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UK Police shootings take another life

Press TV – March 4, 2012

The British police have shot a man dead during a “pre-planned” operation without any given reason, raising concerns that all the citizens facing officers in any potential operation could simply lose their lives.

The Greater Manchester Police said it can “confirm” that its officers were deployed on a pre-planned operation in Cheshire on March 3, which led to the death of an unidentified man.

The force did not clarify what prompted the shooting of the man whose car was stopped at around 7:20 pm by Cheshire police.

“As a result, one man was shot and suffered fatal injuries. This matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who will be carrying out an independent investigation and Greater Manchester Police is unable to comment further at this stage,” the police added.

There were reports after the incident that the police were chasing a number of criminals at the scene.

The Cheshire Constabulary has tried to cling at the reports, pretending the victim has been a criminal.

The constabulary said the incident has been an “isolated incident” and that “there is no risk to the community as a whole”, yet the British police’s past record raises doubts that the community is indeed open to the threat of officers in shooting sprees.

East London police shot a member of the Ghanaian minority last month saying he has been involved in a car theft and that he had threatened the officers with a knife.

The police used exactly the same pretext for the shooting of the ethnic minority man as they used to justify the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, which triggered some of the worst turbulence in the modern British history in August.

Officers shot dead the 29-year-old father of four in Tottenham area of London claiming he had fired at them.

However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) had to admit three months later that Duggan was not even holding a gun when he faced the officers.

The chain of police shootings, in ‘unclear’ circumstances, raises fears that the top brass in the force have given their officers free rein to use their guns indiscriminately, especially against suspects from minority groups, who would have received worst-scenario jail terms in case they were found guilty.

The case is especially worrying as no officers have been convicted for over 300 deaths in police custody or after arrest, recorded for the period since 1998.

The British police are now facing annual demonstrations against the persistence of police brutality and corruption.

During the latest such event in London back in October demonstrators marked the 13th consecutive year of their protest rally, distributing posters with names of 3,180 individuals killed in British custody since 1969, which should now be revised to 3,181 after the Saturday incident.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | | Comments Off on UK Police shootings take another life

Obama says when chips are down I have Israel’s back

Barack Bows Before AIPAC Like A Slave
Press TV – March 4, 2012

US President Barack Obama says Washington has remained and will remain committed to Israel’s security, despite Tel Aviv atrocities committed against Palestinians.

During his speech at the AIPAC Conference in Washington on Sunday, Obama said that there is no need to rely on his words to judge his commitment to Israel as the last three years of his record in office speaks for itself.

“At every crucial juncture, at every fork in the road, we have been there for Israel every single time,” Obama said.

Referring to Israel’s atrocities during its 22-day war on Gaza, Obama said that the US defended Israel against the Goldstone report, which accused Tel Aviv of war crimes against Gazans.

Noting that relations between Washington and Tel Aviv have never been so robust, Obama called Israel’s security sacrosanct.

“When Israel was isolated in the aftermath of the flotilla incident, we supported them. When the Durban conference was commemorated, we boycotted it, and we will always reject the notion that Zionism is racism,” He said.

“When resolutions are brought up at the Human Rights Council, we oppose them. When Israeli diplomats feared for their lives in Cairo, we intervened to help save them. When there are efforts to boycott or divest from Israel, we will stand against them,” Obama added.

“When the chips are down I have Israel’s back.”

The speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Conference, a pro-Israeli lobby group, is pivotal for Obama to keep Jewish voters [and campaign finance] happy in his 2012 reelection bid.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Inside the TV channel raided by Israel

By Daoud Kuttab | Ma’an | March 4, 2012

In the summer of 1996, I was excited to hear the good news. The Palestinian Ministry of Information had agreed to a request to grant us a license for an educational television station to broadcast in Ramallah.

With little funding and tremendous passion we began building up the station with trained staff, equipment and production capacity.

Having grown up in the US, I tried to run the new Palestinian station as a hybrid between PBS and C-Span.

In April 1997 we launched the first season ever of Sharaa Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. It was a humble production with twenty 15-minute episodes, but for us it was huge.

That summer I tried something that I thought was much more mundane: broadcasting live sessions of the newly elected Palestinian Legislative Council. This proved to be extremely dangerous to the Palestinian leadership.

After broadcasting a session of the newly elected legislature talking about corruption in the Palestinian Authority, I was called in and incarcerated by the Palestinian police. My arrest, reportedly on orders from senior Palestinian leaders, lasted a week, but brought significant publicity to our nascent station, Al Quds Educational Television.

In 2002 our station was once again in the news. As part of Israel’s reoccupation of Ramallah during the second intifada, the Israeli army’s engineering corps decided that the structure housing our station would make a convenient temporary headquarters.

Nineteen days later we were allowed back to our looted and destroyed building. Expensive camera and computer mother boards were stolen and several monitors had bullet holes in them.

This week Al Quds Educational Television and another local station, Wattan TV, were raided. Israeli troops sneaked into the city overnight, barged into the two stations and confiscated the stations’ transmitters.

Israeli officials defended their actions deep in areas supposedly under Palestinian sovereign control by asserting that the stations were “operating without a license on frequencies that could disrupt communications with planes taking off and landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport.”

Later, and under scrutiny of a reporter, officials dropped the interference with the airport justification and issued a statement by an army spokesman that “the raid followed numerous requests by the Communications Ministry that the stations cease broadcasting because of interference with Israeli broadcasting signals.”

Israel has made no claim about the content of what is broadcast on these two stations.

Palestinian Ministry of Communications officials vehemently denied that Israel ever complained about these two stations’ frequencies.

Suleiman Zuheiri, Undersecretary of Telecommunications, called the airport interference claim false. “Airport range is very different from the range used by TV stations.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad visited the stations and called the Israeli action a “clear aggression.”

The Oslo Accords signed in 1993 state that a joint committee of technical experts representing both Israelis and Palestinians should address such issues.

But Israel essentially vetoed its work by refusing to hold meetings. Palestinians were left with no choice but to issue licenses for local broadcasters. The two stations’ frequencies were officially submitted with the International Telecommunications Union in 2004 when the PA was invited as a member.

Some argue that the latest act against a Palestinian broadcaster was an attempt to appease Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis. The international community (and the Israeli High Court) has been pressing the Israeli government to dismantle settler outposts built without licenses, though international law regards as illegal all settlements built in areas occupied in 1967.

Settlers, however, have demanded that the Israeli army first demolish Palestinian homes built without a license issued by the occupation authority.

Recently, Israeli military forces accompanied by bulldozers demolished seven Palestinian houses and five animal pens near the town of Zaheria, south of Hebron in the West Bank. More than 100 Palestinians lived in these houses, which Israel says were not licensed. The bulldozed units are close to the Jewish settlement of “Tina” which is located on the periphery of Zaheria.

The latest raid on two small television stations illustrates the arrogance of the Israeli occupiers and their inference in every aspect of Palestinian life.

The unilateral nature of the raid also highlights the absence of communication between Israelis and Palestinians. No attempt was even made through Israel’s American allies or the office of Tony Blair, the international community’s peace envoy.

As the US busies itself with elections, Israel is creating facts on the ground and in the air. Palestinian aspirations to be free of foreign military occupation and to live in peace and independence alongside the state of Israel are being severely challenged.

Diplomacy and nonviolent struggle remain the keys to advancing Palestinian freedom. But with the US focused elsewhere and the Israeli government plowing ahead with illegal activities, there is a very real possibility of a return to the violence of a decade ago.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University. He was the director of Al Quds Educational Television until 2007.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , | Comments Off on Inside the TV channel raided by Israel

Hana Shalabi to continue hunger strike despite sentence reduction

Ma’an – 04/03/2012

RAMALLAH – Hana Shalabi said Sunday that she will continue her hunger strike despite an announcement by Israel’s Ofer military court that her prison time will be reduced by two months.

Lawyer Fadi Qawasmi visited Shalabi on Sunday at Hasharon prison and informed her of the court’s decision to reduce her imprisonment time by two months.

Shalabi told him that she would continue her hunger strike protest in order to achieve her demands to end administrative detention.

She has been on hunger strike for 18 days and her condition is said to have worsened recently.

Addameer prisoners society says that Shalabi was issued a 6-month administrative detention order on Feb. 23.

Ofer military court refused Qawasmi’s request to call witnesses to speak about the assault of Shalabi during her interrogation, he said.

Qawasmi also requested that a Shin Bet representative, the military commander who led the arrest and the soldier who carried out the strip search on Shalabi be called to the stand.

The court refused his demands.

Lawyer from the prisoners society Jawad Boulos said on Tuesday that Israeli court officials claimed that the reason for Shalabi’s administrative detention is because she is considered a threat to Israel’s security and safety of its people.

They also claimed that she planned military actions right after she was released.

Hana Shalabi, from the northern West Bank village Burqin, is being held without charge since her detention on Feb. 16. She announced her hunger strike immediately after soldiers seized her from the family’s Jenin-district home.

Shalabi was freed in October 2011 when Hamas secured the release of more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier.

She had spent 25 months in administrative detention, under procedures that allow Israel to detain Palestinians for renewable terms of six months without pressing charges, using laws dating back to the British Mandate period.

Israel is holding 309 Palestinians in administrative detention, according to figures by prisoners rights group Addameer. There are currently six Palestinian woman in Israeli custody.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apartheid is a crime, not an analogy

By Joe Catron | Ma’an | March 4, 2012

As Israeli Apartheid Week unfolds around the world, apologists for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people scramble to defend their chosen regime’s system of racism, ethnic cleansing, and occupation, against the charge of apartheid.

“The apartheid analogy is fatally flawed,” the Jerusalem Connection’s Shelley Neese writes. The David Project’s David Bernstein says, “The apartheid analogy is specious and absurd.” The Anti-Defamation League has even circulated an old report: “The Apartheid Analogy: Wrong for Israel.”

These commentators are right, but not for the reasons they claim. An apartheid ‘analogy’ is fatally flawed, specious, absurd, and wrong for Israel because apartheid is not an analogy, but a crime as well-defined in law as embezzlement or kidnapping.

The most relevant statute, the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, perhaps muddies the waters by stating that “the term ‘the crime of apartheid’ … shall include similar practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa.”

But it goes on to define exactly what those and other “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them” are.

Most will sound familiar to anyone who follows news from Palestine. The ban on “arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups” should bring to mind Hana Shalabi, Khader Adnan, and 307 other administrative detainees held indefinitely without charges, evidence, or trials. This is further to the 4,078 Palestinian political prisoners sentenced by military courts or facing the imminent prospect, all under occupation laws no Jew will ever face.

The prohibition of “measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country” could have been meant to describe discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

They are barred by law from their country’s ethnically-cleansed land controlled by the Jewish National Fund, face forcible displacement in the Naqab and Jim Crow-style ‘admissions committees’ when seeking new homes, and have never — over nearly 64 years of occupation — been allowed to construct a new community.

And one could write volumes about Zionist “measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group” in the occupied West Bank alone.

There, illegal settlements and the Apartheid Wall carve Palestinian communities into segmented Bantustans, separating inhabitants from natural resources and their families and friends in a steady process that began with the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland in 1948: racial partition writ large.

The 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court specifically proscribes such ethnic cleansing, defining “the crime of apartheid” to include “deportation or forcible transfer of population … in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

This aptly summarizes an unbroken chain of crimes committed by Zionists, from the Nakba of 1948 to the Naqab of today.

Of course astute Zionists know all of this very well. They target an imaginary apartheid ‘analogy’ because it can only work to their advantage.

Palestinians and allies bogged down in fruitless debates over how much or how little Palestine in 2012 resembles South Africa in 1973 will spend that much less time driving home their actual point: that Israel’s culpability in the crimes of apartheid and ethnic cleansing, as clearly defined and universally understood, is obvious.

Unfortunately, many well-intentioned supporters of Palestine fall into this carefully-laid trap. A promotional summary of the new documentary Roadmap to Apartheid promises that the film “winds its way through the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel moving from town to town and issue to issue to show why the apartheid analogy is being used with increasing potency.”

Such an historical comparison may interest viewers. But by casting apartheid as an ‘analogy’, rather than a straightforward question of international law, it risks confusing them with irrelevant distractions.

A 21st-century apartheid regime, toasted in foreign capitals and benefiting from new technologies of surveillance, control, and violence, will differ significantly from an earlier, internationally-isolated, and less-advanced one.

Incidentally, these differences do not favor Israel. After visiting Palestine in 2006, Willie Madisha, former president of South Africa’s Congress of South African Trade Unions, commented: “The horrendous dehumanization of Black South Africans during the erstwhile Apartheid years is a Sunday picnic, compared with what I saw and what I know is happening to the Palestinian people.”

Following his own 2004 visit, South African activist Arun Gandhi agreed: “When I come here and see the situation here, I find that what is happening here is ten times worse than what I had experienced in South Africa. This is Apartheid.”

John Dugard, a South African professor of international law and a former Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council for the Gaza Strip and West Bank, has observed that “every black South African that I’ve spoken to who has visited the Palestinian territory has been horrified and has said without hesitation that the system that applies in Palestine is worse.”

Yet even these comparisons, though they may favor Palestine, are beside the point. Israeli policies constitute the crime of apartheid not because they resemble those of South Africa, or even because they are worse, but rather because a well-established body of international law defines them as such.

The common elements of national oppression, from South Africa and Palestine to Ireland and the indigenous Americas, matter. But we should not confuse the building blocks of international solidarity with a suitable basis for legal analysis.

Why choose to make one of the easiest, most straightforward questions about Palestine unnecessarily difficult? And when Zionists attempt to do so, why should we play along with them?

Joe Catron is an international solidarity activist and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions organizer in the Gaza Strip.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

Afghans turn on occupiers

By Eric S. Margolis | Khaleej Times | 4 March 2012

Shock, incomprehension, fury. Americans are feeling these raw emotions as news keeps coming in of more attacks by Afghan government soldiers and officials on US and NATO troops. Six US troops were killed last week as a result of protests across Afghanistan following the burning of the Holy Quran by incredibly dim-witted American soldiers.

“Aren’t they supposed to be our allies? We are over there to save them! What outrageous ingratitude,” ask angry, confused Americans.

Angry Britons asked the same questions in 1857 when “sepoys,” individual mercenary soldiers of Britain’s Imperial Indian Army, then entire units rebelled and began attacking British military garrisons and their families. British history calls it the “Indian Mutiny.” Indians call it the “Great Rebellion” marking India’s first striving for freedom from the British Raj and the Indian vassal princes who so dutifully served it.

Britons were outraged by the “perfidy” and “treachery” of their Indian sepoys who were assumed to be totally loyal because they were fighting for the king’s shilling. Victorian Britain reeled from accounts of frightful massacres of Britons at places like Lucknow, Cawnpore, Delhi, and Calcutta’s infamous “black hole.”

As Karl Marx observed watching the ghastly events in India, western democracies cease practicing what they preach in their colonies. British forces in India, backed by loyal native units, mercilessly crushed the Indian rebels. Rebel ringleaders were tied to the mouths of cannon and blown to bits, or hanged en masse.

Today’s Afghanistan recalls Imperial India. Forces of the US-installed Kabul government, numbering about 310,000 men, are composed of Tajiks and Uzbeks from the north, some Shia Hazaras, and a hodgepodge of rogue Pashtun and mercenary groups. Ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks served the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan as well as the puppet Afghan Communist Party. Today, as then, Tajiks and Uzbeks form the core of government armed forces and secret police. They are the blood enemies of the majority Pashtun, who fill the ranks of Taleban and its allies in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan.

But half the Afghan armed forces and police serve only to support their families. The Afghan economy under NATO’s rule is now so bad that even in Kabul, thousands are starving or dying from intense cold. Half of Afghans are unemployed and must seek work from the US-financed government.

But loyal they are not. While covering the 1980’s jihad against Soviet occupation, I saw everywhere that soldiers and officials supposedly loyal to the Communist Najibullah regime in Kabul kept in constant touch with the anti-Soviet mujahidin and reported all Soviet and government troops movements well in advance. The same thing occurs today in Afghanistan. Taleban know about most NATO troops operations before they leave their fortified bases. Among Afghans, the strongest bonds of loyalty are family, clan and tribal connections. They cut across all politics and ideology.

Afghans are a proud, prickly people who, as I often saw, take offense all too easily. Pashtuns are infamous for never forgetting an offense, real or imagines, and biding their time to strike back. This is precisely what has been happening in Afghanistan, where arrogant, culturally ignorant US and NATO ‘advisors’ – who are really modern versions of the British Raj’s “white officers leading native troops”- offend and outrage the combustible Afghans. Those who believe 20-year old American soldiers from the Hillbilly Ozarks can win the hearts and minds of Pashtun tribesmen are fools.

Proud Pashtun Afghans can take just so much from unloved, often detested foreign “infidels” advisors before exploding and exacting revenge. This also happened during the Soviet era. But some Soviet officers at least had more refined cultural sensibilities in dealing with Afghan. US-Afghan relations are not going to flowers when American troops call the Afghans “sand niggers” and “towel heads.” Many US GI’s hail from the deep south.

Many Afghans have just had enough of their foreign occupiers. The Americans have lost their Afghan War. As the Imperial British used to say: you can only rent Afghans for so long. One day they will turn and cut your throat.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

US Forces Operating in Yemen: Pentagon

Press TV – March 4, 2012

The Pentagon has for the first time confirmed that US forces are operating inside Yemen, after a group of American officers came under attack in south of the Arab country.

Yemeni militia claimed on Friday that they had killed a CIA officer in an exchange of fire in the southern city of Aden “after tracking him and determining he was cooperating with the Sana’a government.”

A pentagon spokesman in Washington denied the report of the death but confirmed that a US security team in Aden had been attacked, claiming the team members suffered no injuries.

A Yemeni security official had also confirmed that a gunman had fired several shots at a vehicle carrying US security officers without injuring anyone.

The admission by the US Department of Defense came following numerous previous claims by the US government which denied the deployment of ground troops to Yemen.

The US had for decades propped up the regime of Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh who recently handed presidency to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansur al-Hadi after a single-candidate election shored up by Washington and Riyadh. Hadi is a UK-trained field marshal.

Protesters in Yemen continue to demand the removal of the regime which abounds with officials from the Ali Abdullah Saleh-era.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Comments Off on US Forces Operating in Yemen: Pentagon