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CNN’s Jake Tapper was taught to recognize the “essential importance” of Israel

By Alison Weir | July 14, 2014

There are some videos posted on Youtube with titles such as “CNN’s Jake Tapper Demolishes PLO Spokeswoman.” Tapper’s questioning is extremely aggressive and reflects a pro-Israel approach to the current violence. (Israel is again massacring Gazans like shooting fish in a goldfish bowl. Instead of discussing this, Tapper focuses on the rockets from Gaza, but seems to know/care little about the real facts about these and about the conflict in general.)

I wondered where Tapper’s bias came from, and learned some information about his upbringing that I suspect influences his journalism:

Tapper attended Akiba Hebrew Academy, since re-named Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, which is proud of inculcating its students with loyalty to Israel.

The school website states that it “offers a unique study abroad program in Israel during the fall trimester of a student’s junior year.  In this program, learning comes to life as students supplement their formal academic studies with trips to historical sites that parallel their study of the history of the Jewish people and Israel…”

The site notes that many of their students report that their experiences in Israel “are life-changing; they return to Barrack with greater maturity as well as a stronger personal connection to Israel and their Jewish roots.”

Tapper’s alma mater emphasizes: “…we are committed to the centrality of Israel and the State of Israel.”

Jake Tapper’s alma mater

There is, of course, always the hope that Tapper will transcend this early conditioning, shared by so many US journalists. However, so far there is little indication that he has done so. Especially, of course, when pro-Israel elements are so strong in today’s media, it’s not a good career move to report too fully and honestly on the conditions of Palestinians.

RELATED STORIES:

Myra Noveck & the New York Times:  Another journalist with children in the Israeli military“US Media and Israeli Military: All in the Family,” “Jodi Rudoren, Another Member of the Family: Meet the New York Times‘ New Israel-Palestine News Chief,” “Ethan Bronner’s Conflict With Impartiality,” and “AP’s Matti Friedman: Israeli citizen and former Israeli soldier.”

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Which came first? Palestinian rockets or Israeli violence?

By Alison Weir | July 13, 2014

Since US media are reporting the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza as though it is a defensive action, I thought I would set the record straight. Israeli forces shelled and invaded Gaza BEFORE the rockets began. Rockets were fired only after numerous Palestinians, including many children, had been killed.

According to a pro-Israel website, the Jewish Virtual Library, Gaza rocket fire against Israel began in 2001. Four rockets were launched in the entire year.

The Israeli military website agrees with this chronology, saying that the first rocket was launched from Gaza on April 16, 2001.

By happenstance, I was traveling throughout the Palestinian Occupied Territories just before that – during February-March 2001 – as a freelance reporter.

While I was there, Israeli forces were regularly shelling both the West Bank and Gaza, and had been doing so for several months. Gaza was particularly hard hit. (An article I wrote at the time can be read here.)

Below are some of my photos from Gaza from February 2001 (i.e. BEFORE any rockets had been fired, and long before Hamas was elected in 2006.)

Tofah area, Khan Yunis, Gaza, February 2001. Photo by Alison Weir

Tofah, Khan Yunis, Gaza, February 2001. Photo by Alison Weir

Gaza boy shot by Israeli forces, Feb 2001. Photo by Alison Weir

Palestinian 12-year-old boy shot by Israeli forces in Feb 2001; brain dead. Photo by Alison Weir

A few months before, in fall 2000, massive unarmed demonstrations against Israeli occupation began, eventually growing into what is known as the “Second Intifada” (uprising).* Israeli forces immediately used lethal means to try to put this down. An Israeli newspaper reported that the Israeli military fired over a million bullets in the first few days alone.

In the following three months Israeli forces killed over 90 Palestinian children – before a single Israeli child was then killed, and long before any rockets were fired. (The largest single cause of these Palestinian children’s deaths was gunfire to the head.)

In fact, in every year since, far more Palestinian children have been killed than Israeli children:

For additional charts with statistics on both populations go to http://www.ifamericansknew.org

Israeli shelling, military ground invasions, and abductions of Palestinians have continued throughout the following years, occurring, except for few  ceasefires (which Israeli violence consistently ends), virtually every day.

Some groups (usually not Hamas), have also periodically fired rockets at Israel through these years.

During that time Israeli forces killed 4,000 Gazans, while Gazan resistance fighters using rockets killed 27 Israelis. On average, Israelis have killed a Palestinian child every three days.

By the way, the Iron Dome sysem has played a somewhat minimal role in the small number of Israeli deaths from rockets. Iron Dome wasn’t begun to be put in place until March 27, 2011. In the ten years before, there were only 17 deaths. For a full analysis go here.

Who  originally began this violence?

Of course, the conflict between the two groups began before fall 2000, so let us go back and see how this all started, and which party initiated the violence.

That’s actually quite easy to do.

You don’t need to go back “thousands of years,” as some people believe. In reality, in the late 1800s this region – known as Palestine – was peaceful and had been so for centuries. Its population was about 80 percent Mulim, 15 percent Christian, and a little under 5 percent Jewish; all practicing their faiths side by side largely without conflict on land considered sacred to all three groups.

The problem began when a political movement called “Political Zionism” began in the late 1800s in Europe (and also in the United States) with the goal of pushing out the inhabitants and creating a Jewish state on this land.

The culmination of their efforts came in 1948-49, when Israel was created through warfare. At least 750,000 of Palestine’s non-Jewish inhabitants, approximately half of the total population, were ethnically cleansed, their lands, businesses, orchards, and other property (worth many millions of dollars) confiscated by the newly created Jewish state, Israel.

The Palestinians’ crime was being there.

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By the way, the belief – also pushed by US media – that the current wave of violence began with the abduction and murder of three young Israelis is also incorrect.

The fact is that Israeli forces had killed at least 4 Palestinian children and approximately 35 Palestinian adults in 2014 BEFORE the abuction/murder of the 3 Israelis.

Also, one of the largest group hunger strikes in history was going on among Palestinians who were being held illegally in Israeli prisons — these “administrative detainees,” Israel’s Orwellian term, are prisoners who have never even been charged with a crime, yet are held for months or years. Many are tortured.

Even JJ Goldberg, a fervently pro-Israel journalist, says that Israeli “politics and lies” are behind Israel’s current aggression.

The pro-Israel spin, despite being repeated over and over, just doesn’t survive the facts.

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For a synopsis of the history go here, for a more thorough discussion go here, for the US history go here.)

An account by another person who visited Khan Yunis (this is also spelled Khan Younis) a year later can be read here. Below is one of his photos:

Tofah area of Khan Younis, March 2012. Photo by John Caruso

And below are some photos I took when I was last in Gaza, July 2009:

Gaza, July 2009. Photo by Alison Weir

Gaza, July 2009. American International School in Gaza destroyed by Israeli forces. Photo by Alison Weir

Gaza, July 2001. Photo by Alison Weir

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* This is also sometimes called the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” after the location where some of the first demonstrations began.

“Intifada” literally means “shaking off” of oppression. The American Revolutionary War, for example, could be similarly called the American Intifada against the British.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Guantanámo Judge to Prosecution: Turn Over the Torture Evidence

By Marcellene Hearn | ACLU | July 14, 2014

Last month, a military judge dealt a significant blow to U.S. prosecutors’ efforts to suppress torture evidence in the Guantanámo military commissions.

In a ruling in the U.S.S. Cole case, unsealed last week, Judge James Pohl told prosecutors they must hand over CIA black site information to the defense attorneys of Abd al-Rahim Hussayn al-Nashiri. Back in April, Judge Pohl similarly ordered the prosecution to give extensive information to Mr. al-Nashiri’s lawyers about his “4-year odyssey” through the CIA’s rendition and torture program. In the new ruling, Judge Pohl confirmed the core of the earlier order and issued important findings that will reverberate not only in Mr. al-Nashiri’s case but also in the 9/11 case, where one of the five defendants has already asked for similar information.

Judge Pohl found that Mr. al-Nashiri was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” – the government’s euphemism for torture and cruel treatment, such as waterboarding and stress positions. More importantly, he ruled that information about that abuse is relevant and helpful to the defense. In particular, it will be relevant at sentencing because Mr. al-Nashiri faces the death penalty. His lawyers have said they will argue that he cannot be executed because he was tortured by the CIA – an argument that 9/11 defense lawyers will also likely make for their own clients.

Judge Pohl also said that the use of torture techniques will impact whether any statements Mr. al-Nashiri made afterwards are too tainted to be used at trial. Under the military commissions rules, the prosecution must convince the judge that the statements were “voluntarily given” in order to use them. The prosecution has already indicated that it will seek to use statements Mr. al-Nashiri made to the FBI after he arrived at Guantánamo. But with the new ruling, the prosecution will be required to turn over the information the defense says it needs to argue that these statements were tainted by the CIA’s earlier torture and abuse.

Judge Pohl’s order requires the prosecution to give the defense lawyers 10 categories of information, including where Mr. al-Nashiri was held, the conditions in each site, whom he interacted with, and how he was rendered from site to site. What’s not clear is the extent to which the prosecution will seek to provide summaries or other substitutes for some documents or to redact the names of personnel. According to Mr. al-Nashiri’s lawyers, this will be litigated in the coming months. Still, the ruling has definitively established that the information is relevant and helpful to the defense, and any new requests by the prosecution to narrow what it has to turn over will be limited by the ruling.

That’s a sea change, although a long-delayed one on a fundamental fair trial right: access to evidence. Judge Pohl has decided to step down from this case to concentrate on the commission trial of the 9/11 defendants. It’s now up to his successor to ensure this important decision is properly implemented.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

US weighs options for new ‘kill vehicle’

Press TV – July 14, 2014

The Pentagon hopes to fund a much more reliable “kill vehicle,” or warhead, for the homeland missile system.

Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top arms purchaser, said decisions had not been finalized on whether to upgrade the existing warheads, built by Raytheon Co., or design a new one, according to Reuters.

“It’s going at the end of the day to be a question of affordability,” Kendall told reporters Saturday on the eve of the Farnborough air show.

Raytheon, Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing have all expressed interest in bidding for a new design of kill vehicle.

After the missile system successfully intercepted a dummy target over the Pacific last month, defense contractor Raytheon which is a subcontractor to Boeing Co. said it expected to go into production shortly.

On June 22, the system managed to hit a simulated enemy missile for the first time since 2008.

Kendall said the test marked “a very positive step that will [prompt] us to move forward.”

The US Missile Defense Agency has failed half of its tests on intercepting a mock enemy warhead, government records show.

The Obama administration has agreed to expand the system from the current number of 30 ground-based interceptors.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called for deployment of 14 new interceptors at Ft. Greely by late 2017.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Wall Street Journal from a Palestinian Woman

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh · Muslim Girl · 7.09.14

Bret Stephens penned a column last week in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Where are the Palestinian Mothers?” in which he makes the racist assertion, based on conversations he’s had with three individual women, that all Palestinian mothers raise their children to become “martyrs.”

The thing that Stephens must understand about Palestinians’ concept of “martyrdom” is that it’s a coping mechanism for the senseless loss of life they must endure. Their “martyrdom” is not an aspiration. It’s forced upon them.

My mother is a Palestinian. At the moment, she’s probably enjoying the peace of her suburban home. Unlike her counterparts in the West Bank and Gaza, she’s free from having to worry about her children being killed by occupational forces in the middle of the night, or even broad daylight. For a Palestinian mother, this is a freedom that can never be appreciated enough.

My grandmother was a Palestinian. She passed away last summer after decades of being a flag bearer of the strength of Palestinian mothers. She was a survivor of the Deir Yassin massacre in 1948, which was one of the first Palestinian villages to be ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias to create the state of Israel. She was seven years old at the time and witnessed the murder of her neighbors and relatives, including her own Palestinian grandmother and infant brother. Yet, she survived and, in her refugee exile, created a fruitful and happy life for her family that allows me to write this letter today.

Over that time, those militias came together to become the Israeli Defense Force. One of their leaders, Yitzhak Rabin, rose to become the prime minister of Israel.

In his column, Stephens claims that he has “yet to meet the Israeli mother who wants to raise her boys to become kidnappers and murderers.” Actually, every Israeli mother is legally obligated by the Israeli government to enter her sons and daughters into an institution that systematically kidnaps and murders. It’s the Israeli Defense Force.

palestinian women confrontation

Since 1948, the IDF has been creating mourning mothers for the longest occupation in modern human history, riddled with war crimes and human rights atrocities. Its illegal and immoral actions have been denounced in more United Nations resolutions than any other country in the world. The most recent were a series of four resolutions in the UNHCR denouncing Israel’s international law violations. All four of them passed 46 to 1 — with the lone dissenter being the United States.

Stephens refers to West Germany’s “moral rehabilitation” and ironically suggests it for the Palestinian people. Yet, in an iconic visit last month, Pope Francis stood before Israel’s apartheid wall and placed his hand on Palestinian graffiti that, in desperate broken English, said in spray paint: “Bethlehem looks like Warsaw ghetto.”

Extremist Israeli settlers have been engaging in some of the worst hate crimes in the conflict, notoriously known for pillaging mosques and churches, attacking and even running over Palestinians, and vandalizing Palestinian property with calls for the death of all Arabs. One of the three kidnapped Israelis was old enough to have already served in the IDF, and all three of them were on an illegal settlement on Palestinian territory. While no mother should endure the abduction or death of a child — neither Israeli nor Palestinian — the situation must be placed in the context of the conflict as a whole.

Since the disappearance of the three Israelis on June 12, 2014, at least 50 Palestinian civilians have been killed in retribution — including a 7-year-old child and a 15-year-old child — and hundreds more injured or imprisoned with no charges. But, you don’t know any of their names, despite having the three Israelis’ names memorized by heart.

Last Tuesday night, Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned alive by an Israeli mob. His mother — like the mothers of the eight other murdered Palestinians or the hundreds of newly detained prisoners — will never be given the media attention to express her grief. Nor does she or any of the other Palestinian mothers have the power to demand that Israel brings back their boys.

Among many Israelis, Mohammad’s death was celebrated. All facets of Israeli society, even up to the government, called for this sort of retribution, with Netanyahu demanding “revenge” and Ben-Ari calling for “death to the enemy.” While the call for justice is expected of any democratic country, what Israel is calling for is indiscriminate revenge.

Netanyahu called the killers of the three Israelis “human animals.” But, in Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people, his accusations and references of a faceless Palestinian enemy, and his sheer condoning and even encouragement of anti-Arab racism, he is implicating the Palestinian people as a whole.

Indeed, Israel treats Palestinians as nothing more than animals. In this case, Israel has placed its “animal” in a cage and keeps prodding it with a stick — or, more accurately, with rubber bullets, tear gas, and even white phosphorous. Then, when the animal bites back, Israel feigns selective memory and moral outrage and punishes it in ways that are unprecedented in our modern history.

Stephens makes the racist suggestion that Palestinian culture is filled with hate, but what, then, can we say of a society that views another people as collectively subhuman?

If you want to know where the Palestinian mothers are, they are living under a military occupation, among an unarmed civilian population, quietly reciting their boys’ names in their hearts as American columnists try to write them away.

Photography by Robert Croma.

A condensed variation of this column was originally published as a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Hebrew soldier, Hebrew looter

During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Palestinians reported numerous incidents of looting by Israeli soldiers. Here’s the first case we documented

By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | July 13, 2014

During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Israeli soldiers invaded thousands of houses in the West Bank, on the pretext of looking for the kidnapped teenagers. These raids allow us to get a quick picture of the differences between Palestinians living under Israeli control and Israeli citizens.

For instance, were someone to be kidnapped in Petah Tikva, no one would imagine placing the city under curfew, prevent its denizens from traveling abroad, and carry out “searches” in random apartments, without the need to show the residents a legal search warrant.

Yet that is precisely what happened to Wasafia Sadeq Othman Salah Khater, a senior citizen living in the village of Aqraba, on June 22nd, 2014. Around 02:30 AM, about a dozen soldiers knocked on her door, entering without explanation, and as she noted, without showing her any warrant. The soldiers found nothing, as there was nothing to be found; but for an hour they wreaked havoc in Khater’s house. Aside from her, the house was home to her pensioner husband and their eight sons.

The soldiers were not satisfied with ripping off the covering of the sofas and spreading out their contents, nor with the breaking of a closet door (one wonders what the hell the purpose of that was, aside from sadistic enjoyment): they did what the army will not speak of, and it seems they looted the house. At first, the soldiers stole an expensive wrist watch, worth some 700 NIS (some 200 USD). Then, they looted an envelope that Khater held on her body – a very reasonable thing to do, when strangers invade your home – which contained 15,000 NIS (some 4,400 USD) and 1,700 Jordanian dinars (about 2,400 USD).

Even if this had been a legal confiscation, and as the soldiers did not leave Khater any receipt it wasn’t, Khater has no reasonable way of getting the money back: as we’ve seen, in order to do so she would have to appeal to the Israeli HCJ. But as she didn’t receive any written confirmation, this wasn’t a confiscation. Later on, looking through the house, Khater found out that the soldiers went off with her purse, containing 400 NIS. Looting, we’ll remind you, is a war crime, and while the Israeli military law does not recognize war crimes, it does punish looting with up to 10 years imprisonment.

Khater’s husband is a pensioner; she herself is a housewife. The money they have comes from their children. It was several soldiers who looted them; they were commanded by an officer who either did not know what took place, in which case he is unfit for command, or knew and turned a blind eye, in which case he is unfit for command and should spend time in prison with his looting soldiers; either way, he has command responsibility for their actions.

But the chances that he will be prosecuted are practically nil. The rate of indictment of soldiers is near zero. And after all, this incident took place as the national brain was suffused with blood.

Israelis have grown accustomed to excusing away everything done by IDF soldiers, up to and including the killing of children. The only things they can’t explain away yet are intentional attacks on animals and looting. Nobody can claim that looting makes any operational sense; no one can claim it is not a crime – and one of the most serious in the Israeli military law. Therefore, the IDF and the Israeli media, which has grown very good at not challenging the Israeli way of thinking, simply don’t speak about it.

So if you still have any expectations of war ethics from the IDF, promote this post. Because the mainstream media will not mention this case of looting – or the other cases we will document.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Abu Khdeir suspects to plead insanity

By Jonathon Cook | July 14, 2014

Three Israeli suspects who have confessed to the gruesome killing of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was abducted in East Jerusalem and later burnt to death, are going to plead “temporary insanity”, according to Haaretz. Mohammed’s father guessed as much last week, when asked whether he trusted Israel’s judicial system: “I think they will say that [the murderers] were insane and give them a year or two and that’s all.”

That’s not because Hussein Abu Khdeir has incredible prescience; it’s because this is how it works in Israel. Palestinians who kill Israelis are terrorists, and Israelis who kill Palestinians are either heroes, if they are doing it in an official capacity, or deeply damaged individuals on the “fringes of society”, if they act on their own. Either way, they are not meaningfully held to account.

As Hussein also implies, the three, if convicted, will probably get a lenient sentence and then be pardoned when the fuss dies down in a year or two.

Notice also that the three other suspects arrested last week have been released, even though the police say they were part of the cell believed to have organised the kidnapping. So why not charge them with conspiracy to murder, or membership of a terrorist organisation, or one of the other charges that would be used if the suspects were Palestinian, including Palestinian citizens of Israel?

And here’s another question: how can we take seriously a claim of “temporary insanity” among an organised group (“a cell”) that has a wider membership and whose creation presumably predated the general mood of revenge that permeated Israeli society following news that three Israeli teens had been abducted on June 12? What was this cell organised to do if not to harm Palestinians? And if this is the case, how can “insanity” apply to the group collectively and how can it be termed “temporary”?

I expect none of these questions to be addressed, let alone answered, in the trial – assuming, of course, we get one and this is not hushed up in a closed hearing at which they are committed to psychiatric care.

Instead, Israeli officials will doubtless assent to the deranged notion of “insanity” propagated by the far-right legal group, Honenu, defending the three suspects. It says:

Given the crazy, abnormal situation in the country, it’s natural that among the many people who approach us, some have been emotionally scarred by the security situation or by difficult personal circumstances and responded accordingly.

Remember, “accordingly” here refers to a decision to abduct a child, force-feed him a flammable liquid and then set him on fire. Maybe “insanity” in this case has a much wider application than just to three individuals.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Michael Ledeen: A Deal With Iran Is Not Enough

By Chris Rossini | Ron Paul Institute | July 10, 2014

If you’re a non-interventionist, neocon Michael Ledeen has some news for you. Don’t get too excited about a nuclear deal with Iran:

First, our problems with Iran go way beyond the nuclear deal. If we could wave a magic wand and cause the entire nuclear project to disappear, we would still have to contend with a radical Islamist regime that has declared war on us, and is waging it from the Middle East to South America.

Isn’t that an odd statement?

Iran is waging war on “us” in the Middle East and South America? Since when are the Middle East and South America “us”?

Perhaps I need a new map….

Here’s what Ledeen wants:

What would a serious post-nuclear strategy look like? I have long advocated supporting the internal Iranian opposition.

Hasn’t the US done enough damage by “supporting” opposition to governments that they don’t like. Did Benghazi teach anyone a lesson? How about supporting the Al Qaeda in Syria? Does the acronym ISIS mean anything? Those are just the most recent episodes of militarizing the opposition that backfired. And Ledeen wants yet another round?

Getting involved in the affairs of other nations is much too complex of an endeavor, which is why it never works. Unintended consequences are all but guaranteed. If anything, US foreign policy over the last 100 years offers solid empirical proof.

But it never ends with the neocons. They’re going to try and get away with their discredited tactics for as long as they can.

Ledeen needs to: A) Get a new map so that he can accurately identify “us” on it; and B) Read the U.S. Constitution!

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment