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By Gilad Atzmon | January 11, 2012

According to sources in Iran, a nuclear scientist was killed in Tehran today by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist. It is very clear to most of us who stands behind these continuous attacks on Iran’s scientists and military personnel.

However, the discrepancy between Hebrew and English press reporting on the incident is pretty staggering and demands some deliberation.

While the Israeli  English outlet Ynet reports  on the incident in a pretty cold manner, it goes as far as reporting  on “mysterious explosion in Iranian capital”, the Hebrew Ynet is happy to suggest that Israel is probably behind all those ‘mysterious attacks’.

The Hebrew publication ends its coverage of the story stating that yesterday Chief of Staff – Major General Benny Gantz,  said that 2012 would be a “critical year for Iran”. he referred specifically to “continued pressure (on Iran) from the international community and the things that happen to them  unnaturally”. It doesn’t take a genius to gather that if General Ganz speaks about future “unnatural” events, he must be closely familiar with the details of such events!!!

While the English Ynet, operates as  a Hasbara outlet, spreading Israeli propaganda for the Goyim and English speaking Jews,  the Hebrew version, is there to boost Israeli morale. And as it happens, Israelis love to see their ‘enemies’ being, terrorised,  slaughtered and  murdered.

The true ‘mysterious’ nature of the Jewish state  and its relation with the world is indeed a disturbing one and a reason for serious concern.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Leave a comment

Israeli Soldier Acquitted Despite Killing Palestinian Civilian

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | January 12, 2012

Four years after an Israeli soldier used his sniper rifle to kill a Palestinian civilian from Bethlehem district visiting family in the Ramallah district; an Israeli court acquitted the soldier and claimed that there is not enough evidence to convict the soldier, adding that no charges were filed against the shooter, the Arabs48 News Agency reported.

Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, issued a report stating that it filed an appeal to the Israeli High Court, on August 08, 2011, and was informed that the officer who shot and killed Firas Qasqas, 32, will be sent to court. But the prosecution never revealed what charges will be filed against the soldier.

Qasqas was killed on December, 02, 2007, when an Israeli soldier used his sniper rifle to kill him despite the fact that he was hundreds of meters away, was not armed and did not pose any threat.

The incident took place in At-Teera village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah; Qasqas, from Batteer village near Bethlehem, and his family, were visiting relatives in At-Teera.

In February last year, B’Tselem filed an appeal demanding the Military Prosecutor’s Office to act against the soldier.

According to B’Tselem’s investigation, at noon on December 2nd, Qasqas and two of his relatives were walking in an open area near the houses of At-Teera village, and then a number of Israeli soldiers, 500 meters away, opened fire at them without any prior warning.

The three were unarmed, and did not act in any way that might look suspicious. Qasqas was shot in the back, and the bullet exited from his chest. His two relatives rushed him to a local hospital in Ramallah but he died of his wounds.

After the fatal shooting, B’Tselem repeatedly contacted the Israeli Military Prosecution, asking it to open an investigation into the shooting, and two months later, the Military Prosecutor ordered an investigation and B’Tselem helped in collecting the testimonies of the two witnesses, and provided the investigators all related documentation.

On August 18, 2011, the Prosecution announced that the Central Command of the Israeli Military had concluded all investigations, and decided that the issue of filing charges against the officer should be considered, and that a hearing will be conducted in order to listen to the testimony of the commander who ordered the soldier to open fire.

The Defense attorney of the officer (Morr) claimed that “there is no way to prove that the cause of death was that bullet”, and that “there is no proof that anybody was killed in the incident in question”.

He also claimed that the medical reports are incomplete, and do not include the autopsy report that indicated the exact cause of death.

The court then decided to close the file of Qasqas without any indictment against any soldier, and claimed that “despite the fact the soldiers opened fire in violation to the open-fire regulations in the area, yet, the soldiers act in a practical manner as they opened fire when they felt that they were in danger”.

It also said that “despite the fact that the decision to open fire was wrong, the act is not a crime and does not even constitute negligence”.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Are Drones Watching You?

By Jennifer Lynch | EFF | January 10, 2012

Today, EFF filed suit against the Federal Aviation Administration seeking information on drone flights in the United States. The FAA is the sole entity within the federal government capable of authorizing domestic drone flights, and for too long now, it has failed to release specific and detailed information on who is authorized to fly drones within US borders.

Up until a few years ago, most Americans didn’t know much about drones or unmanned aircraft. However, the U.S. military has been using drones in its various wars and conflicts around the world for more than 15 years, using the Predator drone for the first time in Bosnia in 1995, and the Global Hawk drone in Afghanistan in 2001. In the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the US military has used several different types of drones to conduct surveillance for every major mission in the war. In Libya, President Obama authorized the use of armed Predator drones, even though we were not technically at war with the country. And most recently in Yemen, the CIA used drones carrying Hellfire missiles to kill an American citizen, the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. In all, almost one in every three U.S. warplanes is a drone, according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2005, the number was only 5%.

Now drones are also being used domestically for non-military purposes, raising significant privacy concerns. For example, this past December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchased its ninth drone. It uses these drones inside the United States to patrol the U.S. borders—which most would argue is within its agency mandate—but it also uses them to aid state and local police for routine law enforcement purposes. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reported in December that CBP used one of its Predators to roust out cattle rustlers in North Dakota. The Times quoted local police as saying they “have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June.” State and local police are also using their own drones for routine law enforcement activities from catching drug dealers to finding missing persons. Some within law enforcement have even proposed using drones to record traffic violations.

Drones are capable of highly advanced and almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data. They carry various types of equipment including live-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. Some newer drones carry super high resolution “gigapixel” cameras that can “track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet[,] . . . [can] monitor up to 65 enemies of the State simultaneously[, and] . . . can see targets from almost 25 miles down range.” Predator drones can eavesdrop on electronic transmissions, and one drone unveiled at DEFCON last year can crack Wi-Fi networks and intercept text messages and cell phone conversations—without the knowledge or help of either the communications provider or the customer. Drones are also designed to carry weapons, and some have suggested that drones carrying weapons such as tasers and bean bag guns could be used domestically.

Many drones, by virtue of their design, their size, and how high they can fly, can operate undetected in urban and rural environments, allowing the government to spy on Americans without their knowledge. And even if Americans knew they were being spied on, it’s unclear what laws would protect against this. As Ryan Calo, the ACLU (pdf) and many others have noted, Supreme Court case law has not been friendly to privacy in the public sphere, or even to privacy in areas like your backyard or corporate facilities that are off-limits to the public but can be viewed from above. The Supreme Court has also held that the Fourth Amendment’s protections from unreasonable searches and seizures may not apply when it’s not a human that is doing the searching. None of these cases bodes well for any future review of the privacy implications of drone surveillance.

However, there are some reasons to hope that the courts will find the ability of drones to monitor our activities constantly, both in public and—through the use of heat sensors or other technology—inside our homes, goes too far. For example, in a 2001 case called Kyllo v. United States, the Supreme Court held the warrantless search of a home conducted from outside the home using thermal imaging violated the Fourth Amendment. The Court held that, “in the sanctity of the home, all details are intimate details”—it didn’t matter that the officers did not need to “enter” the home to “see” them. United States v. Jones, argued before the Supreme Court this term, could also have ramifications for drones. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal’s opinion in this case held that warrantless GPS-enabled 24/7 surveillance of a car violated the Fourth Amendment, noting, “When it comes to privacy . . . the whole may be more revealing than the parts.” Though the outcome of the case at the Supreme Court is far from clear, the Court did seem surprised during oral argument that, under the government’s theory of the case, the justices themselves could be tracked without a warrant and without probable cause. Drones that use heat sensors to “see” into the home and that can track one or many people around the clock wherever they go are not much different from the technologies at issue in Kyllo and Jones.

It is likely a court will be forced to address this issue in the not-to-distant future. The market for unmanned aircraft in the United States is expanding rapidly, and companies, public entities, and research institutions are developing newer, faster, stealthier, and more sophisticated drones every year. According to a July 15, 2010 FAA Fact Sheet (pdf), “[i]n the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs.” According to one market research firm, approximately 70% of global growth and market share of unmanned aircraft systems is in the United States (pdf). In 2010 alone, expenditures on unmanned aircraft “reached more than US $3 billion (pdf) and constituted a growth of more than 12%.” The market for these systems is only expected to increase: over the next 10 years the total expenditure for unmanned aircraft “is expected to surpass US $7 billion.” And some have forecast that by the year 2018 there will be “more than 15,000 [unmanned aircraft systems] in service in the U.S., with a total of almost 30,000 deployed worldwide.”

In 2011, Congress, the Defense Department, state and local governments, industry and researchers all placed significant pressure on the FAA to review and expand its current “Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA)” program.  The FAA is also reviewing its own rules for small unmanned aircraft systems. The agency is expected to announce an expansion of the COA program this month. If it does, we may see (or be seen by) many more drones in the very near future.

EFF will keep monitoring this issue. We hope to learn from our lawsuit against the FAA which entities in the United States—whether they are government agencies, state or local law enforcement, research institutions or private companies—are currently authorized to fly drones and which entities are seeking or have been denied authorization. Once we have that information we will be better able to define the scope of the problem and can further assess and address the privacy issues at stake.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

U.S. Expels Venezuelan Consul as “Persona Non Grata”

By Rachael Boothroyd | Venezuelanalysis.com | January 10, 2012
Hugo Chavez: Livia Acosta Noguera is a ‘dignified professional’ who has been ‘humiliated and demonised’ by US extremist groups and the Obama administration (Elmundo.com)

Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has condemned the United States’ decision to expel the Venezuelan consul general in Miami as “arbitrary and unjustified” this past Monday, and derided the move as “another demonstration of the arrogance of ridiculous imperialism”.

Venezuelan diplomat Livia Acosta Noguera had been working in the U.S. since March 2011 when she was ordered to leave last Sunday amidst claims that she had discussed the possibility of orchestrating cyber attacks against the US government whilst serving as Vice-secretary at the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico.

“She has been accused of I don’t know how many things by the U.S. government, and above all, by sectors of the ultra rightwing in Miami , including many Venezuelans who live there, counter-revolutionaries, not all of them, but a small group,” explained Chavez.

Contrary to the accounts published by many mainstream news channels, President Chavez also clarified that Noguera was already in Caracas, and had been since December.

“We already knew that this was going to happen, and so she has been in Caracas in order to avoid situations, possibly even dangerous ones,” said the Venezuelan president.

The U.S. State Department has not commented on the reasons for Noguera’s expulsion, however, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Roger Noriega, posted the following comment on his twitter account prior to the US government’s official announcement.

“Chavista terrorist spy consul general Livia Acosta expelled from the United States by the State Department! Acosta has 72 hours to leave the country.”

Despite the U.S. State Department’s silence on the issue, it is known that four members of Congress had previously written to US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, on December 9th expressing their “grave concern” over the “diplomatic credentials” of Noguera. In the letter the four representatives make reference to “The Iranian Threat”, a 2008 documentary filmed by the Spanish-language media corporation Univision.

The four members of congress are; Cuban-American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican), Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican), David Rivera (Republican) and Cuban-American Albio Sires (Democrat).

In an interview with Telemundo’s Soraya Galan last week, former Venezuelan military Lieutenant, José Antonio Colina Pulido, also revealed that he too had sent a letter to Hilary Clinton in August of last year advising the Secretary of State that Noguera was illegally using her diplomatic immunity in order to gain access to classified documents.

The retired Lieutenant, who is wanted in Venezuela for his connection to the terrorist attacks carried out against the Spanish Embassy and the Consulate of Colombia in February 2002, also claimed he had proof that the Venezuelan diplomat was “actively working for Chavez’s political police”. Pulido did not elucidate as to the nature of this evidence for the benefit of Telemundo viewers.

The Documentary

Based on audio and video files obtained from “students posing as extremists” who Noguera supposedly met with at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the documentary alleges that the Venezuelan diplomat discussed the possibility of coordinating attacks against the United States’ computer systems with other Cuban and Iranian officials.  According to the documentary, these cyber-attacks would be “worse than September 11th”.

The same Univision documentary has caused diplomatic altercations between the US and Venezuela before, and was cited by Congressmen such as John McCain earlier last year in an unsuccessful bid to have Venezuela placed on the US “State Sponsor of Terrorism” list. The United States government has been unable to provide evidence to corroborate the authenticity or accuracy of the New York-based company’s documentary, although the Associated Press reports that the FBI has been investigating.

Previously based in Los Angeles, Univision is the largest Spanish language network in the USA. It is partly owned by American-Israeli media mogul and close friend to the Clintons, Haim Saban, also the owner of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington.

Univision’s Executive Board includes Cesar Conde (President of Univision Networks) and Randy Falco (President and Chief Executive Officer). Conde was appointed as a White House Fellow by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002-2003. During this time, he served as the White House Fellow for Secretary of State, Colin L Powell.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | Leave a comment

Honduras: Return to Rigores

By Chuck Kaufman | Upside Down World | 11 January 2012

Photo by Irene Rodriguez.

On Jan. 9, 2012 an Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ) delegation of US and Canadian citizens visited the farming community or Rigores, Honduras in the fertile Aguan Valley near the country’s Caribbean Coast.

It was a far different visit than was experienced by a previous AfGJ delegation just six months earlier. On that July 1st morning our delegation stood in a line at the top of a wash, standing between 40 police armed with military grade weaponry, and peasant farmers determined to hold their land against an illegal eviction. For 3-1/2 hours our delegation faced down the police, who had pistols drawn and snipers targeting us from the tree line.

Unable to produce an eviction order and unaccompanied by a lawyer as required by Honduran law, the police did not know what to do when faced with nearly 20 North Americans wearing blue t-shirts reading “Observador Internacional de Derechos Humanos” (International Human Rights Observer). After hours of tense discussion, negotiation, and demands, the police decided that they could leave the community. We accompanied them to their vehicles and then stayed with the community for another couple of hours during which the police drove through several times to see if we were still there.

But July 1, 2011 was neither the beginning nor the end of the story for the peasant farmers of Rigores. Rigores is a long-established community of farm cooperatives. The cooperative which we helped shield from eviction was 10-years-old, a tenancy under Honduras’ Law of Agrarian Reform which should have insured them title to the land. But one of Honduras’ rich landowners wants their corn fields, bean fields, grazing land and orchards so he can expand his African Palm plantation with this tree that produces an oil that is used in the majority of food products in First World supermarkets and supplies an increasing share of the European and US biofuel market.

Exactly one week before our stressful experience, police entered Rigores and at gunpoint burned the homes of 135 families, killed their animals, bulldozed their orchards, the school, and two churches. When we arrived on July 1, the community was living in the town’s community center and a large tent provided by a Catholic charity. The police had arrived that day to drive off or kill the people, breaking their tenancy and weakening their legal case of ownership.

Photo by Roger Harris.

Six months later all but four families remain on their land. They have rebuilt their houses, although now from branches and mud wattle where before stood larger block or poured cement homes. Their corn is waist high, a few banana and orange trees survived the depredations, and chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cows which survived the slaughter are breeding quickly.

Today Rigores is poor in material wealth but the people are rich in courage and determination that they will not be driven from their land; land that is their hope for their children. As a person privileged to have visited Rigores both on that fateful day in July 2011 and again today, the current visit was an emotional experience. To witness growth where previously there was only destruction, to see chicks and piglets where previously there were only carcasses, but most of all to hear the stories of courage and defiance of a people who will be pushed no farther,  was to renew my faith in solidarity and struggle. This peasant Occupy Movement long precedes our own. We can only hope to show the same courage as these people who daily face death defending their right to land to grow food to feed their families and their communities.

But this is not a fairy tale. There is no happy ending where the people of Rigores get to live happily ever after and we get to feel satisfied by performing a good deed.

Police, military, and private “security guards” still drive through the community and fire their weapons. On Sept. 16 and again on Sept. 19, the military invaded and terrorized the community. The 15-year-old son of the community spokesperson and another boy were kidnapped by the military, beaten, doused with gasoline and threatened with being set on fire.

Community members gave testimony to our delegation about the trauma they are suffering, especially the children. One man said, “Whenever my son hears a noise he shouts, ‘The police are coming. The police are coming.’” A woman said her young child crawls under the bed when he hears noises. When their houses were burned in June 2011, children were torn from the arms of their mothers and literally thrown from their houses. Mothers were shot at inside their houses to force them to leave. They were brutalized in ways that are hard for us in the United States to comprehend, and impossible for those who suffered through the terror to remain unmarked.

And now, as they still struggle to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, they have learned from the media that an official eviction order has been signed by a judge with an eviction date of later this month. At this point the eviction order may or may not exist. It is certain that they are receiving daily threats of violent eviction from the hired thugs of a rich landowner. However, they do not intend to leave their homes and we have an obligation to shine the light of international attention on the repression and injustice suffered by the people of Rigores and by the many other communities of the Aguan which are under similar threat. … Full article

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Professor of Hate: Israeli “scholar” urges ethnic cleansing of Bedouins

By Ali Abunimah - The Electronic Intifada -  01/11/2012

A prominent Israeli professor at the University of Haifa, Arnon Sofer, is urging the government to act fast to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Bedouins lest Israel be “destroyed” by them.

For years the Israeli state has mobilized all its resources to complete the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins – Palestinian indigenous people – and the “judaization” of their land. Already much of their land has been taken, and the few places they’ve found refuge are under threat.

The ethnic cleansing proceeds with the full support or active participation of Israel’s Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund which uses bogus tree-planting initiatives to greenwash the theft of Bedouin land.

The Jewish Agency, for example, recently conceded that the goal of government plans in southern Palestine’s Naqab region “is to grab the last remaining piece of land and thereby prevent further Bedouin incursion into any more state land and the development of an Arab belt from the south of Mount Hebron toward Arad and approaching Dimona and Yeruham, and the area extending toward Be’er Sheva.”

All of this is based on the racist notion that Bedouins – who are struggling to hold on to their land and way of life for example in the village of al-Araqib – are actually invaders and that the land naturally belongs exclusively to Jews.

Sofer provides intellectual cover for ethnic cleansing

Enter Sofer (sometimes spelled “Soffer”), the Reuven Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy at the University of Haifa, who has long been in the forefront of warning about the “demographic threat” to Israel from too many non-Jewish babies.

In a December speech, reported on 15 December 2011 by The Marker, the Israeli financial publication syndicated by Haaretz, Sofer raised the alarm about the supposed invasion by Bedouins and other undesirable non-Jews and urged the government to act, presumably to expel them and retain the land for the exclusive use of Jews.

The Hebrew article was translated for The Electronic Intifada by Dena Shunra. In it Sofer warns that Israel is “filling up” with non-Jews and warns that in certain areas of the country, non-Jews (mostly indigenous Palestinians who are nominally citizens of the state), are already the majority. Sofer speaks of these areas as being “lost” – indicating a view that despite their nominal citizenship, non-Jews can never really be part of Israel.

Even worse, Sofer presents the Bedouins as such a threat that Israel is on the verge of being “destroyed.” Naturally so grave a threat obviously warrants Israel acting to destroy it first.

From the article:

Sofer added that the Bedouin population is managing to take over every clear plot of land, and so it turns out, according to Sofer, that as of today, the percentage of Jews in Israel and in the Judea and Samaria regions comes only to 52%. “In the northern district alone there are 44% Jews, and in the central Galilee there are 23% Jews. What is Nazareth Illit [Upper Nazareth] today? It’s Lower Nazareth. Has anyone heard of the Bedouins in the South? Most of you drive along the road and see only both sides of the road, but in practice, the dimensions are entirely different, and you don’t know where we are living. Have we lost the Northern Negev? We certainly have.”

But it is not just the Negev that the Bedouins have taken over. “As far as Rehovot, around the Weizmann Institute, there are about 19 new Bedouin settlements. In Rishon Lezion there are about 12 Bedouin colonies, and near the Asaf Harofe hospital they’ve already set up a city without us paying heed. It is starting to come to Tel Aviv. The government must start taking action, and not flounder in the defense. We do not have another country. If I am not wrong about this terrible map, and I hope that I am wrong, Israel will simply be destroyed.”

What’s also notable is that the article on Sofer appears in the Real Estate section of The Marker, an indication of the banality and normalization of such racism in Israeli discourse.

Academic complicity

Sofer has been active for many years, but what gives him credibility and even an international audience for such raw and primitive racial hatred and incitement is his perch at Haifa University. It’s an example of the complicity Israel’s universities have in disseminating ideologies that confer legitimacy on Israel’s violence, ethnic expulsions and racist policies.

Translated article

Translation of article originally found in The Marker

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | 3 Comments

AMD talks with US crumble; Russia beefs up early-warning radar

RT | 11 January, 2012

The Russian Defense Ministry announces plans for extensive new early-warning radar system as talks with US and NATO over the controversial European missile defense system hit the wall.

The announcement comes on the heels of President Dmitry Medvedev’s pledge to fortify national defense.

In addition to a newly inaugurated radar system located in Kaliningrad, several more radar stations will be placed on combat duty in 2012, Alexei Zolotukhin, an official with the Russian Defense Ministry press service for Aerospace Defense Troops, told reporters on Sunday.

“The new radar station Voronezh-DM, located in the Kaliningrad region, became part of the missile attack warning system in late 2011,” Zolotukhin said. “A radar station is fully ready to be put on combat duty in the Leningrad region. Another radar station has been launched in the Krasnodar Territory.”

A new generation radar station will also be launched in the Irkutsk Region, he revealed.

The spokesman said the new radar will go online following a series of state tests to be conducted this year.

Responding to Washington’s reluctance to cooperate with Moscow in a US missile defense system in Eastern Europe, President Medvedev in November said Russia would deploy strike systems in the west and south of the country and deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad Region. Russia has repeatedly warned that without its full participation in the system, situated just miles from the Russian border, it will be forced to respond to what it perceives as a threat to national security.

The Russian leader also reminded his American colleagues that Russia reserves the right to withdrawal from New START if the two sides fail to reach agreement over missile defense in Europe.

“In the event of unfavorable developments, Russia reserves the right to halt further steps in the disarmament sphere and, respectively, weapons control,” Medvedev said. “Besides, given the inseparable interconnection between the strategic offensive and defensive weapons, grounds may appear for our country’s withdrawal from the New START treaty.”

This was not the first time Moscow warned the US and NATO over the missile defense system, which Russia views as a potential threat to its national security. At the G-8 Summit in Deauville, France, in May, Medvedev warned that the world was heading toward another arms race.

“After 2020, if we do not come to terms, a real arms race will begin,” Medvedev warned.

Despite repeated warnings, the US and NATO seem determined to push ahead with missile defense without Russia’s cooperation, and despite the fact such a decision could sink the “reset” in relations forged between Medvedev and US President Barack Obama.

On April 8, 2009, Medvedev and Obama met at Prague Castle signed the biggest nuclear arms pact in a generation, which promised to shrink the limit of nuclear warheads to 1,550 per country.

Robert Bridge, RT

January 11, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Militarism | 1 Comment

International Solidarity Movement volunteers encounter settler attack and sexual harassment in Hebron

By Emma and Meriam | 10 January 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Around midnight on January 10th two international, female activists were attacked by a middle aged settler woman living in the occupied area of Hebron.

After entering Shuhada Street, which is closed to Palestinians, the two women encountered a settler woman who threw a large rock at them unprovoked. When they turned to see their attacker, the woman kicked them and tried to choke them by their kuffiyehs, Palestinian scarves worn in solidarity. Both internationals called for help and screamed, but the Israeli soldier on duty some 30 meters away did not intervene. The settler woman once again picked up a rock to renew her attack.

Knowing that if they were to defend themselves they would face assault charges, the two activists chose to flee their attacker instead. The soldier did nothing to either prevent nor respond to the attack, and when the internationals asked him to call the police, the soldier said simply he did not see anything.

When asked about his indifference to the attack, the soldier answered, “What would you do if someone is bothering the h*ll out of you?” and, “I’m not allowed to leave the area around my checkpoint.”

When the police finally arrived, the same soldier translated since the police officer refused to bring along an English-speaker. The police and soldiers took advantage of the situation to make fun of, cat call, and attempt to flirt with the international women.

Although they were given a detailed account of what happened, the police wrote nothing down and gave no information about what steps would be taken to address the event or prevent future occurrences.

When it was obvious that the police were not taking down any details, the internationals suggested them to raid the area’s Israeli settler neighborhood in the same way as soldiers raid Palestinian neighborhoods when there is a suspicion of a stone-throwing. The internationals were told not to interfere or to instruct the police in how to do their jobs, and were then ordered to leave the street.

As the internationals walked home, a police car and army jeep drove up and continued at a walking pace, sandwiching the women in between the vehicles. As they walked the police continued shouting and whistling cat calls at the internationals.

Hebron or al Khalil is a Palestinian city in the south of the West Bank. A few hundred Israeli settlers occupy the very city center from within, in an area known as H2. The Israeli army has implemented a policy of apartheid and strict separation citing the protection of the Jewish illegal settlers. Movement restrictions affects tens of thousands of Palestinian residents and have led to the destruction of Hebron’s commercial center and mass abandonment of the area, and have forced people to leave their homes. Yet, the approximately 2000 soldiers stationed in the area do little or nothing to prevent settler attacks against Palestinians, which continue to escalate. In addition, Israeli soldiers control entries and exits of H2 with several checkpoints. In cases of emergency, Palestinians’ lives are sometimes left in the hands of their occupiers, since neither Palestinian ambulances nor police are allowed into the occupied area of H2.

The occupation is illegal under international law, and many reports have raised concerns of human rights violations against Palestinians living in the area. In addition, there are many accounts where the soldiers have either stood by or assisted settlers in attacks against Palestinian residents and homes.

Attacks on internationals are nothing compared to what Palestinians face on a daily basis. International Solidarity Movement views the recent attack and the failures of soldiers and police to intervene as a further escalation and approval of settler violence, intended to worsen already unbearable circumstances for Palestinians living under occupation.

Emma and Meriam are volunteers with International Solidarity Movement (names have been changed).

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | 4 Comments

Guantanamo Chief Military Defense Lawyer Orders His Attorneys Not to Agree to Communication Monitoring

ACLU | January 11, 2012

Citing Attorney-Client Privilege, Col. J.P. Colwell Tells Military Lawyers That Following New Prison Rules Would Be Unethical

NEW YORK – The top defense lawyer for the Guantánamo military commission system has ordered the attorneys under his command not to comply with rules issued by the Guantánamo prison chief that require Defense Department screening of all written materials lawyers want to send to their clients.

In an email sent Sunday and obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, Marine Col. J.P. Colwell, the chief military defense counsel for the commissions, informed all military commission defense lawyers that they were ethically obligated to refuse to follow the rules, which were issued last month. The email is available on the ACLU website.

“Col. Colwell joins an honorable line of Guantánamo military lawyers who have opposed superiors’ attempts, ostensibly in the name of security, to undermine longstanding rules necessary for a fair trial,” said Zachary Katznelson, senior staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “In seeking to force military defense counsel to cast aside their professional ethical obligations of client confidentiality, the new rules fly in the face of American justice and tradition. Once again, the government’s actions show exactly why these cases need to be in federal court where the rules are established, fair and effective.”

Guantánamo’s commander, Navy Rear Adm. David Woods, issued the rules on monitoring legal communications on Dec. 27. Under the rules, any information provided by lawyers that military censors found objectionable, such as communications about U.S. personnel who tortured the prisoners, could be kept from the prisoner and brought to the attention of the base commander. This would eliminate attorney-client privilege.

The new prison rules say that defense attorneys must agree in writing to the monitoring as a condition of communication with their clients. In his email, Colwell told military commission defense lawyers that they should not sign the monitoring agreement, and if they already had signed, then they should immediately withdraw from the agreement. Citing the ethics codes that govern every branch of the military, Colwell wrote that following the agreement and revealing such information would be “in violation” of rules for professional conduct.

The rules on communication monitoring issued by Guantánamo’s commander are available at:

www.aclu.org/national-security/orders-governing-logistics-defense-counsel-access-and-written-communications

More information on Guantánamo is available at:

www.aclu.org/close-guantanamo

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Israel ‘confiscates PA tent delivery’

Ma’an – 11/01/2012

RAMALLAH -Israel on Tuesday confiscated 75 tents belonging to the Palestinian Authority and detained drivers delivering the tents, ministers said.

Israeli forces confiscated five vehicles delivering the tents to residents of Khan al-Ahmar near Jericho, the PA cabinet said in a statement.

The drivers of the vehicle and employees of the company contracted to deliver the tents were detained and taken to Beit El military camp.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld had no immediate comment but said he would look into the report.

Israel is planning to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin community near Maale Adumin settlement, and forces have already destroyed homes in the camp. Settlers have filed a petition for the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar’s school.

The PA cabinet said the confiscation of tents was in line with Israel’s plan “to extradite the residents from their area by destroying and confiscating all means of life.”

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

‘US builds hospitals in Georgia, readies for war with Iran’

RIA Novosti | 10 January, 2012

The United States is sponsoring the construction of facilities in Georgia on the threshold of a military conflict in Iran, a member of Georgian opposition movement Public Assembly, Elizbar Javelidze has stated.

According to the academician, that explains why President Mikhail Saakashvili is roaming the republic opening new hospitals in its regions.

“These are 20-bed hospitals…It’s an American project. A big war between the US and Iran is beginning in the Persian Gulf. $5 billion was allocated for the construction of these 20-bed military hospitals,” Javelidze said in an interview with Georgian paper Kviris Kronika (News of the Week), as cited by Newsgeorgia website.

The opposition member stated that the construction is mainly paid from the American pocket.

In addition, airports are being briskly built in Georgia and there are talks of constructing a port for underwater vessels in Kulevi on the eastern Black Sea coast in Georgia.

Javelidze believes that it is all linked to the deployment of US military bases on the Georgian soil. Lazika – one of Saakashvili’s mega-projects, a new city that will be built from a scratch – will be “an American military town”. According to the politician, “a secret airdrome” has already been erected in the town of Marneuli, southern Georgia.

The opposition member wondered who would protect Georgia in case if Iran fires its missiles against US military facilities on the territory of the Caucasian state.

All in all, about 30 new hospitals and medical centers were opened in the former Soviet republic in December last year. The plan is to build over a hundred more.

As for Lazika, the Georgian president announced his ambitious idea to build a second-largest city in Georgia, its western economic and trade center, at the end of 2011. According to the plan – which was slammed by his opponents and many analysts – Saakashvili’s dream-town will become home to at least half a million people within a decade.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | 1 Comment

US Trying to Press Resolute China on Iran

Al-Manar | January 11, 2012

China disappointed US efforts on Wednesday to press it on Iran sanctions.

China hopes “Iran and the IAEA will stress cooperation and earnestly carry out the safeguards and clarify pending issues in the Iranian nuclear program as soon as possible,” said foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin as US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was holding meeting with Chinese leaders on the Iranian issue.

“To place one country’s domestic law above international law and press others to obey is not reasonable,” he added.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced that it will send inspectors to the Islamic Republic of Iran very soon.

The IAEA made the announcement on Tuesday, about a month after Iran renewed its invitation to the agency’s inspectors to visit the country’s nuclear sites.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that the hype created by the West over the beginning of enrichment activities at Iran’s Fordo nuclear site is “exaggerated” and “politically motivated.”

January 11, 2012 Posted by | Wars for Israel | Leave a comment

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