A US military judge has recommended no time in confinement for a Marine accused of involvement in a massacre in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005 that left 24 civilians dead.
The judge made the ruling in the case of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich on Tuesday at Camp Pendleton, California, but the decision still must be approved by the commander of the Marine Corps Forces Central Command.
Wuterich was one of eight Marines originally charged with killing Iraqi civilians, including women, children, elderly people, and a man in a wheelchair.
The charges against six of them were dropped or dismissed, and one was acquitted in a court-martial.
On Monday, Wuterich agreed to a plea deal, according to which he would plead guilty to a single count of dereliction of duty and face a maximum of three months confinement, a two-thirds cut in pay, and a rank demotion to private.
Before the plea, he faced nine counts of manslaughter, assault, and dereliction of duty.
Gary Solis, a former Marine lawyer now teaching the law of war at Georgetown University, said on Monday that if the Wuterich case is studied by future military lawyers, it may be as an example of how not to investigate and prosecute a case.
In the incident, dubbed the Massacre of Haditha by the media, Sgt. Wuterich led his Marine squad on a bloody rampage that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.
The massacre caused international outrage and was one of the main reasons that the Iraqi government refused to extend immunity to US forces in the country in 2011.
- Marine Gets Light Sentence for Massacre of Iraqi Civilians (2012indyinfo.com)
GoddardsJournal | January 22, 2012
DOE: “Supporting Our Nation’s Nuclear Industry”
DOE low-dose study:
DOE low-dose study press release
DOE Low Dose Radiation Research Program:
Bhatti et al (2010) finds high genetic damage at low doses in vivo
- Instead of Protecting People, Governments Cover Up by Raising “Safe” Radiation Levels (zerohedge.com)
- Fukushima and the Battle for Truth (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Fear of background radiation (japantimes.co.jp)
After the catastrophic trifecta of the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in Japan last March—what the Japanese are referring to as their 3/11—you would think the Japanese government would be doing everything in its power to contain the disaster. You would be wrong—dead wrong.
Instead of collecting, isolating, and guarding the millions of tons of radioactive rubble that resulted from the chain reaction of the 9.0 earthquake, the subsequent 45- to 50-foot wall of water that swamped the plant and disabled the cooling systems for the reactors, and the ensuing meltdowns, Japanese Environment Minister Goshi Hosono says that the entire country must share Fukushima’s plight by accepting debris from the disaster.
The tsunami left an estimated 20 million tons of wreckage on the land, much of which—now ten months after the start of the disaster—is festering in stinking piles throughout the stricken region. (Up to 20 million more tons of rubble from the disaster—estimated to cover an area approximately the size of California—is also circulating in the Pacific.) The enormous volume of waste is much more than the disaster areas can handle. So, in an apparent attempt to return this region to some semblance of normal life, the plan is to spread out the waste to as many communities across the country as will take it.
At the end of September, Tokyo signed an agreement to accept 500,000 metric tons of rubble from Iwate Prefecture, one of eight prefectures designated for cleanup under a new nuclear decontamination law passed on January 1. The law allows for much of the radioactively contaminated rubble to be incinerated, a practice that has been underway at least since the end of June.
But the sheer amount of radioactive rubble is proving difficult to process. The municipal government of Kashiwa, in Chiba Prefecture to the west and south of Tokyo, recently shut down one of its main incinerators, because it can’t store any more than the 200 metric tons of radioactive ash it already has that is too contaminated to bury in a landfill.
According to the California-based Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN), burning Fukushima’s radioactive rubble is the worst possible way to deal with the problem. That’s because incinerating it releases much more radioactivity into the air, not only magnifying the contamination all over Japan but also sending it up into the jet stream. Once in the jet stream, the radioactive particles travel across the Northern Hemisphere, coming back down to earth with rain, snow, or other precipitation. Five days after the Fukushima meltdowns began, radioactive fallout from the disaster reached the West Coast of the United States. Approximately a week later, Fukushima fallout was measured as far away as France.
In October, the journal Nature reported that the Japanese government’s initial estimates of radiation from Fukushima were substantially less than what Scandinavian researchers calculated from a global network of radiation monitoring stations that the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization uses to detect nuclear weapons tests. … Full article
- TEPCO: Fukushima Radiation Isn’t Our Problem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Public health fallout from Japanese quake (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- As Fukushima Cleanup Begins, Long-term Impacts are Weighed (e360.yale.edu)
- Not gone fission: New fears at Fukushima (rt.com)
- Radioactive Concrete From Fukushima Found In New Construction (news.slashdot.org)
Does this look like “incitement” to you?
In the run-up to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference at the University of Pennsylvania in early February, at which I will be spearking, the defamation and fabrication machines of anti-Palestinian groups have gone into over-drive.
In December, StandWithUS attempted to smear me as an “anti-Semite” with fabricated quotes.
And just yesterday, my colleague Ben White was subjected to prominent smears that he is an “anti-Semite” in the Israeli press. That in turn is part of an escalating campaign against human rights and equality champion Haneen Zoabi.
The latest smear against me comes in a column by Emily Schrader in The College Fix which slyly accuses me of “incitement to violence against Israelis.” Schrader is identified only as “a senior at the University of Southern California.” Here’s what Schrader writes:
Among the presenters scheduled to speak are Palestinian human rights attorney Noura Erakat, Jewish-American author Anna Baltzer, and the keynote speaker, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah. Abunimah in particular is highly controversial, having repeatedly condemned a two-state solution, and having gone on record with comments that sound a great deal like incitement to violence against Israelis.
In 2002 he told the Washington Post, “If Israel is going to maintain a military occupation over millions of people by nothing but brute force, then no power on earth is going to stop some of these occupied people responding in kind. The only way to end the violence is to end the occupation.”
It is assumed that by “occupied territories” Abunimah is referring to the land acquired by Israel in the 1967 war. But he ignores the fact that there were a remarkable number of terror attacks against the Jewish state prior to Israel’s acquisition of the “occupied” territories.
This quote is taken from the transcript of online chat I did with Washington Post readers on 8 May 2002, at the height of the second Intifada. It makes me chuckle to think that the writer had to go back ten years to find a quote that she could distort into a smear. Seriously Emily, 2002?
Here’s the first exchange in the transcript:
Minneapolis, Minn.: Don’t suicide bombers prevent any prospect peace process from being successful?
Islam forbids suicide – then why do suicide bombers commit this act in the name of religion?
Ali Abunimah: I think that all violence against innocent civilians diminishes the prospects of peace, and this is certainly true of suicide bombings like the one we just saw. Such bombings are horrific and need to stop. What we need to add however is that most of the violence directed against innocent civilians has come from Israel. While several hundred innocent Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, five times as many innocent Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Israel says that this is merely an “accident” and that it is acting in self-defense. Every human rights group that has examined Israel’s actions, however, has found very deliberate targeting of civilians, wanton and deliberate use of force, and other grave abuses, such as torture. We will never know the full truth of what happened in Jenin because Israel blocked the UN Security Council-mandated inquiry, but both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found evidence of Israeli war crimes. All of this Israeli violence which is designed to maintain Israel’s military occupation of 3.5 million Palestinians is what is provoking and producing the violence. As long as Israeli chooses violence as its only way of addressing the Palestinians, then there will always be some Palestinians who choose violence in response. The only way to break this devastating cycle is a political process that quickly ends Israel’s occupation and gives the Palestinians their freedom.
Does that sound like “incitement” to you? If you read through the rest of the transcript let me know if you find anything else that fits the description.
Who is behind this?
Schrader it turns out, learns from the best. Here she endorses the “Israel Advocacy Mission” of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a group founded and run by the fanatically Islamophobic Pastor John Hagee.
Oh, and Schrader apparently works for notorious quote fabricators StandWithUs.
Why do they do it?
It has become more and more clear that as the message is getting out that BDS is a tactic to help bring about universal human rights, it is very difficult for anti-Palestinian groups to defame us using the standard stereotypes of violent, angry terrorists that Israel has relied on for so long.
So increasingly pro-Israel advocates must resort to outright fabrications and laughable distortions in the hope that if a lie is repeated enough it will become the truth.
But the amateurish way these lies and fabrications are done and the speed with which they are exposed only discredits their authors and strengthens us.
- Right-wing attack group caught fabricating quotes in effort to smear critics of Israel (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Consul General wants to rescue US town from ‘foreign’ influence (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Olympia Food Co-op fights back against Israel-backed anti-boycott lawsuit (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- In blow to Israel, French BDS activists acquitted of crime in calling for boycott (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Strauss Group, the company that openly supports the Israeli army and makes Sabra brand hummus, is trying a new advertising strategy to hide its Israeli connections and combat a growing boycott movement.
It is to depict Arabs and Muslims in its ads as a form of cover. Should we call this “Arabwashing?”
An EI reader wrote to us this week after seeing the ad on a children’s cable channel in the US:
On Nick Jr. this morning they had a commercial with hijabi women [Muslim women wearing a head covering] in it and I was excited to see that! They showed some other multicultural people (I remember a rastafarian looking group) and back to the Muslims weighing chickpeas etc. Everyone gathers at a huge table in a beautiful field and they reveal the commercial is for Sabra hummus.
The 30-second ad is called “Sabra World Table” and can be found on YouTube.
Stock characters at the service of consumer desires
The ad begins with a young, blonde woman ringing a bell outside a beautiful suburban home – this presumably is the person with whom the ad viewer is supposed to identify.
As she rings the bell, an Arab woman in a far-away market place hears it and is summoned to action, rather like a genie hearing the call of its master. The marketplace looks strikingly like the markets of Hebron or the Old City of Jerusalem, which Israel has invaded, settled and done its best to place off limits to indigenous Palestinian inhabitants, merchants and customers.
Then another man, who looks like a character from Fiddler on the Roof hears the bell in what appears to be a caricature of an east European shtetl – except that he lifts up a basket of olives.
Other “colorful” ethnic characters – including Africans and Asians – leap into action at the sound of the white woman’s bell and bring “the fresh flavors of the world” to her suburban backyard.
The boycott is biting Sabra hummus
There’s a number of messages from this ad:
- It makes no mention of Israel, even though the Strauss Group notoriously supports the Givati and Golani brigades of the Israeli army which have been responsible for occupation and war crimes over many years.
- It presents hummus, Sabra’s main product, as simultaneously “ethnic” and exotic but also not belonging to any specific culture. This functions as a continuation of Israel’s attempt to appropriate specifically Arab foods, which have typically targeted hummus, falafel, maftoul (“Israeli coucous”) and most recently Palestine’s traditional olive oil culture and production and to erase their origins.
- The presentation of Sabra as harmonious with a happy feast among people of every background is grossly inconguous given the reality of rampant racism against Africans in Israel, and the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians whose traditional ways of life this ad both caricatures and purports to celebrate.
The ad also indicates that the growing movement to boycott Sabra over its support for the Israeli army is having an impact – hence this sort of desperate messaging.
Students all over the US have raised awareness about Sabra’s support for the Israeli army. In May last year, for example, students at Chicago’s DePaul University voted by a huge margin to ban Sabra hummus.
Most recently, Illinois high school student Nadine Darwish wrote about her successful effort to have her school offer an ethical alternative to Sabra-brand hummus.
- This is the editorial I was *planning* on turning in, regarding Sabra. (palestiniandreamer.wordpress.com)
On his visit to Switzerland, Hamas spokesperson Mushir al-Masri unequivocally condemned the Jerusalem Light Rail project. French companies Veolia and Alstom should stop assisting the occupier and leave Jerusalem, he said.
Al-Masri headed a delegation of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) to the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva. The Electronic Intifada reported on the first official visit of Hamas members to a European country since the 2006 PLC elections. I interviewed Al-Masri on Thursday, 19 January, about his views on the Israeli Jerusalem Light Rail project.
The first line of the light rail connects West Jerusalem with the illegal settlements of Pisgat Ze’ev and French Hill in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. This status has been confirmed repeatedly by numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank.
I wrote about the negative impact of the light rail on Palestinian Shuafat in my blog of 14 December. The first line of the light rail – for which two thousand square meters of land belonging to Shuafat resident Mahmoud al-Mashni have been confiscated – has three stops in Shuafat.
Jerusalem Light Rail stop in Shuafat, 30 December 2011, 11.50 am (Ibrahim Yousef)
According to Al-Masri, “This a dangerous project, well planned by the occupier to maintain, strengthen, change the image of Jerusalem. To destroy the historical monuments of Islam. The aim is to link West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem and to make sure that Jerusalem will be the eternal capital of Israel. It proves that Israel does not believe in peace.”
When I inform him that Veolia repeatedly states that the light rail is important for the Palestinians because they use it, he responds: “Any company that assists the occupier does not contribute to peace. They should leave Jerusalem. They should respect the resolutions of international organizations. Companies that support the occupation violate international law. If Palestinians use the light rail, it is not an argument. They maybe have to use it because it is a means of transport that is available. Veolia should not look for excuses for the occupation.”
Through its spokesperson Al-Masri, Hamas has joined the protests and criticism against the Jerusalem Light Rail and the two French companies involved in it: Veolia and Alstom. Palestinian non-governmental organizations, the PLO, the Arab League, international law experts, solidarity activists, churches, trade unions, city councils, socially responsible investment advisers and pension funds have called on Veolia to end their involvement in Israeli projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
However, Veolia has chosen to continue its collaboration with the Israeli authorities in a project that was developed to serve the needs of the settlers in East Jerusalem. Veolia has therefore been targeted by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Veolia Israel’s CEO Arnon Fishbein commented on Veolia’s attempts to sell off its shares in the light rail to Egged in the Israeli magazine The Marker on 26 January. “There were pressures inside Veolia, because there are many among the group who believe the company lost a lot of contracts because of this project”, he admits. “One way or another, we will never leave a contract in the middle”, says Fishbein. (Translated from Hebrew)
It is unlikely that the deal with Egged will be approved because Israel requires the operator to be a foreign and experienced company. According to The Marker, banks are not happy to entrust the project in the inexperienced hands of Egged.
Fishbein sums up Veolia’s commitment to the Jerusalem Light Rail: “We are not running away from any contract. We made a business agreement. If it would be approved, we’ll be happy to carry on with it. If not – we won’t stop the train.”
Instead of listening to the voice of the Palestinians and respecting decisions of UN bodies, Veolia Israel’s CEO expresses clearly the company’s dedication to a project of the occupying power Israel. The global BDS Movement will therefore continue its activism against Veolia.
- Veolia dumps Israel’s waste in Jordan Valley and wins Israeli army contract (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Veolia Takes Severe Blow As It Fails To Win 485 Million Pound Contract In West London (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian Freedom Riders to challenge segregation by riding settler buses to Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Israeli Military Court at the Ofer Israeli prison, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, decided to imprison the elected head of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Dr. Aziz Dweik, to six months administrative detention.
On Sunday, a court was held to look into the possibility of placing him under administrative detention, without any charges officially filed against him.
Both Dr. Dweik and legislator Khaled Tafesh, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, were taken prisoner on Friday.
Representing Dr. Dweik, Lawyer Fadi Al-Qawasmi stated that the court issued the administrative detention order despite the fact that no charges were brought against his client.
The Palestinian Legislative Council slammed the Israeli court ruling against Dr. Dweik, and demanded the release of all elected legislators, ministers, and officials.
On Thursday at dawn, Israeli troops kidnapped legislator, Abdul-Jaber Foqaha, after breaking into his home in Ramallah. Soldiers confiscated documents, a mobile phone, and a computer that belong to the legislator.
On Sunday, Israeli troops broke into the International Red Cross headquarters in Jerusalem, and kidnapped two Palestinian members of parliament.
Khaled Abu Arfa and Mohammed Totah, both members of the political wing of the Hamas movement and elected MPs, were detained from the IRC headquarters, having spent over 18 months seeking refuge in the building following Israel’s illegal revocation of their Jerusalem residency.
Israel is currently holding prisoner 26 elected Palestinians legislators.
The Hamas movement stated that Israel is acting on obstructing and foiling all efforts to create a national unity government, and wants to destroy any chances of Palestinian reconciliation.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says a new Arab League proposal that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down is “outrageous interference” in Syria’s internal affairs.
Muallem said in a press conference in the capital Damascus on Tuesday that Syria “will not accept the plan that infringes upon Syria’s sovereignty.”
On Sunday, the Arab League issued a statement after a meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, calling on President Assad to “transfer power to the vice president to form a government of national unity within two months.”
Sudanese General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, the head of the observer mission in Syria, said in a press conference in Cairo on Monday the situation has improved in Syria since the monitoring mission began on December 26, 2011.
The Syrian foreign minister said the Arab League has made “political decisions instead of discussing its observer mission’s report on Syria.”
Muallem added that the report proves that “armed gangs are still active in Syria and that the Syrian government is decisively fighting against them.”
Muallem’s remarks come as the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council member states jointly announced on Tuesday that the countries have decided to “follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria.”
On Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Riyadh is withdrawing from the observer mission because “the Syrian government has not respected any of the clauses” of the Arab League resolution to end the unrest in Syria.
The withdrawal decision was made despite the final statement of the Sunday Arab League meeting in Cairo that said the organization “agreed to extend the mission and boost the number of observers” in Syria.
The Syrian government says foreign-sponsored “outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” are responsible for the unrest in the country that broke out in mid-March 2011.