Aletho News


“Force, might and beatings”: Indelible images of the first Intifada

By Ali Abunimah – The Electronic Intifada – 12/09/2011

December 9, 1987 – exactly 24 years ago – is the day Palestinians remember as the start of the first Intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s brutal and unending occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that had begun 20 year earlier.

For young people in the Palestine solidarity movement today, the start of the first Intifada is ancient history – before many were born. For me it was absolutely formative.

I was not in Palestine. In fact I was growing up comfortably in Belgium. But it was the daily TV images of what was happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that opened my eyes and changed me.

One piece of footage in particular had a profound impact all over the world: a group of Israeli soldiers on a hillside in the West Bank systematically breaking the bones of two captive Palestinians, using rocks and sticks.

They committed these war crimes at the behest of Israeli leaders, especially then Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Rabin who ordered troops to use “force, might and beatings” (as well as the live ammunition that claimed lives almost daily) to crush the uprising.

Today, as video of graphic and brutal violence from all over the world is so easily and quickly available, it might be difficult to understand just how deeply shocking this particular footage was. But it is a piece of film that profoundly and permanently changed the way millions of people saw Israel.

Breaking Gandhi’s bones

We often hear Palestinians lectured – by the likes of New York Times columnist Nick Kristof among others – that if they only acted like Gandhi, the Israelis would be impressed and suddenly grant Palestinians their usurped rights.

It’s important to remember – and teach – about the first Intifada for so many reasons, but also because it gives the lie to that silly, condescending and constantly recycled refrain.

The Israeli violence against the completely unarmed first Intifada was intended specifically – as Rabin made clear – to crush any form of Gandhi-like protest, and Israel’s brutality perhaps more than anything else, convinced the next generation of Palestinians that armed resistance was unavoidable.

From bone-breaking to mass violence by remote control

This video – I do not know who put it together – shows other graphic scenes of beatings and torture of Palestinian teens during the first Intifada. It then includes a much longer clip of the hillside bone-breaking that is even more chilling to watch in silence as the soldiers work at their gruesome task methodically.

What is striking about videos of the first Intifada in general is the presence of Israeli soldiers in the middle of Palestinian cities. That now is relatively rare – except when they go in on brutal night raids coordinated with the Palestinian Authority.

The 1993 Oslo Accords, and the subsequent creation of the Palestinian Authority, replaced Israeli soldiers with Palestinian Authority forces. While Palestinians remained under occupation, now the enforcers of the occupation became Palestinians in uniforms. But Israel was relieved of the burden – and some of the bad publicity – of doing the dirty work itself.

Much of Israel’s violence – and the threat of violence – is now done by remote control: PA proxy forces, walls, checkpoints, heavily reinforced watchtowers, cattle runs with unseen voices barking orders, electronic ID cards, drones and F-16s, and even Israeli teenagers shooting people in Gaza dead via video screens as if they are playing a game.

It’s an ever more totalitarian system of violent control of a whole population that had yet to be perfected in the days of Bone-Breaker Rabin.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | Comments Off on “Force, might and beatings”: Indelible images of the first Intifada

Climate FAIL from A to Z presented at Durban

By Marc Morano  –  Climate Depot


Many of the proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that climate change is worse than they predicted. According to an October 18, 2011 Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the “evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts” and “if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested.”

But this exclusive Climate Depot exhaustive A-Z Climate Reality Check report on the scientific reality of the failure of man-made global warming shatters any such illusions that the climate is “worse than we thought.” As the real world evidence mounts that global warming claims are failing, the climate activists have ramped up predictions of future climate change impacts to declare that it is “worse than we thought.” But a prediction or projection of 50-100 years into the future is not “evidence.” Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears.

The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim — from A-Z — the claims of the promoters of man-made climate fears are failing, and in many instances the claims are moving in the opposite direction. The global warming movement is suffering the scientific death of a thousand cuts. This Climate Depot special report categorizes and indexes the full range of climate developments in a handy A-Z reference guide. The A-Z report includes key facts, peer-reviewed studies and the latest data and developments with links for further reading, on an exhaustive range of man-made global warming claims.

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers and the ice is expanding, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polar bears are thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more and many scientists are predicting global cooling is ahead, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists, former Vice President Al Gore is now under siege by his fellow global warming activists for attempting to link every bad weather event to man-made global warming and scientists from around the world continue to dissent from man-made climate fears at a rapid pace.

Climate Depot’s new A-Z report reveals that the great man-made global warming catastrophe that was predicted – has been cancelled.

In addition to the scientific collapse of anthropogenic global warming fears, the political collapse has been just as stunning. President Obama has been criticized by former Vice President Al Gore for failing to do enough when it comes to climate change legislation. The now defunct and “scientifically meaningless” Congressional climate bill failed because the Democrats realized it was political suicide. The new political expediency in Washington is global warming skepticism. The UN global warming treaty process lay in shambles. See: Democrat Walter Russell Mead analyzes Gore: Gore steered the green movement ‘into a tsunami of defeat that…will loom as one of the greatest failures of civil society in all time.’
Proponents of anthropogenic climate change have been reduced to making outlandish claims of a mythical 97% or 98% consensus. See: Global Warming: A ’98% Consensus Of Nothing’: ‘Only shameless activists or statistically ignorant claim that survey of 77 anonymous scientists’ is proof of 98% ‘consensus’. Once esteemed science groups like the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have now corrupted and have used taxpayer money to lobby for the passage of climate bills. See: Ralph Cicerone’s Shame: NAS Urges Carbon Tax, Becomes Advocacy Group — ‘political appointees heading politicized scientific institutions that are virtually 100% dependent on gov’t funding’ & NAS Pres. Ralph Cicerone Turns Science Org. into political advocacy group: $6 million NAS study is used to lobby for global warming bill & MIT’s Richard Lindzen: ‘Cicerone of NAS is saying that regardless of evidence the answer is predetermined. If gov’t wants carbon control, that is the answer that the NAS will provide’

Movement ‘was bound to fail’

A movement that had Al Gore – one of the most divisive political figures – as the face of the movement, was bound to fail. A movement that utilized the scandal ridden United Nations – which is massively distrusted by the American people – as the repository of science, was doomed to fail. Gore and the UN IPCC are now reduced to pointing to every storm, flood, hurricane or tornado as proof of man-made global warming. The UN has been reduced to blaming man-made global warming for prostitution. See: Climate Astrology — ‘It Has Been Foretold’ of Extreme Weather: ‘UN IPCC science has a status similar to interpretations of Nostradamus and the Mayan calendars’ & Climate Astrology borrows from the past: ‘Before That Witch Moved Into The Neighborhood, We Never Had Bad Weather Or Disease’

But a scientific moment of clarity is now prevailing: The UN and the U.S. Congress do not have the power to legislate, tax or regulate the weather. See: Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer: ‘The idea that Congress can stop climate change is just hilarious’ – Warns of ‘climate change cult’ – July 8, 2009 – Prominent scientists continue to challenge the alleged “consensus.” See: Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Who Endorsed Obama Dissents! Dr. Ivar Giaever Resigns from American Physical Society Over Group’s Promotion of Man-Made Global Warming

‘Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables’

The idea that CO2, a trace essential gas in the atmosphere that humans exhale from their mouths, is the main climate driver is now being challenged by peer-reviewed studies, data and scientists from around the globe. It is not simply, the sun or CO2 when looking at global temperatures, it is the Sun, volcanoes, tilt of the Earth’s axis, water vapor, methane, clouds, ocean cycles, plate tectonics, albedo, atmospheric dust, Atmospheric Circulation, cosmic rays, particulates like Carbon Soot, forests and land use, etc. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, not just CO2.

Professor Emeritus of Biogeography Philip Stott of the University of London explained the crux of the entire global warming debate when he rebutted the notion that CO2 is the main climate driver.

“As I have said, over and over again, the fundamental point has always been this: climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically-selected factor (CO2), is as misguided as it gets,” Stott wrote.

Even the global warming activists at admitted to this key climate reality in a September 20, 2008 article. “The actual temperature rise is an emergent property resulting from interactions among hundreds of factors,” explained.

The global warming movement continues to lose scientists, many formerly with the UN IPCC. See: More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore

The future does not look bright for global warming activists as more scandals continue to rock the movement. See: Climate Depot’s Exclusive Round Up of Climategate 2.0 – Read about the most comprehensive report on the latest global warming scandal – Even warmists are lamenting that Climate 2.o may be ‘devastating’: ‘These [emails] sound worse than I thought at first – their impact will be devastating’

MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen has observed that “Ordinary people see through man-made climate fears — but educated people are very vulnerable.”

Full PDF report is available here.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on Climate FAIL from A to Z presented at Durban

Appeal denied in Holy Land Five case

By Nora Barrows-Friedman – The Electronic Intifada – 12/08/2011

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals formally denied an appeal in the ongoing case of the Holy Land Five (HLF), deciding to uphold the convictions of the leaders of the once-largest Muslim charity organization in the US on spurious “terrorism” charges despite irrelevant, prejudicial evidence and unconstitutional precedents used by the federal government.

The Dallas Morning News reported on 7 December that:

Fifth Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King, writing on behalf of colleagues Emilio M. Garza and James E. Graves, Jr., noted:

“While no trial is perfect, this one included, we conclude from our review of the record, briefs, and oral argument, that the defendants were fairly convicted. For the reasons explained below, therefore, we affirm the district court’s judgments of conviction of the individual defendants. We dismiss the appeal of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.”

Since the Bush administration dismantled the Holy Land Foundation — which sent direct humanitarian aid to Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation as well as to communities in the US suffering from the effects of natural disasters — under the guise of the draconian Patriot Act, the five defendants have been accused and convicted of providing “material support” to “terrorist organizations” (namely the Hamas political party in Palestine). In September 2009, all five were sentenced to prison terms varying from 15-65 years. The Patriot Act strengthened a Clinton-era “anti-terrorism” legal caveat called the Material Support law which has been used to take down Muslim organizations and individuals in this country for the last ten years.

This past September, as The Electronic Intifada reported, oral arguments began in the appeals process, following last year’s submission of a 149-page appeal by the defense team.

In a press release from the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), it is pointed out that the Federal government violated significant amendments of the US Constitution and basic legalities during this ten-year effort to prosecute the Holy Land Five. Those violations include:

– The fact that the court barred the defense from learning the names of two government witnesses, one of which was the government’s key witness in the trial. According to the brief, this action violated the defendants’ Fifth Amendment right to due process and Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses against them.

– The fact that the court admitted unfairly prejudicial evidence with little or no relevance to the charges in the case. This evidence included exhibits about Hamas suicide bombings, testimony about Hamas killing collaborators with Israel, a video of demonstrators stomping on and burning the American flag and other such imagery — none of which had any connection to the defendants.

– The fact that the court denied the defense access to evidence the prosecution had access to. Instead, prosecutors were allowed to cherry-pick what evidence the defense could review.

The Electronic Intifada will provide updates in the HLF case, especially regarding the next steps for the defendants, their families and their legal teams.

The ongoing efforts by the US government to criminalize Palestine solidarity and charity work — see the continuing persecution of Dr. Sami al-Arian, who was never convicted but remains on repressive house arrest following years of imprisonment, including solitary confinement; or the FBI’s grand jury cases against activists in the Midwest — is nothing new, and is not surprising, but as my colleague (and subpoenaed activist in the grand jury trial) Maureen Murphy has written, “it poses a special threat to the growing Palestine solidarity movement in the US, which is increasingly challenging the US government’s military aid to Israel and its diplomatic cover for Israeli war crimes and apartheid.”

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Appeal denied in Holy Land Five case

Here Is The Drone

Moon of Alabama | December 8, 2011

Hats off to Iran and its electronic warfare specialists.

To bring down the most sophisticated U.S. stealth drone known, nearly completely intact, is something very few other countries would be able to achieve. A real technical feat.

From the way Iran disguised the lower part of the drone it exhibits in that gymnasium we can assume that there is some damage at the bottom of the drone. Maybe they had a little accident while landing the drone after they took control of it. They also seem to have cut off the wings to allow for an easier transport.

Earlier I speculated that the drone was taken over by the line-of-sight control channel after its satellite control channel was severed by some electronic means. I have yet to see any other report mentioning that second control channel at all as the way to take over the drone. But seeing the bird with so little damage in that video I am even more sure now than before that this was the way it was done.

Press TV:

Iran has announced that it intends to carry out reverse engineering on the captured RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft, which is also known as the Beast of Kandahar, and is similar in design to a US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber.

The most interesting part to reverse engineer is probably not the drone itself but the sensor package and communication equipment it carries. Any decent engineer would love to get her hands on that. Reverse engineering it will save a ton of money one would otherwise have to spend in research and development costs to achieve that knowledge.

Press TV is by the way wrong when it asserts that this is a similar design to the B-2. The B-2 had its first flight in 1989, the RQ-170 likely in 2006/7. It is a generation younger and its stealth features are more sophisticated than the B-2’s.

The U.S. has only ten or so of this sophisticated and likely very expensive type of drone. They are – for now – reportedly grounded to find ways to avert another such loss of a system and prestige.

But let us not forget the real important point here that has come to light with this Iranian drone acquisition. Despite flying such drones over Iran for years the U.S. has found no sign of an Iranian weapons program.

There is none to be found and that is the main point in this whole story.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | 2 Comments

TEPCO: Fukushima Radiation Isn’t Our Problem

Adding Insult to Injury

By JOHN LaFORGE | CounterPunch | December 8, 2011

In the amoral milieu of the corporate bottom line, you can’t blame Tokyo Electric Power Co. for trying.

Tepco owns the 6-reactor Fukushima complex that was wrecked by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and smashed by the resulting tsunami. It faces more than $350 billion in compensation and clean-up costs, as well as likely prosecution for withholding crucial information that may have prevented some radiation exposures and for operating the giant station after being warned about the inadequacy of its protections against disasters.

So when the company was hauled into Tokyo District Court Oct. 31 by the Sunfield Golf Club, which was demanding decontamination of the golf course, Tepco lawyers tried something novel. They claimed the company isn’t liable because it no longer “owned” the radioactive poisons that were spewed from its destroyed reactors.

“Radioactive materials that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not Tepco,” the company said. This stunned the Court, the plaintiffs and the press. An attorney for the golf club said, “We are flabbergasted….”

The court rejected Tepco’s notion that its cancer-causing pollution is owned by the areas it contaminated. But you have to hand it to Tepco. For brash balderdash there’s hardly a match in the world.

Even Union Carbide, whose toxic gas in Bhopal, India killed 15,000 people in 1984, hasn’t tried that one. Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, is still fighting India’s demand for $1.7 billion in compensation. Perhaps Dow could try Tepco’s dodge: “The gas belongs to the breather now, since possession is nine-tenths of the law.”

Meanwhile, babies in Japan may be in for a life of debilitation and disease because radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 was recently found in infant milk powder. A December 6 announcement by the Meiji Holdings Company, Inc. said it was recalling 400,000 cans of its “Meiji Step,” powdered milk for babies older than 9 months. The powder was packaged in April — at the height of Fukushima’s largest radiation releases — distributed mostly in May and has an October 2012 expiration date.

The amount of cesium in one serving of the milk powder was about eight percent of the total contamination allowed by the government. But no one knows how much formula individual babies may have consumed prior to the recall. It is well known that fetuses, infants, children and women are harmed by doses of radiation below officially allowed exposures. Most exposure standards have been established in view of radiation’s projected effect on “Reference Man,” a hypothetical 20 to 30 year old white male, rather than women and children, the most vulnerable.

Even tiny amounts of internal radioactive contamination can damage DNA, cause cancer and weaken the immune system. Fukushima’s meltdowns dispersed radioactive contamination found in vegetables, milk, seafood, water, grain, animal feed and beef. Green tea grown 250 miles from Fukushima was found contaminated. Rice harvested this fall from 154 farms in Fukushima Prefecture was found in November to be poisoned with cesium 25 percent above the allowable limit. Shipments of rice from those farms were banned, but not before many tons had been sold. Presumably, that radiation is now the property of each consumer under the inventive assertion of Tepco’s corporate attorneys.

John LaForge is on the Nukewatch staff and edits its Quarterly newsletter.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Nuclear Power | 6 Comments

Years Of Drone Flights Find No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program

Moon of Alabama | December 8, 2011

The officials say the RQ-170 Sentinel drone that went down over Iran was part of a fleet of secret aircraft that enabled the CIA to carry out dozens of high-altitude surveillance flights deep into Iranian territory without being detected.A former senior Defense Department official said the stealth drone flights had been underway for “at least four years,” …

The CIA is thought to have a dozen or so of the batwing-shaped, radar-evading aircraft, which are capable of being fitted with different “sensor payloads,” meaning they can be equipped to capture a range of intelligence material, including high-resolution images, radiation measurements and air samples.
WaPo, Dec 8 2011

One important point seems to get lost in the reports on the U.S. stealth drone Iran managed to obtain.

Despite such espionage by flying sophisticated spy drones over Iran “for at least four years” those flights have not found any hint of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Then National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told Congress in 2009 that Iran had not made the decision restart an alleged nuclear weapons program:

But as for the nuclear weapons program, the current position is the same, that Iran has stopped its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities in 2003 and did not — has not started them again …

U.S. spy drones had been flying over Iran for some two years when that statement was made.

In February 2011 the current National Intelligence director James Clapper gave a similar testimony (pdf) at a Congress hearing:

We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

When that statement was made radiation sniffing and air sampling spy drones had been flying over Iran for some three and a half years. Obviously they had not detected anything the intelligence community identified as a nuclear weapons program. Otherwise Clapper’s statement would not hold.

That is the real important point to take from this drone brouhaha. Despite using them for years in highly sophisticated espionage on Iran no sign of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been found.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Aletho News | Comments Off on Years Of Drone Flights Find No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program

Russia raps US for inciting unrest

Press TV – December 8, 2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused US officials of provoking post-election unrest in his country, saying “no one wanted to see chaos” in Russia.

Putin said on Thursday that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has given signals to the Russian opposition to pour into streets to challenge the results of the recent parliamentary elections in the country.

US officials’ disapproval of the elections” had set the tone for some people inside the country and given a signal,” said the Russian premier, quoted in an AFP report.

He added that hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign funds have been used to influence the recent elections.

Calling for dialog between the opposition and authorities, Putin said that law-breakers must face full force of the law.

“If somebody breaks the law then the security forces must implement the law with full legal means,” Putin said.

His comments come after mass protests contested the results of Sunday’s polls in which Putin’s party won almost half the votes. Around 1,000 protesters have been arrested in the days following the polls.

Clinton has alleged that Russia’s parliamentary vote was rigged, demanding a full investigation. In response, Russia has accused the US and its allies of meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 2 Comments

2 killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City

Ma’an – 08/12/2011

GAZA CITY – An Israeli airstrike killed two people in the central Gaza Strip on Thursday, medics and security officials said.

Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said two people died and two others were wounded after the explosion, which witnesses said hit a car parked near Omar al-Mukhtar street.

A Ma’an reporter named those killed as Issam Subhi al-Batsh and Subhi Alaa al-Batsh.

Hamas armed wing Al-Qassam Bridges said in a statement it was mourning its operative Subhi Alaa al-Batsh, and the Ayman Juda Brigades, a sub-division of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades, said Issam Subhi al-Batsh was one of its members.

Crowds gathered around the site of the blast in the busy street, and locals told Ma’an that the explosion damaged three buses that had brought high school students for a picnic in the area. The students scattered in a state of panic, they said.

The strength of the blast threw one body outside of the car park area, while another was extracted from the car, witnesses said.

Abu Salmiya said the wounded were taken to Shifa hospital in Gaza City to treat light and moderate injuries.

The Israeli army said in a statement that its aircraft hit central and northern Gaza and confirmed a “direct hit.”

It said it targeted Issam al-Batsh and another person, who were “both affiliated with a terrorist squad that intended to execute a terrorist attack against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers via the western border.”

Spokesman of the Gaza government, Taher al-Nunu condemned the bombing, and expressed concern about a series of threats made by Israel in the lead up to the strike.

Al-Nunu called on Egypt and the United Nations to intervene as soon as possible to stop the “continuous crimes against Palestinians.”

December 8, 2011 Posted by | War Crimes | Comments Off on 2 killed in Israeli airstrike on Gaza City