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Elderly German Lady sentenced to 10 months in prison for doubting Auschwitz extermination claims

By Michael Hoffman | On The Contrary | November 12, 2015

Ursula Haverbeck

Hamburg District Court, Nov. 11, 2015 — 87-year-old Ursula Haverbeck has been sentenced to imprisonment in Germany for doubting that people were “exterminated” by “gassing” in the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

The defendant, in good spirits, reiterated her doubts in the courtroom. She arrived without a lawyer, and defended herself. Some fifty of her supporters crowded the courtroom and the hall outside.

She was accused of giving an interview to the German magazine Panorama in which she stated that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp but a labor camp. The mass murder of Jews had not taken place, she said.

Haverbeck, former chairwoman of the now-banned freethought association, “Collegium Humanum,” told the judge,”Here, I stand.”

Turning to the prosecutor she asked, “How do you as a lawyer prove the accusation that Auschwitz was an extermination camp?” Her request for a revisionist historian to give evidence that at Auschwitz no one had been gassed, was rejected by Judge Jönsson who stated: “It is futile to argue with people who do not accept the facts.”

The German government prosecutor maintained that the defendant’s “fanatical delusion” had not abated and that, despite her advanced age, Ursula Haverbeck must be sentenced to 10 months in prison without parole. The judge agreed and the sentence was imposed.

In 2009, Haverbeck was fined thousands of dollars in the District Court of Bad Oeynhausen, for having given offense to Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews.


Michael Hoffman is the author of The Great Holocaust Trial: The Landmark Battle for the Right to Doubt the West’s Most Sacred Relic.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 4 Comments

Remembrance Day Should Not Be Used for Indoctrination of Young Minds

By Kim Petersen | Dissident Voice | November 11, 2015

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me.

They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.

— George Orwell1

War is necrophilia. And this necrophilia is central to soldiering, just as it is central to the makeup of suicide bombers and terrorists. The necrophilia is hidden under platitudes about duty or comradeship.

— Chris Hedges2

My Chinese-born companion wanted to catch the latest news, so she tuned in to CBC. It was replete with Remembrance Day festivities and war veterans.

“Is this Canada?” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

Her next utterance caused me to grab a pen and write down her words: “They went to other countries to kill other peoples?”

“No one has attacked Canada, so Canada’s soldiers only go to other countries,” I replied.3

“And we are to remember them every year?” she asked.

The inanity of a holiday dedicated to willing, albeit unwitting, accomplices of empire was on my mind since yesterday.

I was at a school which was renamed after a man who likely is a war criminal: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After all, he was the president who ordered the internment of US citizens of Japanese descent in concentration camps and the commander-in-chief of a military that firebombed Tokyo.

That conflagration was called “the greatest single disaster incurred by any enemy in military history” by flight commander general Thomas Power.4

The US Strategic Bombing Survey went so far as to state that:

probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly.4

That such facts are a matter of history causes one to pause upon considering that an institute of learning is so named today.

The educator Noam Chomsky once made an acerbic comment about education: “Most schooling is just training for stupidity and conformity…”5

The events of 10 November brought this home to me. Roosevelt Elementary School held an assembly in the school gym. Students were informed that silence was expected on this solemn occasion. Near the front of the gym were seated a couple of veterans. Students sat on the floor, and teachers and parents were seated or standing around the gym’s perimeter.

A number of videos were presented. First there was a welcome from Indigenous educators and then came a Bryan Adam’s song, “Remembrance Day.” He calls it, WWII, a “bloody war” but the video features several images of violence.

The warring is updated to Canada’s participation in the aggression (what the Nuremberg Tribunal deemed “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”6 ) of Afghanistan with a simple ditty by a band that I had never heard of before, the Trews: “Highway of Heroes.”

In contrast to Bryan Adams’ “promise of glory” rationale for fighting —

For our king and our country and the promise of glory
We came from Kingston and Brighton to fight on the front line

— the Trews sing:

I served with distinction,
No visions of glory.
I served without question,
Or personal gain.
Seek no justification,
Its not part of my story.

To serve without question? Is this what schools would like to impart to young minds? Isn’t questioning integral to learning?

Who is a hero? Is going to fight another non-threatening country something that should be accepted?7

The usual reading of “In Flanders Fields,” observing two-minutes of silence, as well as the playing of the Canadian anthem were part of the agenda. The entire assembly was one of conformity. For any student to have demurred, it would likeliest have been labeled as disobedience. (Should instilling obedience be part of schooling?) Shouldn’t such heavy topics such as war and peace be discussed in classes? Are not contemplation, reflection, and forming one’s own conclusions part of becoming an independent thinker?

In 1931, Canada’s parliament changed the name of Armistice (referring to warring parties reaching agreement to cease hostilities) Day to Remembrance (remembrance for those serving Canada during times of war, conflict, and peace) Day. The change of title reflects a shift in emphasis from ending warring to serving in the warring. But is not society better served by a day more so dedicated to promoting universal peace and an end to all warring?

All Canadian involvement in wars have been wars of choice. That is something to remember and act upon.

No more should humans pick up weapons to use against other humans. Is this mindset, however, achievable when soldiers are venerated by society thus conferring a veneer of respectability to a profession which teaches killing?

  1. The Lion and the Unicorn.”
  2. War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, (New York: PublicAffairs, 2002): 165.
  3. Of course I refer only to the state of Canada which was erected on the genocide and dispossession of the Original Peoples.
  4. See Mark Selden, “A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities & the American Way of War from World War II to Iraq,” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
  5. See “Most Schooling Is Training for Stupidity and Conformity – Noam Chomsky on Education.”
  6. See Nuremberg Tribunal, “Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 22,” Monday, 30 September 1946, Avalon Project.
  7. BJ Sabri and I explore the question of whether soldiers are “heroes” or undiscerning, paid killers? See “American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?Part 3: King Frederick’s and George Bush’s Troops,” Dissident Voice, 1 September 2005.

Kim Petersen can be reached at:

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | | 4 Comments

Settlement Reached in Case of Professor Fired for “Uncivil” Tweets

Center for Constitutional Rights | November 12, 2015

Chicago Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel Loevy & Loevy announced the settlement of Professor Steven Salaita’s case against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for firing him from his tenured position over his personal tweets criticizing the Israeli government’s assault on Gaza in 2014. Professor Salaita sued UIUC, the university Board of Trustees and high-level administrators for violating his First Amendment right to free speech and for breach of contract. Salaita’s firing became a flashpoint for debates over academic freedom, free speech, and the repression of Palestinian rights advocacy. In exchange for Professor Salaita’s agreement to release his claims, the university has agreed to pay $875,000.

“This settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it is a victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment,” said Professor Salaita. “The petitions, demonstrations, and investigations, as well as the legal case, have reinvigorated American higher education as a place of critical thinking and rigorous debate, and I am deeply grateful to all who have spoken out.”

Professor Salaita’s firing prompted student walkouts; the cancellation of more than three dozen scheduled talks and conferences at the school; further pledges to boycott UIUC by more than 5,000 academics; a vote of no confidence in the university administration by 16 UIUC academic departments; and public condemnation by prominent academic organizations, including the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the Modern Language Association, and the Society of American Law Teachers. In April, the AAUP released a scathing report on Salaita’s termination and, in June, voted to censure the UIUC for its actions. In August, a federal judge rejected the university’s argument that Professor Salaita had not actually been hired, despite a contract and his impending family move to the university, writing, “If the Court accepts the University’s argument, the entire American academic hiring process as it now operates would cease to exist.”

Within hours of the court’s decision, Chancellor Phyllis Wise, who sent Professor Salaita the letter notifying him of his termination a year prior, resigned from the UIUC. The following day, the university revealed that administrators had been using personal email accounts in an attempt to avoid publicly releasing their correspondence. In one email released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Chancellor Wise admitted that she was not only using her private email because of the litigation, but was deleting her messages after sending. Provost Ilesanmi Adesida resigned a few weeks later. Prior FOIA productions had revealed that wealthy UIUC donors had threatened to withhold funding unless Professor Salaita was terminated.

“Professor Salaita’s case galvanized champions of academic freedom and Palestinian rights activists alike, making clear that punishing speech―even speech that dares to criticize Israeli government atrocities―will not be tolerated. It resulted in widespread condemnation of the university’s actions and a federal court decision finding he had a contract and his tweets were protected by the First Amendment. Professor Salaita has in fact won―and this settlement permits him to move on and refocus on his work as a premier scholar and an excellent teacher,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Deputy Legal Director Maria LaHood.

In July 2014, after his contract with the university had been signed, Professor Salaita tweeted a number of strongly worded messages from his private account expressing his outrage and dismay at the Israeli government’s attacks in Gaza, which killed more than 500 children. Professor Salaita’s firing is part of a broader crackdown on activism for Palestinian rights that includes event cancellations, baseless legal complaints such as the ongoing case in Washington against Olympia Food Co-op board members for boycotting Israeli goods, administrative disciplinary actions, false and inflammatory accusations of terrorism and antisemitism, and legislation to prohibit boycotts of Israeli goods and institutions. The Center for Constitutional Rights co-authored a report this fall with the organization Palestine Legal on the widespread attempts to silence U.S. activists critical of Israel’s policies, called “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech”.

“Make no mistake: the size of this settlement is an implicit admission of the strength of Professor Salaita’s constitutional and contractual claims,” said Anand Swaminathan of Loevy & Loevy. “He has scored a major victory for those who care about free speech and academic freedom. In the future, university administrators will have to think twice before they choose the interests of wealthy donors and alumni over upholding their constitutional obligations. This legal victory could not have been possible without the support of a large and committed movement of activists and academics.”

For more information on the case, visit CCR’s Salaita v. Kennedy case page.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest and most successful civil rights law firms, dedicated to seeking justice for those whose civil rights have been violated and for whistleblowers. Our willingness to take hard cases to trial and win them has yielded a nationally recognized reputation for success in the courtroom. We only take cases we passionately believe in, we forge close bonds with our clients, and we are proud to have achieved outstanding results for them with truly uncommon consistency. Visit us at

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Facebook announces surge in governments’ demands for personal user data

RT | November 12, 2015

Requests for user data from governmental organizations, as well as content restrictions increased “globally” in the first half of 2015, Facebook says in its report. Half the requests came from the US – only one was made by Russia.

Over 41,000 government requests for account data were received by Facebook during the six months, it revealed in its “Global Government Requests Report” covering January to June 2015, saying the number had increased by 18 percent compared to the second half of last year.

US law enforcement agencies have been the most demanding, with US agencies requesting data from 26,579 accounts. A significant amount of requests also came from the UK, Germany and France. User data requests from Russia totaled one, Facebook said.

“The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased by 112 percent over the second half of 2014,” Facebook said. More than 20,500 pieces of content were restricted by the social media giant following authorities’ demands.

Access to 28 content pieces in Russia have been restricted, following reports by The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media “for violating the integrity of the Russian Federation and local law, which forbids activities such as mass public riots and the promotion and sale of drugs,” Facebook said.

At the same time, over 15,000 content pieces – the overwhelming majority – have been taken down following requests from India. Almost 4,500 pieces of content have been restricted following Turkey’s requests.

“Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague,” Facebook said, adding they “respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases.”

The company with a user base of some 1.55 billion people worldwide started revealing such requests “as part of a broader effort to reform government surveillance in countries around the world.”

Government access to subscriber personal data, their account content and IP addresses have been a growing concern for many users since Edward Snowden’s revelations of surveillance programs using modern telecommunications technology.

Although Facebook reveals the general number of requests it gets as part of its “more transparency effort,” specific spy agencies’ and governmental services’ interests in certain user data are not allowed to be made public.


Facebook snoops on people just like NSA – Belgian watchdog to court

‘Incredibly intrusive’: Windows 10 spies on you by default

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rapists in Blue: Sexual Assault by Police

By Debra Loevy | CounterPunch | November 12, 2015

When the police stop you, they have the authority. We are taught to obey their commands. When officers say to show your driver’s license and registration, you hand them over. They say to put your hands where they can see them, you hold the steering wheel. And we’re taught that we can rely on police officers to help us when we need assistance – they’re the ones you’re supposed to call when you need help. But sometimes, officers seriously abuse that trust and authority. One awful abuse of police power is sexual assault by police officers.

The AP just released a report about sexual assault by police officers after studying records from 41 states, spanning from 2009 through 2014. The AP looked at nearly 9,000 cases in which officers lost their law enforcement certification and found that about 1,000 of those officers were decertified for committing: sexual assault, sex crimes like possessing child pornography, or misconduct that ranged from propositioning citizens to on-duty sexual intercourse. Although the AP study is informative, it acknowledges that it vastly undercounts the actual number of police officers committing sexual misconduct while on duty.  This is because many states simply fail to keep sufficient track of dirty officers, while others lack a decertification process.

Our law firm, Loevy & Loevy, has represented many brave people who had the courage to speak out about sexual assault by police officers. These cases give you a sense of the breadth of the problem, so I’ll tell you about a few of them:

* A woman accepted a ride home from two Chicago police officers, who were both in uniform and driving a marked police car. The woman reluctantly allowed the officers to escort her into her apartment. One officer raped her, while the other took photos on his cell phone.

* A young woman from Milwaukee called 911 to report someone throwing a brick through her window, and one of the responding officers raped her. When she ran screaming from the house that she had been raped, she was falsely charged with assaulting an officer. Although the local district attorney declined to prosecute the cop, after a federal investigation, the officer was tried and convicted.

* A young woman in Nebraska was pressured into performing oral sex on the officer after he found marijuana in her boyfriend’s car. The officer threatened her with arrest and criminal charges if she did not obey his commands. When questioned about the incident, the officer lied and claimed he was elsewhere, but the GPS system in his cruiser revealed the lie.

* A teenage boy was brutally sodomized by a police officer during what was supposed to be a search for drugs. Medical records supported the boy’s claim, and a jury found in his favor.

Sexual misconduct by police is prevalent, as demonstrated in the AP report.  But, as is often the case with sexual assault, these horrible offenses are frequently swept under the rug. There is no consistent system for tracking sexual assault by police officers, so rapist-cops can sometimes just job hop to continue their violent abuse of power.

In at least a half dozen states – including California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts – police officers are not decertified when they commit sexual misconduct. In other words, they might be fired for coercing sexual favors from a suspect, but they remain certified police officers who can simply look for a job on another police force.

And they are often fired using euphemisms like “conduct unbecoming an officer,” so their sexual misconduct is never tallied or counted. In about twenty states, officers are only decertified after a criminal conviction, which is extremely rare. So, most of the time, the cop is permitted to just quietly resign due to sexual misconduct, and he remains certified to seek a law enforcement job elsewhere.

Sexual assault by police officers is a serious issue crying out for solutions. Starting with the most obvious, police officers should have license requirements and be banned from licensure for certain type of prior misconduct, like other professionals in positions of public trust such as doctors and teachers. Until then, all police departments should be required to participate in a national decertification registry to track officers who are decertified and the reason for the decertification.

It is time for police departments to abandon complicit codes of silence about police misconduct. The fact that many refuse to do so regarding such an obvious abuse of police power speaks volumes about the need to reform police departments at all levels.

Debra Loevy graduated cum laude from University of Michigan Law School in 1995. She has extensive experience addressing poverty law issues and criminal defense appeals. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, and multiple courts of appeal and district courts.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

A Slow Boat to Fast Data: Why is Palestine Still Waiting for 3G?

By Danny O’Brien and Jillian York | EFF | November 11, 2015

Good news for Palestinians: According to several August news reports, a 3G mobile network might be finally coming their way. After years of struggling with 2G speeds, the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are reported to have come to an agreement that would result in Israel releasing the frequencies required for 3G and possibly 4G services.

As documented by a new report on the country’s telecommunications industry by the Palestinian think tank, Al Shabaka, that speed upgrade has been a long time coming. The Oslo Accords, the agreement struck between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1995, settled that Palestinians should have their own telephone, radio and TV networks, but handed over the details of that to a joint technical committee. As detailed in the Accords, Israel would control all allocation of frequencies and determine where Palestinians could build new infrastructure. Israel consistently foot-dragged since then, delaying Palestinian telcos the ability to upgrade their networks, or share the radio spectrum with Israeli services and companies.

The result is an infamously slow phone network, roundly blamed on the political conflict between the two countries. Palestinians say that they’re the only country without access to 3G, and when President Obama visited the state in 2013, he was greeted by activists’ placards telling him to leave his smartphone at home. But Palestine’s data lines are not only slower and more poorly supported than those of its neighbors; they’re also the worst-case scenario for digital privacy in a centralized and state-managed telecommunications infrastructure.

Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a bargaining chip in geopolitical battles—and neither should privacy. As the Palestinian government and telcos negotiate for their new 3G network, they need to actively address the security of their users’ communications.

We know that telcos can end up compromising their users’ privacy by making secret deals with the government. In the United States, AT&T and others agreed for years to unlawfully hand over data to the government after pressure was applied. Other countries seek and obtain undisclosed access to telecommunications cables.  In Palestine, the telecommunication companies are just as dependent on the government for the existence and economic success of their network. But in this case, the government in question is Israel, a state with a different electorate, radically different political motives, and with both the motive and capability to peer into the contents of the users of those companies’ communication lines.

Palestinian vs. Israeli Telcos in the Territories 

Palestine and Israel’s ICT infrastructure are deeply intertwined. All international traffic must be routed through Israeli providers, with Palestinian companies paying connection and termination fees to them. Most infrastructure is only permitted within the small area of the West Bank that is theoretically (but not practically) under full Palestinian Authority control and, under the terms of the Oslo Accords, is additionally restricted from Israeli-defined buffer zones and along the separation wall.

Palestinian Internet traffic thus relies on a fragmented, dependent infrastructure. Palestinian phone calls and data traffic go through Israeli companies, onto Israeli soil, and with Israeli security and law enforcement access. Israel probably has a better insight into the movements of Palestinians than their own government does. Asserting the privacy of their communications would be extremely difficult for Palestinians, who have minimal access or redress under Israel’s judicial and administrative system.

The problem becomes more acute in the mobile market. According to 2013 data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), nearly 74% of Palestinians living in the West Bank or Gaza have a mobile cellular subscription, a rate on par with Palestine’s neighbors. Like the rest of Palestine’s infrastructure, mobile telephony is controlled by Israel—including spectrum allocation.

In 1999, Israel licensed access to 4.8 MHz in the 900 MHz band to Jawwal, a subsidiary of Palestine Telecom (PalTel), the national telecom provider in the West Bank. According to Al Shabaka’s report, Jawwal still retains the same access, but for more than 2.5 million subscribers compared to only 120,000 in 1999. Palestine’s secondary provider, Wataniya—which only operates in the West Bank—was also granted non-exclusive 2G frequencies in 2007.

Meanwhile, Israeli mobile operators have had access to 3G frequencies for several years now. In January 2015, the government of Israel awarded six companies 4G mobile broadband frequencies in the 1800 MHz band, at the same time as it was continuing to argue over sharing 3G bands with the Palestinian authorities. Israeli companies, with faster connectivity, operate cell towers in settlements throughout the West Bank. And these operators sell SIM cards in the West Bank without paying licensing fees or taxes to the local authorities, as required by the Oslo Accords.

This domination of spectrum and the market for Palestinians allows Israel a greater level of control over Gaza’s telecommunications, as evidenced by the calls and text messages sent by the Israeli military to Gaza’s citizens during its 2014 assault on the territory.

The State of Phone Surveillance in the Territories

Given that Palestine’s telcos are locked down to basic 2G, Israel may also have interception access even to those who use only Palestine’s own telecommunications companies. Earlier generations of tech are more vulnerable to being tapped by parties with no access to the underlying infrastructure. The encryption used to protect over-the-air transmissions by current 2G Palestinian mobiles has long been broken. That means that it’s possible to listen into and decode 2G phone signals with the right receiving equipment and software—technology that is developed and sold by Israeli companies. Civilian researchers believe that 3G and 4G systems are safer from passive surveillance. Mobile phone spying technology (like Stingrays or other IMSI catchers) work by forcing cellphones into their more vulnerable 2G mode, but that requires transmitters that actively communicate with the cellphone, which can be detected or blocked.

Is this why Israel has been so determined to stop Palestinians from upgrading their phones? With the current status quo, Israeli authorities can surveil and eavesdrop (or potentially mass send everyone their own text messages) on traffic coming over Israeli companies’ networks. And if they feel the need to see what’s going on in Palestinian networks, they can passively monitor the 2G systems without detection.

To continue that level of surveillance on an upgraded 3G network run by Palestinian companies, Israel will have to either ensure that it can continue to tap into the network backbone those companies use, or use more detectable active surveillance technology like IMSI catchers. Active surveillance would be detectable: it would also be a violation of the Oslo accords, which declare that both sides “shall refrain from any action that interferes with the communication and broadcasting systems and infrastructures of the other side.”

Back room deals for phone back doors?

Palestinian authorities have many reasons for re-establishing control of their telecommunication network back from the Israelis. For one, it was promised to them in the Oslo Accords. For another, the lack of a decent infrastructure remains a profound limitation the opportunity for digital development and innovation in the Territories. It is also losing them a considerable amount of money in tax revenue.

In contravention of the accords, Israeli companies selling digital services in Palestine pay no taxes. According to Al Shabaka’s report, it is estimated that Palestinian operators lose $80 to $100 million in annual revenue as a result of the lack of 3G services. Similarly, a 2008 World Bank report cites the loss in revenue to the Palestinian Authority as a result of unlicensed Israeli operators to be $60 million [PDF]. Wataniya, one of the private Palestinian mobile operators, paid the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology $140M for a 3G contract that it still cannot deploy.

But these supposedly independent Palestine-based telecommunication companies are heavily dependent on Israel’s co-operation to operate at all. Their traffic needs to pass through Israeli territory to reach Gaza and the West Bank or beyond.  (All of Gaza’s access points are located within Israel, meaning that all mobile and landline traffic from Gaza must pass through Israel [PDF].)

In an already heavily controlled environment, with money on the line, Palestinian telcos may agree to leave those links unencrypted or otherwise accessible. Even the Palestinian government may see limited harm in conceding continuing Israeli data access in return for greater revenue and their own political control of the networks. It’s notable that in the current round of agreements, neither the Palestinian nor Israeli representatives were willing to discuss the compromises they have struck to move the 3G agreement forward. That’s not a result that should reassure anyone.

But for Palestinians, that means that a long-awaited increase in speed won’t give them any more security from monitoring—surveillance by any of the many powers, Israeli, Palestine or others that seek to control their fundamental right to communicate. They will finally enter the future of faster connectivity promised to them by the Oslo accords, but remain vulnerable to surveillance by two governments.


What might improve communications privacy for Palestine? Upgrading to 3G will certainly help: their current national networks are slow and simple to intercept, while faster networks operated by Israeli companies are vulnerable to Israeli surveillance. But 3G doesn’t guarantee privacy.

The current negotiators need to push for commitments that protect civilian privacy: strong and actively enforced legal safeguards for Palestinian authority access to communications, and secured and encrypted connections when infrastructure passes out of Palestinian control.

Palestine needs more direct links to the rest of the world. Both the Palestinian government and Israel have security needs, but neither should sacrifice the economic benefits of a fast and well-connected data network to those concerns.

Palestinians could also work to build networks that work for them, rather than the negotiated settlement of current Israeli and Palestinian authorities.  Al Shabaka’s report suggests that local municipalities could work to provide Wi-Fi links in their own areas, and link those with microwave and fiber to the end-points of their choice. That’s the kind of flexible, decentralized and user-driven network that could take issues of fast, universal access and privacy out of the hands of warring politicians and foreign companies, and into the hands of those most affected by Palestine’s current slow and surveillable mobile market: its citizens.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Videos Show: Israel is Killing in Cold Blood

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | November 11, 2015

What is inspiring young Palestinians to attempt yet more stabbing attacks on Israelis? The answer, according to The New York Times, has nothing to do with the violence of military occupation, the abuse of Palestinian children or trigger-happy troops; it is merely a “loop-like dynamic” of attack and response inspired by video clips.

In a story today, Isabel Kershner reports that videos showing knife attacks and heavy-handed treatment of young detainees are inspiring Palestinian boys as young as 12 to attempt knife assaults. But in a significant omission, the article says nothing about disturbing videos that support a different take: Many Palestinians have been killed when they posed no possible threat.

Likewise, even as Kershner writes about youthful attackers, she (and the Times) have avoided any mention of the constant reports from rights groups over recent years that detail the abusive treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli custody. These include reports of troops arresting children as young as 6 and documentation of violence used against the young detainees. (Also see TimesWarp 1-13-14.)

Instead, readers are introduced to two cousins, 12 and 13, who played hooky from school yesterday in order to carry out a copycat stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Both were arrested; one was seriously wounded in the process; and both had watched video footage the night before of Israeli interrogators aggressively questioning another young teen, Ahmad Manasra, who was wounded after an alleged attack that left his cousin dead.

Kershner then devotes much of her article to rehashing the story of Manasra, who was featured earlier in a lengthy piece aimed at showing how Palestinians got it wrong when they claimed the boy had been killed. It appears to have the same purpose here: to undermine charges that Israeli troops have made false claims about knife attacks and have planted evidence.

She writes, “In several cases, with no video corroboration, Palestinians have insisted that no stabbings took place and have accused the Israeli authorities of planting knives at the scene.”

Several significant factors are missing from this statement: Although video evidence is unavailable in some cases, others are supported by credible eyewitness accounts contradicting official claims; rights groups, not only Palestinians, have charged Israeli troops with killing innocent victims; and video evidence does exist that bolsters many of the charges against Israeli forces.

In a press release last month, Amnesty International said Israeli soldiers and police had resorted to “extreme and unlawful measures” and had “used intentional and lethal force without justification.” The rights group highlighted four cases of “what appear to have been extrajudicial executions.”

Amnesty pointed up one “especially egregious case” in which Israeli forces killed 19-year-old Sa’ad Muhammad Youssef al-Atrash in Hebron on Oct. 26 as he tried to retrieve an identity card. As the youth reached into his pocket, a soldier behind Atrash shot him on the right side. The report continues, “The eyewitness said he was shot six or seven times and bled profusely as he lay on the ground for about 40 minutes afterwards, while soldiers failed to provide medical treatment.”

Times readers, however, are unlikely to know anything about Muhammad Atrash and how he died, nor are they aware of the Amnesty statements or of reports from other rights groups, including those in Israel and Europe, all of them charging Israel with unlawful killings.

Since the Amnesty release last month, Israel has continued to kill Palestinians, many of whom posed no possible threat, bringing the total to over 80 killed and some 8,500 wounded since the beginning of October. As of Oct. 31, eight Israelis had died and 115 had been wounded, according to the United Nations. These numbers, however, do not appear in Kershner’s story.

Last week Israeli forces shot and killed a 73-year-old grandmother as she drove through Hebron to meet her sister for lunch. A spokesman said she tried to ram soldiers with the car and that a knife was found in her car. Video footage shows a different scenario: Tharwat Sharawi was driving at a moderate speed and in no way aimed to hit soldiers when a barrage of bullets took her life.

The Times has made no mention of this video evidence, nor has it informed readers of other disturbing cases, also caught on video:

  • A settler shoots and kills Fadi Qawasmi, 18, in Hebron on Oct. 17, and appears to hand a knife to a soldier, who drops it near the body.
  • A mob chases Fadi Alloun in Jerusalem on Oct. 4, shouting, “Shoot him!” as he runs for his life. Police bring him down with a hail of bullets.
  • Muhammad Ramadan al Muhtasib, 23, is shot multiple times and killed as he lies helpless on the ground in Hebron on Oct. 30. The army alleges that he tried to stab a soldier.
  • Issra Abed, 30, is shot at a bus station in Afula as she stands with her hands over her head. After she lies wounded on the ground, a bystander approaches and kicks away a pair of sunglasses lying by her side. (Police said she was grasping a knife.)
  • Dania Irsheid, 18, is shot and killed at a checkpoint in Hebron after passing through metal detectors and a revolving iron gate. Video footage show Israeli police giving her no assistance as she lies bleeding on the ground.
  • Hadeel al Hashlamoun, 18, is shot at a checkpoint in Hebron on Sept. 22 and left to bleed to death. A video shows her being dragged by her heels along the ground.

In several of these videos the indifference of Israeli troops is striking. None of them attempts to help the victims, and in some cases witnesses report that settlers are allowed to take pictures of the dead and dying while Palestinian journalists and medics are turned away. One highly disturbing photo shows a smiling settler taking a photo of a dead Palestinian in Hebron on Oct. 29.

In this context, the report by Kershner is appalling. Although video evidence, eyewitness accounts and investigations by rights groups point to a pattern of trigger happy—even blood thirsty—security forces killing Palestinians with the slightest degree of suspicion, the Times has made no effort to inform readers of these findings. On the contrary, it places this misleading story by Kershner on page 1 above the fold.

Here we find another attempt to blame the victims, to paint Palestinians as the violent offenders, omitting even the numbers of dead and injured, which reveal a disproportionate death toll of 10 Palestinians for every one Israeli. The facts, however, seem to be of no account when it comes to protecting Israel. Given the choice between shielding this rogue state and reporting the news, the Times stands with Israel.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Palestinian Call for “Unarmed Warfare”

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | November 11, 2015

Behind the headline news of clashes between Palestinian youths and armed Israeli soldiers, Israel has – as ever – been quietly tightening its grip on Palestinians’ lives in the occupied territories.

Last week in Hebron, a current flashpoint, 50 embattled families still living in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, faced a new restriction on movement designed to help free up the area for intensified Jewish settlement.

Some of Tel Rumeida’s residents could be seen silently queuing at the local checkpoint to register their ID cards. Anyone not from the neighbourhood and not on the military’s list will be barred from entering.

Their response differed starkly from the reaction 21 years ago, when residents faced a similar order. Then, the entire neighbourhood refused to register. Israel punished them with a curfew for six months, allowing the families out for a few hours a week to buy food.

How to respond to military orders of this kind stands at the heart of a debate that has revived among Palestinians about the relative merits of armed struggle and non-violent resistance.

A poll in the early summer showed 49 per cent of Palestinians aged between 18 and 22 supported an armed uprising. By September, after the first clashes in Jerusalem, that figure had surged to 67 per cent.

The volatility can in part be explained by an inevitable thirst for revenge as Palestinians watch compatriots being killed and maimed by Israeli soldiers.

But it also reflects a void of Palestinian leadership and strategy. Instead, Palestinians have been buffeted into polarised camps that, put simply, pit Hamas’ rhetoric of armed struggle against the stalled diplomacy of Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority.

Non-violence once earned a central place in Palestinian resistance to occupation. During the first intifada of the late 1980s, Palestinians engaged in mass civil disobedience: they refused to cooperate with the military authorities, burnt their ID cards, refused to pay taxes and held strikes.

That approach never entirely ended. Today it finds expression in the weekly protests and marches by villages against Israel’s steel and concrete barrier eating away at Palestinians’ agricultural lands. These protests remain largely peaceful, even in the face of unceasing army brutality.

But the use of non-violence has been limited to local struggles, waged with the aim of small, isolated victories. It has also invariably coexisted with more violent approaches, from stone-throwing to the current knife attacks.

Much of the blame falls to Abbas, who has appropriated the language of non-violence while failing to harness it to a national strategy of resistance. Even the PA’s support for the villagers’ battles against Israel’s wall has been less than half-hearted.

In the minds of many Palestinians, non-violence has become tainted by association with Abbas’ years of ineffectiveness: his desperate and unsuccessful attempts both to push Israel into peace talks and to cosy up to Washington. The nadir was his declaration of the “sacred” status of the PA’s security coordination with Israel.

It has also not helped that prejudicial demands for non-violence are regularly made of Palestinians by outsiders and dishonest brokers such as Washington. Last month US secretary of state John Kerry singled out Palestinians for blame in the latest clashes. “There’s no excuse for the violence,” he scolded, ignoring decades of Israel’s violent suppression of Palestinian efforts at liberation.

Nonetheless, some Palestinian intellectuals are advocating non-violent resistance as they warn against an armed uprising. Palestinians have a right in international law to resist the occupation, even violently, but this group emphasises the futility of violence faced with Israel’s military superiority. Theirs is a pragmatic argument.

In an article headlined “Don’t go out to die, Palestine needs you alive”, journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh called on Palestinians to “channel the national anger toward mass protest”. Reminding Palestinians that the western world created the conflict and must fix it, Daragmeh warned: “It will not do so if we commit suicide.”

Similarly, Palestinian businessman Sam Bahour has coined the term “smart resistance”, arguing that all the Palestinian factions should commit to non-violent resistance as a way to national liberation.

Both have drawn on earlier strategies of communal solidarity and collective sacrifice – as demonstrated by Tel Rumeida’s inhabitants two decades ago.

One of the architects of the first intifada’s non-violent resistance, Mubarak Awad, recently reminded Palestinians that it is no soft option. “It’s about using nonviolence militantly, like a kind of unarmed warfare,” he told an interviewer.

He suggests instead refusing to carry Israeli-issued IDs, defying curfews, blocking roads, planting trees on sites intended for settlement, tearing down fences, staging sit-ins and and inviting mass arrests to fill to breaking point Israel’s jails.

Such actions require mass participation, mobilising women, children and the elderly – the very groups likely to be excluded by armed struggle.

And, as Awad notes, non-violence also needs a people trained in its techniques and principles. That is why he has translated into Arabic the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Political organisers and strategists like Awad have always topped Israel’s list for arrest. He was jailed and tortured at the start of the first intifada and later expelled to the US.

The power of disciplined non-violent resistance, he adds, is that it forces on the occupier a heavy burden: to “deal with our willingness to stand up for ourselves with nothing but our bodies and hearts”.

It forces Israelis to “choose what kind of people they are”, and creates division and dissent among the oppressor population, weakening its resolve.

It is a challenging message, especially when Israel is so ruthlessly crushing Palestinian hope and dignity. But Awad argues that it is precisely by demonstrating an irrepressible humanity that Palestinians can again discover hope, reclaim their dignity and win freedom.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Undercover Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian in Hebron hospital


Ma’an – November 12, 2015

HEBRON – Undercover Israeli forces on Thursday shot dead a Palestinian during a hospital raid in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, witnesses and hospital staff said.

Abdullah Azzam Shalaldah, 28, was shot several times by forces who raided the surgery unit of al-Ahli hospital in order to detain his cousin, Azzam Ezzat Shalaldah, 20, who was shot by an Israeli settler last month, hospital staff told Ma’an.

Abdullah and another relative were in the hospital visiting Azzam when around 20 undercover Israeli soldiers entered the hospital at around 4:00 a.m., witnesses said.

The forces tied up the relative while Abdullah, who was in the bathroom at the time, entered the room and was shot dead on scene. The undercover forces then retreated from the hospital with Azzam, taking him into custody, witnesses added.

Video footage from security cameras shows a group of around 16 men walking through the corridors of the hospital just before 4 a.m. pushing a wheel chair, when suddenly the man sitting down removes his blanket, stands up, and all the men draw guns and proceed down the hall.

The footage also shows what appears to be an Israeli agent dressed as a Palestinian woman, and other Israeli forces dressed as Palestinian Muslim men, wearing kuffiyeh’s and appearing to have fake beards.

An Israeli army spokesperson was unable to comment on the presence of undercover forces during the raid, while Israeli media reported that the forces arrived in two large vans with someone pretending to be pregnant.

The army spokesperson told Ma’an that a combined force of Israeli army and police members had entered the hospital in order to detain Azzam, when an “additional suspect attacked the forces.” The forces responded with live fire, killing the man, the spokesperson confirmed.

The spokesperson said that the forces detained Azzam on the grounds that he “stabbed an Israeli in the chest in Gush Etzion” on Oct. 25, wounding him severely, adding that “the victim shot him” as he fled the scene.

The spokesperson added that the “Shalaldah family are known Hamas operatives.”

Palestinian security sources told Ma’an on Oct. 25 following the attack that Azzam was shot by an Israeli settler. A spokesperson for Hadassah hospital said at the time that the settler, 58, had received a light “stab” wound to his chest, and had possibly been hit with a stone in his head.

Palestinian witnesses told Ma’an that they believed that the alleged Palestinian attacker had fled the scene unharmed and that Azzam had been working in agricultural fields when he was shot.

Abdullah, from the Hebron-area village of Sair, was the 80th Palestinian to be killed since Oct. 1.

The majority of those killed were shot dead by Israeli forces during alleged, attempted, and actual attacks on Israeli military and civilians.

Ten Israelis have been killed by individual Palestinians during the same time period.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment