Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Friday, 23 January 2009
GITMO and the so-called Bad Men Inside ... but are they?
Now Playing: The GITMO "bad men" scandle ... heck real the bad men just left office!
Z3 Readers more on the torture spin, but as you know the US Bush Government has screwed this (and the lives) of so many of this up beyond belief … it will be decades and heartaches for many years to come before this will be resolved. This Bush Cabal has fucked up the entire USA by their sick torture ways... now the serious concerns "how do we fix this"?
Shit thanks to the sick and twisted US leadership by the Bush Cabal.
Let me just say to my fellow z3 Readers ... the USA will pay the price for many years... we screwed the minds of many, many, many people up... and now its time for the reaper to be paid...
Thanks george & dick ... for taking America to the "dark side" .... And now for the best appeasement I can think of is to: “throw the two X-leaders of the corrupt USA torture program in a dank dark hole for many years, turn up the lights, crank up the music, and let them rot in their feces”
... These crooked sick ass fuckers really screwed over the whole world and Human Rights are now clinging to the toilet rim.
Shame on America for allowing this …Shame on all you who did nothing!
Thanks Dickey… Thanks Shrub...
now read below z3 Readers what we need to do to start cleaning up this toilet they been using for 8 sick years.
The link to this topic/article I found, is right below my text here:
How many terrorists are...
really left at Guantanamo, anyway?
By Dahlia LithwickPosted Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009, at 6:43 PM ET
Guantanamo This morning, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that will close down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within the year. He explained that he was "following through not just on a commitment I made during the campaign but an understanding that dates back to our Founding Fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct—not just when it's easy but also when it's hard."
Everyone agrees that the order shuttering the camp is the easy part; figuring out what to do with the 245 detainees there is far tougher. Amid all the hooting and hollering you'll be hearing from around the world today, hard questions linger about how many of the detainees left at the camp are the "worst of the worst" (in the parlance of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) and how many simply can't be returned to sender.
Are most of the detainees terrorist masterminds or just luckless wanderers? If the former is true, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is right to be terrified that they will all be dropped off in his back yard at Leavenworth.
If the latter is true, the Center for Constitutional Rights is correct in suggesting that closing the camp isn't nearly as hard as it's been made out to be. This is not a moral or political or existential question. It's an empirical one, and presumably this matter can be resolved by the "prompt and thorough" review mandated by the president's executive order.
One thing that will not help anyone, going forward, is the kind of hyperbole we've seen from both sides, suggesting that the whole camp is teeming with assassins or choirboys. So how many truly bad guys remain at Guantanamo? Here's a start to sorting that out. For starters, let's put to rest once and for all the cockamamie numbers about former Guantanamo detainees who have ostensibly "returned to the battlefield" after being released from the camp. This is one of those numbers that's thrown around almost drunkenly by those in favor of keeping Guantanamo Bay in operation. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing in dissent in Boumedienne v. Bush, asserted, "At least 30 of those prisoners hitherto released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield." He cited a year-old, widely debunked report for that statistic. Last week at Eric Holder's confirmation hearings, it was Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, who upped the count to 61 soldiers who had rejoined the battlefield since being let out of Gitmo.
Sixty-one is the most recent statistic from the Bush Defense Department, which coughed up this hairball at a Jan. 13, 2009, press conference. While the DoD spokeswoman would not at the time clarify how that statistic had jumped from the previous number of 37, elaborate on the identities of these 61 men, explain where they had been identified as battlefield returnees, or even indicate how many were still alive, she was confident that "there clearly are people who are being held at Guantanamo who are still bent on doing harm to America, Americans, and our allies. … So there will have to be some solution for the likes of them."
According to a new study by Mark Denbeaux and his team at Seton Hall University School of Law, this was the Bush administration's 43rd attempt to quantify the number of detainees who have rejoined the battle. The previous 42 were no more impressive. The Seton Hall study shows that the administration's prior recidivist statistics do not even trend consistently upward—a 2007 DoD report downgraded the prior estimate of recidivists from 30 to five.
The Defense Department has also been known to name as recidivists several individuals who have at no time been held at Guantanamo. Moreover, the Denbeaux study shows that the Defense Department defines speaking to reporters or publishing op-eds critical of Guantanamo as "returning to the fight." The point here is not that the data kept on the Gitmo detainees are all crap. The point is that we need to get past the tendency to cite statistical "facts" about the future dangerousness of these prisoners (and to use seemingly every available digit in the history of numbers in doing so) based on highly suspect Bush administration records.
So how many truly hardened terrorists are currently cooling their heels at Guantanamo? We know for a fact that the 245 detainees at the camp include 17 Chinese Uighurs who, while cleared of any "enemy combatant" charges, cannot be returned safely to China and have no place else to go. Similarly, there are, as the Bush administration acknowledges, between 50 and 60 other men who have also been cleared for release with no place to go. (Some of these folks may now be accepted by Portugal, Australia, and Switzerland.)
We also know that the single most important determinant of whether a prisoner was repatriated or kept at Guantanamo is their nationality. As the Center for Constitutional Rights reports, the men from European countries were released early while almost all of the Yemenis are still there.
In fact, the "luckiest" of the Yemenis remains Osama Bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, who was convicted in a military commission, served out his brief sentence, and is now home with his family. Whether or not a prisoner is still at Gitmo often turns as much on international diplomacy as on future dangerousness.
We also know that among the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo there are several who clearly come under the definition of child soldiers, including Canadian Omar Khadr, who allegedly threw a grenade at an American soldier and was first taken to Guantanamo when he was 15. Khadr, we learned this week, allegedly identified, under abusive interrogation, another Canadian, Maher Arar, as a visitor to an al-Qaida safe house in Afghanistan.
The problem here is that there is no dispute that Arar was in Canada at the time. Mohammed Jawad is another prisoner at Gitmo, and like Khadr he was also a child soldier (between 15 and 17; his birth date is unknown) when he threw a grenade and injured U.S. soldiers. As Glenn Greenwald chronicles here, Jawad allegedly suffered such brutal abuse and torture, his chief prosecutor resigned and is now a witness for Jawad in his habeas corpus proceeding. As Greenwald writes, the centerpiece of the government case against Jawad is a confession he " 'signed' (with his fingerprint, since he can't write his name) … and yet, it was written in a language Jawad did not speak or read and was given to him after several days of beatings, druggings, and threats—all while he was likely 15 or 16 years old."
This brings us to the nearly unthinkable question of what happens to anyone, innocent or guilty, when they have been beaten, humiliated, and held in solitary confinement for almost seven years. One could argue that even Mother Theresa might be inclined to "rejoin the battlefield" upon release from such treatment. Somehow in the repatriation of those who arrived at Gitmo relative innocents, we must now contend with the fact that some will be dangerous as a consequence of our actions, not theirs. But all of this is still the easy part.
The tough part is what happens to those detainees who really do represent a threat to this country—people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with whom the Obama administration will now have to contend. The civil rights community has split over this issue in recent months, with proponents of terror courts and long-term preventative detention doing battle with supporters of regular criminal trials.
That is the issue we need to contend with today, and our discussions should be informed by fact, not by fiction or fabrication. One of the most thorough studies of the Guantanamo population was undertaken by my colleague Ben Wittes for his book Law and the Long War. He cautions that there are some extremely dangerous men at the camp and also some unfortunate cannon fodder. Looking at all of them as a unified bloc is and has always been an error.
So whether we are looking to answer questions about where to repatriate the last Guantanamo detainees, where to hold them until we try them, or how to try them, let's attempt to get past the undifferentiated orange jumpsuits, which tell us what they have always told us: virtually nothing at all.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:58 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2009 6:15 PM PST
Come and Get me - Man tracks himself for the Feds
Now Playing: he has a Muslim name... Well ... he must be a terorist
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Z3 Readers I found this story here:
Its hard to imagine that the USA treats people in such a disrespectful way, read how this man is fed up with the Feds.. he now tracks himself ... his worry is that "his name" ...triggers Homeland Security concerns. To me this sound racist and unconstitutional, so read on about how this professor is "working with them(sic)" ~joe-anybody
I'm not a terrorist,
says San Jose State professor
who puts his life online
Posted: 11/29/2008 06:59:09 PM PST
Click photo to enlarge
Hasan Elahi of Oakland takes a photo from his cellphone while on the move... ( David M. Barreda )
Hasan Elahi has spent most of the past six years trying to prove that he isn't a terrorist. This is odd in a way, because during that time no one has ever said publicly that the San Jose State University assistant professor is a terrorist. Except Hasan Elahi.
While re-entering the country following a trip to Africa in 2002, Elahi says he was accused of stockpiling explosives for al-Qaida in a Florida storage locker. And though he was released following nine hours of intense questioning, he has been attempting ever since to disprove that he is the most malign threat to civilization of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Elahi says he is still fearful that he could be dragged off an airplane and taken to the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. So Elahi reasoned that if he was fated to live under a perpetual cloud of suspicion anyway, he would turn his Kafkaesque existence — every waking, quaking moment of it — into "surveillance art."
If government agencies wanted to track his movements, Elahi would do it for them, letting his life play out in surreal time for the whole world to see on the Internet. If Big Brother was watching, Elahi would bore him to death.
Part paranoia, part performance art, his project — titled "Tracking Transience: The Orwell Project" — went broadband nearly five years ago at http://tracking transience.net. Since the 36-year-old Elahi began, he has documented
the vast seams of incident and insignificance characteristic of the non-jihadist lifestyle. He has taken more than 22,000 pictures of virtually every meal he has eaten, of the rooms — including most of the public toilets — he has visited, and of the roads he has traveled down.
He has turned his life into a data stream, and recently redirected that stream through Silicon Valley, where he has been teaching at San Jose State University's School of Art and Design since August, hoping to create something brand new: database art. "We don't know what the next generation of art is going to look like," he says. "We're kind of making it up as we go along. Not unlike the tech industry."
An offline version of the project was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it played on 139 video screens in a single room — part of what the festival's organizers referred to as "expanded cinema." The installation attempted something akin to building a human genome by collating the pictures of every Chinese takeout meal Elahi has ever eaten.
His move to San Jose in August seemed like the logical next step, a chance to see other artists working in the technology medium whom he had met at "nerdfests" in New York
and Berlin. For the aspiring database artist, Silicon Valley evidently offers much of the same promise as Florence during the Renaissance.
"The Medicis created this culture of curiosity, a culture of visionary thinking," Elahi says. "It creates an environment that lets a certain type of thought flourish. It's all about trying to find where that bright line is, then pushing and pushing it."
It's unlikely any of this would have occurred to him if he hadn't been briefly taken captive at an Immigration and Naturalization Service facility, given a series of polygraph tests, then released without being charged. "They told me in order to formally clear me, they would have to formally charge me," Elahi explains. "And they couldn't do that."
His name was placed on a terrorist watch list used by airport screeners throughout the United States, Elahi says. "There really is a serious danger underlying all this," he adds. "When that plane comes back into the U.S. now, I don't know what the interaction with Homeland Security is going to be. To this day, I get very nervous coming back into my own country."
Born in Bangladesh and raised in Brooklyn, Elahi is convinced that having a Muslim name remains the source of his problems going through airport security. His predicament is so unusual, it even got an airing on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" in May.
"Having this identity imposed upon me that completely misrepresented who I am," Elahi says, "I was given no choice but to take my identity into my own hands. I'm convinced that if we don't define ourselves, other people will do it for us, and inaccurately. In my case, not only was it wrong, it had potentially disastrous consequences for my life."
The FBI will neither confirm nor deny Elahi's claim that he was detained because there is no official record that it ever happened. A field agent in the bureau's San Francisco office responded to a description of Elahi's story as "not likely," but no one at the FBI with direct knowledge of the case returned calls.
Assuming there ever was a case. There's no proof that Elahi is making up his story, but then again, there's no proof that he isn't. It turns out that even the most tech-driven "database art" requires the underpinning of a compelling story. Without it, Elahi would be just another guy posting cell phone pictures online, like the compulsives on SnapMyLife.com.
"He's grown up in a generation for whom everything is media-ized, and therefore is subject to question," says Joel Slayton, executive director of the digital art festival 01SJ and the man Elahi replaced on the San Jose State faculty. "Everything is suspect, and the only way you can survive is by being slightly schizophrenic — both in it and out of it at the same time."
Elahi's Web site includes bank records and credit card receipts, proving that he has actually lived every scintillating second of the life he is posting. He has a software filter that scrubs out his name, address and credit card numbers, so he won't become easy prey for identity thieves. But, as he says, "Would you really want my identity the next time you're getting on an airplane?"
He doesn't know exactly when the project will end, but Elahi has come up with a denouement to it that even Kafka would admire. He has been commissioned by the city's public art program to design an installation for Mineta San Jose International Airport's new terminal, scheduled to open in 2010.
"He's a very interesting artist," says Barbara Goldstein, the program's director. And she's never even seen him go through a metal detector.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:22 PM PST
Friday, 16 January 2009
Gonzales whimpers that he is a victim
Now Playing: Alberto is not a victim he is the oppressor... he likes torture
AL “THE VICTIM” GONZALES
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Posted by Jim Hightower
Listen to this Commentary
As George W prepares to depart Washington, it’s appropriate to reflect for a moment on the millions of innocent victims who have paid – and are continuing to pay – such a terrible price for his wrongheaded war on terrorism. For example, Alberto Gonzales.
Say what? Al Gonzales, the Bushites’ legal lackey who okayed everything from their use of torture to their secret and illegal program for spying on millions of Americans? That Al Gonzales?Yes, that one. Bush’s former attorney general has recently been on a whine tour to try to rewrite the history of his feckless and cowardly performance in office: “I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror,” Al whimpered in a Wall Street Journal interview.
Excuse me, Mr. Gonzales, but no. You cannot put yourself in the company of the U.S. soldiers who’ve been killed or brutally maimed because clueless and reckless ideologues like you sent them to war without the protective armor they needed. Nor can you compare yourself to the millions of innocent Iraqi civilians who’ve been killed, maimed, or forced from their homes and their country by the war of lies you helped start.
And even to suggest that you’re on par with real “war on terror” victims who were waterboarded and otherwise tortured with your authorization is itself an atrocity on language, logic, and common decency. You’re not a victim – you’re a perpetrator. Yet, Gonzales, reeks of self-pity. “What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he asks.
The very fact that he has to ask is a damning measure of his obtuseness. In another way, though, Al really was victimized. He’s one of many unqualified political hacks whom George W thrust into important positions, only to abandon them when they failed.
Heck of a job, George.“Alberto Gonzales,” Austin American
Statesman, January 4, 2009.
“Gonzales Defends Role in Antiterror Policies,” www.wsj.com
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 3:20 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 3:31 PM PST
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
news just in: Israeli soldiers shoot at fleeing civilians 1/15/09
Now Playing: Can You Imigane What I am Thinking ?
news just in: Israeli
soldiers shoot at fleeing
reports to B´tselem and BBC claim that in two incidents IDF-soldiers shoot at unarmed fleeing Gazans. In one incident a woman holding a white flag was shot straight in the head.
|Claims by survivors to human rights watch B´tselem claim that a group of 70 huddled in a house were told by IDF loudspeaker to come out "Men and women seperately" |
As the group decided the women to go out first one by one they the woman was shot in the head.
|reports to B´tselem and BBC claim that in two incidents IDF-soldiers shoot at unarmed fleeing Gazans. In one incident a woman holding a white flag was shot straight in the head. |
Claims by survivors to human rights watch B´tselem claim that a group of 70 huddled in a house were told by IDF loudspeaker to come out "Men and women seperately"
As the group decided the women to go out first one by one they the woman was shot in the head.
(z3 readers I found this on Portland Indy Media here)
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:32 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 7:35 PM PST
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Can Police search Your Phone or Blackberry when you are arrested?
Now Playing: The Long Arm Of The Law ... wants your text messages and mobile files
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Hey all you most friendly and kind Z3 Readers check out this hot topic. And just a FYI ..... when flying and then going through customs, the (sic)homeland security can take your laptop and pour over it for days to see what ever they can about you, or what 'you" have on your computer..... read on and stand tall
Police Blotter is a regular CNET News report on the intersection of technology and the law.
What: Police claim they can legally copy data from the handheld devices of anyone who's arrested.
When: Two judges wrestle with concepts including privacy, the Fourth Amendment, and searches, and reach two different conclusions.
What happened, according to court records and other documents:
Handheld gadgets and laptops seem to know us better than our spouses do. They know whom we talk to, which Web sites we visit, whose e-mail we ignore, and with a little extra smarts, they could probably offer an educated guess about what we want for dinner.
To snatch these useful little devices from our homes, police need warrants. But if we happen to be arrested with gadgets in our pocket or purse, police say they have the right to peruse what could be gigabytes of data for potentially incriminating files or photographs.
The frightening scale of electronic searches has made this an important--and unresolved--privacy question. Two recent federal cases illustrate how judges remain deeply divided about whether to support police powers or defend Americans' privacy rights.
In May 2008, Chester Balmer, an officer with Georgia's Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, responded to a complaint of sexual activity in a silver pickup truck parked near an apartment complex. Balmer found a Dodge pickup truck with two people inside, obtained the driver's permission to look inside the truck, and allegedly spotted crack cocaine in the ashtray.
Balmer arrested the driver, Bernard McCray, and scrolled through the photos on McCray's mobile phone. He found images of what he believed to be a 14-year-old teenage girl in lewd poses, which led to McCray being charged with possession of child pornography. His lawyer objected to using the images as evidence, saying the warrantless search violated the Fourth Amendment.
U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield disagreed. Because papers, diaries, and traditional photographs can be examined during an arrest, Edenfield reasoned, a mobile phone can too.
The second case yielded a different result. It began with a Florida drug bust involving a man named Aaron Wall. A Drug Enforcement Administration informant offered to sell several kilograms of cocaine to Wall, who was arrested when he allegedly showed up at an exchange point with a bag full of cash.
Wall had two cell phones, which DEA agent Dave Mitchell examined during the booking process (but not during or immediately after the arrest). Mitchell found and took photographs of several text messages on the defendant's phones.
Mitchell would later offer justifications for his warrantless search: 1) he regularly performs mobile-phone searches because it's common to find evidence of crimes in text messages; 2) it's a standard DEA practice authorized by the DEA Legal Department, as long as the search is performed during the booking process; 3) he was concerned that the text messages might expire after a certain amount of time; and 4) the cell phone battery may die.
When the defense attorney objected to the search, U.S. District Judge William Zloch agreed. He said, essentially, that the DEA agent lied: "The court finds Agent Mitchell's statement that he searched the phone because of his concern that text messages might immanently expire is not credible...the true, and only, purpose of the search by Agent Mitchell was to find incriminating evidence."
Zloch ordered that the incriminating text messages be suppressed, which means that prosecutors can't use them in court proceedings.
These two cases capture the different ways to look at digital devices: are they like physical containers, which can be opened at will during arrests, or does their uniquely personal nature mean that a search warrant should be required? Few of us would have traveled with decades' worth of intimate personal diaries, but that's what modern gadgetry lets us do.
One of the better-known cases is the 5th Circuit's opinion (PDF) in January 2007, which sided with police. Police Blotter has covered other cases that took the pro-police view and the pro-privacy view.
It's worth pointing out that the second proceedings may have turned out differently, if the cops had searched Wall's mobile phone at the time of the arrest, rather than waiting until booking. Then again, this is no tremendous obstacle: if judges insist on that distinction, police can respond by doing a complete copy at the time of arrest. (Note that the state of Florida says "agents should continue to obtain search warrants for securing information from cell phones seized from arrested subject." That shows that a search warrant is no insurmountable hurdle.)
Excerpt from opinion of U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield on January 5, 2009, allowing the mobile-device search:
It is well settled that a search incident to a lawful arrest is a traditional exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment. Such searches are reasonable not only because of the need to disarm the arrestee of any weapons that might be used to resist arrest or effect his escape, but also because of the need "to search for and seize any evidence on the arrestee's person in order to prevent its concealment or destruction." (Unquestionably, when a person is lawfully arrested, the police have the right, without a search warrant, to make a contemporaneous search of the person of the accused for weapons or for the fruits of or implements used to commit the crime.)
As the Fifth Circuit held in Finley, "the permissible scope of a search incident to a lawful arrest extends to containers found on an arrestee's person." A cell phone, like a beeper, is an electronic "container," in that it stores information that may have great evidentiary value (and that might easily be destroyed or corrupted).
While such electronic storage devices are of more recent vintage than papers, diaries, or traditional photographs, the basic principle still applies: incident to a person's arrest, a mobile phone or beeper may be briefly inspected to see if it contains evidence relevant to the charge for which the defendant has been arrested.
Excerpt from opinion of U.S. District Judge William Zloch on December 22, not allowing the mobile-device search:
The search of the cell phone cannot be justified as a search incident to lawful arrest. First, Agent Mitchell accessed the text messages when Wall was being booked at the station house. Thus, it was not contemporaneous with the arrest. Also, the justification for this exception to the warrant requirement is the need for officer safety and to preserve evidence...The content of a text message on a cell phone presents no danger of physical harm to the arresting officers or others. Further, searching through information stored on a cell phone is analogous to a search of a sealed letter, which requires a warrant.
The Court further finds that the search of text messages does not constitute an inventory search. The purpose of an inventory search is to document all property in an arrested person's possession to protect property from theft and the police from lawsuits based on lost or stolen property.
This, of course, includes cell phones. However, there is no need to document the phone numbers, photos, text messages, or other data stored in the memory of a cell phone to properly inventory the person's possessions because the threat of theft concerns the cell phone itself, not the electronic information stored on it.
Surely the government cannot claim that a search of text messages on Wall's cell phones was necessary to inventory the property in his possession. Therefore, the search exceeded the scope of an inventory search and entered the territory of general rummaging.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:55 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 3:26 PM PST
Friday, 9 January 2009
Raining bullets, bombs, destruction on the land of Gaza on Jan 9 2009
Now Playing: The murder continues - Gaza is trapped and people are dieing
Z3 Readers here is the Jan 9 2009update from the AP press http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28404637/Gaza aid held as U.N. truce plan rejected Shipments might resume soon after Israel offers assurancesThe Associated Pressupdated 10:37 a.m. PT, Fri., Jan. 9, 2009JERUSALEM — Israeli jets and helicopters bombarded Gaza Friday and Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets on at least two cities as both sides defied a U.N. call for an immediate cease-fire. The United Nations kept aid deliveries to Gaza on hold for a second day because of security concerns, but Palestinians who risked going to relief centers could still get food and medicine. Just over half the territory’s population of 1.4 million rely on the U.N. for food.U.N. officials said later they planned to resume the aid operations “as soon as practical,” based on assurances from the Israeli military that aid workers would be better protected. The U.N. halted deliveries Thursday after Israeli tank fire killed an aid truck driver and the Red Cross restricted its activities after one of its drivers was injured in a similar incident.The World Food Program and UNICEF stressed they were still operating in the Palestinian territory, where 1 million people were without electricity and 750,000 didn’t have without running water, according to the United Nations.On Friday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Hamas militants and another unidentified man, while another flattened a five-story building in northern Gaza, killing at least seven people, including an infant, Hamas officials said. Israeli aircraft struck more than 30 targets before dawn, and there were constant explosions after first light. By afternoon, 22 Palestinians had been killed, pushing the death toll to 776 and in the two-week-old conflict, according to Gaza health officials who say at least half of those killed were civilians. Thirteen Israelis have also been killed.A U.N. Security Council resolution approved Thursday night called urgently for an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. The United States, Israel's closest ally and a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, abstained. While the call is tantamount to a demand on the parties, Israel's troops won't be required to pull out of Gaza until there is a durable cease-fire. The resolution calls on U.N. member states to intensify efforts to provide guarantees in Gaza to sustain a lasting truce, including prevention of illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition. In Israel's first official response to the resolution, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said the Hamas rockets fired at Israel Friday "only prove that the U.N.'s decision is not practical and will not be kept in practice by the Palestinian murder organizations." A Hamas spokesman said the Islamic militant group "is not interested" in the cease-fire because it was not consulted and the resolution did not meet its minimum demands. Israel launched its assault on Dec. 27 in an attempt to halt years of rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled territory.Despite the devastating offensive, Hamas has kept up rocket attacks on southern Israel. The rockets fired Friday hit in and around two of the largest southern cities, Beersheba and Ashkelon. Cities within rocket range of Gaza have largely been paralyzed since the fighting began. The Security Council action came hours after a U.N. agency suspended food deliveries to Gaza, and the Red Cross accused Israel of blocking medical assistance after forces fired on aid workers. It also followed concerns of a wider conflict after militants in Lebanon fired rockets into northern Israel early Thursday, though the border has been quiet since. Possible war crimes?
In Geneva, the U.N.'s top human rights official called for an independent investigation of possible war crimes in Gaza and Israel. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the harm to civilians in Israel caused by Hamas rockets was unacceptable. But she said Israel must abide by international humanitarian law regardless of Hamas' actions. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States "fully supports" the Security Council resolution but abstained "to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation" with Israel and Hamas, also aimed at achieving a cease-fire. Osama Hamdan, a Hamas envoy to Lebanon, told the al-Arabiya satellite channel that the group "is not interested in it because it does not meet the demands of the movement." Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the U.N. failed to consider the interests of the Palestinian people. "This resolution doesn't mean that the war is over," he told the Al-Jazeera satellite television network. "We call on the Palestinian fighters to mobilize and be ready to face the offensive, and we urge the Arab masses to carry on with their angry protests." Israel's government says any cease-fire must guarantee an end to rocket fire and arms smuggling into Gaza. During a six-month cease-fire that ended with the current operation, Hamas is thought to have used tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border to smuggle in the medium-range rockets it is now using to hit deeper than ever inside Israel. Hamas has said it won't accept any agreement that does not include the full opening Gaza's blockaded border crossings. Israel is unlikely to agree to that demand, as it would allow Hamas to strengthen its hold on the territory which it violently seized in June 2007. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was heading to the Middle East on Friday in support of international attempts to reach a lasting cease-fire in Gaza. Spain said its foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, also planned to visit the region beginning Monday.With Israeli troops now in control of many of the open areas used by militants to launch rockets, gunman have continued shooting from inside populated neighborhoods. Heavy clashes were reported in the late afternoon northeast of Gaza City as Israeli troops advanced under the cover of Apache helicopters firing machine guns. Fares Alwan, 49, said he was eating with his family when their house came under fire. "I took my kids and wife and started running away for cover," Alwan said. "We saw wounded people in the street while we were running." The conflict has left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza increasingly desperate for food, water, fuel and medical assistance, and the situation was expected to worsen as humanitarian efforts fall victim to the fighting. Foreigner killed
One of the dead Thursday was a Ukrainian woman, the first foreigner to die in the fighting, according to Gaza Health Ministry official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain. He said the woman was married to a Palestinian doctor who trained in Ukraine and returned with her to Gaza. Her 2-year-old son also was killed in the tank shelling east of Gaza City, he said. Details are emerging of other incidents in which civilians were killed. A U.N. agency said Israeli troops evacuated Palestinian civilians to a house in Gaza City on Jan. 4, then shelled the building 24 hours later, killing 30 people.The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report was based on eyewitness testimony. It added details to an incident previously reported by The Associated Press and an Israeli human rights group.The U.N. agency said 110 people were in the house. The 30 people reported killed is a far higher figure than in other accounts. The Israeli military had no comment on the report Friday. Israeli police said a Palestinian man armed with an ax chased after people in the central Israeli town of Rehovot on Friday, slightly injuring at least one person. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police officers subdued the man and were questioning him.West Bank protests
The West Bank saw its biggest protests so far, as thousands took to the streets following Friday prayers to express their anger at the Israeli offensive. Tens of thousands of people condemned Israel's offensive in protests in Alexandria, Egypt, the Jordanian capital of Amman and Baghdad. The Libyan state news agency reported that President Moammar Gadhafi has called on Arabs to allow volunteers to fight the Israelis in Gaza. The one-sentence call was posted on Libya's JANA news agency.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:28 PM PST
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
ISRAEL MURDERS KILLS PALISTINE PEOPLE FUCK YOU THEY SAY
Now Playing: "FUCK YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE" SO SAYS ISRAEL TO GAZA
Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions
A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on the ground outside Hamas police headquarters following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City.
Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images
The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration's complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.
I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.
Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza's prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.
Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion's share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism.
In August 2005 a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral Israeli pullout from Gaza, withdrawing all 8,000 settlers and destroying the houses and farms they had left behind. Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement, conducted an effective campaign to drive the Israelis out of Gaza. The withdrawal was a humiliation for the Israeli Defence Forces. To the world, Sharon presented the withdrawal from Gaza as a contribution to peace based on a two-state solution. But in the year after, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank, further reducing the scope for an independent Palestinian state. Land-grabbing and peace-making are simply incompatible. Israel had a choice and it chose land over peace.
The real purpose behind the move was to redraw unilaterally the borders of Greater Israel by incorporating the main settlement blocs on the West Bank to the state of Israel. Withdrawal from Gaza was thus not a prelude to a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority but a prelude to further Zionist expansion on the West Bank. It was a unilateral Israeli move undertaken in what was seen, mistakenly in my view, as an Israeli national interest. Anchored in a fundamental rejection of the Palestinian national identity, the withdrawal from Gaza was part of a long-term effort to deny the Palestinian people any independent political existence on their land.
Israel's settlers were withdrawn but Israeli soldiers continued to control all access to the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air. Gaza was converted overnight into an open-air prison. From this point on, the Israeli air force enjoyed unrestricted freedom to drop bombs, to make sonic booms by flying low and breaking the sound barrier, and to terrorise the hapless inhabitants of this prison.
Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.
America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.
As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel's propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antisemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics and that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity.
Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel, however, refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas.
It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s, Israel had supported the nascent Hamas in order to weaken Fatah, the secular nationalist movement led by Yasser Arafat. Now Israel began to encourage the corrupt and pliant Fatah leaders to overthrow their religious political rivals and recapture power. Aggressive American neoconservatives participated in the sinister plot to instigate a Palestinian civil war. Their meddling was a major factor in the collapse of the national unity government and in driving Hamas to seize power in Gaza in June 2007 to pre-empt a Fatah coup.
The war unleashed by Israel on Gaza on 27 December was the culmination of a series of clashes and confrontations with the Hamas government. In a broader sense, however, it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people, because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agree to a new ceasefire on Israel's terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.
The timing of the war was determined by political expediency. A general election is scheduled for 10 February and, in the lead-up to the election, all the main contenders are looking for an opportunity to prove their toughness. The army top brass had been champing at the bit to deliver a crushing blow to Hamas in order to remove the stain left on their reputation by the failure of the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006. Israel's cynical leaders could also count on apathy and impotence of the pro-western Arab regimes and on blind support from President Bush in the twilight of his term in the White House. Bush readily obliged by putting all the blame for the crisis on Hamas, vetoing proposals at the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire and issuing Israel with a free pass to mount a ground invasion of Gaza.
As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted - a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, "crying and shooting".
To be sure, Hamas is not an entirely innocent party in this conflict. Denied the fruit of its electoral victory and confronted with an unscrupulous adversary, it has resorted to the weapon of the weak - terror. Militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad kept launching Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli settlements near the border with Gaza until Egypt brokered a six-month ceasefire last June. The damage caused by these primitive rockets is minimal but the psychological impact is immense, prompting the public to demand protection from its government. Under the circumstances, Israel had the right to act in self-defence but its response to the pinpricks of rocket attacks was totally disproportionate. The figures speak for themselves. In the three years after the withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.
Whatever the numbers, killing civilians is wrong. This rule applies to Israel as much as it does to Hamas, but Israel's entire record is one of unbridled and unremitting brutality towards the inhabitants of Gaza. Israel also maintained the blockade of Gaza after the ceasefire came into force which, in the view of the Hamas leaders, amounted to a violation of the agreement. During the ceasefire, Israel prevented any exports from leaving the strip in clear violation of a 2005 accord, leading to a sharp drop in employment opportunities. Officially, 49.1% of the population is unemployed. At the same time, Israel restricted drastically the number of trucks carrying food, fuel, cooking-gas canisters, spare parts for water and sanitation plants, and medical supplies to Gaza. It is difficult to see how starving and freezing the civilians of Gaza could protect the people on the Israeli side of the border. But even if it did, it would still be immoral, a form of collective punishment that is strictly forbidden by international humanitarian law.
The brutality of Israel's soldiers is fully matched by the mendacity of its spokesmen. Eight months before launching the current war on Gaza, Israel established a National Information Directorate. The core messages of this directorate to the media are that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements; that Israel's objective is the defence of its population; and that Israel's forces are taking the utmost care not to hurt innocent civilians. Israel's spin doctors have been remarkably successful in getting this message across. But, in essence, their propaganda is a pack of lies.
A wide gap separates the reality of Israel's actions from the rhetoric of its spokesmen. It was not Hamas but the IDF that broke the ceasefire. It di d so by a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas men. Israel's objective is not just the defence of its population but the eventual overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza by turning the people against their rulers. And far from taking care to spare civilians, Israel is guilty of indiscriminate bombing and of a three-year-old blockade that has brought the inhabitants of Gaza, now 1.5 million, to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash. After eight days of bombing, with a death toll of more than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis, the gung-ho cabinet ordered a land invasion of Gaza the consequences of which are incalculable.
No amount of military escalation can buy Israel immunity from rocket attacks from the military wing of Hamas. Despite all the death and destruction that Israel has inflicted on them, they kept up their resistance and they kept firing their rockets. This is a movement that glorifies victimhood and martyrdom. There is simply no military solution to the conflict between the two communities. The problem with Israel's concept of security is that it denies even the most elementary security to the other community. The only way for Israel to achieve security is not through shooting but through talks with Hamas, which has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders for 20, 30, or even 50 years. Israel has rejected this offer for the same reason it spurned the Arab League peace plan of 2002, which is still on the table: it involves concessions and compromises.
This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.
• Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford and the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and of Lion of Jordan: King Hussein's Life in War and Peace.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 8:12 PM PST
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Gaza Under Attack - Civilian Deaths Increase
Now Playing: Israel moves deeper into Gaza an article by Dahr Jamail
My friends and family
I recieved this post as an email ... I am re-posting it on my Zebra 3 Report
It was written by Dahr Jamail, and independent journalist and activist
Civilian deaths increase as
Israel moves deeper into Gaza
(Photo: Abid Katib / Getty Images Europe)
“Foreseen for so many years: these evils, this monstrous violence, these massive agonies: no easier to bear.”
-Robinson Jeffers, American poet
Agence France-Presse reports that the first person killed when the Israeli military began to enter Gaza on Saturday was a Palestinian child.
On Sunday, a Palestinian woman and her four children were blown to pieces when Israeli warplanes bombed their home. They are among the 521 victims (at the time of this writing) of the ongoing air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip by a 9,000 strong force, which the Israeli government has launched on one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, half of them under 17 years of age.
“The ground invasion was preceded by large scale artillery shelling from around 4 P.M., intended to ’soften’ the targets as artillery batteries deployed along the Strip in recent days began bombarding Hamas targets and open areas near the border,” Israel’s Haaretz newspaper wrote of the onslaught. “Hundreds of shells were fired, including cluster bombs aimed at open areas.”
Israel began the military assault on Gaza on November 4, breaking the truce that Hamas had observed for many months. It went on to block food supplies to be delivered into Gaza by the UN Relief Works and World Food Program. The next casualty was the crucial fuel delivery service used to run Gaza’s power plant. Finally, Israel banned journalists and aid workers from entering Gaza.
It is important to note that in mid-December, during a visit to Israel, UN Human Rights Investigator Richard Falk called the Israeli blockade of Gaza “a crime against humanity” and a “flagrant and massive violation of international law.”
Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, urged the UN to invoke “the agreed norm of a responsibility to protect a civilian population being collectively punished by policies that amount to a Crime Against Humanity.” Falk also called for an International Criminal Court investigation of Israeli military and civilian officials for potential prosecution.
For this, he was detained at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport for 20 hours before being expelled from Israel.
As Israeli tanks and ground troops pour into Gaza to engage in the worst kind of combat (should we even measure types of warfare against one another?), urban warfare, the atrocities on both sides continue, and one may assume that the situation will only worsen with time, as it inevitably does in progressive stages of war.
“Operation Cast Lead” as Israel’s latest offensive is named, has claimed, since December 27, over 520 Palestinian lives. Gaza medical officials put the number of wounded at over 2,400, most of them civilians.
Hamas rockets have killed five Israelis, one of them a soldier and four of them civilians. As with Israeli attacks that kill and wound Palestinian civilians are a war crime, Hamas firing their grossly inaccurate rockets into Israel, which then wound and kill Israeli civilians, is also a war crime.
According to KPFA radio correspondent Sameh Habeeb, “Around 17 people [from the Al-Atatra family] were killed in Bait Lahia town north of Gaza. Amongst them were several children, two brothers, 20-year-olds and many old men who were all killed by one rocket.” Habeeb also reports of Israeli war planes striking water plants, dozens of houses, the use of white phosphorous incendiary weapons and of at least 15 mosques having been bombed. Dozens of people have been killed in the attacks against the mosques. Israeli Foreign Minister Ms. Tzipi Livni explains patiently, “But a war is a war; these things can happen. This is not our intention, but we cannot avoid completely any kind of civilian casualties. But the responsibility for this lies on Hamas’ shoulders.” The slaughter only compounds the hardships that Palestinians have suffered due to the severe shortages of food and medical supplies accruing from the two-year-old economic blockade imposed upon Gaza by Israel.
In 2006, Dov Weisglass, an adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said of the blockade: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
The UN has warned that there are “critical gaps” in aid reaching Gaza, despite claims from Livni that aid was getting through.
Christopher Gunness, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman, dismisses the claim that there is no humanitarian crisis as an absurdity. He informs us, “The organization for which I work, UNRWA - has approximately 9 to 10,000 workers on the ground. They are speaking with the ordinary civilians in Gaza … People are suffering. A quarter of all those being killed now are civilians [the majority of the over 2,400 wounded are civilians]. So when I hear people say we’re doing our best to avoid civilian casualties that rings very hollow indeed.”
>From Iraq, I had reported on how the US military regularly blockaded cities during military operations, disconnecting power, food, water and medical supplies. Let us not forget the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq followed 12 and a half years of genocidal sanctions against that country, which claimed the lives of half a million children. The people of Iraq, like the people of Gaza, had been placed on a “diet.”
Back in Gaza, the International Committee for the Red Cross said on Sunday its medical emergency team had been prevented by the Israeli military for a third day from entering the territory. Here again, is an uncanny similarity with the situation in Iraq, particularly during the two US sieges of Fallujah during 2004, when medical and aid teams were not allowed into the city, and teams already inside were regularly targeted by the military when they attempted to rescue the wounded.
KPFA correspondent Habeeb has reported of Israeli tanks preventing ambulances from reaching the wounded and of three paramedics and ambulance staff having been killed by the Israeli military while trying to rescue a family. Oxfam aid agency also reported on the incident. Journalist activist Ewa Jasiewicz reported, “On 31st December, around 2 am, two emergency medical services personnel were targeted by an Israeli missile as they attempted to reach injured in the Jabaliya region, northern Gaza. The first died immediately, the second soon after of complications from his internal injuries. Two days later, two more medics were injured in the area east of Gaza, again in the line of duty, again trying to reach the injured. Under the Geneva Conventions, Israel is obliged to allow and ensure safe passage to medical personnel to the injured. Instead, Israel routinely targets them.”
I am aware that for those who have not experienced war firsthand, an accusation against a supposedly civilized government of the deliberate targeting of medical personnel, who are, in theory, protected by international law, is unbelievable and shocking. But there are others like me who have witnessed such tactics firsthand on several occasions. I saw it being used by the Israeli military during their assault on southern Lebanon during summer 2006, just as I had seen the US military doing in Fallujah in 2004.
Such is the madness of war.
Veteran journalist Robert Fisk describes war as “the total failure of the human spirit.”
How can anyone expect the wide-scale butchering in Gaza to be any different when the dogs of war have been let loose? Psychosis, mental illness, the specious “logic” of it all: The fundamental assumption that war can ever solve a crisis is false. Has this not been apparent from the beginning of history?
“These events of war were performed not by atavistic savages following the code of archaic rituals, but usually by trained troops from societies boasting civilized values, humane laws, moral education, and aesthetic culture. Nor were these acts specific to one nation - typically Japanese, typically American, or German or Serbian … Nor were they confined to exceptional psychopathic criminals among the troops. No: this is what wars do, what battles are; conventions of rampage on both a monstrous collective and monstrous individual scale, implacable archetypal behaviors, behaviors of an archetype, governed by, possessed by, commanded by Mars.”
-James Hillman, Jungian psychologist, from “A Terrible Love of War”
At this point, it simply must be stopped. No human, no matter what their race, religion or nationality, should ever have to endure the effects of war.
Yet, impotent governments across the world remain unwilling to intervene, some conniving proactively to aggravate the distress of the targeted populations. Egypt has completely closed the Rafah crossing, effectively cutting off aid supplies to the hapless surviving residents of Gaza.
It is the United Nations, however, that must be granted the undisputed crowning glory of impotence. In a move tried and tested for years now, last Saturday evening, the United States, yet again wielding its veto power to protect the actions of Israel, blocked approval of a UN Security Council statement expressing concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas and calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel. Perhaps, there is consolation in the fact that this was no great loss because, had the statement been approved, it would still have remained an empty gesture unable to check the violence.
Frustrated by the untenable nature of the crisis and obviously angered by the veto power of the United States in the UN, president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockman of Nicaragua, blasted the Israeli action, and said, “I think it’s a monstrosity; there’s no other way to name it … Once again, the world is watching in dismay the dysfunctionality of the Security Council.”
Professor Falk, in a recent article titled “Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe,” writes, “The people of Gaza are victims of geopolitics at its inhumane worst: producing what Israel itself calls a ‘total war’ against an essentially defenseless society that lacks any defensive military capability whatsoever and is completely vulnerable to Israeli attacks mounted by F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters. What this also means is that the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, is quietly set aside while the carnage continues and the bodies pile up. It additionally means that the UN is once more revealed to be impotent when its main members deprive it of the political will to protect a people subject to unlawful uses of force on a large scale. Finally, this means that the public can shriek and march all over the world, but that the killing will go on as if nothing is happening. The picture being painted day by day in Gaza is one that begs for renewed commitment to international law and the authority of the UN Charter, starting here in the United States, especially with a new leadership that promised its citizens change, including a less militarist approach to diplomatic leadership.”
“And where two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury…,” said Shakespeare in “The Taming of the Shrew.” But one of the worst conflict conditions in the world indicates otherwise. The fury and the fire rage unabated.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:29 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 6 January 2009 5:31 PM PST
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Gonzo Tries Covering His Tracks
Now Playing: Alberto Gonzales writes a book to "hog-wash" his attrocties
Mr Torture & go-ahead-n-spy, Alberto Gonzales, does a dodge the accountability in this article below written by Evan Perez.
Z3 Readers can read the original article here:
WASHINGTON -- Alberto Gonzales, who has kept a low profile since resigning as attorney general nearly 16 months ago, said he is writing a book to set the record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in the Bush administration.
Mr. Gonzales has been portrayed by critics both as unqualified for his position and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the administration's "war on terror." He was pilloried by Congress in a manner not usually directed toward cabinet officials.
Alberto Gonzales, in his most extensive comments since stepping down as attorney general last year, discussed his tenure as White House counsel and as the first Hispanic to lead the Justice Department. Read the excerpts.
"What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?" he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.
During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that "for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror."
His political problems started with the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, which grew into a firestorm that Mr. Gonzales said he never saw coming. In November of that year, Democrats had taken control of Congress and the power to conduct investigations of Bush administration policies.
His previous role of White House counsel put Mr. Gonzales at the heart of the administration's decision-making on issues relating to terrorism, making him an easier target than the president. Critics also said he allowed the Justice Department to become politicized through its hiring practices and prosecutions, favoring Republicans for plum positions and targeting Democrats for prosecution.
Mr. Gonzales fueled the fire by giving evasive answers to Congress, frequently responding "I don't recall."
Among other things, Mr. Gonzales said Tuesday that he didn't play a central role in drafting the widely criticized legal opinions that allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to use aggressive interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects and expanded the president's power to hold "unlawful combatants" and terrorism suspects indefinitely. He also said he told the truth to Congress about a classified eavesdropping program authorized by the president, and admitted to making mistakes in handling the U.S. attorney firings while maintaining that he made the right decisions. He says that while he bears responsibility as former Attorney General that "doesn't absolve other individuals of responsibility."
Mr. Gonzales, 53 years old, doesn't have a publisher for his book. He said he is writing it if only "for my sons, so at least they know the story."
The chapters on the Bush administration's surveillance program, which involved eavesdropping without court warrants, and other controversial aspects of his work, remain blank. That is in part because he remains under investigation regarding allegations of political meddling at the Justice Department.
The Harvard Law School graduate, onetime corporate lawyer and Texas judge also hasn't been able to land a job. He has delivered a few paid speeches, done some mediation work and plans to do some arbitration, but said law firms have been "skittish" about hiring him.
The biggest blow to Mr. Gonzales came during Senate testimony by James Comey, former deputy attorney general, who recounted dramatic details of a 2004 confrontation at the hospital bed of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Mr. Comey had refused to sign a reauthorization of a secret government program, believed to be the eavesdropping initiative. Mr. Gonzales and Andrew Card, White House chief of staff at the time, drove to the hospital where Mr. Ashcroft was recovering from surgery to instead seek approval from him. Mr. Comey drove to the hospital to stop them. The episode highlighted a dispute between Justice and the White House over the surveillance program's legality.
In Tuesday's interview, Mr. Gonzales said Mr. Comey's characterization of the dispute was "one-sided and didn't have the right context," and gave the impression that he and Mr. Card were attempting to take advantage of Mr. Ashcroft. "I found Ashcroft as lucid as I've seen him at meetings in the White House," he said.
Mr. Gonzales was at a meeting in San Antonio the day of Mr. Comey's surprise testimony. "He didn't have the decency to notify anyone what he was about to testify," he said. "That was extremely disappointing." Mr. Comey declined to comment.
Mr. Gonzales also downplayed his role in formulating opinions that allowed the CIA to use aggressive interrogation methods, which included waterboarding. The memos have since been rescinded and replaced with opinions that explicitly call torture "abhorrent."
Mr. Gonzales said his role as White House counsel at the time was one among several administration lawyers who debated the opinions, but that in the end it was the Justice Department's call. John Yoo, the then-Justice official who had been assigned to draft the memos, had strong feelings and no one could have pressured him to write the memos a certain way, Mr. Gonzales said. Mr. Yoo didn't respond to a request for comment.
In one of his final acts before leaving office, Mr. Gonzales denied he was planning to quit, even though he had told the president of his intention to resign. Asked about the misleading comment Tuesday, he said: "At that point, I didn't care."
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:13 PM PST
Friday, 2 January 2009
Israel rams Human Rights Boat with Mrs. McKinney & Aid Supplies
Now Playing: Cynthia McKinney on boat that was rammed in International waters
Z3 Readers watch the video (link is in article below) where Cynthia Mckinney tells about being rammed by Isreal on International Waters. This boat is bringing first aid supplies to Gazza. There is more info on my website click here
- - - -
Gaza relief boat
damaged in encounter with Israeli vessel
(CNN) -- An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said.
"Our mission was a peaceful mission," says former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who was aboard the Dignity.
CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the contact occurred. When the boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre, severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.
The Dignity was carrying crew and 16 passengers -- physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement -- who were trying to reach Gaza through an Israeli blockade of the territory.
Also on board was former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
Penhaul said an Israeli patrol boat shined its spotlight on the Dignity, and then it and another patrol boat shadowed the Dignity for about a half hour before the collision.
One patrol boat "very severely rammed" the Dignity, Penhaul said.
The captain of the Dignity told Penhaul he received no warning. Only after the collision did the Israelis come on the radio to say they struck the boat because they believed it was involved in terrorist activities, the captain said.
But Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor denied that and said the patrol boat had warned the vessel not to proceed to Gaza because it is a closed military area.
Palmor said there was no response to the radio message, and the vessel then tried to out-maneuver the Israeli patrol boat, leading to the collision. Watch Penhaul describe the boat damage »
Don't Miss Other Gaza Human Right Stories Here
The captain and crew said their vessel was struck intentionally, Penhaul said, but Palmor called those allegations "absurd."
"There is no intention on the part of the Israeli navy to ram anybody," Palmor said.
"I would call it ramming. Let's just call it as it is," McKinney said after the boat docked in Lebanon. "Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and one on the side. Watch Cynthia McKinney discuss the collision »
"Our mission was a peaceful mission to deliver medical supplies and our mission was thwarted by the Israelis -- the aggressiveness of the Israeli military," she said.
The incident occurred in international waters about 90 miles off Gaza. Israel controls the waters off Gaza's coast and routinely blocks ships from coming into the Palestinian territory as part of an ongoing blockade that also applies to the Israel-Gaza border. Human rights groups have expressed concern about the blockade on Gaza, which has restricted the delivery of emergency aid and fuel supplies.
Tuesday's collision was so severe, Penhaul said, that the passengers were ordered to put on their life vests and be ready to get in lifeboats. The Dignity began taking on water, but the crew managed to pump it out of the hull long enough for the boat to reach shore.
"It could have ended with people drowning if they hit us more square on," Dignity's captain, Denis Healey, said. "It could have gone down in minutes."
Palmor said the vessel refused assistance after the incident.
The boat was carrying boxes of relief supplies, volunteers and journalists to Gaza, the Palestinian territory that has been subject to an intense Israeli bombing campaign since Saturday.
Israel Tuesday lambasted McKinney -- the Green Party's 2008 candidate for the U.S. presidency and a former Democratic congresswoman from Georgia -- for taking part in the maritime mission.
In a written statement, the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, based in Atlanta, Georgia, said McKinney "has taken it upon herself to commit an act of provocation," endangering herself and the crew.
"We regret that during this time of crisis, while Israel is battling with the terrorist organization of Hamas and defending its citizens, that we are forced to deal with Ms. McKinney's irresponsible behavior," the statement read.
The trip was the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement's sixth in as many months.
Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza on Saturday in what Defense Minister Ehud Barak called an "all-out war" against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007. The Israeli military says its goal is to stop a recent barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. Watch the chaos in Gaza and Israel »
The Palestinian death toll has topped 375, most of them Hamas militants, Palestinian medical sources said Tuesday. At least 60 civilians have been killed in Gaza, U.N. officials said.
Hamas has pontinued to fire rockets at southern Israeli towns since the airstrikes began, Israel says. Six Israelis have been killed -- five of them civilians.
Hamas has vowed to defend Gaza in the face of what it calls continued Israeli aggression. Each side blames the other for violating an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which formally expired December 19, but had been weakening for months.
All About Gaza • Israel • Cynthia McKinney
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:22 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 2 January 2009 6:39 PM PST
Newer | Latest | Older