Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Thursday, 23 December 2010
A letter to the Government in Israel: What have you done with Mazin Qumsiyeh?
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: My request to Israle regarding arrested US citizen and 8 others
Topic: HUMANITY
From The Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody 

Email I sent on 12/23/10 to:
(( please see their reply back to me, by "auto-reply below))

I am an independentmedia journalist in Portland Oregon, USA.
I also maintain numerous blogs and website that cover peace and justice and human rights issues and violations.
 
I am very concerned and am contacting you requesting information regarding an American citizen that is to be reported to be falsely arrested and mistreated.
I am worried that this American citizen: Mazin Qumsiyeh will be and has been mistreated, and that the reason for the arrest is false (and thus illegal.)
 
I am told the arrest took place in the West Bank, in Al-Walaja, in Beit Sahour near Bethlehem.
I am requesting "contact" information or a contact person who can inform me what is happening or happened to him.
I am also concerned for his safety and want to be briefed on his status, his charges and whereabouts, and more relevant information to his arrest and the which law he has broken.
I am contributing an article on this for Portland Indymedia ( http://portland.indymedia.org/ ) that is read worldwide by thousands of readers, your opinion will be of value and important truthful clarification regarding this international arrest.
 
In regards to his arrest and the human rights concerns is my interest regarding the right to be building or expand a settlement on Palestinian land by Israel.
It was my understanding this issue is about bulldozers and outdated work orders and over zealous soldiers and police, abusing their authority and a disregard for "International Law".

I have been informed that Israeli soldiers snatched some innocent Palestinian villagers (eight of them actually) these include an older gentlemen, two teenagers, three other gentlemen, as well as the person whom I am inquiring directly about, and Sheerin Al-Araj whom is a vocal activist from the village.
I am concerned about their locations and charges from an International Human Rights concern.
There is also allegations that these illegally detained people are being mistreated.
 
I have good information that recently these innocent people who I am inquiring about are being arrested and thus illegally detained, and they have been transferred to Atarot.
(Possibly near Ramallah.)
They are waiting to appear in front of a judge.
They are cold and hungry.
The Israeli personnel there sprayed cold water on them and is claiming it is an accident.
I repeat they are cold and hungry.
 
As I mentioned I am writing an article on this arrest, and I would like to get your side of the story before I print and circulate this information.
This is a very serious and grave situation.
With all due respect for law and human rights I hope to hear back as quickly as you can to my inquiries.

I will be making other inquiries with various agecency, here in the US and in Israel, on Thursday trying to get a clear answer as to what is going on with Mazin Qumiyeh and those that were with him when he was taken in handcuffs away. 

An email or phone me call will be sufficient, I plan on posting my article by at the latest on Friday Christmas Eve. 
I will be also reposting this letter with my article as a transparent record of my inquiry.

Thank You:
Please reply to my information request and my safety request inquiry regarding American citizen Mazin Qumiyeh to:
Joe Anybody
iam@joe-anybody.com
indymediapdx@gmail.com
uppermanagement@joe-amybody.com
Phone xxxxxxxxxxx
(( please see their reply back to me, by "auto-reply below))

Thanks for your message. 12/23/10
The American Citizen Services section of theU.S. Consulate General Jerusalem provides information and assistance toU.S. citizens in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. 
Our website provides a wealth of information, including answers to manycommonly asked questions. Your answer may be just a click away:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/service.html
For questions about Federal Benefits or Social Security, please visit: http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/federal_benefits.html
We will respond within two to three business days.  Regards, American Citizen ServicesConsulate General of the United States in Jerusalem Email: JerusalemACS@state.govPhone: +972 (0)2-630-4000Fax: +972 (0)2-630-4070Street Address: 14 David Flusser, Jerusalem 93392(Near the former Diplomat Hotel, now the Caprice Diamond Center)Location via Google Maps<http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Jerusalem+Israel&sll=37.0625,-.677068&sspn=22.789218,70.224609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Jerusalem,+Israel&ll=31.747876,35.225322&spn=0.002755,0.006528&t=h&z=18> (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Jerusalem+Israel&sll=37.0625,-.677068&sspn=22.789218,70.224609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Jerusalem,+Israel&ll=31.747876,35.225322&spn=0.002755,0.006528&t=h&z=18)
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (UTC/GMT +2) Monday - Friday (Closed onAmerican and local holidays.)
Make An Appointment Online:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/appointment2.html Tips for Speeding Up Your Visit:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/service/tips-for-speeding-up-your-visit/
For Emergency Service, please see:http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov/contact_us2.html

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:47 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 23 December 2010 2:49 AM PST
Monday, 29 November 2010
HOPE is ...and HOPE is not ...
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people.
Topic: HUMANITY

By Chris Hedges   11/30/10

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hope_in_the_21st_century_20101128/

Real Hope Is About Doing Something

 


 

On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.

Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government.

Hope does not mean we will halt the firing in Afghanistan of the next Hellfire missile, whose explosive blast sucks the oxygen out of the air and leaves the dead, including children, scattered like limp rag dolls on the ground. Hope does not mean we will reform Wall Street swindlers and speculators, or halt the pillaging of our economy as we print $600 billion in new money with the desperation of all collapsing states. Hope does not mean that the nation’s ministers and rabbis, who know the words of the great Hebrew prophets, will leave their houses of worship to practice the religious beliefs they preach. Most clerics like fine, abstract words about justice and full collection plates, but know little of real hope.

Hope knows that unless we physically defy government control we are complicit in the violence of the state. All who resist keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become enemies of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.

Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. Hope does not come with the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is an action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and the more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope does not believe in force. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on us all. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope’s power and it is why it can never finally be defeated. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face. Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.

W.H. Auden wrote:

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The powerful do not understand hope. Hope is not part of their vocabulary. They speak in the cold, dead words of national security, global markets, electoral strategy, staying on message, image and money. The powerful protect their own. They divide the world into the damned and the blessed, the patriots and the enemy, the rich and the poor. They insist that extinguishing lives in foreign wars or in our prison complexes is a form of human progress. They cannot see that the suffering of a child in Gaza or a child in the blighted pockets of Washington, D.C., diminishes and impoverishes us all. They are deaf, dumb and blind to hope. Those addicted to power, blinded by self-exaltation, cannot decipher the words of hope any more than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. Hope to Wall Street bankers and politicians, to the masters of war and commerce, is not practical. It is gibberish. It means nothing.

I cannot promise you fine weather or an easy time. I cannot assure you that thousands will converge on Lafayette Park in solidarity. I cannot pretend that being handcuffed is pleasant. I cannot say that anyone in Congress or the White House, anyone in the boardrooms of the corporations that cannibalize our nation, will be moved by pity to act for the common good. I cannot tell you these wars will end or the hungry will be fed. I cannot say that justice will roll down like a mighty wave and restore our nation to sanity. But I can say this: If we resist and carry out acts, no matter how small, of open defiance, hope will not be extinguished. If all we accomplish is to assure a grieving mother in Baghdad or Afghanistan, a young man or woman crippled physically and emotionally by the hammer blows of war, that he or she is not alone, our resistance will be successful. Hope cannot be sustained if it cannot be seen.

Any act of rebellion, any physical defiance of those who make war, of those who perpetuate corporate greed and are responsible for state crimes, anything that seeks to draw the good to the good, nourishes our souls and holds out the possibility that we can touch and transform the souls of others. Hope affirms that which we must affirm. And every act that imparts hope is a victory in itself.

Also from Auden:

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

 

Chris Hedges is Truthdig columnist and a senior fellow at The Nation Institute.

His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

More information on the Dec. 16 protest can be found at www.stopthesewars.org.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:41 AM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 30 November 2010 12:32 PM PST
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Bill Quigley: author - Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law at Loyola University New Orle
Topic: HUMANITY

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer


by Bill Quigley

The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the land and it is taking their fair share. But the deception cannot last – facts say otherwise.

Yes, there is a class war – the war of the rich on the poor and the middle class – and the rich are winning. That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts – facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not want people to know.

Let Glen Beck go on about socialists descending on Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about “class warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our society.” They are well compensated false prophets for the rich.

The truth is that for the several decades the rich in the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been getting poorer. Look at the facts then make up your own mind.

Poor Getting Poorer: Facts

The official US poverty numbers show we now have the highest number of poor people in 51 years. The official US poverty rate is 14.3 percent or 43.6 million people in poverty. One in five children in the US is poor; one in ten senior citizens is poor. Source: US Census Bureau.

One of every six workers, 26.8 million people, is unemployed or underemployed. This “real” unemployment rate is over 17%. There are 14.8 million people designated as “officially” unemployed by the government, a rate of 9.6 percent. Unemployment is worse for African American workers of whom 16.1 percent are unemployed. Another 9.5 million people who are working only part-time while they are seeking full-time work but have had their hours cut back or are so far only able to find work part-time are not counted in the official unemployment numbers. Also, an additional 2.5 million are reported unemployed but not counted because they are classified as discouraged workers in part because they have been out of work for more than 12 months. Source: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2010 report.

The median household income for whites in the US is $51,861; for Asians it is $65,469; for African Americans it is $32,584; for Latinos it is $38,039. Source: US Census Bureau.

Fifty million people in the US lack health insurance. Source: US Census Bureau.

Women in the US have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related conditions than women in 40 other countries. African American US women are nearly 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Source: Amnesty International Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.

About 3.5 million people, about one-third of which are children, are homeless at some point in the year in the US. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

Outside Atlanta, 33,000 people showed up to seek applications for low cost subsidized housing in August 2010. When Detroit offered emergency utility and housing assistance to help people facing evictions, more than 50,000 people showed up for the 3,000 vouchers. Source: News reports.

There are 49 million people in the US who live in households which eat only because they receive food stamps, visit food pantries or soup kitchens for help. Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals or foregone food at some point in the last year. This is the highest level since statistics have been kept. Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Middle Class Going Backward: Facts

One or two generations ago it was possible for a middle class family to live on one income. Now it takes two incomes to try to enjoy the same quality of life. Wages have not kept up with inflation; adjusted for inflation they have lost ground over the past ten years. The cost of housing, education and health care have all increased at a much higher rate than wages and salaries. In 1967, the middle 60 percent of households received over 52% of all income. In 1998, it was down to 47%. The share going to the poor has also fallen, with the top 20% seeing their share rise. Mark Trumball, “Obama’s challenge: reversing a decade of middle-class decline,” Christian Science Monitor, January 25, 2010. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0125/Obama-s-challenge-reversing-a-decade-of-middle-class-decline

A record 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure notice in 2009, higher than both 2008 and 2007. In 2010, the rate is expected to be rise to 3 million homes. Sources: Reuters and RealtyTrac.

Eleven million homeowners (about one in four homeowners) in the US are “under water” or owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Source: “Home truths,” The Economist, October 23, 2010.

For the first time since the 1940s, the real incomes of middle-class families are lower at the end of the business cycle of the 2000s than they were at the beginning. Despite the fact that the American workforce is working harder and smarter than ever, they are sharing less and less in the benefits they are creating. This is true for white families but even truer for African American families whose gains in the 1990s have mostly been eliminated since then. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/swa08_00_execsum.pdf

Rich Getting Richer: Facts

The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8% in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010, Money.com

The top Hedge Fund Manager of 2009, David Tepper, “earned” $4 billion last year. The rest of the top ten earned: $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion, $1.3 billion (tie for 6th and 7th place), $900 million (tie for 8th and 9th place), and in last place out of the top ten, $825 million. Source: Business Insider. “Meet the top 10 earning hedge fund managers of 2009.” http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-top-10-earning-hedge-fund-managers-of-2009-2010-4

Income disparity in the US is now as bad as it was right before the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. From 1979 to 2006, the richest 1% more than doubled their share of the total US income, from 10% to 23%. The richest 1% have an average annual income of more than $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90% of the total growth in income in the US went to the top 10% earners – leaving 9% of all income to be shared by the bottom 90%. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/01/19.pdf

In 1973, the average US CEO was paid $27 for every dollar paid to a typical worker; by 2007 that ratio had grown to $275 to $1. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/03/SWA08_Wages_Figure.3AE.pdf

Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8% to 16.62%. Source: US Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf

The US has the greatest inequality between rich and poor among all Western industrialized nations and it has been getting worse for 40 years. The World Factbook, published by the CIA, includes an international ranking of the inequality among families inside of each country, called the Gini Index. The US ranking of 45 in 2007 is the same as Argentina, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivorie. The highest inequality can be found in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala. The US ranking of 45 compares poorly to Japan (38), India (36), New Zealand, UK (34), Greece (33), Spain (32), Canada (32), France (32), South Korea (31), Netherlands (30), Ireland (30), Australia (30), Germany (27), Norway (25), and Sweden (23). Source: CIA The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

Rich people live an average of about five years longer than poor people in the US. Naturally, gross inequality has consequences in terms of health, exposure to unhealthy working conditions, nutrition and lifestyle. In 1980, the most well off in the US had a life expectancy of 2.8 years over the least well-off. As the inequality gap widens, so does the life expectancy gap. In 1990, the gap was a little less than 4 years. In 2000, the least well-off could expect to live to age of 74.7 while the most well off had a life expectancy of 79.2 years. Source: Elise Gould, “Growing disparities in life expectancy,” Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716/

Conclusion

These are extremely troubling facts for anyone concerned about economic fairness, equality of opportunity, and justice.

Thomas Jefferson once observed that the systematic restructuring of society to benefit the rich over the poor and middle class is a natural appetite of the rich. “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.” But Jefferson also knew that justice can only be delayed so long when he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert attention from the fact that they are devouring the basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or empower themselves. They are right about one thing – there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are winning their class war, and it is time for everyone else to fight back for economic justice.

Bill is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans.
You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:39 PM PDT
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith - ADL just named the top ten
Mood:  sharp
Now Playing: The Arab Defamation League - A.K.A. as Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith)
Topic: HUMANITY

(Zebra 3Report Readers, the following is an email I recieved from a Human Rights Newsletter that I get) 

The Arab Defamation League

(A.K.A. as Anti-Defamation league of Bnai Brith)

is an American Zionist organization which focuses on defending Israeli
apartheid policies even when those are harming Jews by attacking Arabs and
Muslims and anyone who speaks for human rights.  

ADL just named the top ten


groups in the US that they say are most organized in their "anti-Israel"
stances in the US (see http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/5875_62.htm;
they even included Jewish Voice for Peace).  I am proud to have been a
co-founder of one of those organizations and to have served on the board of
two others as well actively involved in supporting five others (via
donations, consulting, advise etc).  I of course do not agree with ADL on
anything including on the idea of measuring impact of particular
organizations (I believe grassroot work is critical).  For example, some
organizations like the Council For National Interest have significant impact
while remaining out of the limelight and also one would have to point out
that different time frames in the life of one organization (and longevity)
should be taken into consideration. I had my own run-in's with the ADL.
Many years ago we even held a demonstration in front of their offices in
Connecticut. They did me the honor of writing a report targeting me
personally (http://www.adl.org/israel/qumsiyeh ) as well as targeting my
employer (Yale University at the time) to pressure them about having me on
their medical school faculty.  In other words, yes, I think those
organizations mentioned by ADL (and those not mentioned but doing similar
things) should be proud and redouble their efforts to challenge Israeli
apartheid in the US.

We just had a three day conference in Ramallah organized by the
International Center on Non-Violent Conflict (
http://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/ ) where both Academics and Activists
(and people like me who are both) gathered to discuss and strategize on best
ways to educate the masses on power, forms, and structures of popular
resistance.  I led a workshop based on my upcoming book "Popular Resistance
in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment".

Gaza monologues: Performances worldwide to break the siege on Gaza on Sunday
October 17.  Join one of the events near you.  Two of these events are in
the Bethlehem area http://www.theatrewithoutborders.com/node/1778

Other Actions: Olive picking Um Salamona, 9:30 AM Sunday October 17, contact
Awad 0598997852

Excellent report on Ahmedinujad's visit to Lebanon
http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/10/franklin-lamb-ahmedinejad-in-lebanon/

Is Israel an apartheid state? A south African study
http://icahdusa.org/2010/03/is-israel-an-apartheid-state/

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
http://www.qumsiyeh.org
http://www.pcr.ps
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Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:54 PM PDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 October 2010 5:56 PM PDT
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Killing the Human RIghts Activist on Gaza Aid-Relief Boats is OK
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Israeli Military Finds Flotilla Killings Justified (sic)
Topic: HUMANITY
July 12, 2010

Israeli Military Finds Flotilla Killings Justified

TEL AVIV — An Israeli military investigation into its naval takeover of a Gaza-bound flotilla six weeks ago found that it was plagued by errors of planning, intelligence and coordination but that the killings of nine Turks on board were justified, according to an official summary of the findings released Monday.

Giora Eiland, a retired major general who led the inquiry, presented his classified findings to the military chief of staff; they were not released to the public. But a statement issued by the military said that the investigators faulted the military for not knowing who was on board one of the ships. A senior officer involved in the report said that at least 65 Turkish Islamic militants armed with metal sticks and knives were on the flotilla’s main ship, and had vowed to fight any effort by the Israeli Navy to board.

The scuffles that ensued led to Israeli commandos shooting the nine Turks, including one with dual Turkish-American citizenship.

“The team concluded that not all possible intelligence gathering methods were fully implemented and that the coordination between Navy Intelligence and the Israel Defense Intelligence was insufficient,” the report’s official summary said. “The team also pointed out that the anticipated level of violence used against the forces was underestimated.”

The investigators praised the commandos who rappelled onto the main ship from helicopters, saying that they “operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness.” They called the use of live fire justified. No dismissals were publicly recommended, but officers said some demotions or dismissals might occur.

The military’s investigation, carried out by eight officers, did not deal with larger policy issues like the legality or appropriateness of Israel’s blockade against Gaza or its takeover of the six-boat flotilla in international waters on May 31. A second investigation, led by a retired Supreme Court justice and including two foreign observers, has just begun its work. Neither, however, seems likely to satisfy demands for a full international investigation by the Turkish government. Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv and threatened further steps unless Israel issues an apology and sets up an international inquiry.

On Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey stood by his country’s demands. “We will be a close follower of our expectations until the end,” he said during a visit to Belgrade, Serbia, according to the online edition of Zaman, a Turkish daily with close links to the government.

Everything that happened on board the Turkish flotilla six weeks ago remains a matter of controversy — who shot first, how aggressive the passengers were, how violent the commandos became, whether the action was justified in international waters. The cargo proved unquestionably humanitarian in nature — hospital beds, medicines, clothing — but the goal of the flotilla was to challenge Israel’s authority over what goes in and out of Gaza.

General Eiland, a former national security adviser, said in his briefing that more ships might try to breach Israel’s Gaza blockade and so lessons from what happened on the Turkish flotilla were important.

In fact, a Libyan vessel arrived in the area of Crete on Monday, with its crew saying it was scheduled to reach Gaza on Wednesday. Israeli officials have vowed to prevent it from getting through.

