Aletho News


Unarmed Kansas Man Shot and Killed By Police After a “Verbal Exchange”

By Mike Sawyer | The Free Thought Project | January 4, 2015

Wichita, KS — Two Witchita police officers are on paid administrative leave following the shooting death of an unarmed 23-year-old man.

Interim Chief Nelson Mosley, with the Wichita Police Department, said in a press conference Sunday that police were called to a disturbance around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Two officers responded and reportedly found two men inside of an SUV. Police asked both men to get out of the vehicle.

According to their report, the 44-year-old driver complied with the verbal commands of police, but the 23-year-old began a verbal argument. Police Lt. James Espinoza said the 23-year-old man engaged in a “verbal exchange” with the officers when he was outside the vehicle.

The argument led to the back of the police cruiser at which point they repeatedly yelled at the 23-year-old to place his hands on the vehicle, which he did not do according to the report.

“Officer A then fired his taser,” said Mosley at the press conference. Officers claim that the man did not respond to the taser. At this point Officer B claimed to “see the suspect reach towards his waistband,” so she fired 2 shots into the man’s abdomen.

“Upon officers arriving and meeting the man until the shots were fired was 3 minutes,” said Mosley.

When asked what the victim said that caused officer B to fire at him, the interim chief responded, “At this point we are still investigating who said what, and what exactly was said.”

According to police diagrams displayed during the press conference, the altercation between officers and the man never became physical.

Mosley confirmed that the man was unarmed when asked about any weapons being found during the press conference,“we have not located any weapons at this time.”

Following the shooting, the 23-year-old was taken to a Wichita hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.

Several agencies, including the Wichita Police Department, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and the Sedgwick County District Attorney are investigating.

Officer A has been with the department for 4 years and 9 months and officer B, 3 years 1 month. Both officers are on paid administrative leave.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 5 Comments

UK proposes nursery staff to spy on toddlers

Press TV – 1/4/2015

The British government has put forward a proposal urging nursery school staff and registered childminders to report the toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, a plan which critics have deemed “unworkable.”

The proposal, issued by the Home Office and included in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, is currently before the parliament, the Guardian reported on Sunday.

The proposed measure states that British nurseries and early years childcare providers, along with schools and universities, have a duty “to prevent people being drawn into terrorism.”

This is while critics regard the proposal as “unworkable,” accusing the Tory-led Coalition government of treating teachers and carers as “spies.” They have also raised concerns over the practicalities of making it a legal requirement for staff to report toddlers.

Isabella Sankey, the policy director at human rights body Liberty, commented on the proposal, saying, “Turning our teachers and childminders into an army of involuntary spies will not stop the terrorist threat.”

Such a move “will sow seeds of mistrust, division and alienation from an early age,” she added.

Headteachers’ union NAHT also criticized the plans, with its General Secretary Russel Hobby saying nursery and school staff should not be required to act as a police service.

A Home office spokesman, however, defended the proposed measure, arguing “it is important that children are taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way” and “we do expect them (staff) to take action when they observe behavior of concern.”

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Is Fusion Doing The U.S. Government’s Bidding On Cuba?

By Matt Peppe | Just the Facts | January 4, 2015

Journalist Jorge Ramos recently leveled some serious accusations against Fidel Castro, accusing him of amassing a fortune stolen from Cuban taxpayers and engaging in widespread drug trafficking. Ramos, a hugely popular news personality on the Spanish-language network Univision and new sister cable network Fusion, eagerly parrots the hearsay of a former Castro bodyguard who is – coincidentally no doubt – promoting a new book. With the U.S. government still bent on regime change in Cuba, despite the recent announcement of normalization of relations, they must be pleased. The narrative Ramos creates could help lay the groundwork for future U.S. intervention in Cuba, or at least help to discredit a revolutionary hero who remains staunchly opposed to U.S. foreign policy and imperialism.

The source for Ramos’s Dec. 23, 2014 column is Reinaldo Sánchez, who allegedly served for 17 years as Castro’s bodyguard from 1977-1994. According to Ramos, Sánchez arrived in the United States in 2008 but had not gone public with his accusations until he released his book “Fidel Castro’s Hidden Life” in 2014. One could speculate that without guaranteed housing, food allowance, and health care, as Sánchez enjoyed while he was in Cuba, he may have been under financial pressure once in the States and forced to provide for himself financially. Popular Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez (no relation) felt similar pressures while living abroad in Switzerland in 2004. Her inability to find work and earn a living forced her in desperation to return home, crying as she begged Cuban immigration officials to let her back in the country.

If Castro’s former bodyguard did indeed find himself in need of money in his new country with it’s large and rabid anti-Castro Cuban exile population, a tell-all story would be an easy way to raise cash. If you are going to write a book, you need some juicy details. No publisher would be very interested in a book about Castro immersed in reading at his desk or penning his notoriously prolific Reflections columns. If Sánchez’s motivations were not monetary and he truly did want to expose the truth, wouldn’t it make sense to come forward sooner by speaking with journalists who surely would have been interested in his tales?

Whatever his motivations, the word of one person who may have political and financial motivations to discredit Castro should surely be taken skeptically without any corroborating evidence or documentation. Ramos decides not to do this and instead takes everything Sánchez says at his word. He fails to even mention the possibility that one man’s unsubstantiated word might be exaggerated or outright false.

“Due to his closeness to Castro, he said that for years he got to see firsthand how the communist dictator amassed a personal fortune, primarily through Cuban businesses whose profits, Sanchez said, went directly to the dictator,” Ramos writes. “Castro also owns many properties in Cuba, according to Sanchez, including Cayo Piedra, two small islands connected by a bridge.”

These charges against Castro are nothing new. In 2006, Forbes magazine cited unnamed sources to rank Castro as the 7th wealthiest ruler in the world with a fortune of $900 million.

Castro was quick to challenge anyone to come up with proof about his alleged fortune. “If they can prove that I have a bank account abroad, with $900 million, with $1 million, $500,000, $100,000 or $1 in it, I will resign,” he said. “If they prove that I have a single dollar, I’ll resign my post … there will be no need for plans or transitions.”

No one has ever been able to offer the slightest bit of proof. Yet eight years later, Ramos provides a platform for a disgruntled former employee to make the same baseless allegations, as if they hadn’t already been out there for years without any evidence produced.

Sánchez also makes another claim in his book that is wildly inconsistent with the documentary record and even the U.S. government’s own assessment. He claims that Castro’s involvement in drug trafficking contributed to his alleged fortune.

“Sánchez said that in 1989, despite the fact that Castro would forcefully insist in public that the Cuban government had nothing to do with drug trafficking, the bodyguard overheard a private conversation between Castro and José Abrantes, then minister of the interior, that directly implicated Castro in the drug business,” Ramos writes.

For Ramos, this is case closed. One person allegedly overheard a conversation. What further proof could you need? Ramos does not question the former bodyguard about the veracity of these claims or put them in any context of what the evidence says about Cuba and Castro in relation to drug trafficking.

Timothy Alexander Guzman writes, “Fusion is following Washington’s line along with the anti-Castro Cuban-American community to discredit and demonize the Cuban government. Although Cuba is not perfect, it has its principles especially when it comes to illegal drugs. Why would Fidel Castro risk his international reputation as fighter for human rights for the Cuban people by becoming a drug dealer?”

In it’s 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy report, the State Department declares:

Despite its proximity to major transit routes for illegal drugs to the U.S. market, Cuba is not a major consumer, producer, or transit point of illicit narcotics. Cuba’s intensive security presence and bilateral interdiction efforts have effectively reduced the available supply of narcotics on the island and prevented traffickers from establishing a foothold… Cuba’s domestic drug production and consumption remain negligible as a result of active policing, harsh sentencing for drug offenses, and very low consumer disposable income. Cuba’s counternarcotics efforts have prevented illegal narcotics trafficking from having a significant impact on the island.

At the exact time when Sánchez claims he heard the comments about drug trafficking by Fidel, a high-profile case against General Arnaldo Ochoa, a senior Cuban military leader, was taking place. Ochoa had been the head of the Cuban military mission in Angola for the previous two years. He was arrested on June 12, 1989 and charged with corruption and drug trafficking. He was tried before a military tribunal along with 13 other officers, and they confessed to the charges against them.

“They all told a similar story,” writes historian Piero Gleijeses in Visions of Freedom. “The Angolan government had given Ochoa $508,000 to buy 100 field wireless sets. An aide of Ochoa bought them in Panama for $435,000, and Ochoa diverted the difference to a bank account in Panama. Furthermore, on Ochoa’s instructions, another aide sold Angolan kwanzas on the black market to buy dollars. That aide told the court, ‘We got $61,190 for all these kwanzas.’… The sum total of the money gained from these operations may have approached $200,000.”

Ochoa was sentenced to death and executed. Reportedly he asked to die by firing squad, and to give the order to fire. Both requests were granted. Ochoa’s actions seem fairly mild – especially when compared to actions of corrupt, U.S. backed regimes – but the Cuban government was acutely sensitive to the potential propaganda value if the U.S. learned of this information. After all, it was only several months later they would invade Panama using drug smuggling by President Manuel Noriega as a pretext to install a pro-business regime amenable to U.S. foreign policy. Having been invaded once by the United States, Cuba was insistent on not providing the world’s sole superpower ammunition to use as propaganda.

Gleijeses asks whether it is possible that if Ochoa did this, could other Cuban officials have done the same? Gleijeses says that he read thousands of pages of Cuban documents, interviewed dozens of Angolan officials, and “no one claimed, or hinted, that the Cuban military mission defrauded the Angolan state – beyond the Ochoa episode… In the absence of any indication to the contrary I must conclude that Ochoa’s behavior was anomalous.”

The documentary record and common sense suggest Castro and the Cuban government had every incentive not to allow any corruption, especially drug smuggling, by their officials. Rather they punished such activity to the full extent of the law. It would be hard to think of a weaker claim to the contrary than Sánchez’s hearsay that he is now using to make a profit on his book.

No one should be fooled into thinking that President Obama’s moves to normalize relations with Cuba will mean an end to their policy of covertly supporting regime change. Government agencies such as USAID are still funneling millions of dollars to individuals and groups consistent with this. In 2014 alone, several secret programs were discovered to these ends. ZunZuneo, the twitter like network which was to be used to disseminate propaganda to foment political unrest, and an operation to co-opt Cuban hip hop artists were the latest of what The Guardian called “the US government’s hapless attempts to unseat Cuba’s communist government.”

Obama has been aggressive about applying sanctions against countries like Venezuela, Russia and North Korea whose government’s the U.S. would love to help overthrow, as they did with Ukraine. Just last week Obama announced new sanctions against North Korea for their alleged role in the Sony Hack, despite mounting evidence it was an insider rather than the North Korean government to blame. In July, the Obama administration similarly blamed Russia for the MH17 flight disaster and rushed to impose sanctions before producing any proof. The administration has been silent on the MH17 tragedy for months. Predictably the evidence now points toward Ukrainian fighter jets, rather than the Russia government or rebels supporting Russia, being to blame for shooting down the civilian plane. But the sanctions remain in place.

The Obama administration must feel like Ramos gave them a Christmas gift with his regurgitation of Sánchez’s baseless claims. Obama’s rationale for establishing relations with Cuba after 55 years was to “have influence with that government.” The implication Ramos’s hit piece is meant to convey is that the U.S. must come riding like a white knight to the rescue of the Cuban people. It is just the message American officials want the U.S. public to hear as they try to use the new diplomatic opening with Cuba to do what they haven’t been able to for the last 55 years – get rid of the Cuban revolution once and for all.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , | 3 Comments

UN: 1,200 Palestinian children injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank in 2014

MEMO | January 4, 2015

B3jqqHmCUAAUP45Israeli forces injured a total of 1,190 Palestinian children in the West Bank during 2014, according to a UN agency report.

The figure, contained within a weekly briefing covering the period 23-29 December, accounts for 20 percent of all Palestinian injuries.

UN OCHA noted that 280 of the injuries were recorded in July in the Jerusalem governorate, in the context of confrontations with Israeli occupation forces after the murder of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, and in light of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.

More than in 1 in 5 of the child injuries were caused by Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition, with the rest from rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas inhalation, and assault.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Israel had detained 1,266 Palestinian children in 2014, an average of seven children every two days.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Feedback loop: for Israel isolation begets isolation

By Dr Phil Leech | MEMO | January 4, 2015

2015 looks like it’s going to be a challenging year for Israel. While, with American and Australian support – and the help of rather cowardly abstentions by, among others, the BritishIsrael managed to sidestep a Palestinian/Jordanian effort at the UN Security Council that proposed a timeframe to end the occupation.

But rather than this being the end of the matter, it was out of the frying pan and potentially into the fire for Israel. In response to the failure, the PLO leadership took the long overdue step of signing the ‘Rome Statute’ and beginning the process of joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

It is possible of course that entry to the ICC could have all sorts of negative consequences for the Palestinians themselves. Israel will certainly be prepared to counter any Palestinian efforts to use legal mechanisms to end the occupation by levelling charges of there own.

But none-the-less it is a move that at least shifts the conversation out of the well-worn rut where it’s been stuck for 20 years. In other words, one can at least hope that – finally – this is the end of a period where ‘negotiations’ based on the deeply flawed Oslo process of the 1990s is talked about as the only serious way to enact change.

The response from the Israeli elite – rather predictably – is one of aggressive indignation. In retaliation for France’s yes-vote at the Security council the French ambassador, Patrick Maisonnave, was summoned and reprimanded by the Israeli government while Netanyahu also responded by offering a convoluted condemnation of the Palestinians (essentially an absurd conflation of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and ISIS) and the promise to ‘take steps’ to defend Israeli soldiers (…whatever that means).


While at this stage how far either the PLO or Israel will be successful in using the new forum provided by the ICC to achieve their goals remains unknown, one thing is clear, these events are likely to impact how Israel’s electorate sees themselves.

Interestingly recent polling data shows that for most Israelis, the question of the country’s growing isolation in the international system is one of serious concern. According to the poll by +972 magazine, “A strong majority, more than two to one, are worried: 30 per cent are very worried, and a total of 71 percent say they are worried” about Israel’s poor reputation in Europe and North America. Further, while there is certainly more concern for those on the self-described ‘left’ and ‘centre’, some 50% of supporters for Netanyahu’s own ruling Likud Party are also ‘worried’.

This should not really be a surprise. As I argued last week, Israel’s rightward shift has been gathering momentum for some time. Moreover the outward displays of its government’s uncompromising stance are growing harder to accept, particularly in Europe.

It is true, of course, that Europe has taken a fairly condescending line towards all sides in the conflict, without ever seriously offering any kind of meaningful alternative, for a very long time. The current dynamic between the Europeans and Israel is perhaps most vividly represented in a pretty awkward conversation that took place recently between Denmark’s Ambassador Jesper Vahr and Caroline Glick, an editor for the Jerusalem Post.

In this exchange, Vahr managed to patronise his hosts as well as insult, presumably, all Arab/Muslim majority countries in a single move. He insisted that Israel deserved to be held to a higher standard because of the shared culture with Europe (thereby implying that non-European cultures are inferior). In response to this accusation, Glick – representing Israel – angrily lectured Vahr and the audience on Israel’s exceptionalism, only to conclude with the familiar paradox that it would be anti-Semitic to note how Israel actually does enjoy an exceptional status in terms of international norms.

Though less pronounced, Israel’s stock with the Americans is also falling. A recent study of statements issued by the US State Department showed that Israel was the fourth most ‘unacceptable’ country in 2014. Further an attack by Israeli settlers on a visiting US delegation would seem to suggest that predictions that ‘Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies‘ might not be too far off accurate. (Though the recent fawning of US congress members toward Benjamin Netanyahu would seem to suggest that there are plenty of ‘crazies’ right at the top if America’s government).


Glick’s example is instructive though. Her rage is somewhat reminiscent of the kind of behaviour that primary school teachers/pop-psychologists warn about: if person X is being mean, it’s probably because they’re feeling insecure. And clearly Israelis have a lot to feel insecure about in terms of selling their message internationally.

To be sure, the highest profile excesses of Israel’s emboldened right wing have caused significant friction with virtually every other state of significance in the region, including between itself and the most friendly regimes near by. There are several relevant examples of this, for instance:

Election time

Ostensibly the battle lines are already pretty obvious between the main political parties. As Diana Buttu, argued last month, there are no real ‘centrists’ in Israel, rather the main differences between the ‘right and the so-called ‘left’ – represented most prominently by a Labour-Hatnua pact – in relation to the Palestinians, is primarily over how it would be best to manage the image of the occupation, not how to end it.

Therefore one can expect Tzipi Livni et al. to condemn Netanyahu’s government for its handling of recent events, though it is likely that such condemnations will be issued for allowing Israel’s image to become so tarnished, not because the ‘left’ would have taken any more meaningful steps to actually end the occupation or otherwise normalise Israel’s status.

But even if they do make such points, most of the headlines of the pre-election cycle will likely be reserved for the kind of unreconstructed ethno-nationalism of the right wing which is largely responsible for creating the situation that Israeli is now in (and it is still ahead in the polls). If that does turn out to be the case it is likely that it will mean even more steps away from international norms, damaging Israel’s image further and making it harder and harder to row back from this damaging status quo in the long term.

In other words, Israel’s rightward shift has locked it into a feedback loop, which it is unlikely to escape, even with elections, in 2015.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Who are the real human traffickers?

By FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | Press TV | January 4, 2015

This week saw yet another ship-load of refugees marooned on the Mediterranean high seas trying to make their way to “fortress Europe”.

Some 360 people, including pregnant women and children, nearly lost their lives as the cargo ship they were onboard made its perilous way towards the southern Italian rocky coast. The crew had reportedly jumped ship, leaving the “ghost vessel” to its fate.

The Western media were quick to condemn “heartless” human traffickers who abandoned those onboard to a possible watery grave. As it turned out, the freighter-turned-refugee ship was salvaged by the Italian coastguard and all lives were saved.

It was the third such incident in the past two weeks. On December 21 another drifting ship packed with some 400 refugees had to be dramatically rescued at sea and steered to safe mooring in the Sicilian port of Augusta. Again, as in the incident this week, human traffickers had abandoned the ship and left those onboard at the mercy of the seas.

Of course, criminal gangs that prey on refugees are the immediate culprits. It is estimated that unscrupulous traffickers can buy a decrepit cargo ship for a few hundred thousand dollars, pack it with hundreds of desperate refugees and make off with millions of dollars in extortionate passage fees. Nice profit for very dirty work.

Many of the would-be refugees never make it to mainland Europe. Over the past year, some 3,000 people have perished in the Mediterranean onboard rickety vessels that were far from seaworthy. The Italian coastguard has plucked 160,000 people from the sea in the last year alone – a figure that has escalated on previous years and underlines the crisis of immigrants trying to reach Europe.

But who, ultimately, is to blame for this crisis? Why have numbers of desperate refugees willing to risk their lives trying to reach Europe suddenly exploded?

Refugees coming from North Africa to Europe across the Mediterranean is not a new phenomenon. But what is significant about the latest surge in numbers is that most of the refugees are from Syria and Iraq, according to the United Nations and other monitoring groups.

Of the 360 onboard the ship rescued this week off Italy’s Calabrian coast most were from Syria. The same goes for the other two vessels salvaged in the past fortnight.

The crisis of immigrants trying – and dying – to reach Europe is thus a direct consequence of the conflicts raging in Syria and Iraq. Millions of people are fleeing from violence in those two countries. Their homes destroyed, their families butchered, their livelihoods decimated, who can blame those people for trying to seek refuge?

But who should we blame, ultimately, for this appalling humanitarian situation? ISIS terrorists, human traffickers? Well, to a degree, yes. But the real culpability lies squarely with the European governments who in league with Washington have covertly launched a criminal regime-change war in Syria since March 2011.

Britain and France, in particular, are the two European powers that have, along with their American ally, fomented and fuelled the conflict in Syria to overthrow the government of President Bashar al Assad. Over the past four years that country has been turned into a charnel house by these Western governments supporting a network of international mercenaries for the illegal objective of regime change.

Now these same Western powers have launched air strikes on Syria and Iraq – with the stated purpose of “wiping out” the so-called Islamic State mercenaries that they unleashed in the first place.

The humanitarian consequences should be obvious – except to the Western media, who try to disinform on the iniquitous cause-and-effect. Millions of Syrians and Iraqis are fleeing from the mayhem that Western powers have engendered, as they desperately seek relative safety in Europe, crossing hell and high water if that’s what it takes.

The humanitarian disaster unfolding in the Mediterranean is the tragic blowback of covert state-sponsored terrorism by the US, Britain and France in the Middle East. That’s the bottom line no matter how the Western media try to dissimulate it.

To the burgeoning numbers risking their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean are nationals from Libya, Palestine, and the African countries of Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic – all countries where US-led NATO powers have directly fuelled violence.

So, let’s not be distracted by Western media hype about anonymous “heartless human traffickers” abandoning “ghost ships” of refugees on the rocks of European coastlines.

The real heartless human traffickers are the governments responsible for creating the flood of refugees from the Middle East and Africa in the first place.

This is a crisis made in Washington, London and Paris.

Ironically, and sickeningly, it is the British and French governments who are the most strident in the European Union wanting to take a tough line on refusing entry of refugees into Europe. The Italian government to its credit last year ran an emergency naval rescue program, Mare Nostra, “Our Seas”, that saved the lives of many. That program had to be jettisoned at the end of last year because of a monthly cost of EURO 10 million to Rome.

Britain and France refused to contribute financial support and the Italian rescue response had to be  terminated. The London government said the Italian naval operation was acting as a “pull factor” in encouraging would-be refugees to take to boats.

More pertinent is not “pull factors” but instead to understand the “push factors” for the flow of refugees. The biggest push factor in Europe for the immigration crisis is the British and French governments sowing deadly conflict in the Middle East and Africa that forces refugees out of their countries.

The real human traffickers are not anonymous low-level scumbag criminal gangs. The really big scumbag ones sit in plush government offices in London and Paris.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

Sexual Violence, Women’s Bodies, and Israeli Settler Colonialism


By Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Sarah Ihmoud and Suhad Dahir-Nashif | Jadaliyya | November 17, 2014

They not only invaded our home, took over our space, and evicted us—they even arrested me and took me to the Maskubya—the police station. I was put in room number four, alone, for a long time. Then, a big and tall man, a police officer, entered the interrogation room. I was alone, and started shivering from fear as he closed the door, started moving things around in the room and examining me from head to toe. I was terrorized, and my heart was beating so fast. His eyes penetrated my body, as he was opening the drawers looking for something. Then, he left the room and came back five minutes later holding a box. He pulled out a pair of blue plastic gloves, and put one on each of his hands, while looking at me and saying “…Come here…” I must tell you that I was terrorized when they invaded the house and evicted us. I was extremely anxious when they arrested my son. But my fears of ‘you know what’… You know… being abused… being raped by his blue big hands and more…were the most terrifying moments of my life.[1]

These were the words of Sama, a thirty-six-year-old Palestinian woman who lost the intimate familial and physical space of her home, only to experience further terror with the threat of sexual abuse. Sama’s narrative is not uncommon, as colonized women living under severe deprivation and dispossession are subject to daily attacks against their sexuality and bodily rights. Sexual violence is central to the larger structure of colonial power, its racialized machinery of domination, and its logic of elimination.  This is readily apparent in the history of settler colonial contexts, where the machinery of violence explicitly targets native women’s sexuality and bodily safety as biologized “internal enemies” since they are the producers of the next generation.

Settler colonialism, as a “structure, not an event” operates through a “logic of elimination” that seeks to erase indigenous presence on a specific territory (settler colonialism’s “irreducible element”). Settler colonialism “destroys in order to replace.” The invasion of indigenous land seeks to permanently erase the indigenous presence on the land, in order to replace it with the new settler society and polity. Scholars have argued that settler colonialism’s logic of elimination may culminate in indigenous genocide. In its European formations, both settler colonialism and genocide have “employed the organizing grammar of race.” Since its inception, the Jewish state has been embedded in a racialized colonial logic. This logic constructs the Palestinian as a dangerous other in opposition to the white/Jewish subject and polis. As numerous authors have noted, this racial configuration is articulated through early Zionist thinkers’ Orientalist ideology that framed the Jewish people as bearers of European civilization in the face of a culturally backward region and people. Such a “modernizing” project or “civilizing” mission relied on a Zionist imaginary of exclusively Jewish labor cultivating an empty, uncultivated land, and “making the desert bloom.” Early Zionist leadership attempted to actualize the foundational Zionist myth of a “land without people for a people without land” through systematic ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians in 1948.  The Zionist entity continues to evict native Palestinians today. The massacres in Gaza of July- August 2014, and the repressive “iron fist” policies targeting Palestinian Jerusalemites at the time we write this article, are contemporary modes of settler colonial eviction of the Palestinian native.

The targeting of Palestinian women’s bodies and sexuality, we contend, is structural to the Israeli settler colonial project’s racialized logic of elimination. Rape and other forms of sexual violence against Palestinian women have always been an element of the settler colonial state’s attempts to destroy and eliminate indigenous Palestinians from their land. In addition to rape and other forms of sexual violence, the racialized logic of sexual violence energizes the very imaginary and project of conquering and cultivating Palestinian land, in transforming it into the Jewish polis. Hence, our discussion of sexual violence is embedded not only in the sexualized practices and politics of the Zionist state, but also in the nature of Israeli settler colonial violence itself.

As Palestinian feminists, we assert that the Zionist movement’s imaginary of conquering and settling the Palestinian body is inseparable from the project of conquering and settling Palestinian land, and erasing indigenous presence. Here, we build on native scholar Andrea Smith’s assertion that the logic of colonial sexual violence “establishes the ideology that Native bodies are inherently violable—and by extension, that Native lands are also inherently violable.” It is the logic of settler colonial sexual violence that we center in our analysis of the continuous Nakba that targets our people. We trace the logic of sexual violence, in its historical and present context, as machinery, hidden and apparent, of colonial patriarchy against indigenous communities in Palestine. The logic of sexual violence attempts to fragment Palestinian family and communal life, as it severs the connection to the Palestinian homeland. The Zionist project is inherently based on the destruction of Palestinian native bodies and land, which cannot be separated from the colonial logic of elimination. Sexual violence is not simply a byproduct of colonialism, rather “colonialism is itself structured by the logic of sexual violence.

Sexual Violence and Palestinian Genocide Since the Nakba

Understanding the intensified attacks on Palestinian women’s bodies in times of heightened attacks by the settler colonial regime requires a feminist analysis. Such an analysis takes the Nakba as its analytical point of departure. Israel was built on the ruins of the Palestinian homeland, on its land, pain, and displacement.  It was built on the destruction of our communal social ties, the violation and invasion of our homes and bodies.

Rape and killing of Palestinian women was a central aspect of Israeli troops’ systematic massacres and evictions during the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948. During the Deir Yassin massacre, for instance:

All the inhabitants were ordered into the village square. Here, they were lined up against a wall and shot. One eyewitness said her sister, who was nine months pregnant, was shot in the back of the neck. Her assailants then cut open her stomach with a butcher’s knife and extracted the unborn baby. When an Arab woman tried to take the baby, she was shot… Women were raped before the eyes of their children before being murdered and dumped down the well.

David Ben Gurion, like other Zionist leaders, openly discussed the rape and sexual torture of Palestinian women in his diary entries during 1948. At the same time that he advocated the killing of Palestinian women and children, constructing them as a threat to the Jewish settler polity, he awarded a prize to every Jewish mother on her tenth child. Ben Gurion ensured that the Jewish Agency, not the state, administered such pronatal incentives in order to guarantee the exclusion of Arabs.[2] The fetishization of fertility has made Palestinians, especially women, targets of nationalist rhetoric that deeply politicizes their reproduction. For Zionists, Palestinian women have always been, and continue to be, as we have seen in the latest attacks on Gaza, targets of the Zionist killing machine.

Feminist scholars have also suggested that the Zionist state mobilizes violence against Palestinian women’s bodies and sexuality to strengthen indigenous patriarchal structures and aid in the eviction of Palestinians from their land. Militarized sexual abuse has been rampant under Israeli occupation. The Israeli state and military forces have exploited the threat of sexual violence against Palestinian women, and patriarchal perceptions of sexuality and “honor” to “recruit Palestinians as collaborators” during periods of uprisings and deter attempts at organized resistance. This practice has been so historically prevalent that it gained its own term in the Arabic language as isqat siyassy, meaning the sexual abuse of Palestinians for political reasons. The state’s security apparatus continues to use Palestinians’ sexual identities and Orientalist conceptions of “Arab culture” to recruit collaborators and fragment Palestinian society. Recent revelations by Israel’s secret military intelligence Unit 8200 have revisited this fact. The literal and figurative “rape” of Palestinian women’s bodies, framed as inherently violable by the Zionist entity, is inherently structured by the same logic of sexual violence that energizes the settler colonial project’s violation and continued confiscation of Palestinian natives’ land.

Unmasking the Logic of Sexual Violence

The silence on the Zionist machinery’s use of sexual violence against Palestinian women[3] and their communities has been further revealed since the inception of the state’s most recent military operations. The logic of sexualized violence that structures the Israeli settler colonial project has become more visible during the last period of military invasion. Slogans such as “Death to Arabs” and “Arabs out” have become more usable and tolerable in the Israeli public sphere, exposing the necropolitical drive against Palestinian natives at the core of the so-called Jewish democracy.

On 1 July, just after discovery of the bodies of three Jewish settler youth who had gone missing in the occupied West Bank, Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies remarked on public radio: “the only deterrent for … those who kidnapped the [Israeli] children and killed them, the only way to deter them is their knowledge that either their sister or their mother will be raped if they are caught … this is the culture of the Middle East.” His comments suggested that raping Palestinian women was the only deterrent to Palestinian resistance and “terrorism.”

We as Palestinian feminists were not surprised to hear Kedar advocating rape as an antidote to anti-colonial resistance. Making such comments on public radio, in the open, where it would be heard by a wide Israeli Jewish public, women as well as men, including Israeli Jewish feminists, reflects the settler’s mentality and socialization towards Palestinians. Discussing the rape of Palestinian women as a military strategy by a so-called scholar from one of the prominent universities in Israel reveals the mode in which colonizers portray colonized women. The presentation of a sexualized Orientalist discourse positions Palestinians as culturally “backward,” non-human Others.

Lest the sexualized discourses Kedar mobilized appear an aberration, it is important to note that he was not the only performer in this latest theater of sexualized violence.  Israeli soldiers on their way to killing Palestinians in Gaza read slogans of support prepared by their fellow Jewish-Israeli civilians stating: “Go pound their mothers, and come back to your mother.” Israeli Jews gathered on hillsides to watch and cheer as the military dropped bombs on Gaza. One young Jewish woman’s Facebook post summed up the sexualized pleasure they received in spectatorship of our collective lynching: “What an orgasm to see the Israeli Defense Forces bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.” Even their Prime Minister Netanyahu received a post, which circulated widely among the Israeli public via social media, showing a veiled woman labeled “Gaza,” naked from the waist down, holding a message: “Bibi, finish inside this time! Signed, citizens in favor of a ground assault.” This is in addition to Knesset member Ayelet Shaked’s public declaration that Palestinian mothers should be killed.

The rape of the land as the rape of women’s bodies has thus come to the fore in Israel’s most recent eliminatory attacks against the Palestinian people. As the massacres of the Palestinian people in Gaza continued, the sexualized nature of Israeli invasion and racial terror against Palestinian natives came to the forefront of nationalist politics and discussion among the public sphere within 1948 Palestine as well. Palestinian women took to the streets with their communities throughout historic Palestine to demonstrate against the continuous massacres in Gaza. Public demonstrations took a sexualized turn, as crowds’ calls for “death to Arabs” quickly turned to chanting “Haneen Zoabi is a whore!” naming a female Palestinian  member of the Israeli parliament who stood up for her people’s right to life. Israeli police attacked Palestinian women’s bodies, along with their male counterparts, and dragged them out of protests in Haifa and Nazareth, where they were arrested or beaten by racist crowds. Leading religious and military figures on the state’s payroll issued religious edicts which stated that during times of war it is permissible to bomb Palestinian civilians in order to “exterminate the enemy.” The city council of Or Yehuda, a settlement in Israel’s coastal region, hung a banner supporting Israeli soldiers that suggested the rape of Palestinian women:  “Israeli soldiers, the residents of Or Yehuda are with you!  Pound their mother and come back home safely to your mother.” [4]

We argue that the logic of sexual violence exhibited during attacks on indigenous Palestinians throughout historic Palestine, both historically and during the Israeli state’s most recent attacks, pervades both the Israeli settler state and settler society. Indeed, the state and settler society are inseparable entities, connected through a visceral psychological and political imaginary that exceeds the commonly framed state/civil society divide. As Lorenzo Veracini notes, settlers “carry their sovereignty with them.” Both the state apparatuses (including public elected officials, academic and military institutions) and settler society (including Israeli publics—situated along the continuum of Zionist ideology) embody the machinery of settler colonial violence. It is no surprise then, that both the official state apparatuses and unofficial settler spheres have exhibited grave attacks on Palestinian women’s sexuality, bodies, and lives in the context of the latest invasions of our people in Gaza, in the daily attacks today in Jerusalem, and throughout historic Palestine.

Israeli officials’ repressive policies and incitement against the Palestinian people work to empower and embolden Israeli settler society to embody the power of the state and viciously attack Palestinians. This is clearly exhibited in the attacks on Palestinian women’s bodies inside Al Aqsa mosque these last weeks in Jerusalem, by both settler publics empowered by the state’s military protection, and members of the state security forces. A recent example of the daily scene of sexual violence is Israeli border police’s violent beating and arrest of Aida, a Palestinian woman from the old city of Jerusalem. When she tried to enter Al-Aqsa mosque, border police attacked and brutally beat Aida. They tore off her hijab and pulled her by her hair, as they continued to beat her through the streets of the old city, and dragged her into the police car. She was then taken to the police station, where she was violently interrogated, further beaten and accused of attacking a police officer. Security forces’ brutalization and violation of Aida’s body, and attempts to mark her as an inherently criminal other, are a form of gendered and sexual violence. The legalization of such forms of violence marks the Israeli legal system itself as deeply embedded in the settler colonial project’s machinery of elimination.

Palestinian women’s brutalization and violation by the settler colonial state also takes on more mundane forms. When Samera was arrested for participating in a demonstration in occupied East Jerusalem, her release by authorities was conditional upon her completing what they termed “community service.” Samera’s “community service” required her to scrub the bathrooms of a facility for Israeli border police and soldiers. As she explained to us:

I could not afford to pay the huge fine, and needed to be released [from prison] to go back to my kids. I had no other choice but to scrub their bathrooms…. Just by being there, in men’s bathrooms, in the Israeli men’s toilets felt like rape. I did it to avoid payment, but I can’t avoid feeling that I allowed them to keep me there, in their bathrooms, in a constant state of terror, fearing being sexually abused, then trashed like we trash toilet paper in toilets.

Samera’s words and analysis further illustrate the gendered and sexualized aspects of the complex machinery of settler colonial violence. Yet as Samera concluded:  “Sometimes I feel I was their slave, but some other times I tell myself no, this is resistance, this is sumud, this is power… I did what was needed to come back to my children, without being touched or violated sexually…. yes hard, complex… our situation is complex.” Even in the face of such violent inscription of settler colonial violence, Palestinian women’s daily acts of resistance and survival demonstrate their power and sumud, or steadfastness.

In sum, sexual and gender violence are not merely a tool of patriarchal control, the byproduct of war or intensified conflict. Colonial relationships are themselves gendered and sexualized. We contend that sexual violence, a logic embedded in the Israeli settler colonial project, follows two contradictory principles that operate simultaneously: invasion/violation/occupation and supremacy/purification/demarcation. That is, the Zionist settler colonial project’s invasion, violation, and occupation of indigenous Palestinians’ bodies, lives, and land is intimately intertwined with its demarcation of racialized geographical and physical boundaries between Jewish citizenry and Palestinian natives as well as attempts to “purify” the Jewish national body of the Palestinian body, which is framed as a biopolitical contaminant. It is thus that the logic of sexual violence, embedded in the Zionist regime, energizes historical and continuous attacks on Palestinian bodies and lives.

Thus our struggle for indigenous sovereignty within anti-colonial activism as feminists is necessarily situated in the protection of Palestinian women’s bodily safety and sexuality, family, and communal right to life. It is a struggle against the hypermasculine Zionist military and settler apparatuses that frame Palestinian women as inherently threatening racialized Others whose bodies must be violated and destroyed as the internal enemy and “reproducers of Palestinians.” This logic is inseparable from the settler colonial logic of elimination.

As Palestinian feminists concerned about the safety of women’s bodies and lives, the continuity of our people and our future generations, we call on local and international feminists to join our struggle, challenge the settler colonial culture of impunity and raise their voices against the ongoing Israeli state crimes.


[1] This quote was taken from a group discussion with Palestinian women in Jerusalem, 2014.

[2] In the 1950s Ben Gurion, as the first prime minister of Israel, turned the issue of women’s fertility into national priority, arguing that “increasing the Jewish birthrate is a vital need for the existence of Israel” and that “a Jewish woman who does not bring at least four children into the world is defrauding the Jewish mission.” See Sharoni, S. (1995). Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: the Politics of Women’s Resistance. Syracuse University Press.  Also see Davis, U. & Lehn, W. (1983). “And the Fund Still Lives: The Role of the Jewish International Fund in the Determination of Israel’s Land Policies”, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 7 (4), p.3, at pp.4-6(1978).

[3] While centering our analysis on Palestinian women, we also note the Zionist state’s use of sexual violence as a tactic to curb the “demographic threat” over some Jewish women’s bodies, including black women (from the Ethiopian community) and women from impoverished backgrounds. While attempting to curb the birth rates of black and/or poor Jewish women, a practice we analyze as connected to the racialized project of curbing Palestinian reproduction and life, Israel has simultaneously sought to increase European Jewish birth through modernized practices such as buying ovum for human reproductive cloning from poor, Eastern European women.  Besides, the Israeli state suggested that the law for preventing human reproductive cloning (1999) had expired and many of Israel’s physicians, politicians and social researchers are embracing this practice as yet another strategy for maintaining a Jewish demographic advantage on the land of Palestine.

[4] In addition to the posts and declarations against Palestinian mothers, Jewish girls and women encouraged men serving in the Israeli Occupation Forces by sending them semi-nude or pornographic pictures as an expression of love and support (see

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tennessee Cop Arrested Twice in Four Months Still on Paid Leave

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | January 3, 2015

Already on paid administrative leave since September from a previous arrest, a Tennessee cop was arrested again Wednesday, this time accused of striking his mother-in-law with an open hand across the face.

Chattanooga police detective David Catchings figured he would have gotten away with it because of his badge.

“Go ahead, call the cops. They will believe me before you, because I’m a cop,” his mother-in-law accused him of saying after striking her.

She called the cops anyway, landing the 34-year-old cop back in jail. But this time, he was smiling for his mugshot.

Catchings, who is married, was arrested in September for DUI along with his girlfriend after he was spotted weaving in and out of traffic as well as driving into oncoming traffic.

He tried to use his cop status to get out of the arrest, but the Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy took him to jail anyway.

According to the Times Free-Press :

Catchings attempted to get out of the arrest and charges by using his status as an officer.

“It should be noted during that during this entire incident, [his] mood changed from compliant to hostile,” the affidavit read. “He advised several times that he was a cop and asked to try and work things out.”

Catchings refused to give his phone number to the officer on the scene or the jail, and he also refused to submit a blood test to determine his blood alcohol content.

“He advised we were brothers and I should be arresting bad guys,” the police officer present wrote in the affidavit. “He stated his aunt signs my paycheck and advised I was a rookie and didn’t know anything about police work.”

He’s been on paid administrative leave ever since, collecting his $42,000-a-year salary while he continues to drink.

On Wednesday, he was out on another bender when he walked into his mother-in-law’s house and passed out on the couch, then refused to leave when ordered to do so.

According to the Times Free-Press :

David Catchings, 34, has been charged with domestic assault after allegedly striking his mother-in-law in the face. Catchings is already under investigation and on paid administrative leave from the police department after he was arrested in September on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Catchings’ mother-in-law, Janet Ashford, told police that she woke up to find Catchings drunk on her couch around 3 a.m. When she told him to leave, she said, Catchings struck her with an open hand across her face.

Catchings called her a liar when she threatened to call police and said, ‘Go ahead, call the cops. They will believe me before you, because I’m a cop.”

Ashford said she considered not calling because she was worried nothing would happen to Catchings because he is a police officer. She said she’s terrified of Catchings. Eventually, though, she did call for help.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office arrested Catchings because Ashford’s home is outside the city limits.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher assured that he will be thoroughly investigated by internal affairs, even though the previous internal affairs investigation is still pending.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | | 1 Comment

Maduro Calls on US to Respect Venezuela

AVN | January 2, 2015

007_ma_9893_1420153222Caracas – Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro reaffirmed to the US government on Friday the need for respectful relations with Venezuela.

President Maduro made this clear to US Vice President Joseph Biden, in a brief meeting on Thursday during the inauguration of Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, in the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, in the presence of Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, while greetings of foreign authorities were made to the Brazilian president.

“We ask the United States, what I told Vice President Biden and have said a thousand times, in public and in private, we want relationships of respect,” President Maduro told reporters transmitted by Telesur, after holding a bilateral meeting with Rousseff on Friday.

Maduro also mentioned sanctions the US government decided to apply, for alleged violations of Human Rights, against Venezuelan government officials who contributed to curb vandalism and terrorism promoted by political parties and sectors of the extreme right, which left 43 people killed.

Maduro described the sanctions as “a wrong step” and said Venezuela will seek, during future summits of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Americas, a scenario to try to make the United States have second thoughts on these measures against Venezuelans.

The Venezuelan government “is based on respect for international law. It is a government appreciated and supported throughout the continent, by Latin America and the Caribbean,” said the Venezuelan President noting that Biden had to realize, during the ceremony of Rousseff’s inauguration, the “cordiality and brotherhood” in relations between the South American countries.

“It is the great virtue of South America: the different political positions and different projects that we live today and work jointly, center-right, center-left and revolutionary governments cooperate permanently between each other,” he said.

“In South America we all fit in, and I think that’s what North America should understand,” he added.

January 4, 2015 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment