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Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take

Photo Source U.S. Embassy Jerusalem | CC BY 2.0
By Sam Bahour | CounterPunch | November 14, 2018

Israel has made a colossal mockery of the concept of security.

In debating an Israeli friend from Jerusalem, I challenged him that Israel consciously plans and uses its military might to damage the Palestinian’s national project to build a state and free itself from Israeli control. Avner, my Israeli friend, argued otherwise, buying into the Israeli state narrative that Israel is “forced” to take measures which negatively affect Palestinians because Israeli security requires it. My knee-jerk reaction as someone living and working under Israeli military occupation for over two decades, was that this was hogwash and, short of ending its illegal (note: legal occupations are temporary by definition) occupation of Palestinians, I claimed that Israel—the occupying power—could immediately take 101 measures to reduce tensions on the ground, without jeopardizing any true and rational security needs. He shrugged and said, “tell me”?

In the years to follow, I have given numerous talks on the state of affairs under Israeli occupation to groups visiting Palestine from all corners of the world. A large number of those talks were to Jewish-American groups—many participants being rabbinical students and mainstream Jewish influencers hosted by the U.S. not-for-profit Encounter—who traveled to Palestine for an Encounter Program. In a recent Encounter talk, one rabbi attentively listened as I made the same claim, Israel can take 101 actions tomorrow morning without jeopardizing security. He raised his hand and asked, where can we get that list?

So, here it is. A quick compilation, with the generous assistance of several friends here in Palestine, and with a few items selected from the umpteen reports being published about the rapidly deteriorating state of affairs. This list is not intended to be comprehensive by any means, but rather a look beyond the daily headlines to give readers, especially those who have bought into the Israeli propaganda—hook, line and sinker—that this military occupation is all about “security”.

I attempted to place a few subtitles to categorize the list, although many items are multifaceted. Space does not allow for a full explanation of each proposed action, so if anyone wants to be directed to a more in-depth explanation of any listed action, or otherwise, please feel free to reach out at the email listed below.

Before offering the list, I must state upfront and clearly, my goal in presenting these ideas is not to assist the powers-that-be to design an embellished military occupation intended as permanent. Rather, my purpose is to reveal Israel’s underlying intentions, its indefinite time frame for continued domination, and the cornucopia of diverse types of actions carefully calculated to humiliate each and every Palestinian, while structurally blocking a path to Palestinian statehood, otherwise known as the two-state solution. That noted, for those who simply cannot fathom the notion of a Palestinian state free from Israeli occupation, I welcome all efforts to get my list addressed while the occupation continues, which would align Israel’s actions somewhat better with the law of occupation, the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention, 12 August 1949).

101 actions Israel could take

Gaza

1) Allow for free movement of goods to/from Gaza

2) Open the Erez [Passenger] Crossing to the West Bank 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 2 million Palestinian residents of Gaza

3) Permit Palestinians to tap their natural gas wells discovered in the sea of Gaza in 2000

4) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s land

5) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s territorial waters, expanding Gaza’s fishing zone: The Government of Israel halved Gaza’s fishing zone from 6 nautical miles to 3 nautical miles; compare that to the twenty-nautical mile limit set by the Oslo Accords. (World Bank)

6) Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s air space, releasing 3G frequencies for wireless internet access for Gaza

7) Keep the Karm Abu Salem cargo crossing open (World Bank)

8) Allow solar panels into Gaza (World Bank)

Jerusalem

9) Stop stripping Jerusalemites of their Jerusalem residency status

10) Eliminate arbitrary taxation regime being applied to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially those in the Old City

11) Increase public services to East Jerusalem to align with the level of taxation paid by East Jerusalem residents and with their proportion of the entire city’s population

12) Allow daily mechanism for Palestinians’ freedom of religion, not only on the occasional holidays (entry to Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, e.g.)

Education

13) Remove barriers inside the West Bank between children and their schools

14) Stop soldiers at checkpoints from harassing school age students, stop the delaying and excessive searching of students (and teachers) coming to/from Jerusalem through the Qalandia checkpoint, especially of those who are unaccompanied by parents

15) Provide teachers open access to their workplaces, i.e. crossing checkpoints, etc.

16) Eliminate routine Israeli military forces incursions into schools

17) Allow academic/educational institutions to operate comfortably and freely within Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), including East Jerusalem

18) Recognize/accredit the degrees granted by all Palestinian higher educational institution as legitimate credentials for continuing education in Israel or for professional work permits

19) Stop delaying release of textbook shipments

20) Stop delaying release of, and desist from tampering with, examination papers and answer sheets coming from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

21) Stop banning basic laboratory supplies for students’ laboratory experiments

22) Grant permits for school education/recreational trips: an entire generation has never seen the sea

23) Stop systematically targeting schools in marginalized areas like Khan al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley

24) Allow importing of educational accessories and tools: During the Microsoft International Student Competition, smart pens, circuits, and other similar materials required by participants were discarded at the Israeli border on the pretext that these educational materials were a threat to Israel’s security

25) Allow student travel. During the Microsoft International Student Competition, the Palestinian team won first place over 23 Arab countries in the innovation category and were qualified to compete in the US. One of the students, despite the student having no security issues, and with an official invitation from Microsoft and the US consulate in hand, was unable to get Israeli permission to enter Jerusalem to process his US visa.

Humanitarian

26) Stop the arrests, especially of children: Number of Palestinians who have been held in Israeli jails for periods ranging from 1 week to life, 1967-1988: 600,000; number of Palestinians arrested during the first intifada (1987-94): 175,000

27) Stop the torture: Documented percentage of Palestinian detainees who have been tortured during interrogation: 85%

28) Stop the deportations: Documented number of Palestinians deported between 1967 and 1992: 1,522; between 1970 and 1973: 785; in 1992: 415; number deported from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, 2002-2004: 32

29) Stop the house demolitions: Documented number of Palestinian homes in the oPt demolished by Israeli authorities, June 1967-March 2009: 24,145

30) Stop the killings: Killings during the two Intifadas: Number of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces and civilians, December 9, 1987 to September 28, 2000: in the oPt: 1,489; within the Green Line: 60. Number killed, September 28, 2000 – September 28, 2004: 3,234

31) Release the bodies of killed Palestinians to their families

32) Stop ripping apart bicultural families: Provide clear and easy access via family re-unification for foreign nationals married to Palestinians

33) Stop arbitrary denial of entries and restrictions on visiting foreign nationals, allowing Palestinian firms to recruit Palestinian and international talent abroad by issuance of work visas/permits for any such person who does not have a Palestinian identity card.

34) Respect Palestinian water rights as defined under international law and honor applicable, signed bilateral water-related agreements

35) Stop spraying of herbicides intended to destroy crops, especially on outskirts of the Gaza Strip

36) Respect the Bedouin community’s way of life, stop the displacement of Bedouin communities

Municipalities

37) Reclassify areas currently classified as Area C if they are within defined city boundaries

38) Expedite landfill approvals: The regional landfill in Rammun (center of West Bank) took about 15 years for the Israeli side to approve

39) Expedite cemetery approvals: The new Ramallah cemetery project took about 12 years for the Israeli side to approve

40) Expedite water/sanitation approvals: The project for a central purification plant in Ein Griot has been waiting for Israeli approval for years now

41) Expedite approvals for new or improved transportation routes: The desperately needed Ramallah ring road project, a case in point, has submitted all required details and continues to await Israeli approval

Economic

42) Stop the illegal dumping of Israeli goods and services into the Palestinian markets, Stop unlicensed Israeli firms, such as Israeli telecommunications firms, from illegally selling their services to the Palestinian Authority (PA) areas

43) Stop the arbitrary delays in importation of technology products

44) Release 4G frequencies for West Bank and Gaza

45) Allow for free movement of goods within the oPt

46) Allow for unfettered imports

47) Allow for unfettered exports

48) Allow the entry of Palestinian goods into the Israeli market, as the Paris Protocol (4/94) provided for in a unique economic and trade regime named the Customs Envelope

49) Stop using an Israeli-specific “Dual Use List” for Palestinians, causing unjustified additional restrictions to importation of goods into Gaza and considerable delays and difficulties for West Bank economic projects, such as the Bethlehem Industrial Estate (BMIP)

50) Stop the extensive security checks within the West Bank which pose an economic obstacle to trade

51) Allow for delivery of large machinery/equipment/vehicles related to PA and international projects, especially for agriculture and construction

52) Eliminate all military checkpoints between Palestinian cities/villages inside the oPt

53) Provide humane/non-segregated access to Palestinians via air, sea and land ports

54) Provide PA security forces full access to all oPt areas

55) Provide PA police full control of all oPt roads

56) Stop issuing licenses to Israeli firms quarrying of Palestinian lands in the oPt

57) Remove closures to all entrances to villages and cities in the oPt, as some residents travel 90-120 additional minutes to reach destinations literally minutes away

58) Allow Palestinians full privileges on “Israeli-only” roads

59) Allow 24/7 access on Israeli-issued travel permits

60) Allow Palestinians with multi-day Israeli travel permits to lawfully stay overnight in Jerusalem and Israel

61) Eliminate the recent requirement of a so called “Magnetic Card” required to apply for an Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel

62) Eliminate the so called “BMC – Businessman’s Card” required to apply for a multi month Israeli travel permit to Jerusalem or Israel, which artificially segments Palestinian society

63) Allow ease of rehabilitation of deteriorating old cities, especially in Hebron and Jerusalem

64) De-monopolize the Israeli/Jerusalem tourism sector (tourism operators, guides, licenses, etc.), ending the demand to adhere to the “Israeli narrative”

65) Apply and enforce the laws and adjudicate violations equally with respect to all residents/citizens under Israeli jurisdiction as an occupying power

66) De-legitimize “open carry” of weapons for Israeli settlers or accord Palestinian farmers the same privileges

67) Secure Palestinian farmers yearlong access to their farm land, not only partial harvesting seasons

68) Maximize allowed farming area, especially near settlements

69) Expedite issuance of land deeds (Tabu), especially in Area C

70) Allow legal building in Areas B and C

71) Allow access to natural water sources in Area C

72) Allow postal mail and packages to reach the Palestinian Post in a timely manner: In August 2018 Israel dumped 10 tons of mail they held up from 2010

Israeli Crossings and Ports

Border Crossings with Jordan / Allenby/King Hussein Bridge (KHB)

73) Open this sole passenger crossing to Jordan 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 3 million Palestinian residents of West Bank

74) Increase the number of vehicles, load capacity of cargo loading and unloading, and operating hours at the KHB

75) Streamline the logistics for imports entering the oPt: For example, cement silos could be constructed to store bulk cement until transferred by Palestinian trucks into the Palestinian territory.

Border Crossings with Israel

76) Stop restrictions on shipments through cargo crossings from the oPt into Israel, such as limited number and capacity of cargo crossings, limited working hours, and strict security restrictions: This encourages tax evasion and unfair competition in the form of goods smuggled into the oPt by Israeli trucks that freely enter the Palestinian areas via the crossings and need not unload their cargos, unlike the Palestinian trucks. Moreover, Israeli cargo trucks are not subject to inspection by the Palestinian Authorities.

77) Stop random sampling security checks of cargo which cause cargo damage, as well as, long security checks of perishable cargo which is damaged when delayed for a long period for security inspection purposes.

78) Logistical arrangements for the entrance of goods into the Gaza Strip is an ultra-complicated and troublesome task. In addition to the very long waiting hours at Erez Crossing, the facility has unsystematic working hours with the constant possibility of sudden closure for “security” reasons.

Container Ports

79) Allow direct imports to the oPt via a Palestinian clearing agent. Currently, all kinds of raw materials and goods need to be imported through an Israeli agent. Such a procedural requirement incurs high costs for the Palestinian importer for security and customs inspection. Additionally, the Palestinian importer incurs fees of relevant bonded Israeli warehouses and storage facilities as long as the cargo is withheld in the Israeli ports for inspection purposes, sometimes weeks, months or years on end.

80) Allow Palestinians to define their own import needs. Currently the quantity, quality, destination of imported goods and materials are determined according to the outdated Paris Protocol, which provides the annual ceiling of imports per country of origin.

Area C

81) Stop the prohibition of construction in Area C: Obtaining a permit to construct any factory or plant in Area C is made unbearably difficult and the process should be streamlined, simplified, and not subject to arbitrary regulations and delays.

82) As things stand, permits issued for Area C are time-bound and must be renewed on an annual basis, causing significant delays and a barrier to investment; revise these regulations to streamline the process.

83) Streamline the exhausting “security”-driven bureaucratic procedures to establish land titles, especially in Area

84) Expand spatial plans for Palestinian villages in Area C (World Bank)

85) Grant approval to Palestinian business projects in Area C (World Bank)

Constraints on Movement and Permits

86) Issue and abide by clear and lawful policies and procedures for obtaining all types of visas for foreign visitors, including granting visas to international faculty as they return for a new academic year and eliminating denial of long-term visas to international and regional experts working in the oPt

87) Lift the military ban on Palestinian commercial drivers’ entering Israel with a Palestinian-registered vehicle: This ban is enormously expensive for Palestinian employers, who bear the added logistical costs to rent an Israeli truck for the Israeli side of the route travelled, incurring more than double the rental cost of the Palestinian truck alone.

88) Allow for permits to manage commercial operations within Israeli areas, such as the management of warehouses in these areas. Currently, the limitations on permits issued shackle Palestinian firms’ ability to manage their internal affairs.

89) Allow Palestinian clearing agents access to Israeli ports at Ashdod, Haifa or Eilat. Currently, an Israeli agent needs to be hired as a go-between with the Palestinian importer.

90) Many Palestinian companies are active in both the West Bank and Gaza. Allow permits for West Bank company staff to enter the Gaza Strip and vice versa. At present, absent such permits, staff is unable to follow up on work in progress, attend meetings, or participate in training courses.

91) Permit Palestinian firms’ shareholders to travel to/from the West Bank/Gaza Strip to attend the annual general meetings of firms they are invested in. At present, to work around this, firms incur the extra expense of arranging two venues for a meeting; one in the West Bank and the other in the Gaza Strip, to ensure an equal opportunity for all the shareholders in Palestine to attend the meetings, which are connected by video conferencing.

Legal Issues

92) Streamline legal actions for Palestinian firms having issues with Israeli citizens/cheques; currently, the problem of the Israeli citizen/firm’s being subject to another jurisdiction creates manifold obstacles to prompt resolution.

93) Recognize a third country arbitration between Israeli and Palestinian businesses. If a commercial dispute arises between Palestinian and Israeli parties, Israeli laws requires that arbitration be made in Israeli areas for security purposes and for the safety of the Israeli party. This practice is a clear violation of customary international practices and norms that the seat of arbitration should be in a third and neutral country.

94) Stop the military ban on a large number of Gazan traders who have been commercially banned by Israel without due process, rendering them unable to sell or purchase goods and materials.

Quality inspection

95) Stop the discrimination in dealing with standards certificates. The required Israeli quality inspection of imports transshipped through Israel and acquiring of the Israeli Standards Certificate require a lot of time that might extend up to six months with high costs. Currently, Israeli shipments require one certificate for every product being imported, despite the number of times imported, whereas the Palestinian importer must get a new certificate for every shipment of the same product, adding time and cost to every importation of goods.

96) Allow Israeli products entering the Palestinian market to get a Palestinian Standards Certificate. Currently, the Palestinian market is flooded with Israeli products that bypass Palestinian standards certification.

Financial

97) Stop withholding/delaying the various monetary transfers to the Gaza Strip, imposing extra costs to cover transfers

98) Pay the Palestinian Authority seigniorage for their use of Israeli currency

99) Stop delays in transferring payments to Palestinian government, further indebting the PA: VAT and Import duties collected by the Government of Israel (GoI) on behalf of the PA and should be transferred monthly based on an arrangement instituted by the Paris protocol. (World Bank)

100) Stop unilateral deductions from Palestinian funds, further indebting the PA: These are deductions made by the GoI from clearance revenues to settle utility bills owed by Palestinian Local Government Units (LGUs), utilities and distribution companies to Israeli suppliers. (World Bank)

101) Transfer to the Palestinian Authority fiscal losses accumulated over the years. The signed agreements defined specific arrangements through which the GoI collects VAT, import duties and other income, or the so-called clearance revenues, on behalf of the PA and shares it with the latter on a monthly basis. Some of these arrangements have become outdated and others have not been implemented as envisaged by the agreements, resulting in fiscal losses for the PA. The quantified annual loss (excluding revenues collected by the GoI in Area C that could not be quantified due to data constraints) amounts to USD 285 million, or 2.2 percent of Palestinian GDP. (World Bank)

So, here you have it, a detailed sampling of what the Israeli military occupation means from ground zero. These and dozens of other Israeli restrictions are what mainly underlie the inability of Palestinians, individually and collectively, to create a different reality on the ground, let alone properly prepare for a free and independent state.

A longtime Jewish-American attorney friend with whom I shared this list as a draft in process responded unequivocally: These issues, he said, are not Israeli security threats; on the contrary. If they were rationally addressed, the results would serve Israeli security needs. With that, one must step back a bit and reflect on what Israel’s real intentions might be in sustaining its 50-year military occupation through the use of this vast web of “security” regulations.

Sam Bahour is managing partner of Applied Information Management (AIM), a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, a secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Group, and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He blogs at http://www.epalestine.com. Twitter: @SamBahour

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

Indigenous Canadian women still being forcibly sterilized, claims senator

RT | November 12, 2018

A Canadian senator claims that unwilling indigenous women are still getting coerced into being sterilized across Canada. The senator now wants the “heinous” issue investigated nationwide.

Sterilization by tubal ligation – a process by which the fallopian tubes are either tied, burned or severed – is not just a shameful relic of Canadian history, Senator Yvonne Boyer claimed, but a process that is still happening across the country today.

According to a report published last year, the procedure is frequently carried out on indigenous women in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The report relies only on verbal evidence from women in the Saskatoon region, and was authored by Boyer herself.

After being contacted by survivors, Boyer now believes that the practice is far more commonplace than previously believed.

“If it’s happened in Saskatoon, it has happened in Regina, it’s happened in Winnipeg, it’s happened where there’s a high population of Indigenous women,” Boyer told the Toronto Star. “I’ve had many women contact me from across the country and ask me for help.”

One of those women, Liz, said that she was coerced by a Children’s Aid worker into having an abortion and being sterilized at an Ontario hospital when she fell pregnant at 17.

“It was a matter of me almost (being) cornered, if you will, by my worker at the time saying, ‘You better have an abortion because if you don’t, either way, we are going to take that child from you,’” Liz explained. While the procedure took place almost 40 years ago, Liz told the Star that she is still haunted by the experience.

“I’ve had a few dreams… where you could hear a baby crying or you could have a sense of a baby,” she said. “The first time I had it I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. And then another time I had it, it was a boy.”

In Saskatchewan, two of the women affected launched a class-action lawsuit last year, claiming $7 million in damages. Since then, almost 60 other women have joined the lawsuit. Alisa Lombard, a lawyer representing the women, has said that the practice was common in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, and in the frozen Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau almost scuppered the negotiation of a multibillion-dollar trade pact between the US, Canada and Mexico this year by pushing for the agreement to include a chapter on indigenous rights, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott says that the issue of forced sterilizations is an unspoken and ongoing crime.

“The issue of forced sterilization of vulnerable people, including Indigenous women, is a very serious violation of human rights,” she told the Star, adding that it is “absolutely appalling and reprehensible.”

Further back in time, the province of Alberta was once a hotbed of eugenicist ideas. In 1929, the provincial government enacted the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta, a piece of legislation that allowed for the involuntary sterilization of the mentally disabled. The Alberta Eugenics Board was established to recommend people for sterilization, and the act was only repealed in 1972.

Indigenous Canadians, who made up between two and three percent of Alberta’s population, accounted for six percent of all sterilizations.

November 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | Leave a comment

The Gift of Gab: Pennsylvania AG Abuses Authority to Chill Internet Speech

By Thomas L. Knapp | The Garrison Center | November 11, 2018

On November 8, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro’s office issued a subpoena to web host and domain registrar Epik, pursuant to “an ongoing civil investigation.” The subpoena demands “any and all documents which are related in any way to Gab.”

Gab, as you’ve no doubt heard, was accused Pittsburgh synagogue killer Robert Bowers’s social media platform of choice. In the wake of the Tree of Life massacre, the site was cut off by its web host (Joyent), domain registrar (GoDaddy),  and payment processors (PayPal and Stripe). After more than a week offline, it found a new home courtesy of Epik.

While Shapiro and company remain mum as to the subpoena’s purpose (and in fact asked Gab not to publicly disclose it, a request the site’s owners declined to honor), there’s nothing unclear about that purpose. Shapiro is abusing his position of legal authority to intimidate those who do — or might do — business with Gab, in hopes of driving it back offline.

In recent years, larger social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter (followed by payment processors, web hosts and domain registrars) have acted with ever-increasing vigor to silence selected voices in the public square.

Their excuses range from “Congress says they’re terrorists” to “that’s fake news” to “meddling in elections” to “hate speech,” but visibly looming over every such action is the  shadow of potential government force.

The chilling message to social media companies from assorted agencies and congressional committees boils down to a thinly veiled “if you don’t censor for us ‘voluntarily,’ we’ll force you to.”

Shapiro isn’t talking to domestic news about the subpoena, but last month he was fairly forthcoming about his motives with foreign media.  “My office is reviewing this platform [Gab], which was used by the killer to spread his hateful messages,” he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz, adding that “[w]e cannot tolerate” “speech that includes incitements to violence” or sites that “explain how violence is going to occur.”

Subpoenas to Gab itself might have served an understandable legal purpose — for example, determining whether Bowers acted alone or used the platform to conspire with others prior to the attack.

The only plausible purpose of this subpoena is to intimidate those who might provide microphones to speakers Josh Shapiro doesn’t want the rest of us to hear.

Josh Shapiro is proving himself far more dangerous than Gab. It is he who should be investigated — and hopefully shut down.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

November 11, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Francis Fukuyama and the End of Social Media Freedoms

By Robert BRIDGE | Strategic Culture Foundation | 09.11.2018

The American political scientist known for promoting the “end of history” fish tale following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the spread of Liberal-capitalist values around the world now appears to be angling for ways – wittingly or unwittingly – to curtail the freedom of speech.

Writing in The American Interest as the virtual crackdown on Alex Jones was underway, Fukuyama argued that the usual suspects of the social media universe – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Apple, and all of their vast subterranean holdings – need to come clean by entering a two-step rehabilitation program where they must: (1.) “accept the fact that they are media companies with an obligation to curate information on their platforms,” and (2.) “accept the fact that they need to get smaller.”

I think we can safely skip the “need to get smaller” suggestion with a hearty chuckle and focus our attention instead on the question of social media being held to the same rules as those that regulate America’s squeaky clean media divas, like The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC.

The social media monsters argue that since they do not create original content, but rather mindlessly provide the clean slate, as it were, for third-party developers to post their own thoughts, opinions, news and of course wild-eyed ‘conspiracy theories,’ they cannot be bound by the same rules and regulations as the mainstream media, which must bear ultimate responsibility for its increasingly damaged goods.

“We’re not a media company,” the late Steve Jobs of Apple fame told Esquire in a rough and tumble interview. “We don’t own media. We don’t own music. We don’t own films or television. We’re not a media company. We’re just Apple.” On that note, Jobs reached over and switched off the interviewer’s tape recorder, bringing an abrupt end to the strained conversation.

Thanks to the provisions laid out in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the social media platforms are granted immunity from liability for users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users.

The act was overwhelmingly supported by Congress following the verdict in the 1995 court case, Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co., which suggested that internet service providers that assumed an editorial role with regards to client content thus became publishers and legally vulnerable for any wrongdoing (libel and slander, for example) committed by their customers. At the time, when alternative voices on the social media frontier had not turned into actual competition for the legacy media, legislators deemed it more important to protect service providers from criminal proceedings than to nip freedom of speech in the bud. Honorable? Yes. But I wonder if they’d have made the same decision knowing the powerful forces they had unleashed.

At this point, Fukuyama summarizes the plight regarding the social media platforms with relation to their independent creators, who wish to express their freedom of speech.

“Section 230 was put in place both to protect freedom of speech and to promote growth and innovation in the tech sector. Both users and general publics were happy with this outcome for the next couple of decades, as social media appeared and masses of people gravitated to platforms like Facebook and Twitter for information and communication. But these views began to change dramatically following the 2016 elections in the United States and Britain, and subsequent revelations both of Russian meddling in the United States and other countries, and of the weaponization of social media by far-Right actors like Alex Jones.”

Despite being a learned and intelligent man, Fukuyama jumps headfirst into the shallow end of a pool known as ‘Blame Russia’, while, at the same time, blames the far-Right for the “weaponization” of social media, as though the Left isn’t equally up to the challenge of waging dirty tricks, in a crucial election year, no less.

Next, he genuflects before the Almighty Algorythm, the godhead of Silicon Valley’s Valhalla, which, as the argument goes, was responsible for attracting huge audiences to particular channels and their messages, instead of the other way around.

“Their business model was built on clicks and virality, which led them to tune their algorithms in ways that actively encouraged conspiracy theories, personal abuse, and other content that was most likely to generate user interaction,” Fukuyama surmises. “This was the opposite of the public broadcasting ideal, which (as defined, for example, by the Council of Europe) privileged material deemed in the broad public interest.”

In other words, had Mark Zuckerberg and friends not toggled their algorithmic settings to ‘conspiracy theories,’ then the easily manipulated masses would never have given a second thought to well-known catastrophes based on pure and unadulterated evil, like the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, which, as the tin-foil-hat crowd constantly crows, was made possible by the fake news of weapons of mass destruction.

Here, Fukuyama lays on thick his extra-nutty academic drivel: “This is the most important sense in which the big internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become media companies: They craft algorithms that determine what their users’ limited attention will focus on, driven (at least up to now) not by any broad vision of public responsibility but rather by profit maximization, which leads them to privilege virality.”

In other words, internet users are not inquisitive creatures by nature with fully functioning frontal lobe regions like the honorable Francis Fukuyama. They do not actively search out subjects of interest with critical reasoning skills and ponder cause and effect. And let’s not even mention the mainstream media’s disastrous coverage of current events, which led to the alienation of mainstream audiences in the first place. In Fukuyama’s matrix, otherwise normal people subscribe to ‘alternative facts’ or conspiracy theories because those damn algorithms kept popping up!

This ‘more righteous than thou’ attitude on the part of left-leaning Silicon Valley prompted hundreds of independent channels – the overwhelming majority from the right – to be swept away by a force known as ‘private ownership’ where brutal censorship has become the latest fad. Fukuyama, serving as the mouthpiece for both corporate and political interests, shrugs off this noxious phenomenon by arguing: “Private actors can and do censor material all the time, and the platforms in question are not acting on behalf of the U.S. government.”

Let’s give Fukuyama the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there really is no cooperation between the most powerful and influential industries for manipulating public opinion and the U.S. government. Yet we would do well to keep in mind some key facts that strongly suggest otherwise. During the two-term presidency of Barack Obama (2009-2016), Google executives met on average once a week in the White House with government officials. According to the Campaign for Accountability, 169 Google employees met with 182 government officials at least 427 times, a Beltway record for such chumminess. What is so potentially disastrous about such meetings is that Google, the chokepoint on news and information, which has the power to actually rewrite history, is fiercely Liberal in its political outlook as per some whistleblowers who escaped the well-manicured campus known for employee neck massages and free lunches. What was discussed in the White House? Nobody really knows. However, there is already a treasure trove of publicly available information detailing the intimate relationship between US intelligence and Google (as well as the other usual suspects).

Fukuyama tries to conclude with an upbeat, happy message by saying “private sector actors… have a responsibility to help maintain the health of [America’s democratic] political system.” However, judging by everything in the article that preceded that remark, I would have to guess Francis Fukuyama would fully support yet more intolerance in the world of social media as a means of preserving America’s freedom-squashing status quo.

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

New York Lawmakers Want Social Media History To Be Included In Gun Background Checks

By Tim Cushing | TechDirt | November 7, 2018

Legislation arising from tragedies is almost uniformly bad. One need only look at the domestic surveillance growth industry kick started by the Patriot Act to see that fear-based legislation works out very badly for constituents.

A few New York lawmakers are reacting to the horrific Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a gun control bill that makes zero sense. Expanding on criminal background checks, these legislators are hoping to give law enforcement the opportunity to dig through gun buyers’ online history.

Eric Adams, the president of Brooklyn Borough, and state Senator Kevin Palmer are currently writing the proposed legislation, which would give law enforcement authorities the power to check up to three years of an individual’s social media accounts and internet search history before they are allowed to buy a gun, WCBS Newsradio 880 reported. One of the main aims is to identify any hate speech shared by the users, as the politicians noted that such offensive comments are generally only discovered after mass shootings occur.

The facile explanation for this ridiculous piece of legislation is this: somehow the Pittsburgh shooter might have been prevented from buying a gun because he posted anti-Semitic content to a social media platform.

This premise will only make sense to those incapable of giving it more than a superficial examination. First off, gun ownership is Constitutionally-protected, whether these legislators like it or not. It doesn’t make sense to abridge someone’s rights over social media posts, even if the posts contain bigoted speech. That speech is also protected by the Constitution, so combining the two simply doubles the chance the law will be struck down as unconstitutional. Plenty of people engage in ignorant bigotry. Not all of them are would-be criminals.

This law would treat every gun buyer as a suspected criminal who may only take advantage of their guaranteed rights by engaging in government-approved speech. That’s completely the wrong way around. This Brooklyn lawmaker doesn’t seem to understand this inversion even when he directly, if inadvertently, addresses it.

“If the police department is reviewing a gang assault, a robbery, some type of shooting, they go and do a social media profile investigation,” the borough president pointed out.

Yes. But in these cases, a criminal act has occurred and an investigation is warranted. This legislative proposal treats gun buying as a crime and people’s social media history as some weird form of evidence. That’s fucked up, no matter how you might feel about the Second Amendment. Lots of shitposting and venting can look dangerous if viewed solely in the context of finding a reason to deny someone a gun.

Then there’s the still unaddressed question of what law enforcement is supposed to do if it decides someone’s social media posts are worrying enough they should be denied gun ownership. Are officers supposed to head out and arrest this person for being aggressively racist? Is that where this is headed? Are these legislators actually going to enable literal policing of speech?

And how is this supposed to be accomplished? Would potential gun buyers be forced to relinquish account info and passwords to ensure law enforcement is able to see everything purchasers have posted?

These are all worrying questions, none of which anyone involved with this bill seems to have answers for. Sure, it’s still early the legislative process, but these lawmakers are speaking about it publicly using specious reasoning and inapt comparisons. This suggests they like the idea they’ve had, but haven’t really thought about it past the point of “the Pittsburgh shooter posted racist memes, therefore this would definitely work.”

This quote, given to the New York Post, adds more words but no more clarity. And it certainly doesn’t do what Eric Adams claims it does:

Adams said the bills take the First Amendment right to free speech and the Second Amendment right to bear arms into the equation.

“We’re not talking about a person advertising ‘I hate a particular elected official. I hate a policy that’s passed,’” Adams said. “If there’s something that a law enforcement officer of a reasonable mind reviewed that shows this person does not hold the mental capacity to own a gun, then he should not be able to get a permit. We should use the same standard that determines whether a police officer can carry a gun.”

It doesn’t take either of those rights into account. It simply says police will now be allowed to view three years of social media history (along with search history from Google, Yahoo, and Bing) to determine gun ownership eligibility. All Adams says is it won’t be used to punish certain protected speech. (And it will be used to punish this specific protected speech because any law that can be abused by the government will be abused by it.)

To add to surreality of the proposal, Gab won’t be included in the social media monitoring despite this being the site where the Pittsburgh shooter posted the comments these legislators point to as the impetus for this terrible legislation.

No matter how it’s pitched, it all comes down to this: no Second Amendment rights for New Yorkers if they don’t use their First Amendment rights in a way their government approves.

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

CIA’s ‘surveillance state’ is operating against us all

© Getty Images
By Sharyl Attkisson | The Hill | November 5, 2018

Maybe you once thought the CIA wasn’t supposed to spy on Americans here in the United States.

That concept is so yesteryear.

Over time, the CIA upper echelon has secretly developed all kinds of policy statements and legal rationales to justify routine, widespread surveillance on U.S. soil of citizens who aren’t suspected of terrorism or being a spy.

The latest outrage is found in newly declassified documents from 2014. They reveal the CIA not only intercepted emails of U.S. citizens but they were emails of the most sensitive kind — written to Congress and involving whistleblowers reporting alleged wrongdoing within the Intelligence Community.

The disclosures, kept secret until now, are two letters of “congressional notification” from the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. He stated that during “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems,” the CIA collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection.

McCullough added that he was concerned about the CIA’s “potential compromise to whistleblower confidentiality and the consequent ‘chilling effect’ that the present [counterintelligence] monitoring system might have on Intelligence Community whistleblowing.”

“Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints,” McCullough stated in the letters to lead Democrats and Republicans at the time on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), and Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

The March 2014 intercepts, conducted under the leadership of CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, happened amid what’s widely referred to as the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and mass surveillance scandals.

Is that legal?

According to the CIA, the spy agency has been limited since the 1970s to collecting intelligence “only for an authorized intelligence purpose; for example, if there is a reason to believe that an individual is involved in espionage or international terrorist activities” and “procedures require senior approval for any such collection that is allowed.”

But here’s where it gets slippery. It turns out the CIA claims it must engage in “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computers” to make sure certain employees aren’t doing bad things. Poof! Now, all kinds of U.S. citizens and their communications can be swept into the dragnet — and it’s deemed perfectly legal. It’s just an accident or “incidental,” after all, if the CIA happens to pick up whistleblower communications with the legislative branch.

Or maybe it’s a lucky break for certain CIA officials.

The only reason we know any of this now is thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), whose staffers were among those spied on. Grassley says it took four years for him to get the shocking “congressional notifications” declassified so they could be made public. First, Grassley says, Clapper and Brennan dragged their feet, blocking their release. Their successors in the Trump administration were no more responsive. Only when Grassley recently appealed to current Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who was sworn in on May 17, was the material finally declassified.

“The fact that the CIA under the Obama administration was reading congressional staff’s emails about Intelligence Community whistleblowers raises serious policy concerns, as well as potential constitutional separation-of-powers issues that must be discussed publicly,” wrote Grassley in a statement.

Legal or not, there was a time when this news would have so shocked our sensibilities — and would have been considered so antithetical to our Constitution by so many — that it would have prompted a swift, national outcry.

But today, we’ve grown numb. Outrage has been replaced by a cynical, “Who’s surprised about that?” or the persistent belief that “Nothing’s really going to be done about it,” and, worst of all, “What’s so bad about it, anyway?”

Some see the intel community’s alleged abuses during campaign 2016 as its own major scandal. But I see it as a crucial piece of a puzzle.

The evidence points to bad actors targeting candidate Donald Trump and his associates in part to keep them — and us — from learning about and digging into an even bigger scandal: our Intelligence Community increasingly spying on its own citizens, journalists, members of Congress and political enemies for the better part of two decades, if not longer.

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , | 2 Comments

Making America as ‘secure’ as Israel – Israelis train U.S. police

By Alison Weir | CounterPunch | February 3, 2005

When you’re receiving advice “free” or otherwise, it’s wise to first evaluate the source. It’s probably not the best idea to hire a squinting optometrist, a limping podiatrist, or a toothless dentist. If you’re considering a heart surgeon and a search for his previous patients turns up too many graves, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. In fact, if he’s having heart pains, in all kindness perhaps you should call him a doctor.

In this vein, it seems time to examine a growing trend in this country. American officials still reeling from 9-11 and its escalating after-shocks are increasingly turning for help to Israeli “security experts.” Every few months there seems to be another report of local police officers somewhere in the country- Rhode Island, California, New Jersey -traveling to Israel for training in how to make America more secure.

These trips are paid for, interestingly, by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization whose once worthy goal of opposing bigotry long ago was superseded by a very different activity: advocacy for Israel. This advocacy consists of both carrots and sticks. Our officials, understandably perhaps, are chomping on the carrots.

At the same time as these junkets to Israel, more and more Israeli security experts are being hired here at home to advise us on how to make our nation safer. They’re popping up everywhere – at the local level, in state agencies, and throughout the federal government. They’re offering their services to the state department, and military officers are visiting the highest levels of the Pentagon.

Israeli experts are assisting us abroad, as well. They helped us interrogate prisoners at Abu-Ghraib, for example, and are present at Guantanamo making us safer.

At some levels, none of this is surprising. It is certainly tempting for our financially strapped municipalities to avail themselves of a lobbying group’s generosity, and there are all sorts of truisms to apply for example, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” But the one that I suspect best fits is the old “there’s no free lunch.” Even more troubling, perhaps, are the cases where our over-extended federal government and struggling local ones are paying out good money for consultants whose merit is highly questionable at best.

It seems to me that before we go any further in this headlong rush for Israeli expertise to protect American citizens, it’s important to ask how secure Israeli experts and their policies have made Israeli citizens.

Anyone who has paid any attention to the news, of course, knows the answer.

The truth is, despite Israel’s enormous military might (paid for by American taxpayers to the tune of over $10 million per day), Israelis are among the most terrified populations in today’s world. Israelis feel unsafe in their cafes, on their streets, in their homes. They’re frightened to ride their own city buses. (The wealthy, of course, don’t. They take taxis and private cars.) And going to the mall in many parts of Israel is an experience that not many Americans would be eager to replicate here. Being searched by armed soldiers in combat gear before being allowed to enter, and then shopping amid people with loaded rifles strapped to their backs as they peruse the toy section is not a delight many of us would wish to copy.

Of course, you might point out, Israelis are living luxuriously compared to Palestinians. “Only” about 1,000 Israelis have been killed in the past five years, not over 3,500. “Only” approximately 100 Israeli children have been killed compared to more than 600 Palestinian ones. “Only” 7,000 Israelis have been injured, not 28,000. The unemployment rate is “only” 10 % not 50%. Israelis aren’t suffering malnutrition, being routinely imprisoned, grotesquely humiliated, regularly tortured.

There aren’t dozens of children with eyes injured and shot out, and while there are growing numbers of Israelis in wheelchairs, they don’t yet approach the hundreds of Palestinians whom Israeli bullets have permanently paralyzed. While many Israelis are maimed – arms missing, legs gone, faces mutilated – they’re “only” a fraction of the number you find in Palestine.

Nevertheless, despite their relative comfort, Israelis are not living in a condition that I wish to emulate.

The fact is, Israeli governmental security and policy “experts” have long promulgated policies of such ruthlessness and cruelty that a tiny but lethal number of their victims finally began to fight back. In the current intifada, 140 Palestinians were killed before a similar Jewish death on Israeli soil; 84 Palestinian children were killed before a single Israeli child. Now, as Palestinian deaths continue to spiral upward, Israeli deaths, while still significantly fewer, continue to grow as well. [See Timeline of deaths.]

It’s a very simple equation. The more that Israeli “experts” increase their actions to “protect” Israelis, the more they die.

Overall, in fact, Israelis have been so well served by their officials, that Israeli citizens are leaving the country in droves (hence, I suspect, the many “security consultants” now peddling their wares in the U.S. – security experts, too, know when to leave a sinking ship). In recent years, approximately ten percent of the population has left and some former American diplomats suspect the number of Israelis fleeing their country could easily be double that.

Personally, I’m proud of America’s history as a refuge for those “yearning to breathe free,” and I believe in doing our best to welcome those whom extreme need drives to our shores. I don’t, however, want anyone to bring “security” policies and “expertise” to our country that caused them to flee their own.

I’m not surprised that so many Israelis are moving to the US. I only wish we’d stop consulting them about how to make our own nation as safe as the one they’ve just fled.

November 5, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

Public Spaces, Private Control

By Graham Peebles | Dissident Voice | November 3, 2018

Some time ago I found myself in Paddington Central, a development of office and residential buildings near Paddington train station in London. I’d accidentally walked into the glass and metal concave and what appeared to be a public space, albeit one surrounded by the usual corporate outlets; green grass, a sort of amphitheater, people sitting around eating and drinking and a busker packing up. It appeared pleasant, but there was something artificial and menacing here. Upon investigation I discovered that it was not really a public space at all, but a privately owned square subject to undisclosed laws and regulations laid down by the corporation that owns it.

The commercialization of public spaces in British cities and elsewhere in the industrialized world is going on apace. It is a key element in the movement to lay claim to our cities and neighborhoods, and whilst the curse of gentrification is hard to miss, privatization of public spaces goes largely unnoticed by a weary populous beaten down by the relentless pressures of modern living, unaware of the devious ways of big business and the corporate state that supports it.

Peaceful Protest Denied

Unsurprisingly, the privatization of public spaces (POPS) in Britain began during the Thatcher years (1980’s), and, over the past few decades, The Guardian reports, “almost every major redevelopment in London has resulted in the privatization of public space, including areas around the Olympic Stadium, King’s Cross and Nine Elms.” One of the most notable areas of privately owned public space in the capital is ‘More London’ on the South Bank of the River Thames where City Hall sits surrounded by what looks like open public space. The 13-acre site is, in fact, owned by St. Martins, a Kuwait property company, who bought it in 2013 for £1.7bn. As described by the More London agent, the “development is a modern 13-acre business destination, situated on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Designed by Foster and Partners, the development comprises City Hall, a diverse mix of grade A office space, shops, restaurants, bars, a Hilton hotel, a theatre, a unique open-air music and entertainment amphitheater.” Further down their repugnant sales speak they make clear that the public space and what takes place there is, in fact, under corporate control, stating that, “the local community, up and coming arts organizations and charities are encouraged to use the space for free.”

Within these suffocating corporate spaces behavior and access is controlled and landowners are empowered to deny the public the right to peacefully protest. This was evidenced in 2011 when the Occupy Movement set up camp in Paternoster Square (renamed Tahrir Square by protestors) outside the London Stock Exchange, only to be forcibly moved on by police who secured a high court injunction against public access. To the shock and confusion of many of us, it transpired that the Mitsubishi Estate Company, a massive Japanese property developer actually owned the ‘public’ square.

The sterile environment of POPS promotes a false image of contemporary living that marginalizes the disadvantaged and ignores the reality of poverty and social injustice, while being a fundamental part of a system that perpetuates both. In such sanitized spaces certain ‘types’ of people, buskers, skateboarders, cyclists – the undesirable – are unwelcome; homeless people are shunned, their existence denied, and ‘hostile architecture’ – benches with arms making lying down impossible, studded doorways, sloped window sills and anti-homeless spikes – aggressively reinforce the message of exclusion.

POPS is part of a major change in the nature of our cities as governments justify the sale of public land and buildings as economic prudence, and industrial sites are developed and converted into residential properties or refashioned as commercial units, studio spaces, ‘Class A’ offices, etc. This disturbing undemocratic “wave of urban change is characterized by certain key trends,” says Anna Minton, author of The Privatisation of Public Space’, “relating this time to the private ownership and management of the public realm.” Minton cites an enormous regeneration scheme in Liverpool allowing Grosvenor Estates (headed by the Duke of Westminster, estimated to be worth around £9 billion) to “redevelop 35 streets in the heart of the city, replacing traditional rights of way with ‘public realm arrangements’, policed by US-style ‘quartermasters’ or ‘Sheriffs’.” Begging, skateboarding and rollerblading will be banned and “any form of demonstration will require police permission.” Systems of control more akin to fascism than democracy, but then corporate institutions are not at all interested in democratic principles, they are totalitarian institutions that have been granted extraordinary powers by indolent governments.

Landowners are free to draft the regulations for these pseudo public spaces, which are not subject to local authority bylaws. Like shopping centers and gated communities POPS are policed by unaccountable private security firms, the relevant rules do not have to be publicly posted and can be used indiscriminately to deny public access; free speech is certainly not part of the corporate model of public ownership, which suits the government very well.

In keeping with the homogenized high streets up and down the country all POPS look and feel alike, creating a disturbing sense of uniformity. Streets and squares without character, all color and diversity eradicated, ‘corporatized’; individuality crushed, social conformity demanded. Captured under the umbrella of consumerism people are reduced to mere customers, divided into bands of affluence or need, towns, cities and countries spoken of as market places, the world seen as one giant shopping center in which the values of the market – greed and exploitation, division and selfishness – are promoted in day and night.

