Archive | February 9th, 2012

Alan Dershowitz — torture, violence advocate to keynote anti-BDS event

NOVANEWS 

The IMEU shares the following op-ed from the University of Pennsylvania’s school newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, as well as a link to today’s press briefing with Ali Abunimah and Anna Baltzer who discuss the first-ever national BDS Conference, which will bring together supporters of the movement this weekend at UPenn. The op-ed, written by UPenn graduate Max Blumenthal, is in response to Alan Dershowitz’s scheduled visit to the campus which aims to counter the UPenn BDS Conference. This is the first media result of the IMEU’s newly launched outreach to student groups on campuses across the country.

Michael Brown — Communications Director, IMEU

Click here to listen to the archive of today’s briefing.

Listen to internet radio with IMEU on Blog Talk Radio

 

Max Blumenthal: Torture, violence advocate to keynote anti-BDS event Alan Dershowitz, Supporter of bulldozing Palestinian towns and torturing criminal suspects, is coming to campus

By Max Blumenthal

February 2, 2012

The Daily Pennsylvania — As the first national Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions conference approaches at the University of Pennsylvania, several participants have faced false and sadly predictable smears. Ali Abunimah, a renowned Palestinian writer and solidarity activist who will deliver the conference’s keynote address, was recently accused by Emily Schrader, an activist with the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, of “incitement to violence against Israelis.” Wayne Firestone, the president of the pro-Israel student group Hillel, accused the Penn BDS conference of advocating “warfare” and fomenting “hatred.” The allegations leveled by Schrader and Firestone could not be further from the truth. Not one participant in the Penn BDS conference has “incited” violence against Israelis or anyone else. Instead, BDS advocates have raised their voices in support of an expressly non-violent movement that takes its inspiration from the American civil rights struggle against Jim Crow bigotry and the international campaign against South Africa’s apartheid regime.

To counter the Penn BDS event, local pro-Israel groups including Hillel and the Philadelphia Jewish Federation have summoned the famed trial lawyer and Harvard University professor of law Alan Dershowitz to campus to keynote a Feb. 2 event: “Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A conversation with Alan Dershowitz.” Penn’s Political Science department – which has pointedly refused to co-sponsor the BDS conference — will co-host Dershowitz’s lecture, where the professor has vowed to explain why he considers BDS to be one of the most “immoral, illegal and despicable concepts around academia today.”

The support Dershowitz received from the university and from pro-Israel groups that claim to abhor violence is ironic in light of Dershowitz’s record. Indeed, Dershowitz is an open advocate of torture who has urged Israel to destroy entire Palestinian villages, attack civilians and bulldoze their homes. Despite Dershowitz’s professed concern for political dissidents living under autocratic regimes, he has called for personal retaliation against Israeli academics who speak out in favor of BDS. Meanwhile, Dershowitz routinely smears high-profile critics of Israel’s 45-year-long occupation as evil anti-Semites — and worse.

In March 2002, during the height of the Second Intifada, Dershowitz published an article in The Jerusalem Post proposing a “new response to Palestinian terrorism.” According to Dershowitz, even the ironfisted tactics of then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were not harsh enough. He urged Israel to adopt an explicit policy of collective punishment — a practice banned by international law. Dershowitz advised Israeli forces to arrange for “the destruction of a small village which has been used as a base for terrorist operations. The residents would be given 24 hours to leave, and then troops will come in and bulldoze all of the buildings.”

No less disturbing is Dershowitz’s recommendation that the United States adopt an official policy allowing federal law enforcement officials to torture criminal suspects. As long as an FBI agent received a “torture warrant,” according to Dershowitz’s rules, he was free to do as he pleased to the body of anyone in his custody. Dershowitz even offered torturers proposals for inflicting maximum pain. Among the methods he advised was “the sterilized needle being shoved under the fingernails,” an idea the journalist and former US intelligence analyst James Bamford described as “chillingly Nazi-like.”

On other occasions, Dershowitz called the pre-1967 border in Israel, “Auschwitz borders,” accused students who politely questioned pro-Israel orthodoxy of supporting Hitler, and attempted to spin the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan — a Christian Arab who moved to the U.S. at age 12 — as “the beginning of Islamic terrorism in the United States.” If members of Penn’s Political Science department believe Dershowitz’s penchant for extreme rhetoric will not be on full display when he appears on campus this week, they are deluding themselves.

Among the most troubling episodes in Dershowitz’s long record of assailing those he disagrees with was his assault on the character of Judge Richard Goldstone, an eminent South African jurist and practicing Jew who produced the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the so-called “Goldstone Report”). During an interview on Israeli Army Radio in 2010, Dershowitz declared that Goldstone was an “evil man” ” and “absolutely” a moser, using a Hebrew term referring to those who snitch to gentiles about Jewish communal transgressions. As Dershowitz must have known, deploying such a term in Israel’s politically charged climate risked serious consequences: After Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination by the Jewish extremist Yigal Amir in 1995, Amir justified the murder by citing some rabbis’ designation of Rabin as a moser.

Though Dershowitz professes concern for the fate of political dissidents around the world, he used his speech at Tel Aviv University’s 2010 graduation ceremony to hector three faculty members — Rachel Giora, Anat Matar, and Shlomo Sand — who had issued support to the BDS movement. Suggesting without evidence that the three academics were “impos[ing] their ideology on students,” Dershowitz urged “patriotic” students and faculty members to “stand up to propagandizing professors … in appropriate forums outside of the classroom where different rules govern” — a troubling statement condemned by outraged Tel Aviv University faculty members as “bordering on incitement.”

At the time of Dershowitz’s speech, the Israeli Knesset was considering legislation to mete out financial penalties to Israeli citizens for speaking out in favor of BDS — an attack on free speech denounced by Amnesty International. Since then, that and many more anti-democratic proposals have become law. After a left-wing Israeli professor was wounded by a far-right extremist’s pipe bomb attack, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that “an ill wind of extremism” was settling in over the country. Rather than using his influence to defend Israel’s beleaguered democratic forces, Dershowitz demonized them in language that recalled the worst of McCarthy-era demagogy.

Those participating in the Penn BDS conference promote non-violence as the best means to guarantee full democracy, human rights and respect for international law in Israel-Palestine. The atmosphere of the conference will doubtlessly reflect these ideals. Unfortunately, local opponents of BDS have chosen to set a starkly different tone. With a stamp of approval from Penn’s Political Science department, Philadelphia’s pro-Israel community is uniting behind a promoter of maximalist violence, torture, and censorious smears. Before inviting Dershowitz, perhaps they should have consulted some ancient wisdom. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,” the Book of Proverbs reads, “but he who walks with fools will harm himself.”

Max Blumenthal, a 1999 College graduate, is a writing fellow for the National Institute and author of The New York Times bestseller, “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered The Party”. His email is maxblumenthal3000@yahoo.com. He will be speaking at this weekend’s Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions conference.

 

Related video:

Israeli Apartheid and The Nakba

There can be absolutely no doubt that Israel has created an inhuman, illegal and utterly disgraceful Apartheid state, and the international community will never be able to excuse itself if it takes no action against this blatant, ongoing and in-plain-sight crime against humanity.

Anthony Lawson (Narrator and Producer)

Israeli Apartheid Week: Call it as it is


In Solidarity,
The Never Before Campaign Team

Editing: Debbie Menon

 

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KEEP OUT NHS SAFE

NOVANEWS
 
 

Dear, All

Is our NHS still in danger? Andrew Lansley’s NHS plans are due to become law within three months. So we need to vote now to decide what we should do together to keep our NHS safe.

Our campaign has made real progress. We have just heard that, under pressure from us, the House of Lords has watered down Lansley’s plan to scrap his responsibility to provide a National Health Service. [1] That’s a huge success and shows that our campaign can work.

But there’s still plenty to worry about. Leading medical organisations like the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nurses are now calling outright for Lansley’s plans to be dropped. They warn that – even with the changes we’ve campaigned so hard for – the plans are “a mess” and the future of the NHS is still under threat. [2]

Can you fill in a quick online poll to help decide what we do next? Then we can spring back into action next week.
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/saving-our-nhs

It’s no surprise 38 Degrees members keep making protecting the NHS a priority. We all know that it’s a national treasure. We can’t afford to lose it. So in the past year half a million of us have got involved with this campaign – emailing and visiting MPs, signing petitions, donating money, buying ads and even hiring a team of expert lawyers to cut through Lansley’s spin. [3]

What should we do now? Is it time to zoom in on the parts of Lansley’s plan which would introduce more competition and privatisation to the NHS? Or should we step back from the details and join with the doctors and nurses demanding the entire plan is withdrawn? Or something else? [4]

It’s up to you – please take 3 minutes to help plan our next steps:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/saving-our-nhs

38 Degrees members have proved time and again that people power works. When we launched our campaign against the government plans to sell off our national woodlands we were told we had no chance. But we kept at it. And after months of working together, we forced the government to stand up and admit they got it wrong. [5]

In the same way, people have been telling us for nearly a year now that Lansley’s NHS plans are a done deal. We have never let that put us off! And already by working together we’ve helped rein in some of the worst parts. There’s so much more we can do in the next three months – so let’s decide our plans together.
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/saving-our-nhs

Thanks for getting involved,

Johnny, David, Marie, Hannah, Cian, Becky and the 38 Degrees team

PS. Nearly 45,000 of us have now signed up to join The Big Switch, our attempt to drive down gas and electricity prices by bargaining with the power companies as a group. That’s got to be a record! If you haven’t joined in yet, you can do so here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/the-big-switch

NOTES:
[1] An alliance of Lib Dem, Labour and cross-bench peers forced major concessions from the government over the “duty to provide” and “hands-off clause”. See for example: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/28/andrew-lansley-nhs-health-reform-climbdown
[2] “NHS reform: GPs and physiotherapists urges scrapping”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16861672
[3] Watch a video highlighting some of the things 38 Degrees members have done together here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/pages/save_our_nhs_action_centre
[4] Obviously to some extent we can do both. But we will have more impact if we prioritise. And it may prove harder to influence Lords over specific amendments if they see the starting point for our campaign being that we want to scrap the bill altogether.
[5] Watch a video of our forests victory here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/achievements

 

 

 

 

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27 of 35 Bush Articles of Impeachment Apply to Obama

NOVANEWS

By David Swanson

When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles. 

President Obama has accumulated his own massive list of high crimes and misdemeanors that were unavailable for Bush’s list (thing’s like openly murdering U.S. citizens, launching massive drone wars, selectively and abusively prosecuting numerous whistleblowers as spies, holding Bradley Manning naked in isolation, attacking Libya without so much as bothering to lie to Congress, etc.).

Nonetheless, it is instructive to review the 35 Bush articles in the Obama age.  It quickly becomes apparent that Obama has either exactly duplicated or closely paralleled most of the 35.  Here’s what I mean:

Article XXVI
Announcing the Intent to Violate Laws with Signing Statements.

Click the link to read the article introduced against Bush.  Obama campaigned against this abuse and has routinely engaged in it as president.  Worse, he has established the policy of silently relying on previous Bush or Obama signing statements rather than restating his intention to violate laws each time such intention is relevant to a bill he is signing.

Article XXII
Creating Secret Laws.

Obama similarly uses Department of Justice arguments to reverse the commonly understood meaning of laws (bombing Libya is neither war nor hostilities, for example).  And he similarly uses arguments that are kept away from public sight.  While the United Nations, foreign nations, and human rights groups have questioned the legality of drone strikes, Obama has not provided his legal defense or even felt obliged to make any assertion as to which victims were intended and which were “collateral damage.”  This week the ACLU sued for release of such information.  In addition, Obama announced in 2009 that he would review all of Bush’s signing statements and decide which ones to keep as law and which to discard, but the public has never been told the outcome of that review.

Article XVII
Illegal Detention: Detaining Indefinitely And Without Charge Persons Both U.S. Citizens and Foreign Captives.

Obama did this from day one, proclaimed it in front of the Constitution in the National Archives, formalized it in an executive order, signed it into law this past New Year’s Eve, and expanded the practice at Bagram.

Article XXIII
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Obama has continued each abuse detailed here and added to them, including through his use of the military to keep journalists away from the BP oil disaster and in an effort to break a strike at the ports of the Pacific Northwest.

Article XIX
Rendition: Kidnapping People and Taking Them Against Their Will to “Black Sites” Located in Other Nations, Including Nations Known to Practice Torture.

Obama has publicly claimed the power to continue this practice, in fact continued this practice, maintained black sites despite announcing an end to them, and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.

Article XX
Imprisoning Children.

Obama has continued this practice and added to it the murdering of children, refusing to say that Abdel-Rahman Anwar al-Awlaki was not intentionally targeted or that he, Obama, does not have the legal power to murder U.S. children.  Non-U.S. children continue to die in significant numbers from drone strikes and by other means (including intentional targeting from helicopter) as part of Obama’s escalated war on Afghanistan.

Article XVIII
Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.

Obama has claimed the power to torture, worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor, and continued to allow torture.  He has also pressured other nations, including Spain, to drop prosecutorial investigations of U.S. crimes of torture.

Article XXIV
Spying on American Citizens, Without a Court-Ordered Warrant, in Violation of the Law and the Fourth Amendment.

Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.

Article XXV
Directing Telecommunications Companies to Create an Illegal and Unconstitutional Database of the Private Telephone Numbers and Emails of American Citizens.

Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor and guilty corporations.

Article XXI
Misleading Congress and the American People About Threats from Iran, and Supporting Terrorist Organizations Within Iran, With the Goal of Overthrowing the Iranian Government.

Obama has continued these practices.  In his most recent State of the Union speech he said, “America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.  But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible . . . if Iran changes course.”  When Iran recently took down a U.S. drone, Obama simply asked that it be returned.

Article XVI
Reckless Misspending and Waste of U.S. Tax Dollars in Connection With Iraq and US Contractors.

Obama’s Pentagon is no more audited or accountable, nor the routine scandals involving misplaced millions or billions of dollars less frequent.  No-bid contracts have increased.  Privatization has increased.  Secrecy has increased.  The use of Special Forces in secret non-war wars has spread to more nations.  The permanent stationing of U.S. troops has spread to more nations.  Secret agencies, including the CIA, have been given larger war-making roles.  And Obama continued the war on Iraq long beyond the date by which he had promised to end it, and continues to maintain thousands of mercenaries in Iraq, and to use drones in the skies of Iraq.  He has also worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.

Article XV
Providing Immunity from Prosecution for Criminal Contractors in Iraq.

Obama’s insistence on continuing this practice not just beyond 2008 but beyond 2011, combined with the Iraqi government’s refusal to agree, resulted in Obama’s decision to comply with the Bush-Maliki treaty to end the war on Iraq by this past New Year’s Eve.

Article XXX
Misleading Congress and the American People in an Attempt to Destroy Medicare.

The details have to be changed to apply this article to Obama.  The changes are not in Obama’s favor.  Obama met in secret with the CEOs of health insurance corporations and pursued a vision of healthcare reform that they had secretly influenced.  In so doing, he misled Congress and the American people.  He is quite open, in contrast, about his willingness to slash Medicare, as well as Medicaid.

Article XXXI
Katrina: Failure to Plan for the Predicted Disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Failure to Respond to a Civil Emergency.

The victims of Katrina have still not been compensated, nor the environmental and urban damage undone.  Instead the BP oil disaster has been added.  Obama intentionally misled the Congress and the public, downplaying the quantity of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.  He allowed a clean-up operation that was nothing of the sort.  No real clean-up or recovery is planned.  Nor have the corporations or their supposed regulators been held accountable.

Article XXXII
Misleading Congress and the American People, Systematically Undermining Efforts to Address Global Climate Change.

Obama’s approach to systematically undermining efforts to address global climate change has included blocking possible global agreements at meetings in Denmark and South Africa, while promoting “clean coal,” “natural gas,” and “safe fracking.”

Article XIV
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The exposing of a secret agent has not been repeated, but retribution against whistleblowers has been taken to new heights with more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than by all previous presidents combined.

Article XXXIV
Obstruction of the Investigation into the Attacks of September 11, 2001.

We’re still waiting.

Now, we come to the launching of the war on Iraq:

It was too late for Obama to exactly duplicate these offenses, as the war against Iraq was already underway.  But President Obama has embraced the lies that launched that war.  He claimed in 2010 that the war on Iraq had been launched in order to disarm that nation.  In the news around the world on the day of Obama’s most recent State of the Union speech was the anger among Iraqis at the failure of the United States to hold anyone seriously accountable for the 2005 massacre in Haditha. 

 The story was a useful reminder of how the operations of the U.S. military over the past decade have fueled hostility toward our nation.  President Obama began his speech by claiming the opposite, asserting that the war on Iraq has made us safer and “more respected around the world.”  Obama has repeatedly used such rhetoric to pivot to promotion of his escalated war in Afghanistan or other military operations.  Similarly, President Obama misled the nation about the purpose and nature of a war on Libya that has left Libya, like Iraq, in worse shape, and which has left Constitutional war powers in tatters, as the Congress declared itself opposed to the war and the war continued.  Meanwhile misleading propaganda about Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other nations continues to emerge from the Obama administration. 

The Director of National Intelligence has just claimed that Iran is a threat to the United States.  While the Iraq War may have “ended,” the Authorization for the Use of Military Force has been kept in place allowing Obama to use it as a legal argument for other military operations and abuses of civil rights.  Also emerging with ever greater frankness from the Obama White House and Pentagon, including from the President, is the claim of presidential prerogative to launch military attacks on sovereign nations, involving deaths to both militants and civilians, without any consideration of Congress, the Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, the United Nations or its Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or any other law.

There is no quantitative way to measure whether Obama’s additions to the presidential powers accumulated by Bush and Bush’s predecessors equals or exceeds those added by Bush.  But measured against the pre-Bush baseline, or against the written rule of law, Obama’s power abuses far outstrip Bush’s, while in the category of immediate death count Bush retains a significant lead.

Would Romney or Gingrich be even worse?  That’s quite likely.  If we continue to self-censor on these matters, Obama Part II will also be significantly worse.  A popular movement against these abuses could make any White House occupant better than the current one, even if it’s the same individual.  Remember what Howard Zinn taught: It’s not who is sitting in the White House; it’s who is doing the sit-ins.

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An Open Letter to the 9/11 Truth Community: The Vancouver Hearings Revised

NOVANEWS 

By Kevin Barrett, Joshua Blakeney, and Jim Fetzer

The “collapse” was not a collapse

 

After considering mixed feedback from prominent members of the 9/11 Truth community, we have decided to revise our proposal for The Vancouver Hearings, to be held at Vancouver’s Denman Theater on 15-17 June 2012. Upon reflection, we believe that our preliminary proposal, which called The Toronto Hearings “acutely disappointing,” was a mistake.

Our aim in holding the Vancouver Hearings is not to belittle The Toronto Hearings. On the contrary, we appreciate the efforts of those who organized The Toronto Hearings and agree that the overall evidence presented there does amount to a convincing case against the US government’s version of what happened on 9/11.

The purpose of The Vancouver Hearings instead is to critique and supplement the Toronto Hearings, not undermine or dismiss them. The Vancouver Hearings will feature experts who will analyze and question certain aspects of the evidence presented at The Toronto Hearings—as well as other experts who will argue in favor of The Toronto Hearings’ evidence.  We are open to and would welcome additional speakers from A&E911, for example, to insure that we have a balanced panel to confront the controversial aspects of 9/11 in an effort to contribute to greater unity within the 9/11 movement.

The Vancouver Hearings is designed to expand the range of inquiry in relation to the issues addressed at The Toronto Hearings. Those hearings limited themselves to presenting what the organizers considered the “best evidence” against the official version of 9/11, without considering questions of who actually perpetrated the attacks and why.  Only limited attention was given to the Pentagon charade, for example, while problems related to the planes and the passengers were not confronted.  It was not intended to address the more controversial aspects of 9/11 research.

Plane in Pentagon frame is not a Boeing 757

We, the organizers of The Vancouver Hearings, do not completely agree with the organizers of The Toronto Hearings about which evidence is the best evidence against the official story of 9/11. For example, like the majority of the 9/11 truth community, we believe that the evidence contradicting the government’s contention that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon is just as compelling as evidence for the “demolitions under control” of the World Trade Center skyscrapers. In our view, The Toronto Hearings did not do justice to the importance of the Pentagon issue—though we applaud the excellent presentation by Barbara Honegger.

We believe that the fabrication of the attack on the Pentagon affords a proof of governmental duplicity at least as persuasive as what we all agree was the classic “controlled demolition” of WTC-7.  But we also believe that the absence of any proof that the alleged hijackers were aboard any of the planes, the presence of proof that all of the phone calls from the planes were faked, and the absence of debris from bona fide airplane crashes in Shanksville, at the Pentagon and in New York all deserve more attention and dissection to establish what happened and how it was done.

Likewise, we do not agree with those who believe the entire 9/11 truth movement should limit itself to debunking the official account without considering the question of who actually perpetrated the attacks and for what motive. If there is evidence that neo-cons in the Department of Defense were involved, we should present it.  If there is evidence of complicity by the Mossad, we should pursue it.  We think enough evidence already exists to bring a many criminal indictments in any honest judicial system and to construct a reliable historical narrative concerning the perpetrators and motives behind the 9/11 attacks.

Special effects at the Pentagon

The five areas in which we believe a supplemental conference of this kind can make a constructive contribution include especially these:

(1) how the Twin Towers were destroyed through a comparison of the explanatory power of alternative theories of conventional explosives, exotic accelerants including nano-thermite, mini-nukes and directed energy devices;

(2) the role of the planes in these events, where there is a noticeable absence of debris of the kinds and quantities expected at all four of the alleged “crash sites”–and where there are even indications that some kind of video fakery may have occurred in New York;

(3) the absence of proof that the alleged “hijackers” were aboard any of the planes, that the purported “phone calls” were faked, and that even the passenger manifests are suspect and cannot be taken to be authentic;

(4) who was responsible and why it was done, including an evaluation of evidence that implicates neo-cons in the Department of Defense and other—surprisingly extensive—indications that the Mossad had an important role in this; and,

(5) the role of the media in collaboration with the intelligence agencies in covering up what really happened, typified by Jane Standley’s early report that WTC-7 had collapsed, when the building was visible over her shoulder and would not occur for nearly 30 minutes more.

For these and other reasons, we believe that a follow-up conference like this one, which addresses both the accomplishments and the limitations of The Toronto Hearings, will be a worthwhile exercise. We invite those who disagree with us on any of these issues to submit suggestions of names for potential speakers at The Vancouver Hearings. We have a tentative line-up representing alternative positions, but we are open to additional participants representing alternative points of view.

The South Tower “tipping”

Some of us have been down this road before.  In arranging for the Madison Conference on “The Science and Politics of 9/11”, Jim Fetzer made it a point of inviting Steven Jones, Kevin Ryan, and others to speak, but they either declined or did not respond.  Others who had accepted our invitation withdrew and, as a consequence, a meeting that was intended to deal with controversial aspects of 9/11 was, very much like The Toronto Hearings, only a mixed success.

Here is the chance to overcome the shortcomings and limitations of those past events.  We cannot resolve the differences that divide us unless we confront them.  Our commitment to reason and 9/11 Truth should be more than sufficient to motivate us as a 9/11 community to share our expertise in order to establish mutual understanding and a greater degree of unity.  This is an opportunity that we should exploit for the benefit of rational inquiry and to advance 9/11 Truth.

Indeed, as a token of our sincerity in seeking the truth about these issues and in respect for their contributions to 9/11 Truth, we hereby invite Richard Gage, AIA, and Niels Harrit of Copenhagen University to be roving commentators, who may not only speak at any session but have the first opportunity to raise questions after other speakers have been heard. We will provide them with transportation as well as accommodations for insuring that we are on the “straight and narrow” regarding such issues as the explosive capabilities of nano-thermite.

Proposals from those who presented at The Toronto Hearings and wish to respond to any prospective critics at the Vancouver Hearings will be welcomed and an effort will be made to accommodate them. We would also be glad to arrange panel discussions and debates between experts holding opposing perspectives on the issues we are addressing.  Indeed, each session is being organized with that objective in mind. Further feedback on this project is welcome and we encourage suggestions to be submitted to any of the authors.

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The Falkland Islands in Britain’s Imperialist Claws

 NOVANEWS

By Dr. Ismail Salami

 

The simmering tensions over the Malvinas Islands or Falkland Islands (off the coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic) as called by the British occupiers have become a matter of great concern as the UK decided to deploy destroyer HMS Dauntless to the islands.

The British Royal Navy is planning to send the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless, a state-of-the-art warship, to the region on her maiden mission in a few months, a move interpreted by some experts as a provocation of war. Also known as the Daring class, HMS Dauntless is often regarded the most powerful air-defense warship in the world. This warship is equipped with the SAMPSON Multi Function Radar with the capability to detect hundreds of targets out to a distance of 400 km as well as outer atmosphere objects such as ballistic missiles.

Argentine Vice-president Amado Boudou sees the escalating conflict as an excuse to “distract public opinion from serious domestic problems such as unemployment.”

“London is after issues of big media impact to hide the daily sufferings of Britain with its problems of unemployment, shrinking economy, social unrest by appealing to a very distant situation such is the South Atlantic Islands dispute.”

However, the British Royal Navy says the Portsmouth-based destroyer’s deployment is “not a reaction to heightened tensions over the Falklands.” Paradoxically, Britain has already deployed anti-aircraft installations, a tracker station and modern jet fighters on the archipelago.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says the UK harbors secret plans to plunder the natural resources such as oil and fish in the area of the territorial dispute and that Argentina insists on her legitimate claim to the islands.

“Don’t expect an outcry of xenophobia from us, we stand on the concept of sovereignty which is in agreement with the interests of the state, our people and protection of our natural resources.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently slammed Argentina for trying to ‘colonize’ the Malvinas Islands while the UK has basically cast its specter of imperialistic domination and colonization of Argentina’s South Atlantic islands since 1833.

“What the Argentineans have been saying recently I would argue is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentineans want them to do something else,” Prime Minister Cameron said on Wednesday.

Mr. Cameron’s statement was, however, welcomed by a spate of criticism on the part of some Latin American leaders. For instance, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said Latin America and the Caribbean “back Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and back the UN resolutions calling on the Argentine and British governments to hold talks on the issue.”

Although some pundits rule out the possibility of a full-scale invasion of the islands on the 1982 lines, Michael Clarke, head of the Royal United Services Institute, believes that a similar invasion particularly supported by the construction of an airfield at Mount Pleasant is possible. “In the event of tension, the UK could quickly reinforce the island because of its control of the airfield. We simply don’t need the kind of naval taskforce we had in 1982.”

The Falklands War between Argentina and Britain in 1982

On Friday 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted an attack on the Malvinas Islands and South Georgia in order to redeem their long occupied territory.  Britain sent a naval task force and retook the islands through amphibious assault. The war, which lasted 74 days, ended to the triumph of the British imperialist army, claiming the lives of over 600 Argentine troops, and 255 British soldiers.

Britain has a long-standing interest in the Malvinas’ oil which originally dates back to a couple of decades. In 1975, Britain conducted preliminary studies in this regard and in 1998-2009, two British exploratory missions succeeded in proving the oil potential of the area. It remains unclear how much oil there is in the Malvinas islands but initial estimations place the offshore petroleum potential at a minimum of 6.525 billion barrels of oil.

On March 22, 2011, British transnational Rockhopper announced it had discovered a commercially viable deposit of crude oil in the Malvinas. Rockhopper Exploration PLC reported a “significant reservoir package” at its Sea Lion prospect.

When the company gave an initial report on its oil find at Sea Lion, Argentinean President Cristina Kirchner’s administration issued a statement and said the oil-drilling operation runs counter to international laws and treaties as well as UN resolutions which urge both sides to not take steps which might exacerbate the situation.

With an established history of imperialism and colonization, Britain has long coveted the windswept Malvinas as a strategic shipping stopover and treasure-trove of natural resources such as oil and fish.

With economy declining terminally at home, Britain is exploring ways to save itself either by virtue of climbing on the shoulders of others i.e. digging   its imperialistically colonialist claws into others i.e. the Malvinas Islands or by foisting its weapons off on nations with a turbulent status quo such as Bahrain. 

That the British government is contemplating another imperialist adventure in the Malvinas Islands is an irrefutable assumption but it is painfully difficult to conjecture how Britain is going to achieve this nefarious objective.

Posted in UK1 Comment

Dear Yoko: GIMME SOME TRUTH Vanunu Update

NOVANEWS

by Eileen Fleming

Post Card

 

“All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth. I’ve had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians. All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth.”-John Lennon, 1971.

When I received my postcard invitation to this years Yoko Ono presentation of John Lennon’s drawings, sketches and words to benefit a charity titled “GIMME SOME TRUTH”

I immediately recalled the first Ono-Lennon Art Show I attended on 7 March 2004.

That year’s show was titled “When I’m 64″ and show cased John’s love for Yoko and Sean, and benefited Instant Karma Adopt-A-Classroom.

It was held at 216 [2+1+6=9] North Park Avenue, which was then a recently defunct Victoria’s Secret. In the back of the store where padded bras had once hung had become a shrine of unending love of a father for his son. The drawings upon the walls had been created out of play between John and Sean, and Yoko had lightly tinged them pastel and turned them into a book called “Real Love”.

I was captivated by one called “Sheep Meadowing” in which sheep had levitated into the sky and had morphed into clouds above the heads of other sheep who were meadowing. Today, a print of “SHEEP MEADOWING” hangs above my bathtub- and isn’t that good?

But on that day in 2004 after a time of timelessness cogitating upon those sheep, I reluctantly pulled my head back through the clouds to continue on to the second Gathering of Women for Peace, where sisters of every color and creed gathered in harmony at the Mosque in East Orlando. We had come together to imagine what Peace in the World would look like and what we could do to make it happen. All day long in my inner ear I did hear “Revolution 9″ from the White Album tuned in so very clear-but with a few new lyrics:

Number 9 Number 9 Number 9…Let all who are little come in here, Wisdom has built her house; come eat her food and drink her wine and walk in the ways of understanding [Proverbs 9]…I’m so very small I’m so very small, already within the heart of every atom yet extend Beyond the Universe and connect every mother and child…Number 9 Number 9 Number 9…
Also in 2004, Yoko Ono again voiced her desire for real change in the Middle East through the GIMME SOME TRUTH Peace Prize. In 2003, Ono awarded Israeli artist Zvi Goldstein and Palestinian artist Khalil Rabah the inaugural prize including a $50,000 grant to support artwork that furthers cultural understanding which is a bedrock for peace.

In 2004, Ono awarded both investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, in recognition of his reporting on the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and Israeli Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu. For twenty-six years Vanunu has consistently maintained he acted on conscience and spoke out about Israel’s nuclear arsenal because he wanted to save Israel from a “new holocaust, a nuclear holocaust”.

In the interview with Reuters to announce the award, Ono said she hoped Vanunu could collect the award in person at the New York ceremony that also commemorated John Lennon’s 64th birthday and said, “Hopefully he can come and receive the award himself. He did complete his sentence, it’s not as though he’s a criminal. It’s possible that he can’t come – the point is that it’s another statement, a statement that the whole world can share and think about. People power is stronger than the power of institutions.”

Here’s to the Power of the Peaceful and as John Lennon said, “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends…I believe that as soon as people want peace in the world they can have it. The only trouble is they are not aware they can get it.”

Troubles multiply when we do nothing and everything we do affects the future. With all the sabre rattling by world ‘leaders’ over Iran’s nuclear program and blind eyes over Israel’s, it is with “the fierce urgency of now” that we the people of truth and for justice must lead ‘leaders’ in the way we want to go: a Nuclear Free Middle East and World.

Yoko Ono grew up knowing the suffering of Japanese civilians in the aftermath of America’s atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For those with a conscience nuclear war is unconscionable, immoral, unethical and evil.

Human rights abuses and cover-ups “pose a more insidious danger to democratic societies than terrorism. In a democracy, people have the basic right to know what their leaders are up to, and what acts are being committed in their name. Rule of law must prevail in the treatment of prisoners of war and Israeli citizens need to be privy to decision making with regard to nuclear policy…Dissenters like Hersh and Vanunu force the public to confront uncomfortable issues and take a position, debunking the fraudulent secrecy of politicians and shaping policy.”[1]

“Ms. L, You know I wish you well” and I also want you to know that Vanunu is still waiting to get to New York:

Posted in USAComments Off on Dear Yoko: GIMME SOME TRUTH Vanunu Update

New Syria Resolution: Better but Still Flawed

NOVANEWS 

by Stephen Lendman

Its sponsors include America, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Colombia, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, UAE, Oman, Lybia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Togo.

 

Notably, Russia and China aren’t included. Nonetheless, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said:

“We have the text which we shall send to our capital cities and will wait for the result.” He added that doing so “does not predetermine its fate in any way.”

More on its text below.

On February 3, Itar-Tass headlined, “UN Security Council agrees on Syria resolution,” saying:

On February 2, tentative agreement was reached. Key Russia/China concerns were addressed. Some perhaps but not all. Resolution sponsors “urged all countries to launch an open political process headed by the Syrians in the atmosphere free of violence, fear, intimidation and extremism.”

Earlier drafts were one-sided ultimatums. Though softer, the new version “still contains some veiled threat of sanctions” or worse if Syria fails to comply within 21 days. “In this case, the (SC) may consider some additional measures.”

Therein lies one of several flaws. Saying passage is far from sure, The New York Times called the measure “wobbly,” adding that SC members fully support the Arab League plan.

In fact, it’s Observer Mission report acknowledged what Western media reports suppress. Mission head General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi said:

“The mission was witness to acts of violence against government forces and citizens leading to death and injury of many. A case in point was the attack against a civilian bus which killed eight persons and injured others, including women and children.”

Heavily “armed opposition groups” are involved. In Homs and Daraa, for example, they used externally supplied “thermal bombs and anti-armor missiles.”

“In Homs, Idlib and Hama, (observers) witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries.”

Various incidents “include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.” However, naming them was unaddressed.

Media misinformation was also highlighted. For example, “many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went (there), they found that those reports were unfounded.”

Moreover, observers said government forces didn’t attack peaceful pro and anti-Assad demonstrations, except for minor incidents. While stopping short of blaming foreign governments, readers can draw their own conclusions from clear evidence provided.

As a result, mission findings were discredited for not delivering what Washington and rogue partners want. Arab League governments were heavily pressured to provide one-sided “exaggerated accounts of events.”

Mission head al-Dabi pointed fingers elsewhere. As a result, he was assailed for not cooperating and vilified for once running Sudan’s military intelligence under Omar al-Bashir. Washington wants him tried in the Hague.

New Draft Resolution

Its language states:

It “e)xpress(ed) grave concern at the deterioration of the situation in Syria, and profound concern at the death of thousands of people and calling for an immediate end to all violence.”

It welcomes “the League of Arab States’ Action Plan of 2 November 2011 and its subsequent decisions, including (on January 22) which aims to achieve a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”

It expressed disappointment that violence prevented mission observers monitoring as planned and forced suspending their initiative as a result.

It stressed “the importance of ensuring the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in safety and with dignity.”

It’s “(m)indful that stability in Syria is key to peace and stability in the region.”

It noted “announced commitments by the Syrian authorities to reform (but) lack of progress in implementation.”

It “(r)eaffirm(ed) its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, emphasizing its intention to resolve the current political crisis….peacefully, and nothing in this resolution authorizes measures under article 42 of the (UN) Charter.”

It states:

“Should the Security Council consider that measures” short of “armed force….inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”

The resolution “demands that the Syrian government immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, protect is population, fully comply with its (international law) obligations….and General Assembly resolution A/RES/66/176.”

It included a laundry list against him alone. It ranged from killing civilians to disappearances, arbitrary detentions, preventing access to medical treatment, sexual violence, and ill-treatment, including against children.

It sounds similar to false or exaggerated anti-Gaddafi charges throughout NATO’s campaign against him. Assad’s now target one before moving on to the next one.

It “(c)ondemns all violence, irrespective of where it comes from (but not naming it), and in this regard demands that all parties in Syria, including armed groups, immediately stop all violence or reprisals, including attacks against State institutions, in accordance with the League of Arab States’ initiative.”

It calls for “all those responsible for human rights violations, including acts of violence, (be) held responsible.”

It demands “Assad’s government….without delay:

(a) cease all violence and protect its population;

(b) release all persons detained arbitrarily due to the recent incidents;

(c) withdraw all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns, and return to their original home barracks;

(d) guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstrations;

(e) allow full and unhindered access and movement” of Arab League “institutions” and international media in all parts of Syria to accurately determine conditions; and

(f) give Arab League monitors “full and unhindered” access on the ground.

It calls for addressing all aspirations and concerns of Syria’s people, “without prejudging the outcome.”

It supports transitioning Syria “to a democratic, plural political system, in which” all citizens are treated equally.

It demands Syrian authorities cooperate fully, including “unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.”

It requests the Secretary-General report within 21 days on implementation of the above provisions, in consultation with Arab League states.

It decided “to review implementation of this resolution within 21 days and, in the event of non-compliance, to consider further measures.”

Fact check

Washington, rogue NATO partners, and regional despot allies abhor democracy and won’t tolerate it at home or abroad. Claiming otherwise belies America’s longstanding agenda, more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere throughout the region.

Expressing disappointment that violence prevented Arab League observers from operating as planned, it stops short of blaming externally generated insurgents.

Saying Syrian stability “is key to peace and stability in the region” ignores over 10 years of Washington-led and/or supported violence in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, and elsewhere.

Claiming Assad failed to implement reform commitments belies serious steps he proposed, release of thousands of prisoners, nonviolence against peaceful opposition protesters, continued instability preventing him from moving faster, and Arab League mission head al-Dabi commending his cooperation.

Affirming Security Council members’ commitment to peaceful conflict resolution ignores Washington’s longstanding regime change agenda by any means necessary.

In addition, allowing further measures for non-compliance gives Washington enormous leverage to exploit. Imagine what it has in mind. Assad alone is blamed, not unnamed responsible parties.

Moreover, language sounds ominously like Libyan Resolution 1973. It authorized “all necessary measures….to protect civilians and civilian population areas under threat of attack.”

Straightaway, NATO intervened belligerently. Many tens of thousands died. Libya was ravaged and destroyed. Civilians, of course, suffered most. Violence continues unchecked. Human misery is incalculable. Western intervention assures Syria the same fate and perhaps Iran if it’s targeted next.

Washington wants governments in both countries replaced by pro-Western ones. Doing so gives it unchallenged regional control, including over its valued oil and gas resources.

In his book, “Winning Modern Wars,” General Wesley Clark said Pentagon sources told him two months after 9/11 that regime change was planned in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Lebanon, and Sudan. In weeks, Afghanistan was attacked. It’s now America’s longest war with no resolution in sight. Perhaps Syria’s next, then Iran.

United, Russia and China are bulwarks against it. Hopefully, they’ll demand language revisions to exclude interventionist wiggle room for Washington and rogue partners. It’s ominously there. Obama officials will take full advantage. Checking them is key.

A Final Comment

Russia Today reported, “Moscow won’t support a ‘raw’ resolution or arms embargo on Syria,” saying:

Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churki spoke by video link, explaining that Moscow opposes a counterproductive resolution.

Points he raised included Russia’s opposition to embargoing arms to Syria, some Security Council (SC) members not condemning armed groups operating there, and likelihood that weapons will still reach them even if a ban’s imposed.

Citing the Libyan example, he said arming Gaddafi was prohibited, but weapons flowed freely to insurgent forces.

Cherkin also stressed Russia’s firm opposition to foreign intervention. He also expressed angst about many SC members ignoring the Arab League observer mission’s report, especially al-Dabi’s comments. However, at Moscow’s insistence, he’ll address the SC, and the report will be translated into all six official UN languages.

Churkin said a final resolution must include its findings. Observers spent a month in Syria and saw events firsthand.

Russia wants conflict resolution peacefully, but won’t yield on key issues.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on New Syria Resolution: Better but Still Flawed

Khader Adnan, political prisoner held without charges, is near death after 53 days of hunger strike

NOVANEWS

by

 

Khader Adnan
(Photo: Sharif Solaiman/Addameer)

Khader Adnan is on the 53rd day of hunger strike. Passing his 42nd day, the Palestinian political prisoner entered the fatal high-risk stage of starvation, where he is risking cardiac arrest and the inevitable shutting-down of major organs. The Palestine News Network reports what awaits Adnan:

[A]fter the 42nd day of a hunger strike, it is expected that individuals will begin to lose their hearing and vision, and suffer bleeding in the gums, intestines, and esophagus. The body will gradually stop functioning. After the 45th day, there is a high risk of death due to vascular system collapse and/or cardiac arrest.

Responding to the political prisoner’s dire health condition, advocates are desperately calling for the termination of the graduate student’s detention. In the past 48 hours Samidoun, the Palestinian political prisoners solidarity network  petitioned, pressured, and demanded support for Adnan from Israeli embassies and U.S. officials. And though the pressure has not yielded life-saving intervention–life-saving–the narrative of Adnan’s imprisonment without charge or trial is circulating. Prisoner advocacy organization Addameer chronicled the detention:

Each day, Khader was subjected to two three-hour interrogation sessions. Throughout the interrogation sessions, his hands were tied behind his back on a chair with a crooked back, causing extreme pain to his back. Khader notes that the interrogators would leave him sitting alone in the room for half an hour or more. Khader also suffered from additional ill-treatment. During the second week of interrogation, one interrogator pulled his beard so hard that it caused his hair to rip off. The same interrogator also took dirt from the bottom of his shoe and rubbed it on Khader’s mustache as a means of humiliation.

On Friday evening 30 December 2011, Khader was transferred to Ramleh prison hospital because of his deteriorating health from his hunger strike. He was placed in isolation in the hospital, where he was subject to cold conditions and cockroaches throughout his cell. He has refused any medical examinations since 25 December, which was one week after he stopped eating and speaking. The prison director came to speak to Khader in order to intimidate him further and soldiers closed the upper part of his cell’s door to block any air circulation, commenting that they would “break him” eventually.

To date, no one in a position of agency to release Adnan has made a public statement, other than confirming his internment. On January 8, a judge issued a fourth-month extension of administration detention. Like others held in this legal limbo, Adnan’s incarceration is predicated upon secret evidence that the prison advocacy Adameer explains, is “collected by Israeli authorities and available to the military judge but not to the detainee or his lawyer.”

Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands. (Photo: PA/PA Wire)

A fate like Bobby Sands?

It appears that there is now no way out for Adnan. His hunger strike now is just 13 days short of the duration of Irish republican Bobby Sands’s strike. Protesting inhumane treatment and the de-politicizing of his prisoner designation, Sands along with a hundred others engaged in a hunger strike for 66 days. The strike was called off after 10 died, and support never arrived from the imprisoning politicians. Even at the end of the Irish political prisoners’ lives, Margaret Thatcher, who held the key to the republicans’ cell, was cold. A day after Sands’ death the then British prime minister announced, “terrorism is a crime and always will be a crime.”

Conversely, Israeli politicians remain silent on Adnan’s case, the longest running one-man hunger strike. Aside from remarks by the prison service on a possible force-feeding, it is as if Adnan does not exist. But, he does exist.

British officials did not intervene to save Sands, a likely path for the quiet Israelis.  But, in 1981 civil society’s screams for the Irish national hero broke glass. Following Sands’ death, direct actions took place across the world, including U.S. port workers refusing to unload British good in a 24-hour boycott.

If Adnan is let to perish, may his passing also break the glass.

Samidoun: TAKE ACTION NOW!

1. Call and demand the release of Khader Adnan, who has not been charged with any crime but instead is being held under Administrative Detention. Call the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC (1.202.364.5500) OR your local Embassy (for a list, click here).

Call the office of Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209)

Demand that Jeffrey Feltman bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel and raise the question of Khader Adnan’s administrative detention.

2. Organize a protest outside your local Israeli Embassy (for a list, click here).

Post your local actions to the Khader Adnan facebook page

Tweet Now: Take Action Now for #KhaderAdnan http://samidoun.ca/?p=133 #Palestine #Israel

Tweet Now: I just called my local #Israel Embassy to demand #KhaderAdnan’s release. Join me now! ListofEmbassies: http://bit.ly/xoEzsS

Tweet Now: Sign Petition to #FreeKhader hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner http://samidoun.ca/?p=116 #palestine #KhaderAdnan

3. Other Actions

* To contact the authorities within Israel, see Addameer’s appeal.
* Other ideas for actions and a letter-writing template can be found on this action alert from Samidoun (The Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network).
* See Amnesty International’s report and appeal to action.
 

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on Khader Adnan, political prisoner held without charges, is near death after 53 days of hunger strike

Palestinians demand justice: 52 days and Khader Adnan is dying to live

NOVANEWS 

by Aaron

International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Click to stand in solidarity and take action!

On Monday and Tuesday Palestinians rallied for Khader Adnan and all political prisoners before regional offices of the Red Cross, demanding that the organization takes a solid stand for the rights of more than 5000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli prisons.

TAKE ACTION NOW TO SUPPORT KHADER ADNAN

Al Khalil:

The mood was at once festive and somber Monday, February 6th, when a determined group of family, friends, and solidarity activists rallied in front of the Al Khalil (Hebron) office of the International Committee of the Red Cross, demanding that the organization take a stand for the rights of more than 5000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees held in Israeli prisons, many without ever having been formally charged or offered legal defense. Organized by the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Monday’s demonstration comes two weeks after Israeli soldiers stormed the Al Quds (Jerusalem) ICRC office to arrest two Hamas government officials taking shelter there and three weeks after another three Palestinian elected officials were arrested.

For the last three months, the Palestinian Prisoner Society has organized a weekly protest to highlight the miserable plight of specific detainees—this week’s political prisoners are Khader Adnan and Razeq Al- Rjoob.

Khader Adnan is protesting his administrative detention in a hunger strike that has extended 52 days, with his health debilitating rapidly. Razeq Al- Rjoob  is another political prisoner who has been kept in solitary confinement over eight months.

These men’s stories are not all that bring out protesters, many of whom have lost fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends as well as mothers, daughters, or sisters  to Israeli prisons. Badran Jaber had his son, Rasan Badran Jaber, taken from him three months ago when soldiers entered the house, locked him and his wife in one room, and then “demolished all their furniture” and arrested their son.

Palestinians demand a firmer stance for its prisoners – Click here for more images

Like the men recognized this week, Jaber said his son was detained because he is active in the prisoner rights movement, agitating from inside during an eight year sentence and continuing after his release. Jaber was taken into custody once again without charge or legal recourse. Serving more than one multi-year prison sentence or period of detention without charge is common for Palestinian young men of Hebron, and the West Bank generally, especially for those engaged in civil resistance.

Incredibly in such a public conflict, Jaber maintains that most people internationally “do not know about the administrative detentions” and stated that the Red Cross needs “to [spread] knowledge of what is happening to the Palestinian people.”

With a mandate from the Geneva Conventions (1949) and additional Protocols I & II (1977), the ICRC is charged with holding military, occupying, and national forces to international humanitarian and human rights standards, which include prohibitions of torture, abuse, collective punishment, and forced relocation, and require that detainees be granted (among other rights) adequate food, water, medical care, legal representation, and visitations by family and aid workers.

Barbara Lecq, head of the ICRC’s Sub-delegation for the Southern West Bank was present for the protest and spoke to her organization’s position. Questioned about the protests, she expressed doubts about the feasibility of the crowd’s expectations, but also stated that review of “material conditions” in the lives of prisoners and detainees, especially access to food, water, outside time, and social interaction, is in order. While detentions, she added, are permitted under the Geneva conventions and are “nothing new” to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt), they “may turn out not to be nice or moral.”

According to Amjad Najjar, media spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoners Society and head of the Hebron branch, the most recent wave of prisoner civil resistance was inspired in part by similar resistance movements to British authority in Ireland. “We all watched the Bobby Sands documentary,” he said.

At its height the strike has included as many as 2000 prisoners from all political parties and has brought systemic abuse of Palestinian inmates into limelight of international media.

Organized resistance among Palestinian resisters is no new phenomenon. Previous generations of prisoners have fought and won the ability to self-organize and educate, the very same rights taken away by the Netanyahu government.

The PPS itself is the continuation of organizing that took place inside prison, says Najjar, when prisoners recognized the need for prisoners to self-represent as much as possible to outside media. Along with advocacy for prisoner rights, they facilitate visitations and provide legal, educational, and other services for inmates and their families.

While Najjar said, “Our problem is not with the people of the ICRC…we think they are in solidarity,” the PPS campaign to end prisoner abuse is expected to escalate in coming months leading up to Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on April 17th.

Individuals in Hebron carry the pictures of loved ones, stolen from their families by Israeli administrative detention.

Until the ICRC denounces the treatment of prisoners and formally recognizes their status as prisoners of war, the Palestinian Prisoners Society will continue to hold weekly demonstrations.

This coming week a demonstration will take place near the town of Ad Dhahiriya at the Meitar Checkpoint, a main route for Palestinians to visit incarcerated family members. Soldiers have begun conducting frequent strip searches, including of women, in dual harassment of would-be visitors by violating their modesty and cultural and religious prohibitions.

 Ramallah:

On Monday the father of Khader Adnan, Musa Adnan, announced that he too would join his 33 year old son in solidarity by partaking in the hunger strike, meeting with Salaam Fayyad in Ramallah.

Amnesty International also commented on Israel’s lack of compliance to international law, denouncing the potential fatal results of Israel’s lack of concern for prisoner rights. In a statement by Amnesty International’s Anne Harrison, Deputy Director of North Africa and the Middle East, she stated:

The Israeli authorities must release Khader Adnan and other Palestinians held in administrative detention unless they are promptly charged with internationally recognizable criminal offences and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards.

Supporters in Ramallah gather at the Red Cross Office in Ramallah in solidarity with Khader Adnan and political prisoners | Photos by Fadi Arouri

According to a statement released by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainee Affairs, the Ofer prisoner administration  has collectively punished 8 prisoners who have joined Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, transferring them to solitary confinement. The prisoners names are Raed al-Sayegh, Muhtaseb al-Assa, Ayman al-Za’qeq, Hassan lafi, Mohammad Shaheen, Ahmad al-Iweiwi, Na’il and Firas al-Barghouthi.

Qadura Fares, the president of the Palestinian Society Prisoner’s Club, announced on Monday that demonstrations and acts of solidarity would continue. Prisoner advocates requested a statement from Ofer military court on Monday regarding the extension of Adnan’s administrative detention, only to receive a confirmation from Israel that Adnan still faces at least 4 months of imprisonment, enacted since the order was arbitrarily placed on January 8th.

Ramallah joins the march for prisoner rights – Click for more images

On Monday night supporters gathered in Ramallah’s clock square in light of Adnan’s diminishing health, violated rights, and Israel’s lack of regard or concern. According to local organizer Sabreen Al Dwak, she urged the community on Monday night to say “No to killing our people” in a meeting in Clock Square that evening. The action continued into today as hundreds of Palestinians and supporters gathered in front of the International Red Cross Office in Ramallah and in Clock Square, demanding a firmer stance against Israel’s manipulative and abusive measures of against Palestinian political prisoners.

22 year old Sabreen Al Dwak, local organizer, collapsed during today’s demonstration in Clock Square, Ramallah. She is resuming her hunger strike. | Photo via raya.fm

Al Dwak collapsed during the demonstration as she endured her fourth day on hunger strike in solidarity with the prisoners. Doctors gave her salt, which is commonly employed to sustain such hunger strikes.

She refused further medical care in order continue her hunger strike. Solidarity activists will continue to camp in Clock Square, on hunger strike, while according to WAFA News, the campers will remain under medical surveillance.

According to the prisoner support and human rights organization Addameer (‘Conscience’), since 1967 Israeli authorities have arrested 2 in 5 Palestinian men and 1 in 5 Palestinians in generally (700,000), including 10,000 women and many thousands of children. Currently there are more than 200.

These numbers do not include those incarcerated by proxy, through the Palestinian Authority, which has on many occasions been obligated to cooperate with Israeli forces. The steadily worsening conditions for 4500-6000 Palestinian in Israeli prisons at any given time received a severe shock in June 2011, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised collective punishment—including punitive isolation and curtailed access to education, television, books, medical care, family visits, and more—while the single Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit remained in Hamas custody.

Later that year, in September 2011, Palestinian prisoners from multiple factions and prisons announced a “Campaign of Disobedience,” involving a hunger strike, refusal to prison uniforms, and noncompliance with role calls. Even though Shalit was released in October, conditions have not improved and in many cases have worsened, according to an Amnesty International report. Since 1948, over 200 Palestinians have died in prison, from inadequate medical care and food, severe beatings and torture, and other abuse.

For more updates or to take action, people can monitor the ISM website (callouts for action will be posted), respond to Adameer’s call to action, or write an email to the ICRC Jerusalem Office (JER_jerusalem@icrc.org) and demand they take a stand for prisoner rights.

Posted in Human RightsComments Off on Palestinians demand justice: 52 days and Khader Adnan is dying to live

Khader Adnan Mousa: 53rd day on a hunger strike

NOVANEWS

Family Visit:Following PHR Israel’s insistence, a family visit was granted to the hunger striker, Khader Adnan Mousa. His wife, Randa, and two daughters visited him today ataround 09:30 AM. The visit lasted 45 minutes.This family reunion was shadowed by Khader Adnan’s condition at the meeting. He was shackled two legs and right hand to his hospital bed, so during this important family visit he could not hug his daughters and wife.

Medical Deterioration:His clothes were dirty. His fingers were not trimmed for a long time, and he started to lose his hair. His body odor was unpleasant, and his wife was impressed that he has lost a third of his weight. During the visit he told her he insists on being examined by doctors he trusts – i.e. doctors sent by PHR Israel – and keeps on refusing examinations by others. He also reported feeling fading away, that he suffers from chest pains, and feels he had days, maybe hours, to live.

PHR Israel urges you to:

  1. Protest Khader Adnan’s shackling to his bed. The refusal of the IPS (Israeli Prison Service) to un do the shackling is excused on the security threat posed by Khader Adnan. PHR Israel seriously doubt such a threat exists from a man in his condition. Furthermore, there are prison guards at his side the whole time.

  2. Urge the Israeli authorities to approve continuous medical follow up by PHR Israel’s doctors, instead of a one time examination (each takes long to get approved, and does not allow the kind of follow up needed in advanced stages of a hunger strike)

  3. Khader Adnan started his hunger strike following his administrative detention and humiliating interrogation. PHR Israel believes that based on the fact that Israel uses it in a sweeping manner toward Palestinians, and its vast violation of human rights – including preventing fair trial, it should be rejected and Khader Adnan should be released

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