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Leuven protest demands Belgian university end collaboration with Israeli police

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – March 17, 2017

Activists gathered in Leuven’s crowded Oude Markt in the Belgian university city on Thursday, 16 March, to demand an end to participation by KU Leuven (the Catholic University of Leuven) and Belgian police and prosecutors in an EU-funded collaboration with Israeli police. Titled LAW-TRAIN, the project aims to “develop interrogation techniques.” A coalition of groups in Belgium have come together to oppose participation in LAW-TRAIN and end such collaborations with Israeli institutions through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research fund.

Organized by Leuven-based groups, including Comac Leuven, Intal and the Leuven Palestine Action Group, participants from a number of organizations, including Palestina Solidariteit and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, joined in the awareness-raising street theater-style protest calling on KU Leuven’s rector, Rik Torfs, to pull out of the project.

Students representing ‘detainees’ were tied to chairs in front of a university building in the square as ‘Israeli soldiers’ paced menacingly behind them. Other participants held signs and placards calling on KU Leuven to get out of the LAW-TRAIN project and support Palestinian human rights, while speakers addressed students and others in the busy square in Dutch and English about the LAW-TRAIN program and Israeli torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. Activists distributed flyers and information and gathered signatures on the petition demanding Belgian institutions stop participating in LAW-TRAIN.

Activists across Belgium have emphasized the involvement of the Israeli police in the torture, repression and interrogation of Palestinians from Jerusalem and Palestine ’48, as well as their involvement in home demolitions and destruction of Bedouin Palestinian communities in the Naqab. The Israeli Ministry of Public Security, presided over by far-right minister Gilad Erdan, who also holds the state’s anti-BDS portfolio seeking to suppress the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, is also a partner in the project, along with Bar-Ilan University.

“We are protesting the collaboration between KU Leuven and, among others, the Israeli police and Bar-Ilan University. KU Leuven now has ties with the Israeli police and the Israeli security forces, who have been condemned by organizations such as Amnesty International on numerous occasions for their human rights violations and torture practices. We believe it is not OK for a university such as KU Leuven to continue this collaboration. It is condoning and accepting these human rights violations so long as this continues. We want to call on our Rector, who’s been ignoring this whole matter, to end this collaboration,” said Casper Mullie, a student of philosophy at KU Leuven participating in the protest.

“As students, we cannot accept that our universities and institutions where we pay fees every year, to participate in projects that violate Palestinian human rights. In this case, the human rights violations are particularly egregious,” said Ibrahim, a student organizer with Rise Up who traveled from Brussels to participate in the protest in Leuven.

Hundreds of Belgian academics and cultural workers have signed an open letter organized by BACBI,
the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
, calling on the Belgian government and universities to break with the project. In addition, a delegation of high-profile Belgian lawyers and human rights experts traveled to Palestine to study the use of torture by Israeli police and security forces. Israeli Apartheid Week events organized by students at campuses across Belgium had a strong focus on Palestinian prisoners and the campaign to stop LAW-TRAIN.

Samidoun is a member of the coalition against LAW-TRAIN, along with Intal, Comac, Palestina Solidariteit, BACBI, Medicine for the Third World, Vrede, CNAPD, Broderlijk Delen, 11.11.11, Solidarite Socialiste, Een Andere Joodse Stem (Another Jewish Voice), EcoloJ, CNCD 11.11.11, Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, Association Belgo-Palestinienne, Leuven Palestine Action Group, Pax Christi Vlaanderen and the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP).

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition against LAW-TRAIN at http://stop-law-train.be 

Major LAW-TRAIN resources include:

March 17, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look who’s in charge of UK government cybersecurity

Matthew_Gould-400x254

By Stuart Littlewood | My Catbird Seat | November 10, 2015

A chilling remark from a House of Lords debate just caught my eye.

Hansard 4 Nov 2015 : Column GC355

Lord Mendelsohn: We welcome the appointment of the former British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, who will have a key role in cybersecurity inside the Cabinet Office — a very useful and important position.

Sure enough, the UK Government’s website confirms that Gould is now Director of Cyber Security and Information Assurance at the Cabinet Office. “He and his team are focussed on keeping Britain safe from cyber attack, through delivering the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy.”

They must think we have very short memories. Gould was the first Jew ever to hold the post of Britain’s ambassador to Israel. He describes himself as a “passionate” Zionist and whilst in Tel Aviv was instrumental in setting up the UK-Israel Tech Hub. In the words of MATIMOP (the Israeli Industry Center for R&D), the Hub was established “to promote partnerships in technology and innovation between Israel and the UK, and is the first initiative of its kind for the British Government and for an embassy in Israel. The Hub’s creation followed an agreement between Prime Ministers David Cameron and Benjamin Netanyahu to build a UK-Israel partnership in technology.”

Three years ago Cameron appointed venture capitalist Saul Klein as the UK Tech Envoy to Israel with the task of promoting the partnership, leading UK tech missions to Israel, bringing Israeli start-ups to Britain, and hosting tech events in both countries.

MATIMOP quotes Britain’s National Health Service as an example of successful UK-Israel tech collaboration. The NHS “has now formed strong collaborations with Israeli life sciences companies conducting clinical trials in the UK. The cooperation was made as part of the burgeoning partnership between Israel and Britain’s life sciences industries initiated by the UK-Israel Tech Hub.”

Four years ago Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, argued that British policy was being driven in an underhanded fashion by the Israel lobby. He linked Gould with the Fox-Werritty scandal and raised questions about meetings between disgraced former Defence Minister Liam Fox and Fox’s friend/adviser Adam Werritty (who was backed financially by Israel lobbyists but had no security clearance and therefore no authorized role) and Gould.

Murray wrote to Gould asking when he first met Werritty, how many times he had met him, and how many communications of every kind had passed between them. He was told these questions would be answered in Cabinet Secretary O’Donnell’s investigation. “But Gus O’Donnell’s report answered none of these questions,” wrote Murray. “It only mentioned two meetings at which Fox, Gould and Werritty were all three present…”

This prompted Murray to dig further. “There were at least six Fox-Werritty-Gould meetings, not the two given by O’Donnell…. Matthew Gould was the only British Ambassador who Fox and Werrity met together. They met him six times. Why?”

Murray, with many useful sources from his days as an ambassador, claimed to have serious evidence connecting Gould with a secret plan to attack Iran, but the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Secretary blocked questions. Murray published his story ‘Matthew Gould and the plot to attack Iran’ here.

In it he pointed out that “Matthew Gould does not see his race or religion as irrelevant. He has chosen to give numerous interviews to both British and Israeli media on the subject of being a jewish ambassador, and has been at pains to be photographed by the Israeli media participating in jewish religious festivals. Israeli newspaper Haaretz described him as ‘Not just an ambassador who is jewish, but a jewish ambassador’. That rather peculiar phrase appears directly to indicate that the potential conflict of interest for a British ambassador in Israel has indeed arisen.”

He went on to say that Gould stood suspected of long term participation with Fox and Werritty “in a scheme to forward war with Iran, in cooperation with Israel”. The stonewalling by O’Donnell and the FCO led Murray to conclude that “something very important is being hidden right at the heart of government”.

Labour MP Paul Flynn remarked that no previous ambassadors to Israel had been Jewish so as to avoid conflict of interest and accusations of going native. He immediately came under intense flak. Flynn too asked about meetings between Werritty and Gould, as some reports suggested that Gould, Werritty and Fox discussed a potential military strike on Iran with Mossad. “I do not normally fall for conspiracy theories,” said Flynn, “but the ambassador has proclaimed himself to be a Zionist and he has previously served in Iran.”

Fox had earlier made the idiotic claim: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies” and “in the battle for the values that we stand for… Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together”. The Jewish Chronicle hailed him as “a champion of Israel within the government”. Furthermore Fox continually rattled the sabre against Iran which, of course, was no threat to Britain but is regarded by Israel as a bitter enemy. Iraq too was Israel’s enemy, not ours. Yet Fox, according to the theyworkforyou.com, voted “very strongly” for the Iraq war. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the war in Afghanistan.

Given that Fox so eagerly waved the flag of a foreign military power and was a man with dangerous beliefs and demonstrably weak judgement, how could those who appointed him not see that he was unemployable as a Minister of the British Crown – unless they were similarly tainted?

When the Werrity relationship came to light Fox jumped before being flung from the battlements. But the good people of North Somerset, in their wisdom, re-elected him at the general election last May. He’s already on the road to political rehabilitation among the Conservative high command.

Gould’s new job as head of The Office of Cyber Security & Information Assurance (OCSIA)  involves giving strategic direction to cyber security and information assurance for the UK. This includes e-crime, working with private sector partners on exchanging information, and engaging with international partners in improving the security of cyberspace and information security. Does it seem right for such a person to be in charge of crucial security matters at the heart of our government? What was in fellow Zionist David Cameron’s mind when he appointed him?

Well, here’s a possible clue. In March of this year Francis Maude, the previous Cabinet Office minister responsible for cyber security, announced three UK-Israel academic collaboration ventures with cyber research funding, the partnerships being University of Bristol/Bar Ilan University, University College London/Bar Ilan University and University of Kent/University of Haifa. They’ll be working together on six specific areas of research:

  1. identity management
  2. governance: regulating cyber security
  3. privacy assurance and perceptions
  4. mobile and cloud security
  5. human aspects of security or usable security
  6. cryptography.

This builds on existing UK-Israel cooperation. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on digital co-operation in March 2014.
Still sitting comfortably? Only this week the Cameron government was lecturing us on threats to national security and announcing plans to trawl through our personal emails and web browsers in order to “keep us safe”.

Question is, who trawls Gould’s private emails?

January 31, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel cabinet moves to accredit university on illegal settlement

Al Akhbar – September 9, 2012

Israel’s government Sunday approved plans to upgrade a college on an illegal Jewish settlement to a full-fledged university, in a symbolic move which still requires a ruling by the High Court and the attorney general.

In July, the “Council for Higher Education in Judaea and Samaria,” a group close to illegal Jewish settlers, recommended that the Ariel University Centre receive the upgraded status, which would make it the first university in the occupied West Bank.

International law defines all Israeli settlement on Palestinian land occupied in Israel’s 1967 war with the Arab world, to be illegal.This includes the still occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank stifle the movement of Palestinians and encroach greatly on Palestinian property and resources. There are currently 350,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, with the government continuing to build thousands of houses, defying calls to stop by the UN.

The number of settlers grew by 15,000 in the last year, according to Israel’s population registry.

Increasingly, companies and labor unions around Europe have divested from companies operating in the occupied West Bank to protest the Jewish state’s forays into the area.

Last month, South Africa re-labeled Israeli products made in the West Bank as coming from ‘occupied Palestinian territories’, a move that triggered a diplomatic row between the two states.

But Israel’s Council for Higher Education, which regulates the seven universities in the Jewish state, opposed the move, branding it political and filed a petition against it to the High Court of Justice.

On Sunday, the cabinet voted on a resolution declaring the move to be of “national importance,” while ordering that all measures be taken “to approve the decision of the Council for Higher Education in Judaea and Samaria, subject to the attorney general’s stance.”

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has yet to present his opinion to the move.

“It is important to have another university in Israel, it is important to have a university in Ariel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the vote.

“I like breaking monopolies and cartels in every field,” he said, noting that there has not been a new university in Israel in 40 years, while the population has nearly tripled.

“Ariel is an inseparable part of Israel, and will stay an inseparable part of it in any future arrangement, like the other settlement blocs,” he said of the settlement which lies deep in the northern West Bank.

Set up in 1982 as an annex to Bar Ilan University, Ariel has 12,000 students in four faculties — medicine, engineering, natural sciences and social sciences — and also has architecture and telecommunications facilities.

Full recognition as a university entitles the Ariel facility to significant additional funding and the ability to grant advanced degrees.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

September 9, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel cabinet moves to accredit university on illegal settlement