Israel created a blockade against Gaza, both by land and sea, three years ago, after Hamas, which had won elections the previous year, took full control of the Palestinian coastal strip. The goal of the blockade was to put pressure on Hamas, which rejects Israel’s existence and was firing crude rockets at its southern communities. Hamas has held an Israeli soldier captive in Gaza for four years. Israel has thousands of Palestinian prisoners in its jails and also set Hamas leaders and militants as targets.

The blockade, joined by Egypt, has suffocated the Gazan economy and barred people from coming and going except in medical emergencies, although food has always been let in. Following the takeover of the flotilla and the deaths on board, international pressure forced Israel to ease the land blockade.

Now the blockade is largely limited to the sea and to materials, like steel, that Israel fears could be turned into weapons by Hamas. There remains, however, intense international opprobrium because of the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the sense that the policy has done little to weaken Hamas.

General Eiland’s report finds that there was at least one gun on board because an Israeli soldier took a bullet in the knee that was not from an Israeli weapon. It also contends that Israeli soldiers most likely fired only after having been fired upon first.

“All the shooting was either when the soldiers were in immediate danger of their lives or when they had to rescue fellow soldiers,” said a senior official involved in the investigation, speaking under military rules of anonymity. He added that there were between four and six events in which Israeli soldiers were fired upon with live fire by those on board.

Passengers aboard the flotilla have mostly told a very different story, with some witnesses accusing the commandos of shooting randomly as they came aboard.

Dan Bilefsky contributed reporting from Diyarbakir, Turkey.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/world/middleeast/13flotilla.html?th&emc=th

 


Posted by Joe Anybody at 9:17 AM PDT
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Police Killings in Haiti's Prison in Les Cayes
Mood:  crushed out
Now Playing: Les Cayes prison riots and the (government) cover up
Topic: HUMANITY
May 25, 2010

Slaughter in Les Cayes

http://tinyurl.com/2456bpj 

Even by the grim standards of Haiti, the prison massacre in Les Cayes after the Jan. 12 earthquake is chilling. According to an investigation in The Times by Deborah Sontag and Walt Bogdanich, a dozen or more prisoners were killed and up to 40 were wounded after police stormed the prison to put down a riot.

The government claims that a prison ringleader slaughtered other inmates before escaping. The Times found witnesses who told a different story — of days of abuse after the earthquake and then the murder of inmates by police.

Many of Haiti’s prisons were shattered during the quake, allowing inmates to flee. In Les Cayes, in western Haiti, the walls held. When prisoners panicked, guards beat the noisiest men, shoving them into cells that were already brutally crowded. A week later, a few dozen men tried to escape and set off a riot. Inmates rampaged loose for hours inside as the Haitian federal police and United Nations troops surrounded the prison.

When the police stormed the prison, witnesses said, they shot defenseless victims at close range. Some prisoners seemed to have been singled out for execution. Others were shot indiscriminately. A Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Marc Boisvert, who entered the prison while it was “still smoldering,” said inmates told him that prisoners trying to surrender were shot through the bars of their locked cells. Bodies were buried in a mass, unmarked grave. The survivors’ blood stained clothes were burned.

The Haitian government says it is investigating, but The Times found no indication that witnesses had been interviewed, bodies exhumed or even basic evidence collected. The United Nations mission in Haiti has ordered an independent inquiry.

The earthquake, and the huge commitment of international aid, are supposed to be a chance to finally create a Haitian government that is respectful of all its citizens’ rights. The United Nations and the international community — particularly the United States — have enormous leverage and a parallel responsibility to help Haiti create a credible judicial system. Reforming the country’s nightmarish prisons, filled with detainees who have not yet been tried, is an essential part of that.

It would be best if Haiti’s government could conduct a full and transparent investigation. That appears unlikely. President René Préval must ensure that the United Nations’ investigators have access to all forensic evidence, witnesses, police officers and prison officials. The government also must be prepared to prosecute anyone implicated in the attacks. The first step to building a new Haiti is figuring out what really happened at Les Cayes, and ensuring that it never happens again.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:01 AM PDT
Monday, 17 May 2010
Israeli Defense Force, Col. Bentzion Gruber - Denver University 5.11
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Israel Uses Senior Military Officers to Justify Killing
Topic: HUMANITY

=====

 
Israel Uses Senior Military Officers to Justify Killing
Charles E. Carlson  May 16, 2010

An event at Denver University on May 11, 2010---

I was fortunate to attend a speech Tuesday by a senior military officer of the Israeli Defense Force, Col. Bentzion Gruber, speaking at Denver University on May 11, about the "morality and restraint" of the IDF in dealing with their "terrorist" neighbors... fortunate because this is the first time I have seen an Israeli propagandist lambasted for lying to his audience.  Col. Gruber looked like he had been run over by his own bulldozers when a few knowledgeable members of the audience refused to sit quietly and have their intelligence insulted.

The meeting was sponsored by the Institute for Study of Israel in Middle East and the DU chapter of Hillel, a Jewish fraternity on campus. Gruber's lecture was called, "The Most Rigorous Military Code of Ethics in the World." Gruber is a Deputy Commander of the Reserve Division that served in Operation Cast Lead, the Christmas 2008 one month massacre in Gaza, which has, in fact, been followed by a blockade. He is now a reserve officer, but he also served during the Second Intifada (1998-02) during which Israeli forces killed 4789 Palestinians.

Gruber was interrupted constantly by individuals one-by- one who constantly challenged his facts.  The resistance resulted from the efforts of eight to ten people who called a Mother's day strategy meeting in a Denver park. They know the only way to refute Gruber was not to allow one lie to pass unchallenged. It worked.

Gruber became unnerved and struggled unsuccessfully to finish his speech, limping through his allotted time with the aid of police, who ushered out one by one those who spoke clearly from the floor. Later Gruber was to be roundly challenged by his general audience, including a professor and some of the students, during a Q & A period. Most attacked Gruber's facts and his country's credibility.

Angered, the flustered Colonel stated, "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims," causing shouts from the stunned audience to bring the meeting to a temporary halt. Gruber was forced to apologize, but he stuck to his guns in referring to every Palestinian who resists Israel as a "terrorist."

Gruber's lecture made the same points that are made in every Israeli propaganda speech: Israel is the victim, not the aggressor. For evidence, the Colonel cited suicide bombers, rockets and missiles, and the evil Hamas hiding behind civilians. He used an IDF propaganda film to attempt to show how careful Israel is to avoid killing civilians. The film contained obviously misleading statements about the Gazans and Hamas, including alleging Gazans used over three thousand "rockets" and "mortars" against Israelis.

His challengers cited the now famous Goldstone Report, which states otherwise. He was told the Gazans have no missiles, their rockets are the homemade kind that don't explode, and only four Israelis were killed by rocket fire in all the history of it. Mortar rounds are so scarce they are rarely used on rural Israel that surrounds Gaza, and are saved to fight off invasions.

The IDF also showed footage of a human bomber attacking a bus that he insisted was carrying women and children. But the movie was clearly faked, with dubbed in gunfire much too loud for the long range and grainy film. A questionable close-up of the grinning "suicide bomber" was offered to prove how happy Palestinian terrorists are just before they blow themselves up. Gruber was asked why he did not tell the audience that Palestinian's homemade rockets do not explode and that Israeli buses carry on-duty military and are therefore military targets. The audience of students did not buy the film once some of Gruber's misstatements were exposed.

Some challenged Gruber and the IDF film on its claims of humanitarian restraint in battle by citing the Goldstone Report, which documented the massacre 16 months ago. The Colonel's response was that Goldstone was "full of lies," and Israel "never used white phosphorus bombs."

He ended his much contested speech by reciting a sad but irrelevant story of his family being "holocaust" survivors sixty years ago and one of his family members being raped by a German, springing from this to the defense of Israel with no explanation as to what this had to do with the IDF's slaughter of the Gazans. The final questioner asked why he did this, and Gruber did not say how the Palestinians were involved in Germany's acts sixty years ago.

We in the United States are increasingly subjected to the influence of military personal on our payroll, used by politicians to tell us why this war or that war is needed. A generation ago it was a violation of the military code. General Douglas Mac Arthur, American five-star hero of World War II, was fired and ousted from the military for making statements about the Korean War.

Today it is commonplace for retired and even active duty officers to give interviews and public statements about the progress of the war, apparently deemed necessary by our political leaders to support the war effort. A recent example is found in a story by retired General Paul Vallaly whose claims go beyond fantasy.

Vallaly is listed in Wikipedia as a senior military analyst for Fox News. He claims tiny Lebanon has "50-60,000 missiles and rockets" hidden in houses and orchards aimed at Israel, that Iran already has nuclear bombs and is getting ready to mount them on "Scud" missiles from Russia, and that surrounding Islamic countries are planning a chemical attack on Israel. This war propagandist general repeatedly suggests he has privileged information. His final words: "We cannot allow Israel to stand alone in this."  Endnote 1.

Israel, not unlike the USA, uses their military, like Colonel Gruber, to sell the false idea that it is the victim, and is a humane, surgically clean eliminator of "terrorists". The response at Denver University was an encouraging surprise and another sign of a "turning" in our time that is finally beginning to happen in the minds of those who think about what they are being told, especially students.

=====

1.) "General (Vallaly) Warns of Chemical Attacks against Israel" <http://www.pjtv.com/v/3505>http://www.pjtv.com/v/3505

Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:00 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 18 May 2010 11:41 AM PDT
Monday, 8 February 2010
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui update
Mood:  down
Now Playing: Is Dr. Siddiqui a dangerous terrorist?
Topic: HUMANITY
Feed: Debra Sweet
 Title: Victim of the War of Terror: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
 
 

Author: Debra Sweet

Dr. Aafiai Siddiqui

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in Afghan custody July 17, 2008

http://debra.worldcantwait.net/feed/ 

The U.S. government’s case against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani who holds an advanced degree from MIT in neuroscience, will go to the jury Monday in federal court here in New York City.  I’ve been in the courtroom, and several times in the overflow room with dozens of supporters and reporters.

Even when we are only watching the trial through cameras in the overflow rooms, we are forced to give ID to enter, all to bolster the impression that Dr. Siddiqui is a dangerous terrorist, and that we are dangerous for caring what happens to her.  Everyone entering the courthouse goes through airport style security screening, but to go into her trial, one must be searched again.

Petra Bartosiewicz wrote for Time magazine in A Pakistani on Trial – With No Pakistani Reporters:

Although Siddiqui is not charged with any terrorism-related crime,security concerns are paramount though the procedures seem to be unevenly enforced. During the lunch break on the first day of the Siddiqui trial a group of Muslim men praying in the waiting areas outside the courtroom were afterwards asked to leave the floor. That prevented them from securing a place in line for the afternoon session. Several Muslim women in hijabs were also given similar instructions, but others in the same area, dressed in business attire, including this reporter, were permitted to stay. On the second day of the trial metal detectors were posted outside the courtroom and individuals were asked for photo identification and their names and addresses were logged by court security officers. At the close of proceedings on Thursday defense attorney Charles Swift protested the practice. “The suggestion is that the gallery may be a threat,” said Swift, calling the measure “highly prejudicial.”

Judge for yourself whether the New York Daily News, which calls Siddiqui “Lady al Queda” (absent any evidence produced at trial), or The Washington Post which headlines “Government: Let al-Qaida-linked scientist testify” is part of the prosecutor’s team.

Petra, who is writing a book on US terrorist prosecutions, has been in the trial every day, blogging and linked at CagePrisoners.com. Her article in November 2009 Harper’s The intelligence factory: How America makes its enemies disappear is a deeply researched piece going behind the US government’s public case against Siddiqui, and, more broadly, the existence of a network of secret detentions and prisons the US operates.  On Aafia Siddiqui:

When I first read the U.S. government’s complaint against Aafia Siddiqui, who is awaiting trial in a Brooklyn detention center on charges of attempting to murder a group of U.S. Army officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan, the case it described was so impossibly convoluted—and yet so absurdly incriminating—that I simply assumed she was innocent. According to the complaint, on the evening of July 17, 2008, several local policemen discovered Siddiqui and a young boy loitering about a public square in Ghazni. She was carrying instructions for creating “weapons involving biological material,” descriptions of U.S. “military assets,” and numerous unnamed “chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.” Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who lived in the United States for eleven years, had vanished from her hometown in Pakistan in 2003, along with all three of her children, two of whom were U.S. citizens.

The complaint does not address where she was those five years or why she suddenly decided to emerge into a public square outside Pakistan and far from the United States, nor does it address why she would do so in the company of her American son. Various reports had her married to a high-level Al Qaeda operative, running diamonds out of Liberia for Osama bin Laden, and abetting the entry of terrorists into the United States. But those reports were countered by rumors that Siddiqui actually had spent the previous five years in the maw of the U.S. intelligence system—that she was a ghost prisoner, kidnapped by Pakistani spies, held in secret detention at a U.S. military prison, interrogated until she could provide no further intelligence, then spat back into the world in the manner most likely to render her story implausible. These dueling narratives of terrorist intrigue and imperial overreach were only further confounded when Siddiqui finally appeared before a judge in a Manhattan courtroom on August 5. Now, two weeks after her capture, she was bandaged and doubled over in a wheelchair, barely able to speak, because—somehow—she had been shot in the stomach by one of the very soldiers she stands accused of attempting to murder.

Dr. Siddiqui, whose brother Mohammed and many supporters are following the trial closely, is not on trial for terrorism charges, but for, as the government puts it, what happened in the “3 minutes” inside the Afghani police building on July 18, 2008.  She denied, on cross examination last week, picking up a gun, or shooting it.

From what I can observe, and have read, Dr. Siddiqui is deeply traumatized and has reason to be distrustful of the courts, the military, the FBI, who questioned her without introduction while she was in hospital recovering from the gunshot wounds.  She said, several times in court — and was removed for breaking the rule because she did so — that she was held in a secret prison, and her children were disappeared, and that she was tortured.

I saw reporters snicker at that.  Isn’t that a delusional idea, that a Pakistani could be held in a secret prison?  Remember George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well: “We do not torture.”  She must be crazy, and guilty, to assert such a thing.

Then comes this piece by Anand Gopal, reporting for The Nation this week, Obama’s Secret Prisons:

Sometime in the last few years, Pashtun villagers in Afghanistan’s rugged heartland began to lose faith in the American project. Many of them can point to the precise moment of this transformation, and it usually took place in the dead of the night, when most of the country was fast asleep. In the secretive U.S. detentions process, suspects are usually nabbed in the darkness and then sent to one of a number of detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families.

This process has become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition airstrikes. The night raids and detentions, little known or understood outside of these Pashtun villages, are slowly turning Afghans against the very forces they greeted as liberators just a few years ago.

Andy Worthington reports on a new report from the United Nations, UN Secret Detention Report Asks, “Where Are the CIA Ghost Prisoners?”
concluding:

“While the report spreads its net wide, the US administration’s response to its findings about the Bush administration’s legacy of “disappeared” prisoners, and its focus on the gray areas of Obama’s current policies, is particularly anticipated. So far, however, there has been silence from US officials, and only the British, moaning about “unsubstantiated and irresponsible” claims, have so far dared to challenge their well-chronicled complicity in the secret detention policies underpinning the whole of the war on terror, which do not appear to have been thoroughly banished, one year after Barack Obama took office.”

How delusional are Dr. Siddiqui’s claims that she was tortured in a secret prison?

Dr. Siddiqui was found, disoriented, in Grazni Afghanistan, having disappeared from her home in Pakistan five years earlier.  No one has said where she was.  Pakistani human rights organizations, and some at the trial, have urged me to mention, and look into the disappearance of thousands of Pakistanis at the hands of the secret police, ISI, who are paid many millions by the US government to be part of the so-called “war on terror”.

These disappearances and deaths, this police state, are the responsibility of the US government, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, by funding, by political support and pressure to do the dirty work that amounts to the “war on terror” while the US chooses to say “we do not torture.”

But this is an administration which has dramatically the use of unmanned drones to target alleged “terrorists,” thereby killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Yemen and Somalia.  A poll last year in Pakistan, by al Jazeera found only 9% of adults supporting the drone attacks, because of concerns that they are killing innocent civilians.

Sebastain Abbot in the Huffington Post:

“The U.S. government doesn’t even suggest what the proportion of innocent people to legitimate targets is,” said Michael Walzer, a renowned American scholar on the ethics of warfare. “It’s a moral mistake, but it’s a PR mistake as well.”

As part of this “war on terror”, the US prosecutors have produced no physical evidence that Dr. Siddiqui held or fired a gun on July 18, 2008.  As Dr Siddiqui said, “I walked towards the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted.”

I don’t expect justice for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui this week.  Even if she were to be found not guilty on all charges — which the evidence supports — what will her future be?  Where are her children?  Will she get back the lost years and be able to tell her story?

And I don’t expect an end to the illegitimate “war OF terror” until people living in the United States reject the dangerous direction their government is taking, against the interests of humanity.

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Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:32 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 8 February 2010 5:37 PM PST
Thursday, 21 January 2010
HATE WATCH Report 1.21.10
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Hate Hate and Hate
Topic: HUMANITY
Hatewatch is a weekly e-newsletter from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Week of January 21, 2010


Intelligence Report
Controversy Erupts on Holocaust Denial Scene
The small, bizarre world of Holocaust denial is in an uproar. It began in January, when the head of the Institute for Historical Review, the oldest and for decades the most dominant American denial outfit, published an explosive essay.

Nevada Man Funding Hate and Denial Groups
The Institute for Historical Review has had few better friends over the past decade than a Las Vegas resident named James Edward McCrink.

Key Philanthropist Supports Nativist Hate Group
FAIR is the leading organization fueling the backlash against immigration and stands to gain almost $1 million from Robert W. Wilson's largesse.

Hatewatch Blog
Fort Hood Report Calls for Change in Pentagon Hate Group Policy
An independent fact-finding report made public last week by the Pentagon in the wake of the November shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, concluded that the Pentagon was not well prepared to defend itself from many internal threats.

Racist Group Plans to Run Candidates Nationwide
The co-founder of the American Third Position (ATP), white supremacist Los Angeles lawyer William Daniel Johnson, says his new California-based group plans to run as many candidates for political office around the country as it can muster.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 6:33 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 21 January 2010 12:34 PM PST
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Close GITMO protest day THURSDAY 1/21/10
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: twitter.... FB..... all will say one thing from me on this Thursday "CLOSE GITMO"
Topic: HUMANITY

War Criminals Watch is joining with the ACLU, Amnesty International, many other organizations, artists and musicians like Tom Morello and Trent Reznor to "flood Twitter" and Facebook this Thursday, January 21st with messages to #closegitmo. YOU can help, by spreading the word now, and tweeting messages on Thursday about Guantanamo, torture, habeas corpus rights, and more - using the hashtag #closegitmo.

You can also "donate" your Facebook status for the day with this message. We want to dominate the social networking discussion on Thursday with the message that torture and the prison at Guantanamo still continue, but must be stopped. Follow us on Twitter at worldcantwait or become a fan of World Can't Wait on Facebook for more details.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:57 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 January 2010 9:22 PM PST

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