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Whose Ground Is It, Anyway?

By Steve Martinot | Dissident Voice | July 22, 2013

The Travesty goes like this.

The grounds for Zimmerman’s acquittal were that he shot someone, and killed him. Pure and simple.

The grounds for Trayvon Martin’s having been killed is that he decided to defend himself against someone stalking him.

Does it make sense? No. Is it true? Yes.

There’s nothing to understand. That’s just the way it is. But if we do want to understand it, we have to look at the “role model.” Or rather, at The Role Model.

The Role Model is the US, the War Making Power.

The US walks (drives, flies, shoots and bombs its way) into another country under fabricated excuses, and considers anyone who tries to defend their country against this as an aggressor. Hence, Guantanamo is filled with prisoners, never charged with anything because the only thing they did was try to defend Afghanistan against a US invasion. Trayvon Martin is dead for the same reason – that is, Zimmerman invaded his space (acting like the US). With a role model like that, you can’t go wrong. Right?

To act in self-defense is to be the aggressor. Just ask Marissa Alexander. She has a restraining order against her estranged husband. He invades her house and threatens her. She goes out to the garage to get her gun, and comes back into the house to expel this unwanted invader from it. He approaches her, she fires a warning shot into the ceiling, the invader leaves, and she is sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempted murder. She couldn’t claim she was standing her ground because she is a black woman. The fact that this happened in her house meant that she was the aggressor. The judge said that she could not claim self-defense because she left the house and came back in, which made her the aggressor. Had she been acting in self-defense, he said, she would have fled. Her estranged husband, violating a restraining order with the same impunity that the US violates international law in invading countries and torturing prisoners, is the one who can claim to be the victim, standing his ground in her house, which is why she is accused of attempted murder.

Trayvon Martin is walking along, minding his own business, which is why he cannot claim his space of privacy as his ground. The ground belongs to the invader, the one who aggressed against the space of Trayvon Martin’s privacy, and stands on it. The one who defends his space becomes the aggressor.

Have I got that right? Whoever defends their space is a criminal, an aggressor (which is why Trayvon Martin is dead), while whoever invades that space and stands his ground can claim self-defense, and kill with impunity. Racially profiling a black teenager in a hoodie means he is a foreigner in his own space. We have prisons in Guantanamo for such people (unless we kill them first).

War is the role model. For the last 60 years, the US has waged wars of aggression, bombing other countries and landing troops they have trained to be killers on foreign soil – Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan – while referring to each invasion as “self-defense.”

Invasion is self-defense. Self-defense is aggression. Racialization is equality. Unless you are the racialized.

Zimmerman’s ground, the ground he claimed, didn’t belong to him. He was receiving stolen goods. You know how you steal land from people who do not see it as property? You turn it into property. You mark out a boundary, write that boundary down on a piece of paper called a deed, and sell it. You cannot steal land by picking it up and putting it in your pocket. You steal land by turning it into a commodity. It is a juridical trick, like acquitting a man of manslaughter after he has just slaughtered a man.

Oh, and one more thing to commodify the land, to steal it. You have to stand on it.

Standing your ground is a colonialist notion, since the ground is not “yours.” Not only is it not yours, it is a social space in which ownership cannot be claimed.

Disputes between individuals are personal things, not spatial. To make them spatial is to make them territorial. Any claim to the territory has no legitimacy other than that of force or criminality. Or in other words, colonialism. For Zimmerman to have stood “his” ground is already to be a criminal. Which is enough to get you exonerated of any crime in a colonialist society. Colonialism depends on it.

A beautiful thing happened at the demonstration in Oakland against The Zimmerman Travesty (two days after it happened). We, the colonized (yes, I make common cause under that name), met at the usual place, the plaza whose popular name commemorates the exercise of the police state that occurred at “Fruitvale Station.”

You know why this is a police state? Because you can’t stand your ground against the police. They are the invaders against whom all others are aggressors. The slightest gesture of dignity or self-respect will get you beaten to the ground, arrested for resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, and possibly killed. Guess who the police arrested at the demonstration I am speaking about. A photographer, plying his trade.

Anyway, there appeared at this demonstration a small band of the colonized on bicycles – bicycles tricked out with fancy wheels and decorations, and music playing. And just as the march was to start, they rode into the intersection, coordinated and circling around in it, stopping traffic in all directions. Taking back the land by not standing on it but moving. The motion, like dance, was powerful because it cannot be commodified. Only cars can stand their ground (i.e. colonize) on that land. Or cops – who arrived a few minutes later. These guys on bikes just rode circles around them, so that all the cops could do was take over the intersection, which meant taking over the task of stopping traffic in all directions.

It happened again and again, until it finally happened on the expressway. Bikes. And photographers. And we, the colonized, dancing behind them to their music.

Only the totally naïve would believe that Trayvon Martin attacked Zimmerman, instead of dancing around his stalking. There was a photo of Zimmerman with blood on his face, which surfaced three weeks after the event. Had the picture been made on the night of the murder, it would have been in every newspaper’s front page the next day. It took three weeks to produce it. It didn’t look like Photoshop, but you never can tell.

All that happened not because Trayvon Martin is black. No, we are no longer permitted to play that race card. There is a whole slew of Supreme Court decisions that legitimize profiling. Please see Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, for a partial list, complete with explanations in layperson’s language. Trayvon Martin wasn’t stalked and shot because he was black. He was stalked and shot because Zimmerman is white. It is the fact that Trayvon Martin could be stalked and shot by Zimmerman with impunity that makes him black. The DA and the AG assisted Zimmerman, in a cabal of jurisprudence, with the jury carrying the ball the rest of the way, because Zimmerman is white. It is that cabal that makes Trayvon Martin black. Pure and simple.

OMG, my deepest apologies. I’ve got this all wrong. Its not that the US invasions of other countries is the role model for Zimmerman. Not at all. It’s the Zimmermans of the country that are the role model for the US government.

~

Steve Martinot is a scholarly progressive activist in any cause for social justice and author of a number of books, including The Rules of Racialization and The Machinery of Whiteness. He can be reached at: martinot4@gmail.com.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The European Union: Where Corporate Fantasies Come True

By David Cronin | New Left Project | July 18, 2013

Edward Snowden has exposed more than a massive spying operation.  The whistleblower has – perhaps unintentionally – drawn attention to just how obsequious Europe’s political leaders are towards the US.

Angela Merkel and François Hollande are reportedly furious over revelations that America has been reading their diplomats’ emails (though their fury can’t be that intense given that a rumour that Snowden was on a flight to Bolivia was sufficient for France to block the plane from its airspace).  There were hints too that a planned trans-Atlantic trade agreement could be in jeopardy as a result of the controversy.  Yet the talks have opened this month as planned.  With many of the world’s most powerful corporations adamant that the talks take place, they were unlikely to be derailed by a spat over snooping.

In May this year, a ‘business alliance’ to support the planned trade deal was established.  Many of the firms belonging to this coalition – BP, Coca-Cola, Deutsche Bank, British American Tobacco, Nestlé – have been involved in similar initiatives since the 1990s.  Using a highly dubious methodology, the alliance estimates that a transatlantic trade and investment partnership (known by the ugly acronym TTIP) would bring benefits of €119 billion to the EU and €95 billion to the US per year.  What they don’t spell out is that the price of any such benefits could be the destruction of democracy.

A leaked document detailing what EU officials wish to achieve in the negotiations says that an eventual agreement should include ‘state-of-the-art’ provisions on ‘dispute settlement’.  Under this plan, special tribunals would be set up to allow corporations to sue governments over laws that hamper them from maximising their profits.

When clauses like those being envisaged have been inserted into previous investment treaties, corporations have invoked them in order to challenge health and environmental laws that were not to their liking.  Australian rules that all cigarettes be sold in unattractive packaging and Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power are among the measures that corporations have tried to torpedo in the name of ‘investor protection’.

What will the masters of the global economy take on next: minimum wage levels; restrictions on hazardous chemicals; food quality standards?  All of these advances are the results of struggle by workers and campaigners.  All of them could be at risk if European and American negotiators go ahead with their plan to set up a special court system that corporations alone may use.

Peter Mandelson must shoulder some of the blame for the extremist agenda now being pursued.  In 2006, when he was EU trade commissioner, Mandelson published an official blueprint called Global Europe.  It committed the Brussels bureaucracy to work in tandem with corporations to remove any obstacles they encountered throughout the world.

The blueprint closely resembled recommendations made by pressure groups like the European Services Forum (ESF).   Bringing together Microsoft, BT, Veolia and – at the time – Goldman Sachs, the ESF has its origins in the 1999 conference of the World Trade Organisation, best remembered for the ‘Battle of Seattle’ – the large-scale protests against it.

In The Brussels Business, an excellent film about corporate lobbying, the ESF’s Pascal Kerneis waxes emotional as he recalls how some ‘high-VIPs’ were unable to attend important meetings in Seattle because of the demonstrations outside their hotel.   Kerneis, however, did not allow this display of people power to weaken his determination to refashion the international economy in the way that his elitist pals wanted.

In his dealings with Mandelson’s team of advisers, Kerneis argued that if the EU is unable to have the wishes of corporations fulfilled at the WTO level, it should concentrate on twisting the arms of individual governments.  The stilted phrasing of some ESF briefing papers though could not conceal that they were designed to turn some of the wildest capitalist fantasies into reality.  One advocated that the EU should strive to remove all capital requirements for banks and caps on foreign ownership of companies in its key trading partners, as well as any pesky rules preventing corporations from sending profits abroad (to, say, a tax haven).

As they were drafted before the financial crisis that erupted in 2008, these papers have a carefree, almost naive feel to them.  And yet the European Commission is still striving to attain the core goals identified in such documents.  The Commission’s latest annual report on ‘trade and investment barriers’ says that all ‘relevant instruments and policies’ will be marshalled worldwide ‘to make sure the playing field is levelled’.  On the surface, that may sound innocuous.  In practice though, it means that corporations are accorded more rights than human beings.

If an Indian arrived in Heathrow Airport tomorrow and demanded to automatically have the same entitlements as a British citizen, he or she would probably be arrested.  Yet the EU executive believes that big Western companies active in India should enjoy ‘national treatment’ – that is they should be treated exactly like Indian firms.  Britain’s industrialisation was achieved at least partly because the textiles sector was shielded from foreign competition.   Yet blinkered by neoliberal ideology, Brussels officials want to prevent poorer countries from applying the same tactics, which they now describe as ‘protectionist’ (a dirty word, according to these ideologues).

The willingness to allow corporate lobbyists to set the rules is not confined to trade policy.  Financial regulation too has been heavily influenced by the world’s most powerful banks.

Charlie McCreevy, the EU’s single market commissioner from 2004 to 2010, displayed a deep aversion to oversight during his time in office.  His hands-off approach can be attributed to the fact that the ‘experts’ he appointed to guide him held exorbitantly-paid posts at the investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.  A consultative group on hedge funds that the Irishman assembled was comprised entirely of insiders from the financial services industry.

When Michel Barnier was tasked with taking over McCreevy’s portfolio, Nicolas Sarkozy (remember him?) contended that giving this post to a Frenchman was a defeat for the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism.  Like many of Sarkozy’s proclamations, it was fanciful.  Barnier has kept up the dishonourable tradition of relying primarily on advice from the private sector. An ‘expert group’ on banking reform set up at his behest last year had a token representative from the European Consumers’ Organisation (known by the French acronym BEUC) and a couple of academics.  Most of its eleven members, however, were sitting or former bankers – or, worse still, weapons salesmen.

Financial service whizzkids are held in awe by EU policy-makers.  This became much apparent during 2009. Boris Johnson hopped on the Eurostar to Brussels that year to champion the City of London and predictably grabbed the headlines. Away from the glare of publicity, however, an army of hedge fund managers succeeded in eviscerating a law designed to restrain their gambling.  When the law went before the European Parliament, the hedge fund industry prepared a voluminous set of amendments.  Sharon Bowles, a Liberal Democrat MEP who chairs the Parliament’s economics committee, admitted to me that she signed amendments drafted by the financial industry and then tabled them in her own name.  This obviously begs the question of whether she is really working on behalf of her constituents or on behalf of banks.

The corporate lobby has proven adept at concocting myths.  Whereas it was patently obvious that the economic crisis was caused by the reckless behaviour of banks, powerful groupings have spread the falsehood that extravagance in public spending was really to blame.  The European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT) – which includes the chief executives or chairmen of Shell, Volvo, Nestlé, Vodafone and Heineken – has been leading efforts to demolish the welfare state.  Among its core demands are that healthcare should be privatised so that Europe more closely resembles the US.  The ERT enjoys the kind of access to top-level politicians that defenders of the underprivileged are denied.  Herman Van Rompuy, the EU’s unelected ‘president’, is known to have dined with ERT delegations in private clubs, without any details of these encounters being posted on his website.  And in March this year, Merkel and Hollande, along with the European Commission’s head José Manuel Barroso, met ERT representatives in Berlin.   The ERT is pushing the Union’s governments to agree on a ‘competitiveness pact’ over the next twelve months.  Under this pact, each EU country would become obliged to drive down its wage levels and dilute its labour laws.

‘Competitiveness’ is a byword for crony capitalism.  It should not be confused with competition: among the ERT’s demands are that the EU becomes less fussy about controlling mergers between large companies.  Far from encouraging diversity, it wants to have wealth concentrated in increasingly fewer hands.

Repeated so often, the idea of ‘competitiveness’ has assumed an almost religious significance among the EU elite.  Opposing it is regarded as heretical.

Despite Thatcher’s tetchy relationship with the EU institutions, the main tenets of Thatcherism have gone mainstream in Brussels.  Attempts made in earlier decades to give the Union a social dimension – by, for example, championing gender equality –  always amounted to fig-leafs for a project that was essentially right-wing and anti-democratic.  In more recent years, these fig-leafs have become increasingly slender.

Barroso is among a new generation of leaders who are demonstrably in thrall to the ‘Iron Lady’.  While he habitually describes the EU as a ‘social market’ economy, it is evident from his favoured policies that his real agenda is to bolster corporate power.  One key objective of the European Commission is to promote ‘public-private partnerships’.  This idea of handing over services financed by taxpayers to unaccountable companies can be traced back to Thatcher and her successor, John Major.

With few exceptions, the Union is cuddling up to big business and screwing the rest of us. Building a mass movement to confront corporate power has never been more urgent.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

US, Israel launch joint aerial drill

Press TV – July 21, 2013

The United States and Israel have begun a joint aerial drill. According to a statement by the Israel military the two-week “Juniper Stallion 13” aerial exercise began Sunday morning.

An undisclosed number of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets from both sides are participating in the training event. It’s held at Uvda Base in the southern Negev Desert, during which pilots will practice air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.

The United States European Command (EUCOM) is involved in the aerial war games which will focus air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.

The exercise comes after a two-day visit to Israel on July 14 by EUCOM’s Commander General Philip M. Breedlove.

“The combined exercise is designed to improve the interoperability and cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. air forces, and has been planned for more than a year,” an Israeli military source told Xinhua.

The U.S. is Israel’s biggest ally and international supporter. It supports Tel Aviv financially, militarily and diplomatically. Washington is providing billions of dollars of military aid to Tel Aviv annually.

During Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.5 million per day in military aid.

Meanwhile Times of Israel has reported that “Israel would receive $3.4 billion in total military aid under the 2014 U.S. budget proposal sent to Congress by President Barack Obama”. The proposal is inclusive of “$3.1 billion in general military aid for Israel, similar to 2013, plus a separate request for $220 million to finance the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.”

“Obama’s 2014 proposal also allocates $96 million for joint U.S.-Israel research and development projects, including the David’s Sling and Arrow missile defense systems. The overall budget proposal that Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday totalled $3.8 trillion.”

The If Americans Knew website (http://ifamericansknew.org/stats/usaid.html) reports that “Beginning in 2007, the U.S. has increased military aid by $150 million each year. Beginning 2012, we will be sending Israel $3.1 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries.”

In Israel’s last two wars on the Gaza Strip alone, Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008- 18 January 2009) and November 2012, hundreds of civilians, including many women and children were killed.

In addition to financial and military aid, the U.S. has vetoed over 40 UN resolutions that have been critical of Israel and its policies towards Palestine.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli regime a replication of S. African apartheid?

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Press TV – July 22, 2013

The Israeli regime has been accused of replicating the former South African Apartheid regime by the UN investigators, politicians and human rights groups.

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela once said “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.

Last month, Ismail Coovadia, outgoing South African ambassador to Tel Aviv, said the regime is a “replication of apartheid” and built on “stolen land”.

The relation between Tel Aviv and the Apartheid regime in South Africa has even become the subject of a book — “Unspoken Alliance; Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.

All these call for a look at the similarities between the two regimes and their cozy relations with Britain.

The Israeli regime is treating Palestinians, especially those living in the West Bank just like blacks, who were confined to Bantustans equal to West Bank enclaves and the besieged Gaza Strip by the Apartheid regime.

Palestinians are confined to security zones in the West Bank where they should have permits to pass military checkpoints while those in the Gaza Strip are under a military siege and have limited access to food, water, drugs and fuel, among others.

Palestinians are indeed under Israeli military occupation and face control of movement, physical separation from Zionists even on the roads and lack equal rights with them.

The physical separation, which is similar to the black Bantustans enforced by a variety of measures, is imposed on the Palestinians by creation of Israeli-only roads, limiting their access to lands and resources in the occupied territories and most recently by erecting of the separation barrier (otherwise known as the “Apartheid Wall”) in the West Bank.

Palestinians are also subjected to a totally different legal system than do Israeli occupiers to the extent that Palestinians are turned into secondary residents of their own lands by the occupiers, just like blacks versus white settlers during apartheid rule in South Africa.

In terms of equal rights, Palestinians also do not have the right to vote in the Israeli elections as was the case in the South African Apartheid regime.

They were given an illusion of a democracy by the Oslo Accords that enabled them to vote in the Palestinian Authority elections that brings to mind the local black polls for Bantustans, but that illusion was shattered in 2006 after Hamas won the PA elections but was not allowed to form a government.

The Israeli regime had also warm ties with the apartheid regime and the man behind the concept and implementation of apartheid, former South African Premier Hendrik Verwoerd, once said “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state”.

The two regimes signed a military agreement in 1975 and the Zionist side helped the apartheid regime circumvent international sanctions until its end in the 1994, to the point that the UN General Assembly condemned Tel Aviv’s “collaboration with the racist regime of South Africa”.

The apartheid regime was also considered a close ally of Britain and London used its weight to prevent sanctions against the regime while maintaining extensive trade with South Africa especially by importing gold.

Later in the 1980’s, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proved a staunch support of the racist regime describing the anti-apartheid Mandela as a terrorist in 1987.

Such a position is now clearly seen in the London-Tel Aviv ties and it goes without saying that Britain laid the cornerstone of a Zionist entity in the Palestinian lands in the first place.

In 2002, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote an article named “Apartheid in the Holy Land” that that his recent trip to Palestine had reminded him “so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.

He had earlier written in 1984 that the Bantustans, which were pretended to be self-governing homelands by the apartheid regime were deprived of “territorial integrity or any hope of economic viability”.

They were, he wrote, merely “fragmented and discontinuous territories, located in unproductive and marginal parts of the country” with “no control” over natural resources or access to “territorial waters”.

The description that appears to be a depiction of the occupied territories just now has been echoed by the UN Human Rights Rapporteur John Dugard, who is a South African legal professor and apartheid expert.

Dugard said “Israel’s laws and practices” in the Occupied Territories “certainly resemble aspects of apartheid”.

The analogy is also seen by British Labour MP Gerald Kaufman and former minister for international aid Clare Short who are pushing for sanctions against Tel Aviv.

The description of the situation in the occupied territories by Clare Short in the Commons back in June 26, 2007 is illuminating.

“I have followed developments in the Middle East carefully over many years, and I was well aware before my recent visit how bad things are for the Palestinian people. Nevertheless, I was deeply shocked by Israel’s blatant, brutal and systematic annexation of land, demolition of Palestinian homes, and deliberate creation of an apartheid system by which the Palestinians are enclosed in four Bantustans, surrounded by a wall, with massive checkpoints that control all Palestinian movements in and out of the ghettos,” she said.

A key difference, however, remains, that is apartheid rulers exploited blacks as cheap laborers while Zionists are ethnically cleansing Palestinians.

A South African newspaper editor, Mondli Makhanya, put it in a nutshell after a 2008 trip to the Middle East.

“It seems to me that the Israelis would like the Palestinians to disappear. There was never anything like that in our case. The whites did not want the blacks to disappear,” he said.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jabari family once again facing harassment from settlers and soldiers

International Solidarity Movement | July 22, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Saturday the 20th, whilst taking his sheep out to graze on his land, 56 year old Abd Al-Karim Ibrahim Al-Jabari was stopped and harassed by settlers and soldiers before being taken for questioning to the police station in Givat Ha’avot, an illegal settlement in occupied Hebron.

Abd Al-Karim’s land is located between the two illegal settlements of Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot. When he took his sheep out to graze on his land yesterday morning, he was stopped by settler security guards from the nearby settlement of Givat Ha’avot who subsequently called the Israeli occupation forces. He spent several minutes discussing with the soldiers, who refused to believe that he is the owner of the land and insisted it was Jewish land, as the settlers had told them. A soldier said to Abd Al-Karim: “This land and this house is mine and I will get you out of it”. The soldiers then decided to take him to Givat Ha’avot police station for further questioning. Abd Al-Karim, who speaks Hebrew, heard the soldiers say to each other that they wanted to handcuff him and then push him out of the jeep whilst driving. However, he managed to calmly insist and persuade them that there was no need for him to be handcuffed or blindfolded.

When they arrived at Givat Ha’avot police station, a police officer who knows Abd Al-Karim and his situation scolded the soldiers for bringing him there, confirmed that he owns the land, and told the soldiers to take him home again, which they did. Abd Al-Karim explained that the soldiers who arrested him are Shabbat reinforcements from another brigade that is not normally stationed in Hebron and therefore do not know the Jabari family and their situation.

After Abd Al-Karim was arrested, his son continued discussing with Israeli soldiers and asked them to stay to protect them from settlers, who were gathering in a tent set up on the Jabari family’s land which serves as a synagogue. However the soldiers refused to stay and said they would only come back after a one-hour coffee break. They also prevented international activists from filming the scene. Two hours later, the soldiers still hadn’t returned, leaving the Jabari family vulnerable to settler attacks. Abd Al-Karim explained that this has happened many times before.

The Jabari family used to live where Givat Ha’avot settlement now is, and they owned two more houses that were demolished. They have been living in their current house for 16 years.

The Jabari family has suffered countless attacks by both settlers and soldiers over many years. The settlers regularly come to harass and attack the Jabari family when they are out on their land grazing sheep or tending to their trees. They also steal vegetables from their land before the Jabari family can harvest them. In the past, settlers have often thrown rubbish, stones and empty alcohol bottles into their garden. Abd Al-Karim says he has recorded about 1,500 incidents since 2001. Everyone in his family has been arrested at some point or other. They have filed countless complaints at the police station, which has only led to further aggression and arrests by the Israeli military, who are seemingly trying to crush their spirit of resistance and defiance. Abd Al-Karim believes that his family is more vulnerable to settler attacks than their neighbours because they refuse to back down and insist on continuing to enter and use their land.

A few years ago, a couple of thousand settlers entered the Jabari family’s property and prayed outside their house. The settlers have said many times that they intend to take over the Jabari’s house and land.

Once, settlers were throwing stones at one of Abd Al-Karim’s sons. Soldiers came and twisted his arms behind his back and told the settlers to continue throwing stones at him. He was hit in the face by a stone and badly injured.

Two years ago, during Ramadan, soldiers would come to several houses in the neighbourhood just a couple of minutes before the call to prayer for iftaar (breaking the fast). They would force the whole family to move into one room and lock them inside, with all the food prepared and ready outside. The Jabari family’s neighbours were locked inside a room for 24 hours without food or water and were only released for iftaar the next day, meaning they had to fast for 48 hours. They were at the mercy of the soldiers to let them out to use the toilet.

When the soldiers attempted to do this to the Jabari family one day, Abd Al-Karim argued with them and refused to move into a room. The soldiers nevertheless entered their house and watched them break their fast. They then demanded to be shown around the house, but again Abd Al-Karim refused and insisted on calmly drinking his coffee and smoking a cigarette. He told them to go look around the house on their own, but refused to have his break ruined. The soldiers checked the house and left after an hour. Abd Al-Karim says he is proud that he refused to be locked into a room like his neighbours and that the soldiers could not force him.

As the Jabari family was sitting with ISM volunteers telling their story, a settler entered their garden. Abd Al-Karim and his son reassured the worried internationals and explained that this settler was an old friend and came to visit them regularly. They offered him coffee and cigarettes, and told stories of how they already used to play together as children. “We’re not against Jews or Israelis living here. All we ask of God is to live in peace with our children.”

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US looks even more like Stasi at news of Berlin cooperating with NSA

RT | July 22, 2013

RT has conducted an interview with Annie Machon, a former intel­li­gence officer with the UK’s MI5 who resigned in 1996 to blow the whistle. She is now a writer, public speaker and a Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Germans are very protective of their privacy because of the historical experience during the Nazi era and with the Stasi following the war says Machon. However German intelligence agencies used the system which the US put in place to spy on the Germans.

RT: The revelations go even further against Chancellor Merkel’s initial angry response to Washington’s surveillance operations, how do you think you could explain these contradictions?

Annie Machon: The US has dealt Germany a marked deck of cards, to be quite honest, because what we’re looking at here is on one hand they are accessing Germany as a level III, a tier III partner in the internet spying game. They seem to be spying on them in the same way they are spying on China, or Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. On the other hand they are encouraging BND BfV, the German intelligence agencies to use the system which they’ve put in place to spy on the Germans. So it is giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

When Snowden’s initial information came out, it appeared that what we’re looking at was Germany was shocked, because they have a constitution that was supposed to protect the people’s privacy, they are supposed to protect people’s private communications and yet the NSA was spying on Germany. There were the initial sounds from the government and Angela Merkel and the people like that saying- we’re shocked, we’re shocked.

Yet the new revelations that are coming out in Der Spiegel, actually indicate that the German intelligence agency was very keen to get a piece of the action, to help the PRISM program, which is getting all the meta-data from social media and the Temper program which is mainlining into intelligence information coming out from all the optic cables. So it is sort of a lot of hypocrisy as well coming from the government.

RT: Now Edward Snowden’s revelations that Germany was spied on by the US did upset many, some even comparing the White House to East Germany’s former secret service-Stasi, what do you think those critics are saying now that it’s known that Berlin was cooperating with Washington?

AM: I think that they will be saying that there are even more likenesses to the old Stasi. Because we have a situation in Germany where because of their historical experience with the Gestapo in World War II and the Stasi in East Germany, they’ve put in a very strong cast iron constitution to protect the people from the invasion of their privacy, from being spied on. And this is what the Germans for decades have taken for granted. They have certain legal protections. And we have seen this time and again when other European-wide initiatives have tried to be imposed on Germany, where things like facial recognition data on Google or Facebook have been banned in Germany.

And yet the BND and the BfV, the two intelligence agencies in Germany have been doing this sort of spying, so I think the hypocrisy is quite astounding and will create a great deal of anger and questions rightly how much the German government knew what was going on.

RT: Snowden’s leaks claim that Germany has been watched much more closely than other EU countries. What kind of threat could Washington’s close ally pose to US interests or was it not a threat that they were looking for?

AM: I think it is just the ability to snoop. It might be well be a reaction to certain privacy laws in Germany. The Germans cannot conceivably pose a threat to the US, apart from through trade powers or something. In fact they have been bending over backwards to assist the US in Afghanistan. They provided more intelligence about Afghanistan than any other NATO state. And yet the US is doing this to Germany.

Most of the countries don’t seem that worried about the PRISM and the Temper programs which spy on everybody… At least in Germany there is sense of that because of historic reasons. People are worried about the surveillance state that is encroaching.

RT: Both countries claim surveillance is essential to providing security, why so much outcry if people have nothing to hide?

AM: Firstly there’s a right to privacy enshrined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the WWII and that can only be infringed if you pose a direct threat to the state. And secondly they can change the goal post, what it means to be a threat to the state.

So for example at the moment, if you want to go out and protest about government issues, or nuclear issues, or peace issues and you want to wave a placard on the street, most people would think that is exercising your democratic right. In many European countries, many other countries too, this is now being deemed to be an extremist behavior, or violently extremist behavior or even terrorism.

So the laws of the land can change and you become a threat even though you think you’re just exercising your democratic rights. And we’ve seen this time and time again across most European countries. So I think people need to be aware, just because they don’t think they are doing anything wrong at the moment, that situation could change. It is a very slippery slope.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NSA docs prove Germany complicit in spying program: Report

Press TV – July 22, 2013

A report has revealed that German intelligence services themselves used one of US National Security Agency’s most valuable spying programs.

The new information was published by German weekly Spiegel on Sunday and was based on secret documents from the US intelligence service.

This report comes as another blow to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers, who all claim that they first learned about the NSA spying programs from press reports.

The documents show that Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, and its domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), both used an NSA surveillance program called XKeyScore.

The obtained documents also revealed that the XKeyScore program collected the major part of the up to 500 million phone calls and data activities monitored monthly by the NSA.

The XKeyScore program is able to reveal retroactively any terms the target person has typed into a search engine through collected metadata, i.e. information about which data connections were made and when, according to an internal NSA presentation from 2008.

The system is also capable of receiving a “full take” of all unfiltered data over a period of several days, including contents of communications.

Furthermore, the secret documents show that the BND head, Gerhard Schindler, had an “eagerness and desire” for Germany’s intelligence agencies to intensify cooperation with the NSA.

“The BND has been working to influence the German government to relax interpretation of the privacy laws to provide greater opportunities of intelligence sharing,” the NSA stated in January.

Elsewhere in the document, the NSA said that in Afghanistan the BND had proved to be the agency’s “most prolific partner” when it came to information gathering.

Moreover, the documents show that a 12-member high-level BND delegation was invited to the NSA at the end of April to meet with various experts on “data acquisition”, just a few weeks before first revelations by the NSA surveillance programs by Edward Snowden were published.

In June, Snowden, an American former technical contractor for the NSA and a former employee of the CIA, leaked documents showing the US spied on the European Union and monitored up to a half-billion German telephone calls and internet activities each month.

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment