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Israel declares itself to be a light unto the nations. It also violates 15 of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By Yosi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | December 17, 2013

When Israel was established, its founders made sure to emphasize, in its Declaration of Independence, the universal values of Jewish tradition: “The State of Israel […] will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” Later on, the Knesset  voted to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, Israel is in the habit of calling itself “the only democracy in the Middle East”, and since its earliest days, its leaders were partial to the term “a light unto the nations.” As we mark Human Rights Day, we should examine whether Israel stands by the high rhetoric of its founders, and whether it fulfills the Declaration of Human Rights.

As every person living in Israel knows, assuming their  eyes are open and their  hearts are not blocked, Israel and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have a rocky relationship. In the beginning of 2010, Gideon Sa’ar’s Ministry of Education decided to stop teaching the Declaration at schools (Hebrew), since it informs tender children of their right to convert to another religion and even, heaven forbid, live somewhere other than Israel. However, this is just a minor problem; reading the text of the Declaration shows that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories violates 15 of its articles. Given that there are only 30 of them, that’s quite impressive.

Let us begin. The first violation comes with the first operative article of the Declaration, Article 2. It states, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.” Only, as everyone knows,   after “no distinction shall be made”, the text is irrelevant in the territories occupied by Israel. Article 2 is sort of an umbrella article; the following ones will note specific violations.

Article 3 of the Declaration states,  “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Except that those living under Israeli rule in the West Bank are entitled to none of the above. The indictment rate for  Israeli soldiers who have killed Palestinian non-combatants  is negligible. Since 2000, only seven soldiers were put on trial and convicted for crimes involving the death of Palestinians; the number of Palestinian deaths since 2000 is estimated at over 5,000. IDF soldiers need no warrant to break into Palestinian homes; they are authorized to arrest them without any explanation, and from time to time enforce curfews on Palestinian towns and villages.

Next. Article 5 of the Declaration states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Anyone familiar with the way our security services operate, or with the fact that, on many occasions, IDF soldiers beat up Palestinian detainees, knows that this article is often violated. Furthermore, it’s hard to see the standard procedure of blindfolding prisoners as anything but “degrading treatment.”

The fourth violation of the Declaration comes with Article 7: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” Except, the whole essence of the occupation is creating two populations in the same region, with two different sets of rights and two different legal systems. Discrimination manifests itself not just in the laws themselves, but also through unequal enforcement. To put it mildly, the Jewish victim of a crime in the OPT is significantly more likely to see justice served than would a Palestinian living in a neighboring village.  .

The fifth violation also comes from the legal world: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile,” declares Article 7. Except for the fact that the occupation forces maintain the right to hold a person in administrative detention, that is, held without charges and deprived of the right to defend himself in court. It’s hard to imagine a more “arbitrary arrest or detention” than that. Furthermore, from time to time Israel exiles Palestinians – in the last few years mostly from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, but it used to exile them to Lebanon and other countries, not to mention the internal displacement looming over South Hebron residents.

Article 10 of the Declaration states  that “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal.” But it’s doubtful whether you can call our military courts “an independent and impartial tribunal” with a straight face. Their conviction rate is 99.7%. The British courts in India used to take pride in the large number of Indians who served there as judges; in Israel’s military courts, Palestinians naturally have nary a chance of being sentenced by a Palestinian. Israel once recruited police officers from among the occupied population, but it never imagined allowing them to sit in judgment. Israel’s military courts are a foreman’s court, conducted in the foreman’s language.

As far as the military courts are concerned, Article 11 of the Declaration is also troublesome: it says that, “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” My emphasis. The military courts of Israel are notorious for allowing “secret evidence” presented to the judges by the prosecution, the content of which the defendant has no knowledge, nor is able to contradict.  This  means that the conviction of a defendant relies, at least in large part, on  evidence  that he has not had the opportunity to refute, and whose  absurdities or lies he cannot expose. Such “secret evidence”, fabricated to the gills, was the crux of the Dreyfus Affair. The French court, when exonerating Captain Dreyfus, ruled that the admission of “secret evidence” is incompatible with the right of a person to a legal defense. Dreyfus would, in time, be decorated by the thankful Republic with its highest decoration, the Légion d’honneur, because “by defending his own honor, he defended the nation’s ” and prevented it from jailing an innocent man. It’s been almost 120 years since Dreyfus’ infamous court-martial, and the Israeli military courts are yet to absorb this simple lesson.

Article 12 states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.” As noted above, Palestinians have no defense against arbitrary search of their homes. In fact, their houses sometimes serve as military training sites.

Onwards! Article 13 declares, “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” However, Israel enforces a rigid “permit regime” in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and it operates checkpoints which cut the West Bank into fragments. Our colleagues at Gisha can tell you more about just how fastidious Israel is about the right of Palestinians to move from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip and vice versa. Some Palestinians are even barred from travel outside the West Bank at all. And of course, residents of East Jerusalem, which though Israel may have forgotten, is part of what the world views as occupied territory and is contiguous with the West Bank, risk losing their ability to return to their homes should they leave for a few years – say, for familial, economic or educational reasons – even if they only leave to the West Bank.

Article 15 declares plainly that “Everyone has the right to a nationality.” We shan’t belabor that point. Article 17 also seems to be so simple as to be self-evident: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”  It is, however, anything but. Ask the villagers whose land is slowly being devoured by illegal outposts; ask the residents of Dura al-Qara, whose land was confiscated in what the State now stammers is a “frozen military need”, and left unused.

While Article 19 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” Israel has employed brutal censorship for years towards the occupied people/ The IDF responds harshly to protests across the West Bank, resulting in many of Yesh Din’s complaints of unwarranted injuries, and it still detains people from time to time for “holding inciting material.” The military orders in force in the West Bank effectively make every demonstration an illegal one. For this reason, Article 20 of the Declaration – ” Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association” – is  dead letter in the West Bank.

Article 21 declares that “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.” Palestinians living in Areas B and C are effectively subjects of the Israeli government, which they never elected and which they have no way of electing or being elected to. Also, given that Israel forbids Hamas to participate in the Palestinian elections, which grant limited powers to a Palestinian government, and given that it maintains the right to detain Palestinian politicians as it sees fit, one can hardly speak of “the will of the people.”

But perhaps the most painful violation is that which should be most obvious: “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection,” says Article 25. Anyone who has seen detained children, quite a few of them under the age of discretion; anyone who has compared the special rights given to accused minors in the Israeli system with the almost dearth of comparable rights granted to Palestinian minors in the military courts; and anyone who has observed our brave troops raiding a house at night, handcuffing a child and blindfolding him; and anyone who understands the psychological damage to children witnessing their parents brutally arrested at gunpoint at night in their beds knows just how the most obvious is anything but that in the territories under Israeli occupation.

Yet these many violations, we should remind you, are not a force of nature, do not stand of their own power; they are no ancient, unbreakable law; they are man-made, they are an act we fund, carried out by those we empower to act and whose actions we approve – admittedly, mostly by averting our eyes. But we can mend this; and we shall.

We shall overcome.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israel declares itself to be a light unto the nations. It also violates 15 of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Ecuador: Government Announces End of Cooperation with USAID

By Lucy Adler | The Argentina Independent | December 17, 2013

Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa (photo by Miguel Ángel Romero/Ecuadorean presidency)

Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa (photo by Miguel Ángel Romero/Ecuadorean presidency)

The Ecuadorian government released a statement on Monday announcing that the country would no longer be collaborating with USAID, a US agency for International development.

The Ministry for International Development (SETECI) released a statement explaining the decision to cut ties with USAID. “The last bilateral cooperation programme between Ecuador and the US was signed in 2007 and the projects resulting from this collaboration are now finishing. Given that we have not negotiated a new a agreement, SETECI has informed USAID that they cannot carry out any new projects, nor extend the deadlines of projects currently underway.” The statement added that cooperation would remain suspended “until our governments negotiate and sign a new bilateral cooperation agreement”.

According to the SETECI, since 2007, USAID had invested a yearly average of US$32mn in initiatives in Ecuador, the majority of which were implemented by local and international NGOs.

The United States ambassador in Quito also released a statement on the matter, indicating that over the last two years the two countries had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate “an agreement which would allow USAID’s work in Ecuador to continue”. The statement went on to say that due to the “indefinite freeze on USAID activities” implemented by the Ecuadorian government, the organisation would have to cancel four projects which looked to protect the environment and strengthen civil society, and which were currently underway.

In June 2012, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa had threatened to expel USAID from Ecuador after accusing the organisation of giving financial support to opposition groups and getting involved in the country’s internal politics. At the time he said that other countries in the region were also considering ending relations with USAID.

In May 2013, Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled USAID from Bolivia, stating that the agency was conspiring against his government.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Ecuador: Government Announces End of Cooperation with USAID

Beyond the Military: Investigating the Civilian Role in the Argentine Dictatorship

By Tess Bennett | The Argentina Independent | December 17, 2013

Last Friday, after 13 months and 400 witness testimonies, the mega-lawsuit in Federal Court of Tucumán found 37 of 41 defendants guilty of crimes against humanity during the 1976-83 dictatorship in Argentina. In the historic trial, known as Jefatura II-Arsenales II, four civilians were among the accused: two were pardoned and two were convicted for their involvement in the dictatorship.

María Elena Guerra, a civilian and ex-police officer, and Guillermo Francisco Lopez Guerrero, a civil intelligence agent, joined a select few civilians who have been found guilty of crimes committed during the brutal seven-year military regime, in which some 30,000 people were kidnapped and killed or ‘disappeared’.

Since the trials were reopened in 2003, hundreds of members of the military have been sentenced to prison for crimes committed during the dictatorship. However, it was only in December last year that James Smart, a former government minister of the Province of Buenos Aires, became the first civilian to be convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship. He was sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed in six clandesine detention centres.

These landmark rulings demonstrate how, after 30 years of democratic rule, the way Argentines, politicians, and the legal system examine crimes from this period has evolved, with the focus turning more recently to the role of businesses and civilians in the human rights atrocities of that period.

Human rights groups have long used the term ‘civic-military dictatorship’ to acknowledge the complicity and support of some civilian sectors. But the title has become increasingly common in recent years under the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration, opening the door for a number of emblematic trials investigating the role of these civilians, with the aim of bringing the impunity of the powerful to an end.

Causes of the Coup: A New Economic Model

Human rights groups argue that economic motives were behind the 24th March 1976 coup, saying it can no longer be argued that the objective was only to combat “subversion”. They believe so-called “captains of industry” collaborated with military leaders to perpetrate crimes against humanity for economic gain.

Last week, Banco de la Nación Argentina officially recognised Roberto Hugo Barrera as the 31st employee still missing – disappeared – after being kidnapped during the dictatorship. The institution has been an important player in the drive to highlight the economic motives behind the so-called ‘National Reorganisation Process’ implemented by the military junta.

Graciela Navarro, President of the Commission of the Banco de la Nación Personnel for Memory, Truth and Justice told The Argentina Independent that when identifying what occurred in 1976, it is first important to understand that there was no “war.”

“There were operations of some armed groups, but these were isolated. There was never a war here. It was always state terrorism,” she said, alluding to the still oft-used term ‘Dirty War’ by foreign press.

According to Navarro, certain civilian sectors used the military to implement a neo-liberal economic model. “It was necessary to implement an economic model of exclusion to benefit economic groups that utilised the Armed Forces as a instrument of social discipline – for repression, for fear, to deal with any resistance movement.

“The true causes of the coup were economic, because of this we say civic-military dictatorship,” she added.

Marta Santos, a former Central Bank employee and friend of one of the five known desaparecidos (missing) who worked at the institution, echoes this view.

“This dictatorship, this military force, needed the support of civilians in key parts of the state and in the private economy… In this sense we say that dictatorship was civic-military because it pursued neo-liberal economic interests of private [business] and the state,” says Santos, who today is part of a team working with the Central Bank to investigate if there are more unknown desaparecidos who worked there.

Civilians in Government

Santos says it is important to denounce civilian collusion with the military junta in the defence of democracy, to ensure these institutions can never again prop up a dictatorship. She names José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz as the prime example of civilian involvement.

Former president of the steel company Acindar – which operated one of the country’s first clandestine torture and detention centres on its premises in 1975 – Martínez de Hoz was economy minister from 1976 to 1981, in charge of ushering in a new economic paradigm based on the principles of neo-liberalism. During this period, it was common for businessmen close to the economy minister to assume key government roles, helping to fuse civil society to the military junta. His policies sowed the seeds for financial collapse, providing a brief period of prosperity but leading to a deep recession in 1981 and saddling the nation with a burdensome external debt that would cause problems long after the return to democracy.

José Martínez de Hoz as economy minister (1976-81)

José Martínez de Hoz – 1976

Martínez de Hoz was under house arrest when he died in March this year, being investigated for his alleged role in the kidnap of father and son, Federico and Miguel Gutheim. The family owned the cotton export company Sadeco, and were allegedly coerced into making business deals that favoured the dictatorship.

He was also linked to the kidnap of René Carlos Alberto Grassi, director de Industrias Siderúrgicas Grassi (a rival company of Acindar) and president of the Bank of Hurlingham, in September 1978. Grassi was held in Campo de Mayo for a year after his abduction, and eventually Industrias Siderúrgicas Grassi was absorbed by Acindar. One month before the abduction, Martínez de Hoz had asked to buy the Bank of Hurlingham and was declined.

From the early days of the dictatorship there was a strong repression of workers, but the kidnap of Grassi was significant; he did not pose a threat as an opposition force to the regime, his value was economic.

Martínez de Hoz was pardoned by Menem in 1990, though this was annulled 16 years later when the Gutheim case was reopened. Up until his death, he denied any involvement in the kidnappings and was a remorseless defender of the dictatorship-era economic policies.

The investigation of Martínez de Hoz is an early example of a civilian investigated for abuses committed during the reign of the military junta. In recent years, many more legal battles concerning civilian’s roles in the dictatorship have come to the surface.

Thirty Years of Reconstruction

Horacio Verbitsky, president of CELS and co-author of the 2013 book ‘Cuentas pendientes: los cómplices económicos de la dictadura’, which examines the links between economic powers and state repression, argues the economic influence of civilians who were complicit in the dictatorship continued throughout the first two decades of democracy. Verbitsky argues that economic powers could have endangered the stability of democracy, which limited the possibility of pursuing justice for their responsibility during the dictatorship.

Argentina’s first president after the return of democracy, Raúl Alfonsín, had the complex task of addressing human rights abuses in the face of a weak economy and massive external debt, which had ballooned from US$7.87bn in 1975 to US$43bn in 1982.

“It is not easy to build democracy in a setting where political culture and civic habits have been degraded by authoritarianism. Nor is it easy to build democracy in the midst of a deep economic crisis exacerbated by the need to repay a huge foreign debt that the old dictatorial regime had contracted and irresponsibly misspent,” Alfonsín said in 1992, after his term had ended prematurely in 1989.

Videla and other military chiefs are found guilty of crimes against humanity in 1985.

Videla and other military chiefs are found guilty of crimes against humanity in 1985.

The neo-liberal economic paradigm that dominated the nineties – a time that corresponded with the amnesty offered to those responsible in the dictatorship – deepened the economic model launched in 1976, taking it to the economic and political crisis of 2001.

Graciela Navarro believes that since Nestor Kirchner took office in 2003 there have been two distinct periods relating to the last civic-military dictatorship, the first being the recovery of the memory of those who had been tortured or disappeared, and the end of impunity for military leaders. “When Cristina was elected,” Navarro believes, “it was possible to begin to examine the true causes of the coup, which were economic, and charge those who are responsible.

“The military has been judged,” adds Navarro, “but many civilians, if not them then their children, are owners of the large economic groups… this is difficult. These are the interests that Cristina is dealing with.”

Pending Cases

After years of impunity, Argentina’s legal system has begun to investigate the role of officials, powerful businessmen, and mulitnationals who may have collaborated with the military in state terrorism. According to the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), as of September 2013 there were a total of 261 civilians accused of involvement in the human rights abuses of the era.

Several high profile and emblematic cases involving civilians, and their business interests, are currently making their way through the legal system.

Papel Prensa: On 2nd November, 1976, three newspapers – Clarín, La Nación, and La Razón – obtained the majority shares in Papel Prensa, the company which produces newsprint for the industry, soon after owner, businessman and banker David Graiver, died in a plane crash in Mexico in August 1976. Graiver’s widow, Lidia Papaleo testified in 2010 that at that time she was stripped of the factory after receiving death threats against her and her young daughter. In March 1977, Papaleo was abducted and tortured until she was released on July 24, 1982.

The case concerning the sale of Papel Prensa was opened in August 2010 after President Fernández presented a report in the Casa Rosada titled “Papel Prensa: The Truth” denouncing the “illegal appropriation” of the business. Most recently, the case has been in the headlines after the discovery of official minutes from the dictatorship that mention Papel Prensa 13 times between September 1976 and November 1977.

According to Defence Minister Agustín Rossi, the minutes make it “clear that for the Junta, Papel Prensa was a part of the same theme as the detention of [ex-owners] the Graiver family… this appears clearly in the minutes.” Copies of the documents are now in the hands of Federal Judge Julián Ercolini, who has jurisdiction over the case.

Ledesma: Also working its way through the legal system is a case involving president of sugar company Ledesma, one of Argentina’s most powerful businesses, for his involvement in kidnappings during the ‘blackout night’, when over 400 people were kidnapped in the province of Jujuy following an electricity outage on 20th July, 1976.

President of Ledesma Carlos Blaquier and former general manager Alberto Lemos are accused of providing the vehicles that were used for transporting the victims. This month, the Federal Court of Salta confirmed that there is sufficient evidence that the company Ledesma collaborated in the kidnapping of their workers to dismantle the labour union. As a result, Blaquier and Lemos will be put on trial, which is set to begin in April 2014. The court upheld that Blaquier will be prosecuted as a “necessary participant” in twenty cases of illegal deprivation of liberty and Lemos is accused of being a “secondary participant” to the kidnappings.

Ford: During the dictatorship, the Ford Falcon became known as a vehicle commonly used by kidnappers. But the company is also accused of more direct involvement in the human rights abuses of the time.

In May, charges were laid against three ex-directors of Ford Motors Argentina for their role in the disappearance of 24 workers from the plant. Former plant manager Pedro Müller, ex-leader of labour relations Guillermo Galarraga, and ex-security chief Héctor Sibilla are accused of having given to military commanders in the area “personal data, photographs, and addresses” of workers at the factory between 24th March and 20th August, 1976.

The three men are also accused of having allowed the military to use the factory as a detention centre where they carried out the interrogation of the workers. According to Judge Alicia Vence, the workers were “tied up with their faces covered and beaten.”

Although 24 workers survived the kidnapping and torture, only twelve are still alive today. The formal legal process began in 2001 but the first reports of the events date back to 1984.

Mercedes Benz: The families of 17 workers from the Mercedes Benz plant who were kidnapped and tortured have bought a civil case against the parent company of the car maker, Daimler Chrysler, in the US. Mercedes-Benz Argentina is alleged to have identified workers who were kidnapped and sent to the clandestine torture centre, Campo de Mayo, during the dictatorship.

The investigation began in 2004 and has been rejected by US courts on previous occasions, with the US Supreme Court currently determining if the case falls under its jurisdiction. A decision is expected in the coming months on whether multinational corporations can be sued in US courts for alleged human rights abuses abroad.

In Argentina, the lawsuit for kidnapping and torture of the 17 workers, 14 of whom are still missing, was initiated by journalist Gabriela Weber in 2002 and in 2006 was transferred to Federal Court in San Martín under the charge of Judge Alicia Vence. So far no one has been formally charged or arrested.

The car maker is also accused of the appropriation of three children, and the adoption and substitution of identity of Paula Logares, the first grandchildren reclaimed by the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo in 1987.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Beyond the Military: Investigating the Civilian Role in the Argentine Dictatorship

US-Israeli Security Company Selling Mobile Phone Surveillance Products To Agencies Around The World

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | December 17, 2013

Privacy International, which has done a very thorough job digging into the backgrounds of the many private companies involved in the surveillance “industry” around the world, has just released a promotional document from the American-Israeli Verint, a security company that provides NSA-level cell phone surveillance power to entities around the world.

[A] scaled down version of this system is also being sold by private surveillance contractors to the highest bidder. The company behind it? Israeli-American company Verint. Their Skylock technology claims to have the ability to “Remotely locate GSM and UMTS targets located anywhere in the world at cell level precision”.

The brochure Privacy Int’l obtained doesn’t go into detail as to how it achieves this, but what is shown is both impressive and disturbing.

From a brochure collected this year we have discovered one of the newest additions to Verint’s product line: mobile phone tracking on an international scale. Previously, mobile phone tracking required presence in the particular areas of interest, focusing on the tracking of phones through monitoring Base Stations (Cell Towers) and local networks to pinpoint location. In the past, if a law enforcement agency wanted location data they requested information from the relevant telecommunication firm operating in that specific territory. By way of an example, this would result in the UK not being able to obtain a French mobile phone’s location without help from the French. Now it would appear that Verint have bypassed the territoriality requirement.With this latest news, we know that location tracking has become borderless in the same way as communications surveillance. The ability to do this has likely come from a focus on international phone systems rather than domestic or regional networks which would never reach the worldwide nature of location tracking Verint is advertising.

Some details on Verint’s SKYLOCK offering are available online (under the name ENGAGE). While the brochure seems to indicate this is solely a military product (the brochure cover only lists “Military, Special Forces, Navy, Search and Rescue, Border Control” and the photos contained show only military personnel), the inside notes make it clear these products are available to “law enforcement” as well.

As Privacy Int’l points out, Verint’s offering operates “independently of local service providers,” meaning pretty much every legal obstacle is demolished. What no one knows is going on won’t hurt them. One product is targeted at satellite communications, but even considering that limited scope, it’s still very powerful.

Here’s what ENGAGE/SKYLOCK can do:

– Intercept voice calls and text messages
– Decrypt A5/1 and A5/2 encryptions with an embedded decipher
– Operate undetected leaving no electromagnetic signature
– Selectively downgrade UMTS traffic to GSM

Other ENGAGE products target wireless communications. Verint’s intercept-in-a-box can do all of the following.

Actively and passively intercept WiFi communications based on: 802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4Ghz, and 5GHz
– Active interception of mobile handsets, even when not intentionally connected to a WiFi network
– Intercept target communication at a distance with zero packet loss
– Choose from multiple active interception methods to overcome encryption of private communication
– Identify access points and intercept MAC addresses in the area

Verint also gives its purchasers the power to target phones using 3G networks, remotely activate cell phone mics, and block cellular communication.

The capabilities that were presumed to only be in the hands of national intelligence agencies now can be had by nearly anyone who can come up with the money. Powerful cell phone surveillance products are a growth market. Anything that can increase data and communication harvesting while simultaneously eliminating a majority of legal restrictions and oversight practically sells itself.

We may feel this sort of power is OK in the “right hands,” but we don’t get to decide which hands this ends up in. We may believe the NSA should be able to do this sort of thing (overseas, preferably), but that local law enforcement agencies should be forced to jump through warrant and subpoena hoops before tracking locations and intercepting communications. But ultimately it doesn’t matter what we prefer. That call is made by Verint and it’s in the business of selling surveillance products, not protecting the privacy of the world’s citizens.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on US-Israeli Security Company Selling Mobile Phone Surveillance Products To Agencies Around The World

Drug Companies and Doctors Boost Profits Pitching Attention Deficit Disorder

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | December 17, 2013

With the help of physicians, pharmaceutical makers have made billions of dollars peddling medicines to treat attention deficit disorder, leading some experts, and even one pharmaceutical executive, to declare that the marketing push has gone too far.

Last year, sales of stimulant medication intended to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reached $9 billion—a fivefold increase from a decade ago.

Today, 15% of high school students have been diagnosed with ADHD, with about 3.5 million of them on some sort of drug marketed to treat the disorder.

Dr. Keith Conners, who has spent decades trying to help children with ADHD, has questioned the increasing rates of diagnosis, calling them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”

“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, told The New York Times. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

The drug industry has worked for two decades to publicize ADHD and promote its remedies to doctors, educators and parents. As a result, the disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, just behind asthma.

Drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Focalin, Vyvanse, Intuniv and Strattera have been promoted to help children, but along the way, the Food and Drug Administration has cited every major ADHD drug for false and misleading advertising since 2000.

Doctors also have been criticized for taking money from drug companies to publish research and deliver presentations that encourage colleagues to prescribe these drugs, which possess significant side effects and are regulated in the same class as morphine and oxycodone because of their potential for abuse and addiction.

Now, companies want to market the medications to adults to further expand revenue-making opportunities.

Roger Griggs, the pharmaceutical executive who introduced Adderall in 1994, objects to marketing stimulants to the general public because of the risks involved. He called the drugs “nuclear bombs” that should rarely be prescribed and carefully monitored by a treating physician, according to the Times.

To Learn More:

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder (by Alan Schwarz, New York Times)

Latest Condition Invented by Drug Companies…Low Testosterone (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

Drug Companies Increase Profits by Creating Fear of Diseases (and Even Diseases) (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Comments Off on Drug Companies and Doctors Boost Profits Pitching Attention Deficit Disorder

A Short History of the Colonization of Palestine

The New England Committee to Defend Palestine

Myth: “‘Israel’ was a land without a people for a people without a land.”

History: Arab people have lived in Palestine for thousands of years. Who are the indigenous people of Palestine? All of them speak Arabic. They are mainly Sunni Muslim. There are a minority of Christians, Shiite Muslims, Jews, and Druze. European Jewish settlers began to steadily arrive in 1882 but there was never anything other than an overwhelming Arab majority until the “Nakba” (Arabic word for catastrophe) otherwise known as the establishment of the state of “Israel” in the spring of 1948.

Myth: The state of Israel had to be created as a response to the Holocaust.

History: Zionism is a kind of European colonialism that began in the late 1800’s long before the Holocaust in Europe. Zionism’s goal is and has always been to establish a Jewish state on land already inhabited by an indigenous Palestinian people. Zionism as a colonial project was explained by Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of its chief architects, in 1923: “We can talk as much as we want about our good intentions but they understand as well as we what is not good for them. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie… Thus we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Zionist colonization even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. Thus colonization, can therefore continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population-an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is in toto our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.”

Nothing in Zionist policy toward Arabs has changed, but the language that is used to talk about these policies has.

Myth: Israelis just want to live in security and peace with their Arab neighbors.

History: In 1923, it was possible to talk openly about getting rid of the native population. Today the code words of “peace” and “security” are really a call for the end of Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonialism and genocide.

Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” has become a real Wall in Palestine which has the purpose of stealing more land from Palestinian people and destroying potential resistance to settlement by socially controlling Palestinian people. How did this happen?

In 1917, in the Balfour Declaration, the British government promised to support the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine when there were already Palestinian people living on this land. Between 1919 and 1936, the ruling British supported taking the land of tens of thousands of “fellahin” ( Palestinian villagers) and giving it to European Zionist settlers.

In response to the unfair transfer of Palestinian land to settlers, Palestinians resisted and called for a general strike from 1936 to 1939 accompanied by boycotts of all British and Zionist institutions. The strike was met with extreme physical force and resulted in a popular uprising. The uprising was eventually crushed, and the British imprisoned 5,000 Palestinians, executed 148 people and demolished 5,000 homes.

At the end of 1947, Zionists had acquired only 6.59% of the total land mass of Palestine. That year, the UN, which had an interest in cultivating Western European settlement in Palestine, voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. Palestinians and Arab states rejected this (at this time Jewish people would gain over 54% of the land by UN partition).

In 1948, Joseph Weitz , director of the Jewish National Land Fund and head of the 3rd “Transfer Committee” stated “ [we] must direct our war towards the removal of as many Arabs as possible from boundaries of our state.”

Between 1947 an d 1949, there were 45 reported massacres including the Yehida Massacre, Al-Sheikh Massacre, Beit Daras Massacre, Dahmesh Massacre, and the better known Deir Yassin Massacre in which more than 250 people were murdered (25 pregnant women were bayoneted in the abdomen and 52 children were beheaded) as well as the Dawayma Massacre in which 100 people were killed, including children who were murdered by fracturing their heads with sticks.

In 1948, 935,000 Palestinians (85% of the indigenous population of Palestine at that time) were forced off their land, in some cases at gunpoint, in other cases through massacres or threats of massacres like the massacre at Deir Yassin. As a result, 530 of an estimated 550 total villages were completely destroyed or depopulated. Over 78% of Palestinian land was confiscated for the establishment of a state for Jewish people. The “state of Israel” was established in May, 1948 and the colonial system put in place by the British was transferred to the new Zionist settler state.

Myth: “Israel” is a democracy.

History: A variety of racist laws were passed soon after the “state of Israel” was established. The Law of Return in 1950 grants the right of immigration to Jews born anywhere in the world. Non-Jewish native born Palestinians who fled the massacres in 1947 and 1948 are in most cases prevented from returning. The Absentee Property Law of the same year designated the personal property of Palestinians who fled during the terror campaign of 1948 as “absentee property” and this property was placed within the power of the Custodian of Absentee Property who would distribute this land to Jewish settlers. Palestinians’ capacity to have any personal property or wages was abolished during the first decade of this “democracy.”

Since the 1950’s, nationality and identity laws have defined a “Jewish nationality” with special privileges above the “Arab nationality” who is subject to a special regime of “security.” The Transfer of Property Law of 1950 and the Land Acquisition Act of 1953 accomplished the transfer of confiscated Palestinian villages and private property to the Development Authority for Jewish settlement. These Israeli laws of the 1950’s resemble Apartheid South Africa’s Natives Land Act of 1913 and the Native Urban Areas Act of 1923.

In 1967, the remainder of Palestine was invaded and occupied by the Zionists and another 350, 000 Palestinians fled or were
expelled. In the 1970’s, the “Judaization of the Galilee” (the term Zionists use to describe the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians
from this area for exclusively Jewish settlement) followed the same pattern of settlement familiar throughout historic Palestine:

–the confiscation of agricultural and grazing land in the areas surrounding Palestinian population centers;
–the freezing of growth in Palestinian villages by denying building and planning rights;
–the systematic demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses
–planned Jewish settlement aimed at breaking up the territorial continuity of Palestinian areas;
–the denial of access to basic services such as water (and the theft of that water); and
–policies aimed at preventing Palestinian economic subsistence and forcing dependence on settlers.

Through the “peace negotiations” of Oslo, the Geneva Accords, and the Road Map, Zionists have pursued a policy of stealing more land and striking genuine resistance to colonial settlement with crushing force.

Myth: The problem is an age old conflict between religious groups.

History: It is a conflict between the indigenous Palestinian people and the Europeans who came with guns to steal their land and resources. Zionism is a racist ideology with the aim of ethnically cleansing Palestine of its native population through systematic methods. The Palestinian people themselves are of multiple religions—all have suffered from Zionist racism and brutality.

Myth: Palestinian resistance fighters are extremist, anti-Semitic, and do not want to live in peace.

The myth of “religious conflict” is central in propagating the notion that “dialogue” between “Israelis” and Palestinians can resolve “the conflict” and that people need to develop “an understanding” of one another. It is meant to undercut any discussion about the reality—a racist regime that continues to colonize indigenous land. This myth asks Palestinians to “put the past behind them” and build “a shared future” with the people who continue to murder their families, steal their land and destroy their homes. It implies that Palestinians should concede their basic rights, dignity and homeland.

History: Palestinian people are fighting for their survival as a people against racism and genocide. Just as a New African should not be expected to make peace with a white racist, it is absurd to think that Palestinians should be motivated to make peace with their oppressors while Zionist colonizers still occupy Palestinian land. Palestinians have been legitimately resisting racism, colonization, and genocide since the 1920’s to the present day by any means necessary: general strikes, demonstrations, periods of non-cooperation, boycotts of Israeli products and services, refusal to obey military orders, refusal to vacate land confiscated for settlers, tax revolt, armed struggle, and martyrdom operations (called “suicide bombing” by Zionists).

Any form of resistance to the settlement program has been consistently met with severe and brutal repression: aerial bombardment, military checkpoints, the “Iron Fist” policy of crushing the bones of Palestinian children’s hands, collective punishment, torture and mass detention (over 600, 000 Palestinians have been detained since 1967). Zionist propaganda blames resistance fighters for increased repression against the Palestinian people. In reality, Palestinian resistance is the only barrier stopping the Zionists from completely fulfilling their mission to annihilate the Palestinian people as a whole.

December 17, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 3 Comments