Aletho News


Temperature station siting matters

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | December 17, 2015

30 year trends of temperature are shown to be lower, using well-sited high quality NOAA weather stations that do not require adjustments to the data.

Anthony Watts has presented an important analysis of U.S. surface temperatures, in a presentation co-authored by John Nielsen-Gammon and John Christy. Here is the link to the AGU press release. Watts has a more extensive post [here]. Excerpts:

SAN FRANCISO, CA – A new study about the surface temperature record presented at the 2015 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union suggests that the 30-year trend of temperatures for the Continental United States (CONUS) since 1979 are about two thirds as strong as officially NOAA temperature trends.

Using NOAA’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network, which comprises 1218 weather stations in the CONUS, the researchers were able to identify a 410 station subset of “unperturbed” stations that have not been moved, had equipment changes, or changes in time of observations, and thus require no “adjustments” to their temperature record to account for these problems. The study focuses on finding trend differences between well sited and poorly sited weather stations, based on a WMO approved metric for classification and assessment of the quality of the measurements based on proximity to artificial heat sources and heat sinks which affect temperature measurement.

Following up on a paper published by the authors in 2010, Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends which concluded:

Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends

A 410-station subset of U.S. Historical Climatology Network (version 2.5) stations is identified that experienced no changes in time of observation or station moves during the 1979-2008 period. These stations are classified based on proximity to artificial surfaces, buildings, and other such objects with unnatural thermal mass using guidelines established by Leroy (2010)1 . The United States temperature trends estimated from the relatively few stations in the classes with minimal artificial impact are found to be collectively about 2/3 as large as US trends estimated in the classes with greater expected artificial impact. The trend differences are largest for minimum temperatures and are statistically significant even at the regional scale and across different types of instrumentation and degrees of urbanization. The homogeneity adjustments applied by the National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly the National Climatic Data Center) greatly reduce those differences but produce trends that are more consistent with the stations with greater expected artificial impact. Trend differences are not found during the 1999- 2008 sub-period of relatively stable temperatures, suggesting that the observed differences are caused by a physical mechanism that is directly or indirectly caused by changing temperatures.

Key findings:

1. Comprehensive and detailed evaluation of station metadata, on-site station photography, satellite and aerial imaging, street level Google Earth imagery, and curator interviews have yielded a well-distributed 410 station subset of the 1218 station USHCN network that is unperturbed by Time of Observation changes, station moves, or rating changes, and a complete or mostly complete 30-year dataset. It must be emphasized that the perturbed stations dropped from the USHCN set show significantly lower trends than those retained in the sample, both for well and poorly sited station sets.

2. Bias at the microsite level (the immediate environment of the sensor) in the unperturbed subset of USHCN stations has a significant effect on the mean temperature (Tmean) trend. Well sited stations show significantly less warming from 1979 – 2008. These differences are significant in Tmean, and most pronounced in the minimum temperature data (Tmin). (Figure 3 and Table 1)

3. Equipment bias (CRS v. MMTS stations) in the unperturbed subset of USHCN stations has a significant effect on the mean temperature (Tmean) trend when CRS stations are compared with MMTS stations. MMTS stations show significantly less warming than CRS stations from 1979 – 2008. (Table 1) These differences are significant in Tmean (even after upward adjustment for MMTS conversion) and most pronounced in the maximum temperature data (Tmax).

4. The 30-year Tmean temperature trend of unperturbed, well sited stations is significantly lower than the Tmean temperature trend of NOAA/NCDC official adjusted homogenized surface temperature record for all 1218 USHCN stations.

5. We believe the NOAA/NCDC homogenization adjustment causes well sited stations to be adjusted upwards to match the trends of poorly sited stations.

6. The data suggests that the divergence between well and poorly sited stations is gradual, not a result of spurious step change due to poor metadata.

Lead author Anthony Watts said of the study: “The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts. This study demonstrates conclusively that this issue affects temperature trend and that NOAA’s methods are not correcting for this problem, resulting in an inflated temperature trend. It suggests that the trend for U.S. temperature will need to be corrected.” He added: “We also see evidence of this same sort of siting problem around the world at many other official weather stations, suggesting that the same upward bias on trend also manifests itself in the global temperature record”.

The full AGU presentation can be downloaded [here].

JC reflections

This looks like a solid study.  The participation of John Nielsen-Gammon in this study is particularly noteworthy; Watts writes:

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist of Texas, has done all the statistical significance analysis and his opinion is reflected in this statement from the introduction

Dr. Nielsen-Gammon has been our worst critic from the get-go, he’s independently reproduced the station ratings with the help of his students, and created his own series of tests on the data and methods. It is worth noting that this is his statement:

The trend differences are largest for minimum temperatures and are statistically significant even at the regional scale and across different types of instrumentation and degrees of urbanization.

The p-values from Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s statistical significance analysis are well below 0.05 (the 95% confidence level), and many comparisons are below 0.01 (the 99% confidence level). He’s on-board with the findings after satisfying himself that we indeed have found a ground truth. If anyone doubts his input to this study, you should view his publication record.

This paper has been a long process for Anthony, but it appears to have produced a robust and important analysis.

The extension of this analysis globally is important to build confidence in the land surface temperature records.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the various groups producing global surface temperature analyses respond to the study.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

The Zuckerberg Donation and a Legacy of Control

By Alfredo Lopez | This Can’t Be Happening! | December 17, 2015

When I was very young, my parents used to tell me why having “lots of toys” wasn’t a good idea. “The more you have, the more you want,” they would say. I didn’t have many toys — we were poor — so the idea of possessions feeding greed didn’t make much sense to me then.

But I’ve learned the truth of that statement from observation over the years and lately I’ve been observing Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is a 31-year-old computer programmer who did two things that made him famous: he founded Facebook, the social networking super service, and, as a result, he amassed a fortune worth about $46 billion. His bank account is as large as the capitalization of many countries.

How he got to these lofty heights of wealth and cultural impact is a matter of often fierce debate — he’s been sued by former “partners” several times. But what’s more important than how he got control of Facebook is what he’s constructed with it: a ubiquitous presence in the lives of a billion people with the potential to frame and manipulate their communications, their relationships and, to a frighteningly large extent, their lives.

So last month, when Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced in a letter to their new baby — a rather novel way to package a press release — that, over the course of their lives, they will give almost all their Facebook shares to a project called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the world took note.

The Initiative, they explained, would “advance human potential and promote equality” in health, education, scientific research, and energy. In short, change the world: on its face, a worthy cause. But, like many of Zuckerberg’s plans and projects, this one has another side that is darker, more cynical and, even if only partially successful, a potential nightmare for the human race.

How many zeroes are there in $46 billion? More than most of us will ever see. So it’s tough for us “average people” to fathom what a billionaire does with his or her money. Even living the most opulent life-style imaginable wouldn’t start to dent those savings in a bank — the interest alone would pay for everything you could imagine owning. That, in a sense, is Mark Zuckerberg’s dilemma. At 31, he has so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it.

So he follows a long capitalist tradition called philanthropy. In projects that range from supporting education to enhancing Internet access world-wide to tackling specific social problems, Zuckerberg has thrown money at social inequality like a park visitor throws bread-crumbs to pigeons…except the pigeons actually benefit.

When he gave $100 million to the Newark Public Schools, the money was largely wasted with very little impact on the quality of education in that embattled city. When he has joined other rich philanthropists, like Warren Buffett, in a string of similar projects — funding schools or programs in other U.S. cities, giving major endowments to hospitals or funding initiatives in Global South countries — they have usually fallen short of their expectations or projected expectations that didn’t make much sense in the long term. Some good happens but the social problems remain and often deepen.

At the same time, he’s used his wealth and power to launch Internet projects like one that brings together almost a million software developers to work on Facebook improvement and another, called Beacon, that enables people to share information with their Facebook friends based on their browsing activities on other sites (also providing a huge resource to advertisers and marketing people).

In the Summer of 2013, Zuckerberg launched “” whose stated purpose is to bring internet access to over 5 billion people world-wide. The access, however, is partial; only certain websites will be seen by these newly connected people in part because many of the world’s governments don’t allow full access to the Internet. Users will, however, be able to fully access Facebook.

Then there’s Facebook itself which continues to expand. With over a billion users, the company has control over the information, data and communications of much of the human race. All of it is contained in an Internet protocol that feels like the conversation at a party where everyone’s had a few drinks. Short statements followed by long strings of one sentence responses, fattened by photos and videos with no real explanation of their importance and a huge “friends” section. It’s a snapshot of your life without the depth, thinking and development that makes it precious to the rest of us.

But that basic information is very valuable to advertisers and marketing companies who can use your activities and friends lists to develop a consumer profile of you. Facebook sells it to them and then fashions advertising programs that display ads that reflect your buying patterns and insert them into the flow of messages (at a premium advertising rate). It also turns the information over to government spy agencies like the NSA.

Facebook admits no sin. It claims that its user agreement allows it to “share relevant information on users” with advertisers for the users’ “convenience” (and, of course, to generate fantastic revenue) and that it can’t legally refuse to share information the NSA demands. None of which changes the reality of what it does and the potential impact that this has on people’s lives.

There’s a common thread to Zuckerberg’s projects. Those that are completely devoid of benefit to him and his company usually fall short of expectations. Projects that are at least partially successful, while they may benefit people, return a hefty benefit for Facebook.

Throughout all of this, Zuckerberg has trotted the globe projecting an image of a young genius whose altruism and concern for the planet and its people drive his daily activities. He’s written about all the time and been the subject of a major motion picture, The Social Network, although it portrays him in a less than flattering light.

What’s interesting about this record of double-edged philanthropy and innovation is that, contrary to the movie’s depictions of him as a snide self-absorbed jerk, Zuckerberg is by most accounts a friendly, open, funny and fairly humble guy. He and his wife have eschewed ostentatious shows of wealth, travelled mainly to speak with leaders and thinkers world-wide (rather than spend months lounging on beaches) and spent most of their time as a couple doing the things normal couples do (like walk around places rather than take a limousine). What’s more, people who know and work with him insist that his concern for the world is not only honest but consuming. In short, they say, he’s the real deal.

The question, however, is can the real deal be all that real using wealth generated by a morally corrupt economic system that pursues profit over any aspect of human life or well-being? In other words, can you provide a nutritious meal when the food is poisoned?

The answer, demonstrated throughout history, is “no”. You can’t and neither can Mark Zuckerberg.

Philanthropy is about control and always has been. The great philanthropists who’ve left their footprint in huge foundations and museums and universities were also among the most exploitative and viciously repressive capitalists of their time. Morally trapped by their immense fortunes, they have sought to control, not only the daily work activities of people (the source of their wealth), but our culture, education, thinking, social life and the other activities that consume every single second of our existence.

Such control protects their wealth in many ways but that’s not the principal reason for this “giving”. Their motivation is to shape our society as they shape our days. Like monarchs dictating reality from a throne, they want it all and, through philanthropy, they get it.

This is the culture in which Mark Zuckerberg functions. His projects have in common a certainty that his perspective and interests (and the system that creates them) offer a future to the human race no other perspective can. His internet projects not only develop internet skill but tie people to Facebook and the “quick message” and superficial relationship culture it drives. Even with his project, Zuckerberg can’t conceive of a world in which people make their own decisions about where to go and what to do on the Internet. He is, effectively, trying to take control of the world.

His latest project is an illustration of that approach. Rather than create a foundation, the couple has created a limited partnership corporation, a legal form that has tax benefits, avoids much of the government scrutiny foundations deal with and allows for a much greater secrecy in its functioning and decision-making. A red flag is now flying.

That corporation, one would assume, will now dole out money to projects with potential but who decides the potential? We don’t know but since the corporation belongs to Mark and Priscilla one would assume that they have a big say. As a corporation, it doesn’t have to limit spending to non-profit ventures; it can invest in companies and profit-making projects if it wants. It can even invest in Zuckerberg companies and projects: basically, funding his own work.

While they are busy doling, by the way, Chan and Zuckerberg are still firmly in control of their assets since all that is happening is that the stock of Facebook is cashed in and put into the new company’s bank account with considerable tax benefits (since it’s a reinvestment).

Zuckerberg has yet to specify the projects his new venture will fund but, based on his past, we can confidently speculate. He will continue to encourage development as a way of molding human activity in accord with his vision of it. He will use that spectacular wealth to take even greater control of culture and education. Most of all, he will continue to spread his grasp of the Internet, the one thing that enables human interaction and resists this kind of control.

If Facebook is Zuckerberg’s vision of what on-line communications should be, the remarkable wealth of knowledge, shared thinking, compared experiences and, let us not forget, organizing that has become possible with the Internet will progressively be reduced to a ping-pong game of superficial statements and “likes”. If that vision is imposed through funding of education and other aspects of development, creativity and independent critical thinking will suffer and the kind of machine-like “competence” Zuckerberg frequently champions will hammer another nail in humanity’s coffin. If his funding is used to encourage development projects like the ones he has supported in the past, the cooperativism and the coop movement, the most exciting and potentially game-changing movement in today’s world, will find itself battling against odds that are even greater than the odds it currently faces.

In short, he would end up doing much more harm than good, playing a destructive kind of monopoly with real streets, buildings and lives.

Rich people can’t avoid acting that way and that’s why even “progressive” billionaires like Zuckerberg or Buffett are really part of an anti-future. The schemes and projects and reforms they think up in small groups and fund with large money will never improve the world fundamentally. The only way to do that is to build a world where people like them can never exist and such wealth can never be amassed. It’s hard to imagine the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative contributing that world.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Social Darwinism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Soros Plays Both Ends in Syria Refugee Chaos

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 18.12.2015

Since John D. Rockefeller was advised to protect his wealth from government taxation by creating a tax-exempt philanthropic foundation in 1913, foundations have been used by American oligarchs to disguise a world of dirty deeds under the cover “doing good for mankind,” known by the moniker “philanthropy” for mankind-loving. No less the case is that of George Soros who likely has more tax-exempt foundations under his belt than anyone around. His Open Society foundations are in every country where Washington wants to put ‘their man’ in, or at least get someone out who doesn’t know how to read their music. They played a key role in regime change in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe after 1989. Now his foundations are up to their eyeballs in promoting propaganda serving the US-UK war agenda for destroying stability in Syria as they did in Libya three years ago, creating the current EU refugee crisis.

We should take a closer look at the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis wreaking such havoc and unrest across the EU, especially in Germany, the favored goal of most asylum seekers today. George Soros, today a naturalized American citizen, has just authored a six-point proposal telling the European Union on what they must do to manage the situation. It’s worth looking at in detail.

He begins by stating, “The EU needs a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis, one that reasserts effective governance over the flows of asylum-seekers so that they take place in a safe, orderly way…” He then says that, “First, the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future.”

Soros does not elaborate where he pulled that figure from, nor does he discuss the role of other of his Soros-financed NGOs in Syria and elsewhere which manufacture faked propaganda to build a public sympathy lobby for a US and UK “No Fly Zone” in Syria as was done to destroy Libya.

The American hedge fund speculator then adds, among his points to be implemented, a series of proposals that would consolidate a de facto supranational EU state apparatus under control of the faceless, unelected bureaucrats of the European Commission. The Soros proposals call for creating what amount to EU-issued refugee bonds. He states, “The EU should provide €15,000 ($16,800) per asylum-seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs – and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states. It can raise these funds by issuing long-term bonds using its largely untapped AAA borrowing capacity…”

That issuing comes to 30 billion euros at a time when most EU member states are struggling to deal with domestic economic crises. Soros is generous with other peoples’ money. The mention of the AAA bond rating is the rating of the legal entity named the European Union. Soros has maneuvered for years to try to get a centralized Brussels independent financial power that would take the last vestiges of national financial sovereignty away from Berlin, Paris, Rome and other EU states, part of a scheme to destroy the remains of the national borders and of the nation-state principles established at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years’ War.

George Soros has more ideas how to spend European citizens’ tax euros. He calls on the EU to cough up an added annual commitment to “frontline countries” (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan) of at least €8-10 billion annually. Then, insidiously, Soros declares, “Safe channels must be established for asylum-seekers, starting with getting them from Greece and Italy to their destination countries. This is very urgent in order to calm the panic.”

‘Destination Countries’

His use of the term “destination countries” is very interesting. Today, by a huge margin that means the Federal Republic of Germany. Soros strategy is obviously to target Germany, especially, with a refugee flood.

It has gradually come out into the open that many of the refugees or asylum-seekers flooding into the EU since summer of 2015 have come in response to reading Twitter or Facebook social media portraying especially Germany as an arms-open, refugee-loving paradise where all their needs will be met.

How did word get out that Germany was the “in place” for those in flight from Syria and other conflict areas? Vladimir Shalak at the Russian Academy of Sciences developed the Internet Content-Analysis System for Twitter (Scai4Twi). He made a study of over 19,000 refugees-related original tweets (retweets discounted). His study showed that the vast majority of the tweets name Germany as the most refugee-welcoming country in Europe.

Shalak’s study discovered that 93% of all tweets about Germany contained positive references to German hospitality and its refugee policy. Some samples of the Tweets:

• Germany Yes! Leftists spray a graffiti on a train sayin “Welcome, refugees” in Arabic

• Lovely people – video of Germans welcoming Syrian refugees to their community

• Respect! Football fans saying “Welcome Refugees” across stadiums in Germany.

• This Arabic Graffiti train is running in Dresden welcoming refugees: (ahlan wa sahlan – a warm welcome).

• ‘We love Germany!,’ cry relieved refugees at Munich railway station

• Thousands welcome refugees to Germany – Sky News Australia

• Wherever this German town is that welcomed a coach of Syrian refugees with welcome signs and flowers –thank you.

Now comes the real hammer. The vast majority of these “Germany welcomes refugee” Tweets come not from Germany, but from the United States and from the UK, the two countries up to their necks in the bloody deeds of ISIS and Al Qaeda and countless other terror gangs rampaging across Syria the past four years.

Shalak analyzed 5,704 original tweets containing a “#RefugeesWelcome” hashtag and a country name which welcomes them. It showed almost 80% of all Tweets claimed that Germany was the most-welcoming country in Europe. However, the study also found that those “Germany welcomes you” Tweets did not originate from inside Germany. Over 40% of all the Tweets originated from the USA, UK or Australia. Only 6.4% originated inside Germany. The second most welcoming country found was Austria with 12%.

George Soros is also the Daddy Warbucks financing a new EU think-tank with the name European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). On the website of the ECFR is an editorial titled, “If Europe wants people to stop drowning it needs to let them fly.” The Soros Think-Tank argues that the main reason migrants choose boats is EU Directive 51/2001/EC: “The EU directive was passed in 2001. Put simply, it states that carrier companies—whether airlines or ship lines—are responsible for ensuring that foreign nationals wishing to travel to the European Union have valid travel documents for their destination. If such travelers arrive in the EU and are turned away, the airlines are obligated to foot the bill for flying them home.” In other words, “open the gates of heaven wider, dear Lord.”

Soros’ Syria NGOs Beat War Drums

The cynicism of the Soros call for the EU taxpayers to step up to the plate and accept millions of new refugees, to fly them in without papers, and more, is clear when we look at the same Soros-financed network of NGOs active in Syria trying to create the propaganda background to get acceptance of yet another US “No Fly Zone” over Syria as was done against Iraq after 1991 and against Libya in 2012 to bomb those countries back to the stone age.

One of the key online advocates for a US-UK “No Fly Zone” over Syria, something the Russian intervention since September 30 has de facto blocked, is an organization known as Avaaz. Avaaz was given initial financial support by Soros’ foundation in 2007 to promote key policies suitable to the US State Department. They cite Soros’ Open Society foundation as their foundation partner. Avaaz played a key role promoting the 2011 No Fly Zone in Libya that introduced a regime of terror and chaos in that once prosperous and stable African nation. Avaaz is now very actively promoting the same treatment for Syria.

Another Soros-financed NGO active demonizing the Assad government as cause of all atrocities in Syria and helping build public support for a war in Syria from the US and EU is Amnesty International. Suzanne Nossel, until 2013 the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, came to the job from the US State Department where she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, not exactly an unbiased agency in regard to Syria. As well, the Soros-financed Human Rights Watch has played a major role in falsely portraying ISIS and Al Qaeda civilian bombings and other atrocities as the work of the Assad regime, building support for military action from the US and EU.

The Middle East and other wars today including Ukraine are the product of the foreign policy doctrine set out in 1992 by then Defense Assistant Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the infamous Wolfowitz Doctrine that justifies “pre-emptive” war, free from any oversight from the UN Security Council, against any nation or group of nations which threaten US “Sole Superpower” domination. George Soros, the hedge fund speculator turned self-proclaimed philanthropist, and his tax-exempt foundations, are an integral part of that pre-emptive war machine. Now Soros lectures the EU countries, above all Germany, on how they should receive the human fallout from the wars he and his cronies in the US State Department have created. That’s real Chutzpah, or perhaps it is really hubris.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Hares Boys: Israeli Justice in Palestine


By Richard Hardigan | CounterPunch | December 18, 2015

On November 26 five Palestinian teenagers were sentenced to fifteen years in prison and fined roughly $40,000 each. This is not an unusual occurrence. Examples of Palestinians being punished for crimes they did not commit abound, but in this case the Israeli authorities have taken their injustice to a new level. Not only were “The Hares Boys”, so named because of the West Bank town from which they hail, not involved in any crime, but there was never any crime to begin with. This did not concern the Israelis in the least. Palestinians must be punished, and even if they are not guilty in this particular case, then surely they are guilty of something. So goes the thinking of the occupying force. The case has garnered international attention, but this did not worry the always image-conscious Israelis, and they have proceeded to mete out their own particular brand of justice.

I first heard of the Hares boys in June of 2014. Their names were written in black magic marker in large letters on the whiteboard in the living room of our apartment in Nablus. I was volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an organization devoted to standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and it was the evening of my first day in the northern West Bank city.

Charlie, the coordinator of the Nablus team, liked to write the names of all the projects ISM was involved in on the whiteboard, and the Hares boys were second from the top, squeezed between the name of a contact in a local refugee camp and a village that had recently been the subject of a settler attack.
Earlier that afternoon I had watched the limp body of yet another victim of Israeli aggression being carried through the streets of Nablus. Ahmed’s head was uncovered, with only a black and white keffiyah wrapped around his forehead. As his body was carried by the stretcher bearers, it was jostled quite a bit, and the head lolled back and forth with regularity. His father, an old bent man, walked behind, fingering his prayer beads, a vacant stare in his eyes. Ahmed had been murdered the previous night. Coming out of a mosque, the young mentally handicapped man had been screamed at by Israeli soldiers. They ordered him to stop, and when he did not heed their instructions, presumably because he did not understand them, they shot him four times – once in the stomach and three times in the chest.

With his close-shorn hair, Charlie looked younger than his twenty-three years, and as he explained the events surrounding the boys, I thought about the fact that he could not have been much older than the teenagers of Hares.

There were five Hares boys. At that point they had been in Israeli prison for over a year. Whenever there was a court date, ISMers would try to travel to the court, located in the town of Salem, which is north of Jenin and on the border with Israel, in order to provide moral support to the boys and their families.

In the evening of March 14, 2013, Adva Biton, a female settler, and her three daughters were involved in a traffic accident on their way to the settlement of Yakir, which lies southwest of Nablus. Biton and her three daughters were injured, and the injuries to one of the daughters were serious.
She died two years later of her injuries, compounded by pneumonia. The accident, which occurred near the Palestinian village of Hares, took place when Biton crashed her car into the back of a truck that was parked along the side of the road. The driver of the truck told police that he had pulled over to repair a flat tire. The trouble began when Biton later claimed that the accident had been caused not by the truck but by Palestinian youths who had been throwing stones. In fact, “in an Australian TV interview, Biton stated that she had a building block thrown at her vehicle which hit her daughter in the head and caused her to hit the back of the truck.”ii There were no witnesses to the accident, and nobody had seen anybody throwing stones, but the truck driver did add afterwards that he had noticed stones lying by the side of the road.iii

There are many problems with the story. In neither the initial accounts by the involved parties, nor in the original police investigation, was there a mention of stones. This changed a few days later, when Biton and the truck driver modified their original versions, and, in addition, when a subsequent police investigation uncovered a stone in Biton’s car. No building blocks were found anywhere near the scene. The fact that building blocks are exceedingly difficult to throw casts yet further doubt on Biton’s version of events.iv The truck driver’s statement about having seen stones on the side of the road should be seen as meaningless, since that part of the road is full of stones.v

Charlie’s face during his telling of the Hares boys’ story did not betray any emotion, but I imagined he must have been incensed, as he had been following these events for the past three months. He had even been to the court and later described the treatment that the boys’ families and other visitors received at the hands of the I wondered if this is what happened to activists after they had been in country for a while. Did they just become accustomed to the violence and suffering, and especially, the injustice?

In the days following the accident the Israeli army went into action. They entered the villages of Hares and nearby Kifl Hares three times, arresting a total of nineteen boys between the ages of 16 and 17 years. The nighttime raids were violent and the soldiers behaved aggressively. Accompanied by attack dogs and Israeli secret service (Shabak) agents, they broke down the doors of villagers’ houses and demanded to know the whereabouts of all the teenage sons. They handcuffed and blindfolded the boys without telling their families why or where they were taking them.
““Kiss and hug your mother goodbye,” a Shabak agent told one boy. “You may never see her again.””vii

All of the boys endured violent interrogations. They were also kept in solitary confinement. “One boy, since released, described his cell: a windowless hole 1m wide and 2m long; there was no mattress or blanket to sleep on; toilet facilities were dirty; the six lights were kept on continuously, leading to the boy losing track of the time of the day; the food made him feel ill. The boy was denied a lawyer; he was interrogated violently three times during three days.”viii After this ill-treatment, 14 of the 19 boys were released, while five boys confessed to the crimes. They are Ammar Souf, Mohammed Suleman, Ali Shamlawi, Tamer Souf and Mohammed Kleib.ix These are the Hares boys.

The Israeli media has played a significant role in this case. A few days after the accident, rumors began to surface that it had been a terrorist attack, and the subsequent media storm caused 61 witnesses to come forward, claiming that their cars had also been damaged by stones thrown on the same road that day. Prime Minister Netanyahu himself got involved, announcing proudly that “he had caught the terrorists that did it”x.

The boys were originally charged with twenty counts of murder and five counts of stone throwing each.

Unlike in most cases of Israeli injustice, the story of the Hares boys has garnered a great deal of attention, both international and domestic, and there have been several campaigns calling for the boys’ release.

A report by the Israeli NGO B’Tselemxi indicates that the Hares boys never had a chance. Between 2005 and 2010, 835 children were arrested in the West Bank on charges of stone throwing. Of the 835 only one was acquitted, an absurdly low number. Of the children, 34 were aged 12-13, 255 were aged 14-15, and 546 were aged 16-17.

The B’Tselem report also confirms that in a large majority of the cases, the judge does not allow bail and instead orders the defendant to be remanded in custody until the end of the proceedings. Because of the absurd conviction rate, the length of the pre-trial period and the inhumane conditions in the prisons, defendants often make plea bargains in exchange for shorter sentences.

The Hares boys awaited their fate in the notorious Meggido prison in Israel, where the conditions are reportedly atrocious, especially for minors.
“Conditions in Megiddo are severe. All prisoners, including children, are deliberately denied essential items such as food, clothing, bedding and hygiene products which have to be provided by their families, when families are permitted to deliver them, or purchased at inflated prices from the Israeli prison canteen. This means that inmates are required to fund their own incarceration. The children are almost entirely disconnected from the outside world. They are rarely allowed to exit their cells. Reports suggest that they are permitted to spend a couple of hours a week in the fresh air.

Their schooling has been discontinued. They are allowed infrequent family visits and no direct physical contact is permitted. They must communicate with relatives through a glass screen and speak through phones that do not always work. Families from the Occupied Territories do not usually receive permission to travel to what is now the State of Israel. When permitted, these journeys are expensive, lengthy and dangerous. Inmates are rarely treated for medical conditions.”xii

The great majority of the population of the West Bank has lived under military occupation for over 48 years. Only the settlers are exempt. The lives of the Palestinians are ruled by the military, and they are subject to military law, which is enforced by military courts. The system is based on military orders, which are issued by army commanders without approval from any civilian branch of government. They rule all aspects of Palestinian life in the West Bank, including freedom of movement, agriculture, access to water, ability to protest and land transactions.

Some of these orders are patently absurd (Military Order 107 prohibits the publication of treatises on Arabic grammar), while others have far-reaching consequences. Military Order 1651, for example, allows for the incarceration of children as young as twelve years old. It also allows for the administrative detention of individuals without charge for up to six months.

It is this military system that has destroyed the lives of the Hares boys and their families, as it has so many others. They face fifteen years in prison, and it is believed that unless the families can produce $7,750 for each of the boys by January 28, 2016, their sentences will be extended by an additional ten years.xiii

The troubling aspects of this particular case are many. There was little evidence that a crime had been committed and even less that pointed to the Hares boys as the offenders. There were no witnesses. The statements of the victims were contradictory and subject to change. The boys were tortured and coerced into giving false confessions. As children they awaited their fate in an Israeli adult prison in horrific conditions for over two years. This is what passes for justice in the territories occupied illegally by Israel, the self-proclaimed only democracy in the Middle East.

[1] “Hares Boys” Retrieved at
[2] Fludd, Elischia. “Hares Boys Anniversary Still Worries Global Activists.” The Huffington Post. March 18, 2014. Retrieved at
[3] “Hares Boys.”
[4] “Hares Boys Anniversary Still Worries Global Activists.”
[5] “Hares Boys Anniversary Still Worries Global Activists.”
[6] Donnelly, Charlie. “El Sistema Judicial Israelí: De Pseudo-democracia a Proto-fascismo (Parte II).” September 23, 2014. Retrieved at
[7] “Hares Boys.”
[8] “Hares Boys.”
[9] “Hares Boys Anniversary Still Worries Global Activists.”
[10] “Hares Boys.”
[11] “No Minor Matter: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors Arrested by Israel on Suspicion of Stone-Throwing, July 2011.” July, 2011. Retrieved at
[12] Paul, Chandra. “For the Hares Boys.” June 19, 2014. Retrieved at
[13] Edmonton, Amanda. “Hares Boys Sentenced to 15 Years.” International Middle East Media Center RSS. December 14, 2015. Retrieved at

Richard Hardigan is a university professor in the United States.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel plans to build walls around Palestinian towns

MEMO | December 18, 2015

015 - CopyMedia reports in Israel have reported that the army is planning to build walls around Palestinians towns and villages on the pretext that it will stop stones being thrown at illegal Jewish settlers.

“The army will build 9 metre high walls in the areas of Beit Ummar, Al-Arroub, Gush Etzion, and the areas surrounding Highway 60, south of the West Bank,” claimed Channel 2 TV.

In response, Mustafa Barghouti, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Anadolu, “The Israeli army’s decision to build walls around important and vital areas in the southern part of the West Bank aims to control large Palestinian areas for settlers. It also aims to isolate the areas from each other in order to prevent any chance to establish a Palestinian state.”

Such walls, added Barghouti, are in addition to the 676 military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank as part of the Israeli plan to divide the territory and control all of its vital areas.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

‘Are embedded British soldiers helping Saudi attack Yemen?’

RT | December 18, 2015

Human rights activists fear British military personnel could be embedded with Saudi Arabian allies who are bombing Yemen after receiving opaque responses from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Concerns have been raised by the charity Reprieve, which is best known for its work on post 9/11 torture and rendition, after the MoD published figures detailing the number of UK military personnel embedded around the world.

The war in Yemen, between Shia Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed forces, is not one the UK is officially involved in. However, the theocratic Saudi kingdom is a close regional ally of Britain.

Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands injured and up to 2.5 million displaced, according to some reports.

While most of those embedded personnel are in easily identifiable locations – such as in the US, Canada, NATO and the EU member states – nearly 100 personnel are assigned to cryptically titled ‘Coalition HQs’.

Responding to the revelations that 94 members of the UK armed forces are carrying out duties for unknown forces, Jennifer Gibson, a staff attorney at Reprieve, said in a statement: “This is a long way from real transparency. It is impossible to tell what operations or even what countries these personnel are active in, making this information almost worthless.”

Gibson said the terms used were “hopelessly vague” and asked “what, for example, are the ‘coalition HQs’ where nearly 100 UK personnel are based?”

“Is this the highly-controversial Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, the long-standing coalition in Afghanistan, the coalition in Iraq and Syria, or another we don’t know about?”

Gibson said the UK is entitled to use military force, but that “parliament and the public deserve to know at the very least which wars we are sending our troops into and under whose command.”

It emerged in July that UK aircrews embedded with foreign air forces – allegedly the US and Canadian militaries – had been carrying out combat missions over Syria.

This was despite there being no parliamentary authority for such actions. A vote on bombing targets within Syria has since passed early in December.

In a statement released with the figures on the MoD website, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Embeds [sic] play an important role in enhancing our national security interests around the world, strengthening our relationships with key allies and developing our own capabilities.

“For operational and personal security reasons the information that can be routinely released is limited,” he added.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Italy’s Lega Nord Party Urges Sanctions on Ankara, Riyadh for Funding Daesh

By Svetlana Alexandrova – Sputnik – 18.12.2015

The European Union should impose sanctions on Turkey and Saudi Arabia for financing the Islamic State (IS or Daesh in Arabic) jihadist group, instead of extending its anti-Russia sanctions, the leader of Italy’s Eurosceptic Lega Nord party, Matteo Salvini, told Sputnik Wednesday.

A UN Security Council Resolution to counter the financing of terrorism, targeting in particular Daesh, an organization outlawed in a number of states including Russia, was adopted Thursday. The resolution specifies that Daesh derives its main source of income from smuggled oil and obliges all states to oppose this illicit oil trade in the strongest terms. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said that Turkish companies found to be involved in this illicit oil trade might be sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

“Europe needs to impose sanctions against Turkey and Saudi Arabia instead of extending sanctions against Russia,” Salvini said.

Salvini added that his party does not believe that the Islamic coalition against extremists that was announced by Saudi Arabia earlier this week “will serve its alleged goals because it is the state that supports terrorism.”

Daesh controls large swathes of land in oil-rich Syria, Iraq and Libya. Earlier this month, the Russian Defense Ministry presented evidence showing that Daesh has been smuggling oil across the porous Syria-Turkey border in large volumes.

Salvini is currently in Moscow and is set to meet on Friday with the head of Russia’s upper house of parliament’s International Committee, Alexei Pushkov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Andrey Klimov, as well as with the representatives of the United Russia Party.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deployment fail: US special ops forces arrive in Libya, immediately told to leave


© Libyan Air Forces / Facebook
RT | December 18, 2015

Libya’s air force said in a Facebook post that 20 US commandoes arrived at Wattiya airbase and disembarked “in combat readiness,” only to be told to leave. Pentagon sources confirmed the US had sent a special forces unit to Libya as part of a mission.

The Libyan Air Force said the 20 soldiers arrived at the airbase on Monday, but left soon after local commanders asked them to go because they had no right to be at the base “without prior coordination with protection force base.”

The Libyan air force published a Facebook post on Wednesday which included photographs of the special forces unit. It noted the 20 soldiers had disembarked “in combat readiness wearing bullet proof jackets, advanced weapons, silencers, handguns, night vision devices and GPS devices.”

When questioned by Libyan soldiers, the American troops said they were “in coordination with other members of the Libyan army,” the Libyan Air Force said. The Libyans were unconvinced.

“The response from your heroic army stationed at Wattiya base was to tell them to depart immediately and the group left, keeping their equipment with them,” the post added.

The photographs show three men armed with assault rifles, boarding a blue-and-white-striped passenger plane and driving a yellow dune buggy.

Pentagon sources confirmed to NBC News that the special forces unit was part of a mission sent this week, but it was unclear if the soldiers had left the country. Commandoes have been “in and out of Libya” for “some time now,” unnamed US officials told NBC, but the outlet reported they were there “purely to advise Libyan forces rather than conduct combat operations or training.”

According to the Associated Press, the failed debarkation happened just as Libya’s rival parliaments signed a landmark United Nations-sponsored deal to form a government in the war-torn country. Libya has been in chaos ever since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels in 2011.

Read More: Fight against ISIS should be extended to Libya – French PM

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

15 civilians killed in Saudi strikes against Yemen

Press TV – December 18, 2015

More than a dozen civilians have lost their lives in a string of new Saudi airstrikes against various areas across Yemen.

Saudi warplanes on Friday struck a residential neighborhood in the al-Kitaf district of Sa’ada some 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Sana’a, leaving 15 people dead, the al-Masirah satellite television reported.

Two people were injured when Saudi military aircraft dropped cluster bombs on the Maran district of the same arid and mountainous province.

Meanwhile, militiamen loyal to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have reportedly wrested control over the Harad district of Yemen’s northwestern province of Hajjah.

The militiamen, who were trained and equipped in Saudi Arabia, crossed the border from the kingdom on Friday following fierce clashes with Yemeni army and allied forces and attacked the district.

Saudi warplanes also carried out four aerial assaults against the Baqim district in Sa’ada Province, but there were no immediate reports of casualties and the extent of damage. Additionally, Saudi jets fired a number of missiles into the Zahir district of the northwestern Yemeni province, with no reports of possible casualties.

Separately, Yemeni army soldiers backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees fired a Qaher-1 (Conqueror-1) ballistic missile at a military base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border region of Najran.

Yemeni forces also launched an OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missile at the Tadawil camp, housing Saudi-led military forces, in Yemen’s central province of Ma’rib.

Also on Friday, two Saudi soldiers were killed when Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees launched an operation in the Harad district. An M1 Abrams battle tank was also destroyed in the process.

Elsewhere in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz, Yemeni forces killed four members of the US Blackwater Worldwide security services company. The slain mercenaries were reportedly of Italian, South African, Rwandan and Pakistani nationalities.

Yemen has been under military attack by Saudi Arabia since late March. The Saudi military strikes were launched to supposedly undermine the Ansarullah movement and bring Hadi back to power.

More than 7,500 people have been killed and over 14,000 others injured since March. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment