The extraordinary power of the U.S. government to assassinate people has, once again, been manifested in the assassination of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. No, that’s not Anwar al-Awlaki, the American Muslim cleric whom U.S. officials recently assassinated in Yemen. That’s Abdulrahm al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki.
There are several things that are especially fascinating about the U.S. government’s assassination of this American teenager, who apparently traveled to Yemen looking for his father before his father was assassinated:
First, the U.S. government has assassinated a minor.
Second, no one except the assassins knows why they assassinated the boy.
Third, the people who planned and carried out the assassination — from President Obama, to the Pentagon, to the CIA — aren’t talking.
Fourth, nobody can force them to explain why they killed the boy.
The assassination of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki reveals in stark clarity where the U.S. government’s imperialist foreign policy and resulting war on terrorism have brought us as nation and as a people. We now live in a country in which the president and his military and paramilitary forces now wield the omnipotent authority to assassinate anyone they want, anywhere in the world, with impunity and without having to provide an explanation to anyone.
In a news story on the assassination of the boy, Time magazine cites a young friend of Abdulrahman asking, “Who can’t America kill?”
Indeed! The fact, as discomforting as it might be, is that the president, the military, and the CIA can now kill anyone they want for whatever reason they want, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. The assassination of 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki confirms the extent of this extraordinary post-9/11 power now wielded by the U.S. national-security state.
It’s never been made clear the precise reasons for the assassination of the boy’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki. Some people speculate that it’s because he was exhorting Muslims to resist U.S. imperialist policies with violence. Others speculate that it was because he was actually conspiring to commit terrorist attacks against the United States. Others suggest that it was because he was purportedly a member of al-Qaeda. Others say it was because he was committing treason.
Neither President Obama, nor the Pentagon, nor the CIA have ever provided an explanation for the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, confirming, once again, that we now live in a country where government officials can assassinate anyone they want, foreigners and Americans alike, with impunity.
Why assassinate the 16-year old boy?
Was he supposedly doing what his father was doing? Was he allegedly exhorting Muslims to resist U.S. imperialism with force? Was he allegedly conspiring to commit terrorist attacks himself? Was he supposed to be a member of al-Qaeda?
We don’t know. The only people who know are President Obama, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA and, again, they’re not talking and, under the war on terrorism, are apparently not required to talk.
According to that Time magazine article, some unidentified U.S. official is quoted as saying that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” — collateral damage in the assassination of an alleged al-Qaeda terrorist who was killed as part of the same strike.
One problem, of course, is that that information might well be false, especially since it’s not under oath and comes from an unidentified official. Thus, the information is worthless insofar as understanding why the assassins ended the child’s life. Another problem is that even if the claim is true, an obvious question arises: Did the assassins know that 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was present and, therefore, would likely be killed in the attack?
Perhaps I should mention that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki wasn’t the only teenager assassinated in the attack. Also assassinated were his teenage cousin and six other people with whom he was having dinner. Were they also alleged to have been terrorists? Again, we just don’t know. The president, the Pentagon, and the CIA just aren’t talking and apparently don’t have to.
Did the U.S government assassinate Abdulrahman al-Awlaki because he was the son of an alleged terrorist? Did they assassinate him to send a message to other would-be terrorists — that this is what will happen to your children (or other relatives) if you oppose the U.S. Empire? Did they assassinate him to preclude the possibility of his growing up with a thirst for vengeance and retaliation arising out of the assassination of his father?
We just don’t know. I think the idea is that while the government is disappearing people from life through assassination, we, the citizenry, are expected to not dwell on such things and instead to simply continue going about our daily lives with the understanding that the government is doing what is necessary to keep us safe.
But one thing is for sure: The assassination of 16-year-old American Abdulrahman al-Awlaki confirms that we now live in a country whose government has the unfettered authority to assassinate anyone it wants, adult or minor, foreigner or American, and remain mute about it.
RICHMOND, Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union argued in a federal appeals court today for the reinstatement of a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla.
“The defendants in this case seized Jose Padilla from a civilian jail and hid him away in a military brig precisely to keep the courts from interfering with the terrible things they were doing to him. By granting the defendants legal immunity for their cruel acts, the district court vindicated their deliberate efforts to circumvent the Constitution,” said Ben Wizner, litigation director of the ACLU National Security Project. “If the law does not protect Jose Padilla – an American citizen arrested on American soil and tortured in an American prison – it protects no one.”
The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina ruled in February that the defendants were entitled to “qualified immunity” for their roles in the detention and abuse of Padilla because no “clearly established” law prohibited the torture of an American citizen designated an “enemy combatant” by the executive branch. The ACLU asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to reinstate the case.
Padilla was taken from a U.S. jail in 2002 by military agents, declared an “enemy combatant” and secretly transported to a military brig in South Carolina. He was imprisoned without charge for nearly four years, subjected to extreme abuse and was unable to communicate with his lawyers or family for two years. The illegal treatment included forcing Padilla into stress positions for hours on end, punching him, depriving him of sleep and threatening him with further torture and death.
Attorneys on the case are Wizner and Alex Abdo of the ACLU; Jonathan Frieman, Hope Metcalf and Tahlia Townsend of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School; and Michael O’Connell of the law firm Stirling & O’Connell.
More information about the case is available online at:
The Electronic Intifada can now also exclusively reveal new details of an Israeli government role in the UK plot to exclude Salah.
Following yesterday’s decision, Salah could now take his appeal to a higher court, and meanwhile will remain in the UK on bail. Salah’s lawyer told The Electronic Intifada yesterday that his legal team were considering the judgment very carefully and could not comment further for the time being.
The judgment that Salah could be deported for “unacceptable behavior” comes as The Electronic Intifada reveals new details of the Israeli role in Salah’s June-July detention by the UK government. Government emails obtained by The Electronic Intifada contain evidence that the Israeli embassy in London gave information to the British government later used in an attempt to deport him from the country.
“Victim of unfairness and procedural irregularity”
In their ruling the First Tier Tribunal judges accepted that Salah “has behaved lawfully throughout this matter, and that he has been the victim of unfairness and procedural irregularity … [and] was detained unlawfully for a period of time.”
The judges wrote that their decision was a “balancing exercise” between the public interest and the interests of Salah. The ruling addresses each of five main points the government used to ban Salah, reiterating the case on each side, but for the most part it does not rule on the central facts, agreeing with the government’s argument that the five points did not need to be proven.
But on one of the five points, the judges wrote that a poem by Salah “is not directed to the Jewish people as a whole but only at those among them who aim at Israeli territorial expansion and control at the expense of the Palestinians.”
The Electronic Intifada previously published private documents proving that this accusation of anti-Semitism was fabricated, as it rested on what seemed to be a malicious mistranslation of Salah’s original words. But the judges have neglected the point that it was not just a mistaken quote, but a deliberate Israeli attempt to smear Salah. They state that video evidence shown in court proved that Salah was “the victim of serious [Israeli] police harassment” but that this was “not a matter which is relevant to the central issues in this appeal.”
Opaque criteria for “unacceptable behavior”
The judges concluded that Salah’s words came within the government’s anti-terrorist “Prevent” policy, because he “engaged in the unacceptable behavior of fostering hatred.”
They did not specify on this point, saying they had reached the decision from the evidence “viewed in the round.” They elaborated: “it is not necessary to satisfy the criteria of unacceptable behavior for words and actions to be racist as such … This might be achieved by words and actions which are not necessarily racist.” They also explain that the list of “unacceptable behavior” specified by the government (including racism) was indicative and not exhaustive.
In a striking turn of phrase, the judges wrote that “although it is not our task to rubber stamp a decision by the Secretary of State [Theresa May]” it was nevertheless her decision to make rather than the court’s.
From the beginning, Salah claimed Israel had a hand in the exclusion, arrest, unlawful detention and attempt to deport him from the UK. “Israel carries the full responsibility for his detention in the United Kingdom,” a press release said at the time.
Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), at the time said to the press: “The primary cause for the arrest is Israeli pressure and the pressure of Zionist elements inside Britain” (“Raed Salah arrested after UK appearance,” Ynet, 29 June 2011).
Concerns that Israel using UK case against Salah
Salah refused to consent to voluntary deportation — the UK Border Agency (UKBA) tried to persuade him to drop his in-country appeal. Salah was concerned that, once he returns home, the Israeli authorities would use a successful deportation from Britain in their long-standing campaign against him.
In June, right-wing Israeli parliamentarian Alex Miller used Salah’s arrest to build support for his so-called Raed Salah bill, according to daily Israel Hayom. “If the British government refuses entry for this individual because of his extreme views and the fear that he might use public and academic venues to incite violence and racism, there is no reason why Israel should allow him and his kind to enjoy such activities either,” he is reported to have said (“MK Ben-Ari urges Britain not to release Sheikh Salah,” 20 June). Miller is a member of the extreme right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, and lives on an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Relying on dubious Israeli sources, elements of the British press accused Salah of anti-Semitism — an allegation now ruled false by the court which also formed the basis of the exclusion order. Three days after legally entering the UK on 25 June for a well-publicized speaking tour, Salah was abruptly arrested in his hotel room. This prevented him from attending a public meeting in Parliament the next day, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
At the police station, UKBA officials served an exclusion order on Salah dated 23 June. The letter cited a 2009 Jerusalem Post editorial which attributed a fabricated anti-Semitic comment to Salah. The editorial said Salah wrote a poem including the comment “You Jews are criminal bombers of mosques” but the original Arabic text of the poem was in fact addressed at the Israeli occupation forces. The words “You Jews” were not in the poem and The Jerusalem Post appears to have added them.
In a July High Court hearing for bail, significant doubt was cast on this and other statements attributed to Salah in the Israeli and British press. The judge, Justice Nicholas Stadlen then freed Salah on restrictive bail. Conditions included a ban on public speaking. In September, the High Court ruled in a separate judicial review that the first few days of detention had been unlawful, and Salah was entitled to compensation.
Details of the plot against Salah emerged as the case went on. The Electronic Intifada uncovered evidence that the government had acted in collusion with pro-Israel lobbying groups in the UK.
But today, The Electronic Intifada can reveal new details of an Israeli government role in the plot.
Israeli government’s role
In a 22 June UKBA advice document used by Home Secretary Theresa May to justify her ban of Salah, case worker Jonathan Rosenorn-Lanng stated that although “this case is very finely balanced,” Salah’s alleged views had the potential to foster “inter-community violence” in the UK. Rosenorn-Lanng also said the British Embassy in Tel Aviv had been consulted: “The FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] in Israel has also confirmed that SALAH is considered to be an extremist.” Presumably, this view was based on Israeli press reports, or on consultation with Israeli officials.
Only one day before Salah flew to London’s Heathrow Airport on 25 June, a UKBA official emailed Alan Stewart, an official with the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, telling him about the ban and detailing British-Israeli efforts to collaborate on the case.
UKBA official Rebecca Hadlow attached a copy of the exclusion, along with a border warning from the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network (RALON), part of the UKBA’s International Group. Hadlow said the RALON notice had been issued to airlines flying direct from Tel Aviv to the UK: “If they identify him, they will not carry him.”
The alert was disseminated to the Israeli state airline El Al in Tel Aviv. But it turned out that Salah traveled on a British Airways flight.
Even then, on 24 June, the British government had still not been able to serve the exclusion order on Salah: “we did not until this morning have an address for him (I am grateful for the assistance of the Israeli Embassy in London for this).” Hadlow then gave Salah’s address and asked Stewart to arrange for the exclusion order to be couriered to him, while acknowledging that “he may not receive it before he travels.”
The same email was copied to Philip Boyle, an official at the British Embassy in Amman, who replied to Hadlow that he had “passed details of the exclusion notice to a contact in the Israeli Immigration Intelligence [sic – there is no known organization by that name] and asked to be notified if they encounter the subject leaving for the UK on an indirect route.”
The text of the RALON border warning makes it clear Salah did not know he was banned — “He has not yet been notified of his exclusion.” The UKBA knew his passport number, therefore it is logical to assume they got this information from the Israeli government, perhaps via the Israeli embassy in London. Yet somehow, the UKBA got his full name wrong, mixing up two of his names.
On 5 July, Claire Lawrence, Head of the “Middle East Peace Process/Palestine/Israel” desk at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote to Rosenorn-Lanng, saying: “Our Embassy in Tel Aviv have just let us know that a very high level delegation intend to call on our Ambassador early tomorrow, to discuss the Salah case amongst other issues.” Who exactly was part of this delegation was not revealed, although it seems a likely reference to Israeli government ministers or security officials.
Salah and his legal team are due to meet and will decide whether or not to pursue his appeal against deportation further. It remains to be seen if any higher court would act as anything other than a “rubber stamp” of the political decision to expel Salah from the UK, apparently with the cooperation of Israel.
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist based in London who has lived in and reported from occupied Palestine. He edited the newly-released book Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Occupation. His website is www.winstanleys.org.
Colonel Muammar Qaddafi symbolizes many things to many different people around the world. Love or hate the Libyan leader, under his rule Libya transformed from one of the poorest countries on the face of the planet into the country with the highest living standards in Africa. In the words of Professor Henri Habibi:
When Libya was granted its independence by the United Nations on December 24, 1951, it was described as one of the poorest and most backward nations of the world. The population at the time was not more than 1.5 million, was over 90% illiterate, and had no political experience or know how. There were no universities, and only a limited number of high schools which had been established seven years before independence. 
Qaddafi had many grand plans. Many of them were of a pan-African nature. This included the formation of a United States of Africa.
Qaddafi’s Pan-African Projects
Colonel Qaddafi started the Great Man-Made River. The Great Man-Made River is a massive project to transform the Sahara Desert and reverse the desertification of Africa. The Great Man-Made River with its irrigation plans was also intended to help the agricultural sector in other parts of Africa. This project was one of the victims of NATO’s attacks on Libya.
Qaddafi also envisioned independent pan-African financial institutions. The Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Foreign Bank were important players in setting up these institutions. Qaddafi, through the Libyan Foreign Bank and the Libyan Investment Authority, was instrumental in setting up Africa’s first satellite network, the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RASCOM), to reduce African dependence on external powers. 
It is believed that his crowning achievement would have been the creation of the United States of Africa. The supranational entity would have been created through the African Investment Bank, the African Monetary Fund, and finally the African Central Bank. These institutions were all viewed with animosity by the European Union, United States, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank.
Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project
Qaddafi had a wealth redistribution project inside Libya. U.S. Congressional sources in a report to the U.S. Congress even acknowledge this. On February 18, 2011 the report stated:
In March 2008, [Colonel Qaddafi] announced his intention to dissolve most government administrative bodies and institute a Wealth Distribution Program whereby state oil revenues would be distributed to citizens on a monthly basis for them to administer personally, in cooperation, and via local committees. Citing popular criticism of government performance in a long, wide ranging speech, [he] repeatedly stated that the traditional state would soon be “dead” in Libya and that direct rule by citizens would be accomplished through the distribution of oil revenues. [The military], foreign affairs, security, and oil production arrangements reportedly would remain national government responsibilities, while other bodies would be phased out. In early 2009, Libya’s Basic People’s Congresses considered variations of the proposals, and the General People’s Congress voted to delay implementation. 
The Wealth Redistribution Project, along with the establishment of an anarchist political system, was viewed as a very serious threat by the U.S., the E.U., and a group of corrupt Libyan officials. If successful it could have created political unrest amongst many domestic populations around the world. Internally, many Libyan officials were working to delay the project.
Why Mahmoud Jibril Joined the Transitional Council
Amongst the Libyan officials who was opposed to this project and viewed it with horror was Mahmoud Jibril. Jibril was put into place by Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi. Because of strong influence and advice from the U.S. and the E.U., Saif Al-Islam selected Jibril to transform the Libyan economy and impose neo-liberal economic reforms.
Jibril would become the head of two bodies in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the National Planning Council of Libya and National Economic Development Board of Libya. While the National Economic Development Board was a regular ministry, the National Planning Council would actually put Jibril in a government position above that of the equivalent of the prime minister–the Office of the General-Secretary of the People’s Committee of Libya. Jibril actually was one of the forces that opened the doors for privatization and poverty in Libya.
About six months before the conflict erupted in Libya, Mahmoud Jibiril actually met with Bernard-Henri Lévy in Australia to discuss forming the Transitional Council and deposing Qaddafi.  He described Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project as “crazy” in minutes and documents from the National Economic Development Board of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.  Jibril believed that the masses were not fit to govern themselves and that an elite should control the fate and wealth of any nation. What Jibril wanted to do is downsize the government and layoff a large segment of the public sector, but in exchange increase government regulations in Libya. He would also always cite Singapore as the perfect example of a neo-liberal state. While in Singapore, which he regularly visited, it is likely that he meet with Bernard-Henri Lévy.
When the problems erupted in Benghazi, Mahmoud Jibril immediately went to Cairo, Egypt. He told his colleagues that he would be back in Tripoli soon, but he had no intention of returning. In reality, he went to Cairo to meet the leaders of the Syrian National Council and Lévy. They were all waiting for him to coordinate the events in Libya and Syria. This is one of the reasons that the Transitional Council has recognized the Syrian National Council as the legitimate government of Syria.
Mahmoud Jibril is now the prime minister of the Transitional Council of Libya. The opposition of Jibril to Qaddafi’s Wealth Redistribution Project and his elitist attitude are amongst the reasons he conspired against Qaddafi and helped form the Transitional Council. Is this ex-regime official, who has always been an open supporter of the Arab dictators in the Persian Gulf, really a representative of the people?
 Henri Pierre Habib, Politics and Government of Revolutionary Libya (Montmagny, Québec: Le Cercle de Livre de France Ltée, 1975), p.1.
 Regional African Satellite Communication Organization, “Launch of the Pan African Satellite,” July 26, 2010:
 Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, February 18, 2011,” Congressional Research Service, February 18, 2011, p.22.
 Private discussions with Mahmoud Jiribil’s co-workers inside and outside of Libya.
 Internal private documents from the National Economic Development Board.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montréal. He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He was on the ground in Libya for over two months and was also a Special Correspondent for Flashpoints, which is a program based in Berkeley, California. Nazemroaya has been releasing these articles about Libya in conjunction with aired discussions (now archived) with Cynthia McKinney on Freedom Now, a show aired on Saturdays on KPFK, Los Angeles, California KPFK.org.
The student council of the Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) adopted yesterday a motion to ban Danish-British security firm G4S from campus. EUSA wants to bring an end to the university’s relations with G4S because of the company’s involvement in the delivery of security services to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Israeli prisons.
Indeed, G4S has stated in its own promotional material that it supplied security services to the Ofer prison compound, Keztiot prison and Megido prison. These prisons incarcerate 4,900 Palestinian “security prisoners,” according to G4S. All Palestinian political prisoners, including child detainees, are administratively classified as “security prisoners” as if being Palestinian constitutes a threat. At the end of September, Palestinian political prisoners went on hunger strike to improve the deplorable conditions under which they are detained in Israeli prisons. By providing services to Israeli prisons, G4S contributes to the facilitation of Israel’s violations of rights of Palestinian political prisoners.
The Students for Justice in Palestine group began a campaign to ban G4S following the adoption of the ‘Boycott Israeli Goods in Edinburgh University shops and supply chains’ motion at EUSA’s general meeting in March. The motion received around 270 votes in favor and 20 votes against. The decision was not binding because the quorum of more than 300 students to attend the meeting was not met. However, the huge level of support for the motion sent a clear signal to the student council of EUSA, the body that decides upon policies.
Almost seven months later, EUSA’s student council overwhelmingly supported a motion to block a contract with G4S, and to lobby the university to follow suit. The press release on the adoption of the “ban G4S” motion clarifies that the campaign to remove G4S from Edinburgh University campus is part of a wider campaign for boycott, divestmet and sanctions (BDS) by the Students for Justice in Palestine group on campus. The statement adds:
G4S currently provide security services to Edinburgh University library, which prompted Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to begin a campaign to force the University to tear up its contract with the security firm. It was then recently discovered that EUSA were also in the process of hiring the firm for money collecting services. This led to a motion quickly going before Student Council and it was clearly passed, meaning the Union’s trustee board must now look for an alternative.
The Danish-British security firm have been under huge scrutiny following the disclosure earlier this year of their role in Israel’s occupation by ‘Who Profits?’ a project by the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace. The group revealed that the company supplies equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints, police stations, and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons. Over the past month Palestinian prisoners have embarked on an open-ended hunger strike to protest the conditions in G4S supplied prisons.
In March earlier this year, due to pressure from the BDS campaign, G4S announced that it would exit from some of its contracts in the West Bank. However it will still deliver security services to illegal settlements in the West Bank and prisons in Israel.
Meanwhile, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has published an update with lots of information about the situation of the Palestinian political prisoners. They write:
CURRENT ARREST AND DETENTION STATISTICS*
5,374 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, including:
272 administrative detainees, including 3 women and 18 PLC members
176 children, including 31 under the age of 16
22 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
141 prisoners who have been imprisoned for more than 20 years
170 Palestinians from the 1948 Territories
627 prisoners from the Gaza Strip, including 2 detained under the Unlawful Combatants Law
187 prisoners from East Jerusalem
750 approximate number of Palestinians arrested by Israel during the third quarter of 2011 (1 July – 30 September 2011). This marks an 11 percent decrease over the second quarter of 2011, and an 11 percent increase over the same period in 2010.
*Detention statistics are based on reports from the Israeli Prison Service and Addameer’s monitoring. Because the IPS did not publish the latest statistics before the publication of this newsletter, the detention statistics included are current as of 31 August 2011, except for the number of women and PLC member, which are current as of 15 October 2011 and based on Addameer’s own documentation. Arrest statistics are based on figures from the Palestinian Monitoring Group and are current as of 30 September 2011.
On 6 and 9 October, lawyers from Addameer and other organizations were finally able to visit Saadat in Nafha Prison. They reported that he had already lost 5 kg and was showing signs of extreme fatigue and low levels of concentration, with the visits having to be cut short as a result. During both visits, Saadat fainted and reported that he had been coughing up yellow liquid. On 9 October, Addameer sent a request to the IPS for the immediate hospitalization of Saadat and all other hunger-striking prisoners in bad health. On 16 October, the IPS complied with this request, but at the time of publication, Saadat had just been transferred back to Nafha Prison from Ramleh Prison hospital and had his isolation renewed by an Israeli military court.
TEL AVIV — Germany is reconsidering its decision to sell Israel a sixth “Dolphin” class submarine, Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday.
According to a report in Ynet, a news service connected to the newspaper, the move was prompted by the tensions between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Top political sources” say Merkel is fed up with Netanyahu, who “gave her the impression that he would be willing to suspend settlement expansion in order to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”
Instead, Israel approved over 1,000 housing units in the Gilo settlement, indicating Netanyahu “cannot be taken seriously and has no intention of complying with the basic terms” to renew talks.
The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, has stirred up controversy over recent speaking engagements. But an announcement on the 92nd St. Y’s website shows that Bronner is now scheduled to appear on a panel hosted by the Clarion Fund, an Islamophobic organization, to discuss the “threat of a nuclear Iran.”
The invitation, as it appears on the Clarion Fund’s website, reads:
On Monday, November 7, 2011, at 7:30 PM, the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, NY will host a panel discussion about the threat of a nuclear Iran, interspersed with clips from the award-winning documentary Iranium. The panel will be moderated by the film’s director, Alex Traiman, and will be simultaneously broadcasted in over 20 communities throughout the U.S. (details below).
John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem Bureau Chief, The New York Times
Nazie Eftekhari, Director, Iran Democratic Union
Richard Green, Executive Director, Clarion Fund
Richard Perle, former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, Bush administration
Click HERE for details and to order tickets.
Bronner and the 92nd Street Y are free to associate themselves with whatever organizations they choose. But the fact that the Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief is lending his name to a Clarion Fund event, and the promotion of a film which advocates for military action against Iran, raises further questions about Bronner’s growing record of engaging in activities which could produce the appearance of a conflict of interest or undermine the impartiality of his reporting.
The Clarion Fund, which was profiled in the Center for American Progress’ Islamophobia report, “Fear, Inc.,” distributed the inflammatory anti-Muslim documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West to 28 million swing state voters before the 2008 presidential election. Clarion is closely tied to Aish Hatorah, an evangelist, far-right, Israeli ultra-orthodox organization. Traiman, Iranium’s director and the moderator of the panel on which Bronner will appear, has close ties the Israeli far-right and lives in an ideological West Bank settlement.
Iranium, makes the case for attacking Iran and promotes an official U.S. policy of regime change. The film, much like the other documentaries produced by Clarion, portrays a clash of civilizations, promotes the view that Muslims value death over life and suggests that irrational hatred of Israeli and anti-Semitism is the only explanation for the frustration expressed by Muslim countries against the U.S.
Max Blumenthal adds:
By agreeing to speak at the Islamophobic Clarion Fund’s 92nd Street Y event on November 7 beside neoconservative Richard Perle and uber-hawk John Bolton, Ethan Bronner is explicitly violating New York Times ethical guidelines. After I published my report about Bronner’s unethical business arrangement with a right-wing Israeli public relations firm, the Times‘ Standards Editor Phil Corbett sent out a memo to the entire Times staff reminding them about the paper’s guidelines for speaking engagements. A staffer leaked the memo to Gawker. It included the following stipulations, which Bronner is clearly violating:
Speaking fees are generally not allowed from companies, lobbying groups or other sources that might raise questions about our impartiality.
— Even if an engagement does not involve a fee, we should avoid situations that would create an appearance of favoritism or suggest too close a relationship between a Times journalist and the people or institutions we cover.
The Libyan regime is requesting further NATO help. (One wonders who gave it the idea.) But is not clear what the purpose of further NATO support should be.
According to AlJazeera the purpose is to keep Gaddhafi supporters from fleeing to neighbor countries:
NATO should stay involved in Libya until the end of this year to help prevent loyalists of Muammar Gaddafi from leaving the country, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the interim leader, has said.
“We look forward to NATO continuing its operations until the end of the year,” Jalil said at a conference in Doha, the Qatari capital, on Wednesday.Stating that stopping the flight of Gaddafi supporters to other countries was a priority, he said: “We seek technical and logistics help from neighbouring and friendly countries.”
According to the New York Times the purpose is to keep Gaddhafi supporters from invading from neighbor countries:
“We have asked NATO to stay until the end of the year, and it certainly has the international legitimacy to remain in Libya to protect the civilians from Qaddafi loyalists,” the interim leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, chairman of the Transitional National Council, said in an interview with the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera.“Qaddafi still has supporters in neighboring countries, and we fear those loyalists could be launching attacks against us and infiltrating our borders,” he said. “We need technical support and training for our troops on the ground. We also need communications equipment, and we need aerial intelligence to monitor our borders.”
To keep them in or to keep them out? Which is it?
Libya’s desert borders are too long to be controllable by any force. People will always be able to come in or leave the country without anyone noticing. Even if one could control the borders how is one supposed to differentiate between a coming or leaving Gaddhafi supporter versus the coming or leaving anti-Gaddhafi Libyan?
The situation on the ground is, as Tony Karon points out, comparable to Afghanistan in 2002 or maybe even 1992. There is no central power accepted by all parts of the country and the new government has no real power over the various militia.
To put NATO boots on Libyan ground would be the repeat of the NATO adventure in Afghanistan with, ten years later, a likely comparable outcome.
RAMALLAH — The Israeli prison administration has not fulfilled its commitment to stop holding Palestinian prisoners in solitary confinement, the ministry of prisoner affairs in Ramallah said Wednesday.
Around 20 detainees are still in isolation despite Israel’s pledge to end the practice following a 3-week mass hunger strike in jails across Israel to protest the policy, the ministry said in a statement.
Prisoners suspended the strike on Oct. 17 after they said Israel had announced it would meet the strikers’ key demand.
Israel promised that detainees would be released from isolation immediately after 477 prisoners were released in a swap deal to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Oct. 18, minister of detainees affairs Issa Qaraqe said, announcing the agreement.
Some prisoners who remain in solitary confinement have been in isolation cells for many years, including Hassan Salama, Ahmad al-Mughrabi, Abdullah al-Barghouthi and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine secretary-general Ahmad Saadat, the ministry noted.
The UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez told a UN General Assembly panel last week that all governments should ban solitary confinement except in extreme circumstances.
“Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, Supermax, the hole … whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by states as a punishment or extortion technique,” he said.
He also said indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be ended, citing studies that have established that lasting mental damage is caused after a few days of isolation.
“Considering the severe mental pain or suffering solitary confinement may cause, it can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when used as a punishment, during pre-trial detention, indefinitely or for a prolonged period, for persons with mental disabilities or juveniles,” he said.
Meanwhile, detainees affairs ministry lawyer Shireen Iraqi said the Israeli prisons administration had implemented new ways to punish detainees. Prison officials have closed the accounts of 28 prisoners so they cannot receive money from their families, she said.
Families in Gaza are still unable to visit relatives in Israeli jails.
Israel banned families in Gaza from visiting detained relatives in 2007 after militants in Gaza detained Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a move widely criticized as a form of collective punishment.
In June, the International Committee of the Red Cross called on Israel to lift the ban, noting that under international humanitarian law, detainees held in relation to the conflict had a right to family visits.
“The decision by the Israelis is of particular consequence for children, whose ties to their detained parents may become frayed or may even be severed,” ICRC said in a statement.
RAMALLAH — Israel on Wednesday extended the imprisonment of a journalist who has not been charged or tried for any offense, a press freedom watchdog said.
Israeli forces detained Nawaf al-Amer, a program coordinator for Quds satellite TV station, in June from his home near Nablus in the northern West Bank.
On Wednesday, Israel extended al-Amer’s detention for four months, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said in a statement.
Al-Amer has not been tried or given any reason for his arrest or imprisonment. His wife told MADA that Israel has prevented their sons from visiting their father since his arrest.
The center strongly condemned the extension of al-Amer’s detention, noting that it stood “in flagrant violation of legal due process under international law.”
Al-Amer is being held in administrative detention, a practice widely used by Israel against Palestinians under which detainees are held without charge or trial.
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem says administrative detention “is carried out under the thick cover of privilege, which denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense.”
MADA urged international organizations to protect Palestinian journalists and to lobby on behalf of those in detention.
When David Ben Gurion, from the southern Kibbutz of Sde Boker, declared: “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested,” the first settlers rose to the challenge and the blooming desert became a post-war reality.
Today, driving through southern Israel on the wide motorway that cuts through the barren landscape, what stands out is not the camels. It is the forests.
Out of nowhere, hundreds of trees planted thick—within straight, geometrical borders—come into view, only to be replaced by the dry and mono-color scenery moments later.
A forest in the desert is an awe-inspiring sight, but here it serves the same purpose–and has the same consequence–as an eight-meter high wall erected in the West Bank.
More and more, the Negev and other Palestinian sections of Israel seem to share a fate disturbingly similar to that of Area C in the West Bank.
Nearly twenty years ago, with the signing of the Oslo Accords I and II, the land in the West Bank was divided into three categories: Area A, B and C. Each category came with a varying degree of Palestinian autonomy from the Israeli occupation. Area A is nominally under full Palestinian Authority control and Area C is under full Israeli control, and represents 60% of the West Bank; Area B is somewhere in the middle. While the Accords intended for all of the land to eventually become Area A, it never did. Instead, Israel has made life in Area C and in some cases Area B nearly impossible, impelling many Palestinians to resettle in Areas A.
In the Negev, Israeli authorities have pushed Bedouins (Israeli citizens) off their ancestral land with the justification that they are squatting on state land.
The creation of Palestinian enclaves through means of forcible or coerced relocation—be it to Area A in the occupied Palestinian territories or Arab townships in Israel—appears to be Israel’s chosen means to appropriate land.
The JNF’s flagship program, “Blueprint Negev,” is—in their own words–“a major initiative to revitalize Israel’s southern region” by means of planting trees and settling half a million people.
Both the taming of the wild frontier and the creation of “man-made wilderness,” play into the pioneer narrative typical of settler societies the world over. The largest of which happens to be Israel’s biggest donor.
The JNF claims to have planted 240 million trees in the land of Israel over the past 107 years. Thousands of these trees have ended up on top of the ruins of Palestinian villages.
Israel’s New Historians, among them professor Ilan Pappe, call this erasure of any Palestinian life dating before 1948, a rewriting of Zionist history. This revision identifies the beginning of life in Israel as the arrival of the first Jewish settlers, who were helped by agencies like the JNF.
From forestation to human settlement in the Negev, the JNF focuses its donors’ attention on its eco-friendly credentials, so much so that today it actively promotes what it calls ‘Green Zionism’.
Instead of building checkpoints, the JNF builds a “green future.” Nevertheless, this future stems out of the destruction of Palestinian villages and generally directly benefits the Jewish section of Israel’s population.
The JNF owns 13% of the land in Israel. A small portion of this was acquired by the first settlers, but the majority consists of confiscated Palestinian land, sold to JNF by the Israeli government after the 1948 war.
Oren Yiftachel, professor of geopolitics at Ben Gurion University, likens the transferal of land from state to agency to “a black hole.” Once lands are confiscated from Arabs and passed on to a private agency they can never be recovered, he says.
In fact, as custodian of the lands of Israel, the JNF does not lease land to non-Jews. … Full article
The above is the second installment of a two-part series on al-Araqib and Israel’s dispossession of Bedouin land in the Negev. The first part can be read here.
Palestinian medical sources in occupied Jerusalem reported that a 4-year-old child, was shot by a stray live round in her neck fired by Israeli soldiers during training at the Anatot military base, built on lands illegally annexed from the residents Anata Palestinian town, north of Jerusalem. The child suffered quadriplegia.
The child, Aseel Ara’ra, 4, was moved to the Al Maqassed Hospital, in East Jerusalem and is currently in a serious condition, the Maan News Agency, reported.
The bullet entered the left side of her neck and exited on the right causing quadriplegia, Maan added.
Her family said that the Israeli Army must take responsibility for the attack, and must conduct an investigation to prosecute those responsible for the shooting.
The family lives next to the military base in question, while the Israeli Army denied any relation to the attack.
The Ara’ra family is from a Bedouin tribe that resides in the Anata area, close to the Israeli camp. The area is under full Israeli control.