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In a Preemptive Move, Netanyahu Calls for ‘Sanctions’ against ICC

The Palestine Chronicle | January 21, 2020

Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for imposing sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC), following an earlier announcement by the court that it intends to investigate alleged war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“The US government under President Trump has spoken forcefully against the ICC for this travesty, and I urge all your viewers to do the same, to ask for concrete actions, sanctions, against the international court – its officials, its prosecutors, everyone,” Netanyahu said during an interview with Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Meanwhile, the ICC announced on Tuesday that it will delay its debate on the issue, which is intended to determine “whether it has the jurisdiction to probe alleged Israeli war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem due to a procedural error related to the filing’s page limit,” The Guardian newspaper reported.

Editor of The Palestine Chronicle, Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud commented that “the high level of the ICC investigations places the legal push against Israel at an entirely new level.”

“This is uncharted territory for Israel, the United States, Palestine, the ICC, and the international community as a whole. There is little doubt that some joint Israeli-American effort is already underway to develop strategies aimed at countering, if not altogether dismissing, the ICC investigation,” Baroud added.

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 5 Comments

Jews’ Ten Pledges vs Palestinians’ Eleven Red Lines

All five leadership candidates embrace ‘Ten Pledges’ that dictate how they must think, speak and act.

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | January 21, 2020

The UK Labour Party is saying goodbye to Jeremy Corbyn as leader after its disastrous general election performance and has begun choosing someone else.

Wasting no time, the Board of Deputies of British Jews last week published Ten Pledges they wanted Labour leadership hopefuls to sign up to if the Party’s relationship with the Jewish community was to be healed.

The BoD claim anti-Semitism in the party became a matter of great anxiety for the UK’s Jews during Corbyn’s four years in office and it will take at least 10 years to repair the damage. Their president Marie van der Zyl says: “We expect that those seeking to move the party forward will openly and unequivocally endorse these Ten Pledges in full, making it clear that if elected as leader, or deputy leader, they will commit themselves to ensuring the adoption of all these points.

“Tackling antisemitism must be a central priority of Labour’s next leader,” she insists. “We will certainly be holding to account whoever ultimately wins the contest.”

But is there really an anti-Semitism crisis other than the one caused by the Jewish State itself and mischievously drummed up within Labour? As former Israeli Director of Military Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi wrote: “It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.”  It has been suggested before that so-called anti-Semitism is a matter best resolved by the Jewish ‘family’ itself.

Obedience required

The BoD claim that all the leadership contenders – Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry – have signed the Ten Pledges, and three of the five deputy-leader candidates have done so. What are these crisis-busting Ten Pledges they’ve committed the Party to?

(1) Resolve outstanding cases – All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.

  • Absolutely.

(2) Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent – An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.

  • Of course.

(3) Ensure transparency – Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.

  • Except that complainers, including the BoD, have a poor record of keeping even their wildest allegations confidential.

(4) Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders – It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.

  • It is not clear from the evidence that Livingstone or Jackie Walker committed an offence. They were hounded out and not, I think, by any independent arbitrator.

(5) Communicate with resolve – Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.

  • This should apply also to false accusers and to the BoD themselves if failing to condemn the “harmful behaviours” of their brethren in the Israeli regime towards our sisters and brothers in Palestine.

(6) Provide no platform for bigotry –  Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs [local parties] who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.

  • Unacceptable. Many have been suspended for no good reason. And suspension does not mean guilt.

(7) Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification – The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.

  • How many times must you be told that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is a minefield? Top legal opinion (for example Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Geoffrey Robertson QC) warn that it is “most unsatisfactory”, has no legal force, and using it to punish could be unlawful. Furthermore it cuts across the right of free expression enshrined in UK domestic law and underpinned by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which bestows on everyone “the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. This applies not only to information or ideas that are regarded as inoffensive, but also to those that “offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”. Labour Party members should know all this. The prohibitive IHRA definition is not something a sane organisation would incorporate into its Code of Conduct.

(8) Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community – The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.

  • The BoD and JLM would do better teaching anti-racism to the Israeli regime and its supporters. Besides, MPs and councillors don’t ‘belong’ to the Labour Party or any other party; they belong to the public who elected them as their representative. No outside body should expect to influence their freedom of thought, expression or action (see the Seven Principles of Public Life).

(9) Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups – Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.

  • Labour should engage with the Jewish community though any representative organisation or individual it pleases.

(10) Show leadership and take responsibility – The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.

  • There’s no agreement that anything approaching a crisis exists within the Party.

Leadership front-runner Starmer is a former human rights lawyer and ought to know better. Long-Bailey is another lawyer who should hang her head in shame. Thornberry is a former barrister specialising in human rights law – words fail.  Jess Phillips, a member of Labour Friends of Israel, wrote Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S., described as “the little book we all need to help us call time on the seemingly unstoppable tide of bullshit in our lives”. The irony of it seems lost on her. Lisa Nandy is a puzzle as she’s chair of Labour Friends of Palestine.

If this bunch won’t robustly uphold freedom of expression guaranteed by law and international convention what have they let their hapless party in for? Those standing for deputy-leader also have little excuse. Angela Rayner was shadow education secretary, Ian Murray read Social Policy and Law, and Rosena Allin-Khan is a Muslim and former humanitarian aid doctor. They obediently signed the Ten Pledges. Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon declined.

When, a year ago, the French Republic presented its Human Rights Award to B’Tselem (the Israeli human rights group) its Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, thanking the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, said of Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians: “The occupation…. is organized, prolonged state violence which brings about dispossession, killings, and oppression. All branches of the state are part of it: ministers and judges, officers and planners, parliamentarians and bureaucrats.”

On another occasion B’Tselem said: “If the international community does not come to its senses and force Israel to abide by the rules that are binding to every state in the world, it will pull the rug out from under the global effort to protect human rights in the post-WWII era.”

When a respected Israeli organisation speaks truth in such stark terms it cannot be ignored.  And recent UN reports confirm that the Israelis abuse and torture child prisoners. So why would anyone – especially those competing to be Labour Party leader and one day prime minister – agree to dance to the tune of those who pimp and lobby on Israel’s behalf?

Who will punish the false accusers?

The BoD nevertheless make some valid points. The Labour Party takes a ridiculously long time to deal with allegations of anti-Semitism, many of which are false or vexatious and could be dismissed in five minutes. Let me tell you about two Scottish Labour politicians wrongly accused of anti-Semitic remarks and suspended. Let’s call them ‘A’ and ‘B’. Both are regional councillors.

Constituency party officials declared ‘A’ guilty immediately and issued a press statement to that effect without waiting for him to be heard, hugely prejudicing any investigation. This stupidity was compounded by his Council leader publicly calling on him to resign as a councillor and saying his thinking belonged to the Dark Ages: “To smear an entire community both past and present, to say he has lost ‘all empathy’ for them is utterly deplorable,” he was quoted in the press.

What was ‘A’s crime? He had tweeted: “For almost all my adult life I have had the utmost respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering. No longer, due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party and the long suffering people of Britain…” Was nobody in the local party aware that the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies were then leading an obnoxious campaign to discredit Labour and Jeremy Corbyn?

‘B’, a respected lady councillor, was accused of anti-Semitism by a former Labour MP who was already on record as wanting to impose limits on freedom of expression. A Tory MP immediately put the boot in, telling the media it was clear to the vast majority of people that ‘B’ was no longer fit to hold office and suspension didn’t go far enough.

And what was ‘B’s crime? She had voiced suspicion on social media that Israeli spies might be plotting to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader after three Jewish newspapers ganged up to publish a joint front page warning that a Corbyn-led government would pose an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country”.

She added that if it was a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government (which pledged to recognise Palestinian statehood) it amounted to an unwarranted interference in our democracy. For good measure she said Israel was a racist State and, since the Palestinians are also Semites, an anti-Semitic one.

‘B’ was eventually interviewed by party investigators. They surely knew that in January 2017 a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, Shai Masot, had plotted with stooges among British MPs and other activists to “take down” senior government figures including Boris Johnson’s deputy at the Foreign Office, Sir Alan Duncan. And that Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s former chief spokesman and mastermind behind Israel’s propaganda programme of disinformation, had recently arrived in London as the new ambassador.

Masot was almost certainly a Mossad tool. His hostile scheming was revealed not by Britain’s own security services and media, as one would have hoped, but by an Al Jazeera undercover team. Our Government dismissed the matter saying: “The UK has a strong relationship with Israel and we consider the matter closed.” But at a Labour Party conference fringe meeting Israel insider Miko Peled warned that “they are going to pull all the stops, they are going to smear, they are going to try anything they can to stop Corbyn…. the reason anti-Semitism is used is because they [the Israelis] have no argument….”

Given such a blatant attempt by an Israeli asset to undermine British democracy, with Regev in the background and (quite probably) Mossad pulling the strings, ‘B’s suspicions were reasonable enough and she had a right to voice them.

As for Israel being a racist State, its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and other brutal policies over 70 years make it obvious. And the discriminatory Nation State laws recently adopted by Israel put the question beyond doubt. Her point about anti-Semitism was also well made. DNA research (see for example the Johns Hopkins University study published by Oxford University Press) shows that while very few Jews are Semitic most indigenous Arabs in the Holy Land, especially Palestinians, are Semites. The term ‘anti-Semitism’, long used to describe hatred of Jews, is a misnomer that hides an inconvenient truth.

And it couldn’t have been difficult to establish that the opportunistic Tory MP calling her unfit to hold office was the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews, which is funded, supported and administered by The Board of Deputies. The case against ‘B’ should have been dropped instantly and action taken against the troublemakers.  Instead, weeks later, ‘B’ was posting on her Facebook page that she was still suspended: “I can’t make any decisions about my personal, political, or professional future whilst this hangs over me. I am constantly tired and anxious, and feel I am making mistakes. I have lost paid work because of what has happened.”

Her suspension was finally lifted but she was “advised” not to post about it or she’d risk losing professional work on which her livelihood depended. That’s how nasty the Labour Party disciplinary machine is. Surely, if the Party lifts a suspension it should issue a public statement saying so.  Must the wrongly accused, after being needlessly humiliated, be left to pick up the pieces and struggle to re-establish their good name? In total ‘B’ had to wait 16 weeks under sentence. And all because of a trumped-up allegation that ought to have been immediately squashed.

As for ‘A’, he stopped answering emails and there has been nothing in the press. Was his suspension lifted? Was he similarly threatened if he said anything? I simply don’t know although I phoned and wrote to the Leader and the General Secretary for an explanation. The latter eventually replied that “the Labour Party cannot, and does not, share personal details about individual party members” and placing a member in administrative suspension “allows a process of investigation to be carried out whilst protecting the reputation of the Labour Party”. Bollox. How did the media get news of these suspensions in the first place? And never mind the damage done to the cowardly Party, what about the reputations of the two councillors and their months of anguish while working for their constituents? I wasn’t asking for case details. All I wanted was the answer to three simple questions:

# Had the suspensions been lifted?
# If so, had the Party issued a public statement to that effect?
# And had the false accusers been disciplined?

Silence… spineless, don’t-give-a-damn silence.

Are these two cases typical of the so-called anti-Semitism crisis? I have no way of knowing. But they show how the Party is run by enough crackpots on the inside without inviting impertinent interference from the outside.

Jews’ Ten Pledges vs Palestinians’ Eleven Red Lines

Anyone signing up to the BoD’s Ten Pledges should consider at the same time subscribing to the ‘Eleven Red Lines’ of anti-Palestinianism. Examples in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

(1) Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and nationhood, or actively conspiring to prevent the exercise of this right.

(2) Denial that Israel is in breach of international law in its continued occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

(3) Denial that Israel is an apartheid state according to the definition of the International Convention on Apartheid.

(4) Denial of the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba and of their right, and the right of their descendants, to return to their homeland.

(5) Denial that Palestinians have lived for hundreds of years in land now occupied by Israelis and have their own distinctive national identity and culture.

(6) Denial that the laws and policies which discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel (such as the recently passed Nation State Law) are inherently racist.

(7) Denial that there is widespread discrimination against Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories in matters of employment, housing, justice, education, water supply, etc, etc.

(8) Tolerating the killing or harming of Palestinians by violent settlers in the name of an extremist view of religion.

(9) Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Palestinians — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth of a Palestinian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the map.

(10) Justifying the collective punishment of Palestinians (prohibited under the Geneva Convention) in response to the acts of individuals or groups.

(11) Accusing the Palestinians as a people, of encouraging the Holocaust.

This working definition of anti-Palestinian racism, described as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”, holds up a mirror to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and was drafted by Jewish Voice For Labour, one of those fringe representative organisations the BoD insist Labour mustn’t engage with.

So here’s a simple test for the BoD: if they demand the Labour Party signs up to their Ten Pledges will they themselves embrace the Eleven Red Lines on anti-Palestinianism?

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 3 Comments

One More Social Leader Killed In Colombia, 21 So Far in 2020

Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016.

Social leaders in Colombia are under threat since the peace agreement of 2016. | Photo: EFE
teleSUR | January 19, 2020

The Cordobexia Social Foundation denounced Saturday the assassination of social leader Luis Dario Rodriguez, the second activist killed in the northwestern department of Cordoba this week and the 21st so far in Colombia this year.

According to the statement released by the foundation, the social leader was murdered on Friday afternoon as he was returning home from a fishing trip in the municipality of Tierralta.

“He was shot by men on a motorcycle,” denounced the Cordobexia Social Foundation, as well as calling on the national government to protect and guarantee the exercise of human rights in Colombia.

Rodriguez was a member of the Association of Displaced and Vulnerable Families of Tierralta and of the human rights network of southern Cordoba. Also a father of three children and dedicated himself to fishing and agriculture.

His activism consisted of speeding up land claim processes after the flooding of the Alto Sinúu lands by the URRA 1 hydroelectric plant.

Less than a week ago, social leaders, Jorge Luis Betancourt and Tulio Sandoval were also murdered in their respective municipalities.

Betancourt also from Cordoba was killed in the municipality of Montelibanom and was a farmer’s rights activist.

While, Sandoval, who was participating in the crop substitution program, was killed by armed individuals who broke into his house, dragged him out and shot him repeatedly in front of his family.

In this context, Attorney General Fernando Carrillo recently called for an end to what he described as “the systematic murder of social leaders.”

Since the peace agreement signing, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia has counted more than 300 murders of human rights leaders.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment

How Expansive is FBI Spying?

By Ron Paul | January 20, 2020

Cato Institute Research Fellow Patrick Eddington recently filed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to find out if the Federal Bureau of Investigation ever conducted surveillance of several organizations dealing with government policy, including my Campaign for Liberty. Based on the FBI’s response, Campaign for Liberty and other organizations, including the Cato institute and the Reason Foundation, may have been subjected to FBI surveillance or other data collection.

I say “may have been” because the FBI gave Mr. Eddington a “Glomar response” to his FOIA requests pertaining to these organizations. A Glomar response is where an agency says it can “neither confirm nor deny” involvement in a particular activity. Glomar was a salvage ship the Central Intelligence Agency used to recover a sunken Soviet submarine in the 1970s. In response to a FOIA request by Rolling Stone magazine, the CIA claimed that just confirming or denying the Glomar’s involvement in the salvage operation would somehow damage national security. A federal court agreed with the agency, giving federal bureaucrats, and even local police departments, a new way to avoid giving direct answers.

The Glomar response means these organizations may have been, and may still be, subjected to federal surveillance. As Mr. Eddington told Reason magazine, “We know for a fact that Glomar invocations have been used to conceal actual, ongoing activities, and we also know that they’re not passing out Glomars like candy.”

Protecting the right of individuals to join together in groups to influence government policy is at the very heart of the First Amendment. Therefore, the FBI subjecting such groups to surveillance can violate the constitutional rights of everyone involved with the groups.

The FBI has a long history of targeting Americans whose political beliefs and activities threaten the FBI’s power or the power of influential politicians. The then-named Bureau of Investigation participated in the crackdown on people suspected of being communists in the post-World War I “Red Scare.” The anti-communist crackdown was headed by a young agent named J. Edgar Hoover who went on to become FBI director, a position he held until his death. Hoover kept and expanded his power by using the FBI to collect blackmail material on people including politicians.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the FBI spied on supporters of the America First movement, including several Congress members. Two of the most famous examples of FBI targeting individuals based on their political activities are the harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. and the COINTELPRO program. COINTELPRO was an organized effort to spy on and actively disrupt “subversive” organizations, including antiwar groups

COINTELPRO officially ended in the 1970s. However, the FBI still targets individuals and organizations it considers “subversive,” including antiwar groups and citizen militias.

Congress must hold hearings to determine if the FBI is currently using unconstitutional methods to “monitor” any organizations based on their beliefs. Congress must then take whatever steps necessary to ensure that no Americans are ever again targeted for surveillance because of their political beliefs and activities.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Severe torture in Israeli prisons targets Palestinian steadfastness: Walid Hanatsheh, Samer Arbeed, Mays Abu Ghosh and more

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network | January 19, 2020

In the last months of 2019 and early 2020, a growing number of cases of severe physical torture against Palestinian detainees carried out by Israeli Shin Bet interrogators have been documented. While torture and abuse of various kinds have been a mainstay of the Israeli interrogation process, after a 1999 Israeli Supreme Court ruling and amid widespread international attention, torture under interrogation for some years focused on physical and psychological techniques that were less likely to leave physical scars. However, these tactics, including sleep deprivation, extreme heat and cold, solitary confinement and the use of prolonged shackling in painful positions, are often effective in extracting coerced confessions.

Torture: A mainstay of Israeli apartheid and colonialism

Indeed, many of the same techniques were documented as being used by U.S. interrogators holding detainees in Guantanamo, and U.S. and Israeli security agencies have shared information about interrogation and torture techniques. It must be noted that the Israeli Supreme Court never criminalized torture; it continually allowed “exceptions” through the designation of a detainee as a “ticking time bomb.” In practice, Palestinian victims of torture have repeatedly pursued legal accountability for the crimes committed against them, only to find that the Israeli Supreme Court considered their torture to be a permitted form of “extreme interrogation,” justified for the “security of the state” of occupation, colonialism, apartheid and racism.

Torture is unquestionably illegal under international law. The UN Convention Against Torture defines torture as any practice intentionally inflicting severe physical or mental pain on a victim in order to obtain information or a confession, or in order to punish the victim for their conduct or suspected conduct. Torture is also prohibited under the laws of war and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The torture of Samer Arbeed

The case of Samer Arbeed helped to highlight the escalating return of severe physical torture as an official policy of the Israeli Shin Bet. Only days after his arrest, Arbeed was taken to Hadassah hospital unconscious with eleven broken ribs, lung injuries and kidney failure. While in the hospital, an Israeli guard released tear gas into his room, after which Arbeed developed pneumonia. Despite the clear evidence of severe torture and the medical records of his abuse, the Israeli Supreme Court denied Arbeed access to his lawyer for an extended period, while the Palestinian lawyers in the case were repeatedly subjected to gag orders.

Samer Arbeed is not alone. While Israeli Shin Bet spokespeople were smearing Palestinian prisoners in media attacks, these same prisoners have been subjected to severe physical and psychological torture under interrogation. In a December press conference, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association highlighted some of the torture techniques used by Israeli interrogators, including harsh beatings, stress positions like the “frog” or “banana,” sleep deprivation and ongoing threats against family members.

Palestinian lawyers highlight torture and abuse

As Addameer noted, “On 10 September 2019, a gag order was issued on a number of cases under interrogation at al-Mascobiyya interrogation center. Hence, preventing the public, including Addameer the legal representative, from publishing any information regarding these cases. The gag order was issued based on a request from the Israeli intelligence agency and Israeli police and was renewed multiple times. Despite the gag order, Israeli media outlets and the Israeli intelligence agency published information to the public about some of those cases. This inconsistent enforcement of the gag order, where the Israeli sources exercised the freedom to publish, can only be understood as a means to influence public opinion. Most importantly, the issuance of this gag order is an attempt to hide crimes committed against the detainees and prevent the public and the legal representatives from exposing the details of the crimes of torture and ill-treatment that were committed against the detainees in question throughout the past months.”

Walid Hanatsheh: Torture under interrogation

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

On 17 January 2020, photos of Walid Hanatsheh, one of the Palestinians detained, were released to the media, with his body showing clear signs of torture under interrogation. Bayan Hanatsheh, Walid’s wife, said in an interview published at Hadf News that the family obtained photos that displayed the bruises on his hands, neck, feet and throughout his body. She noted that he was brought to the military court in a wheelchair after his interrogation and that Walid said in court that he was unable to walk due to severe torture. His lawyer from Addameer demanded that the judge reveal the circumstances in which Hanatsheh was interrogated.

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

“After the occupation court lifted the ban on our attendance at the trial, we entered the courtroom for two minutes and saw a man who seemed old and we did not recognize him at first, but he called me by my name,” Bayan said. “I was horrified to see him, his eyes were watering, his beard was patchy and plucked…his only concern was to reassure us because he had been forbidden to communicate with us throughout his interrogation.”

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

Photo: Walid Hanatsheh after his interrogation

Bayan also noted that their daughter, Mays, 21, was detained by Israeli occupation forces for three days as a means of extracting a coerced confession from her husband. They told him that his daughter was imprisoned and under threat and also showed him a live feed of Israeli occupation forces storming their family home in Ramallah and taking measurements for its demolition.

Walid Hanatsheh with his daughter Mays, before his arrest

In Hanatsheh’s case, he was interrogated continuously for 23 hours at a time, with the replacement of interrogators approximately every eight hours. He was shackled in various stress positions and beaten while held there until he fell to the ground. Individual hairs were plucked from his beard and he was hit in the face by multiple interrogators, his lawyers said.

Walid Hanatsheh in his office, before his arrest

“Earth-shattering” crimes demand action

Sahar Francis, the executive director of Addameer, noted of the photos in Hanatsheh’s case that “These pictures are important in proving and documenting torture. Unfortunately, we do not succeed in receiving photos for all of the cases. In other cases, we have medical reports without pictures but a description of the prisoner’s situation, as in the case of Samer Arbeed.”

Former prisoner and long-term hunger striker Khader Adnan spoke out in response to the photos, calling them “earth-shattering.” He urged immediate Palestinian national attention to respond to the escalating crimes of torture, likening the experience of Palestinian prisoners to the infamous images of Abu Ghraib prison under U.S. occupation in Iraq.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement in response to the repeated cases of severe torture, noting that “The Front has experienced and confronted the policy of torture for over 50 years and developed a revolutionary school that graduated generations of revolutionaries, who carried and still carry forward the banner in the dungeons and interrogation cells, who cannot be shaken by crimes or policies of torture.

The Front emphasized that the international community and concerned institutions have neglected the crimes taking place in the dungeons of the prisons of the Zionist occupier against the prisoners, indicating once again the complicity of imperialism in these crimes.”

The exposure of the use of torture is not limited to Hanatsheh and Arbeed; severe physical torture was also reportedly used in the cases of Qassam Barghouthi and Karmel Barghouthi, whose mother Widad was also detained as a method of pressure on her sons, and in the cases of Yazan Maghamis and Nizam Mohammed.

Palestinian youth activists face torture

Several other prisoners also experienced extensive physical torture, including beatings and the use of stress positions, including Palestinian youth activist and new graduate Mays Abu Ghosh, whose parents spoke about seeing her after the effects of her torture and interrogation. Rather than being brought for a family visit, Abu Ghosh’s parents were actually brought in a further attempt to extract a false, coerced confession from her.

Palestinian youth activist Tareq Matar has been repeatedly jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention; after his most recent arrest and interrogation in November 2019, Matar is now being brought into court in a wheelchair, despite his previous status of physical health and athleticism after being beaten in stress positions under interrogation.

Jamil Darawi, 37, previously spent 14 years in Israeli prison. He was once again detained in November 2019 when Israeli soldiers stormed their family home near Bethlehem, breaking down the door and confining his wife, Rawan, to a room with their three daughters. Like his fellow Palestinian prisoners, Darawi was severely beaten and tortured under interrogation. Rawan said that when she saw him in court, she thought that he was not present until he called out to her: “I am here, Rawan, I am Jamil!” His jaw had been broken after an Israeli interrogator punched him and stamped on his face after he fell to the ground. He was returned to interrogation after being given painkillers and his face was still disfigured when he was finally brought before the military courts.

Demanding justice

Addameer has announced its intention to raise these cases before international bodies to call for justice for Palestinian torture victims and accountability for the Israeli state, the perpetrator of these crimes. In Gaza, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for a protest on Monday outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office to demand international action on institutionalized Israeli torture.

The systematic use of torture in Israeli interrogation not only intends to extract false and coerced confessions from Palestinians under interrogation; it also aims to undermine and prevent their steadfastness, the unwillingness to confess. Palestinian sumoud (steadfastness) under interrogation and the refusal to provide information has been the subject of numerous studies and tributes. The book, “Philosophy of Confrontation Behind Bars,” detailed how prisoners strengthen themselves in order to resist all forms of torture. During over 70 years of Israeli occupation, over 70 Palestinian prisoners have been killed under torture.

In recent decades, however, a vast majority of Palestinian prisoners’ cases have involved plea bargains; Israeli occupation forces will drag out military court sessions, interrogations and denied family visits in order to extract some form of limited confession for a plea agreement. Prisoners who refuse to provide the demanded confession are often transferred to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial that is indefinitely renewable. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed under administrative detention.

Attacks on Palestinian prisoners tied to attacks on global movement

The so-called “Erdan Commission,” named for Israeli Minister of Public Security (over the Israel Prison Service) Gilad Erdan – who also serves as the Minister of Strategic Affairs, responsible for attacking Palestine solidarity and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns around the world – has announced an effort to roll back the gains won by Palestinian prisoners through years of struggle. Thus, women prisoners are denied access to a library or to goods for embroidery and crafts; child prisoners are transferred without their representatives; access to food and water is being cut; conditions of living are barely tolerable.

The reassertion of overt reliance on severe physical torture comes hand in hand with this overall policy of outright Israeli war against Palestinian prisoners. It also comes hand in hand with the escalating attacks internationally against Palestinian human rights organizations and global campaigners for Palestinian rights, smeared by Erdan’s ministry with allegations based on tortured, coerced confessions or direct Israeli military propaganda.

Erdan has attempted to get Palestinian human rights organizations that focus on Palestinian prisoners defunded. His ministry has also attempted – and failed – to have Samidoun activists and Palestinian leftists like Khaled Barakat blocked from speaking in the European Parliament about Israeli repression.

Need for action

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network recognizes the urgent need to build the strongest possible front to confront Israeli torture internationally through popular struggle, including escalating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. We must not allow the Israeli occupation to isolate Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement or through our silence. Torture has been part and parcel of the Israeli colonial weapons of control for over 70 years, and the impunity of the Israeli state – backed up by U.S., European, Canadian and other imperialist powers’ support – may not be allowed to continue. We urge all to take action. 

If you or your organization would like to join the growing campaign against torture, please contact us at samidoun@samidoun.net.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Dutch government criticises pro-Israel lobby group NGO Monitor’s ‘half-facts and insinuations’

MEMO | January 17, 2020

The Dutch government has criticised the conduct of pro-Israel advocacy group NGO Monitor, singling out the unreliability of their accusations against human rights defenders.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok stated that the Netherlands is “concerned about the shrinking civil space in Israel”, and “therefore consistently brings this matter up in conversations with Israeli authorities”.

In recent years, Israeli politicians have pursued legislation that targets, as well as publicly incited against, organisations focusing on Israel’s military occupation and the violation of Palestinian rights.

The Israeli government’s attacks on human rights defenders are aided by organisations such as NGO Monitor, which in particular lobby European authorities to cease funding such human rights groups.

The Dutch minister added that “the government is familiar with the accusations by NGO Monitor against a broad group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations, as well as with criticism of the conduct of NGO Monitor itself”, citing a September 2018 report by the Policy Working Group.

“This research shows that many of NGO Monitor’s accusations are based on selective citations, half-facts and insinuations, but not necessarily on hard evidence”, Minister Blok added.

“These accusations have contributed to a climate in which human rights organisations have come under increasing pressure”.

In response to a separate question, the Dutch foreign minister noted that, “to the best of the government’s knowledge, NGO Monitor… focuses exclusively on organisations and donors who are critical of Israeli policy in the territories occupied by Israel”.

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

Egypt and the Destruction of Civil Liberties in America

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | January 17, 2020

There are lots of things wrong with the conviction and incarceration of 54-year-old Mustafa Kassem, who died last week in Egypt.

Kassen was an American citizen who drove a taxi in New York City. He had two children. In 2013, the Egyptian military ousted the democratically elected president of the country, which reestablished its omnipotent control over the government and the nation. In the process of killing hundreds of protestors, Egyptian authorities arrested Kassem in a nearby shopping center where he was exchanging money before returning home to the United States.

According to an article in the New York Times entitled “U.S. Citizen Dies in Egyptian Jail After Lengthy Hunger Strike,” after Kassem’s arrest Egyptian soldiers beat him mercilessly. They then jailed him. He remained incarcerated for five years before being accorded a trial. He was a diabetic and had a heart condition, but was accorded only limited medical care.

In 2018, five years after he was arrested, Kassem was convicted in a mass trial involving hundreds of other defendants. He began a liquids-only hunger strike and then passed away last week.

Like the United States since the end of World War II, Egypt is a national-security state. That means that, like the United States, its government is characterized by a powerful military-intelligence establishment with vast powers within the national governmental apparatus. The difference between the two systems is that while the U.S. government has three other branches of government — the executive, legislative, and judicial — the Egyptian national-security establishment wields 100 percent omnipotent control over the government and, consequently, the nation.

The U.S. Constitution called a different type of governmental structure into existence — a limited-government republic. The last thing that Americans of that time would have approved was a national-security state form of governmental structure similar to the one in Egypt or the United States today. That’s because they didn’t trust vast and powerful military-intelligence establishments, which they called “standing armies.” They figured that such establishments end up destroying the freedom and well-being of the citizenry.

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, expressed the common sentiment of Americans, when he stated:

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

To ensure that the federal government would lack the power to do to people what the Egyptian government has done to Mustafa Kassem, our ancestors demanded the enactment of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, to supplement the guarantee of habeas corpus in the original Constitution.

Those amendments guarantee that if the federal government targets a person for punishment, it must comply with certain procedural restrictions on its power. These include due process of law, which mean formal notice of charges and a trial, which, at the option of the defendant, can be trial in which a jury of regular citizens in the community, not a judge, determines guilt. Other procedural rights include the right to an attorney, the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses, the right to remain silent, the right to speedy trial, and the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishments.

There is something important to note: Our ancestors made sure that those procedural guarantees extended to everyone, not just American citizens. Thus, if a foreign citizen was visiting the United States and targeted by federal officials, he would be treated just like U.S. citizens were treated.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state after World War II and especially after the 9/11 attacks. The national-security establishment, which consists of the Pentagon, an enormous and permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, quickly acquired the most power in the overall governmental structure. That power was solidified after the 9/11 attacks.

That phenomenon is reflected by the fact that the U.S. national-security state does much the same thing that the Egyptian national-security state does. Consider, for example, the Pentagon’s and CIA’s torture and prison camp in Cuba. It mirrors how things operate in Egypt.

At Guantanamo Bay, there is no right to a speedy trial. While Kassem had to wait 5 years for a “trial,” there are inmates at Gitmo who have been incarcerated for more than 10 years without trial. If trials are ever held, hearsay evidence and evidence acquired by torture can be used to secure a conviction. Trial is by military tribunal rather than by a jury of regular citizens. Attorney-client communications are secretly monitored by the authorities. Many of the proceedings are held in secret. Confessions can be coerced. Defendants can be tortured, both before and after conviction.

Here’s something else to consider: The U.S. national-security state also now wields the power to round up American citizens, place them in military dungeons or detention centers, torture them, and even assassinate them without a trial.

Like in Egypt, the federal courts permit it to happen. So long as the Pentagon and the CIA relate their mistreatment of people to “national security” and “terrorism,” the federal courts step aside, or even worse, confirm and uphold the constitutionality of the tyranny.

Finally, perhaps it should be worth pointing out that the Egyptian military dictatorship is a close partner and ally of the U.S. government. Just last year alone, the U.S. government sent these goons $1.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded largess with which to line their pockets and fortify their dictatorial rule. And why not? Don’t birds of a feather flock together?

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Putin Updates Russian Constitution as Western Media Tries to Catch Up

By Johanna Ross | January 17, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his annual inauguration speech on Wednesday, announcing a welfare package for women and children which would put the average western democracy to shame. But it wasn’t the social reform which caused shockwaves across global media.  Instead it was the changes to the constitution aimed at giving more power to parliament and less to the President, as Putin sets the scene for Russia’s democratic future once he leaves his post (as it is widely believed he will) in 2024. Putin’s speech yesterday was followed by the resignation of Prime Minister Medvedev and his government, a procedure which, although took many by surprise, was a natural follow-on from the announcements.

Western media however was aghast. ‘What is Putin up to?’ read the headlines as Russia watchers frantically tried to work out what was going on. There must be something more to this, the narrative was spun. ‘The details are murky’ professed The Economist, as it bought time to figure out what it all meant. The Twittersphere was completely unprepared and perplexed by the government’s resignation. Many commentators couldn’t work out whether it was a good or bad thing. The general line was ‘we’re not quite sure what’s happening; more details to follow.’

This then evolved quickly into the line that the constitutional reforms were all part of Putin’s strategy to stay in power indefinitely. ‘Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping reforms that could extend his decades-long grip on power beyond the end of his presidency.” boasted CNN. This particular article even went as far as to misrepresent what the Russian President had actually said, by taking it completely out of context. Although Putin said regarding the resignation of the government: “I want to express satisfaction with the results that have been achieved. Of course not everything worked out, but nothing ever works out in full”, the CNN piece quoted him as saying ‘not everything worked out’ which by itself gives a completely different meaning, implying Putin was dissatisfied with the government’s work.

The Economist followed suit, taking up its usual antagonistic stance towards Russia with the headline “How Vladimir Putin is preparing to rule forever.” Furthermore on Twitter it alleged ‘Vladimir Putin’s regime has killed too many people to make it plausible that he would voluntarily give up power’, to which journalist Mary Dejevsky rightfully responded: ‘why would a president who, according to your interpretation, is intent on staying in power, be preparing a transition?’

Wednesday’s events in Russia really proved problematic for the western commentariat. For what in essence was clearly an attempt by Putin to further democratise Russia: reducing the number of terms a President can run to two, and ensuring the parliament appoints the Prime Minister as opposed to the President doing so; was perversely portrayed as a sign of authoritarianism, in a desperate attempt to fit the narrative. Absent from most analysis was the fact that Putin wants to put his proposals to a public vote: if that’s not democracy then I don’t know what is.

What has also been largely ignored by the western media was the implications of certain constitutional reforms on the future government and President. For arguably most significant of all was Putin’s proposal that any future President ought to have lived in Russia continuously for a period of 25 years and that civil servants should be barred from holding foreign citizenship.

So what should be regarded as a positive attempt to consolidate democracy in Russia, is being unfortunately, and rather predictably, interpreted as the opposite. But even if Vladimir Putin does continue a central role in Russia’s future, with record approval ratings I don’t see many people having a problem with that. This is the man who restored Russia as a world power to be reckoned with after the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing deep economic crisis during the 1990s. Russians won’t forget that.

Johanna Ross is a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Israel to build more detention facilities for Palestinians

Palestine Information Center – January 14, 2020

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – The Israeli occupation government has approved a plan to build more detention facilities to accommodate thousands of new Palestinian prisoners.

According to Israel’s Channel 7, four prisons will be built to accommodate about 4,000 Palestinians as part of a long-term plan to be finished in 2040.

The project will also include other detention centers, police stations and courts.

The Israeli prison service has 30 prisons and detention centers, the Channel said.

There are about 5,700 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 47 women and girls, 250 children, six lawmakers, 500 administrative detainees and 700 patients.

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank

A concrete marker placed by Israeli forces demarcating the beginning of the military zone near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, northern West Bank [DCIP/Cody O'Rourke]

A concrete marker placed by Israeli forces demarcating the beginning of the military zone near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, northern West Bank [DCIP/Cody O’Rourke]
By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | January 13, 2020

A seemingly ordinary news story, published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, on January 7, shed light on a long-forgotten, yet crucial, subject: Israel’s so-called “firing zones” in the West Bank.

“Israel has impounded the only vehicle available to a medical team that provides assistance to 1,500 Palestinians living inside an Israeli military firing zone in the West Bank,” according to Haaretz.

The Palestinian community that was denied its only access to medical services is Masafer Yatta, a tiny Palestinian village located in the South Hebron hills.

Masafer Yatta, which exists in complete and utter isolation from the rest of the occupied West Bank, is located in ‘Area C’, which constitutes the larger territorial chunk, about 60%, of the West Bank. This means that the village, along with many Palestinian towns, villages and small, isolated communities, is under total Israeli military control.

Do not let the confusing logic of the Oslo Accords fool you; all Palestinians, in all parts of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip, are under Israeli military control as well.

Unfortunately for Masafer Yatta, and those living in ‘Area C’, however, the degree of control is so suffocating that every aspect of Palestinian life – freedom of movement, education, access to clean water, and so on – is controlled by a complex system of Israeli military ordinances that have no regard whatsoever for the well-being of the beleaguered communities.

It is no surprise, then, that Masafer Yatta’s only vehicle, a desperate attempt at fashioning a mobile clinic, was confiscated in the past as well, and was only retrieved after the impoverished residents were forced to pay a fine to Israeli soldiers.

There is no military logic in the world that could rationally justify the barring of medical access to an isolated community, especially when an Occupying Power like Israel is legally obligated under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure medical access to civilians living in an Occupied Territory.

It is only natural that Masafer Yatta, like all Palestinians in ‘Area C’ and the larger West Bank, feel neglected – and outright betrayed – by the international community as well as their own quisling leadership.

But there is more that makes Masafer Yatta even more unique, qualifying it for the unfortunate designation of being a Bantustan within a Bantustan, as it subsists in a far more complex system of control, compared to the one imposed on black South Africa during the Apartheid regime era.

Soon after Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, it devised a long-term stratagem aimed at the permanent control of the newly occupied territories. While it designated some areas for the future relocation of its own citizens – who now make up the extremist illegal Jewish settler population in the West Bank – it also set aside large swathes of the Occupied Territories as security and buffer zones.

What is far less known is that, throughout the 1970s, the Israeli military declared roughly 18% of the West Bank as “firing zones”.

These “firing zones” were supposedly meant as training grounds for the Israeli occupation army soldiers – although Palestinians trapped in these regions often report that little or no military training takes place within “firing zones”.

According to the Office for the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Palestine, there are around 5,000 Palestinians, divided among 38 communities that still live, under most dire circumstances, within the so-called “firing zones”.

The 1967 occupation led to a massive wave of ethnic cleansing that saw the forced removal of approximately 300,000 Palestinians from the newly-conquered territory. Many of the vulnerable communities that were ethnically cleansed included Palestinian Bedouins, who continue to pay the price for Israel’s colonial designs in the Jordan Valley, the South Hebron Hills and other parts of occupied Palestine.

This vulnerability is compounded by the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) acts with little regards to Palestinians living in ‘Area C’, who are left to withstand and resist Israeli pressures alone, often resorting to Israel’s own unfair judicial system, to win back some of their basic rights.

The Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 between the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government, divided the West Bank into three regions: ‘Area A’, theoretically under autonomous Palestinian control and consisting of 17.7% of the overall size of the West Bank; ‘Area B’, 21%, and under shared Israeli-PA control and ‘Area C’, the remainder of the West Bank, and under total Israeli control.

This arrangement was meant to be temporary, set to conclude in 1999 once the “final status negotiations” were concluded and a comprehensive peace accord was signed. Instead, it became the status quo ante.

As unfortunate as the Palestinians living in ‘Area C’ are, those living in the “firing zone” within ‘Area C’ are enduring the most hardship. According to the United Nations, their hardship includes “the confiscation of property, settler violence, harassment by soldiers, access and movement restrictions and/or water scarcity.”

Expectedly, many illegal Jewish settlements sprang up in these “firing zones” over the years, a clear indication that these areas have no military purpose whatsoever, but were meant to provide an Israeli legal justification to confiscate nearly a fifth of the West Bank for future colonial expansion.

Throughout the years, Israel ethnically cleansed all remaining Palestinians in these “firing zones”, leaving behind merely 5,000, who are likely to suffer the same fate should the Israeli occupation continue on the same violent trajectory.

OPINION: The easing of Gaza fishing restrictions meets Israel’s security needs, not fishermen’s interests

This makes the story of Masafer Yatta a microcosm of the tragic and larger story of all Palestinians. It is also a reflection of the sinister nature of Israeli colonialism and military occupation, where occupied Palestinians lose their land, their water, their freedom of movement and eventually, even the most basic medical care.

These harsh “conditions contribute to a coercive environment that creates pressure on Palestinian communities to leave these areas,” according to the United Nations. In other words, ethnic cleansing, which has been Israel’s strategic goal all along.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Assassination Nation

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | January 13, 2020

We are all familiar with the Pentagon’s and CIA’s torture center and prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, where the U.S. national-security establishment has knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately destroyed protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Those include the right to a speedy trial, right to effective assistance of counsel, right to be remain silent, right to trial by jury, and right to confront adverse witnesses.

It’s worth noting that that the national-security state’s power to assassinate people also violates the Bill of Rights, specifically the Fifth Amendment, which reads in part as follows:

“No person shall be … deprived of life … without due process of law.”

There are two important points to note about that restriction on the power of the federal government:

One, the restriction is not limited to American citizens. By the use of the word “person,” rather than “citizen,” the protection extends to everyone in the world. The federal government is prohibited from killing anyone, citizen or foreigner, without due process of law.

Two, notice that our ancestors included no exceptions to this restriction. That is, the restriction does not say: “No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, unless the federal government deems it necessary to protect national security.” There are no exceptions whatsoever.

What is due process of law? The term stretches all the way back to Magna Carta, when the barons of England forced their king to acknowledge that his powers over the people were limited, as compared to omnipotent.

Over the centuries, due process of law has come to mean notice and hearing. When it comes to the government’s power to kill people, that means (1) a formal indictment notifying the person what he is being accused of; and (2) a trial, usually a jury of regular citizens in the community, in which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and in which the accused is free to defend himself.

So, there it is, in clear and succinct language: Our ancestors expressly prohibited U.S. officials from killing people without first providing them formal notice of charges and a trial.

That was America’s established system for more than 150 years. No program of state-sponsored assassinations. No federal program for killing people without due process of law.

That all changed after World War II, when the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic type of governmental system to a national-security state form of governmental system.

A national-security state is a totalitarian type of governmental system. North Korea is a national-security state. So is Egypt. And China, Russia, Cuba. And post-World War II United States.

A national security state is composed of a vast and powerful military establishment, an intelligence agency with omnipotent powers, including the power to assassinate people, and a surveillance agency that has the power to maintain a vast system of secret surveillance over the citizenry and others.

In the early days of the national-security state, the CIA just assumed the power of assassination. There was no congressional law delegating that power to the CIA. The CIA began wielding and exercising the power of assassination on its own, as part of the new national-security state form of governmental structure that had been adopted after World War II.

Almost from its beginning, the CIA established an assassination program, which included the preparation of an assassination manual. The manual trained CIA personnel in the art of assassination and, equally important, in ways to prevent people from recognizing the assassination as being state-sponsored. Making killings look like accidents was one of the methods in which CIA assassins would be trained.

Central to this assassination program was secrecy. The national-security state essentially made an implicit deal with the American people: we will exercise dark-side, totalitarian-like powers, including the power to kill people without due process of law, in order to keep you safe, but we will also keep it secret so that you don’t have to be bothered about what we are having to do to protect national security.

As early as 1953, the CIA assassinated federal military scientist Frank Olson because, they felt, he posed a threat to national security. One year later, it had a list of people targeted for assassination as part of its coup in Guatemala, which ousted the democratically elected president of the country, Jacobo Arbenz, and replaced him with an unelected military dictator. That kill list is still classified by the CIA as top secret. In 1961, there was the CIA conspiracy to assassinate Congo leader Patrice Lumumba. In the early 1960s, there were the repeated CIA attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. In 1963, there was the CIA assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1973, there was the CIA orchestration of a military coup in Chile, during which the Chilean national-security establishment tried to assassinate the democratically elected president of the country, Salvador Allende, with missiles fired from the military’s jet planes.

It was all kept top secret, until the 9/11 attacks. From that day forward, the national-security establishment’s program of state-sponsored assassinations came out into the open and became recognized as an official program of the U.S. government, one fully confirmed by the federal judiciary. That’s how the Pentagon and the CIA have turned America into an assassination nation, one in which the U.S. government wields and exercises the power to deprive anyone it wants, including both American citizens and foreign citizens, of life without due process of law, in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | , , | 7 Comments

“Will Not Comment on Recent Events in Jammu & Kashmir”: Detainees Being Released Sign Gov’t Form

Sputnik | January 12, 2020

Thousands were detained under India’s Public Safety Act, a law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial, in Jammu and Kashmir before the Narendra Modi-led government revoked Articles 370 of the Constitution, stripping the state of its special status on 5 August.

The detained people, who are being released after five months of imprisonment, have to sign a bond where they say they will not make any comment or statement on the “recent events” in Jammu and Kashmir.

The bond, signed under Section 117 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), includes Section 107, which states that the executive magistrate has the power to apprehend any individual for not more than a year on information that a person is likely to disturb peace and public tranquillity.

“I undertake that in case of release from the detention, I will not make any comment(s) or statement(s) or make public speech(s), (or) hold or participate in public assembly(s) related to the recent events in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, at the present time, since it has the potential of endangering the peace and tranquillity and law and order in the State or any part thereof for a period of one year,” section two of the bond reads.

Nearly 4,000 people were arrested and some political leaders were detained after the revocation of Article 370, over fears of outbreaks of unrest and “most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity”, news agency AFP had quoted an official as saying.

The government bifurcated the state into two federally-administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The union territory then imposed a communications clampdown as new charges for mobile phone services were imposed. Postpaid mobile calling and messaging services along with broadband internet have been resumed, but internet services remain suspended. India’s apex court has termed the restrictions unconstitutional.

A delegation of envoys from 15 countries such as the United States, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Morocco, Fiji, Norway, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Guyana visited the Jammu and Kashmir on 9 January.

January 12, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment