15 June 2012 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
Issa Amro, Coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, was stopped last night by Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge. He was arrested and taken to Hebron police station, where he was interrogated for hours on suspicion of involvement in organizing the women’s action that took place in Hebron last Wednesday, at the segregated Shuhada Street.
Amro, was traveling to Italy for a speaking tour organized by the Italian Peace Association to meet Members of the Italian Parliament and Senate, and municipality representatives from different Italian cities.
Issa Amro, a prominent popular resistance activist in Hebron, was arrested several times in the past by the Israeli army for participating in activities to protest the occupation practices in Hebron. Throughout the past few years, Youth Against Settlements has been leading the global campaign to re-open Shuhada street, Hebron’s main commerce center that was closed to Palestinian movement in 1994.
Last Wednesday, approximately 15 Israeli and International women dressed in Palestinian traditional clothing walked through Shuhada Street in silence protesting the policy of preventing Palestinian women from accessing the street. The women were shortly stopped by Israeli soldiers and attacked by both soldiers and settlers. Five activists and one journalist were arrested during the action. Later that day, a Palestinian man was also arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy” related to the same action. All seven were released throughout the next 24 hours, three on condition of a 90 day restraining order from area A and the Hebron area.
- 6 Arrested at Women’s Movement Walk in Hebron (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Brutality: Violent arrests of Palestinians in Hebron and disappearance of Dutch volunteer (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers set fire to ancient tree in Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces detain Hebron journalist (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Paraguay has deployed troops in a remote northern forest reserve, where at least sixteen people have been killed in a clash between police and landless farmers over a land dispute.
Paraguayan Interior Minister Carlos Filizzola said on Friday that seven police officers and at least nine landless farmers died in the clash in Curuguaty, which is 250 kilometers northeast of Asuncion, earlier in the day, AFP reported.
Another government official said about 80 people had also been injured in the incident, some of them critically.
The clash began when police attempted to forcibly remove peasants from the farm, which is owned by a Colorado Party politician opposed to leftist President Fernando Lugo.
According to some reports, farmers shot at the police trying to oust them from the 4,900-acre (2,000-hectare) reserve.
“The peasants have high-caliber weapons like M16 rifles,” a local police official claimed, adding that some of the farmers “handled weapons very well.”
“They shot cleanly to kill us. This is a critical situation,” the police official said.
The farmers later disappeared into the jungle and police took over the reserve, Interior Ministry official Gregorio Almada said.
The troops, who have been deployed to resolve the contentious issue, have the Interior Ministry’s backing, Almada added.
- Paraguay: Campesinos Left Without land (eurasiareview.com)
In order to secure a new international trade agreement with Pacific nations, the Obama administration appears willing to grant foreign corporations the power to avoid U.S. laws.
This revelation came in the form of a leaked document posted online by Citizens Trade Campaign. The material came from negotiations to establish a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact and its authenticity verified by Public Citizen.
According to the Huffington Post, which also reviewed the document, foreign corporations operating within the U.S. could disregard certain domestic requirements and regulations by appealing to an international tribunal—that would have the power to overrule American law.
“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text,” wrote Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, “may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations.”
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have complained about the secretive talks and being kept in the dark. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) has introduced legislation requiring the administration to disclose details of the discussions.
Although Congress has not been privy to the negotiations, 600 U.S. corporate advisers have enjoyed access to TPP texts and been permitted to advise U.S. negotiators.
Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises (by Zach Carter, Huffington Post)
Public Interest Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Investment Text (by Lori Wallach and Todd Tucker, Public Citizen)
Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Chapter (CitizensTrade.org)
What will be in the New U.S. Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement? It’s None of Our Business (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
ae911truth | September 14, 2011
This is the expert-packed feature-length,Pre-Release v1.3, Low-Res documentary by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
- Expert Group Rejects World Trade Center Reports (weeklyintercept.blogspot.com)
- Moscow Skyscraper Goes Up in Flames But Does Not Collapse (tatoott1009.com)
Under pressure from the government, BLM took Press TV off the SES Astra satellite platform in early April. The media regulator claimed Press TV had no license to broadcast.
However, the channel’s legal team submitted documents to the court that proved Press TV could broadcast under German law.
An administrative court in Germany accepted Press TV’s argument and the legal procedures began.
Munich’s Administrative Court has now announced that the ban was illegal.
Press TV has criticized German authorities for attempting to silence the voice of the alternative channel. It says the move was politically motivated.
- BLM fails to justify Press TV ban (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- France refuses to give Press TV team visas; no explanation offered (alethonews.wordpress.com)
BETHLEHEM – The World Health Organization on Thursday said the closure of Gaza compromises the right to health and called on Israel to lift the blockade.
The health system in Gaza cannot function effectively under Israel’s blockade, which entered its sixth year on Thursday, a WHO report said.
During Israel’s 3-week offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, 15 out of 27 hospitals were damaged as well as 43 clinics.
The Erez checkpoint, the main humanitarian access route for the critically ill, closes daily at 2:30 p.m. and all weekend. Outside opening hours, access requires lengthy coordination and can delay emergency treatment by at least two hours.
Gaza has run out of 42 percent of essential medicines, affecting oncology treatment, surgeries and dialysis. Israel does not allow the Health Ministry in Gaza to send medical equipment for repair.
Drug and fuel shortages have increased the need for referrals outside Gaza, funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
“The 5 most frequent reasons for referrals are for cardiovascular, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, or neurosurgery treatment,” WHO says.
Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem are the main specialized centers, but Israel has denied permits to nearly 12,000 patients, or their requests were delayed past their hospital appointment date.
“In the past two years, 618 patients were called for interrogation by Israeli security after applying for a permit,” WHO says.
The main Palestinian teaching hospitals are in East Jerusalem, but medics from Gaza are often denied permits to attend training courses.
- Gaza water too contaminated to drink, say charities (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli violations of international law (24 – 30 May 2012) (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,300 Palestinians and injured 7,700 in Gaza over the last five years, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Thursday.
Some 27 percent of the fatalities in Gaza were women and children, the UN agency said in a report highlighting the effects of Israel’s blockade.
The land, sea and air blockade of Gaza entered its sixth year on Thursday.
Under the blockade, exports have dropped to less than 3 percent of 2006 levels.
“The continued ban on the transfer of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in the West Bank and Israel, along with the severe restrictions on access to agricultural land and fishing waters, prevents sustainable growth and perpetuates the high levels of unemployment,
food insecurity and aid dependency,” UNOCHA said.
Israel’s naval blockade has undermined the livelihood of 35,000 fishermen, and farmers have lost around 75,000 tons of produce each year due to Israeli restrictions along Gaza’s land border, it added.
Meanwhile, Israeli restrictions on imports have led to the growth of the smuggling trade. At least 172 Palestinians have been killed working in tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt, the report said.
Despite the risks, young men are still drawn to tunnel work in Gaza, where more than half the youth is unemployed and 44 percent of people are food insecure.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that the blockade was necessary because Gaza’s ruling party Hamas is a “terrorist organization.”
“All cargo going into Gaza must be checked because Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Regev told Reuters in response to a petition by 50 aid groups, including six UN agencies, calling on Israel to lift the blockade.
- Charities urge Israel to lift blockade (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Gaza water too contaminated to drink, say charities (altahrir.wordpress.com)
The masks dropped. The cards are shown.
For over a year, Egyptians have wondered who was leading the efforts to frustrate and obliterate their nascent revolution, or what was dubbed in the local media as the “third party” or the “hidden bandit.”
But the mystery is no more.
It was none other than the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the same body that took power from deposed president Hosni Mubarak under the guise of leading the transitional period towards democracy. It was a masterful work of political art.
The final act was on display on Thursday, June 14, 2012, when Egypt’s High Constitutional Court (HCC) not only ruled against banning the military’s candidate and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, Gen. Ahmad Shafiq, but also dissolved parliament, the only institution that represented the political will of the people in post-revolutionary Egypt. It is important to note that all the justices on the HCC were appointed by Mubarak, and that most if not all are considered regime loyalists.
Incidentally, last March, Parliamentary Speaker and MB leader, Dr. Saad Katatni, said that he was told, in the presence of SCAF’s deputy commander, Gen. Sami Anan, by SCAF’s appointed Prime Minister Dr. Kamal Ganzouri, that the order to dissolve the parliament was in the drawer but would come at the appropriate time.
This dramatic announcement was therefore followed by the parliament passing a law banning most of the former senior officials of the Mubarak regime (including Shafiq) from politics on the grounds of corrupting Egypt’s political life and institutions for decades. Nevertheless, Shafiq was shortly reinstated by the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) even though it had no jurisdiction on the matter. It is perhaps important to note that the head of the PEC is also the Chief Justice of the HCC. He declared on the same day that the parliamentary elections’ law (that resulted in the victory of the Islamic parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), winning seventy five percent of the seats) was unconstitutional. It was the same law that several of the same justices assured all political parties last summer that it passed constitutional muster.
With this brazen act of thwarting the political will of the Egyptian people, the emerging Islamic and revolutionary parties have now been totally stripped of their political ascendency, less than five months after their rise to power. This was accomplished simply by utilizing the institutions of the deep state crafted by a regime that was controlled for decades by corrupt officials, senior military officers, and intelligence agencies. Further, a Mubarak era military man is now on the verge of being “elected” president using the assorted tools of the democratic process.
One of the major demands of the revolution was to end the three-decade old emergency law that allowed the security agencies and the military to arbitrarily arrest and abuse the civil and human rights of any activist at will. But under tremendous public pressure throughout last year, these laws were repealed at the end of last May. But what was kicked out of the door crawled back through the window. Egypt’s Justice Minister announced this week, less than two weeks after the repeal went into effect, that he was empowering all military officers and intelligence personnel to arrest indefinitely any person deemed a security threat to public order.
In a transparently coordinated fashion, before parliament could react to this shameless challenge to the essence of the revolution, it was dissolved within 24 hours by the High Court. Further, within minutes of the decision to dissolve the parliament, hundreds of military and security officers occupied its buildings, preventing any member to enter or even clear their offices. In short, Egypt has come a full circle, the transition to democracy was aborted, the process hijacked, and its remarkable revolution put on life support.
The final act of quietly killing the hopes of Egypt’s youth and the aspirations of its people is coming this Sunday when the presidential elections end in the declaration of a Shafiq presidency. The other candidate in this charade is represented by the MB’s Dr. Muhammad Mursi. For weeks, the MB has been warning against elections fraud perpetrated by the institutions of the deep state and led by its security and intelligence services.
For example, the Elections Commission has refused to hand over the voter lists, which it had no problem doing last winter during the parliamentary elections. But the problem is that these same lists have now increased by a whopping 4.5 million voters, raising suspicions of multiple registrations of regime loyalists who might vote multiple times in different provinces over the two-day elections process (for example 200 thousand regime loyalists voting in twenty different precincts.) Furthermore, elections officials announced that they would refuse to allow elections’ monitors to stay in the same rooms where the ballot boxes are left unattended for 12 hours between the first and the second days of the elections, although they were allowed to stay in and watch the boxes overnight in the previous parliamentary elections last winter.
In addition, the government announced that it is giving all its 6 million employees a two-day vacation and free public transportation to boost participation (an indirect prodding of government employees and their families to vote for Shafiq). In a blatant violation of elections’ laws, hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent on media propaganda to boost SCAF’s candidate, as well as payments to local officials especially in the delta region, to secure the peasants’ votes.
In a nutshell, the intense involvement of the security state is now in the open. But most Egyptians are frustrated and feel that they have been robbed of making a choice consistent with their sixteen-month popular uprising. Before their own eyes they see how the Mubarak regime is slowly being re-invented with the full backing of state institutions under the direction of SCAF, the same military that promised to fulfill the objectives of the revolution.
Most pro-revolution groups, activists, and public intellectuals have called on MB’s candidate Mursi to withdraw from the presidential elections so as to deny the military’s candidate any claim of legitimacy once he is “elected.” But in its desperate attempt to show any achievement in its one-year dalliance with SCAF, it appears that the MB is pressing ahead with the elections. Once again the Islamic group has demonstrated its inability to join in, let alone lead, any revolutionary path, even though its leaders understand fully the determination of SCAF and the state institutions to manipulate the elections and force their candidate on the rest of the people.
During his final interview before the elections, Mursi understood the stakes and his long electoral odds as the elections are being manipulated. Although he believed that he would easily win in free and fair elections, he admitted that elections’ fraud were certain to take place. He further said that he was recently told by President Jimmy Carter that Mubarak was for decades “sleeping in Israel’s bed,” and that “Shafiq would follow in his footsteps.” The former president, who raised many concerns about the first round elections, had earlier stated that he did not believe that the military would hand over power to civilian rule.
Meanwhile, Shafiq, who does not deny his admiration for Mubarak and considers him a role model, has brazenly declared that his first state visit would be to the U.S. in order to signal that he was its preferred candidate. He also said that he would not only keep the peace treaty with Israel, but would also deepen it.
Thus, the MB’s delusion that SCAF will allow it to contest power will soon be exposed. Sooner or later the group will realize that it simply can neither outmaneuver nor win against the military or the deep security state on its own. It will have to fundamentally change its strategic choices and genuinely adopt the revolutionary path in order to defeat the entrenched interests of the deep state. Even if by some miracle their candidate wins the election, the past year has demonstrated that in every state-controlled institution, including the judiciary, no real change will take place unless all the counter-revolutionary elements are purged, a concept that is lost on the MB’s leadership that is used to slow approach reforms or behind-the-scenes questionable deals to preserve its interests.
Disappointed, yet again, with the MB’s attitude to ignore their consensus, most of the revolutionary groups have vowed to press on with their revolution that has been deeply, but not yet gravely, wounded. Former presidential candidate Dr. Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a favorite among many revolutionary and youth groups, has declared that the latest decisions by the High Court allowing the candidacy of Shafiq and the dissolution of parliament were nothing short of a soft coup d’état orchestrated by the military. He called for the immediate establishment of a revolutionary leadership council comprised of all pro-revolution groups and leaders to challenge the military hold on power and Shafiq’s inevitable presidency.
Sensing these threats dozens of such groups that have sacrificed so much since the early days of the revolution, have vowed to join in and continue the difficult struggle to dislodge the military and achieve the main objective of the revolution in establishing a true democratic civil state and ending the culture of the deep security state. Thousands have taken to the streets, while hundreds started a sit-in in Tahrir Square.
They now quietly admit that a hard lesson has been learned. This time their slogan is not “the people and the army are one.” Rather their cry is: “This time we are serious, we will not leave it (the revolution) to anyone.”
Esam Al-Amin can be contacted at email@example.com
Venezuela’s opposition accused the government on Wednesday of turning a blind eye to neighbouring Guyana’s oil exploration in a border region claimed by Venezuela, potentially inflaming a territorial dispute that dates back more than a century.
The conflict was stirred up in recent days by local media reports that Exxon Mobil Corp, in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell, is exploring for crude off the coast of the disputed Essequibo region.
The two South American neighbours squabbled over the area, which is the size of the US State of Georgia, for much of the 20th century. Venezuela calls it a “reclamation zone,” but in practice it functions as Guyanese territory.
”(We) firmly reject the concessions granted by the Guyana government in Venezuela’s Atlantic waters,“ the opposition’s Democratic Unity coalition said in a statement, slamming the government’s stance as ”weak“.
”In the face of the activation of the concessions in the area, the government of President Hugo Chavez should address the issue immediately.“
An Exxon spokesman said in an email it and Shell ”have had an active exploration license offshore Guyana for several years, and we have obtained multiple seismic data sets in the area.”
Oil companies have shown growing interest in the north-eastern shoulder of South America, with industry experts describing a recent discovery off nearby French Guyana as a game-changer for the region’s energy prospects. Local media reported that Guyana halted exploration of the offshore block called Stabroek in 2000 following a protest by Venezuela.
The dispute over the region known as the Essequibo resurfaced last year when Guyana asked the United Nations to extend its continental shelf – the area where countries control ocean resources – toward a region where Venezuela has granted natural gas concessions.
The much smaller and poorer Guyana still relies on imports for its energy needs and has invited companies including Spain’s Repsol to drill for oil in other offshore areas not affected by the dispute.
The Essequibo, an area of rolling savannah and isolated jungle, shows little sign of Venezuelan presence. Many Guyanese see it as a crucial to their economic future due to its reserves of minerals including gold, diamonds and bauxite.
Chavez has taken a conciliatory stance in the dispute, striking up a friendship with former Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo and selling fuel to Guyana on advantageous terms under the Petrocaribe energy initiative.
“I wanted to prove that it’s possible to live with Palestinians, as long as you are not coming off as an enemy,” Andrey Pshenichnikov, 24, was quoted as saying by Haaretz.
Pshenichnikov moved to Bethlehem three months ago and was working as a waiter and construction worker.
He told Haaretz that he had moved to Duheisha refugee camp to become part of the “political struggle for Palestinian rights,” and had tried to renounce his Israeli citizenship.
The former solider was born in the Soviet Union and had lived in Israeli for eleven years.
PA forces arrested Pshenichnikov on Israel’s request, and he was forced to sign a document agreeing not to enter Palestinian Authority controlled areas, Haaretz said.
He was charged with entering a closed military zone.
Duheisha refugee camp dates back to 1949 and has a population of around 9,000 residents.