Aletho News


After killing Ziad al-Jilani, Israel now seeks to question his American widow

Where is Congress?

By Philip Weiss on June 15, 2010


Marian Houk reports that the Israelis searched the al-Jilani house in recent days, following the killing at a checkpoint Friday night of Ziad al-Jilani, a 40-year-old Palestinian father of three. And regarding his widow, an American, Moira al-Jilani (who is shown above right with her late husband and their youngest daughter, Yameen):

Israeli police investigators Monday summoned for questioning the widow and three young daughters of the Palestinian man killed last Friday by Israeli Border Police at a “flying checkpoint” they had set up in Wadi Joz.

Frightened and distraught, the bereaved family instead went to the American Consulate in East Jerusalem, where they were told they must cooperate with the investigation — but advised to do it with legal assistance.

Another friend tells us that Moira’s laptop has been confiscated.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | 2 Comments

Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

Growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production will send prices soaring, according to the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

Katie Allen | | 15 June 2010

Food prices are set to rise as much as 40% over the coming decade amid growing demand from emerging markets and for biofuel production, according to a United Nations report today which warns of rising hunger and food insecurity.

Farm commodity prices have fallen from their record peaks of two years ago but are set to pick up again and are unlikely to drop back to their average levels of the past decade, according to the annual joint report from Paris-based thinktank the OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The forecasts are for wheat and coarse grain prices over the next 10 years to be between 15% and 40% higher in real terms, once adjusted for inflation, than their average levels during the 1997-2006 period, the decade before the price spike of 2007-08. Real prices for vegetable oils are expected to be more than 40% higher and dairy prices are projected to be between 16-45% higher. But rises in livestock prices are expected to be less marked, although world demand for meat is climbing faster than for other farm commodities on the back of rising wealth for some sections of the population in emerging economies.

Although the report sees production increasing to meet demand, it warns that recent price spikes and the economic crisis have contributed to a rise in hunger and food insecurity. About 1 billion people are now estimated to be undernourished, it said.

Fairtrade campaigners said the predictions of sharply rising prices provided a “stark warning” to international policymakers.

“Investment to encourage the 1 billion people whose livelihoods rely on smallholder agriculture is vital. Not only will this increase yields but will go a long way to increase prosperity in poverty stricken regions,” said Barbara Crowther, director of communications at the Fairtrade Foundation.

“At the same time, the promise of increased agriculture commodity prices could spark a new surge in land grabbing by sovereign wealth funds and other powerful investors which risks marginalising further rural communities who must be included in solutions to secure and maintain food supplies.”

The report says that agricultural production and productivity must be stepped up and it argues for a well-functioning trading system to ensure fair competition and that surplus food is getting to where it is needed.

It also painted a growing role for developing countries in both boosting demand and production. Brazil is by far the fastest growing agricultural producer, with output expected to rise by more than 40% in the next decade and production growth is also expected to be well above 20% in China, India, Russia and Ukraine.

“The role of developing countries in international markets is growing quickly, and as their impact grows, their policies also have an increasing bearing on conditions in global markets,” said FAO director-general Jacques Diouf.

“This makes their role and contribution to global policy issues critical. Policy discussions must be global in scope and we need to improve the framework for such exchange of views.”

Another factor driving up food prices is the controversial biofuels industry. The report predicts that continued expansion of biofuel output – often to meet government targets – will create additional demand for wheat, coarse grains, vegetable oils and sugar.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | Comments Off on Food prices to rise by up to 40% over next decade, UN report warns

B’tselem: Gaza, 95% of factories are closed, 93% of water is polluted

By Haitham Sabbah • June 14th, 2010

Most of Gaza’s factories have closed and its water is polluted as a result of Israel’s siege policy, according to a new report being released today by the Israeli Human Rights group – B’tselem.

The siege policy has “led to economic collapse in Gaza,” B’tselem noted in a 44-page report (PDF) that looked at Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem during the period from January 2009 to the end of April 2010.

Following is a summery of this report:

  • The prohibition on bringing in raw materials and exports into Gaza, which has been in place since Hamas’s takeover of the Strip in June 2007, forced 95 percent of the factories and workshops in the area to close.
  • Before 2007, 4,000 types of goods were let into Gaza, compared with less than 150 that come in now. Among the restricted items are building materials such as iron and cement, which are needed to rebuild the 3,500 homes destroyed during last Israeli assault on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead.
  • The quantity of goods that comes through the crossings is less than one-quarter of what entered prior to the siege.
  • Before 2007, 70 trucks laden with export goods such as furniture, clothing and produce left Gaza daily for Israel. Now, only the export of strawberries and flowers to Europe is allowed in “certain instances”. Goods are coming into Gaza through a system of tunnels set up under the border with Egypt, although the system is not enough to revive Gaza’s economy.
  • Electricity is a problem in Gaza. 98% of the residents suffer from blackouts ranging from eight to ten hours a day, while the remaining 2% do not receive any electricity at all.
  • The power outages due to lack of fuel and spare parts have prevented the proper operation of wells and desalination plants.
  • At the end of 2009, studies showed that 93% percent of the Gaza Strip’s water was polluted, with high quantities of chloride and nitrates.
  • “The water supply is defective and thousands of residents are not even connected to the water grid. Waste treatment has also been affected. Every day, some 100,000 cubic meters of untreated or partially untreated waste-water flow into the sea.”
  • A lack of pesticides and spare parts for irrigation systems makes it hard for farmers. Those with land near the border with Israel can no longer farm because access is forbidden or restricted, and those who violate these orders risk being shot.
  • Fisherman cannot go out farther than three nautical miles, which limits the Strip’s fish supply.
  • The number of Palestinian fatalities at the hands of the IOF dropped from 456 in 2008 to 83 from January 21, 2009, through the end of April 2010. These numbers do not include Palestinian deaths that occurred during Operation Cast Lead.
  • The report noted that Israel demolitions had continued in Area C of the West Bank, where from January 2009 to the end of April 2010, the occupation forces had destroyed 44 residential structures. The demolitions left 317 Palestinians homeless.
  • In 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished 48 buildings in east Jerusalem. The demolitions left 247 Palestinians homeless.
  • The report notes that the IOF had not stop building settlements and no outposts been removed.
  • According to the report, very few IOF or police investigations into allegations of wrongdoing against Palestinians had actually lead to convictions. From the start of the second intifada in September 2000 to the end of April 2010, B’tselem reported 255 cases of violence to the military advocate-general’s office. Only 11 indictments were filed, and one of those was canceled.
  • During that same period, B’tselem turned to the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department concerning 180 cases of violence, but only 12 indictments were filed.
  • Since September 2000, B’tselem has submitted 220 complaints to the Israel Police, demanding investigations of cases where Israelis harmed Palestinians or damaged their property. Only nine of these complaints resulted in indictments.

B’tselem executive director Jessica Montell said that the report was being released to mark “the 43rd anniversary” of the end of the Six Day War, which marked “the beginning” of Israel’s occupation.

“The ongoing occupation both violates” Palestinian rights and “poses clear dangers for Israel’s democracy,” Montell said. “For this reason we as Israelis must demand accountability for actions taken in our name in the occupied territories and work to change in policies that infringe human rights.”

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on B’tselem: Gaza, 95% of factories are closed, 93% of water is polluted

Eutelsat to take al-Aqsa TV off air

Press TV – June 15, 2010

France’s broadcasting watchdog has ordered the world’s third biggest satellite provider, Eutelsat, to take Palestinian channel al-Aqsa TV off the air.

Deputy Head of the channel Mohammed Thuraya told AFP on Tuesday that French broadcasts would cease within 48 hours by the order of the country’s Conseil Supérieur de ‘Audiovisuel (CSA).

“We were told that the reason behind the decision to stop broadcasting al-Aqsa was ‘incitement to hatred,’ without any explanation,” the official said.

“This is the unfair result of pressure from the Zionist lobby on the American administration, which in turn pressured France and Eutelsat,” he added.

Thuraya criticized the decision for having no legal or moral justification, adding that the move would lead to the loss of 70 percent of the channel’s viewers.

According to the channel’s official, a request for an extra day to consult lawyers and rights groups in order to appeal the decision was turned down.

The decision follows al-Aqsa’s in-depth coverage of Israel’s May 31 attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla aid convoy. During the assault Israeli commandos killed 20 people travelling aboard the ships to break the Gaza siege.

The Gaza-based channel, which was launched in 2006, has offices in Gaza, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, and has around 400 employees.

The channel gives a behind-the-scene look at the hardship suffered by the impoverished people of Gaza under the crippling Israeli blockade of the coastal strip. It also provided a non-stop coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza in December 2008, which destroyed all the channel’s studios but failed to take it off the air.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | 1 Comment

Israeli Raid Coverage

American Media Failure Again

By LINN WASHINGTON, Jr. | June 15, 2010

An American art student loses an eye when struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli Defense Force (IDF) personnel breaking up a demonstration in the occupied West Bank which itself is a protest against the deadly commando raid on the Free Gaza flotilla.

No, you didn’t miss U.S. news media coverage of this IDF attack on 21-year-old Emily Henchowicz, a student at Cooper Union in New York City who was standing with a group of foreigners during that demonstration near a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

You didn’t miss it because the mainstream media in the U.S. ignored it. Apparently news of Henchowicz’s maiming was not news deemed worthy enough for print in the New York Times or Washington Post or meriting broadcast network/cable news attention.

It’s no surprise that the avowedly right-wing FOX ignored this incident, but the liberal-leaning MSNBC ignored this story also.

The blackout of this partial blinding of an American citizen darkens the already black eye the mainstream American news media has given itself by its crimped coverage of the deadly Israeli raid on that flotilla attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to the Israeli-besieged Gaza and of the international fallout in the wake of that illegal raid.

The same major U.S. newspapers that found space during the two weeks after that May 31st assault in international waters for over 1,200 articles about the Tea Party or that “movement’s” darling du jour Rand Paul, carried only 58 references to the American-born teen killed during that raid, according to a review of articles in the LexisNexis database of U.S. newspapers and wires.

So, what would explain why the fatal shooting of Troy, NY-born Furkan Dogan merits only one-ninth of the 500+ article coverage devoted to prattle from Sarah Palin, all of which was published during that same two week post-raid period?

Maybe it’s the fact that the 19-year-old Dogan, who had dual US/Turkish citizenship, lived the last 17-years of his short life in Turkey. Did his “Turkishness” trump the news that autopsy results showed the young Dogan had died from multiple gun shots including four shots to the head, one of them from the back?

Or maybe this minimalist coverage of Dogan’s death, as documented by a Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) anylisis, results from the fact that much of the “U.S. press coverage takes Israeli government claims at face value…”

If FAIR’s criticism that the media exhibited a lack of “skepticism” toward Israeli government spin is on target, maybe media managers simply embraced Israeli government claims that their crack commandos only boarded the Mavi Marmara armed with paint-ball guns and small caliber pistols, and then concluded that perhaps Dogan must have died either from gunfire from his fellow peace activists, or that he had shot himself four times in the head?

FAIR cited a Washington Post editorial as an “appalling” example of the U.S. news media’s penchant for reporting on the Israeli assault exclusively through Israel’s eyes.

That Post editorial characterized participants in the flotilla as a “motley collection,” deserving no sympathy due to their ulterior motive on “provoking a confrontation.”

Acknowledging that the Israeli raid was “misguided and badly executed,” this editorial in one of the nation’s major newspapers (a paper that did not report on the blinding of Emily Henchowicz) took a pro-Israeli perspective, inferring that calls for an international investigation into the flotilla raid could potentially become part of a campaign to “de-legitimize the Jewish State.” Such language is a talking-point lifted straight from the Israeli government and its American lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Irrespective of the sympathy many Americans have for Israel, the Ethics Code of America’s Society of Professional Journalists states that journalists should: support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Any fair-and-balanced report on the flotilla raid would have to include the perspective of flotilla participant and Israel Parliament member Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli-Arab, which ran in an AP article, and which was thus available to virtually every news editor in the country. In that AP story, which ran on June 10, she said, “The Israeli military is like a rapist that gets scratched and then blames the victim…Israel acts like a bull.”

According to a LexisNexis review condcted three days later, Zoabi’s words had still not been published in any major American newspaper.

Many American journalists – like many Americans – may feel Israel is justified in taking military actions in its professed self-defense, even as other Americans might consider those actions to be war crimes. Yet the point remains that support for the Israeli position does not justify suppression by the media of information integral to the story that conflicts with that position. At that point, the “news” becomes simply propaganda.

As George Curry, columnist for the BlackPressUSA site, noted in a recent article about the FAIR analysis, “For years, Palestinians have been unable to get their side fairly reported in the U.S. media and the latest international incident is yet another example.”

The critiques of Curry, FAIR and many others about the pro-Israeli/anti-Palestinian slant in America’s news media echoes a decades-old finding about news media failing to adequately cover race-related matters in the United States. America’s news media have “not communicated to the majority of their audience – which is white – a sense of the degradation, misery, and hopelessness of living in the ghetto,” stated the March 1968 report of the Kerner Commission, which examined the causes of urban riots during the 1960s.

The Kerner Commission’s examination of news media practices criticized exclusionary coverage that consistently failed to provide context critical for a full understanding of race-related issues.

“If what the white American reads in the newspapers or sees on television conditions his expectations of what is ordinary and normal in the larger society, he will neither understand nor accept the black American,” the Kerner Report noted, concluding that slanted news coverage had “contributed to the black-white schism in this country.”

Slanted coverage on Palestinian issues similarly deprives Americans of the context needed to understand the complicated controversy that keeps the Middle East volatile and keeps America as a primary target of terrorists.

While accounts of that blinding injury to Emily Henchowicz are available in the blogosphere, the Inter Press Service is the only major U.S. news organization listed in the LexisNexis database to carry a story specifically reporting on the incident.

A June 1, 2010 IPS report from Ramallah stated that Henchowicz “…appeared to be deliberately targeted when a teargas canister was fired at her head, causing her to lose an eye.”

That same IPS article included context about Israeli personnel regularly violating regulations barring firing those powerful gas canisters directly at protesters…violations that have produced in a number of deaths and serious injuries.

That Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Code urges journalists to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it’s unpopular to do so.”

The failure of many American media organizations to adhere to SPJ Code provisions produces the dynamic of: text without context is pretext.

LINN WASHINGTON is a founding member of the new independent collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper His work, and that of colleagues John Grant, Dave Lindorff and Charles Young, can be found at

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Solidarity and Activism | 5 Comments

Bloody Sunday report states those killed were innocent

BBC | June 15, 2010

All those killed on Bloody Sunday were innocent, the Saville Report has ruled.

Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration.

Fourteen others were wounded, one of whom later died.

A huge cheer erupted in Guildhall Square in Derry as Prime Minister David Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army.

The report said that the Army fired the first shot of the day in one of the most controversial state killings in the Northern Ireland conflict.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said what happened on Bloody Sunday was unjustifiable and wrong. He said his government and the country were “deeply sorry”.

Mr Cameron said:

  • No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire.
  • None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
  • Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
  • None of the casualties was posing a threat …. or doing anything that would justify their shooting
  • There was no point in trying to soften or equivocate – the events of Bloody Sunday were not justified
  • Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
  • What happened should never, ever have happened
  • Some members of the British armed forces acted wrongly
  • On behalf of the government and the country, he said he was “deeply sorry”.

The report was commissioned in 1998 by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair under the auspices of former High Court judge, Lord Saville of Newdigate.

The Saville Inquiry took witness statements from hundreds of people and has become the longest-running and most expensive in British history.

It closed in 2004 with the report initially due for publication the following year.

It cost £195m and took 12 years to complete.

The Saville Report was made available to the families and their lawyers in closed sessions in Derry’s Guildhall earlier on Tuesday.

Thousands of people are gathered outside the Guildhall to watch Prime Minister David Cameron deliver the report to Parliament on a huge screen.

Earlier, crowds retraced the steps of the original marchers from the Bloody Sunday memorial in the city’s Bogside close to the spot where many of the victims died.

According to BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport, while it may not have been the bloodiest day in the history of the Troubles, “the significance of that day in shaping the course of the conflict cannot be overstated”.

“The actions of the Parachute Regiment in shooting dead 13 unarmed civil rights protesters immeasurably strengthened Irish republicans’ arguments within their own community and provided the Provisional IRA with a flood of fresh recruits for its long war,” he said.

Our correspondent also said Bloody Sunday set in train the suspension of the Northern Ireland government in March 1972, which led to the decades of direct rule from London.

The full process of restoring devolution was only completed in 2010.

An inquiry chaired by Lord Widgery was held in the immediate aftermath of the killings but it failed to satisfy families of the victims.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | 2 Comments