The creation of quasi-public spaces, and the selling off of previously authentic public spaces, is one more insidious step in the commercialization of all aspects of contemporary life, and the erosion of democracy; democracy that is already completely inadequate. The massive sale of common space that is taking place in British cities has, the Guardian states, “been strategically engineered to seem necessary, benign and even inconsequential.” It is happening within the broader construct of urban re-generation schemes, which take place without any democratic participation; land is sold off in secret, and the voices of local residents, small businesses, social and cultural centers go unheard.

Public spaces serve a range of purposes. They provide a platform for free assembly and collective action and, within cities, where most people live, they are an ever-precious resource. The world of Neoliberalism attempts to reduce everything to a commodity, but public spaces are not simply a financial asset to be sold off to the highest bidder: like libraries, playing fields and community centers they are an essential social democratic resource that must be fiercely defended and re-claimed as ours.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Israel expert calls for assassination of Islamic Jihad leader

MEMO | November 1, 2018

Israel should resume its policy of targeted assassinations, aiming first at Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh, Israeli journalist Yoni Ben Menachem said in an article this week

Al-Nakahleh, who is based in Beirut, was elected as a secretary-general of the movement last September. Ben Menachem sees Al-Nakhaleh’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah as a threat to Israel. His assassination, Al-Nakhaleh said, is a step towards “stopping Iranian influence in the region and stopping the Iranian plan to turn the Gaza Strip into an effective front against Israel”.

Mossad can reach Al-Nakhaleh in Beirut, the journalist added, in a similar way to how it targeted Imad Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah leader, in Syria ten years ago.

Linking Al-Nakhaleh to the Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, Ben Menachem said this allows Iran to spread its influence in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The failure of Mossad to return to the policy of targeted assassination will allow Gaza’s political leaders to believe they have “immunity”.

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Father and son activists in Dheisheh camp, seized by occupation forces

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – November 1, 2018

Nidal Abu Aker, a longtime community leader and a journalist in Dheisheh refugee camp, and his son Mohammed Abu Aker, a university student, were seized by Israeli occupation forces who invaded the camp in the early morning hours of Thursday, 1 November. Both are prominent advocates for Palestinian rights and former prisoners who have been repeatedly jailed for their commitment to Palestinian liberation.

Israeli occupation forces invaded the home, pushing, shoving and hitting Abu Aker as he resisted the armed soldiers forcing their way inside the family’s house.

They manhandled Mohammed as they pulled him and his father from their home, raising their weapons in a threat to the Palestinian refugees in nearby apartments.

The Abu Aker family are refugees from Ras Abu Ammar in Palestine ’48; their family has lived in Dheisheh refugee camp since the Nakba. Nidal, 50, is married to Manal Shaheen and the father of three children, Mohammed, Dalia and Karmel. A prominent leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, he is also the host of a program about Palestinian prisoners called “In their cells” on Sawt al-Wihda radio station and a co-founder of the Families of Prisoners Association in the camp.

He has spent 17 years in Israeli prisons, through multiple arrests and under 11 years of administrative detention without charge or trial. In 2015, he engaged in a 40-day hunger strike with five more administrative detainees to demand an end to imprisonment without charge or trial. He was arrested for the first time in 1984, and his mother says that he has spent nearly half of his life in Israeli prisons. He was released from his latest stint in administrative detention without charge or trial in July 2018, after two years of imprisonment.

Mohammed, 25, was released in late 2017 after spending two years and two months in Israeli prison on an array of political charges, including support for and membership in a prohibited organization. All major Palestinian political parties are labeled illegal by the Israeli occupation, and people often face this charge for participating in student, labor or youth organizing, as did Mohammed. A student at Bethlehem University, he is known for his role in organizing the Palestinian student movement on campus.

Dheisheh refugee camp has been a site of intense repression and frequent violent raids by Israeli occupation forces. Youth in the camp have been threatened by Israeli military commanders with phone calls and text messages. Raed al-Salhi, an unarmed Palestinian youth was shot dead by occupation forces in an “arrest raid,” shortly after one occupation soldier had threatened to “shoot [Raed] in front of your mother.”

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Hebron: Seven weeks after the murder of Wael Fatah Ja’aberi by Israeli Forces, family still awaits his body for burial.

International Solidarity Movement | October 28, 2018

Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Monday October 22, the family of Wael Fatah Ja’aberi gathered in Ibn Rush square in downtown Hebron to protest the murder of their son and the decision of Israeli forces not to return his body to their family for more than a month. In September, Ja’aberi was killed in a combined settler and soldier ambush. His body has still not been returned to his family, who have erected an information/communication tent in the main square of downtown Hebron in protest.

A week after the Ja’aberi family erected their protest tent downtown, fathers who lost their sons in similar incidents, gathered in the tent and showed their solidarity.

The Ja’aberi family demanded the body of slain Wael, but is waiting in vain for any answer since September 9, 2018 – the day of the brutal incident.

On Monday evening 9/9/2018, Wael Fatah Ja’aberi, a 37 year old father of two children, was shot down close to his home, near the intersection of the Hebron H1/H2 area division, from the entrance of the illegal settlement Givat Ha’avot, by a settler and a soldier.

According to witnesses, Wael and his 9 year old son were walking from their home to a nearby shop, for which they had to pass the road close to a the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement Givat Ha’avot .

When they approached the location of the entrance, still 20 meters away from it, a settler together with a soldier ambushed and killed the 37 year old father.

His 9 year old son was lucky to escape and could run back home, in shock of the cruelty he went trough. As it seems, the armed settler fired at Wael and his son, after which a soldier, present at the checkpoint, continued the shooting with several live bullets.

Israeli forces left Ja’abari bleeding to death, without giving or allowing him any kind of medical assistance.

No health care was given or allowed. The Israeli ambulance belongs to Ofer, a paramilitary settler of Kyriat Arba – not a medic.

Video recordings of this fatal incident were posted on the internet. (here, here and here)

The Israeli military claimed afterwards, that it was self defense against a stabbing attack, and did not contact the family. This claim is disputed, however, given Israeli forces’ history of planting knives on murdered Palestinians and given the fact that Ja’abari was walking with his 9 year old child. No footage of the many security cameras on that location has ever been released.

Stealing corpses in the aftermath of a unlawful execution, is a standard procedure of the Occupation. Between 2008 and 2018 Israel held back more then 280 corpses.

October 31, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 1 Comment