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Police Demolish Seven Homes In Lod

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – December 14, 2010

The Israeli Police demolished on Tuesday seven Palestinian homes in Lod city after forcing the residents out. The police claimed the structures were built without obtaining the needed construction permits.

Seventy residents were rendered homeless and are currently living in tents. The demolished homes belong to members of Abu Eid family.

The furniture and belongings of the families were taken by the police to a location still unknown to the residents.

The residents demanded that authorities delay demolishing their homes so they can pursue legal action, but the so-called “The Lands Of Israel” Authority rejected their request, and claimed that the land was rented out to the family in 1950, and that the contract had expired.

Local sources reported that the Police prevented local residents from entering the area, and that one of the soldiers cocked this Kalashnikov rifle telling the locals that he is there “to perform his duty”.

“I can only deal with you using this!” the soldier said while pointing his rifle at the residents.

His provocation led to clashes between the soldiers and dozens of residents, no injuries were reported.

The Popular Committee in the area held a meeting with the locals and decided to install tents to temporarily house the residents.

Furthermore, the Committee prepared plans to rebuild the demolished structures.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Obama’s Show Trials

Why prosecute a terrorism suspect if life imprisonment is the only possible outcome?

Jacob Sullum from the January 2011 issue of Reason

In October a federal judge threw out a key witness against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the former Guantanamo inmate who is accused of participating in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The witness, who was identified through Ghailani’s coerced statements, was supposed to testify that he sold the defendant the TNT used to blow up the embassy in Tanzania. But U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan concluded that the testimony was too closely tied to information the CIA had obtained from Ghailani while holding him at a secret prison where he says he was tortured.

Conservatives who think terrorism suspects should never receive civilian trials said the exclusion of this testimony showed they were right. So did civil libertarians who argue that the federal courts are perfectly capable of handling terrorism cases. But whether or not the system is working, Kaplan’s ruling suggested it is ultimately irrelevant.

“It is appropriate to emphasize,” Kaplan wrote, “that Ghailani remains subject to trial on the pending indictment, that he faces the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted, and that his status as an ‘enemy combatant’ probably would permit his detention as something akin to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end even if he were found not guilty in this case.” Barring a formal surrender by Al Qaeda, these “hostilities” will continue indefinitely, so detention for their duration amounts to a life sentence—the same punishment Ghailani is apt to receive if he is found guilty.

If Ghailani is convicted, in other words, he will be imprisoned for life, and the same thing will happen if he is acquitted. Even with the benefit of the Fifth Amendment’s ban on coerced self-incrimination and the exclusionary rule, Ghailani has zero chance of regaining his freedom. So what exactly is the point of the trial?

In a New York Times op-ed piece published after Kaplan’s ruling, Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, an assistant attorney general during the Bush administration, noted that “trials are perceived to be more legitimate than detention.” But Goldsmith, who favors military detention of suspected terrorists, added that “a conviction in a trial publicly guaranteed not to result in the defendant’s release will not be seen as a beacon of legitimacy.”

Asked whether Ghailani will be returned to military custody if his trial does not turn out the way the government wants, Attorney General Eric Holder dodged the question, saying, “We intend to proceed with this trial.” Holder’s coyness was not really necessary, because the administration already has publicly stated that it reserves the right to detain terrorism suspects who are acquitted.

“If you have the authority under the laws of war to detain someone,” Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in July 2009, “it is true irrespective of what happens on the prosecution side.…If there’s an acquittal…we would have the ability to detain him.”

One reason for nevertheless going through the motions of a trial, Goldsmith suggested, is the possibility of capital punishment. But the Justice Department is not seeking the death penalty in Ghailani’s case, and in any event President Barack Obama claims he can kill suspected terrorists without permission from a court.

Under his policy of “targeted killings,” Obama can authorize the summary execution of anyone he unilaterally identifies as a member or accomplice of Al Qaeda, including American citizens. Since this administration, like the last one, views the entire world as a battlefield in the war on terrorism, that means enemies of the state can be killed anywhere at any time—except, presumably, if they have been taken into custody and are being prosecuted in federal court.

Which suggests a third option for Ghailani, in addition to life imprisonment upon conviction and indefinite detention upon acquittal. The government could simply let him go—and then kill him.

Senior Editor Jacob Sullum (jsullum@reason.com) is a nationally syndicated columnist.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

AGAINST CRITICISM

By Paul Balles | Intifada – Palestine | 13 December 2010

“Arrogance diminishes wisdom” – Arabic proverb

Joseph A. Klein

Last month, Joseph A Klein wrote an article for the Canada Free Press criticising the Obama administration for joining the UN Human Rights Council. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/29644

The Council had met and found fault with a number of human rights violations by America. For this, Klein verbally bashed the Council. Klein is author of the book Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.”

Having “studied the United Nations for many years” Klein says he “watched it degenerate into an anti-Western echo chamber that does more harm than good.”

The point of Klein’s writing is that the UN is wrong because of its criticism of the US and Israel.

The US and Israel share two shameful traits: both abhor criticism, and both divert attention from their own faults when criticised by levelling the same criticism at others.

“In my new book, Lethal Engagement,” says Klein, “I focus on the perfect storm revolving around the increasing Islamicization of key UN bodies – particularly the ones that produce influential international norms.”

In short, criticise Israel for any of its misdeeds–destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure, imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, starving and slaughtering Gazans–and Klein will shift to an unrelated issue.

Klein complains that “Obama wants to engage with our enemies like Iran and Syria while coming down hard on one of our closest allies, Israel.”

Thus, Klein (and others) will criticize Obama, but to find fault with America or Israelis is to be dubbed unpatriotic, Islamic extremist, or anti-Semitic.

While most people’s ire is aroused by criticism from outsiders (aliens, expats, foreigners) there are often good reasons for outsiders to be critical.

Attorney, commentator and author of How Would a Patriot Act, Glenn Greenwald pointed to several understandable reasons for external criticism in his books and articles.

“We systematically torture Muslims and then cover it up and protect our torturers while preaching accountability and the rule of law; we condemn deprivations of due process while maintaining and expanding lawless prison systems for Muslims…”

That being factually accurate, it’s understandable why those who have suffered under our double standards denigrate their abusers.

Greenwald notes how our critics react predictably to our hypocrisy: “We demand adherence to U.N. dictates and international law while blocking investigations into U.N. reports of war crimes and possible ‘crimes against humanity’ by our allies;…”

If that weren’t enough, Greenwald reminds us that “we righteously oppose aggression while invading and simultaneously occupying numerous countries, while threatening to attack still more, and arming countries like Israel to the teeth to wage still other attacks….”

Americans think that any criticism of America is unjustified, primarily because much of the evidence fails to make it to the media and because they rebel at criticism.

To resist criticism and denigrate honest critics is a sign of impending downfall from the pollution of conceit.

English actress Ellen Terry appropriately observed that “conceit is an insuperable obstacle to all progress.”

To return to Joseph A. Klein’s gripe, he bemoaned the members of the Human Rights Council including, “among its own proud roster of members, such countries as China, Cuba, Libya and Saudi Arabia.”

Then, to shift the focus from American abuses, Klein groaned that “These serial human rights abusers exploit the UPR process to heap praise on each other and whitewash their own abysmal records, while scoring propaganda points against Western democracies for falling short of perfection.”

In making that comment, he just did what he complained that members of the Human Rights Council do. Heaping praise on America, he attempts to score propaganda points by denigrating others.

Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, War Crimes | 1 Comment

Individuals who profit exceedingly well for “non-profit” organizations

Kenny’s Side Show | December 13, 2010

Haaretz reports on How much do U.S. Jewish leaders make? It is taken from the Jewish Daily Forward’s article that focuses not on some of the excessive salaries but on the disparity between the positions and pay of men and women. Without looking into each and every one, I take it they all are ‘classified’ as non-profits, charities, religious and educational organizations.

The entire chart is here but let’s look at one of them, the Anti-Defamation League and their ‘leader’ Abe Foxman.

Photobucket

Over a half a mil a year is a lot of profit for Foxman for his anti-truth hate speech. The ADL is classified as a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). What does the IRS say are the requirements?

To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. source

In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying). A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.

An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation. source

“Some lobbying but not too much?” Who defines that? As a current example, is this the ADL advocating adoption of legislation in disregard to IRS rules?

We urge the Senate to do its part and to pass the DREAM Act without delay.”

It sure seems as if they are advocating legislation to me. I guess the ADL gets around the rules by just saying yeah we’re lobbying, but not too much. No one in Congress or the IRS is going to call them out on it anyway.

AIPAC is a 501C4 non-profit and they pay their top dog very well for the job of seeing to it that we give Israel billions of dollars each year and fight their wars for them. Something’s very wrong when a nest of spies is classified as a non-profit.

The IRmep Center for Policy and Law Enforcement has filed a 1,389 page complaint demanding that AIPAC’s tax exempt status be retroactively revoked.

They have the details, a rock solid case, but don’t hold your breath on that one.

So check out the chart. If we had the time we could go on and on about most of them. These are not the soup kitchens and charitable groups we tend to think of non-profits as being but propagandists, Israel firsters and agenda driven profiteers. Some could be even be called thieves, sanctioned by the IRS.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Wars for Israel | 1 Comment

Rescuing Zionism at Palestinian expense

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 December 2010



Hillary Clinton speaks at the Saban Forum Gala Dinner in Washington, DC, 10 December. (US State Department)

Standing in front of a huge banner of an Israeli flag merging into the American Stars and Stripes last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave yet another set-piece speech laying out how US “engagement” would help bring peace in our time.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center in Washington, DC with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and key Israel lobby figures looking on — including Salam Fayyad, the puppet “prime minister” of the US- and Israeli-backed Palestinian Authority — Clinton asserted that “a Palestinian state achieved through negotiations is inevitable” (“Remarks at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy Seventh Annual Forum,” 10 December 2010).

What Clinton laid out in diagnosis and prescriptions, however, ensures that a Palestinian state is anything but inevitable. It is vanishingly unlikely.

Clinton’s much-anticipated intervention followed the Obama administration’s latest capitulation to Israel on settlement construction in the West Bank. After almost two years of attempting to bribe Israel into “restraining” the expansion of its Jewish-only colonies on occupied, stolen land, and its violent Judaization of Jerusalem, the administration concluded that it could do nothing. Of course one thing the Obama administration never tried was real pressure using as leverage the billions in annual no-strings aid the fiscally-bankrupt United States provides to Israel.

Returning to a theme she first took up in her last major speech to the Israel lobby, at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (better known as AIPAC) in March, Clinton warned that the status quo is unsustainable:

“I know that improvements in security and growing prosperity have convinced some that this conflict can be waited out or largely ignored. This view is wrong and it is dangerous. The long-term population trends that result from the occupation are endangering the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israelis should not have to choose between preserving both elements of their dream. But that day is approaching.”

This is a polite way of putting it. Prominent Hebrew University demographer and Palestinian-birthrate-watcher Sergio DellaPergola recently told The Jerusalem Post that Jews already constitute just under 50 percent of the population in historic Palestine — Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined (“Jews now a minority between the River and the Sea,” 26 November 2010).

So while demographically, historic Palestine is no longer “Jewish” it has also never been a democracy, certainly not for its indigenous Palestinians. The Jewish majority within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries — the basis for the claim that Israel is a “Jewish democracy” — was engineered through the most undemocratic means possible: the deliberate, carefully-planned ethnic cleansing of 90 percent of the Palestinians in that area between 1947-1950 and subsequent efforts to cover up the crime.

And, for the past 43 years — or more than two thirds of Israel’s existence — millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, occupied since 1967, have lived under brutal Israeli military tyranny with no control over their own lives, land and resources. This has not changed despite the ongoing and lavishly-funded fantasy of Salam Fayyad’s “state-building” initiative of recent years — in reality a repressive US-managed police state apparatus to crush any form of resistance.

Clinton made it clear that preserving this unjust situation — rescuing Zionism — remains the priority of US policy. For there can be no “Jewish democracy” without the liquidation of Palestinian rights, particularly of refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

On refugees, all Clinton had to say was, “This is a difficult and emotional issue, but there must be a just and permanent solution that meets the needs of both sides.”

She did not spell out what those “needs” are. For Israel it is clear that the “need” is to continue to deny the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to lands from which they are excluded solely on the racist grounds that they are not Jews. Israel clearly “needs” this so it can continue to subordinate the rights of indigenous Palestinians to the ethnic privileges of Israeli Jews.

The needs of Palestinian refugees are that their rights be respected, especially the right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to return home — should they choose to do so — and for restitution and compensation. These basic human rights are recognized specifically and repeatedly in international law in the case of Palestinians.

These two sets of “needs” are irreconcilable. One can only stand on one side of the question: either one is for Israel’s “right” to remain a racist state, or one is for universal rights and international law and treating all human beings as equals regardless of their religion or ethnicity.

These are exactly the same rights that the United States and the European Union actively supported in Bosnia, in the 1995 US-brokered Dayton Agreement. Under the agreement more than half a million refugees have returned home, in a country with a total population of just 3.5 million, to areas dominated politically and demographically by antagonistic ethnic authorities. In Bosnia, the preference of ethnonational groups to live in areas cleansed of those they consider undesirable was not allowed to trump the actual rights of individual refugees. Nor should it in Palestine.

Perhaps because Clinton knows that the US position on refugees is wrong, immoral and illegal, she does not dare spell out the implications of her words in such clear terms. It is up to Israel, the ethnic cleanser and bully, and a subservient and neutered Palestinian “leadership” to “agree” on what their “needs” are — amid radical power imbalance that guarantees (or so the United States calculates and hopes) that the result will come down in Israel’s favor.

Don’t be fooled either by Clinton’s sophistry on settlements: “The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change. Like every American administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.”

In international law, all of Israel’s settlements beyond the line of 4 June 1967 are illegal. The United Nations Security Council, for example, determined that “all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention …” (UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980)).

That resolution, like so many others, called “upon the Government and people of Israel to rescind those measures, to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning” of new ones.

The current US position, contrary to international law, questions only the “legitimacy” — not even the legality — of “continued” settlement activity. The US only asserts that there is a problem with new settlements. The Obama administration has endorsed former President George W. Bush’s 2004 written promise to Israel that the US will recognize Israeli sovereignty over virtually all settlements that have already been built since 1967.

Could there be a clearer inducement than this for Israel to continue to establish “facts on the ground”? Whatever lip service Clinton paid to opposing settlements, it is clear, based on the performance of the Obama administration to date, that for Israel there will be no negative consequences, and only rewards.

Nor did Clinton have any word of comfort for 1.4 million Palestinian (second-class) citizens of Israel who face a raft of new racist laws, policies and declarations by Israeli leaders and state-funded rabbis, dozens of whom recently issued a religious ruling calling for Jews to boycott any other Jew who sells or rents a home to a non-Jew. For the United States it is as if these Palestinians — who face increasing threats of expulsion by prominent Israeli politicians — simply don’t exist.

So what is left of Obama’s vaunted peace process “engagement”? For sure all the things that suit Israel: an “unwavering,” unconditional commitment to supply Israel with more of the weapons that have been so promiscuously used to commit war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and across the West Bank; acquiescence to continued settlement construction; more sanctions and pressure on Iran — an Israel lobby priority; continued boycott of Hamas, siege of Gaza and support for the West Bank police state; calls on the Arab states to normalize ties with Israel; and of course putting Israel’s desire to remain a racist ethnocracy before the universal rights of human beings.

And the US prescription now is more of the same: urging Palestinians to “negotiate” with an Israel from which the US superpower itself could extract nothing, precisely because of unconditional American support!

For the discredited Palestinian Authority “leadership” which rushed to Washington as soon as Clinton beckoned, the secretary of state had these instructions: “To demonstrate their commitment to peace, Israeli and Palestinian leaders should stop trying to assign blame for the next failure, and focus instead on what they need to do to make these efforts succeed.” She warned Palestinians specifically, in reference to efforts to get more states to recognize Palestine: “Unilateral efforts at the United Nations are not helpful and undermine trust.” Recently, Brazil and Argentina joined more than a hundred countries that recognize the nonexistent “State of Palestine” declared by the Palestine Liberation Organization in November 1988.

In other words, Palestinians must continue to take it on the chin as Israel does what it pleases with American support. Only Palestinians intent on committing national suicide could go along with such a charade. Those who support genuine peace for Palestinians and Israeli Jews, based on universal rights, equality, restitution and the decolonization of the relationship between the populations, must escalate the real peace process: boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to respect Palestinian rights and obey international law.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | 3 Comments

Sex, Lies, Iran, Israel and WikiLeaks

alawson911 | December 12, 2010

WikiLeaks has given the mainstream media yet another opportunity to vilify Iran. A typical headline, from the New York Times was: “Around the world distress over Iran.” And, ironically, it is true, but not in the way the headline writer meant. Around the world there is distress over Iran, distress at the way it is being cast in the role of the Evil Doer, when all but the most ignorant observers realise that it is nuclear-armed Apartheid Israel that is the real threat to world peace, not Iran.

With thanks to: 7hevo1d for the amazing graphics
Debbie Menon: http://mycatbirdseat.com/
James Linton: http://crimesofzion.blogspot.com/
for their research contributions

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | 10 Comments

Israel’s War on Children

1,500 Arrested in a Year

By JONATHAN COOK | CounterPunch | December 13, 2010

Israeli police have been criticised over their treatment of hundreds of Palestinian children, some as young as seven, arrested and interrogated on suspicion of stone-throwing in East Jerusalem.

In the past year, criminal investigations have been opened against more than 1,200 Palestinian minors in Jerusalem on stone-throwing charges, according to police statistics gathered by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). That was nearly twice the number of children arrested last year in the much larger Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Most of the arrests have occurred in the Silwan district, close to Jerusalem’s Old City, where 350 extremist Jewish settlers have set up several heavily guarded illegal enclaves among 50,000 Palestinian residents.

Late last month, in a sign of growing anger at the arrests, a large crowd in Silwan was reported to have prevented police from arresting Adam Rishek, a seven-year-old accused of stone-throwing. His parents later filed a complaint claiming he had been beaten by the officers.

Tensions between residents and settlers have been rising steadily since the Jerusalem municipality unveiled a plan in February to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in the Bustan neighbourhood to expand a Biblically-themed archeological park run by Elad, a settler organisation.

The plan is currently on hold following US pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

Fakhri Abu Diab, a local community leader, warned that the regular clashes between Silwan’s youths and the settlers, termed a “stone intifada” by some, could trigger a full-blown Palestinian uprising.

“Our children are being sacrificed for the sake of the settlers’ goal to take over our community,” he said.

In a recent report, entitled Unsafe Space, ACRI concluded that, in the purge on stone-throwing, the police were riding roughshod over children’s legal rights and leaving many minors with profound emotional traumas.

Testimonies collected by the rights groups reveal a pattern of children being arrested in late-night raids, handcuffed and interrogated for hours without either a parent or lawyer being present. In many cases, the children have reported physical violence or threats.

Last month 60 Israeli childcare and legal experts, including Yehudit Karp, a former deputy attorney-general, wrote to Mr Netanyahu condemning the police behaviour.

“Particularly troubling,” they wrote, “are testimonies of children under the age of 12, the minimal age set by the law for criminal liability, who were taken in for questioning, and who were not spared rough and abusive interrogation.”

Unlike in the West Bank, which is governed by military law, children in East Jerusalem suspected of stone-throwing are supposed to be dealt with according to Israeli criminal law.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem following the Six-Day war of 1967, in violation of international law, and its 250,000 Palestinian inhabitants are treated as permanent Israeli residents.

Minors, defined as anyone under 18, should be questioned by specially trained officers and only during daylight hours. The children must be able to consult with a lawyer and a parent should be present.

Ronit Sela, a spokeswoman for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said her organisation had been “shocked” at the large number of children arrested in East Jerusalem in recent months, often by units of undercover policemen.

“We have heard many testimonies from children who describe terrifying experiences of violence during both their arrest and their later interrogation.”

Muslim, 10, lives in the Bustan neighbourhood and in a house that Israeli authorities have ordered demolished. His case was included in the ACRI report, and in an interview he said he had been arrested four times this year, even though he was under the age of criminal responsibility. On the last occasion, in October, he was grabbed from the street by three plain-clothes policemen who jumped out a van.

“One of the men grabbed me from behind and started choking me. The second grabbed my shirt and tore it from the back, and the third twisted my hands behind my back and tied them with plastic cords. ‘Who threw stones?’ one of them asked me. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. He started hitting me on the head and I shouted in pain.”

Muslim was taken into custody and released six hours later. A local doctor reported that the boy had bleeding wounds to his knees and swelling on several parts of his body.

Muslim’s father, who has two sons in prison, said the boy was waking with nightmares and could no longer concentrate on his school studies. “He has been devastated by this.”

Ms Sela said arrests had risen sharply in Silwan since September, when a private security guard at a settler compound shot dead a Palestinian man, Samer Sirhan, and injured two others.

Clashes between the settlers and Silwan youths came to prominence in October when David Beeri, director of settler organisation Elad, was shown on camera driving into two boys as they threw stones at his car.

One, Amran Mansour, 12, who was thrown over the bonnet of Mr Beeri’s car, was arrested shortly afterwards in a late-night raid on his family’s home.

Also in October, nine rightwing Israeli MPs complained after stones were thrown at their minibus as they paid a solidarity visit to Beit Yonatan, a large settler-controlled house in Silwan. Israel’s courts have ordered that the house be demolished, but Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, has refused to enforce the order.

In the wake of the attack, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the public security minister, warned: “We will stop the stone-throwing through the use of covert and overt force, and bring back quiet.”

Last month police announced that house arrests would be used against children more regularly and financial penalties of up to $1,400 would be imposed on parents.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, reported the case of “A.S.”, a 12-year-old taken for interrogation following an arrest at 3am.

“I sat on my knees facing the wall. Every time I moved, a man in civilian clothes hit me with his hand on my neck … The man asked me to prostrate myself on the floor and ask his forgiveness, but I refused and told him that I do not bow to anyone but Allah. All the while, I felt intense pain in my feet and legs. I felt intense fear and I started shaking.”

In a statement B’Tselem said: “It is hard to believe that the security forces would have acted similarly against Jewish minors.”

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, denied that the police had violated the children’s rights. He added: “It is the responsibility of parents to stop this criminal behaviour by their children.”

Jawad Siyam, a local community activist in Silwan, said the goal of the arrests and the increased settler activity was to “make life unbearable and push us out of the area”.

The 60 experts who wrote to Mr Netanyahu warned that the children’s abuse led to “post-traumatic stress disorders, such as nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting, and constant fear of policemen and soldiers”. They also noted that children under extended house arrest were being denied the right to schooling.

Last year the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors, saying Israel was breaking the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which it has signed.

Over the past 12 months, Defence for Children International has provided the UN with details of more than 100 children who claim they were physically or psychologically abused while in military custody.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His website is www.jkcook.net.

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | 2 Comments

The Feds Are Cultivating Their Own “Homegrown Terrorists”

By Seth Freed Wessler | ColorLines |December 10 2010

The FBI caught another homegrown terrorist this week, except like many recent plots the agency has “uncovered,” the attack was a plant, a plan concocted by the FBI itself. It’s the latest in a growing number of terrorism plots that the FBI stirs up by infiltrating communities and helping to devise attack plans. The practice raises serious questions about the government’s implementation of it’s ongoing war on terror.

The recent case involves 21-year-old from Baltimore named Antonio Martinez, who’d reportedly converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammad Hussain and planned to blow up a bomb outside a military recruitment center in Baltimore. None of the plot, however, existed before the FBI instigated it and Martinez had no contact with any real terrorist organization.

The FBI deployed an informant to pose as an accomplice by adding Martinez as a friend on Facebook and communicated with him through Facebook messages. Martinez reportedly updated his status with comments about his devotion to Jihad. Once the young man had been identified as a target, the FBI informant helped imagine and orchestrate the plot, and supplied Martinez with a fake bomb and a vehicle to transport it. After he attempted to detonate the explosive remotely, the FBI arrested Martinez. If convicted of charges, he could face life in prison.

The case is the second since Thanksgiving and one of many more over the past decade, in which the federal government has deployed informants to “catch” terrorists inside the country. It’s all part of the FBI’s wider practice of targeting American Muslims—largely, according to some reports, Muslim converts as well as American born black Muslims. But far from stopping ongoing plots and interrupting “radicalization,” the FBI is fabricating plans, providing the tools to carry out attacks and inciting suspects to do so.

As U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein told the AFP, “There was no actual danger,” because the people posing as accomplices were FBI employees.

Nonetheless, the FBI claims that Martinez posed a real threat because, according to Richard McFeely, an FBI special agent, the young man was “absolutely committed to carrying out an attack which would have cost lives.”

“The case,” reports the AFP:

bore a striking resemblance to that of a Somali-American arrested in Portland, Oregon, last month after trying to set off what he thought was an explosives-laden van parked near a Christmas tree ceremony.

The device was actually a dummy bomb supplied by undercover FBI agents who had contacted him months before and pretended to be accomplices, and the would-be attacker, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was charged with “attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.”

The informant program targeting American Muslims is part of a larger and developing FBI policy. As I wrote in October:

An extensive investigation, Anjali Kamat reports that the FBI has repeatedly used secret informants to gather questionable information and even entrap groups of people into supporting acts of terrorism. These informants are often Muslim men found guilty of non-terrorism related crimes and who face deportation or jail time.

In numerous cases, documented at length by the DN investigation, there are serious questions as to whether the tactic is creating crimes out of thin air. In one case, an FBI informant befriended a Muslim business owner. When that business started failing, the informant, who was himself facing deportation, offered the other man a loan that was allegedly laundered for weapons buying. The exchange led to terrorism convictions.

Karen Greenberg of the NYU Center for Law and Security explains, “the conviction rate for cases that involve informants is almost 100 percent.” But according to James Wedick, a former FBI agent, “90 percent of the cases that you see that have occurred in the last 10 years are garbage.”

Wedick also says that economic strains are often the way that informants entrap others. In Newburgh, NY, an FBI informant allegedly entrapped four black Muslim men from a poor neighborhood, pushing them to participate in an attempted attack on a synagogue in the area

High profile domestic terrorism plots appear to have increased in recent months, but they’ve been largely concocted. As the 10th anniversary of September 11th approaches, the government appears to be one of the key players in the maintenance of a believable terrorist threat.

Amna Akbar, fellow at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice of New York University School of Law, says, “What’s really interesting is that there’s been a significant increase in high profile so-called homegrown terrorism cases recently where the the actual threat is constructed by the government. There does not seem to be very much actual threat to justify the ongoing ‘war on terror’ and there are serious questions about why the government is going to such lengths in these cases.”

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment

British parliament debates Palestinian children prisoners

By Renee Bowyer | Middle East Monitor | 12 December 2010

I visited the family of a twelve year old boy arrested on a Sunday morning. They lived in a small room on the outskirts of Balata refugee camp bordering the city of Nablus. The mother of Salim spoke to me first reminding me how the last time I had visited her, her son Salim had been there. Of course I remembered; he’d greatly enjoyed trying out his few English words with me and had very excitedly told me how he and his mother had been to Ramallah the week before. It was Sunday evening and as I sat with Um Salim she recounted to me how she had woken in the night as Balata camp was invaded. She listened to the sound of tanks and jeeps, of sound bombs detonating at random. But then Um Salim told me how the night-terror became her terror when her front door was pushed in and soldiers were everywhere.  They were calling for Salim and Um Salim began to sob as she explained to me how a mother’s worst nightmare began.

Salim was twelve years old but in many ways he was older than his years. He had witnessed an uncle shot and killed by invading Israeli forces and he had not seen his father, a prisoner, for eight years. But this night Salim became the child again. When his name was shouted out Salim in terror rushed behind his mother and fell on the ground. He held the skirt of his mother and cried up to her ‘Mama; save me’. Um Salim told me how her son was ripped out of her arms as he cried for her to protect him. She was pushed to the ground and Salim was dragged from the house.

Six months later I visited Um Salim again. She had not seen Salim since the night he had been dragged from her arms. She still had no idea why he was taken, for how long he would be held or even when there would be a court hearing for him.  She said she had learnt to live without him but would never learn to forget the words he had cried out to her when the soldiers had pushed in their door: ‘Mama; save me’. Um Salim looked at me and said ‘I couldn’t protect him. I couldn’t protect my son.’

Last week in Britain; a far cry from the poverty-stricken streets of Balata refugee camp and the occupied territories of the West Bank; Sandra Osborne, MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, secured a debate on the detention of Palestinian children by Israel in the British Parliament.  Having worked with Addameer in the West Bank, (a Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association mentioned by Ms Osborne in her presentation) I can appreciate in full the horrifying account Ms Osborne gave of the plight of Palestinian children prisoners. Details of Hebrew confessions signed by children under physical or emotional torture, of solitary confinement, of beatings and threats and months without seeing or hearing from family are all realities that thousands of Palestinian children are facing now.  One can only imagine the horror of families whose children have been taken and are being subject to these violations. While working with Addameer I spoke to mother after mother whose child had been imprisoned and every one of them spoke of the constant fear gripping their hearts knowing their child was unprotected in a hostile and violent place and how they knew that no law was governing the treatment of their child.

The taking of Palestinian children by Israeli forces and the terrorizing of them seems to be a calculated policy of Israel in their attempt to destroy the very fabric of Palestinian life. The Occupation of Palestine is much more than a military exercise and as constantly cited by Israeli officials ‘a necessary step to insure Israeli security’. Every aspect of the occupation, from the invasions and assassinations to the humiliating abuses of the soldiers standing at checkpoints is geared towards making Palestinian life unbearable. The strategically placed settlements and the free-reign given to settlers to attack, kill and steal land from the Palestinians, the invasions of villages and the constant curfews imposed on them, the house searches and indiscriminate shooting, the verbal inanities shouted at women and children by soldiers in roaming army jeeps are all focused on grinding down the will to survive and resist that the Palestinian people show.

I cannot recall how many times I asked the question ‘why are you doing this?’ When I was living in the Occupied Territories; watching some ridiculous flying checkpoint being set up on some small mountain path and three or four teenage soldiers smoking  and forcing old women to empty their shopping bags on to the dusty road. ‘Why are you doing this?’ as I watched a tank roaming through a village and stopping in front of the village high school for boys and some sun-glassed soldier throwing  a sound bomb over the wall. Acts that have no meaning to them except to terrorize and humiliate and make the lives of the Palestinian people harder than they already are.

‘It’s the Wild West’ an anonymous soldier states in Breaking the Silence; ‘serving in the West Bank is like being in the Wild West’.

And this is because the Israeli government has a goal beyond taking land; it seems increasingly obvious that the real agenda of the Israeli government is to ‘cleanse’ the land of Palestinians and the first step to do this is to make the Palestinian people stop resisting; not just with arms but in every other way. There is too much life still being lived under occupation; there is too much will to survive this occupation and siege. There are still festivals and marriages being celebrated in ruined houses alongside the burying of the dead; there are still lessons being taught to children in schools that have been bombed to rubble; there is still music in Palestine. And this is what Israel fears.

There are plenty of times when the reality of life under occupation and siege yields a sense of despair and helplessness among the people of Palestine, but it doesn’t stay; only in the cases of the mothers of child prisoners does it stay. There was a look of desperation and despondency on the face of Um Salim when she told me how Salim had cried to her to protect him that I had not seen before, and when I visited her months later and she had still not heard from her son that look was still there; etched now on her face.

By stealing the children of Palestine and trapping them inside a prison where they have no contact with family, Israel is attempting to systematically destroy the future of Palestine. They are breeding despondency inside Palestine that even invasions and killings did not produce. If this is not Israel’s aim, why else would they go to such lengths to violate every law set in place to protect children from this kind of soul-destroying treatment?
Ms Osborne last week made a plea to the British government to intervene because she was horrified by what she had witnessed in a military court hearing of Palestinian children. (And surely what she witnessed was a toned down version of what normally happens). The plea Ms Osborne made was supported by extensive detail and factual information and clearly exposed the policy of Israel in respect to Palestinian child prisoners and how it seems that the policy of Israel encourages these violations.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Alistair Burt, responded to Ms Osborne in the sort of way that western governments are responding to Israeli violations every time they come to prominence: by stating that Israel may have gone too far in some respects but that their security issues necessitate certain actions and that Israel continues to have the full support of these governments. Alistair Burt agreed to raise the issue with Israel and to write to the members of Parliament who had attended the debate. And that is all.

A letter in a month or two explaining that the issue has been raised with Israel?

While Um Salim waits to hear what prison her twelve year old son has been dragged to, while another mother and another are woken in the night to the sound of their child’s name being shouted by soldiers who batter down their doors, and while children shiver alone in prison cells, are forced to sign confessions of guilt in Hebrew and are beaten and shackled; our Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will raise the issue with Israel.

On the 21st November this year two Israeli soldiers were given suspended sentences and demoted for using a Palestinian child as a human shield during their attacks on Gaza on 2008/2009. They scarred the nine year old child for life when they forced him to search for booby traps in the ruins of his town and they were given two months probation and were not sent to prison. At the same time countless Palestinian children are serving sentences in Israeli prisons for throwing stones at tanks.

It is time that our secretaries of state do more than write letters about this. If they as representatives of our governments do not help protect these children than who will?

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment