Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Israel Campaigns Against Global Free Speech

The Bilzerian Report | February 20, 2014

Alarmed at the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments on the internet, Israeli politicians recently called for nations around the world to enact legislation prohibiting criticism of Jews and Israel. Lobbying to outlaw global free speech is nothing new for Israel, however; it has been in the business of criminalizing speech for decades.

gilyaneh20130318143247897Israel is in the precarious position of receiving tens of billions of dollars in aid every year from nations that purport to support democracy, while simultaneously oppressing the Palestinian people and perpetrating what Nobel Peace Prize winners Bishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter deem an apartheid. If the American or European people ever knew that their tax dollars where being used in such a way they would surely cut Israel off. In order to conceal this truth and stifle any criticism, Israel and its lobbyists rely on sympathy from the Holocaust and labels of anti-Semitism to discredit critics. Even US Secretary of State John Kerry was recently called an anti-Semite for supporting a peaceful resolution to the Jewish/Palestinian conflict. Kerry is not alone however, President Obama, and just about anyone who has ever opposed an Israeli policy has been labeled anti-Semitic by his enemies. In order to add teeth to these labels, Israel lobbyists around the world lobby endlessly to criminalize anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Israel’s threat of forcing world governments to enact new laws against free speech should not be taken lightly. Israel and its lobbyists have already succeeded in enacting stiff anti-racist laws in most Western countries. These laws have been used on numerous occasions to jail academics, pro-Palestinian activists, and also individuals who have spoken provable facts that are deemed anti-Semitic “canards.”

In Australia, Jewish groups lobbied successfully to outlaw holocaust study and “hate speech.” As with most laws regulating speech and academic study, it has been routinely abused, and is now on the list for repeal. In fact, the law is so tied to Jewish lobbying, that the Jewish newspaper Haaretz published an article: Australian Jews brace for a fight against the repeal of hate laws.

In Canada, Jewish groups lobbied for the enactment of hate speech regulation, and defend its use today. In 1983, Israel lobbyists filed a complaint against Ernst Zundal over a book he had written. He was tried several times, his citizenship application in Canada denied (even though he had resided there for decades), he was detained for two years without trial, and eventually deported to Germany where he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

In France, Israel lobbyists publicly complained about comedian Dieudonne’s parodies of Israel and the holocaust. His home was raided, his shows banned, and hefty fines were imposed. England also followed suit and barred Dieudonne’s entrance into the country. In 2003, the French legislator and Israel lobbyist Pierre Lellouche managed to push through a law which extends the definition of discrimination to include nationalities so anti-Israel activists could be jailed. In 2009, the Lellouche law was used  to convict 20 anti-Israel activists.

In EnglandJewish lobbying efforts successfully enacted strict hate speech laws, and in Austria, acclaimed historian David Irving was incarcerated after Israel lobbyists complained about his academic work. The European Jewish Parliament and the chief Israel lobbyist in Belgium recently called for similar laws to stifle criticism of Israel. According to the Canadian Jewish News article French Vigilance on anti-Israel speech provoking backlash, Israel lobbyists are also attempting to enact similar legislation in the Netherlands.

In America, the Israel lobby has been fighting mightily for years to prohibit hate speech. Those efforts have been unsuccessful thus far, but they have managed to enact hate crime legislation. As Abe Foxman of the ADL noted, the social consequences in America for bigotry against Jews are so severe, (given disproportionate Jewish influence in government, mediafinancehigher educationprofessional sports, etc…) that anti-Israel speakers often see graver consequences than the criminal sanctions they would face in Europe. For example, if one were to be labeled an “anti-Semite,” even if the allegations were wholly unsubstantiated, he would most likely be fired and ostracized from society.

One has to realize that Israel’s efforts having nothing to do with hate speech, anti-Semitism or holocaust denial, but are rather about stifling critical speech that affects Israel and its lobbyists. For example, we know that Israel and its lobbyists are not offended by holocaust denial because Israel and its lobbyists are the leading proponents of Armenian holocaust denial in the world today. Israel should also not be particularly offended by anti-Semitism, because Israel is actually one of the most racist and anti-Semitic nations on the planet.

Today, Israel is furiously enacting anti-free speech laws, hiring internet trolls to spread propaganda and disinformation, and even asking the Jewish owners of social media websites Facebook, Wikipedia, Google, and Youtube to remove material Israel does not like, regardless of its truth or merit. Israel has also campaigned against political parties it does not like in Greece, Hungary, and Ukraine. In Greece, the anti-Israel Golden Dawn Party was disbanded and its leaders arrested for no legal reason. This is a dangerous precedent that threatens world wide freedom and must be combated immediately, before speaking out against such Israeli efforts is also illegal.

Laws protecting free speech are put in place specifically to protect speech that powerful groups find objectionable. Otherwise, there is no free speech and it is just a matter of time before the list of prohibited phrases grows to include everything the powerful oppose. If it’s illegal to speak about certain races, the disabled or elderly, then why not government employees, and then the rich, or poor, and so on? Either speech is totally protected or it is not protected at all. The point of speech protection is to protect the most unpopular forms of speech. Popular forms of speech obviously need no protection.

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 13 Comments

Galilee Town Boils at Israeli Police “Execution”

Brutality from security forces and a sense of oppression connect Palestinians on both sides of Green Line

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | November 15, 2014

KAFR KANA, Galilee – Rauf Hamdan admitted to one small consolation as he sat in his mourning tent, greeting the steady stream of well-wishers paying condolences nearly a week after his son was gunned down in the street by Israeli police.

“At least his death was caught on camera,” he told Middle East Eye. “Otherwise the police would accuse me of lying when I said that he was executed in cold blood. The police can claim whatever they like. The truth is there for all to see.”

The killing of 22 year-old Kheir Hamdan – and the footage of it caught on security cameras that quickly went viral on social media – set off a firestorm of protests in Palestinian communities across Israel this past week that has yet to die down.

Hamdan instantly became a symbol: a victim of Israeli brutality and oppression, merging the experiences of Israel’s large minority of 1.5 million Palestinian citizens with those of their kin in the occupied territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Although their inhabitants are disconnected politically and geographically, all these Palestinian areas currently simmer with a shared and barely suppressed rage that may yet erupt into a new uprising, or Intifada.

The Hamdan family home in Kafr Kana, a town of 22,000 Palestinians in northern Israel near Nazareth, is located in an overcrowded backstreet, close to a church over the site where Jesus supposedly performed his first miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding.

But Kafr Kana, like other Palestinian communities in Israel, feels like a community under an occupation of sorts.

Land and jobs scarce

Despite the flood of pilgrims, there are no hotels or major restaurants in the town. Israeli tour buses pay a flying visit that offers Kafr Kana none of the usual benefits of tourism.

Wadea Awawdy, a local journalist, pointed out that half of the town’s inhabitants were under 18. But jobs are scarce, as are the chances of finding land to build a home, usually a cultural pre-requisite here for getting married. None of that looks accidental to residents.

Kafr Kana’s only land reserves for housing and industry have been seized by the state and reassigned to Nazareth Ilit, a Jewish city built decades ago to “Judaise” Nazareth and its environs. “They have a large industrial zone on our land,” said Awawdy. “The only thing we get from it is pollution from a glass smelting factory.”

It is a picture of neglect and marginalisation common in Palestinian communities across the Galilee. Excluded from a meaningful Israeli identity, the minority increasingly feels it shares a common struggle with Palestinians across the Green Line.

The entrance to the Hamdan home hosts a martyr poster of the kind familiar when Palestinians are killed by the Israeli army in the occupied territories. Hamdan’s face is framed by the Palestinian flag.

The passage down to the mourning tent is adorned with images of the al-Aqsa mosque, the Islamic holy site regularly at the centre of Palestinian protests in occupied East Jerusalem.

Wrapped around 50 year-old Rauf Hamdan’s neck is a keffiyeh, a scarf that Yasser Arafat made a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Concealing faces

Over the past week, such scarves have been concealing the faces of some of the thousands of youths who have clashed with police in Kafr Kana and elsewhere during protests against Hamdan’s killing. That has not stopped police arresting dozens of youths.

The keffiyeh has also been adopted by thousands of Palestinian children in Israeli schools as a visual protest. On Wednesday, a Palestinian Knesset member, Basel Ghattas, caused a flood of complaints when he donned it inside the Knesset.

“We are seen as the enemy by Israel because we are Palestinians,” said Rauf Hamdan. “Our citizenship makes no difference to the security forces.”

Hamdan’s assessment echoes that of an official inquiry into an earlier incident, 14 years ago, when the police fired live ammunition and rubber bullets at unarmed demonstrators in the Galilee at the start of the Second Intifada. Thirteen Palestinian citizens were killed and hundreds wounded in what have come to be known as the October 2000 events.

The Or Commission concluded that Israeli police related to the Palestinian minority “as an enemy.”

This week, one of the three members of that commission, Shimon Shamir, a noted history professor, said on Israeli radio that the police’s approach to the country’s Palestinian minority had only gotten worse in the intervening years.

That, said Awawdy, was how it looked to most Palestinian citizens too as they watched the video of Hamdan’s killing.

‘Sack of potatoes’

Hamdan’s final moments late on the night of 7 November were captured by cameras from several angles outside an electrical shop close to his home.

The store’s owner, Ehab Khoury, tutted angrily as he watched the video again. Like others, he was outraged by footage showing Hamdan being shot in the upper body from close range as he tried to flee from a police van.

Judging by Khoury’s reaction and the hushed conversations in the mourning tent, even more infuriating were the scenes of Hamdan, moments after he was severely wounded, being dragged along the ground by his arms and into the van.

“What is he?” said Khoury. “A citizen or a sack of potatoes? Why did they not call an ambulance when it was clear he was badly wounded?”

Police claim they fired a warning shot, though the cameras do not show the officer who fired on him doing so. But one of Khoury’s videos reveals the shadow of a policeman’s raised arm, holding a gun, from the far side of the van, out of the camera’s view.

That night, a bullet smashed through neighbour Edward Khoury’s bedroom window. If that was the warning shot, it looks suspiciously like it was fired with no regard to the safety of the residents close by.

Other details have further inflamed passions. The video shows the police van driving past the camera on its way out of Kafr Kana, having made a late-night arrest of Hamdan’s cousin following a domestic incident. Hamdan himself had been pepper-sprayed during the arrest.

Many seconds later, Hamdan comes into view chasing after the departing police. Then the van suddenly appears again in view of the camera, the police apparently having decided to return to deal with Hamdan.

Hospital trip delayed

The youth is seen banging on the window with an object police say was a knife. But he flees as the police emerge. According to medical reports, he was shot twice.

The cousin’s testimony to lawyers suggests the police drove around for some long minutes away from the nearest hospitals in Nazareth before heading for a much more distant one in Afula, losing vital time.

“His killing was pre-meditated,” said his father. “The police were leaving. They came back only to kill him.”

Human rights lawyers at Adalah, a legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority, believe the evidence suggests Hamdan was “executed.”

Unlawful killings by police have been a continuing occurrence since the 13 deaths in October 2000, said Jafar Farah of Mossawa, an advocacy group for the Palestinian minority.

Mossawa has identified 35 cases of Palestinian citizens being killed in similar circumstances by security forces since 2000, including previous incidents in Kafr Kana. Only in three cases were officers convicted, but the courts handed down short sentences.

“There is the same impunity for the security forces when it comes to using live ammunition against civilians, whether it is in Israel or the occupied territories,” said Farah.

Comments a few days before Hamdan’s killing by the police minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, that terrorists “should be sentenced to death” rather than arrested had, said Farah, given “a green light” to police to use live ammunition against civilians.

Sceptical of inquiry

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has insisted on an investigation by a justice ministry unit known as Mahash, but few in the Palestinian minority expect it to be thorough.

“I have no trust that Mahash will get to the truth,” said Rauf Hamdan.

That scepticism is shared by human rights lawyers. A recent report by Adalah noted that Mahash had closed without action 93 per cent of complaints between 2011 and 2013, including in cases of clear breaches of police regulations.

Earlier, Mahash was accused of failing to properly investigate the police officers responsible for killing the 13 demonstrators in October 2000. None were ever indicted.

There are signs that the police are expecting similar lenience on this occasion. National Commissioner Yohanan Danino dismissed criticism of the police’s treatment of Hamdan as “unfounded” and “irresponsible.”

But the Palestinian minority’s concerns are not limited to police brutality. The political reaction has been equally disturbing.

Rauf Hamdan said no government official had visited the tent, or called to offer condolences. Instead, government leaders have used Hamdan’s death to further question the minority’s status as citizens.

Both Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his economics minister, Naftali Bennett, have suggested Hamdan was a “terrorist,” placing his fight with the police on a par with recent Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians.

‘Move to Gaza’

But more worrying still, Netanyahu has exploited the outpouring of anger in the Galilee to confirm the Palestinian minority’s growing suspicion that the Israeli authorities see no future for them in a Jewish state.

Netanyahu has called on the interior minister to investigate stripping the protesters in Kafr Kana and elsewhere of their citizenship. He has also urged them to “move to the Palestinian Authority or to Gaza … Israel will not put any obstacles in your way.”

Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, leapt at the chance to promote again his plan to redraw Israel’s borders to expel a quarter of a million Palestinian citizens, saying: “It is clear that territorial and population swaps must be part of the solution. Us here and them there.”

A Palestinian Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, said Netanyahu had “gone off the rails” in making his remarks, a view shared by the liberal daily Haaretz. An editorial accused Netanyahu of “exposing his nationalist face to the public.”

Since earlier in the year, Netanyahu and his government have been intensifying their efforts to silence the minority’s Palestinian representatives, both in and out of the parliament.

The electoral threshold was raised in March to a level that may ensure there are no Palestinian parties in the next Knesset. Meanwhile, Netanyahu used the protests over Hamdan’s killing to reiterate plans to outlaw the Islamic Movement, the minority’s most popular extra-parliamentary political faction.

Farah noted that clashes between police and the Palestinian minority were occurring more regularly and growing in intensity. “Once these crises occurred once every decade or more. But they are now a pattern. We saw violent confrontations over the summer during the attack on Gaza and only weeks later it’s happening again.”

There is deep distrust of the police and politicians, but Farah believes the anger is unlikely for the time being to translate into an Intifada. “The leadership here is opposed,” he said. “Despite the hostile atmosphere in the Israeli parliament, courts, media and public, there is still a preference to seek redress through political and legal channels.”

Awawdy, the journalist from Kafr Kana, is more pessimistic. “This government sees us at worst as enemies and at best as guests whose rights can be taken away at any moment. If things keep on this way, an explosion is coming. You can sense it in the air.”

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Brazilian Truth Commission: Over 400 People Killed Under Dictatorship

teleSUR | November 15, 2014

The Brazilian Truth Commission has released its official figures documenting the total number of missing and people killed in Brazil during the military dictatorship which lasted from 1964 until 1985. According to the Commission, at least 421 people were killed or disappeared during the 21 year period.

Investigators from the Commission told Spainish newspaper El Pais state that the figures are subject to change since they are in the beginning phase of their investigation.

As part of the investigation, the truth committee identified secret torture centers and private companies that collaborated with the military regime.

However, in 1979 an Amnesty Law pardoned the military for the crimes committed during the dictatorship, freeing at least 25,000 people.

The Truth Commission was originally established in 2012 by President Dilma Rousseff. From 1970 to 1973, Rousseff was detained and tortured by the dictatorship.

The commission will give it’s final report on Dec.10, and it will be used as evidence that the State committed crimes against the Brazilian people, which has long been denied by the military.

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Premature reporting tarnishes IAEA image: Iran

Press TV – November 14, 2014

A senior Iranian nuclear official has criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for releasing its reports prematurely, warning that the move will tarnish the image of the UN nuclear agency.

“The IAEA reports should be submitted confidentially before they are finalized; therefore, the premature release [of reports] in the media will undermine its (IAEA’s) credibility,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), in a Friday interview.

He pointed to the correction of the IAEA’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear activities, saying, “It has not been the IAEA’s first mistake and if the present trend continues, it seems it would not be the last one either.”

On Thursday, the IAEA corrected its previous estimate of the size of Tehran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile, saying it is 8,290 kg.

This is while the agency had announced last week that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium had increased by 625 kg to around 8.4 tons since the IAEA’s September report, estimating the stock to be nearly 8,390 kg.

Kamalvandi noted that the IAEA’s final report on a country can be officially released only after it is discussed at the Board of Governors by the member states and the respective country.

“The release of these reports at certain websites linked to Western countries has been politically-motivated and aimed at influencing the process of [nuclear] talks [between Iran and P5+1 group of countries]…,” the AEOI spokesman pointed out.

The size of Tehran’s uranium stockpile is one of the moot points in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers.

The IAEA correction came two days after top officials from Iran and the P5+1 group — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – wrapped up talks over Iran’s nuclear program in the Omani capital city of Muscat on Tuesday.

The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers is set to be held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on November 18-24.

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Lockheed Used Taxpayer Money to Lobby for more Taxpayer Money

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | November 15, 2014

In the world of federal contracting, it takes taxpayer dollars to win more taxpayer dollars, or at least that’s how Lockheed Martin sees things.

Lockheed Martin for years has been running one of the government’s most important nuclear research facilities, Sandia National Laboratories. Five years ago, its lucrative contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) was coming to an end, so Lockheed Martin started to lobby officials to win an extension.

That lobbying included using some of the money paid by DOE for Lockheed Martin to run Sandia. Under federal law, this is a big no-no. Contractors are explicitly forbidden from using taxpayer money to lobby for more contracting work. But Lockheed Martin did it anyway, claiming they were just trying to better inform DOE managers when it came time to decide whether to give them another contract. The company hired a firm run by former Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson to make its case.

“This is, after all, how Washington usually functions,” R. Jeffrey Smith wrote at the Center for Public Integrity.

The Energy Department’s inspector general, Gregory Friedman, said in a report (pdf) that Lockheed Martin broke the rules. He called the company’s actions “highly problematic” and “impermissible.”

Lockheed Martin did get a new deal, but it was for two years and $7.7 billion. It had sought a longer extension to keep running Sandia.

To Learn More:

Alleged Attempts by Sandia National Laboratories to Influence Congress and Federal Officials on a Contract Extension (Department of Energy Inspector General) (pdf)

Nuclear Weapons Lab Used Taxpayer Funds To Obtain More Taxpayer Funds (by R. Jeffrey Smith, Center for Public Integrity)

IG: Energy Contractor and Ex-Lawmaker Lobbied Officials for No-Bid Contract Worth $2.4 Billion Per Year (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post )

Violence in Iraq Means Profits for Beechcraft, Lockheed, Raytheon and other Weapons Makers (by Steve Straehley, AllGov )

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Militarism | | Leave a comment