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Israel’s ‘crisis of legitimacy’

Jared Malsin – 13/04/2010

I know something about how Israel’s security forces treat journalists they view as hostile. In January, I was held for over a week in a dingy detention center at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport before being deported.

Before I was detained, I was interrogated in a spare, windowless office in the airport about news articles I had authored in my two and a half years working in the occupied West Bank for the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

At one point, the security officer, a woman with piercing blue eyes who never identified herself, paged through the contacts in my cell phones, demanding that I provide information about sources, colleagues, and friends whose numbers I had stored. I refused.

She set the phones down on her desk and I, without thinking, reached for them. She stopped me. “In this office, you have no rights,” the interrogator explained. I didn’t see the phones, like the rest of my possessions, until I was expelled to New York eight days later.

So it’s natural that I’ve been following and investigating for weeks the case of Anat Kamm, the Israeli journalist and former soldier who has been under secret house arrest for months over allegations she leaked military documents, and Uri Blau, the reporter who reportedly used those papers to expose a West Bank assassinations program that violates even Israel’s own laws.

Like me, Blau, a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, also finds himself unable to return to Israel.

I’m not Israeli, and Blau’s situation is different and, in important ways, much more severe than mine. But I believe I can empathize, on some basic level, with the Kafkaesque turn his life has taken.

Blau is in hiding in London, fearing arrest if he returns to his home country. He exposed documents that proved the military was violating a High Court of Justice order by authorizing the killing of Islamic Jihad leaders, even when innocents were also killed.

Blau wrote an article in Friday’s newspaper explaining how he went on vacation in December not knowing the extent to which he was under surveillance: “When I left Israel I had no reason to believe our planned trip would suddenly turn into a spy movie whose end is not clear.”

“I certainly didn’t think I’d have to stay in London and wouldn’t be able to return to Tel Aviv as a journalist and a free man, only because I published reports that were not convenient to the establishment,” he wrote.

Israel’s General Security Service (GSS, known casually as the Shin Bet) suspects Blau received the documents from Kamm, a writer for the popular Israeli news and entertainment site Walla!, who obtained the papers during her mandatory military service years earlier.

For months, Israeli authorities banned publication of any information on the case, or even mentioning the gag order.

After weeks of news of the case leaking out in blogs and Palestinian and international media (including a Ma’an investigation that I assisted), the government caved in and lifted the gag order on Thursday. The floodgates were opened.

Now that Blau and his editors at Haaretz can freely report their side of the story, much of what I learned from sources close to the case in recent weeks has been confirmed.

We now know, for example, that security agents raided Blau’s apartment, and that they seized and destroyed his computer.

We also know that Blau was the original focus of the Shin Bet’s investigation, and that his reports were at the heart of the case.

I spoke with Israeli historian Avner Cohen, an expert on Israeli state secrecy and the author of Israel and the Bomb, a book on the history of the Israeli nuclear program, about the matter.

Cohen said the Israeli state’s motivation in investigating Blau was varied, above all a “breach of field security,” but also a sense of political embarrassment over Blau’s reports. Blau, he said, “was able to put his hands on lots of stuff that was offensive and biting to many people.”

“It is evident that the GSS were performing all sorts of close surveillance on Uri Blau and it appears it led them to find Anat Kamm,” he added.

Over the years, Blau has made a career of exposing wrongdoing by his country’s armed forces. His associates say that, at the age of 19, he began spending his days getting military sources to confirm reports of abuses gathered by senior Haaretz reporters.

I was told that Blau would drive around the West Bank, near the scene of military action, offering rides to soldiers who would then corroborate reports of wrongdoing. Today, he is known to have a deep network of military sources.

Last year, Blau wrote a disturbing exposé about army-endorsed T-shirts, worn by Israeli soldiers, depicting pregnant Palestinian women in a sniper’s crosshairs, among other grotesque images.

He also revealed a secret military database that exposed the true nature and extent of Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements. Seventy-five percent of the settlements were illegal under Israel’s own domestic law, the data showed.

The report that triggered the current controversy was published in November 2008. It cited confidential army documents showing that the military violated a High Court ruling by ordering the 2007 assassination of an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, even when arrest was possible, and even when civilians were endangered. The article cited a March 2007 document in which Major-General Yair Naveh authorized forces to shoot three Jihad officials on sight.

In an editorial in Friday’s paper, Haaretz confirmed that Blau was summoned by Shin Bet in September 2009 and told to return documents that he used in preparing several articles.

Haaretz said it signed an agreement with the security agency under which Blau would hand over some documents but would not face further questioning, that his sources would be protected, and that the papers would not be used in any potential prosecution.

The newspaper also noted that the Shin Bet broke this agreement by detaining Kamm on the suspicion that she was Blau’s source, and by announcing in January 2009 that Blau was “wanted for questioning.”

In its editorial, Haaretz underlined the central moral irony of the case: the controversy over Blau’s reporting on so-called “sensitive” security matters hides the real issue: Israel’s military circumvented the High Court by authorizing targeted assassinations outside of the rules of engagement.

“In reality, however, the crime in question is far more severe – the one committed by the security apparatus (GOC Central Command in particular) in ignoring a High Court order and approving the targeted assassination of wanted men who could otherwise have been detained, in strikes that claimed the lives of innocent civilians,” Haaretz’s editorial board wrote.

Regardless, many unanswered questions remain. What information was contained in the other documents that Blau was forced to hand over? What other, even more unsettling secrets might still be submerged in the recesses of Israeli bureaucracy?

Beyond this, what motivated the Shin Bet to commit the blunder of seeking a court-ordered gag order that embarrassingly collapsed under inevitable media pressure?

Avner Cohen told me he thought one aspect of the motivation was related to “Israeli sensitivity about the Goldstone report,” referring to the UN fact-finding mission that accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during its offensive on Gaza last year.

Cohen said the underlying context in the Kamm-Blau case is concern within the Israeli government about a “crisis of legitimacy” sparked by the allegations in the Goldstone report.

“There is a nervousness in Israel,” he said. “There is a sense that what has been tolerated by the world for decades, the occupation, the checkpoints and so on, that there is less and less tolerance for Israel as occupier.”

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | Comments Off on Israel’s ‘crisis of legitimacy’

Where Your Taxes Go

The Pentagon’s Escalating Share

By DAVE LINDORFF | April 13, 2010

If you’re like me, now that we’re in the week that federal income taxes are due, you are finally starting to collect your records and prepare for the ordeal. Either way, whether you are a procrastinator like me, or have already finished and know how much you have paid to the government, it is a good time to stop and consider how much of your money goes to pay for our bloated and largely useless and pointless military.

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this Oct. 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting the funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America’s imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government). Meanwhile, the military share of the budget works out to about $1.6 trillion.

That figure includes the Pentagon budget request of $708 billion, plus an estimated $200 billion in supplemental funding, called “overseas contingency funding” in euphemistic White House-speak), to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some $40 billion or more in “black box” intelligence agency funding, $94 billion in non-DOD military spending (that’s for stuff like the military share of NASA funding, the miilitary operations of the Dept. of Homeland Security and the military activities of the State Dept., etc.), $100 billion in veterans benefits and health care spending, and $400 billion in interest on debt raised to pay for prior wars and the standing military.

The 2011 military budget, by the way, is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation-adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out war footing.

This military spending in all its myriad forms represents 53.3% of total US federal spending.

It’s also a budget that is rising at a faster pace than any other part of the budget (with the possible exception of bailing out crooked Wall Street financial firms and their managers). For the past decade, and continuing under the present administration, military budgets have been rising at a 9% annual clip, making health care inflation look tame by comparison.

US military spending isn’t just half of the US budget. It is also half of the entire global spending on war and weaponry. In 2009, according to the venerable War Resisters League, US military spending accounted for 47% of all money spent globally on war, weapons and military preparedness, and that share has certainly risen in the subsequent two years. What makes that staggering figure particularly ridiculous is that America’s allies–countries like France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Japan–account for another 21% of the world’s military spending. Fully 12 of the top-spenders among big military-spending nations are either allies of the US, or are friendly countries like Brazil and India. That is to say, America and its friends and allies account for more than two-thirds of all military spending worldwide.

Who is the real threat to peace here?

China, in contrast, probably the closest thing to a real “threat” to American interests because of America’s treaty commitments to the island nation of Taiwan, and China’s claim that the island is an integral part of the PRC, spends only some $130 billion on its military, much of which is actually devoted to maintaining military control over the country’s own 1.3 billion people, some of whom might prefer to be independent, or to be freer, if they weren’t under a military jackboot.

The next biggest military spender, Russia, spends less than $80 billion a year on its decrepit military–one-twentieth of the US, and isn’t even technically an enemy of the America anymore. Its military is largely busy keeping restive regions from spinning off from the mother country, anyhow.

Meanwhile Iran, which the White House and Congress are portraying as America’s arch enemy despite its not having invaded another country in hundreds of years, isn’t even on the list of the top 17 military big-spenders. Iran’s current military budget is a teensy $4.8 billion, about the same as the estimated $5 billion spent on the military by North Korea–America’s other “major enemy.” Each of those country’s military budgets is about one-quarter of the military budget of Australia, or a third of the military budget of the Netherlands.

Just to give one an idea of how small $4.8 billion is in comparison to the $1.6 trillion that the US is spending each year on war and planning for war, that number is roughly what the Pentagon plans to spend over the next year on childcare and youth programs, morale and recreation programs and commissaries on its bases! It’s about what the Pentagon will spend acquiring replacement Seahawk, Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters this year.

For the average American, what all this means is that of every dollar you send to the IRS, 53 cents will be going to pay for blowing stuff up, fattening the wallets of colonels, admirals and generals, bloating the portfolios of investors in military industries, and of course funding the bonuses paid to executives of those companies, and the campaign chests and expense accounts of the members of Congress who vote for these outlandish budgets. Your money will also be going to pay for the salaries and the bullets of those brave heroes over in Afghanistan who are executing kids, killing pregnant women (and then digging out the bullets and claiming they were stabbed by their families), and for the anti-personnel weapons that are creating legions of legless Afghan kids.

Next time you hear that the government needs to cut funds for providing medical care to the children of laid-off workers, or that supplemental unemployment funds are running out, next time you hear that federal funds that are needed to fund extra teachers at your school are being cut, or that Social Security benefits need to be cut back, or the retirement age needs to be increased to 70, next time you hear that your local post office has to be shut down for lack of funds, next time you hear that Medicare benefits need to be reduced, think about that 53% of your tax payment that is going to finance the most enormous war machine the world has ever known.

And ask yourself: Is this really necessary? Is this really where I want my money going? Is this really making us safer, or our nation more secure?

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation Into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu Jamal. He can be reached at

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Militarism | Comments Off on Where Your Taxes Go

UK’s discriminatory criminalization of dissent

Sarah Irving, The Electronic Intifada, 13 April 2010
London police are accused of leveling discriminatory charges against Muslim Gaza solidarity protesters. (Medyan Dairieh/MaanImages)

“We are very angry, very afraid, very sad, very upset. My wife, she is depressed. When she sees police in the street she’s very frightened. They destroyed our life,” says Badi Tebani.

In January 2009, Tebani’s teenage son Yahia was one of tens of thousands of people who joined demonstrations in London against the Israeli bombing of Gaza. At one of those demonstrations Yahia and many others were “kettled” — surrounded by a police cordon and slowly let out in return for giving their names and addresses and for being filmed.

That was the last Yahia knew of it until the following April, when the family home was raided by 20 to 30 police at 5am. The front door was forced open and Badi Tebani and his family were ordered to lie on the floor. His four sons were all handcuffed. Three police officers knelt on the back of Hamza, 23. He was sleeping in shorts, but they refused to let him put on any clothes, even though they’d opened the windows, letting in the cold. Computers, mobile phones and clothes were all taken and the family car was broken into. Badi and Hamza described how police played games on the boys’ iPhones and made themselves coffee in the kitchen.

According to Badi, it was worse than anything he experienced back in Algeria. Badi is an Algerian who came to the UK seeking political asylum from the violence between the government and military and the political opposition which left 200,000 dead during the 1990s. He has taught here ever since.

The entire family was shocked when they discovered that it was Yahia the police were after. “He is a student at university, he has never has been in prison or in trouble with the police,” says Badi Tebani. “He’s always had a good character, good behavior.”

Yahia was later charged with violent disorder, an offense which carries a jail term of up to five years. He says that during the demonstration he took a chair from a nearby Starbucks to sit on, but police alleged that the cafe was trashed and the furniture used as weapons. Yahia was advised that if he pleaded guilty to the charge he would get community service, so he followed his lawyer’s advice. He didn’t know that most of the protesters who did the same were being sent straight to jail, so he was shocked when a friend was handed a two-year sentence. Yahia is now serving a one-year prison term.

“It’s a very big shock,” says Badi Tebani. “I visited Yahia during the week. He is the kind of person where you don’t know what he is thinking, but I know he is very, very sad, very upset. He will lose a year at university. His friend was sentenced to two years, he just took a stick in his hand for a few minutes, he didn’t throw it, he didn’t do anything. Another, he was sentenced to a year just because he went on the demonstration — he’s 16, he’s at college doing his A levels. They all fear the future because with a criminal record, it’s difficult to find a job.”

“They can’t say our boys are criminals,” continues Tebani. “They demonstrated to support people in Gaza. All the world knows what happened there, how many people were killed, how many houses destroyed. I think the real criminal is Israel. If any judge in the world needs to judge anyone, he needs to judge those responsible in Israel. People tried to help, to stop the catastrophe in Gaza, to ask the British government to stop the war. But the government sends them to jail.”

According to figures collated by Joanna Gilmore of Manchester University, Yahia Tebani is one of 119 individuals arrested at or after the demonstrations. The youngest person arrested was 12, although the average age was 18 or 19. Almost all of the demonstrators charged with violent disorder were Muslim, despite the mixed nature of the protests, which were supported by majority-white organizations like the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as well as by Islamic groups.

At least 22 persons have been given custodial sentences, with terms of up to 30 months. Most of these have come from Judge Denniss at Isleworth Crown Court in West London, who has made it clear that he is imposing “deterrent” sentences. A 15-year-old boy was given a non-custodial sentence which involves a curfew and an electronic tag, while a Palestinian who only days earlier had seen images in the newspapers of dead relatives in Gaza was given a two-year jail term.

According to Gilmore, the number of arrests and sentences resulting from the Gaza protests are far greater than those from much larger and more violent anti-war and anti-capitalist demonstrations which have taken place in London.

Lawyer Matt Foot, who is acting for several of the protesters, agrees. “The dawn raids were an extreme measure,” he says. “It’s the first time I’ve come across it on a large scale in recent times for this kind of offense. It was used in the 1980s for the miners’ strike, and in smaller numbers for an anti-Bush demonstration.”

Foot also says he believes that too many people were arrested in the first place, and then that demonstrators were “over-charged” in relation to their actual actions. “At the anti-Bush demonstration, very few people got convicted of violent disorder and if they did they got non-custodial sentences, the judge certainly didn’t talk about deterrent sentences then.” He acknowledges that Islamophobia could have played a part in the decision to arrest and charge so many people with such serious offenses.

“That’s one of the differences with the anti-Bush protests,” Foot adds. “Very few white people were charged in the end. It’s not necessarily the judge’s fault — I think they were over-charged, too many people were charged and I think the courts have then seen 60 people coming through on violent disorder and reacted in a certain way. I think the mischief comes from too many people being arrested and then being over-charged.”

Joanna Berridge of the Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign fears that the British authorities are using the Gaza protests as an “easy target” to suppress political demonstrations more widely, playing on widespread Islamophobia to set legal precedents which can then be used against other protesters. “It’s first about political policing of protest, with the Islamophobia feeding into it,” she claims.

Foot also points to a lack of coordination between the different cases as having resulted in badly-advised guilty pleas. According to Joanna Berridge, the Islamic Human Rights Commission and a few individual activists distributed information on lawyers and protesters’ legal rights at the demonstrations, but it seems that many of the organizations who called for the protests didn’t follow suit. This, coupled with the fact that many of the arrests happened up to eight months after the protests, meant that many defendants have ended up with duty solicitors from their local police stations, rather than lawyers with specialized knowledge of defending protesters.

“In comparison with the G20 protests, the demographic of the protesters is very different,” says Berridge. “People from movements like Climate Camp knew how to protect themselves, whereas for a lot of the guys on the Gaza demos, it was a spontaneous thing. It was the first march many of them had been on, so they didn’t know their rights. The deterrent sentences have mainly been handed out to people who pleaded guilty, while the majority of those with more legal know-how, who have been involved in protests before, have had their cases thrown out before they even got to court, or been found not guilty.”

The Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign has responded to the need for better legal knowledge amongst Palestine solidarity campaigners by organizing legal observer trainings. They are also offering practical support, such as translation and refreshments, to the defendants and their families at court, and fundraising for families who have lost breadwinners to jail terms.

A second campaign, run by the Stop The War Coalition, has collected more than 1,500 signatures on a petition against the sentences. Jeremy Corbyn, Labor MP for Islington North, called some of the sentences “extraordinary and out of all proportion to the crimes committed.” The campaign also tabled a parliamentary question on the policing of the protests, which also attracted 55 complaints to the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. A number of these were dropped because the ID numbers on officers’ uniforms had been covered up.

As Matt Foot puts it, “The judges hand down these deterrent sentences and it’s about real people’s lives. They say, ‘these are people of good character’ and then start locking up young people who just care about what’s happening in Palestine, the whole thing becomes hideous.”

“I think the result of these cases on a larger scale will impact heavily on future rights to protest,” emphasizes Joanna Berridge. “It’s really important that these boys don’t get used as an example, because this will stay on their record for years. They were protesting about something as widely recognized as war crimes against Gaza. That’s not been taken into account but it should really be focused on, that these brave and conscious young people were going out and taking a stand and are having their lives ruined as a result.”

Sarah Irving is a freelance writer from Manchester, UK. She worked with the International Solidarity Movement in the occupied West Bank in 2001-02 and with Olive Co-op, promoting fair trade Palestinian products and solidarity visits, in 2004-06. She now writes full-time on a range of issues, including Palestine, “,” Her first book, Gaza: Beneath the Bombs, co-authored with Sharyn Lock, was published in January 2010.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | 4 Comments

Katyn and ‘The Good War’

By Patrick J. Buchanan | April 13, 2010

The decapitation of the Polish government last weekend, including President Lech Kaczynski and the military leadership, on that flight to Smolensk to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, brings to mind the terrible and tragic days and deeds of what many yet call the Good War.

From Russian reports, the Polish pilot waved off four commands from air traffic control to divert to Moscow or Minsk. The airfield at Smolensk was fogged in. There is speculation that Kaczynski, fiercely nationalistic and distrustful of Russians, may have defiantly ordered his pilot to land, rather than delay the 70th anniversary of Katyn. The symbolism is inescapable.

For it was Polish defiance of Adolf Hitler’s demand to negotiate the return of Danzig, a German town put under Polish control after World War I, that gave birth to the Hitler-Stalin Pact, which led to Katyn.

After the German invasion on Sept. 1, 1939, ignited the war, Joseph Stalin attacked Poland from the east on Sept. 17, capturing much of the Polish officer corps.

In April 1940, on Stalin’s order, the Soviet Secret Police, the NKVD, murdered virtually the entire leadership of the nation, including 8,000 officers and near twice that number of intellectuals and civilian leaders. Some 4,000 were shot with their hands tied behind their backs in Katyn Forest.

The Germans unearthed the bodies in 1943 and invited the Red Cross in to examine the site. Through newspapers found on the corpses, the date of the atrocity was fixed as more than a year before the German army invaded the Soviet Union.

When Polish patriots, whose sons had flown with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, went to Winston Churchill to demand that he get answers from Stalin about the atrocity, he brushed them off.

“There is no sense prowling around the three-year-old graves of Smolensk,” said the Great Man.

At Stalin’s request, Churchill bullied the Poles into acceding to Soviet annexation of all the Polish land Stalin had been awarded for signing his pact with Hitler.

At the Nuremberg trials, the Russian delegation, led by Andrei Vishinsky, the prosecutor who did Stalin’s dirty work in the purge trials, charged the Germans with the massacre.

This presented a problem for the Americans and British who knew the truth. They finessed the issue by leaving the charge unresolved.

Before, during, and after the Nuremberg trials that would convict the Nazis of “crimes against humanity,” one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history was being committed. Fifteen million Germans – old men, women, children – were driven like cattle out of ancestral homes in Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia, and the Sudetenland.

As human rights champion Alfred de Zayas wrote in his courageous Nemesis at Potsdam: The Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the Germans, perhaps 2 million died in the exodus. Few German women in Eastern Europe escaped rape.

The Allies turned a blind eye to the monstrous atrocity, as ancient names vanished. Memel became Klaipeda. Prussia disappeared. Koenigsberg, the city of Immanuel Kant, became Kaliningrad. Danzig became Gdansk. Breslau became Wroclaw.

“The Germans deserved it, for what they did,” comes the retort.

Undeniably, the Nazi atrocities were numerous and horrible – against Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews.

Yet, it was innocent Germans who paid for the crimes of the guilty Germans.

What happened in Eastern and Central Europe from 1939 to 1948 provided proof, if any more were really needed, of the truth of W.H. Auden’s insight in his poem “September 1, 1939″: “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.”

At war’s end, Churchill and Harry Truman agreed to repatriate 2 million Soviet prisoners of war to Stalin, none of whom wished to go back. For return to Russia meant death at the railhead or a short, brutal life at slave labor in the Gulag Archipelago.

Operation Keelhaul was the name given the Allied collusion with the Red Army in transferring these terrified POWs back to their deaths at the hands of the same Soviet butchers who had done the murdering at Katyn.

On Sept. 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany to restore the integrity and independence of Poland. For this great goal they converted a German-Polish clash that lasted three weeks into a world war lasting six years.

And was Poland saved? No. Poland was crucified.

As a consequence of the war begun on her behalf, millions of Poles – Jews and Catholics alike – perished, the Katyn massacre was carried out, the Home Army was annihilated, the nation suffered five years of Nazi rule and almost half a century of communist persecution.

The tragedy of today is that it was men of the postwar generation, like Lech Kaczynski, who kept the faith of their fathers and led Poland out of that darkness into the sunlight of freedom, who died seeking to pay homage to their fathers who suffered one of the greatest crimes of that bloodiest of centuries.


See also: Russia posts Katyn massacre documents on Internet

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Deception, War Crimes | 4 Comments

At Least 21 Civilians Killed in Mogadishu Violence

Most Die as AU Troops Shell Residential Area

By Jason Ditz | April 12, 2010

Violence in the Somali capital of Mogadishu today killed at least 21 civilians and two government soldiers, and left scores injured. The bulk of the civilian toll came, as it so often does in Mogadishu, with AU shelling against a densely populated residential area.

The first attack involved a bombing attack against a government convoy, which left two government soldiers and four civilians dead. Another civilian was reported to have died of injuries related to a mortar attack on the airport.

The African Union forces responded by shelling a residential neighborhood near the city’s main marketplace, killing at least 16 and wounding 55 others. The head of the city’s ambulance service was highly critical of the AU attack.

It was indiscriminate shelling,” he noted, adding it was the worst such incident in months. The Somali government confirmed the shelling but declined to offer any details about why the neighborhood was targeted.

But AU troops have regularly shelled the area around the Bakara market, one of the most populated in the city, in “retaliation” after insurgent attacks. The AU has in the past claimed that any areas outside government control are fair game for shelling, but as the self-proclaimed Somali government controls only a few city blocks near the presidential palace this has placed the vast majority of the Somali populace directly in the crosshairs.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | War Crimes | Comments Off on At Least 21 Civilians Killed in Mogadishu Violence

Gaza: Clash with Israeli force kills 2 fighters

Ma’an – 13/04/2010

Gaza – Two fighters were killed and two others injured in clashes with Israeli forces near the Al-Bureij refugee camp following an Israeli military incursion into the Strip early Tuesday.

Medical sources at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah initially confirmed one dead and two injured, as eyewitnesses said Israeli artillery vehicles shelled the area while helicopters opened machine gun fire.

Until late in the morning, ambulances were unable to access the area to evacuate the injured, medics confirmed. By 2:30pm, however, medics reached the area and identified two slain fighters.

Islamic Jihad’s militant wing the Al-Quds Brigades said fighters with the units were involved in fierce clashes with an Israeli military force which attempted to cross the border. The group said its combatants hit their targets directly.

Israeli media said there were no soldiers injured in the attack, and said the incident was precipitated when Israeli forces saw a group of Palestinians planting an explosive device near the border, where Israel enforces a 150-300 meter no-go zone used for continued military control of the area.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the media report, noting a vehicle on a regular patrol in the border area identified the fighters, calling in armored vehicles and the Israeli airforce to assist in the attack.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Gaza: Clash with Israeli force kills 2 fighters