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Updates: some U.S. political prisoners January 2019


By John Bart Gerald | Night’s Lantern | January 12, 2019

Writing from another country I remember the Americans I’m supposed to forget, those forced into the lives that made them prisoners or simply targets of law enforcement programs. Some are religious people, Christians and Muslims. Many were Black Panthers. Some were and are radicals. Most are Americans. All cared for their communities and people. They were condemned by society at large. Under the FBI’s COINTELPRO activists in the Sixties and Seventies political and community movements but particularly the Black Panthers were targeted and hunted and engaged in fire-fights by law enforcement. Any police casualty brought charges of murder in court. How many community leaders were convicted for killing a police person? And yet through many years have maintained their innocence despite the mechanism which increases the chance for parole if a crime is confessed and regretted. One reason I don’t forget them is because I don’t really believe they’re guilty. Here are updates for some political prisoners in the U.S.. (1)

Among U.S. political prisoners with the roots of imprisonment in the last century, is Rap Brown (Hubert Gerold Brown), known today as Imam Jamil Al-Amin. As a young leader he was pissed, acerbic and unafraid. His late speeches are devout, eloquent, historically wise, American, concerned with the survival of his people, and religiously humble. His rhetoric frightened U.S. law enforcement since the 1960’s. Convicted of murdering a police person (a crime confessed to by someone else with accuracy, three times – then recanted), maintaining his own innocence Al-Amin was sentenced in 2002 to life imprisonment without parole. Placed in a maximum security prison and principally in solitary confinement far from friends, supporters, family for years, he was transferred to Eastern U.S. prisons for medical treatment with several medical conditions which the prison system was slow to diagnose and treat. He was found to have a rare form of blood cancer. His writings are suppressed. He’s not permitted interviews.(2) With 16 years in prison, currently an appeal of his conviction slowly makes its way through appeals court. I think he’s silenced because he’s a wise man. Wasted by his country yet of deep human value he continues to frighten the establishment because he provides a bridge of peace between Islam and Christianity. When the struggle becomes conscious then we understand that we don’t have an option. Struggle is the price you pay for your soul. We all doing life without parole.   – Imam Jamil Al-Amin

Abu Hamza al-Masri, born Mustafa Kamel Mustafa in Egypt, is a British Imam with a reputation for hating people he considers enemies of Islam. He was extradited to the U.S. to face trial in a Manhattan court not too far from the former World Trade Center(s), for alleged war related crimes in Yemen, Afghanistan and Oregon. At his trial the jury wasn’t allowed to hear substantial evidence of his work for M-15 British Intelligence. Allegations against him were not based on any violence he committed but on his alleged responsibility for crimes; most of the evidence presented was his words, sermons, statements, opinions, feelings, his freedom of expression.(3) He wasn’t found guilty of hate speech but of 11 counts of terrorism, and he is serving a life-without-parole sentence in the U.S. supermax prison, ADX Florence Colorado, essentially in solitary confinement, in “a cage like cell.” Since apparently the conditions of his incarceration violate human rights law prohibitions against torture and degrading treatment,(4) contravening the conditions of his extradition from Europe to the U.S., the Imam has appealed for removal to prison in Great Britain. He is blind and missing both hands which were lost in an explosion when he was younger (British media have continually referred to him as “the Hook”). With diabetes and psoriasis as well, under U.S. prison conditions at ADX Florence the stumps of his arms become continually infected.

An American, a Robert F. Wagner High School and Brooklyn College graduate who earned his M.A. in international relations in London, Fahad Hashmi, as a Muslim was targeted for association with radical friends and was extradited from England to New York, held in solitary for three years before trial, was threatened with a 70 year sentence for storing a friend’s luggage which held clothing for Al-Quaeda, and was sentenced on a plea bargain to 15 years which he is serving at ADX Florence, the supermax facility. Relying on technicalities and the prisoner’s innocence, the prosecution and imprisonment of Fahad Hashmi affirmed American law but betrayed American justice.

In 2018 Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom) was denied parole for the 9th time. According to Jericho New York he “was convicted of the 1971 murders of two New York City police officers, a crime for which he accepted responsibility and demonstrated remorse. During his 47 years in prison, Jalil earned two college degrees and served as a counselor, teacher and role model for other incarcerated people. Jalil is a rehabilitated individual who poses no risk to the community. He will be appealing this very disappointing decision.”(5)

Held for 22 years in solitary confinement in 2016 former Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz won through a legal action against Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections his reprieve from continual solitary confinement, as well as $99,000; his case commenced in 1973 protested the prison’s cruel and unusual punishment. The United Nations Special rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez noted the conditions of Shoatz’s imprisonment as outside a civilized norm.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur (Jeral Wayne Williams) once of the Black Liberation Army (Black Panthers) was sentenced in 1988 to sixty years on RICO conspiracy charges and for bank robberies which involved deaths of guards and police. Led to believe he would be released Feb. 10, 2016 due to laws in force at the time, he wasn’t released and was given a parole hearing for Dec.16, 2016, his 8th. Parole was denied. The government is suspected of psychologically tormenting the well-respected Dr. Shakur so that he might confess to masterminding the 1979 prison escape of Assata Shakur. In March 2018 Mutulu Shakur filed suit against the federal government for his release alleging violation of his First Amendment Rights (principally his free speech) by the Parole Board as the reason for denying his release. (6)

Arrested in April 1985, according to Wikipedia Thomas William Manning is expected to complete his current prison term in 2020, at which point he is to begin his next prison term of 80 years for another set of charges including the murder of a New Jersey police officer. Manning was convicted of shooting back after the officer emptied his gun at Manning and his group of families. The inhumanity of the sentencing was always intended to render the prisoner without hope. Attempts to trash and humiliate Tom Manning, American, a Vietnam veteran, and each of the Ohio Seven (“United Freedom Front”, “Sam Melville Brigade”) suggests the bitter hostility of the system to white working class people if they assert both socialism and a brotherhood of black and white. In prison Manning has held to uncompromised anti-racist, American truths strongly, constantly, with hope, paintings and words. In 2006 a show of his artwork was canceled by a timorous University of Maine. (7)

Jaan Laaman, also of the “Ohio Seven” (“United Freedom Front”, “Sam Melville Brigade”), is serving a 53 year prison term, following a 45 year prison term. Both by court action and example he has become known as an advocate for rights of freedom of expression for prisoners, in 1977 winning his State Supreme Court case against the New Hampshire State Prison to receive his reading materials which is said to have opened prisoner education programs through New Hampshire. He is a founder of the website 4strugglemag.org, an outlet for prison writing. On March 21, 2017, he was placed in solitary confinement for violating communications protocols (issuing of statements which apparently the prison system did not favour). He’s also threatened with transfer to a CMU (Communications Management Unit) to completely segregate his communications from the outside world.(8)

The histories of John Africa’s movement and Mumia Abu-Jamal have been interwoven from the start in the tragedies which took people of faith from their lives and community, where the children of some were shot by police, where community workers and pragmatic idealists were ground up by the system’s violence. From one perspective they were falsely accused honest people, put in jail under insufferable sentences to silence them about the crimes committed against John Africa’s “family” by the Philadelphia police. The best known witness Mumia Abu-Jamal who reported on the police bombing of the MOVE residence by Philadelphia police was subsequently charged with murder of a police officer and placed on death row. The injustices of his charges and trials, and courts and judges and incarcerations and threats of death against all of them are a grocery list of white racism to keep the black community in line, and Mumia Abu-Jamal’s history is mythic in his survival over death row, beating his medical death sentence beating the silence imposed on him, to become one of the best known writers and revolutionary writers-from-prison in history. Under a ruling Dec. 28, 2018 by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge, Leon Tucker, Mumia Abu-Jamal is finally granted an opportunity to argue for his freedom in a retrial. Judge Tucker found that the judge who presided over Abu-Jamal’s previous and thought to be final appeal should have recused himsef. (9) A day later six cartons of materials thought to be related to Mumia’s case were discovered in the Philadelphia D.A.’s storage room. After assessment and if necessary these may provide Abu-Jamal’s lawyers with leverage for additional appeals.(10)

Mike Africa of the MOVE 9 was finally released on parole Oct. 23, 2018. One of nine MOVE members convicted to 30 years imprisonment for the killing of one police officer who died of a single bullet wound in a police storming of the MOVE home; MOVE members were generally without arms and living under a peaceful ethic and it was always possible that the police officer was killed in the storm of gunfire from his fellow officers. Historically, the severity of the sentencing seems to have been an attempt to silence witnessing of the many police crimes in the Philadelphia Police’s handling of John Africa’s community group.

Compared to others here the Kings Bay Plowshares are up against comparatively short sentences for comparatively harmless actions. The religious basis of their protest against the full power of nuclear militarized America is also problematic, in that they were arrested because they chose to confront the government, rather than through the government’s need to oppress them. For nearly half a century the Plowshares movement has broken the security of Nuclear submarines, missile silos and facilities to hammer on nuclear weapons, beating swords into plowshares. Their symbolic acts of faith are like prayer a worship of something stronger and more sacred than the weapons of mass destruction and as a group its members have, without injuring others been sent to prison for months to several years at a time. They’re a help to the anti-prison movement in that they’re innocent of crimes against other people and yet are condemned and treated as criminal. At their King’s Bay Florida action April 4, 2018 having presented their passion play for Christ carrying real hammers, real blood amid real nuclear weapons they were arrested with a sign quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide,” and began their long tedious journey through a court system challenging the faith of those in the court system. Once a decision is made concerning the “religious freedom motions” (the defendants were allowed the opportunity to present the court with the religious motivation for their actions as pleas for dismissal), the case could be dismissed or a trial date set before the end of January.(11)

In 2003 Dr. Rafil Dhafir was taken from his medical practice in upstate New York and sentenced to 22 years, not for any alleged violence but for sending medical supplies to the children of Iraq, victims of the U.S. and Coalition bombing campaigns. He was born in Iraq. His attempts to alleviate the suffering of the children there by supplying medicines, was in no way wrong though through misuse and misapplication of the law was made illegal. Medical supplies were wrongly embargoed. Dr. Dhafir as a Muslim, was referred to as a suspected terrorist by New York’s Governor Pataki . To avoid his appearance as a humanitarian the FBI also prosecuted him for medicare fraud and money laundering. Dr. Dhafir donated over a million dollars of his own for medical supplies to children. When a petition for Executive Clemency was prepared for him he refused to ask for mercy as a criminal because he committed no crime. Under Federal guidelines Dr. Dhafir is eligible because of his age for release since he has served at least 10 years (16 years in February) but his release requires the warden’s approval; that hasn’t happened. Katherine Hughes followed the injustices of Dr. Dhafir’s arrest, trial and conviction.(12) She quotes Dennis Halliday who resigned as chief of the UN’s Humanitarian Aid program in Iraq, 1997-98, because he found the sanctions against Iraq, genocide. Of Dr. Dhafir he said, “I am stunned by the conviction of this humanitarian, especially as the US State Department breached its own sanctions to the tune of $10 billion. The policy of sanctions against Iraq undermined not only the UN’s own charter, but the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention as well.” Dr. Dhafir was obeying humanitarian law. By denying medical supplies to a civilian population it had decimated, the U.S. was violating the Convention on Genocide. Dr. Dhafir was placed in prison because he was innocent, and because the U.S. legal system has been denying its people the use of the Nuremberg defense, the citizen’s need to counter his or her country’s acts of genocide.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui suffered a very strange conviction by a New York City jury which found her guilty of attempting to assault and murder the U.S. military personnel who were holding her prisoner in Afghanistan. As their prisoner Ms. Siddiqui was shot by them in the stomach. Tried in New York the young mother of three was peculiarly sentenced by a New York City judge to 86 years in prison. Currently the Government of Pakistan is attempting to counter this madness by seeking her return to serve the rest of her sentence in her own country. There is evidence that she has been additionally damaged in U.S. government custody. She was able to complain of physical abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of prison officials in Texas, to Pakistan’s consul general. She accused male prison staff of urinating on things belonging to her. The gratuitous severe abuse of Ms. Siddiqui by U.S. authorities is not traditionally American and may be a psyops program to dehumanize Muslims, women or both, preparing the public for greater indecencies.

Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz, an Hispanic community leader who ran for Governor of Texas for the Raza Unida Party in 1972 and 1974, was multiply arrested in 1994 on what seemed to be manufactured drug charges and was sentenced to life without parole. The Raza Unida Party was hurt badly and may have been the government’s target when it incapacitated Muñiz. He and his wife have always asserted his innocence and lobbied many years for his pardon and release. Now ill, on Dec. 10, 2018 he was released from Lexington Federal Medical Center (Kentucky) “on compassionate grounds under federal supervision.”(13)

Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda (whose nom de guerre is Simón Trinidad) was extradited to the U.S. when captured as a rebel FARC leader in Colombia. A Colombian professor and peace strategist, accounts of U.S. government trials against him reveal juries that wouldn’t convict him, numerous mistrials and one confused conviction for holding 3 Americans hostage (in a war zone controlled by FARC forces) for which he was sentenced to sixty years. Wikipedia reports that he’s held in the ADX Florence Colorado supermax prison in solitary confinement. Colombia’s civil war is officially at peace. He’s a prisoner of war after the war is over, If released and deported he would face multiple charges under the current Colombian government.

Anayibe Rojas Valderrama of FARC with the war name,”Sonia,” was captured in Colombia in 2004, and extradited by the Americans to face drug charges. She was convicted on drug charges Feb. 20, 2007 in Washington D.C. to serve a sentence of 16 years. After serving 11 she was released on good behaviour and deported to Colombia last August where she was immediately charged with money laundering.(14)

On May 17, 2017.Oscar López Rivera was released from prison by President Obama. The Puerto Rican nationalist had served 55 years in U.S. prisons.

Initially eligible for parole in 1998 but denied parole ten times, Robert Seth Hayes was finally granted parole July 24, 2018, after 45 years in prison.

Endnotes

1. My most recent essay updating American political prisoners appeared in 2016: “The torture of U.S. political prisoners: some updates” (2016), nightslantern.ca].

2. “The unofficial gag order of Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown): 16 years in prison, still not allowed to speak,” Obaid H. Siddiqui, June 30, 2018, SF BayView.

3. “Abu Hamza found guilty of 11 terrorism charges,” Karen McVeigh, May 20, 2014, The Guardian.

4. “Hate preacher Abu Hamza: US prison is too tough,” Callum Adams, Dec. 17, 2017, The telegraph.

5. “Jalil Muntaqim Denied Parole Once Again!” Current. https://jerichony.org/.

6. “Tupac’s Father, Mutulu Shakur , files Lawsuit against the U.S. Government for Illegally Holding Him in Prison,” Sha Be Allah, March 29, 2018, thesource.com.

7. A background note: in the 1970’s Manning and his group which included several Vietnam veterans, worked out of an alternative bookstore in Portland Maine, community organizing, caring for prisoners and their families, antiwar and anti-racist. Portland police discovered a death squad in police ranks with the intention of disappearing the group. The bookstore was broken into, an employee raped, and they were under continuing threat from the KKK.

8. “Political prisoner Jaan Laaman is still being held in segregation,” staff, May 25, 2017, 4strugglemag.

9. “Judge: Mumia Abu-Jamal can reargue appeal in 1981 Philly police slaying,” Bobby Allyn, Dec. 28, 2018, WhyY News.

10. “A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case,” Dave Lindorff, Jan. 11, 2019, Counterpunch.

11. “Update on the Kings Bay Plowshares,” Dec 27, 2018 / “Legal Update,” Bill Quigley, Nov. 19, 2018, The Nuclear Resister.

12. “Is this Fairness? Is this Justice? Post-9/11 Muslim Charity Prosecution,” Katherine Hughes, Sept. 20, 2014, Truthout. Her website DhafirTrial is recommended.

13. “Hispanic activist Ramsey Muniz free after 24 years in prison,” AP, Jan. 9, 2019, KRISTV.COM.

14. “No Peace in Colombia as ex-FARC Guerrilla Sonia Awaits Release From US Prison,” W.T. Whitney, July 30, 2018, counterpunch; “Tras ser deportada a Colombia, alias “Sonia” será procesada por lavado de activos,” Judicial, Sept. 25, 2018, El Espectador.

Graphic by Julie Maas

January 16, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

French Riot Police Deploy Semi-Automatic Weapons Against Yellow Vests As Macron Loses Grip On Country

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/15/2019

French riot police were pictured brandishing Heckler & Koch G36 semi-automatic rifles with 30-round magazines near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Saturday afternoon, reports the Daily Mail.

French riot police brandishing H&K G36 semi-automatic rifle

The deployment of rifles with presumably live ammunition visible through the magazine is an intimidating escalation as President Emmanuel Macron continues to lose his grip over France following nine weeks of country-wide protests by the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement.

The Gilet Jaunes began as a demonstration against a climate change-linked fuel tax, which quickly morphed into a general anti-government protest against the Macron administration and the world’s highest taxes. We’re sure France’s plege to send 1 billion euros to rebuild Iraq will help calm them down.

Yellow Vest demonstrator Gilles Caron told the Mail “The CRS with the guns were wearing riot control helmets and body armour – they were not a specialised firearms unit,” adding “Their job was simply to threaten us with lethal weapons in a manner which is very troubling. We deserve some explanations.”

A French National Police spokesman confirmed that the CRS were equipped with H&K G36s on Saturday, but would not discuss their operational use ‘for security reasons’.

A G36 was stolen from inside a police van during a similar Yellow Vest demonstration by the Arc de Triomphe on December 1.

A number of vehicles belonging to the 21stIntervention Company of the Paris Prefecture were stormed, suggesting that the theft was an opportunistic one during a day of intense violence, when the Arc de Triomphe itself was vandalised. –Daily Mail

Former French conservative minister Luc Ferry called for live rounds to be used against the Yellow Vest “thugs” who “beat up police,” such as this former pro heavyweight boxer, 37-year-old Christophe Dettinger who was arrested after squaring off with several French police officers.

#GiletsJaune très forte mobilisation à #Paris le peuple en colère force les barrages de police #Acte8 #ActeVIII #05janvier #05janvier2019 pic.twitter.com/BSnVj6glKL

— LINE PRESS (@LinePress) January 5, 2019

Ferry – a full time philosopher now, said: “What I don’t understand is that we don’t give the means to the police to put an end to this violence.” When challenged with the suggestion that the guns might lead to bloodshed, Ferry said: “So what? Listen, frankly, when you see guys beating up an unfortunate policeman on the floor, that’s when they should use their weapons once and for all! That’s enough.

What the H&K G36 looks like in action:

January 15, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

Israel orders administrative detention of martyr’s father

Palestine Information Center – January 14, 2019

RAMALLAH – The Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday issued a three-month administrative detention order against the Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Barghouti, the father of martyr Saleh al-Barghouti.

The Palestinian Prisoner Society said that Omar al-Barghouti, 66, has been subjected to harsh interrogation at al-Maskoubiyya detention center since he was arrested on 12 December 2018.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested al-Barghouti and dozens of Palestinian youths during a raid into Kobar village in Ramallah hours after they killed his son Saleh.

Al-Barghouti’s family have been subjected to collective punishment since the killing of Saleh. Most of the family members are currently held in Israeli jails, including al-Barghouti’s sons Asem, Asef, and Mohammed.

Omar al-Barghouti had spent over 26 years in Israeli lock-ups. He is the brother of the well-known Palestinian prisoner Nael al-Barghouti who is serving his 39th year in Israeli prisons.

January 14, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel coerces PA to accept ‘Deal of the Century’

MEMO | January 12, 2019

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said yesterday that Israel’s storming of Ramallah is an attempt to coerce it into accepting the “Deal of the Century”.

PA spokesman Yousef Al-Mahmoud said that “no power on the face of the earth can push the Palestinian people and their leadership to kneel down,” Safa news agency reported. Al-Mahmoud added: “The repeated invasions of Palestinian cities are attempts to undermine Palestinian sovereignty,” pointing to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings that it could “ignite wars”.

Al-Mahmoud continued: “Our people, with our leadership, announced a continuous confrontation with anything aiming to undermine our cause and against all the conspiracies aiming to undermine our efforts to achieve our freedom, independence and dream of a sovereign Palestinian state.”

The spokesman also blamed Israel for regional deterioration, pointing to its “continuous aggression, invasions and hunting of Palestinian people,” and the fact that it “unleashes the hands of the terrorist settlers to practice their terror under its official protection”.

The Israeli army has been invading the central West Bank city of Ramallah – the headquarters of the PA, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Fatah’s leadership. Israeli forces have carried out operations close to the residence of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, in the light of a complete absence of the PA security services or the president’s guards.

WATCH: Israeli occupation forces raid West Bank city of Ramallah

January 12, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump’s Nighttime Trip to Iraq Confirms the Debacle

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | January 11, 2019

What better proof of the Iraq debacle than President Trump’s middle-of-the-night trip to that country at Christmastime to visit U.S. troops who are still occupying the country some 15 years after the Pentagon and the CIA invaded?

The U.S. national-security establishment has had a decade-and-half to bring its federally planned paradise into existence. From the very first day of the U.S. conquest of Iraq, a country that had never attacked the United States, the Pentagon and the CIA wielded total control over the country, being able to install whatever type of regime they wanted, with no pesky constitutional restraints to inhibit whatever they wanted to do.

After 15 years of building their paradise with such things as bombs, bullets, arrests, raids, indefinite detention, torture (e.g., Abu Ghraib), and assassination, the U.S. commander in chief has to leave Washington under cover of secrecy and darkness, land in Iraq in the middle of the night, talk to the troops for just a short while, and then skedaddle back to Washington in fear of being shot at by some disgruntled Iraqi who opposes the foreign invasion and occupation of his country.

If that’s not pathetic, I don’t know what is. Why can’t a U.S. commander in chief bravely and courageously fly into Iraq during the daytime the same way he would fly into London? Why can’t he freely travel into Baghdad and stay at a local hotel for a few days? Why can’t he meet with whoever happens to be the current U.S. puppet who is running the Iraqi government? Why does Trump have to instead sneak in and quickly sneak out of a country that the Pentagon and the CIA have had 15 long deadly and destructive years to convert into a paradise?

After all, the president of Iran doesn’t do this. He flies into Baghdad, stays several days in a hotel, and takes the time to meet with Iraqi officials. But not Trump. He and his national-security team think that it would just be too dangerous to do that in the paradise that the Pentagon and the CIA have constructed over a period of 15 years.

For that matter, notice that not one member of Congress has ever taken one of the prized congressional junkets to Iraq. Not even a family vacation. What’s up with that? Wouldn’t you think that they would relish traveling to a country that has been invaded and occupied by troops who they never cease thanking for “their service” in Iraq?

If there is anything that should cause the American people to reject the conservative-liberal paradigm of foreign empire, intervention, regime-change, and wars of aggression, it should be Iraq. Trump’s sneaky in-and-out trip to visit the troops in Iraq 15 years after they invaded and began occupying the country and turning it into their paradise says it all.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Israel’s plan to ‘worsen conditions’ for Palestinian prisoners is an opportunity for unity

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | January 4, 2019

Depriving Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails of their basic rights is a “moral duty”, according to Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. News reports have confirmed that the Israeli cabinet has approved plans to “worsen conditions”, after Erdan set up a committee specifically tasked with devising “harsher” conditions for Palestinian prisoners involved in resistance activities.

Rationing water, eliminating cooking rights and visits to Palestinian prisoners, as well as halting the process of separating prisoners pertaining to different Palestinian political factions will be implemented in the coming weeks.

To put it briefly, Israel is aiming to enact the same violations that Palestinians experience outside prison. The only difference is the absence of community support for Palestinian prisoners.

According to Erdan: “We must make conditions worse [for prisoners] to fulfil our moral duty to terror victims and their families.”

Indeed Israel does have a moral obligation towards its settler population – dismantling the settler colonial state would eliminate the need for Palestinian anti-colonial resistance which is a right under international law. Instead of facing its responsibilities for creating a colonial entity on stolen territory and replacing the indigenous population with an assortment of complicit settlers, it has instead renewed its efforts to criminalise Palestinian resistance and invent premises upon which it seeks to extend its violation of Palestinian rights.

Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are already in a precarious situation. Revered as the epitomes of Palestinian resistance, yet their remembrance outside family circles often occurs at times when Israel announces additional oppressive measures. Not to mention the fact that some prisoners, or their fates, attract more publicity than others when it comes to raising awareness.

Erdan’s measures shift this focus which, in part, can be attributed to Israel and its singling out of individual prisoners to make the case for its alleged security concerns. Till now, the visibility of some Palestinian political prisoners has eclipsed the fate of the rest. Unfortunately, even well-intentioned activism has become ensnared in this façade. But the Palestinian struggle is a collective endeavour.

Differentiating between prisoners in terms of visibility has fractured Palestinian unity even further. As Israel moves to implement additional violations against all Palestinian political prisoners, the focus should be on supporting the Palestinian collective struggle.

Ironically, Erdan is also provoking a sense of unity among Palestinians. As the fine line between Israel’s human rights violations outside and behind bars blurs further, the distinction between Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people undergoes the same process. Israel is bringing the theft of water – this time by depriving prisoners of a basic right – to a space which is inhabited by Palestinians dedicated to resistance.

The response to these violations, therefore, cannot be limited to the usual perfunctory statements about Israel respecting and applying international law. Israel acts with impunity and the international community has already sealed the deal with tacit approval. Such violations call for a strategy which goes beyond a retaliatory response. The only way to do this is for Palestinian institutions to step down from their pedestals and acknowledge the people’s political power. For all intents and purposes, international law must come secondary to Palestinian demands.

See also:

Israel arrested 175 Palestinian women, girls in 2018

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 4 Comments

US wants Iranians to ‘have better lives’ with sanctions: Pompeo

Press TV – January 4, 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Washington’s tough sanctions against the Islamic Republic are aimed at giving the Iranian people a chance to have better lives.

“The sanctions on Iran have this ultimate goal: creating an outcome where the Iranian people can have better lives than they have today,” Pompeo told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

The administration of US President Donald Trump announced on November 5 the reimposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran’s banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil sales and crucial exports. The bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

While the US claims the bans do not target civilians and ordinary people, they are actually hampering the import of food and medicine to the country, endangering the lives of millions of patients in Iran.

Pompeo earlier told BBC Persian that Iranian officials must listen to Washington “if they want their people to eat.”

He also said since the re-introduction of the sanctions, there was no sign yet that Iranian officials would return to the negotiating table.

“We have provided, we have accommodated the Iranian people with our sanctions, and it’s now the Iranian government’s responsibility to make sure that they do the right thing…It’s their job to do the right thing for their people,” he noted.

In reaction to his comments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Pompeo’s open threat to starve the Iranian nation was “a crime against humanity” and “a desperate attempt to impose US whims on Iran.”

“Like his predecessors, he’ll also learn that—in spite of US efforts—Iran will not just survive but advance w/out sacrificing its sovereignty,” Zarif said.

US has ‘lots of things’ to work on with Turkey

In his interview with Newsmax TV, Pompeo also referred to Washington’s ties with Ankara, saying the US has “lots of things to work on with the Turks” and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“There are places where they are very supportive of the things that Americans care about, which keep Americans safe,” Pompeo said.

“There are other places where we have real concerns,” the secretary added. “We still have Americans who are being held there. The conversation with the Turks continues.”

Pompeo also announced that National Security Adviser John Bolton and Jim Jeffrey, special representative for Syrian engagement, will meet with Turkish officials next week “to talk about Syria.”

“There are lots of places where we need to work with President Erdogan and the Turkish leadership to get good outcomes for the United States.”

The comments came as the US is reportedly evacuating its military bases in Syria after President Trump pledged to pull American forces out of the war-torn Arab country.

America’s military presence in northern parts of Syria, where US troops are working closely with Kurdish groups, have drawn fire from Turkey.

Ankara has launched its own military incursion into Syria, with a declared goal of destroying Kurdish groups causing unrest in Turkish territories.

Upon announcing his decision to leave Syria, Trump said Turkey would be taking on the US military responsibilities in the country.

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 3 Comments

Mumia Abu-Jamal Wins Major Court Victory

By Jeff Mackler | CounterPunch | January 3, 2019

On December 27, Philadelphia Superior Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled in favor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, holding that the actions of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille demonstrated a “lack of impartiality” and “the appearance of bias.”

Tucker’s decision represents a major victory for Abu-Jamal that opens the door to a new trial–or dismissal of the murder charges against him–after an appeal to the Pennsylvania courts.

Incarcerated in 1981 in a racist frame-up murder trial of police officer Daniel Faulkner and on death row for most of the past 37 years, Mumia was a prize-winning journalist and today the author of 10 books on various aspects of the freedom struggle. His latest book, Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide, Manifest Destiny, 2017, co-authored by filmmaker Stephen Victoria (Long Distance Revolutionary, 2014) with a forward by Chris Hedges, is invaluable reading for revolutionary activists who seek the truth about capitalist imperialism’s centuries of horrors and the historic resistance against them.

Mumia’s freedom struggle has been supported by scores of trade unions across the U.S. and in Europe as well as by Amnesty International, the NAACP and numerous city council resolutions from San Francisco to Detroit.

Tucker’s 27-page ruling was in two parts. He held in Part Two that with regard to all of Mumia’s numerous denied Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) appeals between 1998 and 2014, Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille’s actions in campaigning for the Pennsylvania governor to sign death penalty warrants for all “convicted cop killers” and other biased acts, violated Mumia’s fundamental constitutional rights.

Castille had participated in PA Supreme Court decisions that denied all of Mumia’s appeals, including a request from Mumia’s attorneys that he recuse himself from deciding the case he had helped to prosecute and another decision where the same Castille court refused to consider documented evidence submitted by court stenographer Terri Maurer Carter that Mumia’s trial judge Albert “the hanging judge” Sabo had stated in his antechambers before entering the courtroom to adjudicate Mumia’s case, “Yeah, I’m going to help ‘em fry the nigger.” Mumia’s decades long sojourn through the racist U.S. “criminal justice system” is replete with what has become infamously known as “the Mumia exception,” that is, contorted applications of the “law” aimed at denying its applicability to the facts in Mumia’s case. These include systematic exclusion of eyewitness testimony proving his innocence, intimidation of witnesses, falsification of exonerating ballistics findings, fabrication of testimony that Mumia admitted to the killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner and Mumia’s physical exclusion from a majority of his trial proceedings – to name a few of the legal atrocities attendant to his trial and subsequent proceedings.

Judge Tucker’s ruling opens the door for Mumia to appeal all of Castille’s decisions over a 17-years period. Tucker denied Part One of Mumia’s appeal that pertained to whether or not Castille had been significantly or personally involved in Mumia’s prosecution in order to qualify under the provisions of the 2016 Supreme Court William’s case. Mumia’s attorneys may appeal this decision in order to fight on both legal fronts.

While the present Philadelphia District Attorney, Larry Krasner may well appeal Tucker’s amazing and unexpected decision, the door is nevertheless wide open to a lengthy legal battle along with renewed national and international campaigns to win massive and united support in the streets to demand Mumia’s freedom.

Jeff Mackler is a staffwriter for Socialist Action. He can be reached at jmackler@lmi.net  socialist action.org

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Gaza, A look into the eyes of barbarism

El Retorno Producciones | December 28, 2018

GAZA short documentary, nominated for the Goya 2019. It tells the human rights violations suffered by the Gaza Strip after Israel’s latest attack.

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel arrested 175 Palestinian women, girls in 2018

Israeli soldiers arrest a woman protester during a demonstration against Israel’s controversial separation barrier which crosses the Palestinian territories in the West Bank town of Beit Jala, near the town of Bethlehem, on 27 June 2010 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]
MEMO | January 2, 2019

Israeli occupation forces arrested 175 Palestinian women and girls in 2018 and summoned hundreds in for interrogation, the Palestine Prisoners’ Centre for Studies said yesterday.

In a statement reported by the Safa News Agency, the Director of the centre Riyadh Al-Ashqar said that the Israeli occupation escalated its aggression on Palestinian women and girls this year in order to punish them for their participation in anti-occupation activities.

He also said that the Israeli occupation arrested female relatives of male prisoners, describing this as a “form of illegal punishment”.

Al-Ashqar documented the detention of 15 females who’s male relatives are being held in Israeli detention including Bayan Faroun. The twenty-four-year-old was handed a 40 months prison term. She is the fiancé of Ahmed Azzam who was sentenced to six-years in jail.

Female prisoners face harsh conditions in jail, Al-Ashqar said, including violation of their rights, humiliation and a lack of access to health care.

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel arrested 5,700 Palestinians, 980 children in 2018

MEMO | December 29, 2018

Israel arrested 5,700 Palestinians in 2018, including 980 children and 175 women, the Palestine Prisoners’ Centre for Studies announced yesterday.

Director of the centre Riyadh Al-Ashqar said that the Israeli occupation continued its violations against Palestinian prisoners in clear violation of international law, Quds Net News reported. As evidence of this violation, Al-Ashqar cited Israel’s daily detention campaigns, severe torture – including beating prisoners with batons and rifle butts – as well as raiding prisoners’ cells, confiscating their belongings, isolating them under harsh conditions and issuing vengeful sentences against them.

Al-Ashqar noted that Israeli occupation forces this year detained several children under the age of ten, including 3-year-old Durgham Maswada who in March was detained in the Old City of Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank.

He also noted that the 175 women detained, including the elderly, wounded, journalists, academics and university professors, as well as 14 female minors. In addition, Al-Ashqar said that 1,300 of the imprisoned men were ex-detainees, while 150 were disabled – including 53-year-old Ali Hannoun who is blind.

In addition, Israel’s military courts issued 920 administrative detention orders against women, children and politicians, Al-Ashqar said. One of the most prominent detainees was 92-year-old Ali Al-Haj who was arrested from his home earlier this year.

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel demolished 538 homes, facilities in West Bank in 2018

Palestinian boys watch Israeli excavators demolish an allegedly unauthorised Palestinian apartment block in E. Jerusalem, 1 May 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | December 29, 2018

Israel demolished 538 Palestinian homes and facilities across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in 2018, leaving 1,300 Palestinians and 225 children homeless.

A report issued yesterday by the Abdullah Al-Hurani Centre – an affiliate of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – stressed that these demolitions were carried out in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international laws.

In the report, the centre said that Israel “continues its policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem,” pointing out that, in addition to the demolitions, Israel had issued 460 “stop-building orders” during the same period.

Israel’s Civil Administration – which carries out Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank – issued a military order to demolish all the targeted buildings less than 30 days before the demolition was carried out, a move the centre sees as aiming to cut short the possibility of appealing such orders.

The report also documented the demolition or closure of 12 Palestinian schools and kindergartens built by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank.

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 2 Comments