Aletho News


‘The FBI raids and subpoenas . . . [are] best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement’

By Maureen Murphy | Mondoweiss | December 26, 2010

The following is a statement given by Maureen Murphy at a press conference on Thursday, December 23 about the government’s ongoing intimidation of anti-war and solidarity activism in the Midwest. Murphy is one of several activists with the Palestine Solidarity Group who have been subpoenaed, and one of several individuals across the city of Chicago and the Twin Cities who are being targeted for Palestine solidarity activism. For more information, and to get involved, see

On Tuesday morning I experienced what more than twenty other activists across the US have experienced in the past few months — a knock on the door from the FBI. When I answered, one of the two agents outside my building identified himself and said he wanted to speak with me. When I declined, he informed me that I was being subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury on January 25.

I am among 22 other anti-war, labor and solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed and are facing a grand jury since the FBI raided several prominent organizers’ homes on September 24.

I’m proud of the movement we have built here in Chicago and I believe that the FBI raids and subpoenas and the ever-expanding grand jury witch hunt is best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement.

And if this grand jury fishing expedition is indeed aimed at intimidating our movement, what we have seen so far is that it has had the opposite effect. I’m extremely grateful for the outpouring of support that I and the other targeted activists have received. And as someone who has been leading the support work around the raids and subpoenas here in Chicago, I have seen first-hand that this is not about 23 individuals. There is a mass movement that understands that it is the rights of us ALL that are at stake here, and we have seen a broad condemnation of this attack on our right to peacefully advocate for a more just and less deadly US foreign policy.

I have no intention to participate in the government’s witch hunt. It is very clear that no crime has been committed and that the government’s motivation in issuing these subpoenas is to have us name the names of other activists not only here in the United States, but also in places like Palestine and Colombia, where many of us have traveled to learn about the human rights situations in those places. We can only assume that the US government shares intelligence with the governments of Israel and Colombia, whose repressive military rule the US bankrolls at the US taxpayer’s expense. And it is essentially a prison sentence or worse for human rights activists in Palestine and Colombia to be singled out and identified in this way. And I have no intention in playing any role in that.

I’m encouraged by the outpouring of solidarity from all corners of the Palestine solidarity movement and other social justice communities. I urge everyone to join in the pushback against this attack on our movement and our basic civil liberties.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on ‘The FBI raids and subpoenas . . . [are] best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement’

Fear and unrest in Silwan as soldiers surround village

26 December 2010 | International Solidarity Movement & SilwanIC

Since early this morning, Israeli forces have been surrounding the village of Silwan, creating fear among the villagers that a Palestinian family will be evicted. A new wave of unrest has overcome Silwan in the past few days, with two houses demolished on Christmas day, and clashes sweeping through the village on Friday after a young Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet.

The Silwan Information Center claims to have received exclusive information that an Israeli court has approved the eviction of a Palestinian family, in order to resettle the soon-to-be evicted settlers of the Beit Yonatan Settlement. Israeli courts have ordered that the Beit Yonatan settlement be evicted, so authorities are attempting to take over the Abu Nab on the grounds that it was once the site of a Yemenite Synagogue.

This controversial eviction was planned to take place today, the 26th, while the international community is preoccupied with the holidays. However, Jerusalem Police issued a statement claiming that the eviction would not take place today, with no further information about when it would happen.

While Yemenite pilgrims did for a time inhabit the Baten al-Hawa district of Silwan, they were only relegated to the area after being rejected by the Jewish people living in the Old City. After a short time they left to resettle elsewhere.

In what is becoming an argument increasingly employed by Israeli expansionists in Jerusalem however, land that was ever owned or inhabited by Jews in the past must become property of modern-day Jewish owners. Similar arguments have been employed throughout the complex legal battles that have taken place in Sheikh Jarrah for several decades now.

While Israeli authorities may attempt to find legal loopholes allowing a Jewish “right of return” to historical lands, a decisive law that ensures just the opposite has existed for Palestinians for some 60 years: the notorious Absentee Property Law. The Law has enabled the Israeli state to become “custodian of absentee properties”, that is, all land abandoned by Palestinian land-owners during the Nakba in 1948, when the creation of the Israeli state forced some 900,000 Palestinians to flee their homes and land, the vast majority of which had been in their families for centuries.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on Fear and unrest in Silwan as soldiers surround village

Gaza: Two Years after the Horror

Gaza 2009, like the Sharpeville 1960 massacre, cannot be ignored.
By Haidar Eid | Palestine Chronicle | December 24, 2010

This week marks the second anniversary of the horror inflicted on the people of the Gaza Strip. Nothing has changed! Gaza has returned to its pre-invasion state of siege, confronted with the usual international indifference. Two years after the Israeli assault that lasted 22 long days and dark nights, during which its brave people were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world, Gaza no longer makes the news. Its people die slowly, its children are malnourished, its water contaminated, and yet it is deprived even of a word of sympathy from the President the United States and the leaders of Europe.

The dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza continues unabated. But now the urgent question is how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights in order to forestall further escalation.

One way to begin holding Israel accountable is through direct witness and citizen solidarity. For example, on December 27, an Asian aid convoy comprising of politicians and activists from 18 countries will arrive in Gaza in an attempt to break Israel’s four year siege and to remind the world of the cruel consequences of the siege and the massacre.  It is one of the remarkable undertakings by international Civil Society organizations that have decided to take action into their own hands after the miserable failure of the “International Community.” Some of those activists experienced first hand what it means to show true solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza when nine Turkish activist were brutally murdered in broad-day light on Mavi Marmara.

While in Gaza, the convoy’s activists will undoubtedly hear stories that will curdle the blood. During the massacre, one Israeli soldier commented, “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him.”

Israel could not have carried out its brutal assault, preceded and followed by a punishing siege, without a green light from leading world powers. When Israel attacked Gaza in February/March 2008, Matan Vilnai, then-deputy minister of defense (a misnomer for an aggressive, occupying power), threatened a “greater Shoah” (Holocaust). Some 102 Palestinians, including 21 children, were killed.

The reaction of the international community? Absolutely nothing substantive. On the contrary, the EU decided to reward the aggressor by upgrading its trade agreements with Israel. This upgrade in early December 2008 gave the go-ahead for the larger Gaza massacre of 2009 in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed: the majority of them civilians. But now, in spite of Israeli war crimes, both the US and the EU continue to strengthen ties with Israel.

The resemblance of Israel’s violent campaign of domination to that of the apartheid South African regime has recently been articulated by the anti-Apartheid freedom fighter and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils: “[It] is not difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians – women, children, the elderly amongst them.”

The South African apartheid regime came under repeated pressure as the United Nations Security Council passed one resolution after another condemning its inhumane treatment of blacks. This gave much-needed succor to the oppressed, while we Palestinians, today, are bereft of even this tiny comfort because the United States continues to use its veto to ensure that Israel escapes censure.

Today, there is a growing grassroots struggle inside Palestine, much as there was inside apartheid South Africa. An intensified international solidarity movement with a common agenda can make the struggle for Palestine resonate in every country in the world. Our goal now, as civil society organizations, is to lift the siege against Gaza. To accomplish this, many activists, Palestinian and international, have launched a boycott campaign modeled on the global South African anti-apartheid campaign. This campaign is a democratic movement based on the struggle for human rights and the implementation of international law. Our struggle is not religious, ethnic, nor racial, but rather universalist; it is a struggle that guarantees the humanization of our people in the face of a dreadful Israeli war machine.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights, has said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” While the Israeli armed forces were bombing my neighborhood, the UN, EU, Arab League and the international community remained silent in the face of atrocities. Hundreds of corpses of children and women failed to convince them to intervene.

Gaza 2009, like the Sharpeville 1960 massacre, cannot be ignored. It demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Nelson Mandela pointed the way to this shared humanity when years ago he stated, “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Now is the time to boycott the Apartheid Israeli state, to divest from its economy and to impose sanctions against it. This is the only way to ensure the creation of a secular, democratic state for all its inhabitants in historic Palestine regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.

– Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University and a policy advisor with Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Comments Off on Gaza: Two Years after the Horror

A Hero’s Welcome for Mavi Marmara in Turkey

Al-Manar – 26/12/2010

A Turkish ferry which was the target of a deadly raid by Israeli commandos when it tried to deliver aid to Gaza received a rapturous welcome from thousands on Sunday as it arrived back in Istanbul.

Crowds waving Turkish and Palestinian flags lined the quayside as the Mavi Marmara docked at Istanbul’s Sarayburnu following a lengthy refit in a port along the Mediterranean.

They watched the ferry berth nearly seven months after the dramatic raid which left nine Turkish activists dead and triggered a major diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Tel Aviv. The ferry had been trying to deliver aid supplies to Palestinians living in besieged Gaza.

According to the ferry’s owner, a Turkish campaign group called IHH, the Mavi Marmara will be part of a new flotilla which will leave for Gaza on May 31, 2011, exactly one year on from the deadly raid.

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country was still awaiting an Israeli apology for the assault, and that this was the only way to turn the page on a year of deteriorating relations with Israel.

Relations had been already strained before the raid because of Israel’s devastating war on Gaza launched in December 2008.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | Comments Off on A Hero’s Welcome for Mavi Marmara in Turkey

Israeli Army Arrests 9 French Nationals In The West Bank

By George Rishmawi – IMEMC News – December 26, 2010

Israeli troops operating at the military checkpoint of Qalandia, north of Jerusalem arrested nine French protestors and assaulted others at the checkpoint, Sunday at noon.

The nine arrestees were taking part in a protest at the checkpoint expressing their solidarity with the Palestinian people and their rejection to the closure of Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities.

The protest started around 9:30 Sunday morning during which over 100 Palestinian and International protestors attempted to enter Jerusalem without permission from the Israeli soldiers.

Eyewitnesses told IMEMC over the phone that Israeli troops assaulted the protestors and beat them up with their batons and rifle buts wounding a number of them, including those who were arrested.

A major part of the protestors are part of a french delegation who came especially for a week of nonviolent activities over the Christmas week in coordination with a number of local organisations directly involved in popular resistance activities, in Beit Sahour and Bethlehem.

On Saturday three members of the group were arrested when they joined Palestinians to protest the closure of Al-Shuhada street in the city.

They also joined Palestinians in Al-Walaja village near Bethlehem on Friday to protest the ongoing settlement activities in the village.

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli Army Arrests 9 French Nationals In The West Bank

Julian Assange signs $1.5 mln autobiography deal

RIA Novosti | December 26, 2010

The founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has signed $1.5 million contracts with publishers to pen his autobiography, the Sunday Times said.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has provoked U.S. rage by releasing diplomatic documents, said the money will help him to defend himself against the sexual assault claims made by two women in Sweden, which he denies.

“I don’t want to write this book, but I have to,” he told the newspaper in the interview. “I have already spent 200,000 pounds [$310,000] for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.”

The Australian said he will receive $800,000 from a U.S. publisher Alfred Knopf and $500,000 from a British deal with Canongate. The total sum from the deals, including those with other markets, will reach over 1 million pounds ($1.5 million).

The WikiLeaks founder was released on bail last week and vowed that he would continue his work.

Under the bail conditions, Assange must wear an electronic tag, report to police every day and observe a curfew. He is also obliged to stay at the Norfolk mansion of WikiLeaks supporter Vaughan Smith.

World leaders and diplomats have downplayed the impact of the leak of more than 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables by the WikiLeaks site, but many have questioned the benefit of the project, alleging that some of the leaks could “threaten lives.”


December 26, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Comments Off on Julian Assange signs $1.5 mln autobiography deal