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Shame behind the silence of America over Israeli crimes

By Paul J. Balles | 5 June 2010

The Gulf Daily News (2 June 2010) headlined a front-page article “The silence of America”. Questions were submitted to the American embassy, the White House, US State Department and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The article concluded: THE RESPONSE WAS SILENCE. The questions posed in that article deserve a response, but not the twists provided by Israeli apologists or Zionist controlled Washington.

Why, after all the years of total blind US support for Israel, would anyone expect anything different? Here are the questions and my answers:

1. What will it take before the US even condemns Israel’s behaviour?

Answer: A provable catastrophe committed by Israel resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans. Israel’s behaviour has no judge other than Israel. Their behaviour will remain unchecked until a significant number of Americans suffer from the reality and become enraged.

2. How many people must die at the hands of Israelis before the US will take action against their behaviour? Ten people? 1,000? 10,000?

Answer: Consider how many Palestinian (6,348 between 2000 and 2009) and Lebanese (1,401 in two unprovoked raids) civilians have died unnoticed by America. Remember the provocation by Israel and the execution by America in Iraq; add another 1,366,350 innocents. To the Israelis, what’s another 10 murders in a humanitarian flotilla to Gaza?

3. Why is the US so against an independent inquiry into the flotilla incident?

Answer: The facts of such an inquiry, like the Goldstone inquiry into the carnage of Operation Cast Lead, would be ignored and the truth of its conclusions denied. Israel says “no independent inquiry”. America follows.

4. Any armed attack on any vessel in international waters would be deemed an act of piracy or war by most countries. Is the US definition of piracy and war different from the rest of the world?

Answer: If the pirates are Somalis, no. Pirates are pirates. If the pirates are Israelis, yes. Pirates become transformed into defence forces.

5. How would the US expect the crew or passengers of a civilian US ship to react if it was boarded by a foreign force in international waters? Would it expect them to defend themselves?

Answer: Bow, submit and genuflect if the foreign force is Israeli naval pirates. The victims of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty – an American military ship – were silenced even though the combined air and sea attack killed 34 (naval officers, seamen, two Marines and a civilian), wounded 171 and severely damaged the ship. At the time, the ship was in international waters.

6. The US says it does not consider itself to be at war with Islam, but how can it possibly hope for trust from the Muslim world and elsewhere when it tacitly backs such acts?

Answer: If the American position was honest, we would say, “We’re not at war with Islam; we’re only at war with Muslims.” When is the Muslim world going to waken to the American double talk that’s convenient only for Israel and America?

7. Does the US condemn the detention of four Bahraini civilians and others onboard the flotilla in international waters?

Answer: Fortunately, the Bahraini humanitarians have been released and returned home. The US has not and never will condemn Israel for being what ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon described as “an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia”.

The US response? President Obama expressed “deep regret at the loss of life”. Ultimately, Obama will follow Netanyahu’s attempt to justify the actions of the Israeli soldiers, saying they were “defending themselves” after being attacked. The same old political scam.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | 4 Comments

The Irony, It Burns …

By Willis Eschenbach | Watts Up With That? | June 3, 2010

Anthony commented yesterday on the question of atolls and sea level rise here, and I had previously written on the subject in my post “Floating Islands“. However, Anthony referenced a paper which was incorrectly linked by New Scientist. So I thought I’d provide some more information on the actual study, entitled “The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific”, by Arthur Webb and Paul Kench.

One of the ironies of the new paper involves the atoll of Amatuku in the island nation of Tuvalu. Amatuku became the first poster child of “drowning atolls” due to an article in the July/August 2003 issue of Sierra Magazine, the magazine of the Sierra Club. The article was entitled “High Tide in Tuvalu”, with the sub-title “In the tropical Pacific, climate change threatens to create a real-life Atlantis.” Here’s a recent photo of “Atlantis”:

Figure 1. Photo taken in the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu (8°S, 179°E), showing Amatuku Atoll and the abandoned causeway. PHOTO SOURCE

In the Sierra Magazine article the author described the terrifying effects of “global warming” on Amatuku Atoll, site of the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute:

To explain global warming in stark detail, all Tito Tapungao has to do is show a visitor around the grounds of his school. Dressed in his sailor’s pressed whites, the chief executive officer of the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute points out a small brick cabin built by missionaries in 1903. Now, a century later, annual high tides rise halfway up the bedposts.

YIKES! Be very afraid. So what is the irony in the new study?

Well, I’ll get to that. But first, a bit of history. The Sierra Magazine article was what impelled me to write my 2004 paper (Word Doc) on Tuvalu. I read that article, and my urban legend detector started ringing like crazy. Consider: the missionaries’ cabin was likely built a metre or so above high tide. Add another half metre for the floor, and a half metre to get “halfway up the bedposts” … no way, I thought, that the sea level has risen two metres in Tuvalu.

Upon further investigation, I found out that the answer was already known, because geologists had studied (pdf) the area. They found the changes in the shape of Amatuku Atoll were a result of changing currents from major alterations made in the reef during World War Two. A channel was cut from the lagoon to Amatuku, and a causeway was constructed between Amatuku and nearby Malitefale Atoll. Fill to make the causeway came from “borrow pits”, holes dug in the reef flats to provide coral rubble for the construction. And some decades after the war, further borrow pits were dug to provide building materials for the Maritime Institute. The swimmers in the Fig. 1 are swimming in one of the old borrow pits. Here’s an aerial view of the changes:

Figure 2. Amatuku and Malitefale Atolls, Tuvalu, South Pacific. Amatuku is less than a kilometre long.

As you can see, the changes in the reef structure were quite extensive. All of these alterations in the reef changed the currents around the two atolls. And of course, as a result, the shape of the atolls changed. This change in shape is to be expected – after all, atolls are just piles of sand and rubble in the middle of a wild ocean. One of the results was the erosion (not from CO2, not from warming, not from sea level rise, but erosion from man-made changes in the reef) of the corner of the atoll where the missionaries’ cabin was located.

Over the years since I published my paper, I’ve taken a lot of heat for my claims. I’ve gotten plenty of irate emails from folks in Tuvalu and around the world, emails castigating me for suggesting that the rising sea levels won’t drown the atolls, emails impugning my ancestry, emails saying we’d soon see thousands of “climate refugees” from Tuvalu, emails proposing that I perform anatomically implausible acts of sexual auto-congress, and mostly emails saying that I was clearly wrong, that it was patently obvious that rising sea levels would inevitably drown the atolls, duh, so there.

OK, enough history. I got a pre-publication copy of the current paper under discussion from one of my secret underground (underwater?) sources, my thanks to WS. The abstract of the paper says (emphasis mine):

Abstract

Low-lying atoll islands are widely perceived to erode in response to measured and future sea level rise. Using historical aerial photography and satellite images this study presents the first quantitative analysis of physical changes in 27 atoll islands in the central Pacific over a 19 to 61 year period. This period of analysis corresponds with instrumental records that show a rate of sea level rise of 2.0 mm.y-1 in the Pacific.

Results show that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 hectares. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes. This was expressed as changes in the planform configuration and position of islands on reef platforms. Modes of island change included: ocean shoreline displacement toward the lagoon; lagoon shoreline progradation; and, extension of the ends of elongate islands. Collectively these adjustments represent net lagoonward migration of islands in 65% of cases.

Results contradict existing paradigms of island response and have significant implications for the consideration of island stability under ongoing sea level rise in the central Pacific. First, islands are geomorphologically persistent features on atoll reef platforms and can increase in island area despite sea level change. Second; islands are dynamic landforms that undergo a range of physical adjustments in responses to changing boundary conditions, of which sea level is just one factor. Third, erosion of island shorelines must be reconsidered in the context of physical adjustments of the entire island shoreline as erosion may be balanced by progradation on other sectors of shorelines. Results indicate that the style and magnitude of geomorphic change will vary between islands. Therefore, Island nations must place a high priority on resolving the precise styles and rates of change that will occur over the next century and reconsider the implications for adaption.

Ahhh, vindication is sweet. The authors agreed totally with what I had written in 2004. Rising sea levels don’t destroy atolls, and their shape is always changing. Exactly what I had taken so much heat for saying.

In addition to the Abstract, the Conclusions of the paper are quite interesting. Here are some extracts (emphasis mine):

Conclusions

The future persistence of low-lying reef islands has been the subject of considerable international concern and scientific debate. Current rates of sea level rise are widely believed to have destabilised islands promoting widespread erosion and threatening the existence of atoll nations. This study presents analysis of the physical change in 27 atoll islands located in the central Pacific Ocean over the past 20 to 60 years, a period over which instrumental records indicate an increase in sea level of the order of 2.0 mm y-1.

The results show that island area has remained largely stable or increased over the timeframe of analysis. Forty-three percent of islands increased in area by more than 3% with the largest increases of 30% on Betio (Tarawa atoll) and 28.3% on Funamanu (Funafuti atoll [the main atoll in Tuvalu – w.]). There is no evidence of large scale reduction in island area despite the upward trend in sea level. Consequently, islands have predominantly been persistent or expanded in area on atoll rims for the past 20 to 60 years.

… Results of this study contradict widespread perceptions that all reef islands are eroding in response to recent sea level rise. Importantly, the results suggest that reef islands are geomorphically resilient landforms that thus far have predominantly remained static or grown in area over the last 20 – 60 years. Given this positive trend, reef islands may not disappear from atoll rims and other coral reefs in the near-future as speculated. However, islands will undergo continued geomorphic change. Based on the evidence presented in this study it can be expected that the pace of geomorphic change may increase with future accelerated sea level rise. Results do not suggest that erosion will not occur. Indeed, as found in 15% of the islands in this study, erosion may occur on some islands. Rather, island erosion should be considered as one of a spectrum of geomorphic changes that have been highlighted in this study and which also include: lagoon shoreline progradation; island migration on reef platforms; island expansion and island extension. The specific mode and magnitude of geomorphic change is likely to vary between islands. Therefore, island nations must better understand the pace and diversity of island morphological change and consider the implications of island persistence and morphodynamics for future adaptation.

Couldn’t say it better myself … and oh, yeah, what about the irony?

Well, Amatuku, the poster child of disappearing atolls, the threatened “real-life Atlantis”, home of the disappearing missionaries’ cabin, happened to be one of the atolls considered in the study. The authors found that despite the loss of the missionaries’ cabin, Amatuku increased in area by about 5% over the nineteen year period during which it was studied … ah, the irony, it burns.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 3 Comments

Global boycotts of Israel intensify after bloody Flotilla attack

By Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 4 June 2010

Israel’s bloody attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May killing at least nine and injuring dozens of activists carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, has already intensified global actions for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it respects international law and human rights, including endorsement by major trade unions in several countries.

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was on an honorable, peaceful mission in solidarity with the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, challenging the Israeli-imposed blockade that has deprived them of basic necessities and the ability to travel outside their densely populated enclave for four years.

In response to the attack, civil society movements around the world organized protests in dozens of cities. In the Arab world, 285 civil society organizations united around a statement condemning the crime committed against the relief convoy, demanding an end to the blockade and the turning over of Israeli war criminals to international justice. In Palestine, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) declared 5 June 2010 an emergency Global BDS Day of Action, the 43rd anniversary of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The BNC called for increased pressure on governments to start implementing trade sanctions and arms embargoes, and asking trade unions to refuse to handle Israeli goods. The Swedish Port Workers Union decided to blockade all Israeli ships and cargo to and from Israel effective from midnight 15 June to 24 June. The union’s chairman Bjorn Borg told media that it is unclear how many vessels would be affected, but that the most frequent cargos coming from Israel were fruit, while those going to Israel were often industrial products from Sweden.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) also responded immediately. The union appealed for “an escalation of the boycott of Israeli goods and call[ed] upon our fellow trade unionists not to handle them.” And, citing the lead of Swedish dockworkers, called on its own members “not to allow any Israeli ship to dock or unload in any South African port.”

Also in South Africa, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) decided, by a unanimous vote of its Central Executive Committee on 4 June, to “immediately work towards” making every municipality in South Africa “an Apartheid Israel free zone” by ensuring “that there are no commercial, academic, cultural, sporting or other linkages whatsoever with the Israeli regime.” (“SAMWU Declares, Every Municipality an Apartheid Israel Free Zone!,” 4 June 2010). UNITE the largest union in the United Kingdom voted unanimously at its conference in Manchester “to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies” and promote boycott of Israeli goods and services “similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid” (“Unite votes to boycott Israel,” The Jewish Chronicle, 4 June 2010).

The UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, also expressed his support for BDS against Israel for its “murderous behavior.”

Roar Flathen, chairman of the largest Norwegian trade union federation (LO) responded to Israel’s Flotilla massacre by calling on the Norwegian State Pension Fund, the third largest in the world, to divest from all Israeli companies, and demanded the recall of the Norwegian ambassador to Israel. Norwegian pension funds had previously announced divestment from certain Israeli arms companies.

Following the attacks opinion polls in Norway show a major increase in support for BDS. The number respondents planning to boycott Israeli products had increased from 9.5 to 43 percent. Norwegian minister of education and leader of the Socialist Left Party, Kristin Halvorsen, called for an international boycott of arms trade with Israel following Norway’s existing policy.

There is also an intensification of the sporting boycott as Swedish young footballers refused to play in Israel, following a similar decision of the Turkish youth football team who were in Israel at the time of the Flotilla attack but canceled their planned match and returned home.

The Swedish Football Association (SFA) formally requested that European soccer’s governing body UEFA cancel Sweden’s under-21 match, because they felt morally compelled to do so. However, UEFA did not give in to the request, because there are no UN sanctions in place. SFA chairman, Lars-Ake Lagrell, told Swedish radio that he is not worried about reactions or demonstrations against Israeli players in the return match fixed at Old Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg on 3 September 2010. But if precedent is a guide their could be large protests: thousands of Swedes protested the Davis Cup tennis match against Israel in Malmo in March 2009.

The civil society response has been accompanied by an unusually strong reaction from governments as well, which may indicate that public pressure is starting to force a change of policy. Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Egypt, and South Africa among others summoned Israeli ambassadors to express their condemnation of the attack. Due to “unforeseen circumstances,” Israel’s ambassador to Ireland postponed a planned appearance before the parliamentary foreign affairs committee which wanted not only answers about the Israeli actions, but also to question him about Israel’s intentions concerning the Irish-owned ship the Rachel Corrie which is still en route to Gaza with humanitarian aid and several prominent peace activists aboard, including Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.

Meanwhile, Greece suspended joint military exercises with Israel and postponed a visit by Israel’s air force chief. Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv, and its deputy minister, Bulent Arinc, canceled three joint military drills. On 3 June, the energy minister announced that Turkey had suspended all energy and water projects with Israel.

Nicaragua responded to the attack with the suspension of diplomatic relations with Israel. The country reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and urged an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip. South African president Jacob Zuma said in radio interview that if any other country had undertaken action like the attack on the aid flotilla it would be regarded as a pariah. On 3 June, South Africa recalled its ambassador from Israel to demonstrate its strongest condemnation of the attack.

All these actions indicate growing support for the sentiment expressed by Scottish writer Iain Banks who emphasized the need for academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Writing in The Guardian the renowned science fiction author argued that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Settler under house arrest after shooting teens

Ma’an – June 4, 2010

Bethlehem/Hebron – An Israeli settler reportedly turned himself in, telling police he fired shots into the air near Hebron’s Aroub refugee camp on Thursday; shots that hit two high school boys witnesses said.

The office of Prim Minister Salam Fayyad released witness testimonies on Friday morning, naming citizens who said they saw the unidentified settler shoot at a group of highschoolers returning home after completing an end-of year exam.

Moataz Moussa Omran Banat, 16, was seriously injured in the abdomen and thigh, and Ibrahim Mohammed, also 16, was shot in the chest.

An Israeli police spokesman told Ma’an that an Israeli man turned himself into police on Thursday evening, saying he gave an account of what happened at the police station and was questioned by officers.

The man, who remains unidentified, told police that he shot his weapon into the air. The spokesman said he was put under house arrest as the investigation continues.

Medics at the Al-Ahali Hospital told Ma’an that Moataz remains in the ICU but has been stabilized, and Ibrahim is set to have a second surgery on Friday, and has remained in stable condition since admission to the facility.

According to the prime minister’s office, witnesses said the settler shot randomly at school students. Shop worker Nidal Mawi, said a man driving a white Citreon car with yellow plates ” stopped in the middle of the street and one of the two settlers in the car stepped out and started shooting at the students.”

A second witness, identified as Jameel Jawabra, said that the “students were left bleeding in the street until a local resident took them to the hospital in his car.” The man who brought the two to hospital was identified as Ashraf Abu Shama’a, a resident of Aroub.

Abu Shama’a told both Palestinian and Israeli investigators that the “settler was only 10-15 meters away from the boys when he shot at them,” and said that the man walked some 50 meters into the camp after he exited the car, shot at the teens, got back into his vehicle and drove away.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Settler under house arrest after shooting teens

How Israeli propaganda shaped U.S. media coverage of the flotilla attack

By Glenn Greenwald | June 4, 2010

It was clear from the moment news of the flotilla attack emerged that Israel was taking extreme steps to suppress all evidence about what happened other than its own official version.  They detained all passengers on the ship and barred the media from speaking with them, thus, as The NYT put it, “refusing to permit journalists access to witnesses who might contradict Israel’s version of events.”  They detained the journalists who were on the ship for days and seized their film, video and cameras.  And worst of all, the IDF — while still refusing to disclose the full, unedited, raw footage of the incident — quickly released an extremely edited video of their commandos landing on the ship, which failed even to address, let alone refute, the claim of the passengers:  that the Israelis were shooting at the ship before the commandos were on board.

This campaign of suppression and propaganda worked to shape American media coverage (as state propaganda campaigns virtually always work on the gullible, authority-revering American media).  The edited IDF video was shown over and over on American television without question or challenge.  Israeli officials and Israel-devoted commentators appeared all over television — almost always unaccompanied by any Turkish, Palestinian or Muslim critics of the raid — to spout the Israeli version without opposition.  Israel-centric pundits in America claimed, based on the edited IDF video, that anyone was lying who even reported on the statements of the passengers that Israeli fired first.  In sum, that the Israelis used force only after the passengers attacked the commandos became Unquestioned Truth in American discourse.

But now that the passengers and journalists have been released from Israeli detention and are speaking out, a much different story is emerging.  As I noted yesterday, numerous witnesses and journalists are describing Israeli acts of aggression, including the shooting of live ammunition, before the commandos landed.  The New York Times blogger Robert Mackey today commendably compiles that evidence — I recommend it highly — and he writes:  “now that the accounts of activists and journalists who were detained by Israel after the raid are starting to be heard, it is clear that their stories and that of the Israeli military do not match in many ways.”  As Juan Cole says:  “Many passengers have now confirmed that they were fired on even before the commandos had boots on the deck. Presumably it is this suppressive fire that killed or wounded some passengers and which provoked an angry reaction and an attack on the commandos.”

Whether the Israelis fired at the passengers before or after landing on the ship matters little to the crux of what happened here.  The initial act of aggression was the Israeli seizing of a ship in international waters which was doing nothing hostile; that action was taken to enforce a horrific, inhumane blockade and, more generally, a brutal, decades-long occupation; and whatever else is true, at least nine civilians were killed by the Israeli Navy, only the latest example of Israel (and the U.S.) using massive military force against civilians.

But this incident illustrates — yet again — the eagerness of the American media to “report” on events by doing nothing but mindlessly repeating official government claims.  How many of the TV hosts who paraded Israeli officials in front of their audiences all week will put these witnesses on their shows to narrate their version of events?  Devotees to Israel have already been convinced that this ship was full of Terrorists and Terrorist-lovers (meaning:  anyone who opposes Israeli policy), so anything these passengers say (indeed, anyone who disputes the Israeli version of events) will be automatically dismissed as unreliable — just as Muslim villagers who claim that the U.S. military kills civilians (rather than “militants”) are, for that reason alone, deemed suspect, and just as individuals who denied reports about Iraqi WMDs before the war were deemed suspect for that reason alone.  But for those who are not committed to defending Israel no matter what it does, these witnesses deserve to be heard every bit as much as Israeli officials.

Nobody’s claims are entitled to an automatic assumption of truth, including these passengers.  But as Mackey argues, all of this compellingly underscores the need for an independent — not an Israeli-led — investigation.  Mackey quotes Israeli journalist and blogger Noam Sheifaz:

Israel has confiscated some of the most important material for the investigation, namely the films, audio and photos taken by the passengers [and] journalists on board and the Mavi Marmara’s security cameras. Since yesterday, Israel has been editing these films and using them for its own PR campaign. In other words, Israel has already confiscated most of the evidence, held it from the world and tampered with it. No court in the world would [trust] it to be the one examining it.

Just as is true for the U.S. on so many occasions, Israel has made unmistakably clear that it is interested only in propagandizing and obfuscating.  The very idea that they can be trusted to reveal what actually happened is ludicrous on its face.

* * * * *

One of the more disturbing — though predictable — developments this week is the effort to suggest that Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old American killed by the Israelis with four bullets to the head and one to the chest, is not a “real citizen.”  That, of course, tracks the prior Joe-Lieberman-led proposal to strip Americans of their citizenship (now being replicated in Israel) and the Obama administration’s targeting of Americans for due-process-free assassinations.  We now have at least two classes of citizenship:  “real citizens” and “not really citizens.”  John Cole says all that needs to be said about this disgusting suggestion.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment

CPJ denounces Israel’s use of footage seized in flotilla raid

Committee to Protect Journalists | June 3, 2010

The Committee to Protect Journalists denounces Israel’s editing and distribution of footage confiscated from foreign journalists aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla that was raided on Monday.

On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office released edited portions of confiscated video on its YouTube channel, where the footage was labeled as “captured.” The Foreign Press Association in Israel, which represents hundreds of foreign correspondents in Israel, called the use a “clear violation of journalistic ethics and unacceptable” and warned news outlets to “treat the material with appropriate caution.”

CPJ called on the Israeli government to immediately return all equipment, notes, and footage confiscated from journalists. “Israel has confiscated journalistic material and then manipulated it to serve its interests,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. “It must cease this practice without delay, and return all property seized from journalists who were covering this legitimate news event.”

Journalists have complained of mistreatment during the raid. Al-Jazeera cameraman Issam Zaatar told the Qatar-based channel that as he was filming the raid an Israeli soldier struck him with a stun gun. He said he suffered a broken arm and his camera was damaged during the altercation.

Gadijah Davids, a South African radio journalist, also had her equipment confiscated, according to her station, Radio 786. Rushni Ali, the station manager, told CPJ that Davids is in Turkey and will be leaving for South Africa on Friday. The South African government provided emergency travel documents for Davids because she “had nothing with her: no clothes, no travel document, no equipment” Ali told CPJ.

Paul McGeough, Sydney Morning Herald chief correspondent, told his newspaper that the raid was “very ugly.” He accused Israel of “absolute disrespect” with regard to the way that he and other reporters were treated. “Our job requires us to get the stories, and to reveal things that are not otherwise being revealed,” McGough said in a phone interview that appears on the paper’s Web site. “As Israel’s appalling handling of the flotilla demonstrates, you need journalists there to bear witness, to reveal what is happening out there.”

CPJ’s Abdel Dayem said: “The treatment meted out to our colleagues is unacceptable. It is Israel’s responsibility to conduct its operations in ways that also allow journalists to report the news.”

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on CPJ denounces Israel’s use of footage seized in flotilla raid

What if it Were Your Child?

By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH | June 02, 2010

Almost every subject can be argued two ways, especially when the subject at hand is as controversial as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. No matter how unjust the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip is, there will always be those biased souls that justify it with the “Hamas terrorists” argument and the hackneyed Israeli pretext of state security. However, one subject, which cannot possibly have a flip side to it, is the torture of children. Only a deranged and perverted mind could justify that. Oh, and of course, Israel’s security establishment.

On May 18, Defense for Children International released a press statement in which it said it had filed a complaint with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in which it documented the cases of 14 Palestinian children who were either sexually assaulted or threatened with sexual assault by Israeli interrogators, soldiers or police last year. Throughout 2009, DCI’s Palestine chapter reviewed over 100 affidavits from Palestinian minors between the ages of 12 to 16 who gave sworn testimonies of their torture and sexual assault at the hands of Israeli soldiers or interrogators.

To read some of these affidavits is shocking. Israeli interrogators bind boys as young as 13 to chairs, sometimes handcuffed, and squeeze their testicles until the child admits to throwing stones. In other sworn affidavits, all of which were taken immediately after the boys were released, the minors recount how Israeli soldiers or interrogators slap them, kick them, call their mothers whores and threaten to rape them. “He started beating me all over my body and once again he grabbed my testicles and started pressing hard. ‘I won’t let go of your testicles unless you confess,’ he said to me. I felt so much pain and kept shouting. I had no other choice but to confess to throwing stones,” said one 15-year old boy in his testimony to DCI.

It is common knowledge that confessions under torture are inadmissible in court, even for adults. The violations of children’s rights in these cases are off the charts, obviously. For one, the arrest of a child is only to be used as a “last resort”. Israel arrests 700 children on average every year from the West Bank. Furthermore, the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that each and every person is entitled to a fair trial, something Palestinians in general, children included do not have. Most important though, is this:

Article 2(2) of the UN Convention Against Torture states:

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Under no law, except maybe the law of the jungle, is it justifiable to use torture, especially on a child. Israeli forces not only drag children out of their beds in the middle of the night and handcuff and blindfold them in front of their families, they are exposed to terrible conditions once inside the detention center. Children are deprived of sleep, are made to stay in one position for hours, are not allowed sufficient food or water and are intimidated constantly by their interrogators and prison wardens.

The testimonies of sexual abuse however, are the most disturbing. How can such vile acts be going on under the nose of the civilized world? This is Israel, a country that claims it is democratic, that it respects international law and human rights and is constantly extending its hand in peace. This is Israel, a country that prides itself on its judicial system, mocks the primitive systems of neighboring Arab countries and insists that all it does is in the name of its security.

This is when their argument falls through. In the overwhelming majority of cases where children are arrested, either from their homes or from the street, children are charged with throwing stones. Logically, even if a 12-year old had thrown stones at an Israeli army jeep, which is fully armored and bullet-proofed, how could this possibly constitute a threat to the soldiers’ lives? And even if that child had thrown stones at an occupation soldier (a right he is entitled to by the way), torturing him and abusing him sexually cannot be justified even by the staunchest of Israel supporters. These are blatant violations of human rights and international law for which Israel should be held accountable… Full article

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on What if it Were Your Child?

Israel to expel lawmaker from Jerusalem

Ma’an – 04/06/2010

Jerusalem – Israeli authorities have summoned Jerusalem PLC member Mohammad Totah (Hamas) and delivered a deportation order stripping him off of his parliamentary residency in the city after seizing his ID card.

Totah told Ma’an that interrogators informed him that he had lost the “right of residency in Jerusalem,” and added that he would not be permitted to enter the city after 3 July under penalty of prosecution.

The Al-Quds Center for Social and Economic Rights, which is following up the deportation files of political and religious figures, stated that “The new procedure against Totah is the second of its kind within a week targeting elected PLC member residents of Jerusalem. … Similar orders were previously issued against other lawmakers in addition to former minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafah.”

“New Israeli deportation orders include threats to deport Hatem Abdul Qader, the Fatah official in charge of Jerusalem affairs, stripping him of his right to residency, which stems from pure political motives and has no legal basis,” the center said in a statement.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Israeli Interior Minister Recommends MK Zo’by Be Stripped Of Citizenship

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – June 04, 2010

Israeli Interior Minister, Elie Yishai, sent a letter to the Legal Counselor of the Israeli government, Yehuda Feinstein, recommending that he revokes citizenship rights of Arab MK, Hanin Zo’by, for participating in the Freedom Flotilla. Fundamentalists have called for her killing.

Hanin Zo’by - Arabs48
Hanin Zo’by – Arabs48

He said that her participation is a “betrayal to the state”, and added that she “abused her parliamentarian immunity and joined a group of terrorists who sought to attack Israeli soldiers.”

Yishai went on to claim that she must be removed from the country.

The Interior Minister also described the participation in the humanitarian ships filled with essential supplies to Gaza as an act that “aims at harming the state of Israel.”

Last week, member of Knesset of the fundamentalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, filed draft law that aims at granting Israeli courts the legal power to revoke the citizenship of any person who is found “guilty of spying, treason, and terrorism.”

The draft law was submitted by Member of Knesset David Rotem and was supported by government coalition members and Kadima party; Arab members of Knesset and Meretz Knesset members opposed the draft.

In related news, a group of fundamentalist Israelis created a group on the social networking site Facebook, demanding Israel deport or execute Zo’by for what the creators of the group called “betraying the state of Israel.”

Group creators also said that Zo’by “reminds them of the Pharaoh and Hitler.”

The National Democratic Assembly in Israel slammed the attack against Zo’by and the calls for killing her, and stated that threats made by Knesset members and extremists will not stop her from defending human rights and from breaking the illegal siege.

The Assembly added that threats against Zo’by and other Arab leaders are clear examples of extremism in the Israel and its leaders. It saluted Turkey and its people for standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under illegal siege in Gaza and sent its condolences to the families of the victims.

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WRH:

Israeli Palestinian MK Chanin Zoabi joined the Gaza flotilla and testified that IDF commandos fired on her boat before landing on it and killing 9 other passengers including a Turkish-U.S. citizen. Today, she bravely returned to the Knesset and attempted unsuccessfully to exercise her right to address the political body of which she is a member.

In case you were wondering, this didn’t earn her any fans on the far right of the political spectrum. In fact there was a veritable cat fight and near fisticuffs, including an episode when one MK approached the rostrum and appeared to try to assault her, before being held back by security. She was called a spy and traitor and told (in very bad Arabic by one rightist) to go back to Gaza where she belonged.

June 4, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment