public place and as such, it is a place for the exchange of opinions. By banning the posters, the judges asserted, the station prevented the citizens from being exposed to different opinions on international affairs.

Moreover, the court concluded that the content of the signs does not endanger the public, does not include graphic pictures, and does not incite to violence or other illegal activity. “Resistance does not mean violence,” they said.

The judges further determined that the posters were removed after hanging for three days, during which demonstrations did not erupt and the trains service was not disrupted.

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Rabbi indicted for sexual assault


by crescentandcross

Prosecution claims well-known rabbi sodomized, performed indecent act on friend’s wife seeking his counseling on family matters

An indictment was filed Tuesday by the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office against a well-known rabbi accused of sodomizing and performing an indecent act on his friend’s wife who was seeking his professional counseling.

According to the indictment, the defendant, a counselor for young couples and a rabbi at a girls seminary, was approached early last month by a haredi couple – his student and good friend and his wife – for counseling on family matters.

During the meeting, the rabbi asked the husband to leave the office, the indictment indicates. The rabbi, who was left in the room alone with the wife, locked the door and began asking her intimate and personal questions on her sex life and sexual preferences. The women, thinking it was part of the counseling, answered his questions freely.

According to the prosecution, the woman had called the rabbi after the initial meeting and requested another consultation to discuss her emotional state. The two met in the rabbi’s home a few days later.

The indictment states that the woman mentioned her love of dancing during their meeting and the rabbi in return told her she should “relax and loosen up.” He then turned on the radio and instructed her to close her eyes and dance before him. When she refused he told her it was part of the treatment.

The rabbi then instructed her to play the role of a prostitute trying to seduce a man and dance before him the way she would dance before her husband. He then asked the woman to remove her clothes, while explaining to her it was another stage of the counseling.

According to the indictment, as she was dancing the defendant got up and touched her, saying: “I’ll help you take off your clothes. We’re in treatment now, loosen up, no one will know.” He then proceeded to remove her blouse against her will.

The rabbi continued to get closer to the woman while rubbing his body against hers. “I now understand what a powerful and sensual woman you are and what a body you have,” he said to her and then preformed an indecent act.

The woman cried, asking the rabbi to stop, but he only hugged her and led her to another room in the house as he tried to take off her skirt. At that point the rabbi pressed the woman against the wall and sodomized her.

When he attempted to remove her underwear the woman begged him to stop and left the room. He said to her: “Don’t worry, we’ve both fallen. We must now amend our ways. The important thing is that I didn’t sleep with another man’s wife. We’ll get through it. I guess your husband doesn’t satisfy you and that’s why I did it.”

The defendant is also charged with touching the woman’s private parts and threatening to ruin her life if she were to ever tell her husband what had happened. He said: “It’s good that it happened with me, otherwise you would have cheated on your husband with another man.”

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Debating Forms of Resistance




This Al-Shabaka roundtable examines the effectiveness of different forms of resistance in achieving Palestinian self-determination. In a series of meetings, Al-Shabaka policy advisors discussed the new forms of civil struggle, the role of boycotts, the use of legal strategies, the problems of armed resistance, and the failure of negotiations as a strategy as well as the implications of plans to declare a state. The attendees included: : Amjad Atallah, Sam Bahour, Rana Barakat, Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Oroub el-Abed, Nadia Hijab, Victor Kashkoush, Anis Kassim, Osamah Khalil, and Mouin Rabbani.

Clarify the Goal

All forms of resistance can be used intelligently and with purpose. What’s missing today is a clearly defined Palestinian endgame that enables an assessment of which form of resistance will work best. If the aim is to impact negotiations for a two-state solution, then that will involve one set of tools, whereas if a one state solution is the goal then a completely different set of tools may be needed.

There is a need for a public debate on the objectives of the Palestinian national movement choosing from a spectrum of goals. The first is the one the Palestinian Authority (PA) has worked toward: Two ethnic states in which the right of return would largely be abandoned. The second would be to see whether there is a two state model that allows for the right of return. The third would be to argue for a bi-national state in which a Palestinian national representation would be merged with Israel in some form of consociationalism. The fourth would be to argue for a one-state model, which would be a post-nationalist model if it is to include Jews and Palestinians equally. All are potentially viable except for the first one. The question is whether there is an emotive convergence among the majority of Palestinians world-wide around the goals – especially if they believe that they can be empowered to choose the direction of the movement. The Potential and Limitations of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

Point At the moment, the only game in town appears to be the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) – but, instead of BDS being seen as a tool to mobilize people toward a clear goal, it has itself become the endgame for many people: Serving the BDS agenda becomes the goal, a misleading notion that will boomerang in future.

Counterpoint Yet the BDS call of 2005 came up with three very clear goals that cover all segments of the Palestinian people whether under occupation, in Israel, or in the Diaspora: freedom, equality, and right to return. (See the full text and list of signatories of the 2005 Call). By so doing, it provides a definition of an endgame that moves beyond the sterile discussion of one state versus two states. In some ways the importance of the goals is greater than BDS as a strategy because they provide clear direction towards an endgame when people no longer know precisely what they’re fighting for. In addition, over 170 associations, unions and groups have signed on to the BDS call, whether they had thought everything through or not. It is frustrating that the BDS call is not “marketed” in that way.

Point A potential problem is that the three goals are framed in a way that there is hardly a Palestinian that would not sign on to them, even the most politically compromised. So although they are accurately framed, they constitute principles rather than an endgame. And another challenge relates to the signatories of the BDS Call. Someone looking deeper into it could ask: “Who exactly is your civil society? How does it work? Do they have elections? Are they representative or not?” So the BDS platform needs to be “upgraded” in a way, or renewed.

Counterpoint A clarification is necessary here: It’s important to realize that the 2005 document is a right-based approach. In other words, as a tool or strategy BDS is purposefully not about a solution: It’s about advocacy, tactics and strategies, but it was never supposed to be about an end game. It is also important to understand the potential of the BDS National Committee (BNC) that has since been established by some of the signatories of the BDS Call, not as an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but as a popular mechanism. The structure and functioning of the BNC are not yet fully clear even to those within it. Can it be become a fully functioning democratic structure that provides a popular mechanism? (See Al-Shabakapolicybrief on BDS).

Point The question is whether since we’ve become so intensely involved in BDS that we have left ourselves in a situation where we haven’t really focused on how to actually reach that end game.

Counterpoint If the BDS goals establish the principles of a national movement, that’s a good thing. A physically dispersed people needs such red lines as a way to know when to stop resistance and when to carry on. However, each of the three goals may need a different set of tools for resistance. Ending the occupation may be one track with multiple means of resistance; how the refugees need to mobilize is perhaps a completely different one. Too many times Palestinians have tried to have a generic strategy of resistance for all three goals during different phases of their history. That hasn’t worked because none of them had enough effort to be sustainable, whether it was armed resistance or negotiations used as a form of resistance, if it can be called that.

In a sense, the major success of Palestinian resistance throughout Palestinian history has been not losing. If you think about the history of colonialism, it is a profound victory.

Given the extent to which Palestinians have been fragmented or broken little cantons, the ability to form a united front is very important – even if that united front means having a simple, common statement of principles and not getting bogged down in endgames. The Effectiveness of Legal Resistance

Some Palestinian groups, such as the Palestine Legal Aid Fund, are involved with “legal resistance,” which is similar to BDS in the sense that it can be used as a part of a wider advocacy effort. Arguably, this form of resistance could reach a wider audience than BDS because you’re speaking not in terms of boycott, but rather of human rights and rule of law – labels that are more readily acceptable to an international audience. Whether it is the settlements, the annexation of Jerusalem, refugees, or war crimes, the idea is to finally use the law in an effective manner internationally and challenge Israeli violations in every jurisdiction available.

The 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion was very clear regarding third party obligations, and this is a major opportunity for legal action when you look at what the international community is doing vis-à-vis Israel. For example, a case drawing on the ICJ opinion was brought against the government of the United Kingdom challenging specific actions and the overall relationship, including the fourfold increase since 2004 in the number of arms export licenses the UK provided Israel. After the case was launched, they undertook a full review of all arms export licenses, and placed partial sanctions on the component parts of some weapons. The UK example can be replicated in almost all jurisdictions because it does not require a country to have a universal jurisdiction law.

Is Armed Resistance Over?

Point Historically, the two planks of the Palestinian national movement have focused on armed resistance coupled with negotiations, with negotiations rising and armed resistance falling. So is armed resistance dead? Can it still be used a viable option, and if not, what are the implications? And how do you engage with the groups who still believe that armed resistance is the only way? This leads to other questions, for example: How can armed resistance be meshed with legal resistance, given that the Palestinian struggle is about implementing international law? Although there is a right of armed resistance by peoples under occupation, this cannot be done in a way that violates international law, e.g. through discriminate attacks on civilians.

In any case, not many groups still believe in armed resistance as an option, other than Islamic Jihad in Gaza and some of the PLO-splinter groups based in Lebanon. Hamas has tended to adopt the PLO’s strategy, which is to say it’s willing to negotiate but without putting down the gun – although they’ve now also been forced to moderate that position.

Counterpoint One can argue that the armed struggle was never a serious strategy, and that it never will be. The attacks of the past 40 or 50 years were “targeted” violence and no more. Whether in the case of Hamas at present or the PLO factions of the 1970s and 1980s, armed resistance was never a full-scale strategy per se. The question is: How do we get the traditional PLO factions involved in any resistance program, armed or otherwise. They are missing in action. All the political factions, including Fatah, are resting on their laurels. Looking at the Arab revolutions, it is unlikely that there will sustainable change without an organized capacity on the ground. The Palestinians had that organizational capacity, but it was sold off for the Oslo process. It is necessary to focus on how to organize for the long run with or without the traditional or Oslo-generated factions. Are Negotiations a Form of Resistance?

Are negotiations the only option available? And what of the moves by the PA to get countries to recognize a Palestinian state and take that to the United Nations? The fact is that, even within the occupied Palestinian territories, the PA strategy has not been discussed in a meaningful way. There has been no effort to work at any levels other than diplomatic to even try to mobilize people to serve the PA agenda. Representatives of the international solidarity movement who want to know how they can help by supporting the PA’s plan do not get any answers. That’s how distant the PA is from the people and the solidarity movement.

If the US or if the UN recognize the state, then the forms of resistance available will seriously change – and not for the better. For example, Israeli soldiers might be replaced with PA soldiers trained by Jordan and Israel, or by a NATO force. Any discussion of the form of resistance should take into account these different scenarios.

Then there’s the model of what people are calling “Fayyadism,” a sort of a neo-liberal agenda that is trying to create counter-facts on the ground and planning for statehood in September 2011. This is not necessarily the product of negotiations in the traditional PLO/PA way, but it is a different kind of negotiations. There is a need to take a hard look at the neo-liberal model, including the building of the new city of Rawabi.

Resisting Fragmentation & Non-Representation

It is important to address the fragmentation of the Palestinian political system and the marginalisation of growing numbers of Palestinian constituencies, both political and geographic. Different Palestinian communities are dealing with different issues. In Jordan and Lebanon there are Palestinians refugees who say they would rather stay where they are if they cannot go back to the town they came from, and who list the many problems they face that are not related to the right of return. In the West Bank and in Gaza, Oslo has created special interests. In the United States, Palestinian communities say they want to define their own issues. Oslo led to the disintegration of the PLO and the Palestinian people. The challenge is to revive the body politic and its relevance.

Point As we think about forms of resistance, it is worth looking at the stage of transition we are in compared to where the national movement was in 1964, when Gamal Abdel Nasser was behind the original PLO and populated it with the old notable families from Jerusalem who were largely responsible for the collapse of the Palestinian national movement by 1948. Thereafter, new form of resistance started to coalesce around armed struggle and Arab nationalism. Are we now moving to a different paradigm of resistance where the old forms of leadership are falling away, some having been co-opted by the PA and others no longer sure of what they stand for? Is there a place at the table for them?

Counterpoint But can the traditional political factions be abandoned? The elections for student council at Birzeit University, for example, show how deeply entrenched these political parties are – Fatah, Hamas, even the Popular Front. This is also the case in the refugee camps in Lebanon and in Jordan. The PFLP probably has its biggest base in some of the camps in Lebanon. These parties might be dead politically, but they are not entirely dead and this is not something that can be ignored locally.

Point There is still value today in using the term PLO as we know it historically, in lieu of the PA, of saying that ending the occupation, equal rights for Palestinians in Israel, and the rights of refugees are the agenda. It is almost as a way of taking the three BDS goals and creating a political governance structure to reflect them. In the face of a unilateral move towards statehood with no governing body, no checks and balances in the system, bringing up the PLO is not saying that it may be the organizing body for the future, but rather that it is the only legitimate one today, even though it also doesn’t have a proper governing body.

In fact, one form of resistance needs to be against the non-participation of the Palestinian people in the process of determining their future. There is no functioning Palestinian Legislative Council, no Palestinian National Council – indeed, no representation of the people in any way. Palestinians need a governing body to discuss strategies, tools and forms of resistance.

Counterpoint The elephant in the room that is never addressed head on is the fact that the PA is leading a people that is not following. Shouldn’t Palestinians be resisting the PA as well? Or should they just continue as if the PA does not exist – they go their way and we go ours? The ICJ judgment is an example of one of the most outstanding judgments in support of a dispossessed people, but also of a resounding failure, because nothing was done to follow it up. Indeed the PA has actively has worked against legal efforts to follow up on the ICJ judgment, and against so many other legal initiatives such as the Goldstone Report, or recourse to the International Criminal Court. (See the Al-Shabaka policybrief on the iCJ ruling).

How to challenge the PA is a very important question: At some point the Palestinians will have to say bluntly that this leadership does not represent us. There will be costs, including exclusion from Palestine and further fragmentation, but the question really is what are the tools that can be used to challenge the PA, and when one should use them.

Point There are two different aspects to the PA. There is the PA that employs hundreds of thousands of people in the West Bank and to a lesser extent in Gaza, which is extremely important and poses an obstacle to challengers. And then there is the PA that represents the occupation more than it does the Palestinians. So what does it mean to fight against the PA and the PLO – in particular, what does it mean to do so at the international level and in law. Does the PLO have the authority under international law to sign away individual rights like the right of return and to relieve Israel of claims – particularly if the terms of the leadership have expired under PLO or PA law? Resisting Donor Roles

The issue of the PA and how to address it is clearly linked to the question of the role of the donor community. The way donors interact with the Palestinian people is one area that can be tackled in a critical way, both from the perspective of Palestinian rights under international law and also in terms of holding the PA accountable for donors’ actions.

Donors in the OPT behave like cowboys. They don’t work under anyone’s framework other than their own. And they have been able to co-opt large segments of civil society because Palestinians need to put food on the table at the end of day. This removes social mobilization as one of the tools of resistance. Donors are a soft spot that can be addressed in terms of moving the PA in a more progressive direction. The trend for the donor community to give aid instead of taking the correct political positions must be resisted.

Tackling Diplomatic Representation

Point Diplomatic status has been bestowed on the PLO and the PA by both the UN and the Arab League after the Palestinians fought for recognition of the PLO as their sole, legitimate representative. This representation function is now being used and manipulated against the very people supposedly represented. So what can or should be done? It is useful to contrast to the role of the PLO and PA with the African National Congress, and its role as a coordinator of the anti-apartheid movement. The ANC allowed the movement to be diffuse but also interacted with it to ensure that there was a common set of goals.

Counterpoint Regarding the ANC, a more accurate analogy that a lot of people are using is between the PA and the Bantustan governments. The difficulty in challenging the international recognition of the PLO in the form of diplomatic missions is that it is not yet clear whether you would be calling a spade a spade or shooting yourself in the foot.

Point The diplomatic role of the PLO may be a good entry point to try to drive a wedge between the PLO and the PA. The heads of diplomatic missions are supposed to be representatives of the PLO and not of the PA and in theory are accountable to the Palestinian people. No one is really clear on the actual status of PLO missions around the world and it may be worth asking some pointed questions. For example, how could a more active diplomatic corps really exert legal resistance?

Counterpoint Mahmoud Abbas’s title is the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, and so they could argue that it is within their rights to appoint and dismiss these officials. And of course when you talk to any of these different ambassadors, they claim they are representing the Palestinian people.

But perhaps there is a way to do this by looking at their policies and arguing that they are shirking their duty and their responsibilities to the Palestinian people. You could argue, for instance, that since 2007, Riyad Mansour, the ambassador to the UN, has made it quite clear in his actions related to Gaza that he is not the ambassador for the Palestinian people, that he is the ambassador for the PA.

This really gets back to the question of the role of the PLO. What was it historically and what is it now? And what are the implications? There is a lot of confusion among Palestinians about the status of their political bodies; there is no map of who’s who and who has legitimacy according to the constitution.

Point Although Abbas carries both titles, if one were to examine the day-to-day structure, some serious questions could be raised. For example, do the PLO ambassadors report to Riyad al-Maliki, the PA’s “foreign minister”? Where do they get their instructions? Who evaluates their performance? Where does the funding come from? In theory, the PA “foreign minister” should have nothing to do with the PLO representative.

It is worth noting that embassy missions in different places work differently. The one in Paris certainly does not work like the one in Athens or the one in DC now. The missions overseas are perhaps the only remaining piece of the PLO that is still alive, that is still visible to the Palestinian people, so they may be an entry point into reclaiming the PLO. It is worth checking even though protocol-wise everything may look proper on paper.

The simple reality is that if Palestinians want to go forward there has to be an understanding of how things are today. There is insufficient knowledge of how the current so-called system of governance works. There is a need to deconstruct the PLO and see where the overlap with the PA exists, which will help better understand how to address the PA.




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In a New Statesmanarticle, law professor John Dugard ,who was a Judge on The International Court of Justice as well as being Special Raporteur for United Nations Commission on Human Rights, summarises the Goldstone apology saga : ‘there are no new facts that could possibly have led Richard Goldstone to change his mind about the UN-backed investigation into Israel and the conflict in Gaza.’

While Goldstone claimed that the Israeli investigations produced some results also recognised by a follow-up UN committee report chaired by Judge Mary McGowan Davis, Dugard stresses that the McGowan Davis report was actually very critical of the Israeli investigations, finding them to be “lacking in impartiality, promptness and transparency.”

According to the McGowan Davis report, the Israeli ‘probe’ has resulted in “two convictions; one for theft of a credit card, resulting in a sentence of seven months’ imprisonment, and another for using a Palestinian child as a human shield, which resulted in a suspended sentence of three months.”

Dugard is clearly bewildered by Goldstone’s latest zigzag: “Richard Goldstone is a former judge and he knows fully well that a fact-finding report by four persons cannot be changed by the subsequent reflections of a single member of the committee.”  What made Goldstone change his mind “remains a closely guarded secret,” says Dugard.

Dugard is clearly frustrated, and, somewhat cynical here. But I guess that we all know the answer, because for some time now, we have witnessed Goldstone being subjected to relentless measures of exclusion and abuse from his Zionist brethren.

As a matter of fact, intolerance towards critical voices is inherent within Jewish culture, identity, and politics, for Zionism is clearly a demand for ideological collectivism.

But interestingly enough, Jewish anti Zionism is also no different in its modus operandi : all too often we come across a Jewish ‘progressive’ poisonous smear campaign against one ‘Jewish self-hater’ or another.

Jewish ‘cultural heritage’ could be presented as a chain of different attempts to silence, and even eliminate dissidence: some Jews were nailed to wood; some were assassinated ; others were stoned, and a few were excluded or excommunicated. Many lost their jobs and many others were subject to endless slander.

As tragic as it may sound, Jewish identity politics is an exercise in some different variations of collective hatred; hatred towards the Goyim, but also towards Jewish dissidence.

The Goldstone saga is then, an opportunity to peep into contemporary Jewish political intolerance, and Goldstone emerges as a tragic figure: he sacrificed his professional name for the sake of just a little Jewish empathy.

Yet he clearly forgot that forgiveness is not at all a highly regarded value within the ghetto walls — I learned yesterday that a group of American Jewish lawyers are preparing a civil lawsuit against Goldstone for libel.

I guess that revenge may as well unite them all.

As we are becoming accustomed to Zionism being the biggest threat to world peace, it is also interesting to learn how hostile Jews are towards each other.


West Bank/Gaza: Stop Harassing Journalists


Rise in Attacks, Detentions by Palestinian Security Services


A Palestinian man sells newspapers in front of his shop in the Gaza strip in 2007. Hamas has since banned the Al-Ayyam daily, pictured on the lower rack.

© 2007 Reuters

Palestinian security forces are becoming notorious for assaulting and intimidating journalists who are just trying to do their jobs. Both the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza need to end these blatant attacks on free expression.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director

(Ramallah) – Severe harassment by Palestinian Authority and Hamas security forces targeting Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza has had a pronounced chilling effect on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today. In a new report, Human Rights Watch called on Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to hold their security forces to account for systematic, severe abuses and urged foreign donors to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to condition aid to security forces on concrete accountability measures.

The 35-page report, “No News is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces,” documents cases in which security forces tortured, beat, and arbitrarily detained journalists, confiscated their equipment, and barred them from leaving the West Bank and Gaza.

“Palestinian security forces are becoming notorious for assaulting and intimidating journalists who are just trying to do their jobs,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Both the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza need to end these blatant attacks on free expression.”

In the West Bank, reported incidents of official harassment of journalists by PA security services temporarily spiked during Israel’s offensive in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, but the overall trend has continued to worsen. According to one rights group, the Center for Development and Media Freedoms, the number of physical attacks, arrests, detentions, arbitrary confiscations of equipment, and other violations of journalists’ rights by Palestinian security forces increased in both Gaza and the West Bank in 2010 by 45 percent over the previous year.

The report, based on interviews with Palestinian journalists, journalist syndicate representatives, and PA officials, focuses on seven cases of journalists who were abused by PA security forces, and documents two cases of abuse by Hamas internal security forces in Gaza, where the situation for journalists is also dire. Abuses by Hamas in Gaza as well as by Israeli military forces throughout the occupied Palestinian territories will be the focus of future reporting, Human Rights Watch said.

In recent days, Hamas internal security services have repeatedly violated the rights of journalists covering popular demonstrations in Gaza against the political split between Hamas and the Fatah-led PA, Human Rights Watch said. For example, journalists told Human Rights Watch that on March 19, 2011, around 15 Hamas plainclothes security forces raided the offices of the Reuters news agency bureau in Gaza, smashed computers, and beat journalists, after pointing a gun at one of them and threatening to throw another out of a window. In another case, a reporter for the Al Quds radio station told Human Rights Watch that on March 27 Hamas police threatened, insulted, and detained him for more than an hour immediately after he had broadcast a report criticizing Hamas health officials. Security forces accosted him in a morgue where he had reported on a man, supposedly killed by an Israeli military attack, who was discovered still to be alive.

Since Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the majority of abuses against journalists in both the West Bank and Gaza have been related to tensions between the PA and Hamas, the report found. In the West Bank, the primary targets are journalists whom PA security services suspected of working for television, radio, websites, and newspapers seen as favoring Hamas or other Islamist groups such as Islamic Jihad, or are otherwise critical of the PA.

In one case documented in the report, a PA military court in the city of Jenin sentenced television journalist Tariq Abu Zeid, 34, to a year-and-a-half in prison despite two civilian court rulings ordering his release. Abu Zeid was the northern West Bank correspondent for the Al Aqsa television station, and had worked for the Gaza-based Al-Risala newspaper, both of which are considered to be pro-Hamas.

PA security services have also targeted independent journalists suspected of working on reports that might be critical of the PA. Security officials from the PA detained Muhannad Salahat, a freelance journalist and filmmaker, for 14 days in March and April 2010 without charging or notifying him of the reason for his arrest. Security officials interrogated him for days about whether he was preparing a documentary on the PA for Al Jazeera, the satellite television channel which had been critical of the PA and which the PA saw as pro-Hamas. PA security services detained Salahat for another 10 days in May 2010, and Jordanian intelligence officers later prevented him from traveling from the West Bank to Jordan, saying that he required special clearance from the PA before he could travel.

The majority of abuses documented by Human Rights Watch and reported by local rights groups involved the PA’s Preventive Security agency and General Intelligence Services, and the detention of civilian journalists by the PA’s military judiciary. In a positive recent development, the military judiciary has said it would stop exercising jurisdiction over civilians, although many civilians are still detained by the military.

Overall, the increasing number of alleged abuses against journalists takes place in the context of virtual impunity for serious human rights violations generally by PA security service officials, Human Rights Watch said. In total, Palestinian rights groups reported more than 200 allegations of torture by PA security agencies in 2010 – up from 164 complaints in 2009 – yet the courts have criminally prosecuted security officers for abusing detainees in only one case; a military court acquitted all five of the accused in July 2010.

Human Rights Watch cannot point to instructions from PA leaders to the security services directing them to commit these violations, but the utter failure of the PA leadership to address the prevailing culture of impunity for such abuses suggests that they reflect government policy.

The United States provided $350 million to the PA for security and program assistance in 2010, in addition to $150 million in direct budgetary support, while the European Union gave the PA more than €230 million ($315 million), including for security assistance. Human Rights Watch called on the US and the EU to condition support for all PA security agencies on the PA taking effective steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish security officers responsible for serious abuses.

In Gaza, Hamas internal security agents have summoned critical journalists for questioning, which the journalists interpreted as a form of intimidation, and government officials called some journalists to warn them that their coverage was “slanted” or “biased.” In one case, Hamas security services harassed a Gaza-based journalist for the pro-Fatah Al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper, repeatedly visiting her home and threatening her over the course of three months in 2010. In another case, the Hamas Ministry of Interior summoned a journalist who published an article on torture by Hamas authorities in secret detention facilities, threatened to take legal action against him if he did not publish an apology for the article, and warned him to correct his “biased” reporting.

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Ynet published yesterday anexceptionally stupid review of the economy behind the Iron Dome, Israel’s new anti missile defence system. The article attempts to present the ‘reasoning’ behind the new anti missile system. Believe it or not, it compares the running  cost of the system with the potential lost caused by the death of an Israeli.

“The Iron Dome system is very good for Israeli economy”, says Dr. Adam Reuter, a ‘financial risk management’ expert.  “A 25 year-old Israeli citizen should yield an average of 40 years of production … In other words, the death of an Israeli citizen at age 25 could cause a potential loss of economy of some 1.2 million dollars.”

According to Dr Reuter, the economy is pretty clear; the cost of a battery of Iron Dome which includes 100 missiles is about $100 million. The cost of each missile is about 50 thousand dollars.  Reuter logic is simple; if you spend $50.000 on a missile, you may save a young Israel who could potentially contribute 1.2 million dollars to the Jewish State’s economy for the next 40 years.

In the Jewish State they seem to like reducing everything into numbers. The Israeli  citizens are valued according to their contribution to the Jewish capital. However, here are some points the Israeli ‘expert’ didn’t take into account:

1. Dr Reuter calculates how much it may cost to ‘save’ Israelis, yet he fails to tell his readers what is the cost of ‘peace’. Surely, ending the conflict would lead to an immediate growth of Israeli economy.  I guess that peace doesn’t have a price tag in the Jewish State. Yet, war is totally commodified.

2. Home-made Palestinian missiles cost less that $500. It may be possible that the Gazans have found a very cheap method to exhaust Israeli economy. By the time Palestinians launch ten rockets that cost up to $5000, Israel would spend at least half a million dollars on Iron Dome missiles with only a limited success.

3. Palestinian militants do not seem to be interested in killing Israeli civilians, as we know, most Palestinian missiles land in open fields. I guess that militants actually regard resistance in general and the rockets in particular as a message. They are there to remind the Israelis that they are dwelling on stolen land. If I am correct here, then Dr Reuter calculation is completely superfluous for Palestinian militants  (unlike Israelis) are not interested in indiscriminate killing.

4. Assuming that Palestinian ballistic technology will keep improving, every Israeli city would soon need the protection of the Iron Dome system. I guess that at least financially, it is much cheaper to build a concrete roof over the whole of Israel rather than spreading anti missile batteries around each Israeli neighbourhood.

The Jewish State already surrounded itself with concrete walls, so it may be the right time to add a concrete ceiling.  They may even want to call it the Iron Kipa (skullcap).

Update:  (Ynet 11.4.2011) WASHINGTON – The United States vowed to provide Israel with $430 million worth of security aid in the near future which will include $205 million allocated for the development of Iron Dome batteries. According to an agreement between the US and Israel for the next 10 years, 2011 aid was slated to grow to $3 billion (from $2.77 billion) in addition to an extra $205 million for the development of the Iron Dome system.

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Bahrain – Western Complicity in Saudi-Backed War Crimes


By: Finian Cunningham

Claims of Civilian Killings, Disappearances, Torture, Chemical Warfare Agents and Organ Theft From Victims of State Violence 


When Saudi-led military forces intervened in Bahrain on March 14, it was declared by the Bahraini government and its allies among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates that the unprecedented move was a matter of urgency, needed to “restore order and stability” to the tiny Persian Gulf island kingdom. An arcane GCC defence pact was invoked – the Arabian Peninsula Shield – even though legal experts pointed out that such a provision was only applicable in the event of one of the six Gulf states coming under attack from an external enemy.

Three weeks later, the real nature of the Saudi-led intervention is becoming brutally clear. It can now be seen as an invasion that has led to foreign occupation, lawlessness and several categories of crimes against humanity committed by the very forces purported to bring order. In one sense, the rhetorical justification for invoking the Peninsula Shield force, “to restore order and stability”, is literally correct. The aim was to restore the order and stability of the US-backed Al Khalifa Sunni dictatorship that had sat perilously on top of an oppressed Shia majority for decades. On February 14, the Shia majority (60-70 per cent of the indigenous population) along with disenfranchised Sunni and non-religionists from working class communities rose up in numbers that had never been seen before. Inspired by revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab region, Bahrain’s surging pro-democracy movement rocked the royal rulers.

Bahrain’s indigenous population is estimated at 700,000. Official figures are hard to come by because of the demographic sensitivity of the island’s Sunni ruling elite. So when daily demonstrations of up 200,000-300,000 people were flooding main roads and highways, temporarily disabling government institutions and centres of commerce – and with crowds shouting with increasing boldness “Down, down [King] Hamad” – there was a palpable sense that the regime was facing a serious existential threat. No matter that the protest movement was based on peaceful civil disobedience, the threat to the status quo had reached an unbearable threshold, from the point of view of the regime and its regional and Western backers.

During the four weeks of democracy-euphoria sweeping Bahrain, the Gulf leaders were in constant communication under the aegis of the GCC with its headquarters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Even when Bahrain’s rulers ordered a massacre of seven civilians during the first week of protests, the foreign ministers of the GCC defied an international outcry and rallied in staunch support of their ally in Manama. Evidently, the shaky foundations of the House of Al Khalifa were undermining the House of Al Saud and the other sheikhdoms of the Gulf, as witnessed by the beginnings of civil unrest in Saudi’s oil-rich Eastern Province and Oman. If Bahrain were to succumb to democracy, as its people were demanding, the domino effect on the rigid, autocratic power structure across the Gulf would have revolutionary repercussions.

Enter the US and Britain

The threat of democracy in the Gulf is not just a concern to regional despots fighting to maintain their anachronistic privileges over the mass of impoverished people. The threat to autocratic rule in the Gulf goes to the heart of global power domination by Western capitalist governments and their imperialist control of resources and nations. The continued flow of oil from the earth’s largest proven reserves of hydrocarbons, and perhaps more importantly the continued flow of petrodollars from the Gulf puppet states to buy Western treasury bonds and thus prop up debt-crippled economies, are hugely vital interests. Reflecting this dependence on maintaining the autocratic Gulf status quo, the Western governments every year sell billions of dollars worth of weaponry to the dictatorial regimes – weapons that are used mainly to suppress their own people from seeking democracy.

It is worth thinking about that for a while. Western governments, despite lofty rhetoric and platitudes about democracy and human rights, are, under the operation of the capitalist order, in direct conflict with such values. This fundamental contradiction of Western powers can of course be seen right across the Middle East and North Africa, having backed dictators in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, and until recently Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. But the Gulf’s primary oil riches and its strategic location from which Western powers are able to launch wars of aggression to control the vast energy resources of Central Asia, including the checking of Iran, makes the Persian Gulf region a particularly inviolate vital interest.

Just when the Gulf rulers were reaching their threshold of intolerance towards the democracy movement in Bahrain, the US defence secretary Robert Gates made an unscheduled over night visit to Bahrain’s King Hamad Al Khalifa on March 11-12. Only days before, Britain’s top national security advisor, Sir Peter Ricketts, also had a closed meeting with the Bahraini monarch conveying, it was reported, “a special message” from UK prime minister David Cameron.

Two days after Gates left the Bahraini royal household, on March 14, several thousands-strong armed forces entered Bahrain across the 25-kilometre causeway connecting Saudi Arabia. Two days after that again, on March 16, Bahrain’s rulers declared martial law, beginning with a full military attack on peaceful, pro-democracy protesters camped at the capital’s Pearl Square.

As Middle East analyst Ralph Schoenman points out: “This level of coordination does not result in full-scale invasion 48 hours later by virtual puppet regimes without taking their cues and instruction from their military suppliers and political overseers.”

Pointing to the strategic importance of Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based, Schoenman added: “Bahrain is the linchpin of imperial control of the entire region and, indeed of global capitalist ‘stability’ through hegemony over oil and seething populations chafing under the heel of feudal, autocratic, semi-colonial and country-selling regimes.”

That the US government must have given a green light to the Saudi-led invasion and ongoing repression in Bahrain is corroborated by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times on April 2. He writes: “Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via secretary of state Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a ‘yes’ vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya – the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. [1]

On the morning of March 16, around 5.30am, Bahrain’s mobile telecommunication networks were abruptly shut down. Minutes later, members of the Bahraini Defence Forces and police, supported by Saudi-led GCC troops, fired on civilians with machineguns, tanks and US-made Cobra helicopter gunships.

One of those killed, Jaffar Maioof, from A’ali village, was shot in the back and the legs. Thirty-two-year-old Jaffar had been earlier entreating the armed soldiers who came to crush the pro-democracy movement camped for nearly a month at the Pearl Square.

“We only want peace and democracy,” Jaffar told the soldiers of the Peninsula Shield. “The rights we are fighting for are rights for you too… the right to vote, to work, to have a good house, health and education.”
The soldiers didn’t want to listen, recalled Jaffar’s cousin, Abdulllah, who was with him on that fatal morning.
“They starting firing machineguns from helicopters and tanks,” said Abdullah. “Jaffar was hit in the back and then in the legs. He fell to the ground, but we couldn’t help him because the soldiers were firing at us and they wouldn’t let an ambulance near Jaffar. They shot at the tyres of one ambulance vehicle that tried to reach my cousin.”

The total number of dead civilians since the February 14 uprising in Bahrain is estimated between 25 and 30. It is hard to put an exact figure on the numbers murdered on March 16 and subsequently because of the second violation of international law committed by the Peninsula Shield forces – the immediate targeting of hospitals, medics and the injured in the hospitals.

The prime target was Salmaniya Medical Centre, Bahrain’s biggest public hospital and only a few kilometers from Pearl Square, which had defied ministerial orders in previous weeks to keep its doors open to treat the thousands injured by state violence involving shotguns, high-velocity weapons, tear gas, and rubber bullets fired at point-blank range.

Several of the doctors and nurses at Salmaniya were physically abused when the military attacked the hospital – crimes against humanity on two counts. One senior consultant, Dr Ali Al-Ekri, was arrested while he was conducting surgery. His whereabouts remain unknown. In total, nine doctors and senior nursing staff have been unlawfully detained, accused of being “disloyal” by the regime simply because they adhered to medical ethics to treat dying and injured protesters.

Injured among up to 400 missing

Added to the detained medics, it is estimated by human rights groups that between 200 and 400 injured patients were and continue to be detained by military forces that commandeered Salmaniya and all other public hospitals following the crackdown on March 16.

A spokeswoman for US-based Human Rights Watch said: “We are deeply alarmed by the number of disappeared. And we are even more concerned by the number of people who had been reported missing and who are now being found dead. There seems to be a blatant campaign to silence people by fear,” she added.

In recent days, at least four people have been reported dead after they went missing during the military crackdown. One of them was named as Abdulrazul Al Hujairi (38), from Burri village. He worked as a cleaner at Salmaniya Hospital in Manama and was taken into custody on March 19, according to witnesses. His badly beaten body, including a broken neck, was found the next day near the remote oil fields of Awaali. (His body also bore evidence of deep surgery on his torso – unrelated to the cause of death. See more on this below).

The father of another man Hani Abdulaziz (32), from Belad Al Qadeem, west of Manama, described how he saw his badly injured son being taken away by military police while he was being treated at the International Hospital on March 19. Abdulaziz is believed to have been tortured after he was snatched by a police squad earlier that day. [2] He was taken to a nearby construction site and shot in the legs and arms, said witnesses. The bare concrete room where he is said to have been shot four times at close range bore the evidence of massive blood loss. His father said subsequent inquires with the police failed to produce any information on the whereabouts of his son. His body was eventually released five days later – the same day he was buried. Abdulaziz’s family rejected the official death certificate, which claimed that he was killed in a car accident.

Chemical warfare agents cleared by Washington?

Another violation of international law concerns the alleged use of chemical warfare agents by the Peninsula Shield forces.

One Bahraini senior consultant said: “We are sure that nerve agents are being used against protesters. Hundreds of people have been treated for severe symptoms of nerve poisoning that are quite distinct from exposure to teargas.”

This diagnosis of nerve gas poisoning was verified independently by other senior doctors. One toxicologist said: “I am 100 per cent sure that these people were suffering from nerve gas poisoning. All the symptoms match those of poisoning with organophosphate chemicals that are used as chemical warfare weapons.”

The toxicologist went on to explain that the effects of teargas are relatively mild and shortlived, causing coughing and streaming of eyes for 15-60 minutes. However, the medic noted:  “People were being brought into the hospitals suffering from unconsciousness, severe convulsions, spasms in their hands and limbs, memory loss, vomiting, the loss of voluntary muscle function, leading to urination and diarrhea. These symptoms match closely those of poisoning with organophosphate neurotoxins. Furthermore, we treated people with the drug, atropine, which is an antidote specific to this organophosphate toxicology.”

It should be pointed out that the use of such nerve agents is illegal under the 1993 UN Convention against Chemical weapons, to which the Bahrain state and its Western allies are signatories. It should also be noted that the same toxicology and claims of neuro toxins being deployed against civilian protesters have been reported in the US-backed Yemeni regime. That such a grave violation of international law was conducted contemporaneously by two US-backed regimes strongly suggests that these states were given clearance from Washington.

Claims of organ theft

To the catalogue of crimes against humanity committed by the Peninsula Shield forces are allegations that the bodies of victims of state violence are being used to harvest organs. According to pro-democracy sources, as many as 17 bodies of victims released from military custody show signs of deep surgery from the neck to the abdomen. One of those cases is that of Abdulrazul Al Hujairi, mentioned above.

Another case is that of 15-year-old Sayed Ahmed Saeed Shams, who was shot dead on the night of March a drive-by shooting by police, say witnesses. The youth was killed by a single bullet entry above the left eye. When his body was returned to the family for burial the next day, the entire upper body had been subjected to deep surgery – surgery that was unrelated to the cause of death. This and several other cases of inexplicable surgery on victims of state violence are fuelling claims of illegal organ theft, claims that at least deserve an international independent inquiry.

Finally, it should be noted that while the US and other Western powers have mounted robust military and diplomatic intervention in Libya in the name of “humanitarian concern”, no such action has been taken for protection of civilians in Bahrain despite clear evidence of multiple violations under international law and notwithstanding the fact that thousands of US military personnel are stationed only kilometers from the scenes of appalling violence. Despite condemnations from the UN’s Human Rights Commissioner and rights groups such Human Rights Watch and Amnesty, Western governments have conspicuously failed to voice unequivocal concern to halt the ongoing repression against unarmed civilians in Bahrain. This is not just a case of hypocrisy and double standards. It points to Western government complicity at the highest level in crimes against humanity. And the glaring Western contradiction between Bahrain and Libya also shows the much-vaunted

Western humanitarian concern in Libya as being nothing but a cynical cover for alterior motives.

Finian Cunningham is a journalist and musician:




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Felicity Arbuthnot: Libya – Oil, Banks, the United Nations and America’s Holy Crusade


George W. Bush embarked on the casual snuffing out of uncounted, unique, human lives in majority Muslim populations, chillingly called it a “Crusade.” President Barack Hussein Nobel Obama did not go that far, he left that to the French Minister of the Interior, Claude Gueant who, on 21st March, praised President Nicholas Sarkozy for having: “headed the Crusade …”

For the “change we can believe in” President, reducing another ancient land of eye watering archeological gems, massive oil and water resources and a population of six million – little more than Scotland – it is, reportedly, a “turd sandwich.”

Humanity is not “at the crossroads.” It is on the Cross, scourged, nailed (in all senses) and utterly inconsequential, in face of murdering, marauding, looting Empire.

When President Obama: “updated the American people on the international effort we have led in Libya”, on 29th March, he stated that: “we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges” and referred to: “our interests …” being: “at stake.” Reluctance would be a first. America’s bombing for “interests” would be an encylopaedia.

Colonel Quaddafi, had, of course, stated the President: “denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world …” busy man. Heaven forbid “NATO’s” blitzkrieg should send the occasional shiver down a spine.

However, interestingly, at the end of March, a Report was due to be presented by the UN Human Rights Council leading to a Resolution commending Libya’s progress in a wide aspect of human rights. Numerous quotes from UN diplomatic delegations of many countries commented. Citations included: ” … achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women”, Libya’s: ” … serious commitment to, and interaction with, the Human Rights Council … enhanced development of human rights … while respecting cultural and religious traditions.”

Also mentioned was: ” … establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles.” The country had: “become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non governmental tasked with promoting human rights …”

The country was commended: “for the progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, namely universal primary education (and) firm commitment (to) health care.” There was “praise” for “cooperation with international organizations in combating human trafficking and corruption ..” and for cooperation with “the International Organization for Migration.”

“Progress in enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare” with “measures taken to promote transparency”, were also cited. Malaysia: “Commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.” Promotion: “of the rights of persons with disabilities” and praise for “measures taken with regard to low income families”, were cited.

In May 2010, Libya had also been voted on to the UN Human Rights Council by a veritable landslide, 155 of 192 UN General Assembly votes. As noted previously (i) Libya comes top in Africa on the Human Development Index, which measures longevity (the longest) infant mortality (the lowest) education, health services, well being. (ii)

All that said, before this publication is flooded with complaints about the writer’s naivety, “propagandist flights of fancy” (an orchestrated old favourite) or whatever, some of the countries making positive recommendations regarding Libya did not have the most shining human rights records. But then the US., UK., and NATO Member countries, pontificate from the high moral molehills of the mass graves of the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, overtly, and Yemen, Somalia and other countries, covertly. And of course there is Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, rendition flights and secret torture programmes and prisons across the globe for US., UK., convenience.(iii)

Further, in a train wreck of factual inaccuracies in President Obama’s speech, a (possibly) Freudian slip crept in. “Benghazi”, he said, was: “a city nearly the size of Charlotte” in danger of suffering: “a massacre (staining) the conscience of the world.”

A quick check shows that Charlotte, North Carolina: ‘has a major base of energy orientated organisations and has become known as “Charlotte, USA – The New energy Capital.” In the region there are 240+ companies directly tied to the energy sector … Major players are AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedemont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp., and Westinghouse.The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its “Energy Production and Infrastructure Center” trains energy engineers and conducts research.” ‘ (Wikipedia.)

Whilst many respected oil experts have argued that since so many western energy companies operate in Libya, this is not about oil, there are some points worth pondering. All companies operating in Libya must have Libyan partners, entitled to 35% of profits.(iv) Trading is via the Libyan Central Bank, in the Libyan Dinar, not US$s. The Libyan Central Bank is also independently outside the IMF and the World Bank.

There are only 5 nations without a Rothschild model central bank: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.

There were two others: Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were gobbled up by the international banking system within a heartbeat of the invasions.

“It has always been about gaining control of the central banking system in Libya. Oil is just a profitable side issue like every other state asset that is waiting in Libya to be privatized and sold off to multinational corporations like Bechtel, GE, and Goldman Sachs. Oil is important and it is certainly a target but it isn’t the driving force behind these global wars for profit. Banking is.” (v)

That said, as President Obama was busy being inaugurated, Colonel Quaddafi (January 2009) was mooting nationalizing : “US oil companies, as well of those of UK, Germany, Spain, Norway Canada and Italy . “Oil should be owned by the State at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production”, stated the Colonel. (vi)

So how does the all tie together? Libya, in March being praised by the Majority of the UN., for human rights progress across the board, to being the latest, bombarded international pariah? A nation’s destruction enshrined in a UN., Resolution?

The answer lies in part with the Geneva based UN Watch.(vii) UN Watch is : “a non-governmental organization whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations.” With Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council, with ties to the UN Department of Public Information, “UN Watch is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee.” (AJC.)

Among those involved in UN Watch are Co-Chair, AJC’s David A. Harris. Core values: “AJC has long believed that the development of a comprehensive U.S., energy program is essential to the economic and social well-being of our country.” Their website is an exceptionally instructive listen and read. (viii)

Ambassador Alfred Moses, former US Ambassador to Romania, Heads UN Watch. His company, Secure Energy’s Mission : “Improving US., Energy security”, “Securing America’s Energy Future.” (ix)

Board Member Ruth Wedgwood is : “an international law expert … at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) a former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defence Policy Board (formerly headed by Richard Perle.) Closely associated with: “a number of neo-conservative and rightist pro-Israeli groups – including Freedom House, UN Watch and Benador Associates – a neo-con dominated public relations firm.” She “has been a vocal advocate of the war on terror … strong defender of the Patriot Act and decision to invade Iraq.” (x)

Executive Director Hillel Neuer, has served as law clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel, is a Graduate Fellow at the Shalem Center think tank and holds a host of law degrees. In addition to extensive human rights legal Advocacies and Testimonies, as associate in the international law firm of Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison llp., (New York) “He was associate in the legal team that successfully represented Raytheon Company in various claims against Hughes Electronics Corporation.” Neuer was also instrumental in achieving victory for the California Public Utilitites Commission in: “various disputes with Pacific Gas and Electric Company …” (xi)

Speakers at events hosted by the company have included Hillary “I met the rebel leader in Paris” Clinton (xii) and Vernon Jordan, former political advisor to Bill “I would be inclined to arm the rebels” Clinton. (xiii)

The UN Watch’s relentless campaign: “to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council” began in May 2010: ” .. working closely with Libyan dissident Mohamed Eljahmi.”(see vii) Mr Eljahmi is: ” … a Libyan/American human rights activist. He is a co-founder and former Communication Officer of American Libyan Freedom Alliance. ALFA was founded 2003 to help educate and inform US government and media about Libya. Mr. Eljahmi actively educates and informs US government, national and international media and NGOs about Libyan affairs.” (xiv)

An aspect of especial ire for UN Watch has been Libya’s place on the five Member investigation by the Human Rights Council, on the use of mercenaries. Given their woeful excesses from Blackwater’s (now Xe) shoot ups to CACI’s man-management at Abu Ghraib (then there’s Paravant, an Xe subsiduary at Bagram; Guantanamo and KBR) it is a supreme irony that UN Watch’s cry of “foul” over Libya has won out, as the US place on the Council is unsullied. (Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council on 25th February this year.) And did Libya employ “black African mercenaries”, to fight the rebels? In the fog of disinformation, certainties are scarce, but it is a story which would seem to be unravelling.

Then there is the water. Quaddafi’s project to make Libya’s vast desert bloom, has been dubbed by some “The eighth wonder of the world.” A succinct over view cites: ” .. the large quantities of water in Libya deep beneath the desert … Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project. A project worth 33 billion dollars. The value of the small reservoirs is about 70,000,000,000,000 dollars.” (xv) When the project was announced in September 1991, London and Washington were reported to be “ballistic.” At a ceremony attended by Arab and African heads of state, foreign diplomats and delegations, including President Mubarak of Egypt, King Hassan of Morocco, Quaddafi called it a gift to the Third World. He also said: “American threats against Libya will double.” (xvi)

Looking at the all, it is impossible not to think the truth of an attack of over thirty nations on a country of six million is buried deeper than Libya’s aquifers. “Operation Odyssey Dawn”, was well named. An odyssey indeed. Odysseus’s tortured journey lasted ten years.

End Note:

‘Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Qaddafi whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.

The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a March 19 meeting to establish the “Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.

The Council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.’

And of course, given Israel’s chronic water shortage, Libya’s abundant underground blessings, and the close geographical proximity of the two countries, there might be other regional advantages mooted in regime change.








vii. Full chronology of the Campaign against Libya :

See also :






x111. see also:

xiv. ALFA about which not a lot can be found :



See also:


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One of the main differences between my work and and the writings of other humanists within the peace movement is that I am willing to move beyond the political discussion — I dig into the ideological and philosophical roots of the Jewish state, Jewish politics and Jewish identity politics.  I look into the meaning of ‘Jewishness.’

In my work I clearly identify a continuum between Israel and ‘Jewish ideology’ (‘Jewishness’). And since Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, then surely –we must be brave enough to question what Jewishness stands for.

And clearly, Israelis are proud about their Jewishness — They are far from being shy about it all.

In the following video Judeo-Centric Israeli Law Professor Ruth Gavison spreads some Jewish Tribal ideas at AIPAC conference.

If you fail to understand what motivates the Israeli pilots  to drop bombs on civilians from aeroplanes decorated with Jewish symbols, law professor Gavison provides the answer;

“Israel will do whatever it takes to remain a Jewish state for as long as it takes.”

If you ask yourself, how  is it that 94% of  Israeli Jews supported the IDF genocidal measures at the time of Operation Cast Lead, then Gavison may have some insights to offer.

“The Jewishness of Israel is the meaning of which the state of Israel is enabling Jews for the first time in many years, to take control of all aspects of their lives”

They certainly do: Israeli brutality is beyond comparison.

Gavison concludes, “Israel is the place where Jewish and Hebrew culture is the majority culture; this is the meaning of the Jewishness of Israel”

We have to agree with the Law Professor —  Hebrew culture is, indeed, a majority culture in Israel — because the  indigenous people of the land  are locked behind walls in open air prisons.

If Israel is the meaning of Jewishness, and vice versa, Jews do have a serious ethical problem to deal with.  





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Chair of West Midland PSC

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