Aletho News


Israeli settler runs over Palestinian teen in Hebron City

Ma’an – September 21, 2018

HEBRON – A 16-year-old Palestinian teen was hospitalized after an Israeli settler “deliberately” ran him over, on Friday, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Witnesses told a Ma’an reporter that an Israeli settler deliberately ran over the Palestinian teen with his vehicle in Hebron City.

The teen was identified by locals as Munir Abdullah Gharib, 16.

Mounir suffered injuries from the attack and was immediately transferred to the Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron for necessary medical treatment; his condition remained unknown.

Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.

Some 800 notoriously aggressive Israeli settlers now live under the protection of the Israeli military in the Old City, surrounded by more than 30,000 Palestinians.

Palestinian residents of the Old City of Hebron face a large Israeli military presence on a daily basis, with at least 32 permanent and partial checkpoints set up at the entrances of many streets.

Additionally, Palestinians are not allowed to drive on al-Shuhada street, have had their homes and shops on the street welded shut, and in some areas of the Old City, are not permitted to walk on certain roads.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers move freely on the street, drive cars and carry machine guns.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

New report documents ‘torture in the heart of Jerusalem’

Israeli security forces brutally arrest Palestinian protesters in West Bank [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | September 20, 2018

A new report by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer claims that Israeli officials “routinely” carry out the “practice of torture” at a key interrogation facility in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report, “I’ve Been There: A Study of Torture and Inhumane Treatment in Al-Moscobiyeh Interrogation Centre”, is based on the testimonies of 138 individuals held in the Russian Compound of Jerusalem gathered during the period 2015-2017.

“For generations of Palestinians, the Russian Compound has represented the most severe interrogation facility in all of the occupied territory,” Addameer states.

“It has been the place of intentionally inflicted suffering for hundreds of prisoners. Its location in the heart of Jerusalem, next to the Old City, is something of a metaphor for the whole apparatus of the occupation. The domination is hidden in plain sight.”

According to the testimonies acquired by Addameer, eight forms of abuse were identified at the facility: positional torture such as “stress positions”; beatings during interrogation; isolation/solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and long interrogation, threats to family members, being subjected to sounds of torture, deliberate medical neglect, and screaming and cursing.

More than half of those surveyed reported being held in stress positions; one 18-year-old former prisoner was held in a stress position for eight hours a day, for 18 days. A third of prisoners reported being beaten, while a fifth of individuals were subjected to violent shaking.

Addameer noted that “children are no exception when it comes to mistreatment and intimidation”, with 47.8 per cent reporting “that they were beaten during their arrest”, 45.5 per cent experiencing positional torture during interrogation, and 40.9 per cent “threatened with the potentially injuring of their families if they did not cooperate”.

According to the rights group, “the primary conclusion that the above research and indicators provide is that mistreatment, and coercion, amounting to torture, are commonplace and systematic within the occupation’s interrogation systems”.

Addameer added that “as a result of torture’s status in international law, the international community has a distinct responsibility to take action to sanction the perpetrating entity”, urging “the international community to begin sanctioning the occupier for its crimes”.

Read also:

Palestinian man dies after Israel forces beat him at his home

September 20, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinian Dies after Brutal Assault by Israeli Forces

Mohammed Al-Rimawi (24) was beaten to death in his bedroom by the Israeli forces in Beit Rima. (Photo: via Facebook)
Ma’an – September 18, 2018

RAMALLAH – A 24-year-old Palestinian succumbed to his injuries, on Tuesday morning, after he was brutally assaulted by Israeli forces as they detained him from his home in the Beit Rima village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah in predawn raids.

The Palestinian liaison identified the youth as Muhammad Zaghlul Rimawi (al-Khatib), 24.

Muhammad’s brother, Bashir Rimawi, told Ma’an that some 40 Israeli soldiers raided their house in Beit Rima on predawn Tuesday, assaulted Muhammad while he was still laying in bed, wearing his nightwear, which Israeli forces ripped off of his body.

Bashir added that Israeli forces continued to brutally beat his brother, while unconscious, carried him outside the house and took him to an unknown location.

Bashir said that the Palestinian liaison contacted the family later and informed them that Muhammad had succumbed to his wounds; no other information was given regarding Muhammad’s death or when would his body be returned to the family for funeral processions.

The Israeli authorities reportedly transferred Muhammad’s body to Abu Kabir Forensic Center in Jaffa for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The Rimawi family accuse Israeli forces of being responsible for the death of their son, Muhammad, due to the brutal assault he was subjected to during his detention hours before being declared dead.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) also confirmed that Muhammad’s death resulted from excessive beating by Israeli forces.

PPS held Israel fully responsible for the killing of Muhammad Rimawi, “whose death was added to a long list of crimes and unjust executions carried out against Palestinian detainees and prisoners inside detention centers and prisons.”

The Addameer human rights organization said that the excessive use of force by Israeli soldiers during Rimawi’s detention was the cause for his death.

Addameer added that Rimawi did not pose any threat to the soldiers to require them to use such excessive force against him, pointing out that this is a violation of the international humanitarian law which bans the use of force against civilians who do not pose any real and direct threat.

The organization considered the use of such lethal force in this manner extrajudicial execution.The number of killed Palestinian detainees and prisoners since 1967 has risen to 217, according to a report by PPS; 75 of whom were executed after detention, 72 died of torture, 62 of “medical neglect” and seven were “directly shot and killed by Israeli soldiers and guards inside jails and detention centers.”

PPS also warned against the continued silence of the international community and international organizations, which allow Israeli forces to kill Palestinians “in cold blood,” without any restraint to the ongoing crimes.

According to the testimonies of hundreds of Palestinian detainees and prisoners, who were transferred for interrogation and into detention centers, 95% of them were subjected to both physical and mental abuse, PPS reported.

PPS pointed out that Rimawi is the 3rd Palestinian to be tortured to death by Israel this year; Palestinian Yassin al-Saradih from Jericho was assaulted to death by Israeli forces following his detention on February 22nd, 2018, and prisoner Aziz Eweisat from Jerusalem, who was killed after being assaulted by Israeli “Nahshon” forces inside Israeli jails on May 19th, 2018.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments

Lieberman, Netanyahu reject plans to reduce Palestinian prisoners’ sentences

MEMO | September 17, 2018

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday rejected an Israeli army discussion of establishing a committee to see whether life sentences issued against Palestinian prisoners should be reduced, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

“As long as I am the defence minister, no terrorist will have his sentence shortened by even one hour,” Lieberman announced on Twitter.

All Palestinians who stand up against the occupation, including children who protests, are referred to as “terrorists” by Israeli officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voiced out his rejection to the proposal that sentences be reduced.

“Regarding the talk about shortening terrorists’ sentences—I strongly oppose this. I know that this is also the position of the defence minister and, therefore, it will not happen,” he was quoted by the Israeli news website Ynet News as saying.

The Israeli media has reported that an official order is expected to be issued to establish a committee that will examine parole requests for Palestinian prisoners who are serving life terms imposed by military courts in the occupied West Bank.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that, if established, the committee would discuss the possibility to equating military life sentences, which are 99 years, with the civil life terms.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Massacre At Ballymurphy

Saoradh Nuacht – Irish Republican News | September 9, 2018

How Britain used internment and murder in Ireland in 1971, in an attempt to shore up partition and the sectarian apartheid statelet in the North of Ireland.

For residents of places outside Ireland or Britain this version of the documentary film shown on the UK Channel Four over the weekend has been made available on YouTube.


September 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

VIPS Tells Media Support for Brennan is Not Unanimous

Consortium News | August 29, 2018

TO: The Media

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Support for Brennan Far From “Unanimous”

As former members of the intelligence community, we feel compelled to add our voice to the public debate surrounding President Trump’s revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. This action is being falsely portrayed as an assault on Mr. Brennan’s right to free speech.

We note that some of our former colleagues, a number of whom have held prominent intelligence posts, joined the protest against the President’s actions — a phenomenon that provides stark reminder that the United States intelligence community is not a monolith but rather a collection of diverse individuals with a range of opinions on many issues, including what is right and wrong, We the undersigned veteran intelligence professionals agree with President Trump’s decision to strip Mr. Brennan of his clearance.

We also note with irony that several of the former officials protesting the President’s action have themselves been associated with significant misconduct. David Petraeus, who was convicted of sharing highly classified material with his mistress/biographer, is a case in point. As experienced intelligence officers, we believe security clearances should be granted as a sacred trust and not simply a permanent entitlement that comes with a high level job.

Anyone who has read VIPS memos knows we have often expressed opposition to this President’s actions — as we have to those of previous Presidents — on important substantive issues when the intelligence was faulty.

The issue for us is broader than the clearances of Mr. Brennan. We are appalled by the willful misreading by pundits and much of the media of the nature of security clearances. They are certainly not a constitutionally protected right, but a highly conditional privilege. Its granting comes with personal acceptance of restrictions on speech and association: among other things obligating one-time holders to a lifetime pre-publication review of writings that rely on information acquired in performing their official duties.

All of us signed secrecy agreements and accepted the burden of holding a clearance. We surrendered a part of our assumed right to free speech in service of our country’s welfare and safety. Those of us under cover kept secrets from family and friends. We no longer associated freely with foreign nationals; an active clearance carries the requirement to report contacts with them.

Moreover, security classification is provided by Executive Branch authority and is expressed with orders that are subject to change at the will of the current president (the exception to this being the so-called “Q” clearance established by law to protect nuclear weapons secrets, though this is also subject to presidential authority in granting or withdrawing clearance). Federal judges do not have automatic security clearances. Nor do members of Congress. They have access to secret information by virtue of their constitutional office and a presumed “need to know” in order to do their job.

Once a person separates from the intelligence community they can continue to hold a clearance provided they are employed as a contractor working on specific classified programs. There is simply no basis in law entitling anyone to permanent clearance. This includes John Brennan. It goes without saying that individuals who are granted continued clearance out of courtesy to their former high position remain accountable in their conduct, and that the Executive can revoke such clearances at will.

Mr. Brennan’s own record is clearly tarnished. When he was Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia prior to and after the bombing of Khobar Towers in June of 1996, rather than uphold the integrity of existing intelligence he went along with the decision to avoid creating problems with the Saudis. After the attack (which was carried out by Saudi elements linked to Bin Laden and Al Qaeda), Brennan helped push the meme that the culprits were Iran and Hezbollah.

As head of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center in 2003, Mr. Brennan failed to give the State Department complete statistics for terrorist attacks. The initial publication of “Patterns of Global Terrorism” in April 2004 touted a decline in terrorist attacks in 2003 as vindication of Bush Administration policies. The publication later had to be recalled and revised when it was discovered that the CIA had left out a month and a half of data. John Brennan was in charge of that process. Instead of receiving a reprimand, however, he ended up being promoted.

Mr. Brennan has assumed the role of passive spectator in building the fraudulent case to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has claimed only vague awareness of the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation” program. Physical records tell a different story. Brennan was “cc-ed” on “a minimum of 50 memos” dealing with waterboarding and other torture techniques. Senator Saxbe Chambliss noted that Brennan’s boss, A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, told the Wall Street Journal that Mr. Brennan had a role in setting the parameters of the program and “helping to seek Justice Department approval for the techniques.”

Mr. Brennan also attempted to cover up the truth about the CIA torture. Senator Mark Udall denounced his actions in a floor speech on December 10, 2014, the day after the Senate Intelligence Committee published the Executive Summary of the conclusions of its four-year investigation of CIA torture based on original CIA documents.  The investigation not only revealed almost unbelievably heinous practices, but also demonstrated that senior CIA officials were untruthful in claiming that “enhanced” techniques produced actionable intelligence that could not have been obtained by traditional interrogation practices.  With strong support from President Obama, Brennan, who was the CIA Director, aggressively fought publication of the Senate report.  Here’s Senator Udall:

“The CIA has lied to its overseers and the public, destroyed and tried to hold back evidence, spied on the Senate, made false charges against our staff, and lied about torture and the results of torture. And no one has been held to account. … There are right now people serving at high-level positions at the agency who approved, directed, or committed acts related to the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.”

Mr. Brennan is now publicly insisting that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. What, however, was CIA Director Brennan saying when the alleged Russian meddling was taking place? Did he warn President Obama? Did he warn the leaders of the Congress? According to press reports Mr. Brennan did brief Democrat Senator Harry Reid on ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and Reid then wrote FBI Director James Comey demanding an investigation. However, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee has said he was not given the same briefing as Senator Reid. Introducing the weight of national intelligence into partisan politics, as Mr. Brennan appears to have done in his official capacity, is forbidden activity.

We have all held clearances and deeply believe in the importance of intelligence officers conducting themselves with professional integrity, particularly with regard to remaining unentangled in party politics. VIPS is comprised of men and women of highly diverse political views, from Republican to Democrat to Independent. We agree on one thing: when a professional intelligence officer obtains classified information they accept an obligation to appropriately report facts without regard to political leanings. This is not about being a Democrat or a Republican. It is about doing the job of unbiased intelligence analysis. That is why VIPS has, over the years, written memos challenging the intelligence basis for policies and decisions of George W. Bush and Barack Obama as well as Donald Trump.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:  

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Richard H. Black, Senator of Virginia, 13th District; Colonel US Army (ret.); Former Chief, Criminal Law Division, Office of the Judge Advocate General, the Pentagon (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Larry C. Johnson, former CIA and State Department Counter Terrorism officer

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, USA (ret) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at

August 30, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Seven detained Palestinian women activists from al-Khalil face Israeli persecution

Photo: Protest demands release of Palestinian women prisoners. Via Wattan TV
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – August 29, 2018

Seven Palestinian women from al-Khalil have been jailed by the Israeli occupation, with many held in intense, torturous interrogation for many weeks. The Israeli Shin Bet intelligence agency is now attempting to market these arrests in the media as an attack on “Hamas infrastructure” in al-Khalil in an attempt to justify the ongoing large-scale arrests targeting active Palestinian women in the city.

In addition to the main arrests targeting seven women, a number of other women were summoned to hours of interrogation before being released. Riyad al-Ashqar of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that all of the women work in social services, public activities, media work or at home with their families and that none are involved in Hamas’ political or military work. He said that the Shin Bet’s claims are an attempt to create a state of fear and terror to suppress Palestinian women’s participation in activities against the crimes of the occupation or supporting the Palestinian resistance.

The campaign against Palestinian women in al-Khalil began with the arrest of City Council member Suzan Abdel-Karim Owawi, 40, on 5 June. She was subjected to extensive, harsh interrogation that was extended repeatedly during that time. In addition to her public service as an elected official, she is a social activist who works to support Palestinian prisoners; she is married and the mother of four children.

Safa Abu Hussein, 36, was arrested next after Israeli occupation forces invaded her home and took her to interrogation. Her detention has been extended four times.

Rawda Mohammed Abu Aisha, 53, was next to be seized by occupation forces; she was seized when she drove to a checkpoint in Bethlehem and taken to interrogation.

The occupation forces also arrested Dima Said al-Karmi, 38, the widow of Nashat al-Karmi, a Hamas activist killed by Israeli occupation forces and the mother of an 8-year-old daughter. She was taken to Ashkelon detention center and interrogated harshly and extensively and deprived of sleep. During her interrogation, she fainted on multiple occasions. Her detention has also been repeatedly extended.

Lama Khater, 42, is a Palestinian writer who was seized on 24 July by Israeli occupation forces after they invaded her family home. She was deprived of sleep, insulted and threatened by Israeli interrogators at the Ashkelon detention center. The mother of five children – the youngest only 2 – she is a political analyst and writer whose work is widely published on newspapers and websites.

Saida Badr, 55, is the wife of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Mohammed Badr, 61, who has spent many years in Israeli prison including a recent sentence in administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Finally, Sonia Hamouri, 40, a university lecturer, was seized from her family home in al-Khalil on 14 August. A number of other women were also detained for several hours and interrogated.

The Israeli occupation is accusing the women of communicating information from Palestinians in exile to those inside occupied Palestine, especially activists in Hamas. They were also accused of doing social and charitable work in support of the movement by providing aid to the prisoners’ families.

Palestinian political parties and movements are labeled “illegal organizations” by the Israeli occupation, and thousands of Palestinians are jailed for allegedly supporting or belonging to these liberation movements. One of the most common charges against Palestinian prisoners is “membership in an illegal organization,” as participation in most major Palestinian political movements is criminalized by the colonial occupation.

These seven women are among a total of approximately 63 Palestinian women prisoners, including several held without charge or trial under administrative detention, such as parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar and student Fidaa Akhalil.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

France demands that Israel releases French citizen

French-Palestinian activist Salah Hamouri [salah_hamouri/Twitter]
MEMO | August 25, 2018

The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris has pointed out that a year has elapsed since the arrest of French citizen Salah Hamouri by Israel. France is still concerned about his administrative detention, which has been extended until 30 September, said a spokeswoman.

Speaking during a press conference, she revealed that President Emmanuel Macron has discussed this issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on several occasions and called for an end to Hamouri’s detention. He is held with neither charge nor trial, and administrative detention also denies him the right to know the charges brought against him, does not respect his normal legal rights and does not allow his family to visit him, not even his wife and son. The French official noted that these demands have always been discussed with the Israeli authorities in order to have them met.

“Hamouri will continue to enjoy the consular protection granted by the Vienna Convention,” she explained. “This has allowed French officials to visit him regularly since his arrest, which will also continue until he is released.” The unnamed spokeswoman stressed France’s demand for Israel to respect all of its citizen’s rights.

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Detained Journalist Released Under Strict Conditions

IMEMC | August 22, 2018

Israeli Authorities released a Palestinian journalist from the central West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday evening after forcing him to pay a fine, in addition to preventing him for working in his profession for two months.

The journalist, Ala’ Rimawi, was abducted, along with three other reporters, on July 30th, 2018, for working for the Palestinian Al-Quds Satellite News Agency, after the military and the Israeli political leadership, decided to classify it as a “terrorist agency.”

The three other journalists have been identified as Hosni Anjass, Mohammad Alwan and Qoteiba Hamdan.

It is worth mentioning that Rimawi launched a hunger strike on the first day of his imprisonment on July 30th, 2018.

The ruling to release Rimawi was made by the military court in Ofer prison, built on Palestinian lands in Betunia city, west of Ramallah; the Israeli prosecutor’s office filed three appeals demanding keeping the journalist in prison.

The court ordered the detainee to pay a 10.000 Israeli Shekels fine, in addition to preventing him from resuming his journalism profession, and forcing him under house arrest, for two months.

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

US Inmates Strike to End ‘Prison Industrial Slave Complex’

Sputnik – August 22, 2018

Prisoners in 17 US states are striking on Tuesday, August 21, on the anniversary of the death of Black Panther prison organizer George Jackson. Inmates are engaging in work stoppages and hunger strikes, among other methods, in a bid to push for better conditions, more rights and an end to prison slavery.

The strike will continue until September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 uprising at Attica Correctional Facility in New York.

A prisoner who helped organize the strike told Sputnik News in April that they’re looking to dismantle the “prison industrial slave complex.” He is incarcerated at Lee Correctional Facility in South Carolina, which saw the deadliest event in US prison history in the past 25 years on April 15. Seven people were killed and more than 20 were injured during the revolt. The strike is meant to protest that violence, as well as poor living conditions in US prisons and the practice of slave labor there.

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery — at least that’s what most Americans think. In reality, it forbade “slavery [and] involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime.”

That means that in effect, slavery is an ongoing phenomenon in America. Prisoners make all kinds of goods, typically for a rate spanning between zero and a few dollars a day. License plates, textiles, Starbucks coffee cups and many consumer products of are made, at a subsidized rate, often for large corporations, by prisoners. California’s detained workforce has more than 2,000 inmates battling wildfires, including almost 60 minors. They’re making $3 a day as they risk their lives, yet are also forbidden from joining fire departments after their release.

Karen Smith of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a group formed in 2014 “as a result of the prison organizing that’s been going on since 2010,” by formerly incarcerated members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, spoke with Sputnik News on the eve of the strike.

“It became apparent to the IWW that this struggle that incarcerated, working-class brothers and sisters were engaged in was our struggle, and needed a cohesive group to address its needs and to organize alongside them,” she said.

Groups including IWOC, the Free Alabama Movement, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and Fire Inside have been working with prisoners to organize the strike, which forced all 11 prisons run by the New Mexico Department of Corrections into lockdown Tuesday afternoon.

At the Hyde Correctional Institution in North Carolina, three prisoners were designated as strike organizers and are “facing threats of administrative repression,” IWOC said in a statement.

“Retaliation comes in the form of physical abuse, restricted movement, getting sentenced to solitary confinement — getting your status changed; here in Florida it’s called ‘closed management,” Smith told Sputnik. “Many people who were at the forefront of the prisoner resistance movement here in Florida were labelled a ‘security threat group’ and placed in closed management,” she said before the strike.

“Some of them have been set up with knives and cellphones placed in their belongings, or near them in their dorm, and now are placed in closed management for a year and a half, meaning solitary confinement. Restricted commissary. Phone calls, maybe once a week. They only get to shower at very limited times. And they get taken out one hour a day, if that even happens. I get tons of reports that that doesn’t happen. Or, they go to a slightly larger cage, or a small yard, for an hour before they get put back into confinement. People have lost their visitation [rights]; I’ve lost my visitation rights. People’s personal property is taken, which is, you know, huge when all you have is the photos of your family — the case that you might be in the middle of working on, which so many incarcerated people are — fighting for the freedom.”

Prisoners have 10 demands in 2018. The first and foremost is an improvement to conditions in prisons so that they “recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women. “Prisoners are tired of the conditions that are breeding violence. Prisoners are tired of the conditions that are breeding hopelessness, and at the end of the day we feel this system, it needs to be changed,” the prisoner at Lee told Sputnik News.

He began by noting the “restrictions” placed on prisoners and the “collective punishment” prison officials hand down over individual infractions. He bemoaned that prisoners are “being warehoused” with “no movement.”

“All they see of their former lives,” Smith said, “is the sky.”

“To get outside and to have sunshine and fresh air, that is a minimal human right,” she said. “And movement already being restricted to a dorm, or a nine by seven cell, for a year and a half, that does immeasurable damage to a person. It also feeds into the dehumanization that the system relies on: breaking people down, separating them from each other, isolating them. People who are already marginalized, already isolated in a lot of ways.”

When it comes to criminals, “it’s easy to sweep their needs aside.”

Americans consider them “less than, this sort of subhuman status that criminals have in our society. The fact that there’s so many of them, people with felony convictions, I think now it can’t be ignored. This label, ‘criminal,’ has been used to oppress and exploit people since the dawn of this country and before that, definitely since the end of slavery in our country,” Smith told Sputnik News.

The strike also calls for the rescinding of three pieces of legislation passed in the 1980s and 1990s that prisoners say rob them of proper channels to address their grievances and prohibit them from ever receiving rehabilitation and parole, thereby making them “sentenced to death by incarceration.” The inmate Sputnik News spoke with said that part of what’s causing tensions in prisons is people being handed “forever sentences” over petty offenses.

Another listed demand calls for an end to “racial overcharging, over-sentencing and parole denials,” noting that black people convicted of crimes against white victims are particularly targeted this way, especially “in southern states.” Other demands call for more rehabilitation services and voting rights.

“Work stoppages are just one of the forms of direct action that prisoners engage in; the others being boycotts, sit-ins, hunger strikes. I think work strikes — it’s a commodity that incarcerated people have access to. They’re forced to work. So it’s a leverage. The prison system relies on them for it to run,” Smith said.

“One of the things we decided, is that part of this is to be work stoppages. What we know is that we have to figure out how to economically impact the system; we’ve got to that point,” the incarcerated man said.

Prisoners are refusing to make telephone calls, which come at huge financial costs, and foregoing use of the commissary, which helps them eat enough food in the face of small portions served by the cafeteria. Prisoners complain of being extorted by commissary prices. According to prison reporter Brian Sonenstein of Shadowproof, a can of soup can cost more than $15.

“We feel that economic boycott, which is why we call for boycott as well through our strike, is more than enough and sufficient to make a serious statement. Usually during the month of August prisoners in certain states and counties already start boycotting anyways; it’s just not publicized a lot,” the prisoner at Lee said. “A lot of prisoners are refusing the little luxuries that we usually have here. We start to forsake those things. So this is one reason we definitely wanted to do it, because we feel like it’s the next right step to take, the next right step to get prisons into the mindframe of stop spending, stop letting these people exploit our families, our friends and even ourselves. Stop exploiting us, because our money, our family, is what keeps the system going. It’s all based on dollars. Everything at the end of the day is based on money. I wish I could say it was based on restorative justice, but it’s not. It’s based on money.”

He added that boycotts “build up the collective struggle.”

The uprising at Lee, the inmate there told Sputnik News, came after 10 days of things reaching a boiling point. “Bad food, bad attitudes from the officers, bad attitudes from the occupants, no movement. They’re constantly taking from us, constantly locking us down — these are the things that began to fill the atmosphere,” he said.

According to the inmate, the violence broke out after guards set up a “gladiator match” between inmates. Guards “watched the bodies pile up” from behind a fence, he said. As he understands it, it’s “policy” in South Carolina.

Similar reports from Oklahoma of guards setting up a “gladiator school” have also surfaced recently, Sputnik News reported.

“With the gang situation, in Florida, we see them shipping people to camps in order to stir conflict to ‘take care’ of people,” Smith told Sputnik News.

Traci Fant of the prison advocacy group Freedom Fighters Upstate South Carolina told local media that since the uprising, inmates at Lee “can’t urinate or defecate in the toilet, because they have to drink the toilet water.” One video posted to Facebook by the group shows inmates inside Lee complaining of the smell of urine and feces, and trash cluttering the hallways.

“At Florida State prison, which is right up the road where our death row is housed, prisoners in several wings in the confinement dorms, which are two-man cells, their toilets are controlled by a flush button that is on the wall at the end of their unit, which the officer has control of, and they use it as a punishment,” Smith said. “They will not flush the toilets, and people are sitting their own feces and urine with hundred-degree temperatures in Florida for days.”

In May, South Carolina officials responded to the uprising by instituting a drone surveillance system. The drones, equipped with night vision and heat-sensing capabilities, add to the already expensive security infrastructure, which includes two guard towers — constructed in part by inmates — at a cost of $237,000. It’s difficult to understand why the drones are viewed as necessary at Lee, as the prison already had a $2.2 million camera system, also with night vision and heat sensing tech, that covers the entire prison.

“The response to that tragedy that left seven dead and so many injured was to ramp up technology to interrupt cell phone signals,” Smith said. “That’s their response to that tragedy; that’s what they see as wrong with that situation: not the deaths, not the violence. That’s status quo in the prison system. It’s the fact that word got out about it.”

​Smith noted the discrepancy in spending further: “You can’t get food that is decent or even unspoiled, yet they have those rods for prisoners to walk around that will go off if there’s a cellphone within distance. Major technology that’s interrupting communication [is paid for], yet aspirin is their entire healthcare system at most.”

She called on people to support the strike by spreading the word and contacting prison officials to complain. Currently, IWOC is holding call-in campaigns to do just that. “We need to change our culture,” she said, “Here in Florida, we have a whole unique beast that we’re fighting, where prison guards are actual Ku Klux Klan members, and it’s not criminal for guards to boil people alive — those are what our headlines look like down here.”

“Without outside support, the inside movement dies,” she said. “They don’t have a chance, because nobody is paying attention, and if we don’t take it upon ourselves to pay attention and to contribute to the narrative — and the narrative is being shaped solely by prison administrators, and the people who profit off of prisoners. That narrative has been sold to use for decades, and it’s time that we take it over and have it represent the actual needs of the people.”

The strike follows a long line of similar protests in prisons. In January and February, prisoners in Florida went on strike in a move called Operation PUSH. In 2016, prisoners went on strike in 24 states on September 9.

“The prison resistance movement has been around forever; since — I always like to say — since the Africans came off the slave boats here, the prison resistance movement has been around. It only solidified with the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the prisoner at Lee said. “There has been a fighting element in the prisons ever since then. There’s been strikes and boycotts.”

“We all consider it part of a budding movement that’s continuing on until — in my viewpoint, we’re looking for abolition at the end of the day,” he said. “Prisoners are tired of the conditions that are breeding violence. Prisoners are tired of the conditions that are breeding hopelessness, and at the end of the day, we feel this system, it need to be changed.”

August 21, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , | 2 Comments

Gaza and the ‘Great March of Return’

Wikimedia Commons/gloucester2gaza
By Ron Forthofer | Boulder Weekly | August 2, 2018

The illegal Israel blockade of Gaza begun in 2007 and the three major Israeli attacks on Gaza since then have created a living hell for Palestinians there. In 2006, before the siege was implemented, Dov Weisglass, senior advisor to then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said the goal for Gaza was “to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

Despite Israeli claims, Gaza is an occupied territory and, in actuality, Palestinians and their leadership have little control over their lives. For example, Israel, abetted by Egypt, controls all of Gaza’s borders and determines what and who may or may not enter the area. Israel’s control has turned Gaza into what many call the “largest open-air prison in the world” while others call it a concentration camp.

Making matters worse, the two major Palestinian groups, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, have been at odds for years and their in-fighting adds to the incredible hardships Gazans face.

In 2012, the UN issued a report saying that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020. In 2017, the group Save the Children said it considered Gaza to be unlivable then. Among the many things it cited are:

  • Gaza struggling with just two to four hours of electricity per day.
  • 741 schools struggling to function without electricity.
  • Breakdown of health and emergency services putting children’s lives at risk.
  • Water-borne diseases increasing because of power shortages.
  • Environmental disaster due to untreated sewage.
  • Children unable to sleep, study or play.

With the above background, let’s now consider the Palestinian ‘Great March of Return’. This march  is a grassroots-led and mainly peaceful effort despite the media’s attempt to portray it as a cynical and violent Hamas ploy.

The media coverage, besides being biased, is also incomplete in that it seldom considers the reasons that led Gazans to participate in this resistance action and to return week after week. Generally, as shown above, Palestinians in Gaza face dire living conditions. In addition, many have lost confidence in the Palestinian leadership that has been unable to bring about relief. Thus the grassroots are organizing and acting. In particular, Palestinians are:

1) protesting the illegal Israeli siege that will likely bring about the ethnic cleansing of Gaza;

2) standing up for their internationally recognized right of return to their former homes or for compensation for their losses; and

3) protesting the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The Israeli reaction to this mainly peaceful march was to have well-protected snipers firing from long range into crowds and even at people away from the protest. The media desperately tried to justify this reaction.

Only one side was shooting and killing/wounding large numbers of people. Some Palestinians, against the stated desire of the grassroots organizers, have thrown rocks or flown burning kites over the fence setting some fields on fire.

To date, the Israeli snipers have killed 136 Palestinians including women, children, press, doctors and nurses and wounded over 14,000 whereas one Israeli soldier was slightly wounded when hit by a rock.

Unfortunately, perhaps these killings could have been or were foreseen. For example, in 2004, Arnon Soffer, a Haifa University demographer and advisor to Ariel Sharon, said: “when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. … The pressure at the border will be awful. … So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day….If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist.”

This abominable Israeli behavior towards Palestinians will continue as long as the US provides political cover at the UN, vetoing resolutions that would impose any penalties on Israel for its crimes. The most effective current approach for changing Israeli behavior is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

Israel falsely claims that BDS is anti-Semitic and that BDS is also challenging its legitimacy. Unfortunately, similar to this false claim, the anti-Semitic charge has been so abused, like the boy who cried wolf, that there is an increased risk many will ignore the claim even in cases when the charge is actually warranted.

Regarding Israel’s legitimacy, it is Israel’s own brutal and illegal policies that are delegitimizing it. Support BDS to change this intolerable situation.

– Ron Forthofer, Ph.D. is a retired professor of biostatistics and an activist with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, CO.

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

2-minute video about mother and toddler killed in Gaza by Israeli forces

If Americans Knew

On August 9, 2018, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed Enas Khammash, 23, and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan. Enas was nine-months pregnant with another daughter, whom she had named Hayat, Arabic for “Life.”

U.S. news media paid little attention to these deaths, rarely even reporting their names.

Virtually all framed their news stories as Israel allegedly “responding” to Palestinian attacks, despite the fact that Israeli forces had first killed two Palestinians in the recent round of violence, and that Israeli forces have killed 172 Gazans in the past four+ months (including children, medics, women, journalists, etc), while Gazan resistance fighters have killed one Israeli (a soldier).

For a list of Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000, see this Timeline.

For all If Americans Knew Timeline videos see this playlist.

Congress is currently voting on a $28 billion aid package to Israel, which the US media has also failed to inform Americans about. This is the largest such aid package in US history. Learn more here.

August 11, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , | 1 Comment