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CPJ: Israel must explain targeting of journalists in Gaza

December 2, 2012

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned that Israeli airstrikes targeted individual journalists and media facilities in the Gaza Strip between November 18 and 20. Journalists and media outlets are protected under international law in military conflict.

A series of Israeli airstrikes struck two buildings that house news media, resulting in injuries to nine journalists, while separate missile attacks resulted in the deaths of three journalists, according to news reports and CPJ research. Israeli officials have broadly asserted that the individuals and facilities had connections to terrorist activity but have disclosed no substantiation for these very serious allegations. CPJ has repeatedly sought, by email and phone, supporting details or evidence from the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson’s office. We have yet to receive information from the spokesperson’s office to substantiate its allegations.

On November 18 and 19, airstrikes targeted Al-Shawa and Housari Tower and Al-Shuruq Tower, both of which are well-known for housing numerous international and local news organizations. The attacks damaged the offices of Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Quds TV, Sky News, Russia Today, Al-Arabiya, and the independent Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency. Among the nine wounded journalists was Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman for Al-Quds TV who lost his right leg in the explosion, according to news reports. Several other international and local news organizations, including Reuters, Agence France-Presse, The Associated Press, and CNN, also have offices in the targeted buildings. Israeli spokesman Mark Regev told Al-Jazeera English on November 19 that Al-Aqsa TV is a “Hamas command and control facility” and that “Hamas used communication facilities on top of the buildings.” He did not state whether or how Hamas used the station militarily.

On November 20, Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama, cameramen for the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV, were driving away from an assignment at Al-Shifaa Hospital when an Israeli missile hit their vehicle, according to Al-Aqsa TV. The car was marked “TV” in neon-colored letters, the Hamas-run station said. The two men were killed.

A third journalist was killed when his car was hit by a missile that same day, AP reported, citing a Gaza health official. Local news reports identified the victim as Mohamed Abu Aisha, director of the private Al-Quds Educational Radio, whose vehicle was hit while he was driving in the Deir al-Balah neighborhood. The reports did not say whether Abu Aisha was engaged in journalistic work at the time, and CPJ continues to investigate the circumstances of his death.

Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel, provides news and information that overtly reflect the organization’s anti-Israel perspective. Al-Quds Educational Radio is a private radio station geared toward educational programs; it also provides a pro-Hamas perspective.

On November 20, AP cited Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, as saying the three individuals were Hamas operatives. “The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity,” AP quotes Leibovich as saying. An unsigned entry posted on the Israel Defense Forces blog that day asserted that an individual named Muhammed Shamalah, whom it referred to as a Hamas military commander, had been targeted in an airstrike that struck a vehicle identified as “TV.” Neither Leibovich nor the IDF blog entry provided any details to support the claims. Leibovich reiterated these unsupported claims in a letter to The New York Times published on November 29.

CPJ has contacted the IDF spokesperson’s office multiple times, beginning on November 20 and then again on November 27, 28, and 29, and we have sent three written requests seeking an explanation for its claims. We were directed to a Maj. Zohar Halevi who has not responded to our requests.

Alarmingly, spokeswoman Leibovich seeks to erase the crucial legal distinction between armed combatants and journalists covering the perspective of an adversary. “Such terrorists, who hold cameras and notebooks in their hands, are no different from their colleagues who fire rockets aimed at Israeli cities and cannot enjoy the rights and protection afforded to legitimate journalists,” Leibovich writes in the letter to The Times.

All journalists, whether local or foreign, regardless of the perspective from which they report, are afforded the same civilian protections under international law. The Israeli government does not have the right to selectively define who is and who is not a journalist based on national identity or media affiliation. International law also places strict limits on military attacks on all civilian sites, including media outlets. Article 51 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions prohibits attacks on civilian sites in which potential damage and loss of civilian life “would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.”

We request your government provide an immediate and detailed explanation for its actions in targeting Mahmoud al-Kumi, Hussam Salama, and Mohamed Abu Aisha and the two media buildings in the Gaza Strip.

We ask that you consider this a matter of urgency.

Sincerely,

Joel Simon
Executive Director, CPJ

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

EUROPEAN FOOTBALLERS DECLARE SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE

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Announcement – November 29, 2012

We, as European football players, express our solidarity with the people of Gaza who are living under siege and denied basic human dignity and freedom. The latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza, resulting in the death of over a hundred civilians, was yet another stain on the world’s conscience.

We are informed that on 10 November 2012 the Israeli army bombed a sports stadium in Gaza, resulting in the death of four young people playing football, Mohamed Harara and Ahmed Harara, 16 and 17 years old; Matar Rahman and Ahmed Al Dirdissawi, 18 years old.

We are also informed that since February 2012 two footballers with the club Al Amari, Omar Rowis, 23, and Mohammed Nemer, 22, have been detained in Israel without charge or trial.

It is unacceptable that children are killed while they play football. Israel hosting the UEFA Under-21 European Championship, in these circumstances, will be seen as a reward for actions that are contrary to sporting values.

Despite the recent ceasefire, Palestinians are still forced to endure a desperate existence under occupation, they must be protected by the international community. All people have the right to a life of dignity, freedom and security. We hope that a just settlement will finally emerge.

Signed by:

Gael Angoula, Bastia Sporting Club (France)
Karim Ait-Fana, Montpellier HSC (France)
André Ayew, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Jordan Ayew, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Demba Ba, Newcastle United (UK)
Abdoulaye Baldé, AC Lumezzane (Italia)
Chahir Belghazouani, AC Ajaccio (France)
Leon Best, Blackburn Rovers Football Club (UK)
Ryad Boudebouz, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Yacine Brahimi, Granada Football Club (Spain)
Jonathan Bru, Melbourne Victory (Australia)
Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United (UK)
Aatif Chahechouche, Sivasspor Kulübü (Turkey)
Pascal Chimbonda, Doncaster Rovers Football Club (UK)
Papiss Cissé, Newcastle United (UK)
Omar Daf, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Issiar Dia, Lekhwiya (Qatar)
Abou Diaby, Arsenal Football Club (UK)
Alou Diarra, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Soulaymane Diawara, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Samba Diakité, Queens Park Rangers (UK)
Pape Diop, West Ham United (UK)
Abdoulaye Doucouré, Stade Rennais Football Club (France)
Didier Drogba, Shanghaï Shenhua (China)
Ibrahim Duplus, Football Club Sochaux Montbéliard (France)
Soudani El-Arabi Hilal, Vitoria Sport Club Guimares (Portugal)
Jires Kembo Ekoko, Al Ain Football Club (United Arab Emirates)
Nathan Ellington, Ipswich Town Football Club (UK)
Rod Fanni, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Doudou Jacques Faty, Sivassport Kulübü (Turkey)
Ricardo Faty, AC Ajaccio (France)
Chris Gadi, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Remi Gomis, FC Valenciennes (France)
Florent Hanin, SC Braga (Portugal)
Eden Hazard, Chelsea Football Club (UK)
Charles Kaboré, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Diomansy Kamara, Eskisehispor Kulübü (Turkey)
Frédéric Kanouté, Beijin Guoan (China)
Anthony Le Tallec, AJ Auxerre (France)
Djamal Mahamat, Sporting Braga (Portugal)
Steve Mandanda, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Kader Manganne, Al Hilal Riyad Football Club (Saudi Arabia)
Sylvain Marveaux, Newcastle United (UK)
Nicolas Maurice-Belay, FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France)
Cheikh M’bengué, Toulouse Football Club (France)
Jérémy Menez, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (France)
Arnold Mvuemba, Olympique Lyonnais (France)
Laurent Nardol, Chartres Football Club (France)
Mahamadou N’diaye, Vitoria Sport Club Guimares (Portugal)
Mamadou Niang, Al-Sadd SC (Qatar)
Mbaye Niang, SM Caen (France)
Fabrice Numeric, FK Slovan Duslo Sala (Slovakia)
Billel Omrani, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Lamine Sané, FC Girondins de Bordeaux (France)
Mamady Sidibé, Stoke City Football Club (UK)
Momo Sissoko, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (France)
Cheikh Tioté, Newcastle United (UK)
AdamaTraoré, Melbourne Victory (Australia)
Armand Traoré, Queen Park Rangers FC (UK)
Djimi Traore, Olympique de Marseille (France)
Moussa Sow, Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü (Turkey)
Hassan Yebda, Granada Football Club (Spain)

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  • Israel assassinated 13yr old Hamid from Gaza, fan of @realmadrid while playing football. ~ Live Blog by occpal

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments

Gaza man dies after being shot by Israeli troops in Rafah

Ma’an – 01/12/2012

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GAZA CITY – A young Palestinian man died late Friday of wounds he sustained hours earlier by Israeli gunfire east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinian medics confirmed Saturday that 21-year-old Mahmoud Jaroun was hit by a gunshot to the pelvis Friday evening, and was evacuated to Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah before medics announced his death around midnight.

On Friday, 11 Palestinians sustained wounds by Israeli fire along the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Asked about Friday’s shootings, an Israeli military spokeswoman said Palestinians had come up to the fence to vandalize it. Soldiers warned them away, and when that did not deter them, shot at their legs, she said.

Palestinians described the incident as a demonstration, saying that six people were wounded by the Israeli gunfire.

Since a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was brokered by Egypt, Israeli forces have breached it several times firing at farmers near the border.

Two Palestinians have been shot dead so far and about 40 have been injured.

The Israeli navy has also detained dozens of Gaza fishermen, although Israel agreed to allow Gaza fishermen to go six nautical miles off the coast instead of three.

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Long Live The Resistance

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By Adam Akkad | Beyond Compromise | November 19, 2012

It is rather unfortunate that we Palestinians do not get to set the dynamics of our own resistance. Under the iron boot of occupation, siege and apartheid the means available to us are beyond limited and are, in fact, nonexistent. What is even more unfortunate is the constant humiliation, fear and never ending suffering my people have to endure under the oppressive and discriminatory hand of Zionism. This dynamic places us Palestinians in a tough position, between a rock and a hard place, if you will. How is it exactly that we resist this oppression? How can we compel our oppressor to grant us our freedom and bring about justice?

Behind this keyboard I am typing with and from the comfort of my apartment, it is easy for me to condemn violent resistance, as many so-called solidarity activists choose to do. When bullets and bombs are not whisking past your head threatening not only your life, but the lives of your loved ones, it is all too tempting to take this politically correct stance and avoid any possible friction with so-called comrades. This understanding is not only insufficient and unbecoming of true solidarity, it is intellectually disingenuous.

The dynamic of our resistance is set by our Zionist oppressor, which as it stands, comes from the position of power. Our resistance is defensive and reactionary. The effect, not the cause. In a situation where we find ourselves entirely helpless and defenseless, violent resistance becomes the only means of raising our voices and procuring any and all leverage we can to demand our rights and bring about justice. When the arrogance of the oppressor is shattered and replaced with insecurity, that is a success of the resistance. The point is to make our oppression risky for the oppressor. Without any risk, the oppressor has no reason to cease it’s oppression and actually begins to benefit from it. And as we’ve seen in Palestine, oppression then becomes the status quo.

It is important to consider the causes and effects of the rocket attacks of the Palestinian resistance. Do these attacks put civilians in danger? Yes. But pushing our thoughts a bit further we land upon the key question: Why are these rockets fired in the first place? The answer lies in the decades long horror story that is aptly referred to as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe. The Nakba is the story of the destruction of the Palestine and the Palestinian people; the ethnic cleansing, massacre, aggression and oppression of an entire people. The Nakba didn’t end in 1948 and Israel’s latest aggression on Gaza is a continuation of its diabolical desire to rid historic Palestine of its indigenous population. When we understand that the rockets are a response to Israeli oppression that didn’t start last Wednesday, but over 6 decades ago, it becomes abundantly clear that Israel is responsible for any danger its citizens face. If these civilians truly want to put an end to the danger they may potentially face, then I extend to them an invitation to join us in our struggle to end oppression for all. Help us bring justice to Palestine and let all human beings live with their dignity intact. Any danger these citizens face is a knee jerk reaction to the oppression and suffering their country not only perpetuates, but thrives off of.

It is entirely unnatural to expect anything but resistance, violent or otherwise, from the oppressed.

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dark side of Medical Intelligence gathering

By Wayne Madsen | Press TV | November 27, 2012

Intelligence agencies routinely gather medical intelligence on the world’s political leaders. Officially, this information is used to ascertain the viability for continuation in office for leaders. However, there is a dark side to such intelligence collection.

Medical intelligence also contains data on the status of a leader’s immune system and his or her susceptibility to a number of diseases or other external health threats. Such information can be useful in devising “natural” assassination weapons, such as cancer, radiation poisoning, and food poisoning.

The collection of information on medical factors is known as “medical intelligence.” MEDINT, as it is also known, is defined by the US Department of Defense as “That category of intelligence resulting from collection, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of foreign medical, bio-scientific, and environmental information that is of interest to strategic planning and to military medical planning and operations for the conservation of the fighting strength of friendly forces and the formation of assessments of foreign medical capabilities in both military and civilian sectors.”

Intelligence agencies take MEDINT one step further. The Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad, in particular, use MEDINT to analyze the medical conditions of foreign leaders, as well as their treatment regimen and schedules, to determine the best methods for administering toxic doses of medicines, pathogens, or other deadly agents to cause death, in other words, medical assassination.

Eight years after his death, the body of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is to be exhumed. After researchers at a Swiss institute discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on Arafat’s clothes and other personal effects and a French court ordered an inquiry into Arafat’s death, an autopsy will be conducted on Arafat’s body. Arafat fell seriously ill while being held as a virtual hostage by the Israelis at his Ramallah, Palestine headquarters. Arafat was flown to a hospital in Paris and died a month later in November 2004. Mossad is believed by many to have carried out a “medical assassination” of Arafat.

At the same time that Arafat’s exhumation and autopsy was scheduled, Turkish investigators discovered high levels of DDT, strychnine, and polonium in the body of Turkish President Turgut Ozal.

Ozal died suddenly from a heart attack in 1993 but the new information from a recent autopsy suggests he may have been assassinated through poisoning. Ozal’s widow said her late husband died after drinking a glass of lemonade. Ozal made enemies of the Turkish military and its secret “deep state” network known as “Ergenekon.” Ozal was also an opponent of George H. W. Bush’s “Desert Storm” invasion of Iraq and he made enemies inside the CIA as well as in Mossad.

Two other leaders, known for their nationalist policies, may have also fallen victim to CIA medical assassins. Indonesian President Ahmed Sukarno, confined to house arrest after his overthrow in 1965 in a CIA coup, died in 1970. There is evidence that the CIA may have altered Sukarno’s kidney medication. Sukarno was confined to Bogor Palace and his level of medical treatment was dictated by the Suharto regime and their CIA interlocutors. After falling seriously ill, Sukarno died in the Jakarta Army Hospital.

After Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s sudden death from what was believed to be a heart attack in 1970, there were reports that he may have been poisoned. An aide to Nasser, who was close to Vice President Anwar Sadat, reportedly hid from forensic examiners nail clippings and hair samples taken from the body of Nasser for later testing. Upon becoming Egyptian president, Sadat reversed many of Nasser’s policies, including ejecting Soviet military advisers, opening relations with Israel, and steering Egypt into the Western camp.

In 1961, the CIA station in Leopoldville, Congo tried to poison nationalist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. Eventually, Lumumba was killed by a Belgian mercenary firing squad in the employment of the CIA. There were also many attempts by the CIA to poison Cuban President Fidel Castro. In 1976, the former leftist president of Brazil, Joao Goulart, died from a sudden heart attack in exile in Uruguay. A former Uruguayan intelligence agent later revealed that Goulart’s heart medication pills were altered in order to have a “contrary effect.” The Goulart family’s cook in Uruguay was later discovered to be a Brazilian intelligence agent with links to the CIA. Goulart was ousted in a 1964 CIA-led coup.

After cases of cancer began to affect several Latin American progressive leaders, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, himself battling cancer, suggested the CIA had dusted off its old medical assassination program. The day following Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s announcement that she was being treated for thyroid cancer, Chavez stated, “Would it be so strange that they’ve [the Americans] invented the technology to spread cancer and we won’t know about it for 50 years?” Cancer also plagued Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo (later ousted in a CIA-backed coup), former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and Brazilian incumbent President Dilma Rousseff.

To Bolivian President Evo Morales and Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa, Chavez had a dire warning, “Evo, take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don’t know.” After the revelations about the deaths of Arafat and Ozal, Chavez has every right to be concerned.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs.

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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