OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Haneen Zoabi, demanded an investigation of Zionist commando members charged with stealing from Arab and foreign activists on board the Freedom Flotilla, in addition to the initial charges of murder and assault.
Zoabi’s claims were based on bank statements showing that Zionist soldiers stole a credit card belonging to American activist Katie Sheets, which was used to purchase a basket of goods in Tel Aviv.
Zoabi confirmed that she is considering the possibility of submitting a complaint to the police on behalf of the American activist. She has also gone to her colleagues on board the Freedom Flotilla in order to obtain a list of items which the Israeli army confiscated, including cameras, computers, mobile phones, and journalist materials, to make a formal complaint in this regard.
“The scandal of credit card theft is further evidence that the commando soldiers acted with tradition and mentality of pirates,” said Zoabi.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Israeli chiefs of staff held a ceremony Tuesday evening in Nazareth for two of the perpetrators of the bloody massacre against international solidarity activists on board the Freedom Flotilla.
The Hebrew radio said that at the ceremony, which was held behind closed doors, Zionist army chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, awarded two naval force fighters, who participated in the slaughter of international activists, certificates of merit for their outstanding performance in two separate incidents. The exact incidents were left unrevealed, but Ashkenazi’s comments suggested the flotilla massacre.
Ashkenazi, in a speech at the event, praised the naval commando fighters for their performance on the Turkish Marmara ship, upon which the most important chapter of the massacre took place. According to Ashkenazi, “They dealt properly with the complex circumstances.”
Ma’an/Agencies – June 23, 2010
Bethlehem - Two Belgian lawyers working on behalf of Palestinian filed suit against 14 Israeli leaders on allegations of war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead, news agencies reported.
The respondents include Israeli opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni for her role as foreign minister during the Gaza offensive between December 2008 and January 2009, former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and other Israeli army officials and Israel’s intelligence services, Israeli news site Yedioth Ahronoth wrote.
Much of the 70-page complaint is based on the Goldstone report, Agence France-Presse reported. Claimants include a Palestinian-Belgian national and 13 Gaza Strip residents.
The claim includes an attack on a mosque near the Jabaliya refugee camp during which 16 civilians, including children, were killed. The plaintiffs were either wounded or lost a relative in the attack, the news site wrote.
Lawyers estimate that Belgium’s attorney general will evaluate the case to determine whether it provides just cause to open a case against the senior Israeli officials “already by the end of August.”
Georges-Henri Beauthier and Alexis Deswaef, the two lawyers representing the claimants, said the current charges would be brought against the Israeli leaders using the principle of universal jurisdiction, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
The claims follow the filing suit by French activists against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak over the Israeli army’s conduct during its raid of the Freedom Flotilla which saw nine passengers killed by Israeli commandos in international waters on 31 May. The move forced Barak to cancel a Paris visit.
An arrest warrant was issued against Livni in the UK in December 2009 after British lawyers filed suit against the official on behalf of Palestinian respondents for her role in Operation Cast Lead.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticized the UN and other international institutions for condemning Israel’s acts on Wednesday, as he addressed the Knesset.
“They want to strip us of the natural right to defend ourselves. When we defend ourselves against rocket attack, we are accused of war crimes. We cannot board sea vessels when our soldiers are being attacked and fired upon, because that is a war crime,” Haaretz quoted him as saying.
When a near-capacity crowd of New Yorkers sat down in their seats to hear testimonials on June 18 from survivors of Israel’s attack on an aid flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza, they expected to hear from three different activists. Instead, they only heard from two at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn.
Days after a June 14 press conference, called by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), that demanded a State Department investigation into the visa applications of two of the three speakers, a former Turkish politician named Ahmet Faruk Unsal was not allowed into the United States.
The denial of entry to the politician who is also an activist with IHH, the humanitarian organization that was a main force behind the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, raises the question of whether the State Dept. caved to pressure from the JCRC-NY, an umbrella group of local Jewish organizations, and New York politicians who backed the JCRC’s call.
The press conference was attended by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Representatives Jerry Nadler, Anthony Weiner, Carolyn Mahoney, Charles Rangel and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. JCRC-NY gathered thousands of signatures on a petition that was delivered to the State Dept. The petition detailed the group’s allegations that IHH was linked to “terrorist” organizations.
JCRC-NY counts some influential Zionist groups as members of their organization, including the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League and B’nai B’rith.
“It is the responsibility of our government to ensure that terrorists, and those who support terrorist activities, not be allowed to enter the United States,” said Nadler, who is known for his ardent support for Israel, at the press conference.
However, others have cast doubt on the accuracy of linking IHH to “terror” groups. IHH has worked recently in New Orleans and in Haiti at a time when the United States military took a leading role in directing relief efforts there. No government in the world considers IHH a “terrorist” organization other than Israel. Furthermore, according to Andy Pollack, an activist with Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the group that organized the Brooklyn event, Unsal’s visa was valid until 2011, and had been used to travel in the U.S. two times before he was denied. “But now all of a sudden he was told it was only a transient visa and no longer valid for US travel,” wrote Pollack in an email.
Marsha B. Cohen, an expert on the Middle East and a contributor to Inter Press Service’s Lobelog, detailed in an article on Mondoweiss how the evidence linking IHH to “terrorism” was dubious at best. And an “think tank with ties to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,” reports the Washington Post, has stated that there is “‘no known evidence of current links between IHH and ‘global jihad elements.’”
A State Dept. spokesperson reached by phone said she didn’t have any details on Unsal, and that decisions regarding individual visas are confidential.
Unsal, a former MP with the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey, was aboard the Mavi Marmara when the Israeli Navy raided the ship in international waters and opened fired on activists, killing 9 and injuring dozens. He was scheduled to speak along with filmmaker and activist Iara Lee, whose video of the attack aboard the Turkish ship was seen around the world, and Viva Palestina activist Kevin Ovenden.
”The JCRC was gratified to learn that IHH activist and former Turkish MP Ahmet Faruk Unsal was denied entry when he attempted to enter the United States,” Michael S. Miller, the CEO of JCRC-NY, said in a statement. “We have been advocating for an investigation of IHH and its members for their ties to terrorism and terror organizations and we hope that this level of scrutiny continues.”
You can decide for yourself: was the State Dept. cowed into not allowing Unsal to share his story?
Intimidating Supporters of Palestine
America is still embarrassed by the infamous McCarthy Hearings which ruined the lives of thousands of innocents during the fifties.
Anyone then, suspected of being linked to communism was arrested, interrogated and either imprisoned or forced to give names of others suspected of communist tendencies.
And so the fear and intimidation spread like a great plague across the USA. Names were blacklisted, careers and lives ruined as the authorities ruthlessly traded on peoples’ fears, paranoia and weaknesses.
With little or no evidence people were found guilty and anyone daring to question any of the actions and the wild accusations also had suspicion cast upon them.
But hey folks, that was back in the Fifties and various administrations resolved the same insane hysteria, hatred and fears would never again cast a dark shadow across the Land of the Free.
Sadly, the Salem-style witch hunts have returned, but the new villains are no longer communists. The Red Scare has been replaced by those who shout Viva Palestina!
From the very highest law-makers right down to ordinary John Doe there is an irrational fear so great that it holds many of them hostage in their homes, workplaces and schools.
Their vision has become so skewed they are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
And so when they’re told that heavily armed Israeli soldiers shoot peace activists at near point blank range because they are defending themselves, few dare to question.
When they see babies dying on the Gaza Strip because of lack of medical equipment because of the Israeli-enforced blockade, they remain silent.
And even fewer dare to criticize Israel.
Millions upon millions of Americans wake up frightened, go to sleep frightened while others feed on the hatred and bile spewed out by politicians, preachers, academics and the media who tell them Israel is good and Palestine is bad.
There are some politicians who want to see the heroic Americans who boarded the Free Gaza Movement boats, joined the Viva Palestina convoys and the recent Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla prosecuted as terrorists.
Today I trolled through some of the pages in the American media and there, among the column inches, are stories that perfectly illustrate the Zionist Fear Factory in operation.
The Los Angeles Times reveals that UC Irvine has told its university students that the Muslim Student Union will be suspended for one year because it dared to criticize Israel and protested during a speech given by the Israeli Ambassador. So there you have it – freedom of speech is now banned.
The unprecedented action also sends out a chilling message to students across the USA who might consider demonstrating, rallying or protesting against the Zionist state and its supporters. Free speech, it seems, is a thing of the past in Barack Obama’s America.
And should you be in any doubt, read a story about the latest decision to emerge from the US Supreme Court. In a majority 6-3 ruling it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to put food into the mouths of malnourished babies in Gaza or to give money to a charity to do the humanitarian act for you.
Insane as it sounds, it is now a crime in America to work for peace and human rights in Gaza because the day-to-day running of The Strip is carried out by the democratically-elected Hamas government. Therefore it would be virtually impossible to bypass Hamas to operate in Gaza.
In an astonishing McCarthy-like ruling any American who even offers advice to banned organizations like Hamas, including legal assistance and information on conflict resolution, will be prosecuted as terrorists. Be afraid, be very afraid … this is happening in the USA, here and now.
Barack Obama’s barmy administration reckons that even giving advice intended for peaceful purposes will amount to “material support” for terrorism.
“The supreme court has ruled that human rights advocates, providing training and assistance in the nonviolent resolution of disputes, can be prosecuted as terrorists,” said David Cole, a Georgetown university law professor who argued the case before the court. In the name of fighting terrorism, the court has said that the first amendment [on free speech] permits congress to make it a crime to work for peace and human rights. That is wrong.”
The ruling is designed to intimidate Palestinian supporters and their fundraising activity. Some have already been prosecuted and jailed for raising cash for social groups dealing with issues such as housing and welfare in Gaza.
The government’s case was enthusiastically argued in February by Elena Kagan, who is now the Obama administration’s nominee to the supreme court. She said: “Hizb’Allah builds bombs. Hizb’Allah also builds homes. What Congress decided was when you help Hizb’Allah build homes, you are also helping Hizb’Allah build bombs. That’s the entire theory behind the statute.”
Well if that’s the case an interesting legal situation looms on the horizon – unless all of this legislation is purely designed for Palestinian supporters. A Congressional subcommittee, led by Representative John F. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts, has uncovered evidence showing US tax dollars are funding the Taliban.
The source is a Pentagon-issued $2.1 billion dollar contract called Host Nation Trucking, which pays for the movement of food and supplies to some 200 American bases. It appears Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week and then funneling the spoils to warlords and the Taliban in return for a safe passage. In short, the US is financing the enemy and undermining international efforts to stabilize the country.
Hmm, isn’t this material support for terrorism? I think we need to have the Commander in Chief charged with immediate affect.
Yvonne Ridley is a journalist and one of the founders of Viva Palestina and European President of the international Muslim Women’s Union. She presents the current affairs weekly show The Agenda and co-presents Rattansi & Ridley both for Press TV.
ROGUE ISRAELI-SOVIET SPY, JONATHAN POLLARD
ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES, MICHAEL OREN “WE DON’T SPY ON AMERICA, ROGUE ISRAELI GROUPS DID IT”
“…we’re talking about an event that was run by a rogue organization in the Israeli intelligence community” (Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on the Jonathan Pollard spy case)
In a shocking revelation today, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren admitted that super-spy Johnathan Pollard, responsible for the murder of 100 CIA agents and the turnover of 360 square feet of vital intelligence to the Soviet Union wasn’t really working for Israel at all. In 1998, the government of Israel admitted that Jonathan Pollard was a spy for Israel, having stolen nearly every NATO defense plan needed to assure a Soviet victory in case of war. Israel claims that a defense agreement, not in evidence, makes any information held by the United States, found useful to Israel, no matter its security classification, property of the State of Israel. The Israeli news agency Haaretz quotes as follows:
“Israel’s ambassador to the United States on Monday said that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was not working for Israeli government spymasters but for a rogue intelligence agency – apparently contradicting an official state position.”
In this instance, secrets meant to defend NATO from Soviet invasion were useful to Israel who traded them in order to get Jews released from Russia and allowed to immigrate to Israel. Israel contended that it was their inherent right to that information because they had a vital need for it. In that information, along with locations of all vital NATO nuclear facilities, were the names of all CIA operatives working behind the Iron Curtain and details on their contacts. After this information went to Israel, then to Russia, all involved, CIA handlers, agents and their families were murdered, the biggest intelligence disaster in American history.
As a result of the Pollard incident, a reminder of the slaughter of the crew of the USS Liberty in 1967, many members of the FBI, CIA and US military had become extremely resentful of Israel. The payment of $1 million to Pollard by the Israeli government in 2001, just prior to 9/11 and his status as Israel’s greatest living hero, was seen as proof of official sanction for his spying, sanction backed by the 1998 admission. Now, however, Ambassador Oren has announced this was simply cover for Israel’s embarrassment at its inability to control a massive rogue operation, not only of spies but special operations groups of every kind, working around the world but in no way, whatsoever, answerable to the Israeli government.
Thus, the suppression of Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks, including the arrests in New York of Israeli operatives as terrorists involved in the attack, and their subsequent release, can now be understood. As to what part this rogue organization that has misrepresented itself as government sanctioned, typically as Mossad, was involved in the planning of 9/11 is unclear other than their foreknowledge of the attacks.
Were Israeli’s warned in order to incriminate Israel? An examination of casualty figures for the 9/11 attacks shows a number of victims with Jewish names but no holders of Israeli passports, although many were employed in the World Trade Center, the largest group of foreign passport holders by far. Citizens of 57 countries perished on 9/11.
By far the foreign country with the largest loss of life was the United Kingdom, with 67 deaths (excluding the overseas territory of Bermuda). India had 41, South Korea had 28 and Canada and Japan had 24 each. Colombia had seventeen and Jamaica, Mexico and the Philippines had sixteen each. Australia and Germany had eleven each, while Italy had ten.
There is absolutely no evidence that a rogue intelligence operation had contacted Israeli passport holders or given out any warning at all. However, when the fact of the bizarre statistical anomaly in 9/11 casualties came to light immediately after the attack, news organizations universally misrepresented these facts, now in “public domain.”
COWBOY MANIACS, DESTROYING ISRAEL’S GOOD NAME
With the admission of a conspiracy, operating worldwide with one goal, the destabilization of the State of Israel, not by attacks on Israel but by attacks done in Israel’s name, we enter a new region in the analysis of security threats. Most serious, of course, is the door this opens regarding culpability for 9/11, something Israel has been increasingly subject to. Now it has become clear that the ties between groups that were involved in the proven demolition of Building 7 and the Israeli terrorists arrested by the NYPD in no way lead to the Israeli government. As to whether the companies owned by Israeli nationals whose catastrophic series of security failures on 9/11 contributed to the disaster are part of this terrorist ring is, in no way clearly established either.
A similar set of circumstances during the 2009 Christmas “crotch bombing” in Detroit may, however, bring into question the possibility of a pattern of conduct within this organization that Ambassador Oren has exposed.
It remains to be seen how many terrorist operations that have been tagged as Mossad can be tied to the group Oren refers to. Attempts to get details from the Israeli embassy in Washington on the make-up of these groups, whether they are Israeli nationals, Americans of Jewish heritage, former Mossad or IDF has not yielded results. Whether operations like the PKK attack on Turkey or the assassination of an Hamas agent in Dubai can be credit to this group remains to be seen.
I am a Holocaust survivor
Yes, I am a survivor, for I have managed to survive all the scary accounts of the Holocaust: the one about the soap (1), the one about the lamp shades, the one about the camps, the mass shooting, the one about the gas (2) and the one about the death march (3). I just managed to survive them all.
In spite of all these fear inflicting stories, that were purposely installed in my soul since I opened my eyes for the first time, I have become a functional and even a successful human being. I somehow survived the horror against all odds. I even manage to love my neighbour. In spite of all the fearful, traumatic indoctrination I miraculously managed to master my cheering alto saxophone rather than the sobbing violin.
In fact, I have already decided that in case the Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family should ever consider to make me into a ‘Sir’ for my bebop achievements, or even for facing Zionist barbarism with my bare pen, I will immediately change my surname from Atzmon to Vive, just to become the first and only Sir Vive.
I am also totally against Holocaust denial
I clearly resent those who deny the genocides that are taking place in the name of the Holocaust. Palestine is one example, Iraq is another and the one that is set for Iran, is probably too scary to contemplate.
The Holocaust is a relatively new religion (4). It lacks mercy or compassion, instead it promises revenge through retribution. For its followers, it is somehow liberating because it allows them to punish whoever they like as long they gain some pleasure. This may explain why the Israelis ended up punishing the Palestinians for crimes that were committed by Europeans. It is rather clear that the newly emerging religion is not just about ‘eye for an eye’; it is actually an eye for thousands and thousands of eyes.
A month ago, while visiting in Auschwitz, Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak left a note in the official visitors book: ‘a strong Israel is both the comfort and the revenge’(5). No one could summarize the aspiration of the religion any better. The Holocaust religion doesn’t offer redemption. It is a crude violent manifestation of sheer collective brutality. It cannot resolve anything, for aggression can only lead to more and more aggression. In the Holocaust religion there is neither room for peace or grace. Take it from Barak, revenge is where they find comfort.
To deny the danger posed by the Holocaust religion and its followers is to be complicit in a growing crime against humanity and against every possible human value.
I am also in total support of the Jewish National Project
Some believe that after 2000 years of ‘phantasmic Diaspora’ Jews are indeed entitled to an imaginary ‘national home land of their own’. The Zionists apparently meant it sincerely. The Jewish state is now realistic enough to have turned the entire Middle East into a ticking bomb.
Reviewing the Israeli record of crimes against humanity in the last six decades doesn’t leave much room for speculation. We are dealing here with a pathological sinister society. Hence, as much as some of us may agree that Jews should enjoy a hypothetical right for a land of their own, planet Earth is certainly not the ideal location for such an affair.
Hence, I would urge NASA to join in and to make a special effort to find a suitable alternative planet for the Zionist homeland in outer space or even in another galaxy. The Galactic Zionist project would signify the immediate move from ‘promised land’ to ‘promised planet’. I would enthusiastically stress that rather than searching for ‘a land with no people for a people with no land’, what we really want is a ‘lonely planet’. It can even be a ‘desert’ for they claim to know how to make the desert bloom. In a planet of their own the galactic Zionists wouldn’t need to oppress anyone, they wouldn’t ethnically cleanse either, they wouldn’t have to lock the indigenous people in concentration camps, for there won’t be any indigenous people around to abuse, starve, murder and cleanse. They wouldn’t have to pour white phosphorous over their neighbours for there won’t be any neighbours. I would highly recommend NASA to search for a planet with very low gravity just to make it light for people to wander around. After all, we want the new galactic Zionists to enjoy their futuristic project as much as the Palestinians and many others may enjoy their absence.
So here I am, a proper Jew after all: I am a survivor, I oppose Holocaust denial, I support the Jewish national aspiration. Even the chief Rabbi of Britain cannot ask for more than that.
(1) Acknowledged recently to be a ‘myth’ by the Israeli holocaust museum Yad Vashem
(2) A historical fact protected by European Law.
(3) A slightly confusing narrative. If the Nazis were interested in annihilating the entire European Jewish population as suggested by the orthodox Zionist holocaust narrative, then it is rather ambiguous as to just what led them to march what was left of European Jewry, into their crumbling Nazi fatherland at a time when it was clear that they were losing the war. The two narratives i.e. ‘annihilation’ and ‘death march’, seem to oppose each other. The issue deserves further elaboration. I would just suggest that the reasonable answers I have come across may severely damage the Zionist holocaust narrative.
(4) The Israeli Philosophy professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz was probably the first to define the holocaust as the ‘new Jewish religion’.
We are in the middle of another manufactured-terrorism case, this one in Newburgh, and it was going very smoothly until last week, when the presiding federal judge postponed the scheduled trial indefinitely, ordering the government to turn over more evidence that might be helpful to the defense. The defendants are four petty criminals, three black Americans and one Haitian, all of whom converted to Islam in prison and upon their release took to frequenting a mosque in Newburgh.
They were recruited into a fake terrorist plot by the same wretch who a few years ago duped two Albany Muslims into an exchange of checks for cash that could be sold to a jury as money-laundering in support of terrorism.
The FBI is still working him. I had thought such efforts to create terrorists in order to arrest them was an artifact of the Bush administration, which seemed unable to distinguish between real enemies and imaginary, but I was wrong. Here we are with a new, supposedly more enlightened, president and it’s still going on.
The wretch is Shahed (or Shaheed) Hussain, a Pakistani who immigrated to this country in the early 1990s and soon began making his living in the Albany area by cheating on drivers license exams for immigrants who knew less English than he did. He was supposed to interpret for them but actually took their tests for them, for substantial fees.
He got caught and faced a string of felonies, to be followed by deportation, when the FBI got hold of him and put him to work in exchange for keeping him out of jail and allowing him to remain in this country. Undoubtedly a great boon to us all.
A miserable liar and cheat who couldn’t distinguish truth from falsehood even when he was under oath in the Albany trial of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain and was trying his best to make a good impression.
In the Newburgh affair, he presented himself in a black Mercedes, and, in a script apparently much favored by the FBI, let on to have a great deal of money, which he was very free with. Also to be a radical jihadist, or at least in league with radical jihadists.
He recruited these disaffected petty drug dealers and misfits with promises of money and cars, according to the FBI’s own secret tape recordings, some of which have become public through court filings by the defense.
It took him a year to do it, but he did it. He got them to accompany him to the Air National Guard base at Stewart International Airport and take photographs, supposedly with a view to eventually shooting down airplanes with surface-to-air missiles.
He got them to plant what they thought were explosives at a synagogue and a Jewish community center in the Bronx.
There is no sign they would have done any of this on their own or even imagined doing it. Shahed Hussain, acting not as an informant as the government calls him but as an agent provocateur, coaxed them, urged them and bribed them.
“I told you I can make you $250,000, but you don’t want it, brother,” he said to his principal recruit, James Cromitie, a 45-year-old native of Brooklyn with 27 arrests on his record, when Cromitie showed reluctance.
At another point he told Cromitie he would pay lookouts $25,000 each, to which Cromitie responded, “If you can assure them that they gonna see that much money, they gonna go for it; They will do it for the money; they’re not even thinking about the cause.”
Cromitie dreamed of a new car. “You’re getting your car, brother — the Beamer,” Shahed Hussain told him.
A swell way for the government to protect us, no? Bribe some low-life ex-cons to participate in a fake plot and then arrest them on charges of terrorism and conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Possible sentence: life in prison.
After which Shahed Hussain will presumably ride off to his next slimy assignment, and the government will bask in glory for having blocked a terrorist attack.
“You should believe me, because I am your brother, I am your true brother,” he told Cromitie regarding the promise of a new car. “I love you to death, brother.”
Which is pretty much the approach he took when he was pressing money on Mohammed Hossain, owner of a hole-in-the-wall pizza shop on Central Avenue in Albany.
The difference: Back then his nomme de guerre was Malik; in Newburgh it was Maqsood.
I shouldn’t be so hard on him, maybe. He’s trying to save his skin. It’s the FBI that writes the script and puts him to work acting it, and it’s U.S. attorneys who prosecute these cases.
How dangerous would this Cromitie character have been in Newburgh without Shahed “Maqsood” Hussain to egg him on?
Apparently not very. The FBI agent running the operation, Robert Fuller (who also ran the celebrated Fort Dix operation), wrote to officials at Stewart Airport alerting them that Cromitie would be out there scouting for a possible attack site but assured them he would pose no danger without Hussain.
It was the revelation of a memo referring to that letter that prompted Judge Colleen McMahon last week to call a halt to the proceedings until the FBI produces all materials that might tend to exculpate the defendants, as the law requires.
She also noted that “the Government has retreated from its original position that the defendants had any connections to any international terrorist organization.”
At this point the legal-minded reader might be asking, isn’t the inducing of criminal activity forbidden? Isn’t it called entrapment, and isn’t it grounds for acquittal?
To which your legal correspondent answers, yes, it’s forbidden, yes, it’s called entrapment, and yes, it’s grounds for acquittal — except in cases of alleged Muslim terrorism, and then all rules are suspended. Not as a matter of law, of course, but as a practical matter.
I know this from the unhappy case of Aref and Hossain in Albany, who were equally induced to do things they would not have done otherwise and which they showed no previous inclination to do — like launder money, which they didn’t even understand — and yet are now serving 15-year prison terms.
The federal appeals court that reviewed their case dismissed the entrapment argument without rebuttal but just with a wave of the hand.
If a government agent cajoles an ordinary citizen into a robbing a bank who had never robbed a bank before nor shown any inclination to rob a bank, that citizen has a sturdy defense and can expect to be exonerated.
But if a government agent cajoles a Muslim man into participating in a terrorist plot, no matter how far-fetched, and no matter how little inclination the Muslim man had previously shown for such activity, that Muslim man is dead meat.
I wait to see if things turn out any differently in Newburgh. And I also wait to see what Shahed Hussain’s next assignment will be.
I hope it’s not me. My car is getting run down, and if he offered me a new Beamer, heaven knows what I would do.
Carl Strock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright (c) 2010 The Daily Gazette Co. All Rights Reserved
The decision to indict Staff Sgt. S. for killing two women during Cast Lead has caused a stir. But his lawyer will rightly ask, ‘Why him, and not all the others who killed civilians?’
Why was Staff Sgt. S., out of all the Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers and officers, chosen to stand trial for killing two women in the Gaza Strip on January 4, 2009, the first day of Israel’s ground incursion there? The IDF killed 34 armed men that same day. Was S. chosen because he was the only one who killed civilians?
Should his lawyer argue that he is being scapegoated, he can safely rely on the following statistics: The IDF also killed 80 other civilians that day – by close-range shooting, artillery fire, aerial fire and naval fire. Among them were six women and 29 children under the age of 16. Just go to B’Tselem’s website and read the list: a 7-year-old boy, a 1-year-old girl, another 1-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl.
B’Tselem is careful to differentiate between Palestinians who “took part in the hostilities” and Palestinians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” Its list of fatalities states: “Farah Amar Fuad al-Hilu, 1-year-old resident of Gaza City, killed on 04.01.2009 in Gaza City, by live ammunition. Did not participate in hostilities. Additional information: Killed while she fled from her house with her family after her grandfather (Fuad al-Hilu, 62 ) was shot by soldiers who entered the house.” The grandfather also did not participate in hostilities.
Or perhaps S. was chosen because Riyeh Abu Hajaj, 64, and Majda Abu Hajaj, 37, a mother and daughter, were the only ones killed while carrying a white flag that January 4? No. Matar, 17, and Mohammed, 16, were also killed. They were shot from an IDF position in a nearby house as they pushed a cart carrying the wounded and dead of the Abu Halima family, who were hit by a white phosphorous bomb that penetrated their home in northern Beit Lahiya. Five members of the family were killed on the spot, including a 1-year-old girl. Another young woman would die of her injuries a few weeks later.
The news that Staff Sgt. S. would stand trial created something of a stir – for a day. The military advocate general was praised. So was B’Tselem, and rightly so, for giving the army testimony about the Abu Hajaj killings that its field investigators, Palestinian residents of Gaza, had gathered. Palestinian organizations gathered similar material, while Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published detailed reports about slain civilians. Everything is accessible on their websites. But we in Israel do not believe the gentiles, so let us focus only on B’Tselem.
B’Tselem also gave the army dozens of statements about the killing of other civilians who “did not take part in the hostilities.” So why was Staff Sgt. S. chosen, rather than any of the others? Did someone from his unit violate the code of solidarity among soldiers for the sake of a higher code? This is indeed most likely to happen in the ground forces: All the witnesses who spoke to Breaking the Silence activists – i.e., those who were shaken by something that happened – came from the ground troops; they were the ones who saw the destruction, and the human beings, with their own eyes.
“The amount of destruction there was incomprehensible,” said one soldier. “You go through the neighborhoods there and you can’t identify anything. No stone is left unturned. You see rows of fields, hothouses, orchards, and it’s all in ruins. Everything is completely destroyed. You see a pink room with a poster of Barbie, and a shell that went through a meter and a half below it.”
But the breakdown of casualties shows that those killed by direct fire – where the soldier who shoots sees those he is shooting with his own eyes – are a tiny minority. At the request of Haaretz, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza analyzed the breakdown of casualties according to the type of fire. It found that 80 were killed by rifle fire, 13 by machine guns and 134 by artillery fire. It is unclear whether the 11 killed by flechette shells (shells filled with metal darts ) are or are not included in the latter figure.
Undoubtedly, these are estimates, with margins of error. Around 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Operation Cast Lead; at least 1,000 – most of them civilians – were killed from the air, by bombs dropped from planes or missiles fired from other airborne vehicles. To the soldiers responsible for the launches, they looked like characters prancing around on a computer screen.
B’Tselem and Haaretz, as well as the gentile organizations that need not be considered, all documented incidents of aerial killing. The IDF acknowledged two errors (the killing of 22 members of the a-Diya family in Zeitun with a single bomb, and the killing of seven people who were removing oxygen tanks from a metalworking shop, which on the computer screens looked like Grad missiles ).
“One characteristic of the recent IDF attack on Gaza is the large number of families that lost many members at one stroke, most of them in their homes, during Israeli bombings: Ba’alousha, Bannar, Sultan, Abu Halima, Salha, Barbakh, Shurrab, Abu Eisha, Ghayan, al-Najjar, Abed-Rabo, Azzam, Jebara, El Astel, Haddad, Quran, Nasser, al-Alul, Dib, Samouni,” Haaretz wrote in February 2009. Are there no sergeants involved in those cases who ought to be investigated? Or is it that in these cases, an investigation would have to target people of higher rank than a mere staff sergeant?
The disclosure that Staff Sgt. S. will be tried created something of a stir. The military advocate general won praise. But S.’s attorney will rightly ask: Out of all the testimonies and reports, he is the only one you found?
And what of the commanders’ attitudes, as described by those interviewed by Breaking the Silence: “When the company commander and the battalion commander tell you ‘yalla, shoot,’ soldiers will not restrain themselves. They wait for this day – to have the fun of shooting and feeling the power in your hands.” What of the battalion commander’s speech “the night before the ground incursion”: “He said that it’s not going to be easy. He defined the goals of the operation: 2,000 dead terrorists.”
And if this was the operation’s objective, perhaps we should investigate the supreme commander – Defense Minister Ehud Barak – about the gap between the objective and the result?
NEW YORK – In the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court decision upholding a law making it a crime to provide any “material support” to an organisation designated as a “terrorist” by the U.S. government, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter charged that the law “actually threatens our work and the work of many other peacemaking organisations that must interact directly with groups that have engaged in violence”.
Carter, whose organisation, the Carter Centre, filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case, said in a statement, “We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that inhibits the work of human rights and conflict resolution groups.”
“The vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom,” he added.
Carter joined numerous civil and human rights advocates in attacking the court’s 6-3 ruling “to criminalise speech” in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. It was the first case to challenge the Patriot Act before the highest court in the land, and the first post-9/11 case to pit free speech guarantees against national security claims.
Attorneys say that under the court’s ruling, many groups and individuals providing peaceful advocacy could be prosecuted, including President Carter, for training all parties in fair election practices in Lebanon.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court’s majority, affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding the case back to the lower court for review.
Justice Stephen Breyer dissented and read his dissent aloud before his fellow justices – always a sign of an opinion very deeply felt. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
The court held that the statute’s prohibitions on “expert advice”, “training”, “service” and “personnel” were not vague, and did not violate speech or associational rights as applied to plaintiffs’ intended activities.
Plaintiffs sought to provide assistance and education on human rights advocacy and peacemaking to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey, a designated terrorist organisation. Multiple lower court rulings had found the statute unconstitutionally vague.
The plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, Georgetown Law Centre’s David Cole, a widely respected constitutional scholar, sees the “material support” paradigm of “preemptively weeding out threats to national security, guilt by association” resurrected from the McCarthy era.
He told IPS, “While it was illegal in the 1950s to be a member of the Communist Party, it is now a crime to support an individual or organisation on a terror watch list, although the government can designate and freeze assets without a showing of actual ties to terrorism or illegal acts.”
Cole asserts that support for the lawful activities of a designated group should not be unlawful, and that the not- for-profit sector needs to insist that constitutional rights apply in the war on terror. He is calling for changes in the enabling legislation when Congress returns from its August recess.
“While the House Un-American Activities Committee once relied on the private sector to mete out punishment through the destruction of reputations and careers, today measures such as the Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines have turned funders into the new enforcers. In this light, he said the nonprofit sector has an obligation to resist such a partnership with government,” he says.
The court rejected the government’s argument that the statute, when applied to plaintiffs’ proposed speech, regulated not speech but conduct, and therefore needed to meet only a low standard – “intermediate scrutiny” – to survive.
Instead, the court found that the statute did criminalise speech on the basis of its content, but then found that the government’s interest in delegitimising groups on the designated “terrorist organisation” list was sufficiently great to overcome the heightened level of scrutiny.
This is one of a very few times that the Supreme Court has upheld a criminal prohibition of speech under strict scrutiny, and the first time it has permitted the government to make it a crime to advocate lawful, nonviolent activity.
One constitutional authority, law professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois law school, told IPS that the decision upheld the government’s position as set out by the solicitor general, Elena Kagan, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Boyle said that Kagan “argued this case as solicitor general and maintained during oral argument that any lawyer who filed an amicus brief in a U.S. Court on behalf of a designated terrorist organisation would be violating the material support statute and thus risk criminal prosecution.”
Boyle said Kagan’s arguments in this case “demonstrate emphatically why she must not be confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court. She has driven yet another nail into the coffin of the First Amendment and the U.S. Bill of Rights that was originally constructed by the [George W.] Bush administration with the USA Patriot Act.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the court’s ruling “thwarts the efforts of human rights organisations to persuade violent actors to renounce violence or cease their human rights abuses and jeopardises the provision of aid and disaster relief in conflict zones controlled by designated groups.”
Under the law, individuals face up to 15 years in prison for providing “material support” to foreign terrorist organisations, even if their work is intended to promote peaceful, lawful objectives.