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Israel releases British rapper detained at airport

Ma’an – 21/07/2010

Bethlehem – Israeli airport authorities have released a British-Iraqi rapper who was held for half a day at Ben Gurion International Airport, the musician’s fan page reported Wednesday.

Lowkey was detained Tuesday upon arrival in Tel Aviv en route to play a number of concerts and hold a series of musical workshops in refugee camps in the West Bank as part of the Hip Hop Bus Tour, composed of members from the Existence is Resistance, The South West Youth Collaborative, and the University of Hip Hop Chicago.

Fans started an online petition shortly after Lowkey’s detention calling on the Israeli government to release the musician and allow him to play in Palestine.

A spokeswoman for Israel’s Interior Ministry immigration department did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. An email to Lowkey’s booking representative was not immediately returned.

In February 2009, Lowkey was detained at the airport en route to several Palestinian charity concerts to help raise funds to rebuild Gaza following the war.

Born Kareem Dennis to an Iraqi mother and English father in Tooting, London, Lowkey’s Gaza anti-war song reached number 1 in the UK charts in January.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | Leave a comment

Israel destroys West Bank village after declaring it military zone

By Amira Haas | Haaretz | July 21, 2010

The IDF’s Civil Administration destroyed a Palestinian village Monday morning that had earlier been cleared out when its water supply was cut off.

The IDF demolished about 55 structures in the West Bank village of Farasiya, including tents, tin shacks, plastic and straw huts, clay ovens, sheep pens and bathrooms. These structures served the 120 farmers, hired workers and their families who lived in the Jordan Valley village.

The Civil Administration said they had declared the area a live fire zone and posted eviction orders for 10 families in tents on June 27.

“Since no appeal was filed in the following three weeks, and given the danger posed by the location of the tents, they were removed,” they said in response.

The villagers made a living by sheep farming and working land owned by families in the town of Tubas. Some of them have been living in Farasiya for decades.

A packaging warehouse that was built together with Agrexco in the late 1970s was also torn down.

Atef Abu al-Rob, a photographer for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, who arrived at the village hours after the demolition, said mattresses, pipes and broken furniture were lying on the ground in the debris.

Since 1967, Israel has prevented Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley from growing, whether by cutting off their water supply, declaring large areas as live fire zones or banning all construction.

About a year ago the IDF set up hundreds of warning signs near Palestinian farming communities, marking them closed military areas. Such a sign was set up at the entrance to Farasiya.

The families had recently been forced to leave the village when the Israeli authorities cut it off from its water sources, said the popular committees’ coordinator in the valley, Fathi Hadirat. The villagers were forbidden to use the water wells the Mekorot Water Company had dug in the area.

Hadirat said a few years ago the Civil Administration destroyed the pipe the villages had laid from a nearby stream used for drinking water and irrigation.

Since then they have been watering the sheep and fields with water unfit for human consumption, pumped from a salt water source. They received drinking water in tanks.

About four months ago the IDF confiscated their pumps. On Sunday, 10 families from Bardala, a village north of Farasiya, were given demolition notices.

A farmer who owns 300 sheep was told to leave in 24 hours or his herd would be confiscated.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Leave a comment

Europe Considers New Penalties for Iran

Al-Manar, 20/07/2010

In line with the US unilateral sanctions beyond the UNSC sanctions, the European Union is considering tough new sanctions against Iran to protest its nuclear program, including banning investment in the oil and gas sector and tightening restrictions on shipping and finance.

The new measures, which are subject to agreement by European Union foreign ministers, cover dozens of senior Iranian officials and companies, and aim to put new pressure on the government in Tehran by cutting off Europe’s investment in major sectors of the Iranian economy.

A draft of the proposed new measures names 41 Iranian people, 57 companies or other entities, 15 additional companies thought to be controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and three deemed to be under the control of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

Senior European diplomats will discuss the proposed sanctions on Thursday.

Under pressure from the United States and Europe, Russia and China voted last month with 11 other UN Security Council nations for a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment. The sanctions target Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments.

Weeks later, US President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching new unilateral sanctions on Iran that aim to curb Tehran’s fuel imports and deepen its international isolation. Russia and China denounced the move.

Last month, European Union leaders agreed in principle to go ahead with tighter measures as part of a two-track strategy to try to deal with Tehran’s nuclear program. While trying to tighten the economic screw, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has also made it clear she is ready for talks with Iran’s chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili.

Thursday’s meeting of European Union diplomats will give the first indication of whether national governments inside the bloc will exert pressure on it to water down its plans. But discussion at a summit meeting of the bloc in June led to a swift agreement on the sectors to be the focus of penalties.

The draft, which bans the supply of items needed for nuclear materials, weapons and ammunition, spells out detailed new restrictions for the energy sector. These would bar the “sale, supply or transfer of key equipment and technology” for refinement, liquefied natural gas, exploration or production. European companies would not be able to provide technical or financial help “to enterprises in Iran that are engaged in the key sectors of Iranian oil and gas industry.”

European Union governments would be forced to monitor Iranian banks in their jurisdiction closely. Financial transfers above 35,000 euros, or about $45,000, would require prior authorization.

Iranian banks would be prohibited from opening new branches or subsidiaries in the 27-nation bloc. There would be a ban on providing insurance and reinsurance “to the government of Iran, or to entities incorporated in Iran or subject to Iran’s jurisdiction.”

Countries in the bloc would stop “all cargo flights operated by Iranian carriers or originating from Iran with the exception of mixed passenger and cargo flights.”

The measures, which would be issued next Monday, include a list of senior officials who would be barred from entering the European Union, including Ali Akbar Ahmadian, chief of the Revolutionary Guards joint staff; Morteza Safari, commander of the navy; and Hosein Salimi, commander of the air force.

Money and economic resources owned or controlled by companies and entities regarded as close to the government or controlled by it would be frozen. These include First East Export Bank, Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Wars for Israel | Leave a comment

“Join the enforcement of the religious law”

July 20, 2010

Unofficial video for the song “Handlebars” by the Flobots:

The video above was sent out by an Israeli activist who goes by the name gangreentv. He also sent this explanation:

Today is Tish’a B’Av, the day on the Hebrew calendar that Jews all over the world commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem because of baseless hatred. So it’s especially ironic that his past week we witnessed no less than FOUR new laws proposed and passed in the Israeli Knesset that are outrageously anti-democratic in nature:

  1. Stripping an Arab parliamentarian of her privileges for her non-violent activism
  2. Narrowly defining who is considered a Jew, and therefore able to access state privileges
  3. Requiring a loyalty oath to a supremacist ideology in order to receive state privileges
  4. Criminalizing free speech that advocates divestment from the occupation

Under these circumstances, it is nearly impossible to not feel inexorably swept towards total fascism. Combining the dystopic art of local artist Yosi Even Kama with the video for the Flobots’ song “Handlebars” approaches a sense of the fear and frustration that the peace and justice camp is currently experiencing in Israel.

###

Aletho News adds:

Characteristics of Fascism

By Laurence W. Britt | February 2003

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. A controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Democrats: Guantanamo Closure ‘Not a Priority’

Steny Hoyer: Then and now

By Glenn Greenwald | July 21, 2010

Letter signed by Steny Hoyer to George Bush, June 29, 2007, demanding closing of Guantanamo:

Holding prisoners for an indefinite period of time, without charging them with a crime goes against our values, ideals and principles as a nation governed by the rule of law. Further, Guantanamo Bay has a become a liability in the broader global war on terror, as allegations of torture, the indefinite detention of innocent men, and international objections to the treatment of enemy combatants has hurt our credibility as the beacon for freedom and justice. Its continued operation also threatens the safety of U.S. citizens and military personnel detained abroad. . . . A liability of our own creation, the existence of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay is defeating our effort to ensure that the principles of freedom, justice and human rights are spread throughout the world.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, today:

Gitmo shut-down not a priority, top Dem says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday that closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison is not a top priority for congressional Democrats.

In response to a question from a reporter about where shutting down Gitmo stands, Hoyer said, “I think that’s not an item, as you point out, of real current discussion. There’s some very big issues confronting us – dealing with growing the economy and Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Hoyer added, “I think you’re not going to see it discussed very broadly in the near term.”

How can it be that it’s not a priority to end something which — as Hoyer put it in 2007 — “threatens the safety of U.S. citizens and military personnel detained abroad”?   Why would Democrats like Hoyer be so willing to jeopardize the safety of American citizens and the lives of Our Troops abroad by de-prioritizing something which (at least if the 2007 Hoyer was to be believed) directly threatens them?  Also, we had wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2007 along with a whole variety of other problems — if those issues now justify de-prioritizing the closing of Guantanamo, why wasn’t that also true in 2007 when Hoyer (and most other Democrats ) were vocally demanding that Bush close the camp?

This, needless to say, is par for the course:  policies which establishment Democrats pretended to vehemently oppose when out of power magically transformed into policies they embrace when in power.  Ironically, in response to the 2007 Hoyer letter, a Bush spokesperson “said the letter was received and noted that Bush has said he wants to close Guantanamo. ‘A number of steps need to take place before that can happen, and we’re continuing to work on those,’ she said.”  Sound familiar?  Recall, too, that even the Obama plan to move the camp to Illinois would have entailed preserving one of the core factors condemned by Hoyer (“Holding prisoners for an indefinite period of time, without charging them with a crime goes against our values, ideals and principles as a nation governed by the rule of law”).

Along these same lines, a provision in the new Intelligence Authorization Act which would provide for substantially greater oversight of the intelligence community has now disappeared from the bill in the face of a threat from the Obama White House to veto any bill containing it.  I wrote before about the Obama administration’s efforts to prevent greater oversight of covert intelligence programs — greater oversight also used to be an advocated Democratic policy — but it’s particularly ironic that Obama succeeded in quashing further oversight on the exact day that The Washington Post documents the completely out-of-control, unaccountable, secret world of the National Security and Surveillance State.  Allowing an audit of these intelligence programs by the General Accounting Office to ensure compliance with the law — something Nancy Pelosi was pushing — would have been one mild means of ensuring at least a marginal degree of accountability over Top Secret America.  Yet it looks likely even that will not happen because Obama is threatening a veto to prevent it.  I wonder why he would do that?

July 21, 2010 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | 1 Comment

“Stone in my hand”

By Huma Dar | Pulse Media | July 21, 2010

The video above — put together by an unknown young person and set to the Everlast song, “Stone in My Hand” — is a short montage documenting the current popular protests in Kashmir Valley against the Indian occupation.  The video above has prompted the Indian Security Forces to “launch a manhunt” for the filmmaker, such is the state’s fear of freedom of expression.  Facebook users from the Valley are under the Indian government’s surveillance and the Police have cited many and threatened even more users with imprisonment for uploading images and videos documenting the ongoing protests.  Armed with Frantz Fanon’s writings, Agha Shahid Ali and Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s poetry, and sometimes with stones, the youth of Kashmir update their Facebook status as a means of instantaneous information-sharing, especially when the “[t]he owners of newspapers in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir … suspended production because of curbs imposed by the government,” as reported by BBC.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Israeli report on shootings of ‘4 civilians’ fails to state that they were three sisters, 3, 5, and 9, and their grandmother

By Philip Weiss on July 21, 2010

On Monday the Israeli government posted its latest word on the Gaza conflict of ’08-’09. It’s called the “second update” on its investigation of incidents during the conflict.

Below I have excerpted three accounts of one incident in the war: the shootings of three sisters and their grandmother on January 7, 2009, in which two of the girls died. The accounts: 1, the Israeli government’s account, 2, a report on the incident in the Goldstone Fact-Finding Mission of the U.N., and 3, the account of the shootings from the girls’ father, as told to the Goldstone Mission.

Notice that the Israeli account, which absolves the Israeli unit engaged of any criminal responsibility, and describes the shootings as allegations purely, refers to the case as the shooting of 4 civilians, and while it gives their names, it does not say that the civilians were three sisters, aged 3, 5, and 9, and their 60-year-old grandmother.

1, The Israeli investigation:

(3) Amal, Souad, Samar, and Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo & Adham Kamiz Nasir

108. This incident involved the alleged shooting of four Palestinian civilians on 7 January 2009 in the neighborhood of Izbat Abd Rabbo, and was reported to Israeli authorities by several human rights organizations. The MAG referred the complaint to a direct criminal investigation which was recently concluded. In the course of this comprehensive investigation, the MPCID collected testimony from eleven Palestinians who witnessed the events. Some of them were unable or unwilling to testify before MPCID investigators, but provided detailed affidavits. In addition, the investigators reviewed medical reports and death certificates, as well as aerial photographs provided by an Israeli NGO, which helped identify the different units involved in the incident. More than fifty commanders and soldiers from these units were also questioned by the MPCID. Some were questioned multiple times in order to clarify the circumstances of the case.

109. The evidence collected in the course of the investigation could not confirm the description of the incident by the complainants, who claimed that a soldier standing on a tank had opened fire at a group of civilians. The substantial discrepancies between the complaint and the findings of the investigation—in particular, the identity of the force and the sequence of events—led the MAG to conclude that the evidence was insufficient to initiate criminal proceedings.

2, Now: The Goldstone Report, (hear it narrated here)

770. The Mission visited the site of the shooting of Amal, Souad, Samar and Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo and interviewed an eyewitness, Mr. Khalid Abd Rabbo, on site. Khalid and Kawthar Abd Rabbo gave their testimony at the public hearing in Gaza on 28 June 2009. The Mission also reviewed sworn statements from two additional witnesses it was not able to interview in person.

771. The family of Khalid Abd Rabbo and his wife Kawthar lived on the ground floor of a four-storey building in the eastern part of Izbat Abd Rabbo, a neighbourhood east of Jabaliyah inhabited primarily by members of their extended family. Khalid Abd Rabbo’s parents and brothers with their families lived on the upper floors of the house. The residents of Izbat Abd Rabbo started hearing the sound of shooting and of the Israeli ground incursion in the evening of 3 January 2009. Khalid Abd Rabbo’s family decided to stay inside the house, all gathered on the ground floor, as they had done safely during previous Israeli incursions into the neighbourhood.

772. In the late morning of 7 January 2009, Israeli tanks moved onto the small piece of agricultural land in front of the house. Shortly after 12.30 p.m., the inhabitants of that part of Izbat Abd Rabbo heard megaphone messages telling all residents to leave. According to one witness’s recollection, there had also been a radio message broadcast by the Israeli armed forces around 12.30 announcing that there would be a temporary cessation of shooting between 1 and 4 p.m. that day, during which time residents of the area were asked to walk to central Jabaliyah.

773. At about 12.50 p.m., Khalid Abd Rabbo, his wife Kawthar, their three daughters, Souad (aged 9), Samar (aged 5) and Amal (aged 3), and his mother, Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo, stepped out of the house, all of them carrying white flags. Less than 10 metres from the door was a tank, turned towards their house. Two soldiers were sitting on top of it having a snack (one was eating chips, the other chocolate, according to one of the witnesses). The family stood still, waiting for orders from the soldiers as to what they should do, but none was given. Without warning, a third soldier emerged from inside the tank and started shooting at the three girls and then also at their grandmother. Several bullets hit Souad in the chest, Amal in the stomach and Samar in the back. Hajja Souad was hit in the lower back and in the left arm.

774. Khalid and Kawthar Abd Rabbo carried their three daughters and mother back inside the house. There, they and the family members who had stayed inside tried to call for help by mobile phone. They also shouted for help and a neighbour, Sameeh Atwa Rasheed al-Sheikh, who was an ambulance driver and had his ambulance parked next to his house, decided to come to their help. He put on his ambulance crew clothes and asked his son to put on a fluorescent jacket. They had driven a few metres from their house to the immediate vicinity of the Abd Rabbo house when Israeli soldiers near the Abed Rabbo house ordered them to halt and get out of the vehicle. Sameeh al-Sheikh protested that he had heard cries for help from the Abd Rabbo family and intended to bring the wounded to hospital. The soldiers ordered him and his son to undress and then re-dress. They then ordered them to abandon the ambulance and to walk towards Jabaliyah, which they complied with. When the families returned to Izbat Abd Rabbo on 18 January, they found the ambulance was in the same place but had been crushed, probably by a tank.

775. Inside the Abed Rabbo house, Amal and Souad died of their wounds. The family decided that they had to make an attempt to walk to Jabalya and take Samar, the dead bodies of Amal and Souad, and their grandmother to hospital. Khaled and Kawthar Abd Rabbo, and other family members and neighbours carried the girls on their shoulders. Hajja Souad was carried by family and neighbours on a bed. Samar was transferred to al-Shifa hospital and then, through Egypt, to Belgium, where she still is in hospital. According to her parents, Samar suffered a spinal injury and will remain paraplegic for the rest of her life.

776. When Khalid Abd Rabbo returned to his home on 18 January 2009, his house, as most houses in that part of Izbat Abd Rabbo, had been demolished. He drew the Mission’s attention to an anti-tank mine under the rubble of a neighbour’s house.

From the Goldstone Mission’s interview of Khaled Abed Rabbo, the father of the three girls:

Khaled Abed Rabbo

On January 7 at 12:50 p.m. the Israeli army bulldozed our garden and the Israeli tanks were positioned in front of our house. They started yelling at us through the speakers and asked us to leave the house. So I came out along with my wife and my three children: Suad, 8 years old, Samar, 4 years old, and Amal, 3 years old, and my mother, 60 years old. We were all holding white flags. The Israeli army was stationed right across from our house. So we stood by our entrance and holding… white flags. The tanks were seven meters away from our house…. They did not say anything to us. There were two soldiers sitting on top of the tank. One of them was eating chips. The other one was eating chocolate. We were looking at them like what are we supposed to do, where should we go… We were surprised because there was all of a sudden a third soldier coming out of the tank and they starting shooting at the children with no reason… with no explanation, no pretext. My daughter, 3 years old, her stomach was hit and her intestines were coming out. So really I was amazed at how could a soldier be firing at my daughter? So I carried my daughter, 3 years old. She could hardly breathe…. My other daughter was also wounded in her chest. So I took both of them, Samar and Amal, inside the house. My wife and my mother and my other daughter Suad were still outside. All of a sudden my wife joined me carrying Suad… Her chest was wounded by many bullets. My mother, 60 years old, she was carrying the white flag and she was wounded on her forearm and also in her stomach. So we were all inside the house and we started calling the ICRC, the ambulances, anybody to come and rescue us but nobody came and all of a sudden we heard an ambulance but all of a sudden nothing, silence. But later, we saw that the Israeli soldiers asked the ambulance drivers to come out of the car, to undress, and they bulldozed the ambulance with the tank… My daughter, Amal, 3 years old, she was dying and at the end of the day she did die. My other daughter, 8 years old, like I said, her chest was riddled with bullets. She passed away. My other daughter, Samar, her back was riddled with bullets. Her back was open. She was not breathing through her nose but through her lungs and she was telling me, “Dad, help, help,” and I couldn’t do anything. She was thirsty. I was afraid if I gave her any water something would happen. I didn’t know what to do. My mother, 60 years old, was also dying. I was helpless. I didn’t know what to do for my children. There was my daughter dying in front of me. So I carried her and left the house even if I had to die myself because I couldn’t take it anymore. So I carried my daughter and left the house again so that the soldier, he might as just well kill my daughter and kill myself because I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t let my children die in front of me.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | War Crimes | Leave a comment

   

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