Amherst, MA– University of Massachusetts Amherst student, Thomas Donovan, who is majoring in legal studies and had planned to become a Massachusetts State Trooper, has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated after he was pepper sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for filming police brutality.
The officer also repeatedly stomped on his cellphone in an attempt to destroy the evidence and cover up the crime- but the video survived.
The incident took place last March during his neighborhood’s Blarney Blowout parties, an annual tradition attended by thousands and held the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day where Amherst and neighboring towns are full of informal St. Patrick’s Day drinking and festivities.
Last year saw 58 people arrested, 21 of which were UMass students after police in riot gear violently moved in.
During the commotion, Donovan noticed an officer using excessive force while making an arrest, so the student pulled out his cell phone to exercise his First Amendment right to film the incident. Donovan was on the other side of a fence, a safe distance away, and was not interfering with the brutality at all. At this point. An officer wearing full riot gear and carrying a pepper-ball gun— believed to be Officer Andrew Hulse—approached Mr. Donovan to prevent him from filming, the lawsuit states.
Despite the police intimidation, Donovan did not stop filming. He was then pepper-sprayed at close range by another officer. Donovan requested the officer’s name and badge number, but the officer would not identify himself.
Moments later, Officer Jesus Arocho knocked the phone out of his hand and threw him to the ground face first. The phone landed flat on the ground with the camera pointed up and continuing to film.
“Arocho, assisted by Defendant Andrew Hulse, placed Mr. Donovan under arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Donovan’s phone, which had landed on the ground with the camera facingup, continued to film. It captured the actions of another police officer, Defendant John Doe 3, who walked over to the phone, stood over it, then stomped on it with his boot, several times, in an unsuccessful effort to destroy it.” the lawsuit continued.
Thankfully, Donovan’s phone was inside a shock-resistant protective case and the phone was unharmed. The video, and evidence of this blatant misconduct, was preserved.
Arocho then arrested Donovan on bogus charges of “disorderly conduct” and for “riot, failure to disperse.” These charges were ultimately dropped.
Arocho lied in his police report, stating Donovan was pepper sprayed “as he began to close the distance between himself and the officers.” The complaint points out that this claim is blatantly false as the incident was captured on video.
Donovan ended up spending 5 to 6 hours in a cell, falsely imprisoned, and was denied any assistance removing the pepper spray from his eyes.
Due to the officer’s insane actions, Donovan was suspended from the university, until he contested and won after he was found not to have committed any wrong-doing.
“Defendants knew that it was wrong to stop a civilian from filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to use force against a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to arrest a civilian for filming police officers in public when the civilian did not interfere with police activity.
Defendants knew that it was wrong to try to destroy a civilian’s phone merely because it contained video of police officers performing their duties in public.” the complaint asserts.
This year’s Blarney Blowout parties are expected to begin on March 7, but students will be prohibited from hosting guests who are not UMass Amherst students. The University will also be offering “school sanctioned” events this year to monitor the amount of fun being had.
Perhaps a more reasonable course of action would have been to have the militarized police stand down and not bring violence and chaos to celebrations.
Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk
The English graffiti artist has taken his politically charged message to the bombed-out neighborhoods of Gaza, where a series of murals amid a backdrop of devastation attempts to give voice to the desperation felt by Palestinians.
The first mural, entitled “Bomb Damage,” appears to be inspired by Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Thinker.” In Banksy’s version, the viewer is struck with the realization that the only possible thing on the mind of the subject is the utter devastation that literally surrounds him.
Another piece, done in the artist’s trademark black, stenciled imagery, shows the silhouettes of children riding an amusement park swing that is shown circling around one of the looming guard stations that punctuate the length of the West Bank barrier, which, upon completion, will be approximately 700 kilometers (430 miles).
Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk
The artist also provided his personal thoughts on the situation confronting the people of Gaza:
“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday,” Banksy said in a spray-painted statement.
