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Police Have Officially Killed 400 People in 2015, A New Grieving Family Every Seven and a Half Hours

By Cassandra Fairbanks | The Free Thought Project | May 6, 2015

As of May 5, 2015, the police in the United States of America have killed 401 people that we know of.

Deaths By Law Enforcement 2015:

  • 91 in the 31 days of January
  • 85 in the 28 days of February
  • 115 in the 31 days of March
  • 101 in the 30 days of April
  • 8 people in the 5 days of May

Extrapolating those numbers out to an hourly figure and the police have killed someone on average, every 7.48 hours.  While there is no government-run database, Killed By Police has taken it upon themselves to keep track, and are doing a fantastic job thus far. It’s truly a Cop Crisis.

The three youngest are A’donte Washington, Jason C. Hendrix, and Kendre Omari Alston who were all only 16-years-old.  The oldest was 87-year-old Lewis Becker.  At least four officers have also been shot and killed by other officers.

Meanwhile, the Officer Down Memorial Page is reporting gunfire related deaths of on-duty officers is down 43%.

Law Enforcement Deaths 2015:

  • 9/11 related illness: 2
  • Accidental: 1
  • Assault: 1
  • Automobile accident: 12
  • Gunfire: 8
  • Gunfire (Accidental): 2
  • Heart attack: 10
  • Motorcycle accident: 1
  • Struck by vehicle: 2
  • Vehicle pursuit: 2

The death by assault was Patrolman George Nissen, and they are referring to injuries sustained 10 years earlier when he was attempting to break up a large fight on February 13th, 2005.

A look at the two which were struck by vehicles, both were accidents, with one occurring while the officer was off duty and had stopped to help someone on an icy road. The other was an accident where a semi truck crashed into the officer’s vehicle.

That leaves the eight by gunfire as deaths due to suspects actively attempting to harm them this year.

Deaths of officers directly at hands of suspects this year:

  • 0 in January
  • 0 in February
  • 6 in March
  • 0 in April
  • 2 in May

This means that in the 125 days of 2015, the police have been killed after being shot by a suspect, on average, every 375 hours.

According to an FBI report, Americans are less violent than ever, yet the police seem to be growing increasingly violent.  These numbers seem to agree.

Being a police officer isn’t even close to being in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in this country.  According to the 2013 report by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on work-related fatal injuries, “Police and sheriff’s patrol deputies” ranked as the 41st most dangerous occupation.

Just some numbers for you to consider next time you or someone you know tries to claim that the “brave” men and women in blue are perpetually “fearing for their life” so that they “can get home to their families.”

Every seven and a half hours our police leave another family planning a funeral.  Enough is enough; visit our #solutions section if you’d like to find out some of the many ways we can change this paradigm.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Israeli soldier: We bombed civilian targets in Gaza for entertainment

MEMO | May 6, 2015

An Israeli soldier said that he and his colleagues bombed civilian targets in the Gaza Strip during last year’s war on the enclave for entertainment.

During an interview with French Le Monde newspaper in Jerusalem yesterday, the soldier who identified himself as Arieh, 20, said: “I was called to service early on July 2014 and was deployed to the Gaza Strip but until that time the operation [Operation Protective Edge] was not announced yet. Only some soldiers speculated that there will be war, but later our commander told us to imagine a 200 metre radius and to immediately shoot anything moving inside this circle.”

“We bombed civilian targets for entertainment,” he said, adding that “one day at about 8am we went to the Al-Bureij; a highly dense residential area in central Gaza, and the commander told us to select a random target and shoot it, at the time we did not see any Hamas fighters, no one shot at us, but the commander told us jokingly: ‘We have to send Bureij a morning greeting from the Israeli army’.”

“I remember that one day, a soldier from our unit was killed and our commander asked us for revenge so I drew the tank randomly towards a huge white residential building, just four kilometres away from us and fired a shell at the 11th floor. I must have killed civilians who were absolutely innocent,” he continued.

He pointed out that the target was to destroy Gaza’s infrastructure, not only Hamas, saying: “We entered the Gaza Strip on July 19 2014 to search for Hamas’s tunnels between Gaza and Israel, but our goal was to destroy Hamas and the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure and to create the largest possible damage to the agricultural land and the economy. Hamas had to pay an expensive bill in order to think twice before entering into a new conflict with us.”

“We destroyed many Palestinian buildings, farms and electricity poles. They told us that ‘we must avoid civilian casualties as much as possible’, but how could you do that when they ask you to leave behind so much destruction,” he added.

He stressed that what happened in the Gaza Strip violates what he learned in the army. “I learned in the army that you are responsible for setting goals and hitting them. We have also learned during our training that you cannot play with the trigger, even on a trial basis, but what happened in the enclave was contrary to our consciences.”

Arieh said: “During the operations in the Gaza Strip, the unit commander said: ‘If you see someone in front of the tank who does not immediately flee, you must kill them.’ so he could see that there are civilians.”

Arieh added that the limits for the battle were very broad and based on personal decision.

“If you see something suspicious in the window of a Palestinian home, or were afraid while you approached a house with a tank, you could fire immediately, even if there was no actual threat. This principle was contrary to everything we have learned in previous military exercises before the July 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

“We used shells excessively, when I saw anything moving, if an open window, I would shell it. If I saw a moving car, I would fire a rocket. We fired missiles at moving objects and not individuals. We did not see moving individuals in our surroundings, but we fired anyway. We only saw women and children and elderly in the ceasefire which lasted only for a few hours, but I was so afraid that there were suicide bombers among them that I thought to shoot near them.”

“I can confirm that we only saw civilians, we did not see any Hamas fighters. We knew they moved through tunnels. We would enter an area and suddenly they would start firing at us and we would retreat. We were more afraid than Hamas spies who stood on rooftops with their phones to reveal our locations,” the soldier explained.

Arieh said the Israeli army would fire at any house if they saw someone holding a telephone and standing on the rooftop. “We considered anyone with a telephone on a rooftop a Hamas spy, even if that person was a woman.”

Arieh is one of about 60 Israeli soldiers who agreed to testify in a report prepared by Israeli human rights organisation Breaking the Silence.

The 237-page report concluded that the Israeli army left “unprecedented harm” among Palestinian civilians during the war through random firing and the application of loose rules of engagement.

The Israeli army launched a 51-day war on the Gaza Strip on 7 July 2014, resulting in the death of more than 2,000 Palestinians and wounding about 11,000 others, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, 68 Israeli soldiers and four civilians were killed and 2,522 more were injured including 740 soldiers, according to official Israeli figures.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Amnesty whitewashes another massacre

By Paul de Rooij | MEMO | May 6, 2015

Amnesty International has issued four reports on the Israeli massacre in Gaza in 2014.1 Given the scale of the destruction and the number of fatalities, any attempt to document the crimes committed should be welcomed. However, these reports are problematic, and raise questions about the organisation itself, including why the reports were ever written at all.2 They also raise questions about the broader human rights industry that are worth considering.

Basic background

July 2014 marked the onset of the Israeli massacre in Gaza (I will dispense with the Israeli sugar-coated “operation” name). The Israeli army trained for this attack for several months before finding a pretext to attack the Gaza Strip, shattering an existing ceasefire; this was the third such post-“disengagement” (2004) attack, and possibly the worst so far. At least 2,215 people were killed and 10,000+ wounded, most of them civilians. The scale of destruction was staggering: tens of thousands of houses were rendered uninhabitable; several high-rise buildings were struck by huge American-supplied bombs; schools and hospitals were targeted; 61 mosques were totally destroyed; water purification and sewage treatment plants were damaged; Gaza’s main flour mill was bombed; and all chicken farms in the territory were ravaged. There was incalculable devastation.3

Israeli control over Gaza has been in place for decades, with violence escalating over time, and the Palestinians there have been under siege for the past eight years. The Israelis have placed Gaza “on a diet”,4 permitting only a trickle of strictly controlled goods to cross the border, enough to keep the population above starvation levels. The whole Gaza Strip is surrounded on all sides, blocked off from the outside world: military bulldozers raze border areas, snipers injure farmers, and warships menace or destroy fishing boats with gunfire. Periodically, the Israelis engage in what they term “mowing the lawn” massacres and large scale destruction. It is this history that must serve as the foundation of any report that attempts to describe both the intent of the participating parties and the relative consequences.

Context-challenged – by design

The ongoing crimes perpetrated against Gaza are chronic and, indeed, systematic. Arnon Soffer, one of Israel’s Dr Strangelove types and “intellectual father of the wall”, had this to say about the enclave:

Q (Ruthie Blum): Will Israel be prepared to fight this war?

Arnon Soffer: […] Instead of entering Gaza, the way we did last week, we will tell the Palestinians that if a single missile is fired over the fence, we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won’t allow their husbands to shoot Kassams, because they will know what’s waiting for them. Second of all, when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.5

To determine the reasons behind Israeli actions, one only has to read what such Dr Strangeloves say; it is no secret. The aim is to create miserable conditions to drive the Palestinians off their land, warehouse the population in an open air prison called Gaza, and to repress any Palestinian resistance disproportionately. Israelis have to “kill and kill and kill, all day”. Such pathological reasoning puts Israeli actions into perspective; they are major crimes, possibly genocidal. Recognition of such crimes has some consequences.

First, the nature of the crimes requires their recognition as crimes against humanity, arguably one of the most serious crimes under international law. Second, Israeli crimes put the violence of the Palestinian resistance into perspective; Palestinians have a legitimate right to defend themselves against the occupying power. Third, the long history of violence perpetrated against the Palestinians, and the resulting power imbalance, suggests that one should be in solidarity with the victim, not the aggressor.

Amnesty, though, refuses to acknowledge the serious nature of Israeli crimes, by using an intellectually bankrupt subterfuge. It insists that as a rights-based organisation it cannot refer to historical context; doing so would be considered “political”, in its warped jargon. An examination of what Amnesty considers as “background” in its reports confirms that there is virtually no reference to relevant history or context, such as the prior Israeli attacks on Gaza, who initiated those attacks, the Goldstone Report, and so on. Hey presto! Now there is no need to mention serious crimes. It also doesn’t recognise the nature of the Palestinian resistance, and their right to self-defence. Nowhere does Amnesty International acknowledge that Palestinians are entitled to defend themselves against Israel’s military occupation. Finally, the rights group cannot express solidarity with the victim because, hey, “both sides” are victims!

At this point, once Amnesty has chosen to ignore the serious Israeli crimes, it takes on the Mother Teresa role of sitting on the fence castigating “both sides” for non-compliance with international humanitarian law that determines the rules of war. Thus, Amnesty criticises Israel not for the transgression of attacking Gaza, but for utilising excessive force or targeting civilians. The group’s favourite term to describe such events is “disproportionate”. This is problematic because it suggests that there is no problem with the nature of the action, just with the means or scale of it. While Amnesty bleats that a one-ton bomb in a refugee camp is disproportionate, it would seem that using a 100kg bomb would be acceptable. Another favoured term is “conflict”, a state of affairs where both sides are at fault, both are at once victims and transgressors.

Notice that while Amnesty avoids recognising major crimes by using its rights-based framework, it suddenly changes its hat, and takes on a very legalistic approach to criticise the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians. It manages then to list the full panoply of international humanitarian law which it deems to be applicable.

The key thing to watch in the upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of the 2014 massacre will be whether the court will copy the Amnesty approach. Any investigation that doesn’t focus on the cause of the violence and who initiated it will result in another fraud, and no pixel of justice.

Criminalising Palestinian resistance

Amnesty dispenses with the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves by stating that the rockets fired from Gaza are “indiscriminate”, and proceeds to call their use a war crime. Palestinian resistance groups are also told not to hide in heavily populated areas, not to execute collaborators, and so on. While Palestinians are told that their resistance amounts to war crimes, the Israelis aren’t told that their attacks are criminal per se; for them, it is only a matter of scale.

The “Unlawful and deadly rocket and Mortar Attacks…” report condemns repeatedly Palestinian rocket firing with inaccurate weapons, deems these “indiscriminate”, and ipso facto war crimes. Amnesty confuses the term “inaccurate” with “indiscriminate”. Examining the table below suggests that Israel killed proportionately far more civilians, albeit with more accurate weapons. It is quite possible to target indiscriminately with precision munitions. There is also a possibility, which Amnesty International appears to disregard, that the Israeli military targeted civilians intentionally. Indeed, it is likely that Israeli drones targeted children intentionally. A report by Defence for Children International states: “As a matter of policy, Israel deliberately and indiscriminately targeted the very spaces where children are supposed to feel most secure.”6

Who violence is indiscriminate?

Regardless of the accuracy of the weapons, the key issue is one of intent. Amnesty dwells on an explosion at the Shati refugee camp on 28 July. On the basis of one field worker’s testimony, Israeli-supplied evidence and an unnamed “independent munitions expert”,7 the organisation concludes that:

Amnesty International has received no substantive response to its inquiries about this incident from the Palestinian authorities. An independent and impartial investigation is needed, and both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities must co-operate fully. The attack appears to have violated international humanitarian law in several ways, as the evidence indicates that it was an indiscriminate attack using a prohibited weapon which may well have been fired from a residential area within the Gaza Strip and may have been intended to strike civilians in Israel. If the projectile is confirmed to be a Palestinian rocket, those who fired it and those who commanded them must be investigated for responsibility for war crimes.

Mother Teresa certainly provides enough comic material; an occasional joke makes it easier to read a dull report. The evidence for the provenance of this missile is taken at face value although it is supplied by Israel, but, of course, it requires an “investigation”; Amnesty is suggesting that both Israel and the Palestinians should investigate this incident. If the Palestinian resistance was responsible for this explosion, then it was caused by a misfire; thus, there was no intention to cause the consequent deaths. Suggesting that this amounts to a war crime is rather absurd, but the title of the section advertising the report on the Amnesty International website suggests a motive for harping on about this incident: “Palestinian armed groups killed civilians on both sides in attacks amounting to war crimes”. This conveys a rather warped and negative view of the Palestinian resistance – they kill civilians on both sides – and it suggests that it is not possible to be in solidarity with them.

Tyranny of reasons

After any Israeli attack, the pro-Israel propagandists offer a rationale about why a given target was struck. They claim that there were Palestinian militants firing rockets from hospitals, schools, mosques, the power plant and other civilian buildings. At a stroke, such locations are legitimised as Israeli targets whether or not the propaganda statements are true. What is disconcerting in the two reports on Israeli crimes is that Amnesty International imputes reasons for the targeting of buildings or families.

One finds, for example, statements such as:

  • Amnesty International believes this attack was targeting one individual.
  • The apparent target was a member of a military group, targeted at a time when he was at home with his family.
  • The fighters who were the apparent targets could have been targeted at a different time or in a different manner that was less likely to cause excessive harm to civilians and destruction of civilian objects.
  • The apparent target of Israel’s attack was Ahmad Sahmoud, a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing. […] Surviving family members and neighbours denied this.

Amnesty parrots the rationales provided by the Israeli military; one only needs to look at the footnotes of its reports to check the veracity of this claim. And Amnesty discounts the intentional bombing of buildings to create misery among the Palestinian middle class and demoralise a key sector of society; and that destroying the power plant amounts to collective punishment. But don’t worry, Mother T will always check with the Israeli military to determine why something was targeted.

AI is not an anti-war organisation

One would expect a human rights organisation to be intrinsically opposed to war, but Amnesty International is a cheerleader of so-called humanitarian intervention, and even “humanitarian bombing”.8 Despite such a predisposition, it was honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize, yet another questionable recipient of a prize meant to be given only to those actively opposed to wars. Today, one wonders if AI is going to jump on the R2P (Right to Protect) neocon bandwagon. A consequence of its “not-anti-war” stance is that it doesn’t criticise wars conducted by the United States, Britain or Israel; it is only the excesses that merit Amnesty’s occasional lame rebuke, often prefaced with the term “disproportionate” or “alleged”. This stance is evident in its latest reports; here the premise is that the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip was legitimate, but it is the conduct of “both sides” that is the object of the reports’ criticism.

Can’t see the wood for the trees

Amnesty International is a small organisation with insufficient resources to conduct a proper report on the massacre in Gaza last year. Given the fact that it didn’t have direct access to Gaza approved by Israel, it chose to focus on two aspects of the Israeli attack: the targeting of entire families and the destruction of landmark buildings. Within these two categories it chose to focus on a handful of examples of each. The main problem is that Amnesty harps on about a few cases to the exclusion of the totality; it can’t see the wood for the trees. There is no mention of some of the most significant total figures, say, of the number of hospitals and schools destroyed, the tonnage of bombs dropped on Gaza,9 the tens of thousands of artillery shells used, and so on. The seriousness of the crime is lost by dwelling on a subset of a subset of the crimes committed. Amnesty isolates a few examples, describes them in some detail, and then suggests that unless there were military reasons for the attacks, then there should be an “investigation”. Oh yes, and it has sent some polite letters to the Israeli authorities requesting some comment, but the Israelis have been rather unresponsive. Quite possibly the likes of Netanyahu, Ya’alon, Ganz and their colleagues are too busy rolling on the floor laughing.

Given such a warped framework one would expect symmetry in the way that the attacks are described, but no. While Amnesty provides the total number of rockets fired by the Palestinian resistance, it gives no similar numbers of the tens of thousands of Israeli artillery shells fired, nor the total tonnage of bombs dropped on Gaza. The Israeli military propagandists were all too happy to provide detailed statistics about the Palestinian rockets, and Amnesty does not seem to express any misgivings about using this data. It is also clear that Mother T didn’t ask the propagandists to supply statistics on the lethal Israeli tonnage dropped on Gaza.

Methodology and evidence

Every report contains a methodology section admitting to the fact that AI didn’t have direct access to Gaza. All of its research was done on the Israeli side, and by two Palestinian fieldworkers in the besieged and occupied territory. The inability to enter Gaza possibly explains the reliance on many Israeli military statements, blogs and the foreign ministry about the Palestinian rocket attacks. One can verify all the footnotes to find a significant number of official Israeli statements to provide so-called evidence. It is rather jarring to find Amnesty relying on information provided by the offensive military forces to implicate Palestinian resistance in war crimes. How appropriate is it to use “Hamas’ Violations of the Law” issued by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or “Declassified Report Exposes Hamas Human Shield Policy” issued by the Israeli military?

It is also jarring to find Amnesty referring to Israeli claims that rockets were fired from schools, hospitals and the electricity power plant. This information was provided as a justification for Israel’s destruction of such sites, but in the report Amnesty uses it to wag its finger at the Palestinian resistance.10

Amnesty International’s access to Israeli victims of Palestinian rockets produced emotional statements by the victims, and complied with Israeli propaganda needs. Israeli PR was keen to take journalists or visiting politicians to the border towns to show the rocket damage, and Amnesty seems to have been pleased to tag along. At the same time, Israel prevented any Amnesty access to Gaza; clearly, any information coming out of the territory would not be compliant with Israeli PR requirements. Thus, why send any researchers to the Israeli border area?

Execution of collaborators – who will be criticised?

Amnesty has announced the publication of a forthcoming report on the execution of collaborators, and one can only speculate on its contents. It is odd that while AI is not opposed to wars it is opposed to the death sentence; it is opposed to some deaths, but silent about others. Couple this stance with an unwillingness to recognise the Palestinian right to self-defence and, consequently, AI will inevitably deem the execution of Palestinians who collaborate with Israel as abhorrent.

There are many collaborators in the West Bank and they are evident at all levels of society, even in the so-called Palestinian Authority. The PA has even committed itself to their protection. Collaboration with Israel in the West Bank is thus a relatively low-risk activity. In Gaza there are also collaborators, who are used to infiltrate and inform on the armed resistance groups, and also to sow black propaganda. During the 2014 massacre, collaborators were instrumental in pinpointing the location of the resistance and its leadership. In most countries, treason and espionage in time of war merits execution, but it is doubtful that Amnesty International will accept this, and will instead urge a judicial process with no death sentence.

The key aspect of the forthcoming report will be whether the organisation deems the Israeli use of collaborators as an abhorrent practice. Israel not only uses collaborators to gather information, but they are also meant to fragment Palestinian society, and to sow discord. With a society already under massive stress due to economic hardship and military repression, collaborators are a pernicious means to break morale and undermine Palestinian resilience. Will Amnesty criticise Israel’s use of collaborators, or will its report merely castigate Hamas for the way it deals with collaborators?

Why were these reports written at all?

All Amnesty International reports follow the same formula: a brief overview, a methodology section about data sources, some emotional quotations by the victims, a section on accountability, and then some recommendations. They are trite, barely readable and certainly not very useful either for legal purposes or to educate its volunteers. So why are these reports published and who actually reads them? Amnesty would like to be known as one of the leading human rights organisations and it must be seen as reporting on major human rights violations and crimes. Its volunteers must be given the impression that the organisation cares for some of the wholesale atrocities, and not merely the retail crime or violation.

The timing of the publication of one report (“Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks…”) is rather curious. The report dealing with the Palestinian rockets was published a few days before the Palestinian accession to the International Criminal Court. A coincidence? While some Palestinians are gearing up to prosecute Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity, a leading human rights organisation publishes a report which goes on about Palestinians being guilty of war crimes. Amnesty has published reports in the past that were exploited for propaganda purposes; the Iraqis throwing-the-babies-out-of-the-incubators propaganda hoax, for example.11 Those reports were published just in time to provide a justification for war.

Impotence by design

All the reports contain a list of recommendations for Israelis, Palestinians and other states. One is struck by the impotence of the recommendations. The group urges Israel to cooperate with the UN commission of inquiry; allow human rights organisations access to Gaza; pay reparations to some victims; and ensure that the Israeli military operates within some legal limits. Given that Israel can more or less do as it pleases in any case – ignoring commissions of inquiry, proclaiming loudly that it will engage in disproportionate attacks (that is, the Dahiya doctrine), and that it refuses to compensate any Palestinian victim of its previous massacres – all these recommendations ring hollow.

Amnesty urges Palestinians to address their grievances via the ICC. It is curious that while international law apparently provides the Palestinians with no protection whatsoever, they are urged to jump through international legal hoops. It is also questionable to suggest a legal framework meant for interstate conflict when dealing with a non-state dispossessed native population. Of course, Amnesty fails to mention that Israel has avoided and ignored international law with the complicity and assistance of the United States.

Finally, Amnesty International requests other governments to assist the commission of inquiry and to assist in the prosecution of war criminals. It remains to be seen whether the commission of inquiry will actually publish a report that has some teeth. The group also urges other countries to stop supplying weapons to “both sides”. There is no mention of the fact that the US resupplied Israel with weapons during last year’s massacre in Gaza. It is very unlikely that the US or Britain will stop arming Israel; as such, Amnesty’s recommendations are ineffective rhetoric.

Amnesty trumpets that it has 7 million supporters world-wide;12 a few months ago this number was 3 million; two years ago it was 400,000, and a few more years ago it was 200,000. One should marvel at this explosive growth. If the organisation really can tap into the support of even a fraction of these volunteers, then it can urge them to do something that has tangible results; it could, for example, ask its members and supporters to boycott Israeli products or products made by western companies complicit in Israeli crimes. Such action would be far more effective than the meaningless recommendations that are ignored regularly by Israel and its western backers. Alas, it is difficult to conceive that Amnesty will issue a call for a boycott to its ever expanding army of supporters. It is difficult for Mother T to change her stripes.

The human rights industry

There are thousands of so-called human rights organisations. Anyone can set up such a group, and thereby specify a narrow focus for the NGO, determine the parameters within which it will operate – even define who is human – and then the new organisation can chime in with press releases, host wine and cheese receptions, bestow prizes, lobby politicians, launch investigations and castigate the enemy du jour. Bono, Geldof and Angelina might even hop along and sit on the NGO’s board. The human rights framework is elastic and can be moulded to fit legitimate purposes, but it can also be manipulated for propaganda purposes. The history of some of the largest human rights organisations shows that they were created originally with the propaganda element foremost in mind.13 This suggests that NGO output, such as Amnesty’s reports, for example, merit scrutiny not so much for what they say, but for what they omit. In the Palestinian context, a simple test on the merits of a so-called human rights organisation is whether it challenges state power, calls for accountability and the prosecution of war criminals, and urges its supporters to do something more than write out cheques or very formal and polite letters to governments engaged in criminal acts.

Another test for the merits of a human rights NGO is whether it is in solidarity with the victims of violence, and whether victims are treated differently depending on their support or demonisation by “the west”. In Amnesty’s case, consider that on the one hand it provides long lists of “prisoners of conscience” pertaining to prisoners held in Cuba, Syria, etc., but on the other hand it explicitly does not make such a list of Palestinian prisoners available.[14] We have no means of knowing how many Palestinian political prisoners Amnesty actually cares about, and whether its volunteers engage in letter writing campaigns on their behalf. One thing is certain, though, that while the majority of Cuban political prisoners are considered prisoners of conscience, only a tiny fraction of the Palestinian political prisoners have been given such status. In reality, of course, Mother Teresa doesn’t give a hoot about political prisoners who might have been involved in violence, so Palestinians are just a stone’s throw away from being ignored by Amnesty International. Some victims are more meritorious than others.

In trying to justify the organisation’s double standard, Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, stated:

“By its nature, the Israeli administrative detention system is a secretive process, in that the grounds for detention are not specified in detail to the detainee or his/her legal representative; inevitably, this makes it especially difficult for the detainee to challenge the order for, by example, contesting the grounds on which the detention was made. In the same way, it makes it difficult or impossible for Amnesty International to make a conclusive determination in many cases whether a particular administrative detainee can be considered a prisoner of conscience or not.”15

It thus provides yet more comic material. AI admits that Israeli military courts can determine who can be considered a Palestinian prisoner of conscience. The only thing that those courts need to do is to keep their proceedings secret or not reveal “evidence”. Alternatively, they can simply imprison the victims without trial or declare that they are members of a “banned” organisation16 and then the Israelis won’t have to reply to those pesky polite letters written by AI volunteers. Once again, double standards in the treatment of victims raise questions about the nature of any human rights NGO.

Human rights is denatured justice

Pushing for the observance of human rights doesn’t necessarily imply that one will obtain justice. The human rights agenda merely softens the edges of the status quo. As Amnesty’s position on the Israeli attacks on Gaza illustrates, pushing human rights can actually be incompatible with obtaining justice. Human rights are a bastardised, neutered and debased form of justice. The application and effectiveness of international law is bad enough, but a pick and choose legal framework with no enforcement is even worse. If one seeks justice, then it is best to avoid the human rights discourse; above all, it is best to avoid human rights organisations.

Palestinians should be wary of Mother Teresas peddling human rights snake oil. In exchange for giving up their resistance and complying with Amnesty’s neutered norms, they are unlikely to obtain any justice. One should be wary of human rights groups that don’t push for justice, play the role of Israel’s lawyer, and are bereft of solidarity with the victims. When the likes of Amnesty International come wagging their finger, it is best to keep the old blunderbuss near to hand.

Further Reading

Footnotes

  1. Families Under the Rubble: Israeli Attacks on Inhabited Homes (MDE 15/032/2014), 5 November 2014.
    “Nothing is immune”: Israel’s destruction of landmark buildings in Gaza (MDE 15/029/2014), 9 December 2014.
    Unlawful and deadly: Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict (MDE 21/1178/2015), 26 March 2015.
    The fourth report about the execution of collaborators has not been published yet.
  2. I distinguish between Amnesty International, the international organization, and its well intentioned letter-writing volunteers.
  3. Possibly the best overview of the Gaza Massacre 2014 is Al Haq’s Divide and Conquer; http://alhaq.org/publications/publications-index/item/divide-and-conquer
  4. Statement made in 2006 by Dov Weisglas, one of Israel’s Dr. Strangeloves and close confidant of Ariel Sharon. Source: http://www.corkpsc.org/db.php?qid=1013
  5. Ruthie Blum interviews Arnon Soffer, ONE on ONE: It’s the demography, stupid, Jerusalem Post, 10 May 2004
  6. Ali Abunimah , Israel “directly targeted” children in drone strikes on Gaza, says rights group, Electronic Intifada, 17 April 2015.
  7. Amnesty loves to trot out military experts and dwell on the type of weapons used. First, there is an issue about the military expert, and who they are. What is the ethics about showing up in Gaza with a military person who might still be in the armed forces of, say, the UK? One can hardly expect them to be “independent”. And why dwell on the type of munitions if their use is already criminal to begin with? Focusing on the type of weapon deflects attention from the damage and the victims – that should be the emphasis.
  8. Alexander Cockburn, “How the US State Dept. Recruited Human Rights Groups to Cheer On the Bombing Raids: Those Incubator Babies, Once More?”, CounterPunch newsletter, April 1-15, 1999.
  9. While AI reports the total number of Palestinian rockets fired, there is no equivalent number to the totals used by the Israeli military. That number would be of interest because it would indicate the scale of the crimes committed. Tens of thousands of artillery shells were used, requiring them to be restocked by the United States in the middle of the offensive.
  10. The UN report on the Israeli attacks against schools lists several incidents where the Israelis falsely accused the Palestinians of firing on these schools. Such evidence should reduce the credibility of Israeli statements. See, e.g., Ali Abunimah, UN finds Israel killed dozens at Gaza schools but ducks call for accountability, Electronic Intifada, 28 April 2015.
  11. In the lead up to the 1991 invasion of Kuwait/Iraq, Amnesty issued a report on the so-called babies out of incubators story. President Bush Senior showcased the report on the eve of the attack, and used it for its full propaganda potential. When it was pointed out to Amnesty that they were pushing a propaganda hoax, it doubled its estimate of the number of children dumped from the incubators. To this day, the organisation has never apologised for playing a role in selling an American war.
  12. See: https://www.amnesty.org/en/who-we-are/ And notice that in the page after title page of Amnesty International’s reports the number of supporters increases from one report to the next.
  13. Kirsten Sellars, The Rise and Rise of Human Rights, Sutton Publishing, 29 April 2002. Herein she discusses the origin of Human Rights Watch.
  14. Malcolm Smart, Letter: Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience lists and the reason for double standards, 9 August 2010 http://www.corkpsc.org/db.php?aid=133223.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Another technique to rule out sympathetic treatment of Palestinians is to suggest that they are members of a banned organisation. NB: it is Israel which does the banning. Any organisation seeking liberation or to confront the Israeli dispossession or violence is deemed by the Israelis to be a “terrorist organisation”. Currently, Amnesty plays along with this charade, and also ignores Palestinians belonging to “political” organisations.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US needs Mideast wars to sell weapons: Yemeni activist

Press TV – May 6, 2015

Press TV has conducted an interview with Hussein al-Bukhaiti, a Yemeni activist and political commentator, in Sana’a, to discuss the Western countries’ support for Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen.

This is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: The French president obviously has a star on his report card and resume for attending this summit of the Persian Gulf countries. So, their support for Saudi Arabia, which has used cluster munitions inside Yemen, these are US-made cluster munitions, doesn’t that go against the whole notion of democracy that they preach?

Al-Bukhaiti: Yes, exactly. As the human rights report has said, the Saudis have used cluster bombs in some areas in Sa’ada. And I want to remind the people watching your channel that they have done that in 2009 and they used thousands of American cluster bombs and this is against international law.

If the United States and Saudi Arabia have not signed on to the cluster bomb ban, but the United Sates is still responsible and they should not give weapons to countries that can be used by them in civilian areas; and if you see most of the Western countries are in this conspiracy in fighting Yemen and it is not only Saudi Arabia… the United States is behind it, the United Kingdom and as well the French government… and even any government in Europe that has not said anything or stood against this war… it must be with it.

Press TV: It is interesting to see it is not just France that we see selling arms, the UK obviously sells arms to these Persian Gulf countries, also obviously the United States is selling arms. Is that a precondition for the relationship? These Western countries say, ‘You have to buy our arms; then we lay off the human rights violations that take place in the countries?’

Al-Bukhaiti: Yes, exactly. This is how the United States and other countries make money from their weapons industry. They will sell you weapons and then they know they are selling it to a dictatorship but they are responsible for any casualties in Yemen and the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates and other [Persian] Gulf states are almost number one in buying from the United States.

And I think the United States for its war machine to continue producing weapons, they need to start a war every ten to 20 years. They have done it in Afghanistan, they have done it in Iraq, they have done it in Syria and then in Libya and now it was time for Yemen and I am sure the time after that is going to come I expect Egypt because I know that it does not matter if Egypt is with Saudis and the Americans now, but as long as a strong army is near Israel, they will at one point try to destroy it as they did the same in Syria.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phantom Russian Sub Hunts Gave Birth To NATO’s Viking Bloc

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | May 5, 2015

The largely unobservant public had previously been under the impression that the Baltic Sea was a zone of peace and stability, thinking that all the region’s states lived in harmony with one another. This may have been the case prior to 1991, but immediately afterwards, NATO’s expansion into the Baltic basin seriously upset the balance of power, as the incorporation of Poland and the former Soviet Baltic States in 1999 and 2004 attests. Through this manner, NATO was able to surround Kaliningrad and directly push up against part of Russia’s western border.

The military tension remained just below the surface (literally), until Shadow NATO states Sweden and Finland started initiating highly publicized ‘Russian sub’ scares, designed with the sole intent of scaring their publics into formal NATO membership and opening up an additional front in the New Cold War. Taking it further, this is all part of NATO’s new policy of regional blocs, as Brussels hopes to see the formation of a ‘Viking Bloc’ that would apply pressure against Russia in the Arctic. The most dangerous development, however, is with Finland, which is capitalizing off of the sea scare to call up nearly one million reservists (1/5 of the total population) in the event of a “crisis situation”, thereby presenting a dangerous test run in conflict escalation that might be applied all over Europe in the future.

Regional Hysteria

To put everything into focus, it’s best to begin by documenting the latest hysteria stemming from supposed ‘Russian sub’ sightings. Sweden started the trend when it claimed to be hunting a believed-to-be Russian sub back in October, and when nothing came out of the stunt except for a scared public and a couple million dollars spent, Stockholm continued to insist that it had evidence that a foreign sub did trespass through its waters, but curiously kept the details to itself. Be that as it may, it didn’t stop legislators from increasing the defense budget by a whopping $1.18 billion for the period 2016-2020, earmarking an additional $945 million for the future purchase of two subs, and announcing plans to reopen a military base on the Baltic island of Gottland. The ultimate irony is that there was never a ‘Russian sub’ to begin with, and that it was eventually revealed that the whole scandal started over a simple workboat, thus making it seem like Sweden exaggerated the situation simply to push through more defense funding and militarize its society against Russia.

Sweden with small map2Being the regional leader that it is, it appears as though Sweden’s spectacle of the phantom Russian sub rubbed off on Finland, which soon after its latest elections began detonating underwater charges against its own suspected ‘Russian sub’. Finnish political analyst Jon Hellevig assessed that this was simply Helsinki’s application of Stockholm’s decades-long tactic of using phantom Russian subs to increase the population’s acceptance of future NATO membership. While Finland isn’t a de-jure member of the alliance, both it and Scandinavian military hegemon Sweden signed a NATO host nation agreement last fall to intensify their relations with the bloc, essentially making them Shadow NATO members in an even deeper capacity than Ukraine has become (the latter of which has been the bone of contention sparking the New Cold War in the first place).

Given such a relationship, it may not even be needed for either state to formally join NATO at this point, since the alliance can already reap the resultant military advantages of their territory in any possible anti-Russian crisis scenario. However, putting the provocative issue up for a referendum vote or making a unilateral government decision in this regard might be a forthcoming tactic towards creating the aforementioned crisis needed to ‘justify’ the indefinite hosting of NATO troops in those countries. It’s quite clear that Sweden is already de-facto participating in NATO, since they just partook in the group’s “Dynamic Mongoose” anti-submarine drills off the Norwegian coast. This would have obviously raised eyebrows among its domestic citizenry had it not been for the earlier ‘Russian sub’ scare that created the social pretext for its acceptance, showing how such false crises can be manipulated by the media for predetermined military gain.

The Viking Bloc

Everything going on in Scandinavia right now, from the phantom ‘Russian sub’ scares to the de-facto NATO-ization of the region’s last formal holdouts, is designed to create the northern component of NATO’s regional bloc strategy. In sum, the alliance is reverting to history and using Polish interwar leader Josef Pilsudski’s Intermarum concept to establish a Baltic-to-Black-Sea coalition of anti-Russian states to which it can more efficiently outsource its military prerogatives, all per the Lead From Behind strategy. The ‘Viking Bloc’ which consists of the Greater Scandinavian states of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland (centered on Sweden, possibly incorporating Estonia and Latvia as well) is envisioned to complement the emerging Commonwealth Bloc of Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine (centered on Poland), and the forthcoming Black Sea Bloc of Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova (centered on Romania, possibly even expanded to Georgia).

Focusing more specifically on the characteristics of the Viking Bloc, its members have a maritime identity, so it’s predicted that they’ll focus their activity on the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Arctic Ocean, accordingly making them all one large naval base. Sweden’s demographic and economic strength makes it the obvious leader amongst the identified members and the control node of its activity, while wealthy Norway can provide the natural resources needed to keep it running. Denmark controls the entrance to and from the Baltic Sea, and together with its colony country of Greenland, Iceland, and Norway, the three can patrol the North Sea and Arctic Ocean in hunting ‘Russian subs’. It’s also not a coincidence that all of these states are members of the Arctic Council, meaning that this dialogue configuration has essentially become one of confrontation between North America & the Viking Bloc on one side and Russia on the other. The odd member out of this naval configuration is Finland (also a member of the Arctic Council), which has recklessly adapted a land-based anti-Russian policy that’s bound to ratchet up tension with its neighbor. One should also note that the Viking Bloc’s members signed a multilateral defense cooperation agreement in April that basically institutionalized the organization as an official regional bloc.

The Finnish Amphibian

The most dangerous sub-bloc strategy being adopted by NATO is its Finnish affiliate’s advance preparation of 900,000 reservists in the event of a “crisis situation”, which obviously could only refer to a military conflict with Russia. The Finnish government is trying to account for all of its former reservists aged 20-60 in order to inform them of what their “crisis situation” role would be, as well as to collect updated information about them. This dramatic movement of anti-Russian initiatives from sea onto land represents an amphibious strategy that’s likely only in its initial test-run phase. NATO wants to gauge Russia’s reaction and monitor its response in order to fine-tune this template for eventually export throughout the bloc as a whole.

The Finnish Amphibian is a very simple strategy. All that the practicing states or regional blocs have to do is report on a phantom ‘Russian sub’ sighting, preferably with as much media paranoia as possible but providing no proof whatsoever, and then use the subsequent buzz to justify the potential mobilization of a massive land-based reservist force. This leads to the militarization of society within the targeted state and initiates a siege mentality that makes its citizens feel as though they’re constantly under some type of Russian attack. None of the accusations have to be proven, let alone even seen by the citizens themselves, so long as the media and supportive political figures repeat the chorus of conflict enough to make it believable. An added touch would be to implement Sweden’s strategy of publicly accusing 1/3 of all Russian diplomats there as being spies, which when coupled with the existing paranoia about phantom ‘Russian subs’, sends the populace’s paranoia into overdrive and all but assures that they’ll support whichever military or surveillance solutions their government or NATO suggests.

Concluding Thoughts

NATO’s northernmost regional fighting group, the Viking Bloc, owes its speedy creation to the utilization of phantom ‘Russian sub’ scare tactics to galvanize support for this new initiative. Greater Scandinavia is rapidly being transformed into one giant NATO naval base that’s meant to confront Russia on the neighboring high seas. As destabilizing as that is, it moves into the realm of flashpoint danger with the fact that Finland is preparing to mobilize 1/5 of its population against Russia, thus presenting an amphibious land-based component to the majority sea-focused strategy. Even worse, the template of using false sea-based scares to ‘justify’ massive land-based mobilizations could likely be applied elsewhere in Europe, thereby serving as an ideal model of militarization all throughout NATO. It’s this hybrid of media-military strategic collaboration that may eventually prove to be more destabilizing than the unveiling of the Viking Bloc itself.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU Parliament Drafts New Anti-Russian Resolution Calling for More Sanctions

Sputnik – 06.05.2015

A proposed declarative resolution by a group of MEPs has called on the European Union to step up sanctions against Russia, provide Ukraine with weaponry and further strengthen NATO forces in Eastern Europe, should Russia refuse to return Crimea to Ukraine or fail to abide by the Minsk ceasefire, a press statement for the body stated Tuesday.

The aggressively worded document, drafted Monday and liaised by Romanian MEP Ioan Pascu for the parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, warns that increased Russian military presence in Crimea necessitates EU nations to strengthen their military capabilities, stating that NATO must give its East European members a “strong strategic reassurance.”

Commenting on the proposed resolution, Pascu suggested to the EU’s news service that the strengthening of Russian defense capabilities in Crimea is “in practice creating another launching pad, of the proportions of Kaliningrad, this time in the Black Sea.” The MEP threatened that “in one year the defensive force which existed there has been transformed into a strike force… with which Russia can threaten Central Europe, the Balkans, Southern Europe and also [the] Eastern Mediterranean and even the Middle East.”

Supported by MEPs from Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Spain, the belicose resolution, pending Foreign Affairs Committee approval, also accuses Russian authorities of mistreating the Crimean Tatars. Furthermore, it suggests that Russia may next move to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea entirely by annexing its coastal territories. Pending approval, the belligerent document will face a vote at the parliament’s upcoming session in June, asking “EU member states to speak with one united voice,” regarding “EU relations with Russia.”

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russian security doctrine to be adjusted after Arab Spring, Ukraine turmoil – official

RT | May 06, 2015

The head of Russia’s Security Council has promised that the authorities will adjust the nation’s security doctrine after learning the lessons of the latest political crises in the Middle East and Ukraine.

“In order to update the basic concepts of national securitythe council has ordered to begin the work on making corrections to the main strategic plans – the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation to year 2020 and the Informational Security Strategy,” Nikolai Patrushev said in an article published Wednesday in the Defense Ministry’s daily newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star).

He added that the necessity of such actions has arisen after the so-called Arab Spring (a wave of violent mass protests that led to overthrowing of governments and leaders in several Middle East countries in 2011-12), the wars in Syria and Iraq and also the situation in and around Ukraine.

Patrushev said that these events demonstrated the tendency for security threats to shift from the military sphere into the informational space. “As leading nations of the world fight for their interests they typically use ‘non-direct action,’ the population’s protest potential, radical and extremist groups and also private military contractors,” Patrushev wrote.

He also noted the increasing aggressiveness of the United States and NATO toward Russia, embodied in the beefing up of military potential near Russian borders and the continuing deployment of the global missile defense system.

The Security Council is Russia’s top consultative body on national security, and Nikolai Patrushev has headed the council since 2008. Before that, he was the director of the Federal Security Service for nine years.

In October 2014, Patrushev openly accused the United States of playing a role in the current turmoil in Ukraine and the military conflicts in Georgia and the Caucasus, saying these were direct results of the anti-Russian policy of the US administration. He also revealed in a press interview that intelligence analysts established that American special services were executing an anti-Russian program that dates back to the 1970s, and is based on Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “strategy of weak spots,” the policy of turning the opponent’s potential problems into full-scale crises.

In September 2014, President Vladimir Putin tasked senior military and state officials with developing an updated military doctrine that would meet the needs of changing global politics and modern military challenges and the new dangers and threats, in particular those manifested in the so-called Arab Spring, the civil war in Syria and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

An updated version of the doctrine was adopted in late December.

Read More:

‘Clearly anti-Russian’ – Moscow blasts latest US national security strategy

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

France delivered weapons to Syria militants despite EU arms embargo: Hollande

Press TV – May 6, 2015

French President Francois Hollande has confessed that the country delivered various kinds of weapons, including lethal ones, to foreign-backed militants fighting in Syria, a new book reveals.

“We began when we were certain they (weapons) would end up in the right hands. For the lethal weapons it was our services who delivered them,” Hollande told author Xavier Panon in an interview in May last year.

The book, titled “In the corridors of French diplomacy,” is coming out in France this month.

According to Hollande, France sent canons, machine guns, rocket launchers and anti-tank missiles to the militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2012 despite an arms embargo.

The European Union’s arms embargo on Syria’s foreign-sponsored militants was in place from March 2011 to May 2013.

The book also discloses a series of diplomatic and military measures against the Syrian administration by the French government both under Hollande and previous president Nicolas Sarkozy.

One of the moves was a series of planned August 2013 air raids against the Syrian government allegedly for its use of chemical weapons, which Washington and its Western allies rescinded after a diplomatic deal, under which Syria agreed to eliminate its stockpile of chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The planned attacks had two objectives, to change the “political order” in Syria and to destabilize Russia, which supports Damascus, in order to pressure Moscow into changing its approach to the crisis, a political advisor told the author.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The US and its regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria since the beginning of the crisis.

The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 222,000 people, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says over 7.2 million people have been internally displaced, and more than 3 million have been forced to flee the country.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Egypt’s billionaires 80% richer than before the revolution

By Edmund Bower | Mada Masr | May 5, 2015

Egypt’s economy has stagnated since the 2011 revolution, pushing millions into poverty, but one group isn’t feeling the pain: Egypt’s billionaires, whose wealth has increased dramatically since 2011.

Earlier this year, Forbes announced their annual list of the world’s billionaires. It included eight Egyptian men, with a combined fortune of US$23.4 billion, an 80 percent increase on the US$13 billion Egypt’s billionaires shared in 2010.

This surge in wealth accumulation comes at a time when Egyptians are being told to tighten their belts. Living standards have dropped since the revolution and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government is making it a priority to cut subsidies and introduce other austerity measures. Yet, far from feeling the pinch, Egypt’s billionaires are better off now than they have ever been. Currently, the eight men – and they are all men – who sit at the top control around six percent of Egypt’s total wealth.

Some of this wealth increase has come from abroad. Mohamed al-Fayed, for instance, made it on to Forbes’ list for the first time after selling his London department store Harrods for US$1.5 billion.

However, much of the money Egypt’s billionaires have accumulated since 2011 was gained in Egypt. Three of Egypt’s billionaires are members of the Mansour family, and partners in the Mansour Group. Mohamed Mansour (#2),Yasseen Mansour (#4), and Youssef Mansour (#5) have made their way on to the list, after decades of expanding a real estate and consumer goods empire, mostly in Egypt.

The Sawaris family have occupied the top spots on the Forbes list for years, although their collective wealth has fallen to US$12 billion from US$13 billion in 2010. The family is headed by father Onsi (#7), along with his three sons Nassef (#1), Naguib (#3), and Samih (#8). Although they have interests overseas, their primary source of income is through the Orascom Group, which includes Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), Orascom Telecom, and Orascom Development. OCI has been granted important government contracts to expand the Suez Canal and build a new coal fired power plant.

The vast increases of the wealth of the few men at the top compares strikingly with the hardships faced by the rest of the country. Figures for the current year are not yet available, but data shows a sharp uptick in poverty since the 2011 revolution.

In 2013, state statistics agency CAPMAS reported that 21.5 million people were living below the state poverty line of LE10.7 per person per day, compared to the 2010 figure of 16.5 million. Millions more were living at or below LE13.9 per day, amounting to 49.9 percent of the population in 2013.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Garland Shooter Elton Simpson ‘Handled’ By Paid FBI Informant

21wire | May 4, 2015

21st Century Wire says…

In our story released late last night, we posed this question to our readers:

“Were these supposed ‘dead gunmen’ part of the drill, or were they patsies handled by a counter-terrorism federal ‘informant’?“

We didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out that we were right.

1-Garland-Elton-Simpson

IMAGE: ‘Garland Gunman’ Elton Simpson, adjusting his CCTV camera at his apartment in Phoenix, AZ.

Last night in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas, at Pam Geller’s “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest”, two alleged “gunmen” were shot and killed by a Special Ops paramilitary ‘SWAT’ unit hired by the city of Garland to provide security for the controversial event.

It’s now been revealed that “gunman”, Elton Simpson, was already under surveillance by the FBI and was even the subject of a terror investigation. More importantly, we can also confirm Simpson was being handled by an FBI informant. Court papers filed in Arizona name the FBI undercover informant as Mr. Daba Deng, a Kenyan and who, from 2007, was paid $132,000 by the FBI to “become friends with Mr. Simpson”, and who appears to have groomed Simpson through a local mosque, and helped to develop Simpson’s ideas about “jihad”. Deng also helped to catch ‘Islamic convert’ Simpson on tape saying he wanted to travel to Somalia to join the terror orgaization al Shabaab. That recording was made on May 29, 2009, which shows Simpson telling his handler Deng, “It’s time to go to Somalia, brother… we gonna make it to the battlefield… it’s time to roll.” This recording was the basis for Simpson’s later FBI arrest, after which time he was ‘let off’ with 3 years probation.

The official misdirect device for this story can be found in a recent article from the Israeli-owned soft propaganda outlet, Vocativ, whose headline reads, “How Texas Terror Shooter Elton Simpson Avoided Prison In 2011″, which appears to be designed to pollute any inquiry by attempting to rationalize that Elton Simpson had avoided jail because a Judge was too lenient on this potential terrorist, furthering the popular talking point that somehow “the Feds dropped the ball.”

It is unknown exactly how far Deng had led Simpson in relation to yesterday’s attack, or if Simpson was assigned a new handler, but the revelation clearly demonstrates that not only have the FBI been aware of Simpson’s activities and movements for many years, but that the FBI has also had a hand in ‘managing’ Simpson. This fact should cast serious doubts on the official narrative being constructed about the Garland event being carried out by a bonafide and organic “home-gown jihadist” in America.

1-Soofi-Garland-Shooting
Authorities in Texas have identified the second “gunman” as Nadir Hamid Soofi (photo, above). It’s claimed that Soofi was Elton Simpson’s roommate and that they both shared an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona, and also attended the same mosque – the Islamic Center of North Phoenix. Is it not safe to assume then, that FBI informant Deng also knew and was interacting with Soofi as well? Does that not bring a whole new dimension to this, as a manufactured series of events?

We’re also meant to believe that just minutes before Simpson and Soofi launched their failed “terror attack”, they both posted Twitter messages and that ISIS Tweeters then joined-in to cheer them on, albeit, virtually.

SEE ALSO: Hebdo Redux in Garland, TX? ‘Mohammed Cartoon’ Shooting Reeks of a Staged False Flag

Not coincidentally, this is nearly the identical M.O. to the two dead ‘gunmen’ in the Charlie Hebdo shooting incident that took place in Paris earlier this year. 21WIRE reported back in January:

“At least one of the suspects was already “under surveillance” by French anti-terror authorities, and that his file was “shared with US security officials” as well. If this is indeed the case, then it’s highly improbable that the suspect would have staged his attack so easily. Once again, official admissions practically cancel out the official narrative.”

In addition to similarities to the Hebdo attack, it’s worth pointing out that in every high-profile US ‘terror bust’, the assailants had some connection beforehand to federal authorities. Only days after the media was beginning to close-out their round-the-clock Hebdo coverage, FBI agents concluded the frame-up of 20 year old Christopher Lee Cornell from Cincinnati, Ohio, claiming the youth was planning a “pipe bomb attack” against the nation’s Capitol in Washington DC, and that he was “linked to ISIS”, and that this was somehow an “ISIS-inspired attack”, only no attack actually took place.

The Guardian reported on the scale and scope of this trend in 2014:

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act.”

The list of FBI-related ‘terrorist’ incidents inside the US is a long one. The formula for creating a ‘terror icon’ required a confidential informant to guide and manage the future “suspect” right up to the point of arrest, or in some cases, like the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993, the FBI have even allowed the terrorist incident to take place.

Other high-profile terror icons with informant and patsy stories include the other ‘Paris Shooter’, Amedi Coulibaby (see his compelling patsy-informant case here), ‘Ottawa Shooter’ Zehaf-Bibeau (see his patsy story here), ‘Boston Bomber’ Tamerlan Tsarnaev (see his FBI recruitment story here), ‘The Underwear Bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (see his patsy story here), Buford Rogers (read his patsy-informant story here), Jerad Miller (read his patsy-informant story here), Naji Mansour (read his informant story here), Quazi Mohammad Nafis (read his informant story here), Mohamed Osman Mohamud (read his informant story here), ‘OKC Bomber’ Timothy McVeigh (read his informant story here).

In addition to these examples, we could also include last month’s ‘Queens of Brooklyn’ terror plot, Washington Metro bomb plot, the New York City subway bomb plot, as well as the Sears Tower bomb plot in Chicago, and last but certainly not least – the attacks of 9/11… where the alleged hijackers lived with an FBI informant.

Just a few reasons to question the official narrative in Garland, Texas.

READ MORE GARLAND NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Garland Files

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | 1 Comment