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New Bin Laden Tapes Appear Fake Like Earlier Ones

 New Bin Laden Tapes Appear Fake Like Earlier Ones - by Stephen Lendman

 

On May 2, AP writer Matt Apuzzo headlined, "US Official: New bin Laden tape, recorded shortly before death, expected to surface soon," saying:

 

"US intelligence officials believe (he) made a propaganda recording shortly before his death and expect that tape to surface soon....A new recording (would) provide a final word from beyond the grave...."

 

On May 7, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller headlined, "Videos From Bin Laden's Hide-Out Released," saying:

 

On May 7, the administration "released five videos recovered from" his alleged hideout, showing him "threatening the United States, condemning capitalism and at some points flubbing his lines and missing a cue."

 

Videos were released "without sound (allegedly) to avoid disseminating terrorist messages....The intelligence official who briefed reporters....took pains to point out that bin Laden....had dyed his white beard black," suggesting vanity or a desire to look younger. 

 

Unmentioned were earlier tapes, including a posthumous December 27, 2001 video showing his beard clearly gray and another in 2004 the same, unlike a 2007 one showing it black. Forensic evidence proved the latter two crude audio and video fakes. More on them below.

 

Moreover, it's unclear whether Islamic law or teachings prohibit dying hair black. An Islam Question & Answer site says:

 

"Dyeing hair with pure black dye is haram (punishable) because the Prophet....said: "Avoid black," as well as "the threat of punishment reported with regard to this matter. This ruling applies to both men and women."

 

However, if black dye "is mixed with another color, so that it is no longer black, there is nothing wrong with it."

 

A more detailed statement can be accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/476

 

True or false, other observers believe bin Laden never dyed his hair or beard, a notion in their minds as absurd.

 

New and Older Videos

 

The most reported newly released tape shows him wrapped in a blanket in a dilapidated looking room, watching himself on what appears to be a small old TV placed on a broken desk. 

 

Yet he allegedly was housed in a million dollar compound, unlikely to be poorly heated and furnished, as well as shabby-looking, requiring him to sit on the floor with a blanket for warmth. At the least, the image in his alleged surroundings is incongruous, suggesting a recording made elsewhere, not at a luxury Abbottabad, Pakistan estate.

 

Moreover, the it shows his beard white, not black in other newly released videos, another inconsistency. In fact, he looks much younger than in 2001, suggesting images from the 1990s. Nonetheless, Bumiller cited an intelligence official saying bin Laden "was intensely interested in the image he presented to his supporters," without saying why beard color mattered.

 

What does matter is a visibly older looking man in 2001, not the more youthful bin Laden in four of the five newly released videos. 

 

Apparently, Obama officials still can't get their story straight, acting much like Max Sennett's "Keystone Kops" and characters in the film and book by the same name titled, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight."

 

An earlier article discussed the staged bin Laden killing hokum, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/staged-bin-laden-killing-hokum.html

 

It addressed a scenario sounding more like bad fiction than allegedly eliminating "Enemy Number One" with no photos, videos or body of a dead bin Laden, as well as no independent proof and shifting stories. They're still not right, putting a lie to the entire account about a man who died earlier in mid-December 2001 of natural causes.

 

A decade ago, bin Ladin was very ill from kidney failure,  diabetes, and by some accounts hepatitis C affecting his liver, requiring hospitalization in Pakistan and Dubai. Moreover, objective and testimonial evidence corroborated his mid-December 2001 death. An earlier article explained, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death.html

 

It also discussed past strategically released videos. Two examples are noteworthy - on September 7, 2007 and October 29, 2004. Digital image forensics expert Neal Krawetz analyzed both films, concluding they were crude fakes full of low quality visual and audio splices.

 

Moreover, bin Laden's beard was gray in the earlier video, black in the later one, and he was dressed in the same white hat, shirt and yellow sweater. In addition, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical. Krawetz said "if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden's face is the same (unaged)." Only his beard color changed.

 

Notably also, bin Laden's December 2001 "confession" video admitting responsibility for 9/11 was fake. In February 2006, Duke University bin Laden expert Professor Bruce Lawrence exposed it, calling it a bad hoax. 

 

Citing US intelligence informants, he said everyone knows it's fabricated. He also compared an overweight bin Laden impostor to authentic images showing him much thinner. In fact, the difference between the real and fake bin Laden is obvious, but was falsely used for years as his admission for an inside job crime.

 

Earlier, post-9/11, in three Al Jazeera interviews, he claimed no knowledge or responsibility for the event. 

 

However, on May 3, 2011, Al Jazeera misreported him admitting "responsibility for planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington," an irresponsible lie with no corroborating evidence and their own 2001 interviews.

 

In addition, a May 25, 2010 Jeff Stein Washington Post article headlined, "CIA unit's wacky idea: Depict Saddam as gay" said:

 

It considered making fake videos, and: 

 

"(t)he agency actually (made one) purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from 'some of us darker-skinned employees,' " he said.

 

The Pentagon took over the project, saying "(t)hey had assets in psy-war down at Ft. Bragg at the army's special warfare center."

 

Alleged DNA Evidence Confirming Bin Laden's Identity

 

On May 7, Michael Ruppert's article headlined, "Osama and the Ghosts of September 11: 'Proof that Obama is Lying,' " saying:

 

A noted molecular biologist and DNA expert told him the following on condition of anonymity:

 

He "built a lucrative career in human genetics. (He ran) one of the world's largest and most productive DNA genotyping facilities, (and is now) helping to build the global market for clinical whole human genome sequencing for the world's largest human genome sequencing facility."

 

He also worked with the best in his and other fields, saying:

 

"I know DNA. And, one thing I know about DNA is that you cannot, repeat CANNOT: take a tissue sample from a shot-in-the noggin-dead-guy in a north central Pakistan special forces op, extract the DNA, prepare the DNA for assay, test the DNA, curate the raw DNA sequence data, assemble the reads or QC the genotype, compare the tested DNA to a reference, and make a positive identity determination....all in 12 hours - let alone transport the tissue samples all the places they'd need to have gone in order to get this done."

 

"Any way you slice it, the real work would require days," and no nearby aircraft carrier or other ship is outfitted with a profession lab and experts on board to do it. 

 

He concluded saying they may or may not have gotten bin Laden, but there's no DNA proof confirming it before they allegedly dumped him at sea. In other words, they lied, one of many beginning with Obama's May day announcement.

 

A Final Comment

 

This and previous articles highlight a shameless Washington effort to compound one lie with others, endorsed by major media reports and pundits going along with what they should expose and denounce.

 

Instead, ad nauseam accounts continue, contributing to war on terror fear mongering that's changed America dramatically post-9/11 disturbingly. It suggests worse yet to come, including perhaps more war besides others now raging, while popular needs go begging. 

 

Despite poll data showing opposition, they continue because people focus more on bread and circuses than activism, the only way to achieve constructive change. It's high time opinions became anger enough to significantly make a difference. It better because the alternative is too dire to imagine.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

False Flags: An American Tradition

 False Flags: An American Tradition - by Stephen Lendman

 

Wikipedia defines false or black flags as "covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities."

 

They're "big lies," defined by Merriam-Webster as "deliberate gross distortion(s) of the truth used especially as a propaganda tactic."

 

America's decade from September 11, 2001 to May 1, 2011 was punctuated by the (big) lie of our time and (big) lie of the moment.

 

Put another way, the official stories are falsified, myths, widely believed fantasies contrary to reality.

 

In his exhaustive research and writings, David Ray Griffin provided convincing evidence that 9/11 was an inside job and that bin Laden died of natural causes in mid-December 2001. 

 

The former spawned a decade of overt and covert "war on terror" lawlessness at home and abroad. Policies and events following the second have yet to unfold, but expect little at best to be positive.

 

Past US false flags provided pretexts for militarism, wars, occupations, domestic repression, and national security state extremism, antithetical to democratically free and open societies. Allegedly removing America's "Enemy Number One," in fact, may intensify, not diminish, Washington's scheme for unchallengeable global dominance. More on him below. 

 

With or without bin Laden, bogymen threats are plentiful. Since WW II alone, America's had numerous ones, including communists, Al Qaeda, WMDs, the Taliban, Gaddafi, and a host others yet unnamed, as well as numerous "foiled" domestic ones. 

 

Among others, they include:

 

-- a fake shoe bomber;

 

-- fake underwear bomber;

 

-- fake Times Square bomber;

 

-- an earlier one there;

 

-- fake shampoo bombers;

 

-- fake Al Qaeda woman planning fake mass casualty attacks on New York landmarks;

 

-- fake Oregon bomber;

 

-- fake armed forces recruiting station bomber;

 

-- fake synagogue bombers;

 

-- fake Chicago Sears Tower bombers;

 

-- fake FBI and other building bombers;

 

-- fake National Guard, Fort Dix and Quantico marine base attackers;

 

-- fake 9/11 bombers; and 

 

-- others to enlist public support for the fake war on terror and very real ones it spawned.

 

America, Pakistan, Bin Laden, Official Lies, and Misreporting

 

On May 5, New York Times writer Elisabeth Bumiller headlined, "Pentagon Breaks Silence on Pakistani Role," saying:

 

A "top Pentagon official said....Pakistan would have to work hard to rebuild relations with the United States Congress," including a commitment "to fighting terrorism...."

 

It suggests what some analysts suspect: namely, planned destabilization, confrontation, and balkanization for greater Eurasian control, as well as future terrorist false flags.

 

On May 5, Times writers Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane headlined, "Data Show Bin Laden Plots; CIA Hid Near Raided House," saying:

 

Alleged "computer files and documents seized at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed," reveal "considered attacks on American railroads, (but) there was no evidence of a specific plot."

 

Perhaps no files and documents either. For sure, no bin Laden.

 

Nonetheless, "(s)ince Sunday night, counterterrorism officials have been alert to (possible) new attacks from Al Qaeda to avenge its leader's death," especially at airports, rail facilities, and other strategic locations. "American officials and terrorism experts have warned that this is not the end of Al Qaeda," not, of course, if they're blamed for planned false flags to intensify US imperial wars. 

 

Another May 5 Bumiller Times report ran cover for  shifting official accounts about what really happened on May 1 headlined, "Raid Account, Hastily Told, Proves Fluid," saying:

 

"(I)t was a classic collision of a White House desire to promote a stunning national security triumph - and feed a ravenous media - while collecting facts from a chaotic military operation on the other side of the world. At the same time, White House officials worked hard to use the facts of the raid to diminish Bin Laden's legacy."

 

She continued, quoting an unnamed Pentagon official claiming no "intent to deceive or dramatize," adding that "Everything we put out we really believed to be true at the time." She also quoted Victoria Clarke, Bush Pentagon spokeswoman, saying, "First reports are always wrong. It's a fundamental truth in military affairs."

 

In other words, it was OK first to claim a fierce firefight in which no US forces were killed or hurt, then 24 hours later call the battle one-sided, Navy Seals quickly dispatching bin Laden's guards and "Enemy Number One," shooting him unarmed in the head.

 

Notably, however, there's no body, no photos, no video, no evidence, and no truth, just the media regurgitated big lie.

 

In fact, more lies compounded it, including about:

 

-- Pakistan's alleged knowledge of his presence; 

 

-- claimed evidence confirming it and assault specifics; and

 

-- fabricated bad theater, explained in a slapdash, keystone cops manner.

 

High Level Skepticism

 

Appearing on CNN May 5, former Pakistani intelligence chief, Hamid Gul, told "In the Arena's" host Eliot Spitzer that bin Laden died years earlier, saying:

 

"Yes, I think he died - he perished some years ago, and I think this was a story which was created (because) nobody would want to believe this version....I (don't believe) the story which was given out by the American media and by the American administration."

 

Whoever was killed May 1 "was probably somebody else....(American authorities) must have known that he died some years ago....were keeping this story on the ice and they were looking for an appropriate moment" to announce it.

 

"(P)eople simply not in Pakistan alone but around the world....don't believe the stories that have been put out."

 

In other words, the entire account was fabricated, the event staged, Western media, including The New York Times, running cover for the big lie. Gul politely called it "a huge intelligence failure."

 

Notable American and Other False Flags

 

Discussed in earlier writing, numerous ones stand out, including:

 

-- In 1898, Spain was falsely accused of blowing up the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba harbor. The Spanish-American war followed.

 

-- On May 7, 1915, a German U-boat was accused of torpedoing the RMS Lusitania, killing 128 US citizens. It helped precipitate America's April 4, 1917 WW I entry, a war Woodrow Wilson wanted and got through a propaganda campaign, turning pacifist Americans into German haters. It was later learned that on board munitions, not a torpedo, exploded, sinking the ship.

 

-- In 1933 Germany, a week before general elections, the strategically timed Reichstag fire (home of the German parliament) was blamed on communists. President Paul von Hindenburg's emergency decree followed. Civil liberties were suspended. Weimar Republic democracy ended, and Hitler assumed fascist powers after enough Nazis were elected to assure it.

 

-- On August 31, 1939, Nazis impersonating Polish terrorists attacked the Gleiwitz radio station on the border between the two countries, starting WW II.

 

-- On December 7, 1941, Roosevelt manipulated Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, giving him the war he wanted from the early 1930s, but had to convince a pacifist public of the threat. The fleet was also tracked across the Pacific, but Admiral HE Kimmel wasn't warned or given known intelligence to assure enough mass casualties for congressional and public support.

 

-- Complicit with Washington, numerous 1949/1950 South Korean incursions north precipitated Pyongyang's retaliation in June 1950, giving Truman the war he wanted.

 

-- In 1962, a US Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed false flag never happened because Kennedy rejected it. Called Operation Northwoods (a part of Operation Mongoose), it included sinking US ships, shooting down US commercial airliners, blowing up buildings in US cities, attacking America's Guantanamo base, other incidents, and blaming it on Cuba as a reason for war.

 

-- The fake August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident initiated full-scale retaliation against North Vietnam after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing war without declaring it.

 

-- In October 1983, after ousting Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, US forces invaded Grenada, allegedly to rescue American medical students threatened by nonbelligerent Cubans building infrastructure.

 

-- In December 1989, manufactured incidents precipitated America's Panama invasion, deposing Manuel Noriega, one-time ally turned enemy because he forgot who's boss.

 

-- in August 1990, Washington colluded with the al- Sabah monarchy, entrapping Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. In January 1991, it launched the Gulf War, followed by over two decades of sanctions, more war occupation, and destruction of the "cradle of civilization."

 

-- The September 11, 2001 false flag operation launched a decade of imperial wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Palestine allied with Israel, perhaps others to come, as well as proxy wars in Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain, Central Africa, Haiti, Honduras, Colombia, and at home against Muslims, Latino immigrants, and working Americas.

 

On February 16, 2010, a Washington's blog web site (georgewashington2.blogspot.com) article titled, "Governments ADMIT That They Carry Out False Flag Terror" listed examples, including:

 

-- The CIA admitted its 1950s role in toppling Iran's democratically government in 1953.

 

-- Israel acknowledged a 1954 attack in Egypt, including planting bombs in US diplomatic facilities, leaving "evidence" of Arab involvement.

 

-- Indonesia's former president, Abdurrahman Wahid, said the nation's police or military most likely were involved in the 2002 Bali bombing, killing over 200 people.

 

-- A former Italian prime minister, judge, and military counterintelligence head, General Gianadelio Maletti, said America's CIA instigated and abetted right wing terrorist groups in the 1970s and earlier, including bombing a Milan bank in 1969 to rally popular anti-communist support in Italy and other European countries. 

 

-- Many others, including former Carter administration National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, telling a Senate committee that a false flag terror attack on US soil might occur to blame Iran and justify war.

 

In his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives," he said:

 

"Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat," the kind 9/11 created - predicted, planned, orchestrated, and carried out to further new world order global dominance.

 

Other False Flag Examples

 

-- The March 2004 Madrid train bombings occurred three days before Spain's general elections. With no supportive evidence, they were blamed on Al Qaeda, yet they stoked public fear of threats against other Western cities, including American ones. 

 

-- The July 7, 2005 London underground bombings (called 7/7) were a series of attacks on the city's public transport system during the morning rush hour for maximum disruption and casualties. At precisely the same time, an anti-terror drill occurred, simulating real attacks. It was no coincidence, others in America and Britain came on the same day.

 

-- On 9/11 morning, the CIA ran a "pre-planned simulation to explore the emergency response issues that would be created if a plane were to strike a building." Held at the Agency's Chantilly, Virginia Reconnaissance Office, AP reported (on August 22, 2002) that it simulated "a small corporate jet (hitting) one of the four towers....after experiencing a mechanical failure."

 

Unmentioned at the time was a later revealed (but unreported) Homeland Security conference announcement a year later to commemorate the 9/11 event. Held under the auspices of the National Law Enforcement and Security Institute, one of its speakers was John Fulton, CIA Chief of the Strategic War Gaming Division of the National Reconnaissance office in charge of the operation. Another coincidence, or was something more sinister afoot? 

 

In October 2000, the Pentagon simulated a commercial plane striking the Pentagon, coordinated by its Command Emergency Response Team and the Defense Protective Services Police. This and the 9/11 exercises are more than coincidental, given what's now known and the fallout.

 

-- On June 30, 2007, a Jeep Cherokee with propane canisters crashed into Glasgow International Airport's glass doors, the BBC reporting that it "was in the middle of the doorway burning....The car didn't actually explode. There were a few pops and bangs which presumably was the petrol."

 

The usual suspects were falsely blamed, Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorists.

 

In Miami, on January 11, 2010 (one day before Haiti's earthquake), the Pentagon's US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) simulated a hurricane striking the island in preparation for subsequent measures to be implemented. A carefully prepared military operation, they included occupying, controlling, and plundering the island.

 

Also, Deputy SOUTHCOM head, General PK Keen, was in Haiti when the quake struck, ready to assume command when it did and use a communication tool called the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC), linking other nations and NGOs with the Pentagon and US government to facilitate measures to be implemented. None were to help Haitians.

 

A Final Comment

 

Exposed as bad theater, New York Times writer Elizabeth Harris further discredited the broadsheet, headlining: 

 

"Al Qaeda Confirms Bin Laden's Death," citing an unconfirmed statement, warning of new attacks to come. It also said an audio recording days before his death will soon be released. In fact, past video and audio ones were exposed as fakes.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Staged Bin Laden Killing Hokum

 Staged Bin Laden Killing Hokum - by Stephen Lendman

 

As reported, it sounded more like bad fiction than  eliminating "Enemy Number One," especially with no visuals, corpse, independent proof, and shifting official accounts. 

 

In Hollywood, it's called rewrite. In politics, it's lying, a Washington bipartisan specialty, notably on issues mattering most.

 

Also at issue is conducting lawless operations for any purpose. More on that below.

 

Two previous articles discussed the staged May Day hokum, accessed through the following links:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death.html

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/media-lies-and-misinformation-on-bin.html

 

They addressed the alleged killing of a dead man, an administration and media spread lie. David Ray Griffin's important book titled, "Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?" provided convincing objective and testimonial evidence of his mid-December 2001 death, of natural causes, not a commando hit squad getting their man.

 

Issues and Answers

 

After years of using bin Laden simultaneously as a CIA asset and "Enemy Number One," why the shift now? Aside from eliminating the alleged top terror threat, major events like this are always strategically timed for political reasons.

 

At least several stand out now, including: 

 

(1) Boosting Obama's sagging image. It worked according to a New York Times poll showing an approval bump from 46% in April to an early May 57%, even though the euphoria will soon fade in hard times. 

 

(2) Diverting attention from eroding domestic needs, notably growing angst over a deepening Main Street depression. 

 

(3) Hyping fear for intensified, not less, imperial war, and perhaps preparing the ground for a major false flag attack to advance America's grand scheme for unchallengeable global dominance.

 

On May 4, Webster Tarpley told Press TV that balkanizing Pakistan is planned to use it "as an energy corridor between Iran and China or between India and Europe." Afghanistan is insufficient, he said. 

 

"The Pakistan corridor could be created and the goal of US policy (is) to take the Afghan war and export it to Pakistan and to promote the division along the well-known lines of Punjabis, Baluchestan, (Abdolmalek) Rigi supported by NATO and so forth, and then, of course, Pashtunistan, which is the epicenter of all this."

 

He also suspects something greater, using bin Laden's alleged killing as "the equivalent of the Sarajevo assassination of June 22, 1914." Weeks later, WW I began. Tarpley wonders if general war is coming, involving regional and major powers. 

 

"I think the world situation is much more dangerous (now) than most people" imagine, he said.

 

Ahead, he also sees a new manufactured top enemy, perhaps named after staged revenge attacks in America and/or Europe. Not from Al Queda, he believes, but from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), whether or not it will work. 

 

Perhaps a dirty bomb will be used as pretext to seize  Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. If so, he sees a good chance of events "leading towards a general war between the two countries, and in the middle of that we have to remember that the supply line for the invaders in Afghanistan goes from Karachi across Pakistani territory for (nearly) 1,000 miles." 

 

Imagine the consequences of disrupting it, besides drawing in other nations, possibly including China and Russia. No one knows for sure what's coming, but reckless plans produce unpredictable consequences.

 

Shifting Official Stories

 

On May 2, after Sunday's staged event, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said Navy Seals killed bin Laden in a firefight. "Whether or not he got off any rounds, I frankly don't know," he said. 

 

On May 1, New York Times writers Peter Baker, Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti headlined, "Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says," saying:

 

"When American operatives converged on (his compound, he) 'resisted the assault force' and was killed in the middle of an intense bun battle, a senior administration official said, but details were still sketchy early Monday morning."

 

In 24 hours, things changed, White House press secretary Jay Carney saying bin Laden was shot in the head unarmed. Other first reported details also changed, putting a lie to the entire account, including Brennan explaining that commandos had orders to capture him alive if he didn't resist, saying:

 

"If we had the opportunity to take bin Laden alive, if he didn't present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that."

 

On May 4, Times writers Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti headlined, "Account Tells of One-Sided Battle in Bin Laden Raid," saying:

 

The revised account "suggested that the raid, though chaotic and bloody, was extremely one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy Seal members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting bin Laden."

 

In fact, US commandos took no fire. Initially saying otherwise compounded the big lie about what really happened and why extrajudicially. 

 

On May 3, CIA director Leon Panetta repeated the deception, telling Public Broadcasting:

 

"There were some firefights that were going on as these guys were making their way up the staircase of that compound."

 

On May 4, Washington Post writers Anne Kornblut and Felicia Sonmez headlined, "White House goes silent on bin Laden raid," saying:

 

Obama "ruled out publicly releasing (bin Laden) photographs....(giving) no new details about the raid (after earlier) fitful attempts to craft a riveting narrative," now completely discredited. 

 

He also "contradict(ed Panetta's) assertion Tuesday that the photos would eventually be made public...." Moreover, "the White House found itself struggling to (explain what happened,) and having to justify the legal basis for it."

 

Gerald Celente's Assessment

 

In a May 4 commentary, Trends Research Institute founder Gerald Celente quoted Obama, saying "justice has been done....The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden." At time same time, Hillary Clinton warned about terror not "stop(ping) with the death of bin Laden, (so) we must redouble our efforts."

 

If it's safer, asked Celente, why double down? "These were but two of the contradictions coming out of the White House" after the raid with "many (other) discrepancies (to) follow."

 

Moreover, "absent from America's non-stop exultation and self-congratulation," as well as cheerleading media coverage, "was any discussion of the practical consequences" going forward. With or without bin Laden or others targeted, it:

 

-- won't win the losing Iraq and Afghan wars;

 

-- lower unemployment;

 

-- stop Western nations from economic decline;

 

-- revive housing or other real estate;

 

-- "solve the debt and deficit crises;

 

-- lower oil and food prices; (or)

 

-- reverse" devastating radiation spreading from Fukushima.

 

It also won't end America's permanent war agenda or curb a domestic one on working households, unionism, public education, human and civil rights, and vital benefits, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on the chopping block for elimination.

 

According to Celente, "the restored, rebuilt, new and improved terror bandwagon rolls again....and it will keep rolling until Election Day 2012." Moreover, they'll keep fear alive and they'll blame everyone but themselves.

 

Legal Implications

 

Commenting on German television, former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt said:

 

The May 1 assault "was quite clearly a violation of international law. The operation could also have incalculable consequences in the Arab world in light of all the unrest."

 

He's right, of course, despite Attorney General Eric Holder saying:

 

The action was "lawful, legitimate and appropriate in every way....I'm proud of what they did. And I really want to emphasize that what they did was entirely lawful and consistent with our values."

 

In other words, according to him, Obama, other administration officials, Washington groupthink, and editorial writers and pundits, acting lawlessly is lawful.

 

On June 27, 2010, in their Harvard National Security Journal article headlined, "Law and Policy of Targeted Killing," Harvard Law Professors Gabriella Blum and Philip Heymann said:

 

"The right of a government to use deadly force against (anyone) is constrained by both domestic criminal law and international human rights norms that seek to protect the individual's right to life and liberty....Guilt must be proved in a court of law, with (charged) individuals (given) the protections of due process guarantees."

 

"Killing an individual without trial is allowed only" in self-defense or need to save other lives. "In almost any other case, it would be clearly unlawful, tantamount to extrajudicial execution or murder."

 

In other words, sending US commandos against anyone, especially in another country's sovereign territory, violates US and international law. Guilt or innocence of any crime deprives no one of due process and judicial fairness, afforded Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. 

 

Targets otherwise are judged guilty by accusation, not arrested, tried, Mirandized, or afforded justice. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat, America's "rules of engagement" morality.

 

On May 3, Der Spiegel writer Thomas Darnstadt headlined, "Was Bin Laden's Killing Legal?" quoting University of Cologne Law Professor Claus Kress saying:

 

Achieving justice for any crime isn't "achieved through summary executions, but through a punishment that is meted out at the end of a trial." Doing it commando style guns blazing can also cause tragic and inevitable escalations of injustice, he added.

 

On May 28, 2010, Philip Alston published his UN Human Rights Council "Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions," expressing great concern that Washington "seems oblivious" to the implications of using drone attacks against people "labeled as terrorists, (and for) assert(ing) an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe," adding:

 

"But this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions."

 

"The most prolific user of targeted killing today is the United States" in gross violation of international law. (This) expansive and open-ended interpretation of the right to self-defense goes a long way towards destroying the prohibition on the use of armed force contained in the UN Charter. If invoked by other states, in pursuit of those they deem to be terrorists and to have attacked them, it would cause chaos."

 

It would also render international law null and void. No nation for any reason can be judge, jury and executioner, with no allowed exceptions.

 

Consider also that in 1996, Obama opposed the death penalty, and in his book titled, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," he said it "does little to deter crime." 

 

As a Senate and presidential candidate, however, he changed to accommodate public opinion, simultaneously calling death penalty justice so flawed that a national moratorium should be declared. In February 2008, he also said "no one in this country is above the law."

 

As president, however, he authorized torture, illegal wars, mass killings and targeted assassinations. As a result, he violates it daily abroad and at home, unaccountable to the law he once taught at the University of Chicago Law School. Perhaps a refresher course or two might help.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly?

 Palestinian Unity: Done Deal or Wobbly? - by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article explained the announced deal, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/04/palestinian-unity-deal-announced.html

 

In late April, Fatah and Hamas announced a reconciliation draft agreement, including a transitional government and planned presidential and legislative elections within a year. 

 

It signaled hope for rapprochement between the two sides, as well as better prospects for Palestinian independence within 1967 borders, UN membership, achieving peace, and ending Israel's 44 year occupation. However, fulfillment faces long odds without strong Western backing, unlikely to surface given determined Israeli and Washington pressure to subvert it.

 

Despite unresolved issues between the two sides, AFP writer Nasser Abu Bakr headlined on May 3, "Palestinian factions sign unity deal in Cairo," saying:

 

"Representatives of 13 factions (including Fatah and Hamas), as well as independent political (groups), inked the deal following talks with Egyptian officials."

 

According to PLO member Bilal Qassem, "All the Palestinian factions signed the document at a meeting with Egyptian intelligence officials."

 

Palestine People's Party member Walid al-Awad said:

 

"We signed the deal despite several reservations. But we insisted on working for the higher national interest. We have discussed all the reservations. Everyone has agreed to take these points into consideration."

 

At the same time, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced it, calling it "a hard blow to the peace process" he fundamentally rejects as a waste of time based on earlier comments.

 

Of course, signing ceremonies are one thing, commitment and follow through another, as well as fine print deal details. More on them below.

 

On May 4, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Avi Issacharoff headlined, "Report: Fatah-Hamas unity deal delayed over Palestinian Authority foreign policy," saying:

 

At issue is "Abbas' insistence that he be the sole speaker at the (formal ceremony). This move allegedly implies his expect(ation) to be the" the interim government's head of state, letting him control Palestinian foreign policy and other key issues.

 

Fatah supports negotiating Israel's version of peace, what Hamas opposes knowing what's agreed won't be equitable. Nonetheless, its leaders, including Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyah, are willing to recognize Israel in return for a viable Palestinian state within 1967 borders, just 22% of their original homeland, a deal Israel rejects.

 

Updating their article, Khoury and Issacharoff said Abbas and Mashaal both spoke at the ceremony, Mashaal saying:

 

"Hamas was ready to pay any price for internal Palestinian reconciliation. The only battle of the Palestinians is against Israel. Our aim is to establish a free and completely sovereign Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza strip, whose capital is Jerusalem, without any settlers and without giving up a single inch of land and without giving up on the right of return."

 

Abbas signaled turning a page, saying:

 

"Four black years have affected the interests of Palestinians. Now we meet to assert a unified will. Israel is using the Palestinian reconciliation as an excuse to evade (peace. It) must choose between peace and settlement."

 

Based on his long history as a collaborationist Israeli ally, it remains to be seen how serious Abbas is about a new page, one never previously turned, especially given what he'll lose by trying. 

 

Netanyahu's response to the Cairo ceremony highlights what's at stake, saying:

 

"What happened today in Cairo is a tremendous blow to peace and a great victory for terrorism," signaling his intent to subvert unity and independence aspirations by any means perhaps including deeper repression and conflict.

 

However, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid's May 4 article headlined, "Israel Foreign Ministry views Hamas-Fatah deal differently than Netanyahu," saying:

 

A confidential ministry report says "a Fatah-Hamas unity government in the Palestinian Authority would offer Israel a strategic opportunity" for genuine change to serve Israel's long-term interests.

 

Prepared by career policy planning diplomats, it's at odds with hardline Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's opposition. Earlier he said Israel won't negotiate with an interim government because the "agreement crosses a red line," bogusly calling Hamas "a terrorist organization (committed to) Israel's destruction."

 

By now, it should be a totally discredited accusation. Yet it's repeated by Israeli and US officials, supporting isolation, occupation, land theft, mass arrests, targeted assassinations, torture, settlement construction, and conflict, not viable reconciliation and peace. Hoping they'll now turn a page is very much betting against long odds.

 

Nonetheless, the ministry report says:

 

"Israel must be a team player and coordinate its response to a Palestinian unity government with the administration. This will empower the United States and serve Israeli interests....We must avoid expressions or moves that will weaken Israel against the Palestinians in the international arena, especially in view of the strategic challenges that are expected during the year."

 

Major Hurdles to Overcome

 

Besides longstanding Israeli and Washington obstructionism, as well as reconciling divergent Fatah - Hamas positions, the deal's fine print raises questions. On April 3, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah discussed them, including:

 

(1) Elections

 

At issue is holding them "within the framework of the (discredited) Oslo Accords," restricting them to the West Bank and Gaza as now constituted. It also recognizes Abbas as president even though his term expired over two years ago, giving him no legitimacy.

 

Moreover, it leaves unexplained how free elections are possible as long as Israel and Washington designate Hamas (Palestine's 2006 democratically elected government) a terrorist organization. Nothing is mentioned to change this or end both sides political repression of the other.

 

In addition, letting all Palestinians, not just those in Gaza and the West Bank, participate in future elections remains a key unmet demand.

 

(2) PLO Status

 

Agreement language appears to "give authority to the Abbas-controlled PLO to continue recognizing Israel and engag(e) in the peace process charade which Hamas formally rejects." Reform or democratization issues aren't mentioned. 

 

(3) Security

 

Vague language "seems to restore (Abbas' legitimacy) as 'president' in the eyes of Hamas." Moreover, ending Fatah-Israeli collaborationist "security coordination" was unaddressed. It suggests less than "true integration of Palestinian armed groups," leaving each side in charge of its respective areas, an arrangement no different than now except in name.

 

(4) Formation of the Government

 

Reports suggesting replacing Fatah's appointed prime minister Salam Fayyad with billionaire Munib al-Masri would assure continuation of destructive neoliberal policies without democratic or popular accountability. If so, Palestine will stay colonized like today.

 

(5) Legislative Council

 

At issue is whether Hamas officials can govern under threat of Israeli arrest, imprisonment or assassination. As a result, both sides may leave current arrangements in place, while rhetorically claiming unity. If so, it amounts to solidarity in name only. 

 

As of April 15, "Israel still held 13 (elected Hamas) members of the legislative council" illegally in prison, and continues harassing and detaining other Palestinian officials. Specific guarantees must assure this ends.

 

Moreover, unity problem resolution commitments lack specifics. Apparently, Hamas and Fatah are reconciled to governing under Oslo Authority that ignores key Palestinian rights and demands, including refugees, the occupation, and Jerusalem as a future capital, among others. 

 

In other words, unity is meaningless if everything changes but stays the same. Israel and Washington intend to keep it that way. 

 

As a result, exclusive of political divisions (among Fatah, Hamas and other groups), Palestinian solidarity must struggle independently for liberation and peace under democratic governance freed from occupation. Rest assured, growing millions worldwide support it.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Media Lies and Misinformation on Bin Laden

 Media Lies and Misinformation on Bin Laden - by Stephen Lendman

 

Corporate media manipulators love a big story they can hype, distort and falsify to attract large audiences, unaware they're getting managed news, not truth. 

 

Moreover, the bigger the event, the worse the reporting, and no matter how often they're fooled, madding crowds rely on proved unreliable sources like US cable and broadcast TV, as well as corporate broadsheets and popular magazines publishing rubbish not fit to print.

 

After Obama's May day announcement, round-the-clock coverage now features "story one" ad nauseam, cheerleading the death of a dead man with no one allowed on to refute it. 

 

A previous article did, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/05/lies-damn-lies-and-bin-ladens-death.html

 

Separating fact from fiction, it explained:

 

(1) Significant facts from David Ray Griffin's important book titled, "Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?" In it, he provided objective and testimonial evidence of his December 2001 death, likely from kidney failure, not a special forces hit squad getting their man then or now.

 

(2) Forensic evidence that post-9/11 videos and audios were fake.

 

(3) Bin Laden's role as a CIA asset, as well as called "Enemy Number One," using him advantageously both ways.

 

(4) Also, reports of his 2001 hospitalizations in Pakistan and Dubai where (in July) the emirate's CIA station chief visited him in his hospital room. Why not if he was a valued asset, his likely status until his natural, not violent, death.

 

Nonetheless, Western politicians and media, notably America's, never miss a chance to report fiction, not fact, especially on headline news like bin Laden's death, a decade after it happened.

 

Examples of Media Misreporting

 

Several May 2 New York Times articles provide painful reading, including Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Peter Baker's headlined, "Behind the Hunt for Bin Laden," saying:

 

"For years, the agonizing search for (him) kept coming up empty. Then last July, Pakistanis working for the (CIA) drove up behind a white Suzuki navigating the bustling streets near Peshawar, Pakistan," and discovered, after checking its license, that it belonged to his "most trusted courier...."

 

Claiming he lead them to bin Laden's location, it said:

 

"79 American commandos in four helicopters descended on (it). Shots rang out....Of the five dead, one was a tall, bearded man with a bloodied face and a bullet in his head."

 

Bin Laden's manhunt ended, said the writers, when he was identified, then quickly buried at sea to hide the evidence, though under English common law most often, no body means no killing or crime. In other words, without proof, prosecutorial allegations are baseless.

 

Nonetheless, Mazzetti, Cooper and Baker recounted a decade-long fantasy, including detainee interrogations in secret Eastern Europe prisons, widespread surveillance, wiretaps, satellite images and more before tracking bin Laden to a Abbottabad, Pakistan compound and killing him.

 

No matter that none of it was true and much more. International and constitutional law prohibit sending uninvited military forces to another country for any reason. 

 

Moreover, no one suspected of any crime may be summarily executed with no arrest, no due process, no no judicial fairness, and no trial. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat, Washington's version of summary judgment besides torture and imperial wars as official policies. 

 

These topics were ignored in major media reports, focused solely on killing a decade earlier dead man.

 

On May 2, Times writers Scott Shane and Robert Worth headlined, "Even Before Al Qaeda Lost Its Founder, It May Have Lost Some of Its Allure," saying:

 

Bin Laden had "long been removed from managing terrorist operations and whose popularity with Muslims worldwide has plummeted in recent years," calling him a "violent extremis(t) without saying he was replaced after his 2001 death so, of course, his influenced waned. Out of sight, out of mind, especially when dead.

 

A May 2 Times editorial headlined, "The Long-Awaited News," saying:

 

"The news that (he'd) been tracked and killed by American forces filled us, and all Americans, with a great sense of relief....(but we must) remember that the fight against extremists is far from over."

 

Noting years of painstaking "vigilance and persistence," it praised Obama for "show(ing) that he is a strong and measured leader. His declaration on Sunday night that 'justice has been done' was devoid of triumphalism."

 

In fact, he affirmed continuity of America's war on terror - state terror, including four imperial wars and numerous proxy ones, expending enormous sums while popular needs go begging. 

 

Ignoring truth, he repeated lies endorsed shamelessly by America's media, notably by Times correspondents, op-ed contributors, and editorial writers with comments like:

 

"Bin Laden's death is an extraordinary moment for Americans and all who have lost loved ones in horrifying, pointless acts of terrorism." 

 

Unmentioned was decades of US and Israeli-sponsored state terrorism responsible for millions of deaths, destruction and human suffering. Earlier, noted scholar/activist Eqbal Ahmad (1934 - 1999) called it:

 

"illegal violence, (including) torture, (attacking and bombing) villages, destruction of entire peoples, (and) genocide," adding, "Who will define the parameters of terrorism, or decide where terrorists lurk? Why, none other than the United States, (its leading practitioner) which can from the rooftops of the world set out its claim to be the sheriff, judge and hangman, all at one and the same time."

 

So while rhetorically supporting equal justice and democratic values, Washington spurns international and constitutional law, using brute force to assert might over right, all the while proclaiming just cause reasons for its actions.

 

No wonder Ahmad called America "a troubled country," sowing "poisonous seeds" globally, saying "(s)ome have ripened and others are ripening (with no) examination of (what they've) sown," adding that "(m)issiles won't solve the problem." In other words, violence assures more of it, but don't expect America's media to explain.

 

On May 2, Washington Post writers Greg Miller and Joby Warrick headlined, "Bin Laden discovered 'hiding in plain sight,' " recounting the same fantasy as Times writers, saying:

 

"The commandos swept methodically through (his) compound's main building, clearing one room and then another" until they got their man. Sounding more like bad fiction, they said the operation was secretly planned for months, culminating with Sunday's assault, adding bin Laden wasn't hiding in a cave after all.

 

A WP editorial headlined, "Possible consequences of the bin Laden coup," saying:

 

"There are multiple reasons to celebrate" his death, including loss of Al Qaeda's leader, the prowess of US intelligence and military, and that the "prime (9/11) author (finally was) brought to justice."

 

It brought "a rare moment of common celebration and relief in a divided America. But (it's) not clear to what degree al-Qaeda's operations will be affected by the loss of its leader." It may, in fact, strengthen its resolve. History shows dead militants often inspire followers.

 

Ignoring illegal operations on foreign soil, it worried most about ending or curtailing them prematurely, no matter the toll in human life and neglect for popular domestic needs. For now, celebratory joy takes precedence, even for false reasons.

 

A Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "Victory in Abbottabad," saying:

 

Killing bin Laden "doesn't end the war against Islamic terror (note the racism), but it is a crucial and just victory that is rightfully cause for celebration."

 

Ignoring daily US war crimes, including killer drones murdering civilians, it railed against "combatants who hide in the world's dark corners, who rarely fight in the open and who attack innocents far from any conventional battlefield."

 

Praising Obama, it called it "a moment to salute George W. Bush....a vindication of (his war on terror, intelligence, and) interrogation policies," torturing innocent victims to extract false confessions and information about things they know nothing about, including bin Laden's alleged whereabouts.

 

His death, said the writer, "is a measure of justice for the thousands he killed (and) a warning to others who would kill Americans that they will meet the same fate, no matter how long it takes or where they try to hide."

 

This and other accounts like it, sadly, is what passes for corporate opinion in America, endorsing state terror and vilifying those against it.

 

Huffington Post contributor Michael Calderone headlined "Network Anchors Head to Ground Zero for Bin Laden Coverage," saying:

 

They never miss a chance to misreport major news, including the three broadcast anchors: NBC's Brian Williams, ABC's Diane Sawyer, and CBS' Katie Couric (an entertainer impersonating a newsperson) "host(ing) an expanded, one-hour May 2 edition of their nightly broadcasts from" Ground Zero.

 

Several cable channels joined them, including CNN and Fox, reporting fiction about a decade earlier dead man.

 

Time magazine's cover story featured bin Laden's full-page image with a pronounced red X crossing him out, highlighting what didn't happen to the detriment of readers believing inaccurate reporting.

 

Al Jazeera was just as bad with stories like one headlined, "Obama says world safer without Bin Laden," saying:

 

He "claimed responsibility for planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington," providing no corroborating evidence. In fact, in David Ray Griffin's  writings, he said:

 

"(T)here is no good evidence that bin Laden had planned or even specifically authorized the 9/11 attacks." Those believing it cite his misinterpreted September 2001 Al Jazeera interview, rejoicing in the attacks but denying knowledge or responsibility.

 

Griffin said one of his aides confirmed that he had "no information or knowledge about the attack(s)" but he "thanked Almighty Allah and bowed before him when he heard this news." Days later he told Al Jazeera:

 

"I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation." 

 

During two subsequent October 2001 interviews, he praised the "vanguards of Islam (who) destroyed America," but again admitted no knowledge or responsibility. 

 

Al Jazeera now claiming it is a lie.

 

BBC aired the same misinformation as did America's National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting (PBS), calling his death a blow to Al Qaeda. So did Democracy Now, ignoring bin Laden's decade earlier natural, not violent, death.

 

Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel also swallowed the big lie, headlining her article, "With Osama bin Laden Dead, It's Time to End the 'War on Terror,' " that was entirely bogus from inception, saying:

 

"Today, President Obama and his team have a chance to reset our fight against terrorism," vanden Heuvel not condemning its lawlessness, America's imperial wars, a president with no credibility, a falsely reported 9/11 event, and that the only relevant terror is what Washington unleashes globally against nonbelligerent nations.

 

Instead, she praised Obama's "humane and sober" position, calling it "a relief to hear in his words reminders of" a brief post-9/11 period before America went to war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, undertakings Nation magazine supported at the time and still stops short of rejecting.

 

A Final Comment

 

On May 2, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting's Peter Hart headlined, "Bush's Palpable Persistence in Pursuit of bin Laden," suggesting he stopped looking, knowing he died, quoting him saying in March 2002:

 

"Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not. We haven't heard from him in a long time....I don't know where he is. I really just don't spend that much time on him, to be honest with you."

 

Washington Monthly's Steve Benen offered more evidence of no interest in pursuing him, saying:

 

"In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden," reported also by New York Times writer Mark Mazzetti on July 4, saying the CIA ceased all efforts last year pursuing him.

 

Along with David Ray Griffin's important work, it's more proof of bin Laden's 2001 death, putting a lie to Obama's announcement and shameless journalists repeating it.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

New Israeli Discriminatory Laws

 New Israeli Discriminatory Laws - by Stephen Lendman

 

In April, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel discussed six new laws passed during the Knesset's 2011 winter term "that directly or indirectly target the rights of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel." 

 

Overall, they're treated like a fifth column, denied equal rights as Jews in a country just as much theirs. More so, in fact, as their forebears lived there for centuries or longer. 

 

Each new law is discussed briefly below.

 

(1) "Duty of disclosure for recipients of support from a foreign political entity - 2011"

 

Imposing restrictions on foreign funding of human rights organizations, it established two parliamentary committees of inquiry to investigate them, "a tactic commonly used by authoritarian regimes to control the activities of" groups they target.

 

In fact, attacking human rights organizations that represent or defend the rights of vulnerable groups shows "the mask of democratic norms in Israel today is off."

 

(2) The "Nakba Law"

 

When first proposed, it banned and criminalized commemorating it as a way to "erase a seminal event in Palestinian history from Israeli consciousness." 

 

Enacted as the Budget Foundations Law, it lets the finance minister reduce or eliminate funding for any institution or entity engaging in any activity at variance with Israel's definition as a "Jewish and democratic" state, or commemorates Israel's Independence Day as one of mourning.

 

In other words, it violates Arab history, culture, and right to express, teach, or disseminate it freely. Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) will petition Israel's Supreme Court to annul the law, despite rarely ever getting favorable rulings, and when issued sitting governments have violated them with impunity.

 

(3) "Law to Amend the Cooperative Societies Ordinance"

 

Known also as the Admissions Committees Law, it permits committees in hundreds of communities and towns on state-controlled land to exclude "socially unsuitable" applicants. This "arbitrary criterion" is thus used to exclude Arabs and others for reasons real democracies call abhorrent and prohibit.

 

Since 2007, Adalah has challenged this policy before Israel's High Court. In March 2011, it filed a new petition to annul it.

 

(4) "Israeli Lands Law" (Amendment No. 3)

 

It prevents anyone from selling or renting property for over five years or bequeathing it to "foreigners." They're defined as non-residents or non-citizens of Israel, as well as Jews who automatically may immigrate under Israel's 1950 Law of Return. "This law amounts to illegal, direct interference in the private property of Palestinians, whose refugee relatives may never regain" land rightfully theirs.

 

(5) "Citizenship Law (Amendment No. 10)

 

It permits revoking citizenship rights of anyone convicted of espionage (as Israel defines it), assisting enemies in times of war (again loosely defined to fit state policy), and other acts defined under the 2005 Prohibition on Terrorist Financing Law. 

 

While suspects of the above offenses fall under Israel's criminal law, new Knesset legislation "renders citizenship conditional" as a way to target Israeli Arabs. In addition, a new amendment to the Criminal Procedures Law targets non-Jews suspected of security offenses. Overwhelmingly this affects Israeli Arabs and Gazans, facing "harsh restrictions (of) their due process rights."

 

The law specifically overturns a High Court 2010 decision - "Anonymous v. The State of Israel."

 

(6) Another new law strips salary and pension benefits from Knesset members, designated by the Attorney General to be suspected of crimes punishable by 10 or more years in prison, and/or who don't appear at criminal proceedings or investigations to answer for them.

 

This "arbitrary law" targeted former Arab MK Dr. Azmi Bishara. In March 2007, he left Israel because of unjust allegations against him, about which indictments never followed showing they were spurious.

 

Anyone in Israel not Jewish faces extreme racist discrimination, especially Arabs for their faith, ethnicity, and cultural differences.

 

Adalah is challenging some of these laws. For others it will only do so if someone is unjustly harmed by their provisions. In fact, everyone for equitable justice should denounce all discriminatory laws. Nothing whatever justifies them

 

A Final Comment

 

On April 28, Israel's Supreme Court dismissed a Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) petition filed on behalf of over 1,000 Cast Lead victims. It asked the High Court to order Israel's State Attorney "to refrain from raising a claim under the (two-year) statute of limitations in future civil suits" for just compensation.

 

PCHR agued that statutory limitations should only apply to when Israel's illegal siege ends. The combination of time limitations, blockade, and monetary barriers deny victims judicial redress. In effect, they establish a Gazan "accountability free-zone," letting Israel violate international law with impunity.

 

At issue, is the universally recognized right to compensation for violations of international law, what neither Israeli governments nor its High Court respect. Its April 28 dismissal of legitimate redress is a blight on its reputation as an equitable tribunal. It's also a serious setback for Israel's victims.

 

"Significantly, the Court's decision to dismiss the petition was procedurally flawed." It denied PCHR its lawful right to reply by May 3. It shows Court complicity with rogue officials and soldiers, shielding them from justice, as well as denying legitimate compensation to their victims.

 

Moreover, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Cast Lead concluded that such actions amounts to "persecution, a crime against humanity."

 

International law, in fact, recognizes the right of all victims to redress, including compensation, when violations have been committed against them. Yet Gazans are now prevented from "accessing justice, in violation of their fundamental rights." They now face three major obstacles:

 

(1) Statute of limitations: Under Israeli law, civil damage claimants have two years to act from the date of the incident, or lose out entirely. However, Gaza's closure and other restrictions prevented them from submitting filings within the required time. In fact, before August 2002, the period allowed was seven years.

 

(2) Monetary barrier: Israeli courts require claimants to pay court insurance fees before filing. While courts may, in fact, wave them, they're always applied to Palestinians, putting them under an unfair burden. Moreover, exact amounts aren't fixed. They're determined on a case-by-case basis. For lost or damaged property, they're usually a percent of its value. In cases of injury or death, no formal guideline exists.

 

PCHR said that in recent wrongful death cases it filed, claimants had to pay insurance costs of $5,600, an insurmountable amount for most Palestinians. "Simply put," said PCHR, "claimants from Gaza - crippled by the economic devastation wrought by the occupation and the illegal closure - cannot afford this fee and their cases are being dismissed and closed," denying them justice.

 

(3) Physical barriers: Under Israeli law, valid testimonies require victims or witnesses be in court to undergo cross-examination. Under siege, however, since June 2007, Gazans were denied permission to appear in court. As a result, their claims were dismissed.

 

Moreover, PCHR lawyers are prohibited from entering Israel to represent clients and must hire Israeli ones at extra cost. However, plaintiffs also are denied entry to meet with attorneys, and they, in turn, get no permission to enter Gaza. In fact, the entire process is rigged to insure injustice, another indictment of cruel and discriminatory intolerance.

 

PCHR said the policies and practices it challenged "perpetuate a climate of pervasive impunity." As a result, they effectively made Gaza an "accountability free zone," what, in fact, applies throughout Occupied Palestine, reinforced by rogue justices misinterpreting international law by violating it.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]bcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Bin Laden's death

 Lies, Damn Lies, and Bin Laden's Death - by Stephen Lendman

 

Winston Churchill rightly explained that "(a) lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." He said it perhaps before television. For sure before 24-hour cable TV and modern technology instantly communicating globally.

 

It applies to Obama's latest lie, announced at 11:35PM EDT on bin Laden, saying:

 

"Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children."

 

Highlighting 9/11, he painstakingly discussed everything but the truth. America's media repeated it. Celebratory crowds in front of the White House, in Times Square, and at "ground zero" cheered it past midnight, mindlessly believing a lie. More on that below.

 

On May 1, New York Times writers Peter Baker, Helene Cooper and Mark Mazzetti headlined, "Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama says: continuing:

 

Calling him "the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world," Obama announced his death Sunday night, declaring "justice has been done."

 

Cheerleading, not reporting, Baker, Cooper and Mazzetti called his "demise....a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001."

 

New Year's eve arrived early in America, celebrating a lie, the "bewildered herd" again seduced by presidential deception.

 

A USA Today editorial headlined, "At last, bin Laden is dead," saying:

 

"Could there be any more satisfying words to hear?"

 

The Boston Globe highlighted "a moment of unity" after nearly a decade of war, calling Obama's announcement a "vindication of a manhunt spanning presidential administrations, and involving numerous agencies and countless intelligence officers."

 

AP quoted Bill Clinton saying:

 

"I congratulate the president, the national security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al Qaeda attacks."

 

House speaker John Boehner (R. OH) said it was "great news..."

 

House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi called it "historic."

 

Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid "reaffirm(ed) our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed (9/11 victims) and thousands of others across the globe."

 

Expect lots more cheerleading ahead, led by major media reports doing what they do best, providing sanitized, managed news, not truth.

 

Separating Fact from Fiction

 

Post-9/11, bin Laden became "Enemy Number One," the nation's top "security threat." In fact, if he hadn't existed, he'd have been invented for political advantage.

 

In March 1985, after Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 166 to arm Afghan Mujahideen fighters, Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) recruited bin Laden to fight Soviet Afghan forces as a CIA asset. He likely remained one until his death, while simultaneously called "Enemy Number One," using him advantageously both ways.

 

David Ray Griffin wrote seminal books on 9/11, including "The New Pearl Harbor," "The 9/11 Commission Report," "9/11 and American Empire," "9/11 Contradictions," "Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7," and "Osama Bin Laden: Dead of Alive?" 

 

It was also the title of his October 9, 2009 Global Research article, covering two types of evidence:

 

(1) Objective evidence that he's dead:

 

After December 13, 2001, his regularly intercepted messages stopped.

 

On December 26, 2001, according to "a leading Pakistani newspaper" story, a prominent Taliban official said he attended his funeral.

 

Bin Laden, in fact, was very ill with kidney disease. In September 2001, CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that he was admitted to a Rawalpindi, Pakistan hospital on September 10, 2001, and France's Le Figaro said:

 

"Dubai....was the backdrop of a secret meeting between Osama bin Laden and the local CIA agent in July (2001). A partner of the administration of the American Hospital....claims that (bin Laden) stayed (there) between the 4th and 14th of July (and) received visits from many members of his family as well as prominent Saudis and Emiratis. (During the same period), the local CIA agent, known to many in Dubai, was seen taking (the hospital's) main elevator (to) bin Laden's room." 

 

Why not if he was a valued asset.

 

In July 2002, "CNN reported that (his) bodyguards had been captured in February of that year, adding: 'Sources believe that if the bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the most wanted man in the world is dead."

 

Finally, despite Washington offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or killing, no one came forward.

 

(2) Testimonial evidence of his death:

 

In 2002, influential "people in a position to know" that he died included:

 

-- Pakistan President Musharraf;

 

-- FBI counterterrorism head Dale Watson;

 

-- Oliver North saying, "I'm certain that Osama is dead....and so are all the other guys I stay in touch with;"

 

-- Afghanistan President Karzai;

 

-- Israeli intelligence saying supposed bin Laden messages were fake; and

 

-- Pakistan's ISI "confirm(ing) the death of....Osama bin Laden (and) attribut(ing) the reasons behind Washington's hiding (the truth) to the desire of (America's hawks) to use the issue of al Qaeda and international terrorism to invade Iraq."

 

Other evidence includes former CIA case officer Robert Baer telling National Public Radio (NPR): "Of course he's dead."

 

Then in March 2009, "former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla published an essay in the American Spectator entitled 'Osama bin Elvis,' " saying:

 

"Seven years after (bin Laden's) last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence of Elvis's presence among us than for his."

 

Griffin also explained fake messages and videos, saying today's advanced technology can fool experts, but not all of them.

 

For years, bin Laden tapes surfaced at strategically-timed moments. Consider one on Friday, September 7, 2007 ahead the sixth 9/11 anniversary. Hector Factor's Neal Krawetz, a digital image forensics expert, said it was full of low quality visual and audio splices, a likely fake. 

 

Striking also was bin Laden's beard that was gray in recent images. In this one, it was black. In addition, he was dressed in a white hat and shirt, as well as a yellow sweater, the same attire as on an October 29, 2004 video. Moreover, the background, lighting, desk and camera angle were identical.

 

Krawetz noted that "if you overlay the 2007 and 2004 videos, bin Laden's face is the same (unaged)." Only his beard was darker, and the picture contrast was adjusted. Most important are the edits showing obvious splices, at least six video ones in all. Even more audio ones were used that appeared to be words and phrases spliced together, making Krawetz suspect a vocal imitator was used.

 

A Final Comment

 

Clear evidence showed bin Laden died years ago, likely in December 2001. However, reporting it was concealed to pursue America's "war on terror."

 

As a result, "Enemy Number One" was used to stoke fear as pretext for imperial wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, perhaps others now planned, and numerous proxy ones in Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine, Central Africa, Colombia, and elsewhere. 

 

Griffin wrote his bin Laden book, hoping to shorten America's wars. He also wished to expose "fake bin Laden tapes (used as) one part of an extensive propaganda operation....furthering the militarization of America and its foreign policy" while popular needs go begging. 

 

Obama's latest lie left America's imperial agenda unchanged. In fact, his announcement likely bolsters public support for what's clearly become unpopular, saying:

 

"(T)hink back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11," urging people to show it again despite how militarism harms their security, well-being and futures by draining funds badly needed for domestic needs. 

 

Instead, expect increasing amounts used for corporate handouts and wars, Obama as uncaring about human needs as extremist Republicans. He's also an inveterate liar.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Al Jazeera's War on Syria

 Al Jazeera's War on Syria - by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article discussed Al Jazeera's war on Gaddafi, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/04/al-jazeeras-war-on-gaddafi.html

 

Discussing its recent programming, it explained how compromised it's become. For example on Libya, it's been largely Western/Qatari propaganda, not legitimate news, information, and analysis. 

 

It's Syria coverage has been similar, providing its host country regime friendly reporting. Qatar is part of the Washington-led NATO anti-Gaddafi coalition. Shamelessly, Al Jazeera News channel (JNC) is on board supporting it.

 

Like America's media and BBC, JNC's biased reporting got one of its prominent journalists to resign in late April - its Beirut chief and host of the popular Hiwar Muftuh (open dialogue) program, Ghassan Bin Jiddo.

 

According to the Lebanon newspaper, As-Safir, it was to protest its recent coverage of Arab uprisings, saying:

 

The broadcaster "has abandoned professionalism and objectivity, turning from a media source into an operation room that incites and mobilizes. Ghassan Ben Jeddo believes JNC no longer pursues....independent and unbiased policies, and quite conversely, is in pursuit of a certain type of (policy) regarding the brewing uprisings in the region."

 

Professor AbuKhalil's Angry Arab News Service also expresses sharp criticism of Al Jazeera's less than credible reporting. He said Bin Jiddo resigned for the above reasons and because of the broadcaster's "recent radical shift....in alliance with the Saudi-Israeli alliance in the Middle East....Ghassan belongs to the Arab nationalist mold and is a fierce supporter of resistance to Israel."

 

He had great influence at JNC, nearly became director-general before Waddah Khanfar got the job, so his resignation "will bring further embarrassment to the network."

 

AbuKhalil also said he's heard directly from others at Al Jazeera Arabic and English that "the majority are quite irate" about network coverage, especially on Bahrain, but also on Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, making all of its reporting suspect.

 

In late April, a report from a supposed eye-witness, identified as dentist Mohammad Abdul Rahman, about alleged clashes between security forces and protesters in Homs, Syria, were, in fact, fabricated.

 

After its airing, the real Abdul Rahman called the Syrian Satellite Channel. Condemning the false use of his name to provide unsubstantiated information about Homs, he said:

 

"I was surprised when one of my friends called me saying that my name was aired on Al Jazeera as an eyewitness....I didn't call that channel. The broadcast statement is false and is in the framework of the huge media incitement campaign targeting Syria by this channel."

 

It wasn't the first time. Another man identified as Ammar Wahud, told JNC he was one of the protesters with information on Baniyas demonstrations. This time, however, it backfired when on air he said:

 

"There are mass protests in Baniyas but they are all in support of President Bashar Assad." He then criticized JNC's biased coverage but was stopped when the interview was abruptly ended.

 

In mid-October 2010, the Morocco Board News Service also condemned JNC for not covering Polisario dissident Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud's "odyssey from the Moroccan city of Smara, where he voiced his support (for) the Moroccan Autonomy Plan for the Western Saraha, to the Algerian city of Tindouf where the separatist Polisario Front arrested him and sent him to an Algerian prison."

 

Moroccans are mystified about JNC's lack of interest, especially after its news team earlier covered stories about anti-Moroccan activities in the region. They're also outraged about JNC's biased coverage of human rights abuses in Morocco and Algeria, as well as siding with Algeria on the Sahara dispute.

 

"Moroccans, like other Arab viewers are starting to see through Al Jazeera's screaming programs and theatrical discussions."

 

Despite its earlier credible work, it now has a "country-by-country a la carte agenda," picking and choosing between accurate and biased reporting, tainting all its work in the process. 

 

For concerned Moroccans and others in the region, JNC's avoidance of Mustapha Salma Ould Sidi Mouloud jailing by Algeria's army provides proof of its "influenced and prejudiced policy." Featuring other stories instead, his disappearance got short shrift. 

 

As a result, Moroccans are tuning out. "It will take more than shouting matches and anti-Israeli rhetoric to convince" them otherwise.

 

On February 21, the New Media Journal (NMJ) headlined, "Al Jazeera and Middle East's Quest for Democracy," saying:

 

What began as a noble experiment more recently deteriorated visibly. For example:

 

"During the Egyptian uprising, (JNC's) biased reporting became even more obvious....reign(ing) in its reporters," perhaps under pressure to do it. Now "its true colors are fast emerging. Bias is clearly seen (in its coverage of or lack thereof) about Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Algeria, Bahrain, and, of course, its host country Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. 

 

"This is indeed unfortunate and (shows) when it comes to support(ing) democracy, (JNC was created) to give it lip service (but instead offers) biased reporting (of the kind) it accuses America or the American media of" doing. Unless it returns to its roots, it "will find itself in a dead end, much like some of the dictators it pretends not to support." 

 

Too often, however, JNC replicates Western reporting. As a result, it's now part of the message presenting managed news, not unbiased reporting. That could be its undoing, at least as a source for real news, information and analysis, what too often it avoids.

 

Even Foreign Policy took note, now a Washington Post publication. On February 1, it headlined "The Al Jazeera Spotlight," saying:

 

"There are various reasons why (some of JNC's coverage) is lopsided and selective. Some of it has to do with the Qatari monarchy's own diplomatic interests. A decade ago, Al Jazeera used to annoy the Saudi regime fairly regularly....until Riyadh (complained to) the Qatari government." After it intervened, "the TV network softened the nature of its reporting toward Saudi Arabia," and also slanted its other coverage.

 

Its bias largely depends on where Qatar stands and to what degree other nations influence its positions. In other words, it's like BBC, supporting Britain's agenda the way its founder and first general manager, John Reith, once explained, saying:

 

"(You) know (you) can trust us not to be really impartial." 

 

BBC never was nor has been to this day. In fact, most, perhaps all, Western media are deeply comprised by state and commercial interests. Increasingly it's no different on Al Jazeera.

 

Now living in London and Dubai, Ghanem Nuselbeh is a Palestinian closely following Middle East events. Interviewed by Just Journalism on April 12, he expressed views about JNC's reporting, saying:

 

As a Palestinian, he "had very high hopes for Al Jazeera, as the region's first relatively impartial news channel....To put things in context, we must remember that (it's) sponsored by the Qatari government and to a large extent, is an instrument of Qatari public diplomacy."

 

"Qatar is one of the West's leading regional allies, and home to (US CENTCOM bases)....Al Jazeera has in many instances been cutting-edge, and even revolutionary. For example, it was the first Arabic channel to use the word 'Israel' as a noun, rather than adjective, and to put this on the map. (JNC) also provided a platform for public debates about topics that have hitherto been considered taboo in the Arab World."

 

But its "lack of coverage of Bahrain" and other regional countries "has undoubtedly damaged (its) image (on) the Arab street and I think this will take a long time to mend....I have also noticed significant variation between how (its) Arabic and English language channels report things."

 

Angry Arab News Service Comments on Al Jazeera's Syria Coverage

 

April 29: JNC's "coverage has become so comically lousy that they in fact really help (Syria's) propaganda (by) making it easy to discredit its coverage (and the fact that its coverage seems to be coordinated with....Al-Arabiyyah....the lousy news station of)" Saudi King Fahd.

 

April 28: "The main complaint about (JNC's) coverage is not that it covers Arab upheavals but that its coverage is selective. "Any person can call and claim to be a 'witness in Syria' (and get) put on the air and allowed to say anything," without checking its accuracy.

 

April 25: "You see the evidence of the Saudi-Qatari counter-revolution plot in the coverage of" Al Jazeera and (Saudi-controlled) Al-Arabiyyah. "They used to cover everything differently. Lately, the coverage is exactly the same: they devote the same amount of time to the same issues and they even use similar propaganda pieces."

 

April 23: "What Al Jazeera does not cover - dictatorships of the GCC."

 

April 14: Despite good Qatari - Syrian relations, JNC "never covered Syria uncritically....But lately, there is a shift: the coverage of the Syrian regime became more negative and government propagandists are visibly mocked and ridiculed (which is fine if it employed the same tactics with Saudi and NATO propagandists), and lately the channel relies on sensational Saudi propaganda sheets for coverage."

 

For example, it "cited the more sensational and unreliable propaganda Saudi outlet, Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (mouthpiec of Prince Salman and his sons), in its reference to a 'secret Syrian intelligence' document. (It's) so clearly made up....The paper admits it lifted it from Facebook pages, and (its written instructions urge) goons of the regime to kill a certain number and to even shoot at soldiers. With Saudi media, I cite the Babylonian Talmud: they lie when they tell the truth." Too often, Al Jazeera replicates it.

 

Current Al Jazeera Reporting on Syria

 

On May 1, JNC headlined, "Death toll rises as Syria crackdown continues," saying:

 

"Syrian forces have continued their military crackdown in the flashpoint city of Deraa....shooting dead the son of (an) imam, witnesses say."

 

Another unidentified witness said, "We are totally besieged. It is a tragedy." Still another said, "The bullets are flying straight over my head as we are talking. It's so close."

 

JNC admitted it "could not independently corroborate the witness accounts." Why then were unverified comments aired, besides offering no other views.

 

On May 1, JNC headlined, "Syrian protesters stay defiant amid crackdown," saying:

 

"Anti-government protesters in Syria are planning further demonstrations....undaunted by a violent security crackdown unleashed on them."

 

Again quoting an unidentified "source," it said "(H)undreds of people have been arrested....in Deraa. (It's) been blockaded since Monday, when the army went in backed by snipers and tanks....But no matter how panicked, or concerned they are, (protesters) say their morale is still high."

 

On April 30, JNC headlined, "Blood continues to be shed in Syria," saying:

 

"Amateur videos....show deadly crackdown continu(es) in major towns," providing no information about who supplied them, as well as no other views.

 

On April 28, JNC headlined, "Syrian soldiers 'switching allegiances,' " saying:

 

Unverified "(a)mateur footage is said to show that some troops have been shot at from within their own ranks for refusing to fire upon protesters in the city of Deraa."

 

JNC admits it "cannot independently verify the footage," but reports nothing about instances of armed instigators firing on and killing security forces. Doing so anywhere, of course, generates a robust response, even in democracies.

 

A Final Comment 

 

Media coverage aside, the forty-year Hafez and Bashar al-Assad dictatorship has been repressively harsh. As a result, like elsewhere in the region, protesters genuinely want democratic reforms and social grievances addressed. However, violence isn't how to achieve them, nor does international law permit nations to interfere lawlessly in the internal affairs of others, especially by inciting it for regime change.

 

Leaked WikiLeaks cables show Washington secretly financed Syrian opposition groups. Richard Perle's 1996 document, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Security the Realm," recommended rolling back its regime. Washington's National Endowment for Democracy admits being active in the country. It operates to destabilize and oust regimes, not democratically reform them. 

 

A March 30 Haaretz article reported a US-Saudi scheme to oust Assad, and on December 19, 2006, Time magazine writer Adam Zagorin headlined, "Syria in Bush's Cross Hairs," saying:

 

"The Bush Administration has been quietly nurturing individuals and parties opposed to the Syrian government in an effort to undermine the regime of President Bashar Assad."

 

Citing a "classified, two-page document," Zagorin said Washington was "supporting regular meetings of internal and diaspora Syrian activists in Europe." Moreover, US officials were funding and maintaining "extensive contacts with a range of anti-Assad groups in Washington, Europe and inside Syria."

 

At the time, according to an unnamed US official:

 

"You are forced to wonder whether we are now trying to destabilize the Syrian government."

 

Efforts then were being coordinated with the National Salvation Front (NSF), connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. It wasn't for democratic reforms. Though unstated, it was for regime change. 

 

It now appears to be playing out violently on Syrian streets, and getting horrid media coverage explaining it, including by Al Jazeera, airing the same type propaganda as Western media.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Oppressing West Bank Palestinian Children

 Oppressing West Bank Palestinian Children - by Stephen Lendman

 

The Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations is a Beirut, Lebanon-based organization engaged in "strategic and futuristic studies on the Arab and Muslim worlds, (highlighting) the Palestinian issue."

 

In spring 2010, it published a Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group (BPAPPG) study, including the widespread detention of Palestinian children titled, "Under Occupation: A Report on the West Bank," discussed below.

 

Under military occupation, Palestinian children are treated like adults. Each year, about 700 are arrested, brutally interrogated, and prosecuted in military courts, denying them justice.

 

Since 2000 alone, over 7,000 have been brutalized. On January 31, 2011, 222 Palestinian children were imprisoned, 34 aged 12 - 15. Some at times are 10 or younger. At age 16, they're considered adults in violation of international law.

 

Israel, in fact, brazenly repudiates children's rights and welfare, treating them like adults, in violation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, its Principle 1 saying:

 

"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family."

 

They're entitled to special protections and opportunities to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially in a healthy normal way under conditions of freedom and dignity - including their right to life, an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and peace, what Israel denied them for over four decades.

 

Instead, they're taken to military detention centers, harshly interrogated for days without access to lawyers or family members. In fact, parents and siblings rarely know where they're held or whether they're alive or dead. 

 

Moreover, they're mistreated, beaten, terrorized, usually tortured, hooded, denied food and water for prolonged periods as well as access to toilets and washing facilities, exposed to extreme heat and cold, painfully shackled, and deprived of sleep for several days, often in the shabeh position. 

 

It consists of hands and legs bound to a small chair, at times from behind to a pipe affixed to the wall, painfully slanted forward, hooded with a filthy sack, and played loud music nonstop through loudspeakers.

 

NGOs like the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Adalah and DCI-Palestine report widespread abuse. In 2009, a sample of 100 sworn affidavits revealed:

 

-- 69% of them were beaten, kicked, slapped, or otherwise abused;

 

-- 49% were threatened;

 

-- 14% held in solitary confinement;

 

-- 12% threatened with sexual assault, including rape; and

 

-- 32% forced to sign confessions in Hebrew most don't understand.

 

As a result, from 2001 - 2010, over 645 complaints were filed against Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators, citing mistreatment and abuse. So far, no criminal investigations resulted, even for the most extreme cases.

 

Based solely on soldiers' testimonies and coerced confessions, children are usually charged with stone-throwing, whether or not true. To assure lesser sentences and fines, usually two to six months confinement, 81% plead guilty. Otherwise, they'll be remanded for extended periods, tried and convicted in kangaroo proceedings, nearly always siding against them.

 

Mahmoud K's experience was typical, a 15-year old boy from Bethlehem. He was taken to court shackled hands and legs. Wrist restraints were only removed during proceedings, conducted in Hebrew (with translation by an Israeli soldier). Intimidating security guards filled the room.

 

Mahmoud pleaded not guilty to throwing a Molotov cocktail. He was detained four months prior to trial. Two other arrested boys signed confessions, naming him, retracted when they came to court. Both said they were abused, threatened and coerced to go along. The entire proceeding lasted an hour. It hardly mattered as guilty as charged nearly always follows.

 

Heading to school, another 16-year old youth was arrested for not having his ID card. Afterward, he was beaten, sent to Etzion detention camp, handcuffed, blindfolded, and beaten again brutally to get him to confess to stone-throwing and reveal names of other children with him at the time. 

 

During interrogation, his head was immersed in cold water, then hot, then the toilet. Later moved to Adorim camp, he was again beaten, tortured, held in solitary confinement for 34 days, then on "restrictive order" at Telmond Prison, in violation of Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) stating:

 

"No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment....

 

No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily....

 

Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect.... (and)

 

Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance...."

 

CRC also mandates detention as a last resort for the shortest possible time. Israel does it preemptively, repressively, and irresponsibly to harass, abuse, inflict bodily and emotional harm, torture or kill - legalized by authorities decades ago, including harming children with:

 

-- bad food and unsafe water;

 

-- poor healthcare or lack of it;

 

-- bad sanitation and hygiene;

 

-- insect infested cells;

 

-- cramped and crowded conditions;

 

-- inadequate air and light;

 

-- insufficient clothing, blankets and other protections;

 

-- no play or recreation;

 

-- isolation from the outside world;

 

-- no family visits;

 

-- the absence of counselors and specialists;

 

-- detention with adults, some violent;

 

-- solitary confinement;

 

-- verbal, physical and sexual abuse; and

 

-- no education.

 

Against adults and children alike, including women and girls, nothing is too brutal or extreme. For example, one 15-year old said he was stripped naked, forced into an extremely painful position, then burned by lit cigarettes to make him confess. 

 

Others are tortured to collaborate. A 10-year old said "They beat me on various parts of my body with plastic hoses. I had to have a surgical operation to have a platinum transplant in my arm. They kept me naked for a whole night, handcuffed and blindfolded; and I was not allowed to go to the toilet for two days!"

 

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, 95% of children are tortured, 85% to confess under duress and sign Hebrew documents they can't read or understand.

 

Israel brazenly violates international law, including in how they treat young children. In fact, harassing, intimidating, threatening, cuffing, shackling, abusing, torturing and denying due process breaches Fourth Geneva, the UN Torture Convention, and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

 

They're inviolable legal standards Israel doesn't give a damn about when it comes to Palestinian Arabs. Why should they when international community leaders raise no accountability issues.

 

A Final Comment

 

In the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel's March Newsletter, Mahd Bader, a human rights law attorney, headlined, "Secret Prison for UFOs," saying:

 

Facility 1391 is Israel's Guantanamo. Officially it doesn't exist. Detainees aren't told where they're held. They're kept in darkened cells, brutally interrogated, and denied outside contact. On January 11, 2011, Israel's Supreme Court again "demonstrated its conservative nature with respect to human rights in general and the rights of weak population sectors in particular," effectively approving the facility's existence, its location still secret.

 

In fact, Israel is prohibited from having secret detention facilities. Those existing should be closed or revealed. Instead, the Court performed a "balancing act (with) legal hair-splitting and zigzagging. (It) chose to take the complex, meandering and superfluous road of 'appropriate balance' and, after examining the clashing interests and rights," avoided respecting international and Israeli law.

 

As a result, it ruled that detainee rights and their families are indeed violated. "However, the infringement is proportional....since the State has suggested an arrangement (to) minimize it." No details were published or consideration for how often authorities do what they please, freely violating Court decisions with impunity.

 

Nonetheless, the State agreed "not to hold in this facility citizens of Israel or residents of the occupied territory unless high military officials order it. Moreover, those detained will only be for a short time. Even though the Military Judge Advocate General and Ministry of Justice supervise the facility, many questions and problems remain unanswered.

 

Also consider "for whom is that unknown detention facility intended if the State" won't use it for Israeli Arabs or Palestinians? Why is it needed and kept secret? How short is "very short," and why does any court tolerate illegal practices? No satisfactory answers were provided.

 

Given today's extremist Court and Knesset, especially regarding Muslims, offers more proof that "Israel is knowingly and surely sliding towards a dark and oppressive regime." 

 

Today Arabs are persecuted. Tomorrow others. Soon anyone resisting state authority, no matter how oppressive and lawless. Ahead, Bader sees what he calls a "Jewish phobiocraticstate," targeting anyone within or outside the law.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

America's New Middle East Agenda

 America's New Middle East Agenda - by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article on Syria quoted Middle East analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, explaining Washington's longstanding plan to "creat(e) an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan." 

 

He explained it also includes redrawing the Eurasian map, balkanizing or reconfiguring countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, perhaps Baltic states, the entire Persian Gulf, Syria, Lebanon, and, of course, Libya to assure Western control of its valued resources, besides already having created three Iraqs. The strategy involves "divid(ing) and conquer(ing to serve) Anglo-American and Israeli interests in the broader region."

 

Currently it's playing out violently in Libya, addressed in numerous previous articles as Western intervention heads closer to invasion, knowing air strikes alone can't topple Gaddafi unless a "lucky" one kills him. It's a key administration goal despite official denials, while defending the right to bomb his compound having no other purpose than assassination.

 

Notably on April 26, Los Angeles Times writer David Cloud headlined, "NATO widens air war in Libya, targeting key sites in Tripoli," saying:

 

Predator drones are being used "to strike directly at the pillars of the regime, including (Gaddafi), in the heart of Tripoli," according to a senior NATO officer, explaining:

 

"This is a shift, absolutely. We're picking up attacks on these command-and-control facilities. If (Gaddafi) happens to be in one of those buildings, all the better," stopping short of saying he, in fact, is the target.

 

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized the attacks, saying:

 

"They said they didn't want to kill Gaddafi. Now some officials say: 'Yes, we are trying to kill Gaddafi.' Who permitted this, was there a trial? Who took on the right to execute this man, no matter who he is?"

 

Putin denounced the efforts, saying they exceed the UN resolution's mandate. As a result, Libya asked Russia to convene a new Security Council meeting to address illegitimate NATO action, functioning as the insurgency's air force, taking sides instead of staying neutral in Libya's internal affairs. 

 

China also objects to Western military "advisers" intervening, special forces aiding insurgents besides CIA and MI 6 agents doing it also for months. Now Britain will deploy troops on Tunisia's border with Libya, inching closer to invasion. UK Defense Minister Liam Fox justifies it, saying Britain's prepared for the "long haul," adding:

 

"It is essential that the international community gives a very clear signal to the Libyan regime that our resolve isn't time-limited....Politically, economically, militarily, we are moving forward," stopping short of explaining key Western goals.

 

They're unrelated to humanitarian intervention or protecting civilians, the bogus reasons always given (besides WMDs or other spurious security threats) to attack, conquer, colonize, and plunder targeted countries. Now it's Libya's turn at the same Syria experiences Western destabilizing intervention, perhaps ahead of "shock and awe" and whatever else US/NATO planners have in mind.

 

In fact, the Obama administration threatens the entire region, using "constructive chaos" to create "an arc of instability, chaos, and violence," affecting all Eurasian countries to solidify unchallengeable US control.

 

Moreover, at a time when "Let them eat cake" arrogance trumps growing public needs, America plans more than ever military spending. In addition, Britain's Fox said the Libyan campaign won't "be limited by pounds, shillings and pence" to conclude the mission successfully. 

 

Nor do royal weddings costing her majesty's subjects a shocking $10 billion, including official understated expenses, security, and declaring a national holiday, depriving millions of Brits of a day's pay they can't afford to lose.

 

Kill Gaddafi

 

In America, congressional calls are increasing to assassinate him, Washington's favored regime change method besides externally instigated coups. In recent days, figures like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called for: 

 

"cut(ting) the head of the snake off. Go to Tripoli, start bombing Gaddafi's inner circle, their compounds, their military headquarters....The people around Gaddafi need to wake up every day wondering 'will this be my last?' The military commanders supporting Gaddafi should be pounded. So I would not let the UN mandate stop what is the right thing to do."

 

He wasn't asked to explain how violating UN Resolution 1973, its Charter, as well as international and US law is "right" when daily war crimes keep mounting. Nonetheless, others in Congress agree, including Senator John McCain, preferring winning on the ground only because it's chancy "taking him out with a lucky air strike." Senator Joe Lieberman also says he's "got to start thinking about whether they want to more directly target (him) and his family." 

 

Bipartisan support in both Houses concurs, as well as Obama, despite official denials. In fact, current efforts may be to accomplish Ronald Reagan's failed 1986 objective. At the time, White House press secretary Larry Speakes called killing Gaddafi "a fortunate by-product of our act of self-defense," against what he didn't explain nor apologize for murdering 37 Libyans, including his daughter, as well as injuring dozens more, mostly civilians, those always harmed most in wars and other conflicts.

 

Earlier, however, House and Senate members from both parties criticized Obama for not seeking congressional authorization for war, saying it exceeded his constitutional authority, but stopping short of wanting attacks stopped. 

 

In fact, under the Constitution's Article 1, Section 8, only Congress may declare war, what hasn't happened since December 8, 1941 against Japan, making all US wars since illegal. Obama once taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. In addition, as a presidential candidate in December 2007, he told the Boston Globe:

 

"The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

 

That was then. This is now as Republicans and Democrats plan authorizing it after the fact either by resolution or a symbolic "sense of the House and Senate" motion or confirmation. 

 

If so, it will legitimize the illegitimate as Congress can't invalidate UN Charter provisions explaining under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion (by one state against another) are justified. Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use, including no-fly zones that are acts of war.

 

In addition, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council. 

 

Moreover, so-called "humanitarian intervention" amounts to modern-day colonialism to achieve geopolitical objectives. Besides, America never showed concern for human rights in pursuit of strategic aims. 

 

Notably, dovish US diplomat, advisor, and father of Soviet containment George Kennan (advocating diplomacy over force) explained what became America's post-WW II foreign policy. In his February 1948 "Memo PPS23," he stated:

 

"....we have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. (It makes us) the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships (to let us) maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national society. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction...."

 

"We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism....We should (stop talking about) unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas and practices), the better."

 

As a result, when America intervenes militarily, it's for policy goals, never for human rights or humanitarian priorities, rhetoric notwithstanding.

 

Why Gaddafi Is Targeted

 

Previous articles explained that he wasn't fully on board, or put another way, "with the program." Specific reasons are explained below.

 

(1) He opted out of AFRICOM, one of nine global Pentagon commands, to control the Africa and the Mediterranean Basin, including its strategic energy transit routes and choke points, crucial to keep open for world economies. All African countries participate except Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, and Libya. He also backed an initiative to create a United States of Africa, whereas Washington wants easily exploitable divisions.

 

(2) Besides ranked ninth in the world with 42 billion proved barrels of oil reserves (and large amounts of gas), its untapped potential is believed much greater. Moreover, being nearly sulfur-free, it's even more valued for its extremely high quality. At issue isn't access, it's control over who develops, produces and receives it in what amounts.

 

(3) In January 2009, Gaddafi wanted to nationalize Libyan oil, but his timetable faced internal resistance. According to Pravda.ru's March 25, 2011 article titled, "Reason for war? Gaddafi wanted to nationalise oil," he considered the option because of low oil prices at the time, saying:

 

"The oil-exporting countries should opt for nationalisation because of the rapid fall in oil prices. We must put the issue on the table and discuss it seriously. Oil should be owned by the State at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production."

 

In February 2009, he asked for public support to distribute Libya's oil wealth directly to the people. However, senior officials feared losing their jobs "due to a parallel plan by Gaddafi to rid the state of corruption." He was also advised about the possibility of capital flight.

 

As a result, Libya's Popular Committee voted 468 - 64 to delay nationalization plans, even though a 251 majority viewed the change as positive.

 

Note: Gaddafi didn't consider how powerful insiders manipulate all markets up or down for profit, including oil, irrespective of demand. It's brazen fraud but goes on all the time, especially on Wall Street in collusion with Washington.

 

(4) Libya's Great Man-Made River (GMMR) is developing an ocean-sized aquifer beneath the desert for irrigation, human consumption, and other uses. At 2007 consumption rates, it could last 1,000 years. No wonder Gaddafi calls his Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) the "Eighth Wonder of the World." 

 

At issue, of course, is privatizing it, making water unaffordable for many, perhaps most Libyans. In other words, neoliberal control will exploit it for maximum profits, not equitable use as a public resource.

 

(5) Ellen Brown's April 13 article titled, "Libya: All About Oil, or All About Banking?" raised another, easily overlooked, issue. Who controls Libya's money, the lifeblood of every economy? In 1970, Henry Kissinger said, "Control oil and you control nations. Control food and you control people." He neglected to add, control money and you control everything because without it economies collapse. 

 

At issue is whether it's public or private like most nations, including America under the Federal Reserve that isn't federal and has no reserves as Ron Paul explains. 

 

Under Gaddafi, "the Central Bank of Libya is 100% State owned." In other words, it creates its own money, the Libyan Dinar, interest free to be used productively for economic growth, not profits and bonuses for predatory bankers.

 

However, after Washington's led NATO intervention, the privately controlled Central Bank of Benghazi was established to let Western bankers, not Libyans, run things. Money control indeed appears an important reason for intervening, perhaps most important of all.

 

(6) On April 24, Manlio Dinucci's Global Research article headlined, "Financial Heist of the Century: Confiscating Libya's Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF)," saying:

 

Besides money, oil, gas, water, and other reasons, the "Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) manages" an estimated $70 billion, "rising to more than $150 billion (including) foreign investments of the Central Bank and other bodies. But it might be more." 

 

Confiscation gives US/NATO interests easy money to use for their own purposes, no matter that doing so amounts to grand theft, an American/Western specialty in league with Wall Street and its European counterparts.

 

"Constructive chaos" takes many forms, including conquering and colonizing nations, then carving up the corpse for profit to the detriment of its people. That's always imperial Washington's grand plan, playing out disruptively throughout the region and violently in Libya.

 

A Final Comment

 

A previous article discussed US intervention in Syria. On April 28, Washington Post writers Joby Warrick and Liz Sly headlined, "Senators press Obama to take strong action against Syria," saying:

 

Besides ongoin wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya, "Sens. John McCain (R.-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R.-SC), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) demanded tangible steps to pressure Assad," issuing a joint letter stating:

 

"The escalating crackdown by Bashar al-Assad's regime against the Syrian people has reached a decisive point. By following the path of Muammar Gaddafi and deploying military forces to crush peaceful demonstrations, Assad and those loyal to him have lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria."

 

In fact, as the earlier article explained, "peaceful demonstrations" include provocateurs inciting violence that, in turn, trigger a robust government response, resulting in security force deaths as well as civilians expressing legitimate demands for reform.

 

According to reports, only sanctions so far are being considered. In fact, they made be step one ahead of already being discussed harsher measures. It takes little  insight to imagine what kinds.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

  

יום סולידריות בינלאומי עם מרי מייסון ואריק מקדייוויד

ה11 ליוני כיום סולידריות, החל כיום בינלאומי בסולידריות עם האסיר האנרכיסט שנשפט לתקופת זמן ארוכה ג'ף "free" לוארס (ג'ף "החופשי" לוארס) ב2004. באותו זמן זמן ג'ף ריצה תקופת מאסר של מעל 22 שנה. מתוך זעם על ההרס הסביבתי המתרחש בקנה מידה עולמי ג'ף הצית שלושה רכבי 4*4 בסוכנות רכב באורגון. גזר הדין שקיבל היה אמור לשלח מסר לאחרים הזועמים על מלחמת הקפיטליזם באקוסיסטמות של כדה"א- ולאלה שמוכנים לעשות מעשה כדי לעצור זאת. ג'ף לא לבד בדאגותיו לגבי שינוי אקלימי, התדלדלות דלקים מאובנים (פוסיליים), זיהום והנדסה גנטית.

לאחר שנים של מאבק, ג'ף והצוות המשפטי שלו זכו בהפחתת גזר הדין, והוא שוחרר ב2009. אולם בשנים בהן ג'ף נאבק בגזר הדין שלו ועבור שחרורו, האפ בי איי (סוכנות החקירות הממשלתית האמריקאית) ביצעה סדרת אישומים ומעצרים מתוך נסיון למטט את הקהילה הרדיקלית הפועלת עבור מטרות סביבתיות ושחרור בעלי חיים. שני א/נשים שנלכדו במערבולת הדיכוי הזאת היו אריק מקדייויד ומרי מייסון.

אריק מקדייויד נעצר בינואר 2006 לאחר שנלכד על ידי סוכנת בהעסקת הממשל- "אנה"- והואשם בסעיף אחד-"קונספירציה". אריק- שמעולם לא ביצע שום פעולה והואשם במה שמסתכם ב"פשע מחשבה"- סירב לשתף פעולה עם המדינה ולקח את המקרה למשפט. לאחר משפט רצוף טעויות, חבר המושבעים הרשיע את אריק. נגזר דינו לכמעט 20 שנה בכלא. מידע נוסף ניתן למצוא בכתובת:
www.supporteric.org

מרי מייסון נעצרה במרץ 2008, לאחר שבן הזוג שלה לשעבר פראנק אמברוז- הפך לסוכן של האףביאיי  ביודעה כי אם תלך למשפט יתכן וגזר דינה יהיה מאסר עולם, מרי קיבלה את עסקת טיעון בספטמבר 2008, והודתה במעורבותה בשריפת משרד המקושר עם הנדסה גנטית והרס פריט ציוד שמשמש לכריתת עצים. בעת מתן גזר הדין שלה בפברואר מרי נידונה לכמעט 22 שנים בכלא. (מרי טבעונית).
מידע נוסף ניתן למצוא בכתובת:
www.supportmariemason.org

מרי ואריק חולקים את הכבוד המפוקפק של תקופת המאסר הארוכה ביותר לפעילות שחרור בעלי החיים והסביבה כלשהו בארה"ב.

אנא הצטרפו אלינו ביום סולידריות בינלאומי עם מרי מייסון ואריק מקדיוויד ב11 ליוני. זהו זמן לזכור את חברינו אשר בכלא- אשר ממשיכים את מאבקם מתוכו. זהו זמן להמשיך ולחזק את העבודה שעבורה מרי ואריק מרצים תקופה ארוכה כלכך- להאבק נגד קפיטליזם, הרס סביבתי, ניצול בעלי חיים, וצורות אחרות של שליטה בחברת הכלא הזאת

שחררו את מרי ואריק!
שחררו את כל האסירים!

www.june11.org


למידע נוסף או ליידע לגבי אירוח אירוע בבקשה כתבו אלינו ל:
  [email protected]

Palestinian Unity Deal Announced

 Palestinian Unity Deal Announced - by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 27, the International Middle East Media Center headlined, "Rival Palestinian Factions Reach Reconciliation Agreement," saying:

 

Meeting in Cairo, Palestinian media sources announced a Hamas - Fatah reconciliation draft agreement, signaling hope for rapprochement between the two sides.

 

Both parties agreed to form a transitional government soon. The two delegations, headed by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal discussed security issues and ways to coordinate forces on both sides. They also chose an election date, but didn't disclose it.

 

"A Hamas official (Izzat Ar-Rishiq) reported that all points of differences with Fatah have been overcome....Egyptian sources said that the two parties will be invited into Egypt soon (for an) official signing ceremony."

 

Egypt's official MENA news agency confirmed "a complete understanding after talks on all the points, including the formation of a transitional government with a specific mandate and setting a date for elections."

 

Fatah delegation chief Azzam Al-Ahmad confirmed the report, saying both sides agreed to a "government of independents....tasked with preparing for presidential and legislative elections within a year."

 

Palestinian factions welcomed the announcement, hoping years of conflict would end. Islamic Jihad's Khaled Al Batsh said his organization welcomed the development, hoping implementation will begin quickly. He also called for ending West Bank political arrests, saying Palestinian priorities include resistance, unity, independence, the right of return, and Jerusalem as Palestine's capital.

 

PLC deputy head Dr. Ahmad Bahar called the agreement historic, thanking Egypt for hosting and moderating important talks.

 

Dr. Abdul-Aziz Shiqaqi, head of Gaza's coalition of independent figures, said the deal breaks new ground, offering a new reconciliation phase. Khalil Assaf, representing West Bank independent figures, called the agreement the best and most important development this year.

 

The Palestinian People Party (PPP) also welcomed the deal, hoping implementation will begin soon, as well as calling for efforts to marshal international support for Palestinian independence with Jerusalem its capital.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted sharply, demanding Abbas:

 

"choose between peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There cannot be peace with both because Hamas strives to destroy the state of Israel and says so openly. I think that the very idea of reconciliation shows the weakness of the Palestinian Authority and creates the prospect that Hamas could retake control of Judea and Samaria just like it took control of the Gaza Strip."

 

Netanyahu also said all necessary measures will be taken to continue Gaza's siege, including blocking planned humanitarian flotillas.

 

He and other Israeli officials repeat the same canards, notably with regard to peace, reconciliation, and denying Hamas' longstanding willingness to recognize Israel in return for Palestinian sovereignty inside pre-1967 borders, just 22% of its original homeland. 

 

In September, it now hopes the UN General Assembly will affirm what Israel for decades spurned, including peace to perpetuate its war agenda based on lies and deception about Hamas threatening its security. 

 

Getting Washington to bogusly declare it a terrorist organization, Western media ignore its legitimacy as Palestine's democratically elected government, facts conveniently replaced by spurious claims about terrorism. In other words, twisting them to fit policy that includes on-and-off again wars, violence, land theft, severe repression, targeted assassinations, and violation of fundamental international law and standards, as well as core Judaic values, ones Israel long ago abandoned.

 

On April 27, New York Times writers Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner also covered the story headlining, "Fatah and Hamas Announce Outline of Deal," saying:

 

They "create(d) an interim unity government (and agreed to) hold elections within a year, a surprise move that promised to reshape" the regional diplomatic landscape. Perhaps regional uprisings influenced the move. Also, Al Jazeera's January released Palestine Papers. They revealed covert PA willingness to compromise much in return for little, amounting to de facto complicity and unilateral surrender to Israeli demands, a shameless betrayal like Oslo, what Edward Said called a Palestinian Versailles. 

 

It gives pause about what PA negotiators now have in mind. This time, however, they're dealing with Hamas, not Israel, but that specter remains powerfully omnipresent in lockstep with its Washington paymaster/partner. 

 

Gaza Al-Azhar University Professor Mkhaimar Abusada believes the PA's failure to negotiate peace with Israel, as well as anger over a February US Security Council resolution veto against new settlement construction encouraged Fatah to talk.

 

Hamas representative Moussa Abu Marzouk said:

 

"We have ended a painful period in the history of the Palestinian people where Palestinian division had prevailed. We gave the occupation a great opportunity to expand the settlements because of this division. Today we turn this page and open a new" one.

 

Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said both sides agreed to changes in interim PLO leadership, a tribunal for elections, and a date. Both sides will nominate government members, a 12-judge election tribunal, and an oversight committee to handle security.

 

On April 27, Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin headlined, "Congress to PA: No US aid if you merge with Hamas," saying:

 

Florida Republican House Foreign Affairs chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehiten (a member of America's extremist far right) signaled ending US aid, repeating Netanyahu's lies, saying:

 

"The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the (PA) government. US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel."

 

New York Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman, a notorious pro-Israel supporter, called the deal "a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster," sounding as extremist as Ros-Lehiten. Other members of both houses concurred, succumbing to Israeli Lobby pressure to go along or face recrimination in 2012. Mindful also of Israeli support, selling their souls the price they pay keep it. 

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would only negotiate with a Palestinian unity government that "dismantles (its) terror infrastructures and recognizes Israel as well as past PLO (negotiated) agreements."

 

Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, facing indictment for fraud, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and more, said Israel won't negotiate with the interim government, adding:

 

"One of the clauses of the agreement is the release of hundreds of Hamas prisoners from Palestinian jails, which would flood the West Bank with armed terrorists, and the IDF must prepare accordingly....This agreement crosses a red line. Hamas has been defined as a terrorist organization....in addition to the fact that it has always been known that no talks can be held with groups calling for Israel's destruction."

 

Israel's president Shimon Peres said:

 

"The move, as it stands is a fatal mistake," nor will Israel negotiate with a "bona fide terrorist organization." The deal "would lead to a regression and prevent the formation of a Palestinian state."

 

Through public rhetoric and behind the scenes pressure, including through the Israeli Lobby, Israel is going all out to prevent reconciliation, a unity government, peace, and UN General Assembly recognition of an independent Palestine within 1967 borders this September. 

 

Instead it plans to stay belligerent, choose violence over diplomacy, continue settlement construction, keep Gaza blockaded, launch air attacks with powerful weapons, make regular incursions into Palestinian communities targeting nonviolent civilians, and effectively reign daily terror on Palestine like it's done for over six decades, blaming victims of its own crimes, still with world community support. 

 

As a result, it's for Palestinians to pursue their own agenda until one day liberated and free. A unity government and UN membership are important steps toward it.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Israel Today

 

ראיונות רדיו בנוגע לאסירי החזית לשחרור בעלי החיים והחזית לשחרור כדור הארץ

התפרסמו בימים האחרונים ראיונות רדיו לגבי אסיר החזית לשחרור בעלי החיים ואסיר החזית לשחרור כדור הארץ.

טרה ארו-פעיל סביבתי שהשתחרר לאחרונה. טרה הוא גם טבעוני. (50 מ"ב, 56 דקות)

קבוצת התמיכה של אריק מקדייוויד- אריק הוא אסיר החזית לשחרור בעלי החיים. (24 מ"ב, 27 דקות)

ניתן להוריד את הראיונות איתם על ידי לחיצה על הכפתור הימני ושמירת הקובץ למחשב

Israel's Lawless Arrest of Ahmad Qatamish

 Israel's Lawless Arrest of Ahmad Qatamish - by Stephen Lendman

 

On April 21, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association expressed grave concern about Qatamish's arrest:

 

"not only because (it's) motivated by his political opinions and beliefs and as such should be considered a case of arbitrary detention, but also because (he's) been (targeted by) Israeli authorities before on numerous occasions, notably" for long incarcerations without charge.

 

As a result, Addameer feels he'll again be administratively detained "without proper recourse to justice and without any legitimate means to defend himself."

 

Speaking on his behalf, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Dr. Mustafa Barghouti called Israel's arrest "a shameless attempt at muzzling him in an unjustifiable attack on his freedom of expression."

 

A distinguished writer, scholar, academic, lecturer and activist, Qatamish earned his doctorate in political science. He's also an author of several books on political, philosophical and literary topics, as well as a respected speaker at local universities and research centers. 

 

In 2010, he taught at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, the only Arab institution of higher learning in the divided city, established in 1984 offering degrees in fields ranging from law to technology as well as many other disciplines. 

 

Moreover, its 1998-established Center for Jerusalem Studies includes course work on interdisciplinary cultural heritage topics, as well as related seminars and symposiums from a Palestinian perspective.

 

Qatamish's latest ordeal began before dawn on April 21 when Israeli soldiers and intelligence officers arrested him, his wife, daughter, and two other female relatives (including a 14-year old child). He alone was taken to Beitunia's Ofer detention center.

 

His wife, Suha Barghouti, is an Addameer and Palestinian Red Crescent Society board member, as well as being affiliated with a Palestinian NGO Network Steering Committee. Heroic and outspoken like her husband, she calls his latest arrest:

 

"an attempt to silence his critical voice and prevent his compelling vision for emancipation and self-determination from spreading further in the Palestinian public."

 

As a result, she urged human rights organizations to exert pressure on his behalf to free him and do everything possible to assure his safety and well-being. It's no simple task in Israeli detention, known for its lawless brutality.

 

His daughter, Haneen, home on break from Cairo University, described her brief ordeal with Israeli soldiers, saying:

 

"They tried to intimidate me by exploiting my deep agony over the idea of being denied my father again, but I firmly confronted them and reminded them of the fate of all colonial powers on our land. In response, their commander shouted that I was as 'obstinate' as my father."

 

Expressing support for a comrade, Gerarda Ventura, Euromed Platform of NGOs vice president, called Qatamish "one of the most sensitive and intellectual people I have ever met," especially in the struggle for "freedom, justice and peace."

 

First arrested in 1969, he was detained a few months and released, then rearrested in 1972 at which time he was imprisoned for four years, undergoing harsh treatment like other political prisoners. 

 

Until 1992 he went underground to stay free until September when he was again arrested and administratively detained for the next five and half years uncharged, making him the longest ever held administrative detainee to that time. 

 

During his ordeal, he was tortured and abused for weeks, Israel calling him a "dangerous" national leader. He later documented what went on in prison notes called "I Shall not Wear Your Tarboush."

 

Finally on April 15, 1998, after a tireless international campaign on his behalf, he was released but prohibited from traveling outside Occupied Palestine. As a result, he devoted his efforts to study, writing and lecturing, as well as founding the Munif Barghouti Research Center.

 

Visiting Qatamish a day after his arrest, his Addameer-appointed lawyer said he hadn't yet been interrogated, and was told he'd again be administratively detained uncharged. A previous article discussed how Israel abuses this practice, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/02/israeli-abusive-administrative.html

 

Those held are denied due process, may be held indefinitely, aren't told why they're detained, can't dispute it, cross-examine witnesses, or present contradictory evidence to refute them.

 

Three Israeli laws authorize the practice:

 

-- the Order Regarding Administrative Detention (the Administrative Detention Order), part of military law governing the West Bank;

 

-- the Emergency Powers (Detentions) Law for Israel; and

 

-- the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law (the 2002 Unlawful Combatants Law), like a similar one in America, a dubious Geneva-superceded status international law expert Francis Boyle calls a:

 

"quasi-category universe of legal nihilism where human beings can be disappeared, detained incommunicado, denied access to attorneys and regular courts, tried in kangaroo courts, executed, tortured, assassinated and subjected to numerous other manifestations of State Terrorism."

 

Moreover, Prolonged arbitrary detention is a serious breach of international law. Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states:

 

1. "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law."

 

2. "Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him."

 

4. "Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful."

 

Although some wiggle room around the law is permitted "in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation," Israel uses it consistently, abusively, and in violation of Fourth Geneva's Article 78 stating:

 

"If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment."

 

"Decisions regarding such assigned residence or internment shall be made according to a regular procedure to be prescribed by the Occupying Power in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention. This procedure shall include the right of appeal (decided on) with the least possible delay. (If it's upheld), it shall be subject to periodical review...."

 

Administrative detention should never substitute for customary criminal proceedings. It should only be used to prevent someone from performing a future lawless act, never to transfer protected persons to the territory of the occupying power or to hold heroic activists uncharged.

 

Nonetheless, throughout its history, Israel has systematically and repeatedly flaunted international law with impunity, including by imprisoning some of Palestine's most heroic figures like Qatamish. 

 

It's done to silence their influential voices, not their redoubtable spirit that persists until Palestine is one day free of Israel's pernicious, repressive, lawless occupation. For millions of Occupied, Israeli, and diaspora Palestinians, it can't come a moment too soon.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

סמרטוט אדום, טור שבועי, 20 באפריל 2011

עבדים היינו – ונשארנו

זו השנה ה-44 שאינני חוגג את הפסח הישראלי המקובל, משום שמדינת ישראל סירסה ועיוותה את המשמעות של יציאה מעבדות לחירות.

Brutal State Terror in Bahrain

 Brutal State Terror in Bahrain - by Stephen Lendman

 

A previous article discussed police state terror in Bahrain, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/04/police-state-terror-in-bahrain.html

 

Saying sporadic protests began last summer, major ones began for regime change on February 14, the tenth anniversary of the public referendum on the Bahrain National Action Charter - a monarchy reform initiative to end years of 1990s political unrest.

 

Wanting constitutionally mandated elected government, greater parliamentary authority, political freedom, social justice, and ending discrimination against majority Shias, many thousands defied government demands for weeks, braving police attacks with tear gas, beatings, rubber bullets, live fire, arrests, torture, and disappearances until March 14 when over 1,500 Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) military and police security forces invaded Bahrain guns blazing. 

 

They attacked peaceful protesters, arrested opposition leaders and activists, occupied the country, denied wounded men and women medical treatment, and imposed police state control in support of the hated monarchy.

 

At the same time, Bahrain is a signatory to nearly every major international humanitarian and human rights law, including:

 

-- the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

 

-- the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);

 

-- the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and

 

-- the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), among others.

 

On April 22, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) condemned the violence in a public statement and new report titled, "DO NO HARM: A Call for Bahrain to End Systematic Attacks on Doctors and Patients," as well as against protesters demanding change.

 

In mid-March, under Saudi occupation, King Hamad declared a state of emergency, set up checkpoints, and used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations. Moreover, calling Salmaniya Hospital a "stronghold of the opposition protesters," security forces occupied it, denied treatment to wounded patients, arrested doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, as well as human rights activists, bloggers, and other pro-democracy supporters.

 

As a result, dozens were killed, many hundreds detained or disappeared, and some fear an "undeclared war." Under Article 36(b) of Bahrain's 2002 Constitution, King Hamad may declare a state of national safety, saying:

 

"A state of national safety or martial law shall be proclaimed only by Decree. In all cases, martial law cannot be proclaimed for a period exceeding three months. This period may not be renewed except with the consent of the majority of the members of the National Assembly present (having no legislative authority)."

 

Article 32(b) vests the king with executive authority, "together with the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet) and Ministers," appointed by him.

 

Article 123 states:

 

"It is impermissible to suspend any provision of this Constitution except during the proclamation of martial law, and within the limits prescribed by law. It is not permissible under any circumstances to suspend the convening of the Consultative Council or the Chamber of Deputies during that period or to infringe upon the immunity of their members, or during the proclamation of a state of national safety."

 

According to King Hamad's March 15 declaration, Bahrain's military head may now "take necessary steps to restore national security," helped by repressive Saudi occupier muscle. The decree also bans trade unions, political and NGO groups, as well as opposition publications. 

 

Moreover, curfews have been imposed. Transportation infrastructure is controlled. Suspected regime opponents are being arrested. Phone, Internet and other forms of communication are being monitored, and everyone is vulnerable to inspections and surveillance.

 

In repressive crackdowns, security forces are indiscriminately using brute force, including high velocity weapons, shotguns, rubber bullets, birdshot, beatings, tear gas, and live fire against unarmed civilians, as well as against targeted individuals at close range. 

 

Moreover, aluminum canisters containing six large solid rubber bullets are being used. When fired, multiple projectiles explode, hitting human targets indiscriminately with force enough to cause serious injuries or death.

 

PHR also documented tear gas used in enclosed places, including homes, as well as unidentified chemical agents based on first hand observation of one protester who exhibited neurological symptoms, corroborated by testimonies from three Bahraini healthcare professionals who'd witnessed or treated dozens of patients similarly diagnosed. 

 

Their symptoms included disorientation, respiratory distress, shortness of breath, sensations of choking, spastic convulsions, burning, aphasia, and hysteria.

 

Since mid-February, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff have been systematically targeted. PHR corroborated testimonies about middle of the night abductions, beatings, and detentions incommunicado at unknown interrogation centers.

 

As a result, a senior UN human rights official called "the targeting of medical workers deeply distressing." Another UN torture expert denounced "the appalling killing and ill-treatment of protestors, including those in hospitals." The World Medical Association (WMA) demanded accountability for those responsible, saying:

 

"Physicians have an ethical duty to care for their patients, and governments have a duty to ensure that appropriate conditions exist to allow them to do so."

 

Nonetheless, on March 15, Salamaniya Hospital was militarized, staff members terrorized, abducted, interrogated, and detained, including leading Bahraini specialists. PHR also documented egregious abuses against patients and detainees, including torture, beatings, verbal abuse, humiliation, and threatened rape, other sexual abuse, or death.

 

In fact, testimonies obtained from 47 informants were consistent with a systematic, coordinated campaign to abduct, detain, and torture civilians involved in February and March pro-democracy demonstrations. Methods used to arrest them include:

 

-- roadblocks and checkpoints throughout the country, focusing on Shia areas;

 

-- checking medical records for smoke inhalation or bullet wounds;

 

-- published, televised, or Internet photos of protesters;

 

-- international media and other observers in Bahrain who spoke to protesters, doctors, or other eyewitnesses;

 

-- nightly raids in Shia communities; 

 

-- information gotten through torture; and

 

-- posing as health professionals in stolen ambulances.

 

On April 8, PHR representatives visited Salmaniya Hospital. "(T)he team saw a large-caliber tank gun and an armed soldier standing up in the turret holding an assault rifle. Lined up directly in front of the main emergency entrance were 16 police vehicles and 20 fully armed Bahraini riot policemen."

 

Inside, security forces, riot police and special forces occupied every floor, wearing masks to conceal their identity.

 

PHR, however, said at no time did Bahrain face an imminent threat throughout the crisis, and found no evidence that pro-democracy protesters were armed during demonstrations. Nonetheless, police state terror threatens everyone challenging regime power, including doctors and other medical staff for doing their job.

 

At the same time, while using an alleged Libyan humanitarian crisis as a pretext for intervention, Obama officials are indifferent to appalling Bahraini state terror against peaceful pro-democracy protesters. A dismissive April 12 State Department advisory merely called the situation "fluid," saying "daily routines are returning to normal...." The brazen hypocrisy requires no further comment.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Commemorating Palestinian Political Prisoners

 Commemorating Palestinian Political Prisoners - by Stephen Lendman

 

Since 1979, April 17 annually is Palestinian Prisoners Day, commemorating Mahmoud Hijazi's 1974 release - the first ever prisoner swap with Israel.

 

Acknowledging the day, the Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association highlighted the thousands of persecuted prisoners, launching a new campaign on their behalf "to raise awareness of specific cases....whose detention (pose) serious risks."

 

Ayed Dudeen is one of many affected, incarcerated without charge or trial since October 2007, the longest interned administrative detainee. A father of six, he's, in fact, been held for most of the past 19 years unjustly like so many others for shorter or longer periods.

 

Addressing Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, Military Judge Advocate General Avihai Mandelblit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Israel's Permanent UN Mission in Geneva, Addameer expressed "strong concerns" on his behalf.

 

Serving as deputy director of the Hebron Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance and emergency services, his detention was renewed 30 times, most recently on April 11, 2011. Yet no evidence proves criminality, political or otherwise. Nonetheless, he's been denied minimal due process, preventing his right to a just defense.

 

Addameer expressed outrage about "the manifest breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law" violations against him, like so many others. As a result, the organization strongly urged:

 

-- his immediate and unconditional release, as well as others unjustly held;

 

-- an immediate end to arbitrary arrests and administrative detentions without charge for indefinite periods; and

 

-- respect for international human rights and humanitarian law provisions regarding arrests, detentions and treatment.

 

Addameer currently estimates about 6,000 political prisoners in Israeli prisons. The Prisoners at Risk Campaign highlights cases getting little public attention yet deserve urgent action. They include:

 

-- prisoners seriously ill at risk of further deterioration because of willful medical neglect;

 

-- those held indefinitely without charge of trial;

 

-- human rights activists; 

 

-- those longest held; and

 

-- those severely tortured because they refuse to be silent about their ill-treatment.

 

Addameer's director, Sahar Francis, says:

 

"This campaign, and its focus on the mobilization of international civil society, is absolutely essential because the failure of peace talks, including Oslo (and subsequent sham efforts), to resolve the prisoner issue has amply demonstrated that without intense external pressure, Israel will never abide by international human rights and humanitarian law."

 

On April 17, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined its press release, "Palestine Prisoners Day - Narratives Behind Locked Doors," saying:

 

Commemorated annually, the day "support(s) and recognize(s) Palestinians currently in custody in Israel" unjustly. According to the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the number ranges from the current low up to 12,000 or more, mostly for political and related reasons, including women and children.

 

From 1967 - 2008, Addameer reported over 650,000 detained, or about  20% of the total Occupied Territory (OPT) population and 40% of all males. Moreover, since the beginning of the September 2000 second Intifada, 70,000 were interned. According to PCHR, 760,000 have been held since 1967. Currently, it states, about 6,500 are detained, including over 250 children and 37 women. 

 

Most are held in Palestine, but many others in Israeli civil and military prisons, in violation of numerous Fourth Geneva provisions, including Article 49 stating:

 

"....forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons (including prisoners) from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive."

 

"PCHR notes with particular concern the many violations of human rights and humanitarian law that prisoners are subjected to while in Israeli detention. In particular violations of Articles 7, 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Israel is a State Party."

 

Moreover, children are treated like adults in brazen violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), defining a minor is anyone below age 18. Israel is a CRC signatory yet violates this law like all other international ones flagrantly. 

 

On June 7, 1967, Military proclamation No. 1 justified detentions "in the interests of security and public order," subjecting all Palestinians to police state persecution. Hundreds of other orders followed, gravely harming their rights and well-being.

 

As a result, they may be held indefinitely as well as subjected to months of abusive, inhumane and degrading interrogations and treatment, then detained without charge or tried in military courts, denying due process and judicial fairness.

 

In confinement, Israel willfully and systematically violates international humanitarian law, including Geneva's Common Article 3, requiring:

 

"humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, specifically prohibit(ing) murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment (and) unfair trial(s)."

 

Fourth Geneva's Article 4 calls "protected persons" those held by parties to a conflict or occupation "of which they are not nationals." They must "be treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention." They're entitled to full Fourth Geneva rights. Prisoners of war under Third Geneva have the same rights and those under Common Article 3. 

 

Israel willfully denies them. Under the 1971 Israeli Prison Ordinance, no provision defines prisoner rights. It only provides binding rules for the Interior Minister who can interpret them freely by administrative decree. For example, it's legal to intern 20 inmates in a cell as small as five meters long, four meters wide and three meters high, including an open lavatory, and they can be confined up to 23 hours daily. As a result, they're subjected to horrific conditions, including:

 

-- severe overcrowding;

 

-- poor ventilation and sanitation;

 

-- no change of clothes or adequate clothing;

 

-- sleeping on wooden planks with thin mattresses, some infested with vermin; blankets are often torn, filthy and inadequate; hot water is rare and soap is rationed;

 

-- at the Negev Ketziot military detention camp, threadbare tents are used, exposing detainees to extreme weather conditions; in summer, vermin, insects, scorpions, parasites, rats, and other reptiles are a major problem;

 

-- Megiddo and Ofer also use tents; in addition, Ofer uses oil-soiled hangers;

 

-- for some, isolation in tiny, poorly ventilated solitary confinement with no visitation rights or contact with counsel or other prisoners;

 

-- no access to personal cleanliness and hygiene; toilet facilities are restricted, forcing prisoners to urinate in bottles in their cells;

 

-- inadequate food in terms of quality, quantity, and dietary requirements;

 

-- poor medical care, including lack of specialized personnel, mental health treatment, and denial of needed medicines and equipment; as a result, many suffer ill health; doctors are also pressured to deny proper treatment, some later admitting it;

 

-- extreme psychological pressure to break detainees' will;

 

-- widespread use of torture, abuse, cruel and degrading treatment;

 

-- women and children are treated like men;

 

-- NGOs like Physicians for Human Rights - Israel and the ICRC are deterred from aiding detainees;

 

-- denied or hindered access to family members and counsel; and 

 

-- enforced conditions subordinating visits to national security priorities, requiring prisoners not be security risks, that persons applying for visits not have a security record, and whatever other stipulations Israel imposes.

 

PCHR noted special concern for about 700 detained Gazans, denied visits, phone calls, mail or other communications with family members for nearly four years with rare (usually one-time only) exceptions allowed. This outrageous prohibition, "exacerbates the already difficult conditions of confinement and constitutes a violation of international human rights law."  

PCHR commemorated Palestinian Prisoners Day by releasing nine poignant narratives, including "The Mother of a Minor in Prison - Amal Abdul-Allah."

 

For many years, she endured enormous hardships. Her father was incarcerated for 17 years. Her husband was arrested and released in 1983. Her brother and nephew were also imprisoned, and in February 2009, Israeli her third-oldest son, Oudai.

 

"He was arrested on his way to Ramallah, at Beit Iba checkpoint near Nablus. We realized that he must have been arrested when he did not come home to sleep that night. He had been arrested in the morning and forced to spend the entire day and night at the checkpoint. He had to lie on the ground the entire time, until they took him to Megiddo prison the next day."

 

Family members weren't told of his whereabouts. The ICRC got spotty information. For several months, he was repeatedly transfered to new prisons. With one exception, Amal and other family members were totally denied visitation rights for "security reasons."

 

Family members occasionally get information from released prisoners, Amal learning that Oudai was healthy but emotionally exhausted, depressed, always crying, and wanted to go home.

 

Amal told PCHR:

 

"I am emotionally in pain because I haven't seen him in so long. The whole situation is very hard. I can't bear it. Also, when I saw him for the first time in court, it was very hard for me, especially since I hadn't seen him for (months). I could not stop crying, but I was afraid for him and I tried to hold myself together as much as possible. For now, what hurts me most is that I am not allowed to visit him."

 

Moreover, Oudai, like most other child or adult prisoners, is held on spurious charges, assuring months or many years of injustice and harsh treatment. Unlike detained Jews given due process in civil courts, Palestinians get none under occupation. Nor do Israeli Arabs for their faith and ethnicity in a Jewish state.

 

A Final Comment

 

On April 17, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said about 1,000 Hebron protesters marked the day by rallying for release of Palestinian prisoners. "At the same time, thousands of prisoners joined a one-day hunger strike," protesting their treatment and legal rights.

 

Protesters included family members, local authorities, and international activists. According to former political prisoner Abdul Nasser Farwana's new report, virtually every Palestinian household has had members jailed. It explains that most of those detained are unrelated to alleged security issues; that torture is freely used to extract confessions; that no consideration is given women, children and those ill; and that overall treatment violates fundamental international law.

 

On April 17 and throughout the year, remember how abusively Israel treats Arabs for their faith and ethnicity, and that conduct this reprehensible no longer can be tolerated.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Al Jazeera's War on Gaddafi

 Al Jazeera's War on Gaddafi - by Stephen Lendman

 

Based on its recent Libyan and Gulf states reporting (or lack thereof), Qatar-based Al Jazeera's credibility appears extremely compromised.

 

A previous article said the following:

 

Overall, its Libya misreporting has been deceitful, functioning more as a propaganda arm for Washington, NATO and insurgents, indistinguishable from US and other western media, representing imperial conquest, colonization, and pillaging of another non-belligerent country.

 

In late March, moreover, Front Page writer Mohammed al-Kibsi accused Al Jazeera of airing old Iraqi prisoner abuse video, broadcast by Al-Arabiya in 2007, in fabricating news about Yemen. 

 

Yet it was aired repeatedly, claiming it showed Yemeni Central Security forces torturing protesters. Later admitting its mistake, Al Jazeera blamed a technical error and apologized, too late to undue the damage to those blamed and its own reputation, badly tarnished by frequent misreporting on the region, despite earlier worthy efforts that built its standing as a reliable broadcaster. That now is very much in question.

 

California State University Professor As'ad AbuKhalil runs the Angry Arab News Service, accessed through the following link:

 

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/

 

His recent comments on Al Jazeera's Libya coverage include:

 

April 20: "According to Al Jazeera's legal opinion," UN Resolution 1973 permits use of nuclear weapons. 

 

America, in fact, has an arsenal of so-called deep-penetrating mini-nuke buster busters, able to destroy underground targets with varying yields from one to 1,000 kilotons. Hiroshima's bomb was about 15 KT, Nagasaki's about 21 KT. 

 

Since the Bush administration's 2001 Nuclear Policy Review, Washington claimed a unilateral right to use first-strike nuclear weapons preemptively, including against non-nuclear states under three conditions:

 

-- against targets able to withstand non-nuclear weapons;

 

-- in retaliation against nuclear, biological or chemical WMDs; or

 

-- against any perceived real or contrived national security threat.

 

April 20: "Al Jazeera now wants a ground invasion," citing Misurata residents and UAE officials also wanting intensified bombing.

 

April 17: "Al Jazeera and the Qarari-Saudi conflict" benefitted the broadcaster early on, then compromised its credibility after rapprochement between their royals. "That severely narrowed the limitations of speech. I have heard many complaints from (Al Jazeera) hosts about the terrible impact of the....reconciliation on their coverage and programming."

 

"Now what happened recently was worse:" establishing a solid alliance compromising it more. As a result, "only criticisms of countries that are not on good terms with Saudi royals (are) allowed."

 

April 15: AbuKhalil "was thinking yesterday while doing (his) laps: (He) may have appeared for the last time ever on Al Jazeera but (he's) glad that (his) last words were about Bahrain. The Saudi-Qarati-financed Arab media want us to forget about Bahrain, but we won't."

 

April 14: "Bahrain - Al Jazeera's scant reports are hilarious. They are one sentence or two. They read - as they are - like Bahraini propaganda press releases. Today, the network had a line or two about (its) government planning to prosecute opposition groups," with no comments from them aired.

 

April 14: "Al Jazeera and Syria." Despite good Qatari - Syrian relations, Al Jazeera's coverage has been "negative, and government propagandists are visibly mocked and ridiculed. And lately the channel relies on sensational Saudi propaganda sheets for coverage."

 

April 14: "Al Jazeera: the new Qatari foreign policy. Bahrain does not exist as far as Al Jazeera is concerned, and they have avoided inviting" on air Bahraini, Omani and Saudi critics. "Most glaringly, Al Jazeera" suppresses criticisms of Bahraini repression. As a result, GCC countries have "closed ranks and Qatar may be rewarded with the coveted post of" Arab League secretary-general.

 

April 11: "Al Jazeera's coverage of Libya is not only politically bad and professionally over the top, but it is also worse than all that - it is boring."

 

March 23: "Shame on Al Jazeera. (Its) sinister role (has) gotten worse, much worse" with its "obsessive non-stop (Libyan) coverage" at the expense of important omitted news. "It seems that Al Jazeera now operates according to the Western standards," providing one-sided propaganda, not unbiased reporting.

 

February 17: Bahrainis "are on there own now. There is no Al Jazeera to support their cause and expose the regime, and the US and EU will do their best to rationalize and support government repression. Shame on Al Jazeera Arabic for abandoning the people of Bahrain, and for invoking a sectarian element in their coverage, implying that only Shi'ites are protesting."

 

On February 25, Monthly Review contributor Yoshie Furuhashi headlined, "Al Jazeera Promotes Libya's 'Crown Prince' Who Calls for Military Intervention in Libya," saying:

 

Covering regional uprisings, Al Jazeera's reporting "began to deteriorate....when revolutionary sparks" ignited in GCC states, including Bahrain. About the same time, Libya was affected, another oil-producing country. Henceforth, Bahain was forgotten to focus on Gaddafi. 

 

"Now there's nothing wrong with (doing it) if the purpose is to convey accurate information. (But there's) everything wrong with" propagandizing at the expense of truth. "And I'm afraid that's exactly what Al Jazeera" did, supporting imperial intervention.

 

"In both Arabic and English," it features "members of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya," the main CIA/Saudi/French intelligence funded opposition group, then combined with others to form the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition umbrella organization.

 

On February 24, Al Jazeera "hit a new low, (giving) the self-styled 'Crown Prince' of Libya - Muhammad as-Senussi," its so-called heir to the Senussi Crown, a platform to urge "the international community to help remove Gaddafi from power and stop the (claimed) massacre." In fact, most casualties and destruction were caused by daily Western bombing and support for extremist rebels - a combination of untrained civilians, former soldiers, and CIA-backed paramilitary Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) insurgents, cutthroat killers acting as a proxy NATO force. 

 

Al Jazeera's Fall from Grace

 

Launched in November 1996, the satellite channel once aired "dissenting views, for example on call-in shows," according to Wikipedia, adding that it "created controversies" among GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, and its home base, Qatar.

 

Its chairman, Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, is a distant cousin of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. Wadah Khanfar is director general and managing director of the Arabic channel. Ahmed Sheikh is its editor-in-chief, Mohamed Nanabhay holding the same English channel position. 

 

Its Arabic channel reaches 50 million or more global viewers, its English one up to twice as many, a remarkable achievement in less than 15 years with little US penetration where most viewers must do it online. Elsewhere it's available by satellite or cable.

 

Reportedly, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi hosts its most popular program, ash-Shariah wal-Hayat (Shariah and Life) and has significant overall editorial influence. He's written over 80 books, serves as chief religious scholar for IslamOnline, received eight international prizes for Islamic scholarship, and in 2004 was an Oxford University Center for Islamic Studies trustee. In 2008, Foreign Policy magazine ranked him third among public intellectuals worldwide, despite his controversial views. 

 

Since 1999, however, he's prohibited from entering America, and in 2008, Britain refused him a visa. On February 16, Der Spiegel contributor Alexander Smoltczyk headlined, "Islam's Spiritual 'Dear Abby:' Yusuf Qaradawi, The Voice of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood," saying:

 

"(F)ew (others) have as much influence on Sunni Muslims....(He's) a word machine, a one-man talk show that leaves no subject unexamined....He's a driven man. (There's) only one Islamic scholar like (him), who (memorized) the Koran (at age 10)....the only man who can help the faithful understand the world." For the past 15 years, Al Jazeera's broadcast his "Shariah and Life" program Sundays, viewed by up to 60 million Muslims.

 

Now aged 84, he's "a blend of pope and service hotline, a spiritual 'Dear Abby' for all (aspects of) Muslim life," claiming moderate credentials about which some disagree, among other reasons for issuing a pro-Western fatwa against Gaddafi.

 

However, on February 2, 2009, the extremist pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League denounced him for "support(ing) terrorist groups that seek to undermine a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," and for "inciting violence against Jews and Israel."

 

On February 22, the Los Angeles Times headlined, "Libya: Popular TV cleric issues fatwa against Kadafi," 

live on Al Jazeera, saying:

 

"It is not heroism to fight your people and to hit them with missiles....I say to my brothers and sons who are soldiers and officers of the Libyan Army to disobey when (the government) gives orders to kill the people using warplanes....I now issue a fatwa urging officers and soldiers who can to kill" him....This man wants to annihilate the people."

 

Qaradawi, in fact, chose sides, using Al Jazeera's platform to display a remarkable one-sidedness and lack of scholarship for a man of his credentials, ignoring facts to support Western imperial war, conquest, colonization, and exploitation of another Muslim country. As a result, he's Al Jazeera's leading hawk against Libyans and others across the region suffering repressively under despotic regimes, including GCC ones Al Jazeera supports.

 

A Final Comment

 

Al Jazeera feature stories since April 15, include:

 

April 15: "Western leaders insist 'Gaddafi must,' go," vowing to keep fighting until he's gone, quoting Obama, Sarkozy, and Cameron's day before propaganda, saying:

 

"It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government."

 

April 15: "Gaddafi forces 'cluster bombing Misurata,' " based solely on what insurgent leaders as well as Western officials and media claim with no verifiable proof, categorically denied by Libya's military saying they have none.

 

April 19: "Libya death toll 'reaches 10,000,' " again based solely on what insurgents claim, ignoring the toll from heavy NATO bombing, using depleted uranium and other terror weapons.

 

April 22: "(Senator) McCain urges recognition of Libyan 'heros,' " - imperial proxy killers, in fact, Al Jazeera disgracefully supports, propagandizing like their Western media counterparts, allied in the same dirty war on truth.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Egypt

 2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Egypt - by Stephen Lendman

 

In her book, "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," Marjorie Cohn quoted a former CIA agent saying:

 

"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear....you send them to Egypt."

 

In fact, Egypt under Mubarak and current military leadership is proficient in all of the above. These practices go on daily but unmentioned in US media reports, claiming September elections promise democracy, when, in fact, everything changed but stayed the same.

 

Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports on over 190 countries. Its complete one on Egypt can be accessed through the following link:

 

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/160456.pdf

 

It bears repeating that practices under Mubarak continue, including harsh crackdowns, mass arrests and torture of protesters and others challenging regime authority. Emerging democracy in Egypt is nowhere in sight - never, in fact, as long as its military has dominant power, with or without the facade of elected civilians.

 

That said, the State Department's report covered disturbing human rights violations, explaining them by category.

 

Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

 

Security forces "committed arbitrary or unlawful killings during the year." Examples include a 27-year old businessman beaten to death in Alexandria, a 19-year old disappeared and murdered in November, and violent clashes that month with Coptic Christians in Giza, killing two and injuring dozens.

 

In January, security forces attacked other Coptics with automatic weapons after Orthodox Christmas Mass. Seven died, 11 more wounded. Numerous other examples highlight state violence against targeted individuals or groups. Egypt, in fact, is a military junta run police state, tolerating no opposition to its rule.

 

Disappearances

 

According to the UN Human Rights Council, dozens were reported, families given contradictory or no information on the whereabouts of their loved ones.

 

Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

 

"Police, security personnel, and prison guards often tortured and abused prisoners and detainees," some held under Egypt's notorious Emergency Law, in place since 1967, authorizing indefinite detentions. "The government rarely (holds) security officials accountable, and (they) often (operate) with impunity."

 

Domestic and international human rights groups say Egypt's SSIS (State Security Investigations Service), police, and military use torture to extract confessions, including by:

 

-- stripping and blindfolding victims;

 

-- suspending them by their wrists and ankles in painful positions, or from ceilings or door frames with feet barely touching the floor;

 

-- beatings with fists, whips, metal rods, and other objects;

 

-- electric shocks;

 

-- dousing detainees with cold water;

 

-- sleep deprivation;

 

-- sexual abuse, including sodomy; and

 

-- other forms of torture.

 

A previous article explained the following:

 

According to Human Right Watch (HRW) and London Guardian reports, the professed neutrality and public persona of Egypt's military belie its harshness.

 

On February 9, Guardian writer Chris McGreal headlined, "Egypt's army 'involved in detentions and torture,' " saying:

 

Military forces "secretly detained hundreds and possibly thousands of suspected government opponents since mass (anti-Mubarak) protests began, (and) at least some of these detainees have been tortured, according to testimonies gathered by the Guardian."

 

Moreover, HRW and other human rights organizations cited years of army involvement in disappearances and torture. Former detainees confirmed "extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organized campaign of intimidation." Electric shocks, Taser guns, threatened rapes, beatings, disappearances, and perhaps killings left families grieving for loved ones.

 

On February 17, Amnesty International (AI) reported released prisoners saying military personnel used beatings, whippings, electric shocks and other forms of torture and abuse to intimidate them, extract confessions, and get information about others involved in protests.

 

AI said:

 

"The military authorities must intervene to end torture and other abuse of detainees, which we now know to have been taking place in military custody."

 

The worst of these practices continue daily.

 

HRW researcher Heba Morayef said, "I think it's become pretty obvious by now that the military is not a neutral party. The military doesn't want and doesn't believe in the protests and this is even at the lower level, based on the interrogations." 

 

Allied with Washington, the Pentagon and US intelligence, it supports power, not populist change, a dark reality street protesters better grasp to know what's coming from a post-Mubarak regime after elections. Unless challenged, promised reforms will leave entrenched policies in place, enforcing predatory capitalism and police state harshness, what Americans also endure under friendly-face leaders. 

 

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

 

Understating their harshness, the State Department called them "poor," including overcrowding, inferior medicare care, bad hygiene, awful food and enough of it, clean water, proper ventilation, adequate temperature control, and other conditions conforming with international law standards.

 

As a result, TB and other diseases are widespread. Abuse is common, and youths are treated like adults.

 

Arbitrary Arrests or Detention

 

Though prohibited under Egypt's constitution, hundreds, perhaps thousands, are affected without charge under Emergency Law provisions.

 

Police and Security Forces

 

Egypt's SSIS conducts investigations. Its paramilitary CSF (Central Security Forces) maintains public order.

 

"There was no systematic prosecution of security personnel who committed human rights abuses, and impunity (is) a problem." Few accused of torture are investigated, prosecuted or punished.

 

Arrest Procedures and Treatment in Detention

 

Emergency Law arrests and indefinite detentions are common, those held kept incommunicado without access to family members or counsel before facing trial. Many are tortured.

 

Denial of Fair Public Trials

 

In violation of constitutional law, Egypt's judiciary is "subject to executive influence and corruption....State security courts....share jurisdiction with military (ones for matters) affecting national security." As a result, defendants aren't afforded due process protections. Guilty as charged usually prevails.

 

Trial Procedures

 

Trials are public without juries. Observers need permission to attend. Human rights activists are excluded from most military trials. Lawyers get inadequate access to defendants. Justice at best is hit or miss, mostly the latter.

 

Political Prisoners and Detainees

 

Thousands are held at any time without charge indefinitely without access to human rights organizations. Civilians courts also lack independence, especially for politically high-profile cases.

 

Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence

 

In violation of constitutional law, privacy of homes, correspondence, telephone calls, emails, and other means of communication are routinely violated. Moreover, under Egypt's Emergency Law, wiretaps, warrantless searches, property seizures, mail intercepts, and other privacy intrusions routinely occur.

 

Speech and Media Freedom

 

Though constitutionally guaranteed, they're commonly violated through harassment, censorship, arrests, prosecutions, and detentions. Opposition political groups, human rights activists, democracy advocates, and independent journalists are especially at risk.

 

Moreover, Egypt's Ministry of Information owns, controls and operates all ground-based domestic television and radio stations, replacing real reporting with managed news. Independent newspapers and other publications are also targeted for revealing abuses of power. So are authors of books critical of government policies.

 

"The Emergency Law authorizes censorship for reasons of public safety and national security."

 

Internet Freedom

 

Around one-fifth of Egyptians have access, including over 165,000 bloggers, about 20% focusing on politics. Monitoring is routine and occasionally sites are blocked or shut. Moreover, some bloggers and Internet activists are harassed, intimidated, arrested, prosecuted and detained.

 

Academic and Cultural Freedom

 

Academic freedom is severely restricted, using various means, including by installing school administrators to enforce government policies. Students are also routinely harassed and arrested. Moreover, Egypt's Ministry of Culture must approve all scripts and final productions of plays and films, including foreign ones.

 

Freedom of Assembly

 

Though constitutionally guaranteed, it's commonly restricted. "Citizens must obtain approval from the Ministry of Interior before holding public meetings, rallies, and protest marches." Violators are harassed, beaten, arrested, prosecuted and detained.

 

Freedom of Association

 

It's also restricted though guaranteed by law.

 

Freedom of Religion

 

Again, it's constitutionally guaranteed but some practices are restricted. "The status of respect for religious freedom by the government remained poor...."

 

Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

 

Freedom of movement is mostly, but not entirely respected. For example, travel in designated military zones is prohibited, and males who haven't completed compulsory military service can't travel abroad or emigrate. Moreover, no legislative framework exists for granting asylum, and refugees are only admitted short-term, provided the UNHCR assumes full responsibility.

 

Respect for Political Rights

 

Electoral procedures are constitutionally mandated, but in practice they're easily subverted. Mubarak, for example, ruled for almost 30 years, easily winning "elections" with overwhelming personal and parliamentary majorities despite governing despotically.

 

Official Corruption and Government Transparency

 

It's prevalent at lower levels and rampant at higher ones. Mubarak is believed to have stolen billions. A February 4 London Guardian Phillip Inman article suggested his wealth approached $70 billion in UK and Swiss banks, as well as US, UK, and Sharm el-Sheikh property. His sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also billionaires. Like other global despots and many corporate bosses, he made his money the old-fashioned way. He stole it, stashing most discretely offshore.

 

Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons

 

Despite constitutional protections, these practices commonly exist. Moreover, no prohibitions against domestic violence or spousal abuse exist, despite both being significant ongoing problems. Moreover, sexual harassment isn't criminalized, nor sex tourism in Luxor, Sharm El-Sheikh or other tourist areas. A shocking 2008 report found 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign ones faced daily sexual harassment and/or abuse.

 

Persons with Disabilities

 

Discrimination commonly exists despite legal requirements for businesses to fill 5% of their positions with physically or mentally disabled persons. Overall, widespread societal discrimination exists.

 

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

 

HIV/AIDS positive individuals, gays, and lesbians are socially stigmatized in society.

 

Worker Rights

 

A previous article explained poverty wages, few benefits, high unemployment, the state-controlled Trade Union Federation (TUC) subordinating worker rights to demands of government and private sector enterprises, prohibition of strikes and collective bargaining, corruption, mismanagement, mistreatment, short-term contracts for temporary workers, and other job related abuses.

 

A Final Comment

 

Overall, the State Department's report reveals disturbing civil and human rights violations, continuing unabated since Mubarak's ouster. As a result, anyone challenging military junta rule faces harassment, arrest, detention, torture, and imprisonment. 

 

Expect little to change after scheduled September elections, installing new faces to continue old practices, unless sustained Arab spring fervor achieves otherwise, a dim prospect but possible.

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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