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Israel arrests senior Hamas official

Palestine Information Center – 01/06/2011

RAMALLAH — Israeli authorities detained senior Hamas official Hussein Abu Kweik, 55, at noon on Wednesday after summoning him for questioning to intelligence headquarters in the Israeli Ofer prison, Abu Kweik’s wife has informed the PIC.

Witnesses told our correspondent they saw Abu Kweik cuffed and blindfolded at around 1pm as he was being led to an unknown destination.

Israel’s intelligence agency Shin Bet called Abu Kweik’s cell phone the night before and ordered him to appear at headquarters in the Ofer prison near Ramallah city.

The Hamas leader told the PIC before meeting with the Shin Bet officials that Israel is targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials in a bid to suppress their influence in the West Bank and to torpedo the recent Palestinian reconciliation accord.

He said Israel also wants to thwart Naksa day protests and Hamas’s recovery in the West Bank after the reconciliation.

Abu Kweik has spent a total of 12 years detained in Israeli prisons. He survived an Israeli assassination attempt in 2002 that claimed the lives of his wife and three of his sons.

The night before, Israeli authorities nabbed Palestinian Legislative Council member Nazar Ramadan while passing through the Container checkpoint that divides central and southern West Bank.

The arrest came just hours after the arrest of PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik and two more PLC members Anwar Zabboun and Bassem al-Zaarir for more than four hours. All have been released apart from MP Ramadan.

The legislators were kept in isolation while being held.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israel arrests senior Hamas official

Israel Escalates Arrests, Summons of Palestinians

WAFA – June 1, 2011

NABLUS – Israeli soldiers raided several areas of the West Bank Wednesday at dawn, arresting eight Palestinians.

Seven military vehicles raided Awarta village east of Nablus in the northern West Bank, photographing buildings in the old parts of the village, especially abandoned houses there, according to the head of the village council.

At dawn soldiers also broke into a number of houses in Qalqiliya, north of the West Bank, arresting and transferring five Palestinians to Israeli interrogation centers.

Israeli forces broke into Azzun village, east of Qalqilya, and arrested a 17 year old boy after searching his home.

In Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers handed two men from Husan village, west of the city, summons to report to the intelligence in Etzion, said security sources.

Security sources told WAFA that Israeli soldiers arrested three teenage brothers from Hebron, south of the West Bank. Sources also said soldiers raided several villages surrounding the city, set up checkpoints and stopped vehicles to check identification cards.

File photo, credit Ma’an Images.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israel Escalates Arrests, Summons of Palestinians

Who’s promoting fear in America?

Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | June 1, 2011

According to this Russia Today report on the U.S. government’s new emergency text alert system, an “American lawmaker” is calling for increased rail safety funding and the creation of a no-ride list.

The unnamed lawmaker is, of course, New York Senator Charles Schumer. Not mentioned either in the RT report is the American lawmaker’s divinely ordained passionate attachment to Israel. In an interview with a conservative Jewish radio talk show, Senator Schumer said he believed that HaShem (Orthodox Jewish term for “God”) gave him his name—which means “guardian”—so that he could fulfill his “very important” role in the U.S. Senate as a “guardian of Israel.”

Presumably, Schumer’s God-given role also includes turning the country he is paid to represent into an Islamophobic police state.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, Video | 7 Comments

Israeli gunboat fires on fishermen in Gazan waters

International Solidarity Movement in Gaza – June 1, 2011

Ramadan Zidan, 51, and his son Mohamed, 20 set sail from the harbor in Gaza at seven in the morning, they didn’t plan to go far, only to fish outside of the harbor.

For an hour and half everything went well, it was a beautiful morning and they still hoped to have a successful day of fishing.

When the Israeli gunboat first started to approach them at eight thirty a.m. they thought nothing of it, they were close to the port, nowhere near the Israeli imposed three mile limit on Palestinian fisherman.

Unexpectedly the gunboat started to shoot around their boat. The boat wasn’t hit, and the gunboat left the area, so the men went back to fishing. Then they saw the gunboat turn around and come at them again. It opened fire on the boat again; the front of their boat was hit several times with bullets. The gunboat then told the men that they were under arrest.

Fearing that after confiscating the boat the Israeli’s would either damage the boat while it was in Ashdod, as routinely happens to the seized boats of Palestinian fisherman, or even worse refuse to return the boat, the fisherman started the engine and began to return to port.

The gunboat shot the engine of the boat, but miraculously the engine didn’t stop working and the fisherman made it safely back to port despite the shell in the engine and the many bullet holes in their ship. They hope to return to fishing soon, they have no other way to support their families.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | Comments Off on Israeli gunboat fires on fishermen in Gazan waters

Obama On Iran: X Times Zero Is Greater Than Zero

Moon of Alabama | June 1, 2011

With regards to Iraq’s non-existing WMDs, which were used to launch a war on it, the Bush administration’s sell-points were not so much single pieces of (false) evidence, the Uranium from Nigeria, the bio-weapon trucks, the Antrax scare, but the sum of all of these pieces.

Even people who did not believe every single piece of the evidence could be convinced by pointing to the sum of them. A lot of dirt was thrown at Saddam’s Iraq and for a lot of onlookers the amount of dirt thrown, even as it didn’t stick, was enough to make Iraq look dirty.

In responses to the new Sy Hersh piece on the non-existence, which U.S. intelligence agencies confirm, of an Iranian military nuclear program, the Obama administration is now using exactly the same tactics. It asserts that the validity of each single piece of evidence is not relevant, it is simply the sum of them which makes Iran dangerous.

In a Politico piece the administration responds directly to the Hersh piece:

“There is a clear, ongoing pattern of deception, and Iran has repeatedly refused to respond to the IAEA’s questions about the military dimensions of [its] nuclear program, including those about the covert site at Qom,” the senior administration official added. “These examples and more make us deeply skeptical of Iran’s nuclear intentions.”

The communicated strategy here is: “It is the sum of the evidence (about some of which we will not tell you), not the single explainable pieces, which makes Iran guilty.”

It therefore does not matter to the “senior administration official” that the Qom site was not secret at all. Iran declared the then still empty site to the IAEA on September 21 2009 and the Obama administration revealed it as “secret” only on September 25 2009. But that false evidence is only part of a pattern of other (likely also false) evidence and that is the reason, says Obama, why we must eventually bomb Iran.

In the New York Times the propagandist William J. Broad lets the administration make the same point:

The seven categories of technology all bear on what can be interpreted as warhead design: how to turn uranium into bomb fuel, make conventional explosives that can trigger a nuclear blast, generate neutrons to spur a chain reaction and design nose cones for missiles.Two diplomats familiar with the evidence, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity under the usual protocol, emphasized that no single one of the technologies stood out as indicating bomb work. Some, they conceded, have peaceful uses.

But the totality of the evidence, they said, suggested that Iran has worked hard on multiple fronts to advance the design of nuclear arms.

“It’s the whole variety of information,” one of the diplomats said. “You have to look at the whole thing.”

(Notice how Broad hides his sources as “diplomats” not as “foreign diplomats” as the NYT usual does when  they are not U.S. administration officials.)

But despite what those administration stooges say, the “totality of the evidence” is not greater than zero when each and every evidence point is zero. Any of the “seven categories of technology” has peaceful or non nuclear military purposes. Some of them are even very unlikely to be used in a military nuclear program.

A few weeks ago a scare was made of evidence of uranium deuterite as a neutron generator in an Iranian bomb. As the Arms Control Wonk Jeffery Lewis pointed out:

This method is incredibly unique. Not only are there no civilian uses for imploding uranium deuteride to generate a burst of neutrons, NOT EVEN THE OTHER NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAMS CONSIDERED THIS APPROACH.

Why, if Iran were to build a bomb, would it use an unproven technology no one else has ever used for this purpose? Would you introduce some obscure new physics into your very first bomb if all the other experienced bomb builders used other better and by now well known, readily available and reliable methods? That is again not credible as evidence. But to the Obama administration that does not matter.

Their new selling point is not the credibility of their alleged evidence, they even confirm that there is none, their selling point is the pattern THEY create by introducing all kinds of dubious technical evidence to make their case.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | Comments Off on Obama On Iran: X Times Zero Is Greater Than Zero

Scottish Court to Rule on Whether Anti-Israel Protesters are ‘Anti-Semitic’

By Ken Ferguson – This Can’t Be Happening – 06/01/2011

Cupar, Scotland–This county town of Fife, is not exactly a news hot spot. Probably the last big story here was the landing of Italian balloonist Vincenzo Lunardi nearby in 1785 at the end of a 43-mile flight from Edinburgh.

However the small town’s sleepy Sheriff court is about to host a key legal case involving a US student from New York and two anti Israeli protestors who have been charged with racism.

For the information of US readers, in Scotland the Sheriff isn’t some John Wayne figure with the star on his chest, but is rather the bewigged judge presiding over the local court.

This case centers on an incident at nearby St. Andrews University, where two students are facing racially aggravated conduct charges after allegedly making comments and gestures critical of the State of Israel and its flag.

Press reports are already in danger of prejudging the case, with headlines such as the one reading “St. Andrews University students in court to face anti-Semitism charges” that ran in the local daily, The Courier.

According to one of the charged students, Paul Donnachie, “Whilst in the room at the student residences of an individual who I considered a friend, Chanan Reitblat, I placed my hands down the front of my jeans and onto an Israeli flag which belonged to him, accompanied by comments to the effect that Israel is a terrorist state, and is guilty of many civilian deaths.”

He continued, “The action was not malicious. However, it sparked a great deal of political debate amongst our group of friends within our Hall of Residence, whereby the nature of the State of Israel was discussed.”

The following day, after hearing that Mr Reitblat had been upset by his actions, Paul says he “wrote a letter stating that, whilst I would not apologize for my opposition to the actions of the Israeli state, I would apologize for the manner in which I chose to mediate my political opinions on this occasion.”

Despite this conciliatory action, the following day police officers arrested both Paul and his friend Simon Colchester and held them in custody for 36 hours before they were made to appear in court charged with “threatening and abusive behaviour,” which was subsequently amended to the more sinister charge of “racially aggravated conduct,” a violation of the Criminal Law.

Basically the case turns on whether to criticize Israel or its flag is the same as anti-Semitism. The case is the more surprising, given that last year a very similar charge in Edinburgh was tossed out by the courts.

In that instance, five protestors who had disrupted a performance of the Jerusalem String Quartet in Edinburgh in 2008 were charged on a similar basis, with the state alleging that they were guilty of racism for protesting against the fact that performers in the group were also members of the Israeli military.

Dismissing the case last year, Sheriff John Scott made it clear that is entirely legitimate to criticize the Israeli state, its army or other institutions, without being guilty of anti-Semitism.

However when the two St. Andrews students were in court last month the Procurator Fiscal (prosecutor) claimed to be unaware of the earlier Edinburgh case.

Equally alarming is the fact that when protestors demonstrated outside the court, a police sergeant spoke to them warning them that he and his colleagues would not tolerate them giving “racial abuse”.

Outraged campaigners firmly told the officer that they took grave exception to the idea that they were potential racists and a protest has been made to the police chief about this.

The St. Andrews case will now be heard in late August, and since Reitblat, the American student, has now returned to the US, he will either have to be brought to Scotland, presumably at public expense, or questioned by video link.

The case comes at a time of growing support for the Palestinian case in Scotland with, for example, the country’s trade union federation, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, supporting calls for a boycott of Israeli products.

It is also potentially embarrassing for St. Andrews University, which hosts a major department which studies terrorism and which is widely funded by outside donations, including many from the US.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | 2 Comments

Bahrainis to hold nationwide protests

Press TV – June 1, 2011

Bahraini activists have called for a fresh wave of anti-government protest rallies across the Persian Gulf country despite government’s escalating crackdown.

Activists using the social networking website Facebook called on Bahrainis to stage anti-regime protests in the main streets and squares on Wednesday as a state of emergency imposed during a March crackdown on protesters has ended.

“The protests are to be in main streets and squares … the movement must return to important places ahead of the imminent return, God willing, to Martyr’s Square,” said a post on “February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition” Facebook page, referring to the site of Pearl Square, which was the focal point of anti-government demonstrations from February until before being destroyed during the government crackdown in March.

Bahraini activists say their campaign will continue until the nation’s demands are met.

The new “protests will confirm that our revolution has not and will not end until our people take their right … of self-determination,” the post added.

An unnamed activist told AFP that most villages have announced that they will participate in the planned protests, adding that demonstrators from all over the country will march towards the Martyr’s Square on Friday.

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Arrest spree climbing in Bahrain

The Bahraini regime has stepped up the apprehension of civil society leaders, rights activists and other opposition figures amid continuing anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf sheikdom.

On Tuesday, military prosecutors in Bahrain summoned four members of the country’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, and a prominent rights activist for questioning, a Press TV report said.

Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) was, however, freed hours after his appearance before prosecutors.

Rajab was previously arrested by the Al Khalifa forces on March 20, following a raid on his house.

During his detention, Rajab says he was beaten and threatened with rape.

The recent arrests come only a day before the lifting of a martial law in Bahrain, which has been in effect since March 17.

However, the country’s justice ministry has warned that pressure on anti-government activists will not be eased even after emergency laws are removed.

This is “to intimidate the people, the leading figures to postpone any likelihood of a popular uprising because the people have decided that once the restrictions are eased they will continue their revolution,” said Saeed al-Shehabi of the Bahrain Freedom Movement in a Press TV interview.

The leading opposition group, BCHR, has in turn stated that anti-government protests will enter a new stage on June 1 — the date set by King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa for the start of unity talks in Bahrain.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Bahrainis to hold nationwide protests

Soldiers Invade Hebron, Neabry Areas, Kidnap Three Children

By Sandy Khair – IMEMC News – June 01, 2011

Israeli soldiers kidnapped three children in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday at dawn, and took them to an unknown destination. Troops installed roadblocks in the Hebron district, invaded several nearby villages and towns, broke into and searched several homes causing damage.

The Palestine news and Info Agency, WAFA, reported that the army kidnapped Ata Abu Ramouz, 17, his brother Mohammad, 13, and Dia’ Ed-Deen Atiyya, 16.

Furthermore, soldiers invaded the nearby towns and villages of Ithna, Yatta and Beit Anoun, and installed roadblocks leading to Halhoul, Ithna and Beit Awwa in addition to the As-Sihla and Tal’at Abu Hadeed areas.

Also, soldiers invaded Beit Amra area, north of Yatta in the Hebron district, and imposed curfew before breaking into several homes and searching them causing damage to their property.

Resident, Ala’ Mohammad Deis, 25, said that soldiers violently attacked his 55-year-old father while searching his home and destroying its property.

Deis added that soldiers also destroyed some of the walls in his father’s home and the home of one of their relatives, and searched several nearby homes.

The army further handed residents Amer Deis and Fadel Deis military notices to head to the nearest security base for questioning.

Also, army stopped dozens of cars and searched them while checking the ID cards of the residents.

In related news, a Palestinian worker from Bethlehem suffered bruises and concussions after being violently attacked and beaten by Israeli soldiers and police officers as he was working at a construction site in East Jerusalem.

The resident, Eyad Obeyyat, 30, was working in Sur Baher village, east of Jerusalem, when the soldiers kidnapped him and took him to a different location where he was violently assaulted before he was released.

He was moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital suffering serious injuries.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Administrative detention of Hamas lawmaker extended

Ma’an – 01/06/2011

HEBRON — Israeli authorities extended the administrative detention of former minister and legislator Nayef Rujoub for an additional six months Tuesday, two days ahead of the end of his current term.

The 53-year-old lawmaker elected to the Hamas party, has spent six months in administrative detention so far this year, and had been slated for release on 1 June.

In 1989, Rajoub was detained for affiliation with Hamas and was imprisoned for one year. In 1992 he was detained or six months and was deported to Lebanon along with a second Hamas member. He returned to Palestine and in 2005 he was again placed under administrative detention.

In 2006, when Rajoub was serving as Minister of Waqf, he was imprisoned for four years in retaliation for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit weeks earlier by armed groups in the Gaza Strip. Rajoub re-imprisoned shortly after completing the sentence.

Under a 1979 Israeli military law, Palestinians can be detained without charge for a period of up to six months, a period of administrative detention that can be renewed indefinitely.

At last count there were 222 Palestinians being held under the law, two of whom have been detained without charge for more than 43 consecutive months.

June 1, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties | Comments Off on Administrative detention of Hamas lawmaker extended