In another painting, in which a huge white kitten appears to toy with a ball of coiled metal, the artist is hurling criticism at the popular Internet meme involving kittens, which attracts so much attention at the expense of more serious issues.
The street artist explained in yet another spray-painted bit of commentary the reaction of a local man to the work, and his response:
“A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”
Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk
In another place, Banksy offered some advice on a concrete wall: “If We Wash Our Hands Of The Conflict Between The Powerful And The Powerless We Side With The Powerful – We Don’t Remain Neutral”.
Finally, the street artist provides a poignant statement in a 2-minute video, where he invites the viewers to “discover a new destination” this year, while providing a brief, yet unforgettable stroll through Gaza.
Banksy, who is widely believed to be Robin Gunningham, an artist from Bristol’s underground art scene, has gone from the streets to the top of the art world. His first film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, labeled as “the world’s first street art disaster movie”, made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.
Photo from http://www.banksy.co.uk
Press statement following Russian-Hungarian talks and answers to journalists’ questions
February 17, 2015 – Budapest
QUESTION: Mr President, what is your assessment of the situation now that two days have passed since the Minsk agreement on a ceasefire took effect? Things do not seem to be going so smoothly, especially when you look at what is happening in Debaltsevo. There, at any rate, there is no ceasefire in place.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: First of all, we place great importance on the agreements reached in Minsk. Perhaps not everyone has noticed this yet, but what is particularly important in these agreements is that the authorities in Kiev are essentially agreeing to carry out far-reaching constitutional reform in order to satisfy demands for independence – call it what you will, decentralisation, autonomy or federalisation – in different parts of the country. This is a very important and very significant decision on the part of Ukraine’s authorities.
But there is another side involved too, and if the Donbass region’s representatives have agreed to take part in this reform, this means that we are seeing some support for progress along this road of developing Ukraine’s statehood.
Of course, the quicker everything is done to end hostilities and withdraw military equipment, the quicker this will put in place the real conditions needed for a political settlement to really go ahead.
As for military operations, I want to say that we have noted overall a substantial drop in activity. But let me note too that last time, when President Poroshenko decided to resume military operations and then stop them, it was not possible to do this immediately. What we do see now though is a clear and big decrease in the amount of shooting and exchange of hostilities along the entire battle line.
Yes, clashes are still taking place around Debaltsevo. But there too the scale and intensity of operations is less than it was before. What is happening there was not unexpected. According to our information, a group of Ukrainian troops were already surrounded there before the meeting in Minsk last week. I spoke about this at the meeting in Minsk. I said that the surrounded troops would try to break out of the encirclement and there would be attempts from the outside too to break through, and the militia, who had got the Ukrainian troops surrounded, would resist these attempts and try to keep the encirclement in place, and this would inevitably lead to further clashes. Another attempt to break through was made this morning, I don’t know what the media have been saying, I have not managed to follow all of the news, but I know that at ten o’clock this morning the Ukrainian armed forces made another attempt to break open the encirclement. It was unsuccessful in the end.
I hope very much that the people responsible in the Ukrainian government will not prevent Ukrainian servicemen from laying down their arms. If they cannot or will not take this important decision and give this order, they should at least not prosecute those who are ready to lay down their arms in order to save their own and others’ lives. At the same time, I hope that militia representatives and the authorities in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic will not detain these people and will not prevent them from freely leaving the conflict zone and encirclement and returning to their families.
QUESTION (translated from Russian): Mr President, from your words I understand that when the Minsk agreement was signed, and when you took part in the talks, you knew that the ceasefire would not take effect from exactly the moment planned. In other words, it was to be expected that some clashes would continue.
Do you think these clashes will end soon? Are you optimistic about the chances for a lasting ceasefire, or are you a pessimist, because if military clashes do intensify there, the United States could start supplying arms to Ukraine. How you would respond to this, what would Russia do?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Concerning possible arms supplies to Ukraine, for a start, according to our information, arms supplies are already taking place. There is nothing so unusual about this situation.
Second, I firmly believe that no matter who and which type of weapons are involved, it is never a good thing to supply arms to a conflict zone, but in this particular case, no matter who sends them and what kind of arms are involved, the number of victims might rise of course, but the result would be the same as what we see today.
This would be inevitable because I believe that the vast majority of Ukrainian servicemen do not want to take part in a fratricidal war, even more so far from their own homes, and the Donbass militia has strong motivation to fight for and protect their families.
After all, let me remind you once again that what is happening now is linked to one thing only, namely, to the fact that the government in Kiev decided for a third time to resume military action and use the armed forces. This decision was first taken by Mr Turchinov, who issued the order to carry out what he called an antiterrorist operation. President Poroshenko then decided to resume the military operations, and now this is happening for the third time.
There will be no end to this if the people making the decisions do not realise that there is no hope of resolving the problem through military means. It can be settled only through peaceful means, only through reaching an agreement with this part of their country and guaranteeing these people’s lawful rights and interests.
Let me say that the agreement reached in Minsk offers an opportunity for this to happen. In this respect, I want to note the big role that the French President and the German Federal Chancellor played in reaching a compromise. I think that a compromise solution has been found and could be cemented by a resolution from the UN Security Council. Russia, as you know, has already put forward this initiative. If this happens, the Minsk Agreement would gain the status of international law. If not, it is already a good enough document that should be implemented in full. I am more of an optimist than a pessimist.
Let me say again that the situation is relatively quiet along the whole battle line now. We need to settle the problem of the group that has been surrounded. Our common task is to save the lives of the people trapped in this encirclement and ensure that this issue does not worsen relations between the authorities in Kiev and the Donbass militia.
It is never easy to lose of course and is always a misfortune for the losing side, especially when you lose to people who were yesterday working down in the mines or driving tractors. But life is life and it has to continue. I don’t think we should get too obsessed about these things.
As I said, we need to concentrate on resolving the main task, which is to save the lives of the people there now and enable them to return to their families, and we need to implement in full the plan agreed to in Minsk. I am sure that this is possible. There is no other road to take.
The US and Turkey have come to an agreement under which US military personnel will begin training so-called moderate rebels to fight in Syria. The announcement was made Tuesday. This is not just a foolish move; it is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire.
There are no moderate rebels. The moderate people in Syria support their government. If Obama is really serious about fighting ISIS he should join forces with the Syrian government and with Hezbollah–because they are the “boots on the ground” who are taking the fight to the terrorists.
How will the US know the “moderates” it trains aren’t really ISIS secret agents? That may sound funny, but I’m serious. In a report here we are told that the US has so far “screened” about 1,200 rebel fighters said to have been drawn from “several moderate groups in Syria.”
According to the report, the “screening” process is being headed up by Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata. The plans are to train about 5,000 “moderates” per year, but the process is going slowly because each applicant is supposedly being thoroughly checked. Some 100 US personnel are already in the area setting up three training camps–in Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia–and eventually about 1,000 US troops are expected to be involved in the program.
Question: how does Nagata know that at least some of the “moderates” being recruited for this effort aren’t in reality deep-cover ISIS operatives? Answer: he doesn’t. And even if they are moderates now, what’s to stop them from going over to the other side once they get their American training and equipment?
We saw an instance, late last year, in which two “moderate” rebel groups who had received US training–Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front–laid down their weapons and surrendered after coming into military conflict with Al-Nusra. The two groups had been supplied with GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles. All of this equipment ended up in Al-Nusra’s possession. It is said that Harakat Hazm gave up “without firing a shot,” and that some of its members even defected over to the takfiri militants. These events took place in early November of 2014, and they proved somewhat embarrassing for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, or WINEP.
In April of 2014, WINEP fellow Jeffrey White published an article in which he referred to Harakat Hazm as “rebels worth supporting.” I discussed White’s piece in a post entitled The Myth of the ‘Moderate’ Rebels, which I put up on October 15 last year. At that time, Harakat Hazm had not yet surrendered to Al-Nusra, but the post included a video about the organization that placed its supposed “moderation” into considerable doubt. Below is that video. Starting at about 1:04 in you will see footage showing five men seated at a table. The one in the center is Salim Idris, former chief of staff of the Free Syrian Army–another supposed “moderate.”
In my article I noted that the best way for the US to defeat ISIS, perhaps the only way, is to join forces with the Syrian government. But this will not happen, I also mentioned, because it runs counter to the wishes of the Zionist lobby in America, which wants to see regime change in Syria.
Now, just months later, one has to wonder: was it Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata who made the decision to give GRAD rockets and TOW missiles to Harakat Hazm? Nagata was already on the job training Syrian rebels in October of last year, and you can go here to see a report filed at that time that offers a little bit of insight into his background. The report doesn’t leave you with a great deal of confidence in him.
Once the initial 1,200 “moderates” have undergone their training, what happens then? Will they simply be wished the best of luck, sent off into Syria, at which point that’s the end of it? Hardly. According to a report here, once they are in Syria, the “moderate” rebels will be given the power to call in US airstrikes, which opens up a host of possibilities, including a scenario in which US air power is manipulated by those on the ground for purpose of attacking rival rebel groups. And this, too, has happened before–in Afghanistan.
How much of our tax dollars are being wasted on this enterprise? How much is being wasted now–and how much will be wasted in the years to come? Another consideration is the chance that all this will escalate. Those who remember history will recall that the Vietnam war started out with just a small number of US “advisers” in the country to train South Vietnamese troops. In 1959, a total of just 760 US personnel were in South Vietnam; in 1960, the number grew to 900. By 1968, America had more than a half million troops stationed in the country.
As mentioned above, one of the US training camps being set up is in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabist ideology was born in Saudia Arabia, and the kingdom today remains its epicenter. Exactly what sort of persons do you suppose Nagata will be providing training for in his camp there? Perhaps they will include the enlightened followers of a Saudi cleric who recently explained why, in his view, the earth doesn’t rotate. The cleric has been identified as Sheikh Bandar al-Khaibari:
The above video surfaced earlier this week. The following video, below, was posted three months ago and shows Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah discussing, in a somewhat bemused manner, the beliefs of clerics like al-Khaibari:
Not only is the “moderate rebel” a myth, but the notion that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are sincere partners in fighting ISIS is also a myth. All three countries have been heavily implicated in providing assistance to the very terrorists the Obama administration claims to be fighting. Due to the low price of oil, filling up gasoline cans is cheap these days.
The only people who attempt to put out fires with gasoline are either, a) the very stupid; or, b) those who only pretend to want to see the fire put out but who in reality are seeking to create a bigger fire.
In a speech given on Thursday, February 19, Obama asserted that the world is “united against the scourge of violent extremism and terrorism.” This is a fairly accurate statement as far as it goes; the vast majority of the world’s people are indeed united on that point. The question, of course, becomes: does Obama really not know who his friends are in this fight?
The Middle East is really not that hard to figure out. The best, the brightest, the most patriotic of the region–these people already know what side they are on; they have joined the ranks of Hezbollah, the Syrian and Lebanese Armies, and the Syrian National Defense Force. They will fight and they will defeat America’s trained proxies, and then when nothing is left but for America to send in its own ground forces, they will fight America as well.
This is the course our leaders are presently headed on–all for Israel.
ABC Australia Investigative Report on Statin Scam Pulled from YouTube
Dr. MaryAnne Demasi’s documentary on the criminal activity of the pharmaceutical industry regarding cholesterol-lowering statin drugs sent shock waves through the mainstream media in Australia at the end of 2013. Published in two parts on the popular news show The Catalyst, the pharmaceutical industry complained loudly after the first show, and requested the network not air the second episode, “Heart of the Matter Part 2 – Cholesterol Drug War.”
ABC Australia aired it anyway, but the pharmaceutical influence was apparently too strong, as they later announced that the network would remove the videos from their website because “they breached its impartiality standards.” All copies found on YouTube were also removed.
Dr. Michael Eades has published them on his Vimeo channel, however, and you can watch them below.
Heart of the Matter – Part 1
Heart of the Matter Part 2 – Cholesterol Drug War
A short clip from the Andy Griffith Show has been making the rounds on the web, and for good reason.
The clip shows a young Opie, (Ron Howard), and Andy Taylor (Griffith), discussing a recording that Opie had obtained from the jail cell.
Griffith explains to Opie the unjust reasoning behind recording a conversation that is meant to be private, no matter who is involved, or what crime they’re suspected of committing.
The short clip is disheartening for those of us who have been watching citizens’ rights be devoured in the name of fighting the state’s ever-changing and contrived boogeymen.
Despite the myriad of boogeymen the state devised throughout the 1960’s, pop-culture still portrayed the role of law enforcement with honor and morals.
“You overheard a conversation that’s supposed to be private. I can’t be a part of that,” Andy says in reference to the eavesdropping young Opie had just conducted.
Government spying is now so familiar that it’s reached comedic proportions.
Due process is but a fleeting memory in the heads of most Americans. Sadly, the majority thinks that government spying on them, “keeps them safe.”
“If you have nothing to hide,” they say, “you have nothing to fear.” — this phrase has become the tagline for despotic societies throughout history.
However, having nothing to hide is no defense from the brutal machine known as Police State USA. A quick search through the Free Thought Project archives will prove that innocence, cannot and will not protect you from the modern day iron fist.
Tyranny in the 21st century alone has exploded. Prior to September 11, 2001 the TSA did not exist, indefinite detention did not exist, the NSA did not spy on American citizens, the police weren’t given armored assault vehicles, and Americans could not be assassinated without trial.
This police state industrial complex has grown exponentially, in spite of record low crime rates.
Sadly these atrocities have simply become an accepted reality. However, there is a small but growing, irate and tireless minority who choose not to accept this reality — we are the resistance.
Through the spreading of peaceful ideas and seeking a lesser ignorance, the liberty movement has been catching, like wildfire.
Once the patriotic blinders are removed through refusing to consume the fear mongering propaganda of the state, this brutal Leviathan cannot be unseen.
The video clip below serves as a benchmark to illustrate how much freedom the American population has surrendered over the years.
Comparing this decades-old clip that glorifies the protection of rights, to today’s television shows that promote torture, war, and militarized police forces, should shock the conscience.
What the hell happened America? What the hell indeed…. Share this article and video to show those on the verge of seeing the police state, just how far gone we actually are. Only after we accept that something is wrong, can we do anything to change it.
Nearly a year after the massacre on Kiev’s Maidan left over 50 dead, the BBC has aired footage of an opposition fighter who says he fired at police in the early morning that day, bringing into question the popular narrative that riot police fired first.
“I was shooting downward at their feet,” says a man the broadcaster decided to identify as Sergei.
“Of course, I could have hit them in the arm or anywhere. But I didn’t shoot to kill.”
According to Sergei, he took up a position in the Kiev Conservatory, a music academy located on the southwest corner of Kiev’s Independence Square, on February 20.
One day prior, he had met up with a man who offered him two guns. The first was a 12-gauge shotgun, while the other was a hunting rifle – a Saiga that fired high-velocity rounds.
He chose the Saiga and hid it at a post office that, along with the conservatory, was under the protesters’ control. Sergei told the BBC he was later escorted to the Conservatory, where, with a second gunman, he spent 20 minutes before 7:00 am firing on police.
Other witness testimony has corroborated his account.
On 4 August 2013 Kayla, 26, originally from Prescott, Arizona, was working with Syrian refugees when she was kidnapped after leaving a Spanish Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo. Since that time she has been held in captivity by Da’esh (ISIS). This information was not previously released publicly out of concerns for her safety. On February 6th, Da’esh announced that she had been killed by Jordanian airstrikes in Raqqa, northern Syria. The validity of their announcement has not been confirmed.
Our hearts are with Kayla, her family, friends, and all those who have lost liberty, lives and loved ones in the global struggle for freedom and human rights.
With the ISM, Kayla worked with Palestinians nonviolently resisting the confiscation and demolitions of their homes and lands. In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Occupied East Jerusalem, she stayed with the Al Kurd family to try and prevent the takeover of their home by Israeli settlers.
Kayla accompanied Palestinian children to school in the neighborhood of Tel Ruimeda in Al-Khalil (Hebron) where the children face frequent attacks by the Israeli settlers and military. She stayed with villagers in Izbat Al Tabib in a protest tent to try to prevent the demolition of homes in the village. She joined weekly Friday protests in Palestinian villages against the confiscation of their lands due to Israel’s illegal annexation wall and settlements.
Kayla published writing online about her work in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement in August and September 2010. “How can I ignore the blessing of freedom of speech when I know that people I deeply care for can be shot dead for it?” she wrote.
Below are excerpts from two of Kayla’s posts.
October 29, 2010:
“I could tell a few stories about running desperately from what you pray are rubber-coated steel bullets launched from the gun tip of a reckless and frightened 18-year old.”
“I could tell a few stories about sleeping in front of half demolished buildings waiting for the one night when the bulldozers come to finish them off; fearing sleep because you don’t know what could wake you. . . . I could tell a few stories about walking children home from school because settlers next door are keen to throw stones, threaten and curse at them. Seeing the honest fear in young boys eyes when heavily armed settlers arise from the outpost; pure fear, frozen from further steps, lip trembling.”
“The smell and taste of tear gas has lodged itself in the pores of my throat and the skin around my nose, mouth and eyes. It still burns when I close them. It still hangs in the air like invisible fire burning the oxygen I breathe. When I cry tears for this land, my eyes still sting. This land that is beautiful as the poetry of the mystics. This land with the people who’s hearts are more expansive than any wall that any man could ever build. Yes, the wall will fall. The nature of impermanence is our greatest ally and soon the rules will change, the tide will turn and just as the moon waxes and wanes over this land so too the cycles of life here will continue. One day the cycle will once again return to freedom.”
“Oppression greets us from all angles. Oppression wails from the soldiers radio and floats through tear gas clouds in the air. Oppression explodes with every sound bomb and sinks deeper into the heart of the mother who has lost her son. But resistance is nestled in the cracks in the wall, resistance flows from the minaret 5 times a day and resistance sits quietly in jail knowing its time will come again. Resistance lives in the grieving mother’s wails and resistance lives in the anger at the lies broadcasted across the globe. Though it is sometimes hard to see and even harder sometimes to harbor, resistance lives. Do not be fooled, resistance lives.”
On New Year’s Day of 2011, Kayla received news that Jawaher Abu Rahma, from the village of Bil’in where Kayla had demonstrated in solidarity with her and her family, had been killed by tear gas asphyxiation. On the first of January 2011, Kayla wrote:
“I felt compelled to blog on this today. The first day of 2011, the actual day that she died, just a few hours ago in a village called, Bil’in.”
“Every Friday in Bil’in villagers and international/Israel activists march to the barbed wire fence where an enormous and expanding illegal settlement is visible to protest the theft of their land and their livelihoods. The Palestinians are armed with rocks, the other activists with cameras and collectively they are armed with their bones. Each Friday the demonstration is met with violence; rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and sounds bombs are the usual choice of artillery. Lives are taken as a result of the violence and Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life was taken today.
I have been to this village,
I demonstrated in this village,
I demonstrated arm in arm with her brothers,
and I knew her.”
“My first demonstration in Palestine was in Bil’in and that is when I met Ashraf, Jawaher’s brother. Despite his broken English he always made a point to make sure we were ok when we were at the demonstration in his village, to help us cough up the tear gas and walk off the anxiety. He showed us his village and we played with the kids. Ashraf would bring us water or tea and help us find rides out of the village back to the cities. In the summer of 2008, Ashraf was participating in the demonstration and was detained by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). After he was blind-folded and his hands bound, an IDF soldier shot him in the foot from a distance of about 2 meters shattering his toes and leaving him in trauma as one could imagine.”
(As with all of these video clips, the content may be too graphic for some, please use discretion).
“Just the next year in 2009 Ashraf’s brother, Bassem Abu Rahma, was participating in the demonstration and was attempting to communicate with the IDF soldiers telling them to stop shooting the steel-coated rubber bullets as an Israeli activist had been shot in the leg and needed medical attention. Not soon after an Israeli soldier illegally used a tear gas canister as a bullet hitting Bassem in the chest, stopping his heart and killing him instantly.”
And now just today, the daughter of the Rahmah family, Jawaher, has been asphyxiated from tear gas inhalation. Jawaher was not even participating in the weekly demonstration but was in her home approximately 500 meters away from where the tear gas canisters were being fired (by wind the tear gas reaches the village and even the nearby illegal settlement often). There is currently little information as to how she suffocated but the doctor that attended her said a mixture of the tear gas from the IDF soldiers and phosphorus poisoned her lungs causing asphyxiation, the stopping of the heart and death this afternoon after fighting for her life last night in the hospital. The following is a clip from today showing hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and international activist carrying her body to her families home where they said their final goodbyes.
“This family has a tragic story, but it is the story of life in Palestine.”
“Thank you for reading. Ask me questions and ask yourself questions but most importantly, question the answers.
Forever in solidarity,
FULL SPEECH MSC2015
World leaders gathered in Germany to discuss international security on Saturday, with the meeting somewhat descending into ‘Russia-bashing’. But the West showed itself to be more divided than ever on Ukraine, with the EU and US drifting further apart.
The Americans led the harsh anti-Russian rhetoric at the conference, and once again, they did not exclude the possibility of lethal arms deliveries to Ukraine in the future.
Speaking to reporters, NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, said that although no troops would be sent to Ukraine, providing Kiev with lethal weapons and equipment was on the cards.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Conservative politician and former foreign secretary Malcom Rifkind, and US senator Lindsey Graham notably took a pronounced anti-Russian stance, blaming the Kremlin for the violence in Ukraine.
Moscow hit back, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressing in his Munich speech that it is the US and its European allies who have played the key destabilizing role in Ukraine, from helping to overthrow the democratically elected government to failing to condemn the new Kiev government for shelling the civilian population in the east with cluster bombs.
“Through every step, as the crisis has developed, our American colleagues and the EU under their influence have tried to escalate the situation,” Lavrov said, adding that the West has always been urging world governments to enter into dialogue with opposition groups or figures, even when it came to extremist groups such as the Taliban. However, in Ukraine it has bluntly been supporting every one of Kiev’s actions.
Lavrov then spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry, warning him that Washington’s plans to supply Kiev with military equipment might have “unpredictable consequences”, including “disrupting the efforts to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine,” according to a Facebook statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry. He stressed that Russia and the US agree that the only basis for any solution is a comprehensive national dialogue on constitutional reform in Ukraine.
Russia will not sacrifice its national interest, but is ready to “engage constructively” with the US, Lavrov stressed.
At the press conference, the Russian top diplomat was pelted with questions implying that Moscow is responsible for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“It felt like orchestrated hate fest. Obviously these people live in a surreal world. The US try to change the balance of forces in eastern Europe and the EU join the band wagon,” Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of the Chronicles magazine told RT, adding that “whenever a major power wants to change the status-quo, the result is a crisis.”
Despite the recent efforts to try and to stop the violence and find a peaceful way out of the Ukrainian conflict, with French and German leaders having taken an initiative to discuss a peace plan with Russia’s President Putin and Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, the actions of the West are still “profoundly self-righteous,” critics say.
“What I saw today in the press conference is a total unwillingness from the European, Western side to even take into consideration the arguments of the other side…the questions they pose are so selective, so predetermined by their self-righteousness – that is not the way you try to get peace,” former security consultant at the OSCE Lode Vanoost told RT, adding that the West is hypocritical to a level “so profound that [its behavior] is not a serious way to try to get peace.”
However, despite the overwhelmingly anti-Russian rhetoric coming from the West, there are increasingly numbers of politicians who are softening their stance.
Following the Friday meeting of President Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Moscow, which was said to be “constructive,” the French leader revealed that the discussion included the creation of a larger demilitarized zone between the Kiev and militia-controlled territories. He also called for “quite strong” autonomy for Ukraine’s eastern regions.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Saturday that Paris does not want a new Cold War, considering that Russia and France having a long history of common interests and values. The former state leader also said that it was Crimea that had chosen to join Russia and it “cannot be blamed” for its choice. Previously, former Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, said that Crimea has “always” been a part of Russia.
While the European leaders have largely been united in their support for the Kiev government, only a few have agreed with the United States on supplying weapons to Ukraine. Instead, the German leader stressed that the crisis “cannot be resolved militarily” and that sending more arms can only worsen the conflict.
The issue of military aid to Ukraine is now considered to be the main subject causing the divide in the West, with many in Europe realizing that the potential threat of an escalating conflict on its territory exists.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the 51st Munich Security Conference on February 7, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Flickr MFA Russia)
Political analysts agree that hidden from the public eye, “there is definitely a big divide between the US and the EU on the whole issue of Ukraine,” Vanoost told RT. “It’s very difficult to know how the game will finish, because it’s not an open game, it’s behind the scenes,” Bruno Drweski, an analyst specializing in eastern Europe, said.
Sanctions against Russia have economically hit the EU itself, but have not affected the US. The conflict is also happening on the European continent, not in America, with the EU generally not eager to further escalate it.
“First of all, the European Union is directly involved if the conflict escalates – which is not the case for the United States. Secondly, in the EU they are realistic enough to know that the government in Kiev is very unstable, that they don’t even have full control of all parts of their own military,” Vanoost explained, while speaking about the Western split in regard of the Ukrainian crisis.
However, toning down rhetoric puts some in the firing line, too.
After Merkel said that Europe wants security alongside with Russia, rather against it, and reiterated Berlin’s stance that the Ukrainian conflict must be resolved peacefully, US senator Graham lashed out at the German leader for her refusal to send arms to Ukraine.
“She can’t see how arming people who are willing to fight and die for their freedom makes things better,” the US politician said, adding that the West cannot “turn [its] back on the struggling democracy.”
In an effort to silence voices against harsher anti-Russian measures, US Vice President Joe Biden has labeled those questioning sanctions against Moscow “inappropriate and annoying,” Der Spiegel reported, quoting the participants of the Brussels meeting. The US official called on European countries to show unity when it comes to sanctions against Russia. Biden even reportedly added that critics of the policy should be aware that they also benefited from the current low price of oil.
“The Americans want to run this show, and they have no interest in stopping the crisis in Ukraine because it is really driving a wedge between the Europeans and Russia. And to their [the US’] mind, it is only pushing Europe ever so firmly back into the NATO fold,” Trifkovic told RT.
Meanwhile, Lavrov said Moscow is ready to guarantee agreements between the warring sides if a peaceful solution to the crisis is found, which would satisfy both Kiev and the eastern Ukrainian regions.
Quoting the “aggression” against the federal republic of Yugoslavia, the current crisis has been named “an ongoing assault against the Russian Federation” by the former deputy head of OSCE, Willy Wimmer. Calling for a hastier end to the conflict, which “is the best for all of us,” the ex official of the European security and cooperation organization said that “it’s better to have Polish apples in Russian stores than US tanks at the Russian border.”