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War From Above

By Richard Hugus | Aletho News | December 31, 2013

Drone aircraft, which we first heard of as weapons of war used by the United States in foreign lands, are now poised for a full-scale invasion of the skies above the US itself. On December 30, 2013 the US Federal Aviation Administration announced its choices for drone testing in six states around the country — Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. These six states may in turn do their testing in more than one location, For example, according to the Anchorage Daily News, drone testing centered in Alaska at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks will be called “the ‘Pan-Pacific Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Range Complex.’ It includes six flight ranges in Alaska, four in Hawaii and three in Oregon.” According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser “the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island, the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai and even the island of Niihau have been included in discussions of places where the testing could occur.” According to the East Oregonian, drone testing is likely to involve a former military base in Pendleton, Port of Tillamook, and Warm Springs. Likewise, the New York operation will be run from the former Griffiss Air Force base in Rome, NY and, according to the Cape Cod Times, will also include the former Otis Air Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Times reports that “the Cape site had the support of the state’s congressional delegation, a statewide military asset commission and business leaders” and that “among the institutions involved in the bid are Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology.”

What this story reveals is the creation of a huge web of DOD-connected Universities, businesses, corporations, defense contractors, and former and current Pentagon facilities spread all over the country. Included in this web are the many and various chambers of commerce, their boosters in the press, and numerous comprador “officials” anxious to bring federal money into their districts, at the expense of all the other people who live in them. Almost no news coverage has appeared that would imply the FAA decision was anything but a boon for the economy and the advent of a wonderful and inevitable new technology.

There is little news about the down side to hosting drones in all these areas of the country, each with a populace that has simply not been consulted. Drones first came to our attention at the beginning of “the war on terror.” We learned of them first as weapons for highly illegal, cowardly, and indiscriminate “targeted killings” in foreign lands. These weapons have murdered countless innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia pursuant to “kill lists” drawn up every week by the CIA and Pentagon, and approved by the White House. These weapons fulfill the US Air Force’s fantasy of “death from above,” carried out by pilots working in the security and comfort of US bases who, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, destroy supposed enemies from computer consoles as if it were a video game. The cowardliness of wars of aggression being conducted against innocent people in dirt-poor lands by unseen “UAV pilots” in air-conditioned offices thousands of miles away cannot be over-emphasized. This is what unmanned aircraft have brought so far to the reputation of the United States – a new low in the entire universe of human ethics; murder abroad is but the advance of capitalism at home. Wedding parties in Afghanistan have been decimated so that Amazon can deliver CDs and smart phones to our door by drone.

Nor is there news about the introduction of drones domestically as yet another assault on privacy and the human right to be free from surveillance. Domestic law enforcement agencies are just as anxious to spy on the US population and target people they call criminals as the Pentagon and CIA have been to spy on the rest of the world and kill people they call terrorists. It isn’t enough that our phones and computers have been turned by the NSA into astounding instruments of surveillance, that everything we say and do on these instruments is being harvested and stored, and that surveillance cameras are mounted at almost every business and public space. Now the national security state wants to have remote-controlled cameras videotaping us full-time from the sky. The police hope to have drones able to fire “non-lethal weapons” at people they deem to be involved in criminal activity so that they too can play God. Without question, non-lethal weapons will soon become lethal weapons and the US will be trying and executing citizens at home as it has done elsewhere without even a hint of due process.

The domestic military bases which are being revived by this brave new technology originally went out of business because there was nothing for them to do in the fulfillment of their original purpose – defending the country. Otis Air Base, now called “Joint Base Cape Cod”, is a case in point. It used to patrol the skies for Russian aircraft along the northeast coast and ended up being a disaster for the community in which it was situated because it polluted the local groundwater and sole-source drinking water aquifer with untold gallons of dumped jet fuel and cleaning solvents. It sent fighter jets to intercept the two planes hijacked to New York on September 11, 2001, but ended up being part of a ploy to let those planes actually reach the twin towers before they got there. This base and many others have been parasites on the communities around them. They will continue in that role in their new incarnation as hosts to drone spying and drone warfare. The war has come home. The people orchestrating this war – the global elite — have no particular allegiance to the United States. From their point of view, its land and its people must also be brought under control, just like everywhere else. How sad it is to see the scramble to welcome them.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News, Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Boycott of Israeli universities angers NY lawmakers

Press TV – December 31, 2013

Two New York legislators say they will introduce a bill to strip state aid from universities that take part in a recent movement to boycott Israeli academic centers.

State Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who is also a former member of the Jewish Defense League that was classified as a “terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001, say they want to cut off state aid to universities affiliated with the American Studies Association’s movement to boycott Israeli institutions.

Earlier this month, members of the ASA overwhelmingly voted to ban Israeli universities from collaborations with their campuses.

The organization said the reason behind its decision was that the Israeli institutions were “a party” to policies “that violate human rights” as Israel’s “violation of international law and UN resolutions” continues and the “impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students” is well-documented.

“The American Studies Association is carrying on a long and proud tradition of American academics by engaging in an academic boycott much like many professors did during apartheid South Africa,” Michael Shallcross, a member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Temple University in Philadelphia, told Press TV.

However, the move, which is part of a larger international effort to win boycotts of Israeli institutions, angered some US politicians both at state and federal level.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York) has urged the ASA to end the boycott, saying he was surprised by the organization’s decision.

And now, two pro-Israel Democrats in New York’s state legislature, Klein and Hikind, are trying to cut state aid to universities affiliated with the movement.

“[It] is a shameless attempt at censorship by powerful Zionist politicians in New York State by cutting off economic life lines that make higher education possible,” Shallcross said.

The ASA is the largest and oldest association involved in interdisciplinary studies of American culture and history.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Boycott of Israeli universities angers NY lawmakers

Prisoner release conditions prove Israel not acting in ‘goodwill’

By Charlie Hoyle – Ma’an – December 30, 2013

BETHLEHEM – Conditions attached to the release of Palestinian prisoners prove that Israel is not serious about the peace process, the director of rights group Addameer said Monday as 26 Palestinians prepared to be freed from Israeli jails.

Israeli authorities are expected to release the veteran Palestinian prisoners after midnight in the third stage of a phased agreement to free 104 detainees in line with commitments to US-brokered peace talks, which began in July.

In October, Israel released a group of 26 Palestinians detained before the 1993 Oslo Accords, while a first group was freed on Aug. 13.

Sahar Francis, general director of rights group Addameer, said that while any release of prisoners is welcome, strict Israeli conditions on freed detainees undermine “hope” and “trust” in the peace process.

“Israel has showed it is putting conditions on prisoner releases and the US supports these conditions. Prisoners held before 1993 should have been released 20 years ago, and not today,” she told Ma’an.

Francis says that Israel restricts the freedom of movement of Palestinians freed as part of political agreements, with residents of East Jerusalem banned from visiting the West Bank or Gaza Strip following their release.

West Bank residents are banned from leaving their district for months, and in some cases up to a year, following a return to civilian life, while released prisoners are also prohibited from leaving the country for varying periods of time depending on their sentence, with some permanently banned.

Any involvement in political activities can be also grounds for rearrest and imprisonment by Israeli authorities.

“These practices show that the Israelis are not really seeking justice and a lasting peace with the Palestinians,” Francis said.

“If the Israelis really had good intentions to end the conflict and grant Palestinians basic rights under international law they should release all Palestinian prisoners and stop arresting Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

Israel treats Palestinians like ‘terrorists’

In past prisoner releases, Israel has rearrested dozens of ex-detainees under Military Order 1651, which Francis says violates the most “basic rights” of Palestinian prisoners.

The order, which was implemented in 2009, allows for an Israeli military committee to sentence detainees to serve the remainder of their previous sentence under secret information not made available to lawyers.

Francis says the order was implemented by Israel to prepare “legally” for the release of prisoners which Israel would be reluctant to free and to impose conditions which would allow them to be rearrested in the future.

Israel has also violated international law by stipulating that freed detainees be deported to the Gaza Strip, or abroad, as part of the conditions of their release, Francis said.

Both Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawna were rearrested by Israel under Military Order 1651 after being freed in the 2011 prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas, with Sharawna eventually deported to Gaza for 10 years after agreeing to end hunger strike action.

Hana Shalabi was also rearrested under the military order and subsequently deported to Gaza for three years under the conditions of her release.

These new procedures represent “serious violations” of human rights and prove that the Palestinian community can see little hope in the future of the peace process, Francis says.

Furthermore, Israel continues its policy of daily arrests in the occupied West Bank, which has increased in recent months, and has never committed to stopping the mass arrest of Palestinians while negotiations are taking place, Francis says.

“Israel recognizes Palestinians as terrorists and not as people seeking their independence and self determination, and this makes the whole difference in the treatment of prisoners in the political channel.”

“We are happy that these 26 prisoners who spent years of their life in jail are being freed, of course the sadness is in thinking of the remaining 5,000 prisoners who are suffering behind bars.”

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Prisoner release conditions prove Israel not acting in ‘goodwill’

Person of the Year 2013: Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer al-Issawi

Al-Akhbar | December 31, 2013

256792One can only imagine the looks on the faces of Israeli settlers living in Masharef Mountain, near the Hebrew University that overlooks Issawiya, as they watched the celebrations welcoming back Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi.

Issawi returned victorious to his village despite Israel’s desperate attempts to ban celebrations. The occupation forces delayed his release for about 10 hours last Monday, December 23, and erected military checkpoints near the village, but young men and Palestinian mothers insisted on welcoming their hero.

Following his nine-month hunger strike amid the “battle of the empty stomachs,” Issawi was released along with 1,026 other Palestinians in an exchange for the return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

He wished to remain loyal to those who lost their lives while planning and conducting the Shalit kidnapping, and didn’t want the Israelis to arrest the liberated prisoners all over again, forcing them to serve the rest of their sentences.

From the first intifada until the mid-1990s, Issawi, born 1979, resisted Israeli occupation by setting settler cars of fire and throwing Molotov cocktails. He told Al-Akhbar that he was careful not to be arrested because he wanted to support his family, since his four brothers – Raafat, Medhat, Firas, and Fadi – were held by the Israelis. But all that changed when his brother Fadi was killed in clashes that erupted in Issawiya, following the Hebron massacre in 1994.

The day Samer saw his brother in a pool of his own blood was the last straw.

Issawi was first arrested in 1998 and sentenced to a year and a half in prison for throwing a Molotov cocktail. He was later sentenced to six months in jail for beating up an Israeli soldier, then he was imprisoned again in 2000 for 15 days at the beginning of al-Aqsa intifada. He was later arrested for six months without charges.

“Israeli military attacks escalated during the second Intifada, and we began to hear about airstrikes on Gaza,” said Issawi, revealing that on the first day of his release he joined the ranks of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He formed a five-member cell with friends and conducted 11 shooting operations targeting Israeli vehicles in the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, seven kilometers east of Jerusalem.

These shootings caused material damages and injured one Israeli officer. Once Issawi’s role was revealed, the Israelis hunted him down for a whole year and finally arrested him during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield in Ramallah.

Issawi refused to appear before the Beit Eil military court and rejected the presence of an attorney because he didn’t acknowledge the legitimacy of the court. He told the judges that it was more of a traveling circus that the Israelis brought along to every territory they occupied.

Issawi was sentenced to 30 years in jail. He wasn’t surprised. Usually sentences in such cases are life in prison, even though no injuries were caused.

He said he was confident he wouldn’t serve his entire sentence, and told the judge, “I will be out before 30 years.” Ten years later, Issawi was released within the “Loyalty to the Free Men” prisoners’ deal.

Issawi as Art

Occupation forces arrested Issawi again on 7 July 2012. His interrogation continued for 30 days, following which he was accused of planning to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Meanwhile, the head of Israeli intelligence in the West Bank threatened to send him back to jail to serve the remaining 20 years of his sentence.

Issawi realized that he was in a serious situation. Hence, on July 27, he started returning two of his meals and settling for a simple one of two slices of bread and a spoonful of labneh and jam.

He maintained this diet for 19 days and was transferred to Nafha Prison. On August 24, he started training his body for an open hunger strike. He wrote a letter to prison services and informed them about his escalation. Back then, he settled for a glass of juice or milk or soup until he cut off food completely and started his open hunger strike on September 14, which also included a strike on water from time to time.

Finally, Issawi reached an agreement with the Israelis last April allowing him to return home to Jerusalem within eight months.

Israelis resorted to different tactics to try and exhaust Issawi into giving up his hunger strike. They sent him on prisoners’ buses to courts and moved him from prison to prison, forcing him to wait for hours for his jailers. They demolished his brother Medhat’s house and attacked him and his family in court despite his deteriorating health.

Samer dropped to 99 pounds and suffered attendant health risks. “When I slept on my right side, I felt numb, and the same with my left side. I also couldn’t sleep on my chest because I had a broken bone,” he said.

With His Family

“Every time I heard about Palestinians and freedom-loving people around the world joining this this battle, I forgot my own pain, mainly after the martyrdom of Mahmoud al-Titi and Mohammed Asfour. There was nothing I could offer them, just insisting on the goals that we put together before the hunger strike. I was also moved by young men protesting for the first time in front of Jerusalem Magistrates Court,” he said.

Issawi said, “The anger I saw in the eyes of the jailers after seven months of the hunger strike proved to me that we succeeded in raising the voices of prisoners and revealing Israeli violations of the prisoner swap deal, while preserving Palestinians dignity. All the goals were accomplished and the only thing left was me going back home.”

On the Palestinian official position, Samer said, “Let’s be honest, all of us Palestinians, from the president to common citizens, can’t even move from one region to the other without Israeli authorization. We don’t count on the official position as much as we count on the will of the people to exercise pressure to force politicians to take more serious steps. A Palestinian negotiator can sign a deal, but it would not be applicable on the ground without popular support.”

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | Comments Off on Person of the Year 2013: Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer al-Issawi

Why Did the Justice Department Kill the Madoff Subpoena Against JPMorgan?

By Pam Martens | Wall Street on Parade | December 31, 2013

Since December 16, major business media have failed to dig deeper into a potentially blockbuster story involving the Justice Department’s refusal to honor a Wall Street regulator’s request for a subpoena against JPMorgan Chase to obtain Madoff related documents the firm was refusing to turn over. JPMorgan Chase was Madoff’s banker for the last 22 years of his fraud. The Trustee in charge of recovering funds for Madoff’s victims, Irving Picard, said in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court this Fall that JPMorgan stood “at the very center of Madoff’s fraud for over 20 years.”

It’s a big story when a serial miscreant like JPMorgan – which has promised its regulators to change its jaded ways in exchange for settlements – risks obstruction of justice charges by denying one of its key regulators internal documents. It becomes an explosive story when the Justice Department, the highest law enforcement agency in the land and the regulator’s only source of help in enforcing a subpoena for the documents, sides with the serial miscreant instead of the regulator.

The story began on December 16 when Scott Cohn of CNBC posted a story with this headline: “Feds Probe JPMorgan Interference in Madoff Case.” The article revealed that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a JPMorgan Chase regulator and part of the U.S. Treasury Department, had been so riled by JPMorgan’s refusal to turn over documents related to what its employees knew about the Madoff fraud that it referred the matter to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General.

The article quotes Richard Delmar, legal counsel to the Inspector General, who explains that “This office was looking into allegations made by JPMC’s regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that its oversight of the bank was being impeded, specifically with respect to the bank’s provision of banking services to Madoff.”

The Inspector General’s office clearly believed there was merit to the OCC’s claim because it issued its own administrative subpoena for the documents, according to the CNBC story. JPMorgan refused that request as well, leading the Inspector General to ask the Justice Department to enforce the subpoena – a request it refused to honor.

When the Justice Department refused to enforce this subpoena, it went against not one, or two, but three sets of investigators who had found a serious basis for suspecting JPMorgan of wrongdoing in the Madoff fraud.

Irving Picard, the Madoff victims’ fund trustee, had already filed a lower court lawsuit mapping out his case against JPMorgan. Picard told the court:

“Evidence of Madoff’s fraud permeated every facet of JPMC [JPMorgan Chase].  It ran from the Broker/Dealer Group, where BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC] maintained a bank account that no one honestly could have believed was serving any legitimate purpose, to Equity Exotics, where JPMC learned of the red flags inherent in BLMIS’s investment strategy, to JPMC’s London office, which learned that individuals might be laundering money through BLMIS feeder funds, to the Private Bank, which maintained intimate relationships with one of BLMIS’s largest customers, to Treasury & Security Services, which was responsible for investing the balance of the 703 Account in short-term securities.”

In a more recent filing with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn lower court findings that he lacked standing to sue JPMorgan and other banks, Picard further detailed his case against JPMorgan, explaining that JPMorgan was well aware that Madoff was claiming to invest tens of billions of dollars in a strategy that involved buying large cap stocks in the Standard and Poor’s 500 index while simultaneously hedging with options. But the Madoff firm’s primary bank account at JPMorgan, which the bank had intimate access to review for over 20 years, was devoid of evidence of stock or options trading.

Picard’s petition to the Supreme Court reads: “As JPM [JPMorgan] was well aware, billions of dollars flowed from customers into the 703 account, without being segregated in any fashion. Billions flowed out, some to customers and others to Madoff’s friends in suspicious and repetitive round-trip transactions. But in the 22 years that JPM maintained the 703 account, there was not a single check or wire to a clearing house, securities exchange, or anyone who might be connected with the purchase of securities. All the while, JPM knew that Madoff was using the account to run an investment advisory business with thousands of customers and billions under management and knew that Madoff was using its name to lend legitimacy to his enterprise…”

Picard also informed the Court that employees inside JPMorgan were well aware of the suspicions surrounding Madoff. JPMorgan’s Chief Risk Officer, John Hogan, had warned his colleagues 18 months prior to Madoff’s confession of his Ponzi scheme that “there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a ponzi scheme.”

Rather than reporting their concerns to the Justice Department, according to Picard, JPMorgan invested over $250 million of its own money with Madoff feeder funds while it simultaneously created structured investment products that allowed its own investors to make leveraged bets on the returns of the feeder funds invested with Madoff.

In September 2008, just two months before Madoff would confess to running an unprecedented fraud that bilked investors out of over $17 billion in real money and $65 billion in assets shown on customer statements, JPMorgan conducted a new round of due diligence and decided it was time to get out of its $250 million investment involving the feeder funds to Madoff.

One week ago, David Cay Johnston picked up on the subpeona story for Newsweek, writing: “Bernard Madoff’s principal bank, JPMorgan Chase, has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about his gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.”

Johnston cited an internal document he had obtained from the Government Attic, a public interest website that posts documents it obtains from Freedom of Information Act requests. Johnston said that “The JPMorgan memos Justice declined to pursue are almost certain to show that years earlier the bank had grounds to suspect Madoff was running a fraud.”

The most critical aspect of this subpoena story has thus far been overlooked. It may well be that there is an official position at the U.S. Department of Justice not to issue any subpoenas against the largest Wall Street firms.

On January 22 of this year, the award-winning producer, Martin Smith, aired a Frontline program for PBS titled “The Untouchables.”  Smith had this to say on air:

“We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.”

One day after that program aired, the Washington Post reported that Lanny Breuer, head of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice was stepping down from his post.

Now it would appear that the Justice Department’s problem of quashing subpoenas against Wall Street did not end with the departure of Lanny Breuer.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NSA Admits Lots Of People Could Have Done What Snowden Did

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | December 31, 2013

The NSA keeps changing its story about Snowden. Was he brilliant or a nobody? Did he have access to all these documents or did he have to hack into systems? Did he get the important stuff or not? Each time the story seems to be different. A few months ago, you may recall the NSA insisted that Snowden needed to borrow the identities of others to access the documents he had. They also argued that he must have bypassed or deleted log files. However, in an interview, the NSA’s Director of Technology, Lonny Anderson, admits that basically anyone at the NSA with top secret clearance could all access the same stuff and also claims that all the log files were there:

contrary to much of what’s been reported about Snowden’s work at the NSA, it wasn’t his position as a systems administrator and the broad access to networks and databases that came with it that allowed him to steal so many secrets. Rather, Anderson said, “the lion’s share” of the information Snowden obtained was available to him because of his top-secret security clearance — TS/SCI — which allowed him to access so-called sensitive compartmented information.

That’s an important distinction, because it means any number of the thousands of people at the NSA with the same clearance level could have done what Snowden did — not just the smaller number of systems administrators, who have a kind of “super user” access that isn’t granted to all other employees. That helps explain why Anderson couldn’t tell the White House that there were no more Snowdens. Theoretically, there could have been thousands of them.

Of course, who knows if Anderson is telling the truth. Later in the interview he seems to contradict himself — both claiming that Snowden’s activities on the network were tracked (“He was not a ghost. It’s not like he was so stealthy that we didn’t see his activities”) and that Snowden was able to get away with what he did because he was “anonymous” on the network.

“Where I think we were negligent — if we were negligent — where we were is that we allowed him some form of anonymity as he did that. Someone wasn’t watching all of that. So the lesson learned for us is that you’ve got to remove anonymity from the network.”

I guess it’s possible that the actions were tracked without the identification of who it was. Amusingly, you could argue that the NSA had the metadata on Snowden’s actions, but not the actual details of who he was. Oh, the irony.

The one area where Snowden’s sysadmin role apparently did play a part was in being able to get many of those documents off the network without being noticed. Part of his job was, as revealed earlier, to move documents around within the NSA’s network, but his sysadmin status allowed him to download those documents without any alarm bells going off.

What Snowden could do as a systems administrator, as opposed to an employee without those privileges, was to “exfiltrate,” or remove data from the NSA networks, Anderson said. “That, a normal user would not have been able to do.” He acknowledged that the NSA’s information control regime is not currently designed to alert officials when documents are being removed by a systems administrator. That’s going to change, Anderson said. In the future, individuals will also be locked out of the networks if they remove data without authorization.

At this point, it’s difficult to believe anything that the NSA is saying about Snowden, because so much of it seems to contradict what the NSA itself has said in the past. Perhaps that’s just part of the disinformation campaign. Or, perhaps it’s a sign that the NSA still has no clue what happened.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Deception | , , , | Comments Off on NSA Admits Lots Of People Could Have Done What Snowden Did

Jewish settlers attack local official in south Hebron hills

Ma’an – 30/12/2013
(MaanImages/file)

BETHLEHEM – A group of settlers injured a local Palestinian official in the south Hebron hills on Saturday after attacking him with a rock, a local peace group said Monday.

“On Dec. 28, a group of settlers attacked Palestinians who were plowing a field in the South Hebron Hills village of At Tuwani. Hafez Huraini, a member of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, was injured in the attack,” Operation Dove said in a statement.

Huraini told the group that five settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Maon, four of whom were children, attacked the villagers as they worked on their land.

One of the settlers approached Huraini and hit him over the head with a rock.

Residents from at-Tuwani gathered and managed to force the settlers away, but they continued to throw rocks at the villagers before finally leaving the area.

The attack took place at 2.45 p.m. and Israeli forces arrived in the area at 4.15 p.m., by which time Huraini was at a hospital in Yatta receiving treatment.

“This is resistance: to go daily to your land. We are protesting every day, every night,” Huraini said.

In November, Operation Dove said the illegal outpost of Havot Maon was expanding at a “phenomenal” rate.

Home to around 200 settlers, the outpost is one of the most violent and radical in the occupied West Bank.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish settlers attack local official in south Hebron hills

‘5-year high’ in number of Palestinians killed in West Bank

Nabi Saleh, April 8 2011 - Tamimi Press
Ma’an – 31/12/2013

BETHLEHEM – Israel killed 27 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2013, making it the deadliest year for Palestinian fatalities since 2008, Israeli rights group B’Tselem said Monday.

According to data compiled by the rights group, three times as many Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2013 compared to 2012.

By contrast, in 2012 Israeli security forces killed eight Palestinians in the West Bank and 246 in the Gaza Strip, including at least 167 in its November war on the coastal territory.

In nine of the 2013 West Bank killings, Israeli military forces raided Palestinian communities during arrest operations.

Four of those killings involved an exchange of fire, according to Israel’s army, while four other cases involved Israeli soldiers opening fire after stones had been thrown at them.

Seven other killings took place while Israeli soldiers were lying in wait to capture alleged stone throwers or after Israeli soldiers had used live fire against Palestinians throwing stones.

One Palestinian was killed when he tried to enter Israel without a permit, one female bystander was shot dead by soldiers, another man was killed after breaking into a military base with a tractor and one man was shot after allegedly assaulting a border police officer.

In the final case, the Israeli border police volunteer retracted his original claim that Antar Shalabi Mahmoud al-Aqraa had tried to stab him before being shot dead.

In the Gaza Strip, nine Palestinians were killed, four of whom were allegedly taking part in hostilities when they were killed and three who were not, B’Tselem said.

In one case the group said it is unknown if the victim was taking part in hostilities. Another Palestinian was assassinated by Israeli forces.

Three-year-old Hala Abu Sbeikha was killed last Tuesday in Gaza following an Israeli airstrike.

Investigations into killings ‘slow and cumbersome’

B’Tselem says that over two years have passed since a new investigative policy by the MAG Corps unit went into effect, in which time 35 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers.

A total of 23 investigations into the fatalities were launched, with the MAG corps reaching a decision on only five of the cases.

In one case, a decision was made not to open an investigation, in three cases the file was closed, and in another an Israeli soldier was indicted and convicted by plea bargain based on his admission, B’Tselem said.

“The sharp rise in fatalities in the West Bank only serves to intensify concern about lack of accountability. Admittedly, MPIU investigations are now launched almost automatically, yet the essence of the investigative mechanism remains unchanged,” B’Tselem Director Jessica Montell said.

“It is slow and cumbersome and decisions are made only years after an incident takes place. Such a mechanism, in which practically no one is held accountable for the killing of Palestinians, does not serve as a deterrent and indicates disregard for human life.”

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

NSA’s Personal Propagandist For CBS Officially Takes Counterterrorism Job Everyone Knew He Was Getting

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | December 30, 2013

When 60 Minutes did its hack PR job for the NSA a few weeks ago, lots of people called out the fact that the reporter who handled the segment, John Miller, wasn’t just a former intelligence official working for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (which oversees the NSA), but that he was widely rumored to have worked out a deal for a new job for the NYPD, heading up “counterterrorism.” Even though there were multiple reports at the time, including one that claimed it was a “99.44% done deal,” when asked about it, Miller lied. He told a reporter, “you know as much about this as I do.”

That was clearly Miller lying — something that Miller has had an issue with in the past — as the “rumor” is now confirmed and Miller has accepted his job doing “counterterrorism” for the NYPD. And while some might say that doing counterterrorism for a city police force is different than working for national intelligence, that’s only because you’re not familiar with the NYPD, which has set up something of a shadow NSA/CIA to do all sorts of activities not normally associated with a police force.

And, of course, since the press was clearly familiar with Miller’s expected role, it raises serious questions about why 60 Minutes allowed the puff piece to move forward with a seriously conflicted “journalist.” While Miller has lashed out at critics, rather than respond to a single point raised, the brand that comes out worst in all this is clearly CBS and 60 Minutes — which basically let an intelligence official do an entire propaganda piece on the NSA. 60 Minutes used to be about hard hitting journalism. Now, apparently, they think it’s “journalism” to shill for the surveillance state.

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Comments Off on NSA’s Personal Propagandist For CBS Officially Takes Counterterrorism Job Everyone Knew He Was Getting

Let’s Not Forget The Neocons Who Cheered The Egyptian Military Into Power

By Chris Rossini | Ron Paul Institute | December 28, 2013

Earlier this year, the Egyptian military overthrew the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi. Much has happened since the initial violent crackdown on Morsi’s supporters. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has been around some 80 years, has been labeled a “terrorist organization” by the Egyptian government, and now even bloggers who speak out against the military are being jailed.

Plenty of neocons cheered the military coup from the sidelines when it occurred. With all of their flap about the US “bringing democracy to the world,” this apparently was a case where a coup was necessary.

Now that 6 months has passed, and the Egyptian military continues to flex its iron fist, let’s not forget the neocons who cheered them into power:

John Bolton on July 3: “we needed the military to stop the Muslim Brotherhood, and I think this coup was the right thing.”

Jonathan Tobin on Aug. 8: “There is more to democracy than voting, and any solution that risks giving Morsi another chance to consolidate power would be a disaster for Egypt and the United States. Washington must be prepared to stick with the military no matter what happens in the streets of Cairo.”

Michael Rubin on Aug. 16: “So long as the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to turn back the clock, impose its hateful and intolerant ideology upon Egyptians of all religiosities and religions, and refuses to abide by the pathway to transitional elections, and so long as it continues to fight in the streets, then it should suffer the consequences of its actions. And if those consequences result in exponentially higher Brotherhood casualties than army casualties, then so be it. That is the truest path to peace.”

Peter Wehner on Aug. 20: “So from the perspective of American national security and morality, having the Muslim Brotherhood in power is considerably worse than having the Egyptian military in power.”

Remember the rule: If the winner of a foreign election is someone that the U.S. government approves of: “Democracy = Good”. However, if the U.S. government does not approve of the winner: “Roll in the tanks!”

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Not Forget The Neocons Who Cheered The Egyptian Military Into Power

PFLP: Hamas should not abandon their ideology

Ma’an – 30/12/2013

GAZA CITY – Hamas are a vital component of the Palestinian nationalist struggle and should not abandon their ideology, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Monday.

The statement from the leftist group was in response to a recent call by the PLO for Hamas to dissociate itself from the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We are not calling on Hamas or other forces to abandon their ideological roots, but we ask everyone to give priority to the interests of the Palestinian people when they build relations with the surrounding Arab and Islamic world,” the PFLP said.

On Saturday, Jamal Muheisin, a Fatah representative in the PLO executive committee, said Hamas should detach itself from the Brotherhood, warning of political, economic, and security consequences if Hamas remained “subordinate” to “this banned terrorist group.”

A representative of the Arab Liberation Front said that Hamas has always prioritized the Muslim Brotherhood’s interests over the interests of the Palestinian people, while Ahmad Majdalani of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front said Hamas was viewed as a terrorist organization by many countries including the United States due to its affiliation with the Brotherhood.

PFLP official Rabah Muhanna was one of many faction leaders who also called upon Hamas to sever relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaza government spokeswoman Isra Almodallal told Ma’an last week that while Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood may share ideology, they should not be seen as one and the same movement.

“We are in completely different circumstances,” Almodallal said. “We don’t want people to think Hamas is the same as the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“We don’t want Egypt to punish us the way the Muslim Brotherhood is punished in Egypt.”

Almodallal added that Hamas agreed that “at this particular time” it is best to remain neutral in the affairs of other Arab countries.

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Comments Off on PFLP: Hamas should not abandon their ideology