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Long-overdue release of Hassan Diab in France highlights failure of bogus “terror” charges

Photo: Friends of Hassan Diab
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network – January 13, 2108

Lebanese-Canadian professor Hassan Diab was ordered released and all charges against him dropped by a French investigative judge on his case yesterday, 12 January 2018. Diab was extradited from Canada and held for three years in solitary confinement in France on the basis of bogus “terrorism” charges despite clear evidence of his innocence. While the struggle isn’t over, as the French state can appeal, this is an important victory for Hassan Diab and against the use of “terror” charges to terrorize oppressed communities.

Of course, French state persecution continues – from the use of anti-terror laws and the “state of emergency” to impose fear and repression on oppressed communities through police violence and surveillance to the charges against BDS activists for advocacy for Palestine to, atop the list, the over 33 years of imprisonment of Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine, Georges Ibrahim Abdallah.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Hassan Diab, his wife Rania Tfaily, his dedicated French and Canadian legal team and all of the Justice for Hassan Diab campaigners who have struggled for years for his release from years of unjust imprisonment in French prison and extradition from Canada on the basis of bogus “terrorism” charges. Yesterday, he was ordered released after three years of solitary confinement and the charges against him dropped. He is working now to come back to Canada.

Of course, the struggle isn’t over. French officials can pursue another appeal to attempt to shore up their bogus terror case – and we’ve seen how the French state refuses even the rule of its own judiciary in the case of the struggler Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. Nevertheless, this is an important victory for Hassan Diab and against the use of “terror” prosecutions on the basis of secret evidence, evidence obtained through torture and politically-motivated intelligence agencies.

See more information:

http://iclmg.ca/civil-liberties-coalition-welcomes-the-rel…/
http://www.justiceforhassandiab.org/french-investigative-ju…
http://www.cbc.ca/…/o…/charges-dropped-hassan-diab-1.4484443

We are reprinting below the statement of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group on the case:

CIVIL LIBERTIES COALITION WELCOMES THE RELEASE OF CANADIAN HASSAN DIAB IN FRANCE

Jan. 12, 2018 – After a decade-long ordeal, French judges have dropped all allegations against Canadian Hassan Diab and ordered his immediate release.

“We are overjoyed for Hassan, his partner Rania, and their two children, that this ordeal is finally coming to a close,” said Tim McSorley, national coordinator with the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. “That Hassan Diab was extradited in the first place continues to raise serious questions about Canada’s judicial process. For now, though, we look forward to seeing Hassan safe and sound back in Canada.”

Hassan Diab was arrested by the RCMP for extradition to France in 2008, on allegations that he participated in the 1980 bombing of a synagogue in Paris that killed 4 bystanders. He was extradited to France in 2014. Since then he has spent more than three years in pre-trial detention, as investigative judges weighed whether to proceed to trial.

Since 2008, the ICLMG has joined Rania, Hassan’ lawyers, the Justice for Hassan Diab support committee and others in questioning the evidence presented against Hassan, and criticizing the Canadian extradition system that allowed him to be sent to France in the first place.

It is important to remember that at the time of the extradition hearings, Justice Maranger described the evidence against Hassan as “illogical”, “very problematic,” and “convoluted,” but that the low threshold for evidence under Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Dr. Diab to extradition. “It will be important to remain vigilant to ensure that no other Canadian faces the ordeal that Hassan has been through,” said McSorley.

The ICLMG congratulates Rania, Don Bayne and all of Hassan’s lawyers, and the support committee for their tireless work in ensuring that an innocent man was not forgotten and is finally being freed.

January 13, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

No charges for Israel soldier who killed Palestinian child returning from swimming

MEMO | January 12, 2018

An Israeli army officer who opened fire on a car of Palestinian civilians, killing a 15-year-old boy, will not be prosecuted, it was reported today.

Mahmoud Badran was killed, and four friends wounded, after returning from a swimming pool on the night of 21 June 2016.

At the time, the Israeli military claimed the forces responsible believed the car of youngsters were responsible for throwing stones at Route 443 in the occupied West Bank.

An investigation by the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID) has now concluded that the “mistake” was a reasonable one to make in the circumstances, despite the fact that the officer opened fire in violation of the regulations.

According to Haaretz, the officer in question is a platoon commander in the Kfir Brigade, which is based in the occupied West Bank. He, and two colleagues, were driving towards Jerusalem in plain clothes when they noticed stones and an oil patch on the road, and a bus parked up on the side.

After driving to where they believed the stones had been thrown from, the officer and soldiers got out and opened fire on a car driving on a road under Route 443. Open-fire regulations in the West Bank state that when a vehicle does not endanger the soldiers, shots must be fired in the air.

According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, “massive fire” was directed at the vehicle of Palestinian youngsters, despite the fact that there was zero indication its occupants were responsible for the stone-throwing (and even if there had been, lethal force was unjustified).

The MPCID investigation similarly concluded that the officer had not seen the stone throwers, and targeted the car purely due to its proximity to the site. Despite such findings, no indictment will be filed against the officer, not even for causing death by negligence.

According to Haaretz, the officer faces dismissal for his conduct during the incident. The army spokesperson told the paper that the findings were still being examined by the Military Advocate General’s office ahead of a final decision.

At the time, B’Tselem predicted that the investigation would produce no results, slamming “the military law enforcement system” as “a whitewashing mechanism”.

January 13, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel Demands Compensation From Family Of Palestinian Crushed To Death Under Army Jeep

Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem was 22 years of age when he died in 2015. He had been a political prisoner from 2012 – 2014.
If Americans Knew | January 10, 2018

Abdullah was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier, then crushed to death under a military jeep. Now the military is demanding compensation from Abdullah’s family for damages to the jeep.

from IMEC News

The Israeli army filed a lawsuit against the family, and the entire town, of a Palestinian who was crushed to death under a military jeep which flipped over him, after the army invaded Kafr Malek village, east of Ramallah, in central West Bank, in mid-June 2014.

The military is demanding the family of Abdullah Ghanayem (Ghneimat), and his entire town, to pay 95,260 Israeli Shekels (about $28,000), in compensation for damages caused to the military jeep.

Ghanayem was crushed by an Israeli military jeep, on June 14, 2015, after the soldiers invaded Kafr Malek.

He remained under the jeep for three hours, and bled to death, after the soldiers prevented medics and rescue teams from helping him.

Now, the Israeli authorities are demanding his family, and his entire village, to pay 95,260 Shekels  in compensation, for damages caused to the military jeep.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 4 Comments

Surrounded by Neocons

They are all the news that fits

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • January 9, 2018

Award winning journalist James Risen has recently described in some detail his sometimes painful relationship with The New York Times. His lengthy account is well worth reading as it demonstrates how successive editors of the paper frequently cooperated with the government to suppress stories on torture and illegal activity while also self-censoring to make sure that nothing outside the framework provided by the “war on terror” should be seriously discussed. It became a faithful lap dog for an American role as global hegemon, promoting government half-truths and suppressing information that it knew to be true but which would embarrass the administration in power, be they Democrats or Republicans.

If one were to obtain a similar insider account of goings-on at the other national “newspaper of record”, The Washington Post, it is quite likely that comparable trimming of the narrative also took place. To be sure, the Post is worse than the Times, characterized by heavily editorializing in its news coverage without necessarily tipping off the reader when “facts” end and speculation begins. In both publications, stories about Iran or Russia routinely begin with an assertion that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. election and that Iran is the aggressor in the Middle East, contentions that have not been demonstrated and can easily be challenged. Both publications also have endorsed every American war since 2001, including Iraq, Libya and the current mess in Syria, one indication of the quality of their reporting and analysis.

A recent op-ed in the Times by Bret Stephens is a perfect example of warmongering mischief wrapped in faux expert testimony to make it palatable. Stephens is the resident neocon at the Times. He was brought over from the Wall Street Journal when it was determined that his neocon colleague David Brooks had become overly squishy, while the resident “conservative” Russ Douthat had proven to be a bit too cautious and even rational to please the increasingly hawkish senior editors.

Stephens’ article, entitled Finding the Way Forward on Iran sparkles with throwaway gems like “Tehran’s hyperaggressive foreign policy in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal” and “Real democracies don’t live in fear of their own people” and even “it’s not too soon to start rethinking the way we think about Iran.” Or try “A better way of describing Iran’s dictatorship is as a kleptotheocracy, driven by impulses that are by turns doctrinal and venal.”

Bret has been a hardliner on Iran for years. Early on in this op-ed he makes very clear that he wants it to be dealt with forcibly because it has “centrifuges, ballistic missiles, enriched uranium [and] fund[s] Hezbollah, assist Bashar al-Assad, arm[s] the Houthis, [and] imprison[s] the occasional British or American citizen.” He describes how Iran is a very corrupt place run by religious leaders and Revolutionary Guards and proposes that their corruption be exposed so that the Iranian people can take note and rise up in anger. And if exposure doesn’t work, they should be hammered with sanctions. He does not explain why sanctions, which disproportionately hurt the people he expects to rise up, will bring about any real change.

Stephens cites two of his buddies Ken Weinstein of the Hudson Institute and Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), who are apparently experts on how to squeeze Iran. Weinstein prefers exposing the misdeeds of the Mullahs to anger the Iranian people while Dubowitz prefers punitive sanctions “for corruption.”

The article does not reveal that Weinstein and Dubowitz are long time critics of Iran, are part of the Israel Lobby and just happen to be Jewish, as is Stephens. The Hudson Institute and the FDD are leading neocon and pro-Israel fronts. So my question becomes, “Why Iran?” The often-heard Israeli complaint about its being unfairly picked on could reasonably be turned on its head in asking the same about Iran. In fact, Iran compares favorably with Israel. It has no nuclear weapons, it does not support any of the Sunni terrorist groups that are chopping heads, and it has not disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of people that it rules over. The fact is that Iran is being targeted because Israel sees it as its prime enemy in the region and has corrupted many “opinion makers” in the U.S., to include Stephens, to hammer home that point. To be sure, Iran is a very corrupt place run by people who should not be running a hot dog stand, but the same applies to the United States and Israel. And there are lots of places that are not being targeted like Iran that are far worse, including good friend and ally of both Jerusalem and Washington, Saudi Arabia.

Oddly enough Stephens, Weinstein and Dubowitz do not get into any of that back story, presumably because it would be unseemly. And, of course and unfortunately, the New York Times opinion page is not unique. An interesting recent podcast interview by Politico‘s Chief International Affairs correspondent Susan Glasser with leading neoconservatives Eliot Cohen and Max Boot, is typical of how the media selectively shapes a narrative to suit its own biases. Glasser, Cohen and Boot are all part of the establishment foreign policy consensus in the U.S. and therefore both hate and fail to understand the Trump phenomenon. Both Cohen and Booth were vociferous founding members of the #NeverTrump foreign policy resistance movement.

Boot describes the new regime’s foreign policy as “kowtow[ing] to dictators and undermin[ing] American support for freedom and democracy around the world,” typical neocon leitmotifs. Glasser appears to be in love with her interviewees and hurls softball after softball. She describes Boot as “fantastic” and Cohen receives the epithet “The Great.” The interview itself is remarkably devoid of any serious discussion of foreign policy and is essentially a sustained assault on Trump while also implicitly supporting hardline national security positions. Cohen fulminates about “a very serious Russian attack on the core of our political system. I mean, I don’t know how you get more reckless and dangerous than that,” while Boot asks what “has to be done” about Iran.

Pompous ass Cohen, who interjected in the interview that “and you know, Max and I are both intellectuals,” notably very publicly refused to have any part in a Trump foreign policy team during the campaign but later when The Donald was actually elected suggested that the new regime might approach him with humility to offer a senior position and he just might condescend to join them. They did not do so, and he wrote an angry commentary on their refusal.

Hating Trump is one thing, but I would bet that if the question of a hardline policy vis-à-vis Russia or the Jerusalem Embassy move had come up Cohen and Boot would have expressed delight. The irony is that Trump is in fact pursuing a basically neocon foreign policy which the two men would normally support, but they appear to be making room for Trump haters in the policy formulation process to push the national security consensus even farther to the right. Indeed, in another article by Boot at Foreign Policy he writes “I applaud Trump’s decisions to provide Ukraine with arms to defend itself from Russian aggression, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, and to accelerate former President Barack Obama’s strategy for fighting the Islamic State.” Cohen meanwhile applauds the embassy move, though he warns that Trump’s success in so doing might embolden him to do something reckless over North Korea.

Perhaps one should not be astonished that leading neocons appearing in the mainstream media will continue to have their eyes on the ball and seek for more aggressive engagement in places like Iran and Russia. The media should be faulted because it rarely publishes any contrary viewpoint and it also consistently fails to give any space to the considerable downside to the agitprop. It must be reassuring for many Americans to know that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is preparing itself to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United States and it will be sharing information on the appropriate preparations with the American people. There will be a public session on how to prepare for a nuclear explosion on January 16th.

CDC experts will consider “planning and preparation efforts” for such a strike. “While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps,” the Center elaborated in its press release on the event.

That the United States should be preparing for a possible nuclear future can in part be attributed to recent commentary by the “like, really smart” and “very stable genius” who is the nation’s chief executive, but the fuel being poured on the fire for war is from the very same neocons who are featured in the mainstream media as all-purpose experts and have succeeded in selling the snake oil about America’s proper role as aggressor-in-chief for the entire world. It would be an unparalleled delight to be able to open a newspaper and not see Bret Stephens, Eliot Cohen, Max Boot or even the redoubtable Bill Kristol grinning back from the editorial page, but I suppose I am only dreaming.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The plight of Irish political prisoners

PressTVUK | January 8, 2018

The incarceration of Irish political prisoners in British prisons in the North of Ireland is rarely discussed in the mainstream media. In this special report recently televised, Press TV in partnership with ‘Crimes of Britain’ examine the plight of Irish political prisoners in including allegations of internment and torture.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Bolivia Joins Operation Condor Investigation

teleSUR – January 7, 2018

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced that his country is joining the regional investigation into Operation Condor alongside Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

These latter nations created the Truth Commission to uncover the “Empire’s transgressions” during Operation Condor, the Bolivian head of state tweeted, referring to the United States.

Operation Condor was a covert, multinational “black operations” program organized by six Latin American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, later joined by Ecuador and Peru), with logistical, financial, and intelligence support from Washington,” according to J. Patrice McSherry, author of Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America (2005). Their shared intent was to do away with leftist movements in the region.

Morales said he laments this shared history of human rights violations, but celebrates the “brave and dignified struggle against the military dictatorships.”

For its part, Bolivia suffered under Operation Condor during its nearly 20-year dictatorship between 1964 and 1982.

Nila Heredia, who was named the country’s rights commission representative, said that Bolivia is giving “its full support (to the commission) with its experience (of working on other rights commissions, as well as technical expertise.”

Morales has also announced that Bolivia will host a seminary for experts from the Truth Commission on Feb. 20.

Estimates of the number of those killed or disappeared from the clandestine Operation Condor ranges from 20,000 to 60,000.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ahed Tamimi’s arrest sheds a disturbing light on how children are targeted by Israel

By Jonathon Cook | The National | January 8, 2018

Sixteen-year-old Ahed Tamimi may not be what Israelis had in mind when, over many years, they criticised Palestinians for not producing a Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.

Eventually, colonised peoples bring to the fore a figure best suited to challenge the rotten values at the core of the society oppressing them. Ahed is well qualified for the task.

She was charged last week with assault and incitement after she slapped two heavily armed Israeli soldiers as they refused to leave the courtyard of her family home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. Her mother, Nariman, is in detention for filming the incident. The video quickly went viral.

Ahed lashed out shortly after soldiers nearby shot her 15-year-old cousin in the face, seriously injuring him.

Western commentators have largely denied Ahed the kind of effusive support offered to democracy protesters in places such as China and Iran. Nevertheless, this Palestinian schoolgirl – possibly facing a long jail term for defying her oppressors – has quickly become a social media icon.

While Ahed might have been previously unknown to most Israelis, she is a familiar face to Palestinians and campaigners around the world.

For years, she and other villagers have held a weekly confrontation with the Israeli army as it enforces the rule of Jewish settlers over Nabi Saleh. These settlers have forcibly taken over the village’s lands and ancient spring, a vital water source for a community that depends on farming.

Distinctive for her irrepressible blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, Ahed has been filmed regularly since she was a small girl confronting soldiers who tower above her. Such scenes inspired one veteran Israeli peace activist to anoint her Palestine’s Joan of Arc.

But few Israelis are so enamoured.

Not only does she defy Israeli stereotypes of a Palestinian, she has struck a blow against the self-deception of a highly militarised and masculine culture.

She has also given troubling form to the until-now anonymised Palestinian children Israel accuses of stone-throwing.

Palestinian villages like Nabi Saleh are regularly invaded by soldiers. Children are dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, as happened to Ahed during her arrest last month in retaliation for her slaps. Human rights groups document how children are routinely beaten and tortured in detention.

Many hundreds pass through Israeli jails each year charged with throwing stones. With conviction rates in Israeli military courts of more than 99 per cent, the guilt and incarceration of such children is a foregone conclusion.

They may be the lucky ones. Over the past 16 years, Israel’s army has killed on average 11 children a month.

The video of Ahed, screened repeatedly on Israeli TV, has threatened to upturn Israel’s self-image as David fighting an Arab Goliath. This explains the toxic outrage and indignation that has gripped Israel since the video aired.

Predictably, Israeli politicians were incensed. Naftali Bennett, the education minister, called for Ahed to “end her life in jail”. Culture minister Miri Regev, a former army spokeswoman, said she felt personally “humiliated” and “crushed” by Ahed.

But more troubling is a media debate that has characterised the soldiers’ failure to beat Ahed in response to her slaps as a “national shame”.

The revered television host Yaron London expressed astonishment that the soldiers “refrained from using their weapons” against her, wondering whether they “hesitated out of cowardice”.

But far more sinister were the threats from Ben Caspit, a leading Israeli analyst. In a column, he said Ahed’s actions made “every Israeli’s blood boil”. He proposed subjecting her to retribution “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”, adding that his own form of revenge would lead to his certain detention.

That fantasy – of cold-bloodedly violating an incarcerated child – should have sickened every Israeli. And yet Mr Caspit is still safely ensconced in his job.

But aside from exposing the sickness of a society addicted to dehumanising and oppressing Palestinians, including children, Ahed’s case raises the troubling question of what kind of resistance Israelis think Palestinians are permitted.

International law, at least, is clear. The United Nations has stated that people under occupation are allowed to use “all available means”, including armed struggle, to liberate themselves.

But Ahed, the villagers of Nabi Saleh and many Palestinians like them have preferred to adopt a different strategy – a confrontational, militant civil disobedience. Their resistance defies the occupier’s assumption that it is entitled to lord it over Palestinians.

Their approach contrasts strongly with the constant compromises and so-called “security cooperation” accepted by the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Israeli commentator Gideon Levy, Ahed’s case demonstrates that Israelis deny Palestinians the right not only to use rockets, guns, knives or stones, but even to what he mockingly terms an “uprising of slappings”.

Ahed and Nabi Saleh have shown that popular unarmed resistance – if it is to discomfort Israel and the world – cannot afford to be passive or polite. It must be fearless, antagonistic and disruptive.

Most of all, it must hold up a mirror to the oppressor. Ahed has exposed the gun-wielding bully lurking in the soul of too many Israelis. That is a lesson worthy of Gandhi or Mandela.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Is slapping a soldier in the face worse than shooting a child in the face?

Mohammed Tamimi
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | January 7, 2018

Many in Israel and mainstream media seem to consider slapping an Israeli soldier in the face a more notable offense than shooting a Palestinian child in the face.

A CNN report on Ahed Tamimi’s slap of an Israeli soldier did not mention that an Israeli soldier had just shot her young cousin in the face.

An Atlantic article that contained much valuable information about the situation nevertheless buried and minimized the shooting of a boy, mentioning it in one paragraph low in the story.

Below is some information many mainstream media are omitting:

Mohammed Tamimi is about 15 years old (some reports said he was 14). He was unarmed and posed no risk to anyone when an Israeli soldier a few meters away shot him in the face. The bullet entered Mohammed’s face below his nose. It broke his jaw and then lodged in his skull. According to a witness, “The blood was pouring from his face like a fountain.”

With difficulty due to Israel’s many military checkpoints on Palestinian land, the teen was eventually taken to a hospital, where he underwent a six-hour procedure involving seven surgeons. The doctors removed the bullet, reconstructed his jaw and put him into an artificial coma for 72 hours.

A Ha’aretz article reports: “The left side of his face is twisted, swollen, fragmented, scarred; there’s congealed blood by his nose, stitches in his face; one eye is shut, a seam line stretches across his whole scalp. A boy’s face turned scar-face. Some of his skull bones were removed in surgery and won’t be returned to their place for another six months.”

The fact that a soldier shot a boy in the face from close range would normally be the focus of a news story. Since this soldier was Israeli, the boy was Palestinian, and this kind of atrocity is a fairly frequent occurrence in Palestine, it was barely mentioned.

In fact, if Mohammed’s cousin hadn’t then slapped a heavily armed, combat-ready soldier invading her home (which had earlier been tear-gassed), almost no one would even know about Mohammed.

And now, instead of a soldier facing trial for shooting an unarmed boy in the face, it is a 16-year-old girl and her mother who are facing years in prison.

One high Israeli minister said they “should end their lives in jail.”

January 7, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 5 Comments

What It’s Like to have Your Home Tear Gassed

Renee Lewis | 29/1/10

While preparing to interview the Tamimi family in their home during the Nabi Saleh’s weekly protest, a teargas grenade came flying through the window, breaking the glass, and landing in the middle of the living room.

The IDF then sprayed Skunk water on the outside of the house, including the exits, and we were all trapped inside. There were about a dozen small children in the home at the time.

We all choked on the tear gas, the children were terrified and in shock, the parents couldn’t do anything to protect their kids.

Eventually, a Palestinian ambulance arrived and put a ladder up to the second-storey window – at which point the terrified kids had to climb out.

It was not the first time the IDF had shot tear gas into the Tamimi home – they were known organizers of the weekly protests against the Israeli settlers who were illegally annexing Nabi Saleh village land.

December 2017 Update: Since then, Ahed Tamimi, a relative, has made international headlines for fighting back against Israeli soldiers invading her village, Nabi Saleh. A day after a video of Ahed slapping a soldier after her cousin was shot in the face by the army went viral, Ahed was arrested by the Israeli army. It’s not known how long she will be in jail. She is 16 years old.

By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | January 5, 2018

This apparently is the sort of thing the young Ahed Tamimi grew up with. A little bit about the history of the Tamimi family is included in a post published today at Truthout :

In 2011, Ahed Tamimi was 10-years-old when Israeli soldiers arrested her father and charged him with the crime of organizing weekly demonstrations in their village to oppose the theft of its land for the benefit of a neighboring Israeli settlement. It would be 13 months before he was released and she would see her father again.

That same year, Israeli soldiers shot Mustafa Tamimi, Ahed’s 28-year-old cousin, in the face with a high velocity tear gas canister. Half of Mustafa’s face was destroyed. He passed away the next morning at the hospital.

The following year, when Ahed was 11 years old, Israeli soldiers shot her uncle, Rushdi Tamimi, in his lower back with live ammunition. The bullet lodged in his stomach and he died the next morning in the hospital.

Ahed was 13 when Israeli soldiers shot her mother, Nariman Tamimi, in the leg with a 22-caliber bullet. Ahed stood by, crying in the arms of her father, as her mother was placed in the back of an ambulance. Her mother had to rely on crutches for a number of years until she regained use of her legs.

None of this history, however, is mentioned in a commentary published January 5 by the supposedly liberal Haaretz. Instead, the writer of that piece, one Petra Marquardt-Bigman, accuses the Tamimi family of “fanatacism” as well as “Jew-hatred and enthusiastic support for terrorism.” A subheading above the article even reads, somewhat disturbingly:

Promote the blood libel? Check. Glorify terrorism? Check. Celebrate Israeli deaths? Check. Ahed Tamimi and her family aren’t fighting for peace, and they’re not just fighting the occupation: They’re fighting to destroy Israel, and their fight is seasoned with Jew-hatred

The Tamimis, including 16-year-old Ahed, are being accused of “blood libel” now–and outside of the one brief reference to the occupation contained in the subhead, Marquardt-Bigman makes no mention whatsoever of Israel’s 50-year-old occupation of Nabi Saleh and the rest of the West Bank until the very last paragraph of her commentary–where she writes:

Even if the Tamimis were only fighting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, their fanaticism wouldn’t bode well for any peace agreement. But the Tamimis never wanted a peace agreement. They have always wanted the elimination of the world’s only Jewish state.

Update:

Tamimi family member was Israel’s first victim of 2018:

Full article

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 1 Comment

Argentina: Milagro Sala Gets More Jail Time While Convicted Torturer Gets House Arrest

teleSUR – January 6, 2018

Just hours after 21 simultaneous raids on the home of Argentine Indigenous leader Milagro Sala, a provincial court ordered Friday a one-year extraordinary extension of her pre-trial detention. Sala is 21 days short of serving two years in prison.

The political leader is being investigated for alleged illicit association, fraud and extortion, crimes she was charged with days after being detained for allegedly instigating violence during a protest she didn’t attend.

Sala was initially arrested on Jan. 16, 2016 for an “escrache”, a form of protest that seeks to publicly shame someone by congregating around their homes, against the province governor of Jujuy, an ally of President Mauricio Macri. Shortly after on Jan. 29 of that same year Sala was cleared of the instigation charges, but the judge determined that she would remain in detention over new charges of illicit association, fraud and extortion, which she is currently facing.

According to Sala’s lawyer the main reason for the extension is that her defense presented “innumerable” appeals and nullities. “This lacks sense,” her lawyers contended because “everything presented is within the framework of the right to legal defence.”

The one-year extension is not the first arbitrary decision made by Jujuy’s judiciary. In October 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention qualified her detention as arbitrary, a decision backed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which urged Argentina’s government to release her.

The Organization of American States and human rights’ groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also demanded her immediate release to no avail.

Milagro Sala is a renowned activist who is seen as President Macri’s first political prisoner. She created the Organization Tupac Amaru, which provides housing and other services to informal workers and popular sectors, she served as an Argentine legislator between 2013 and 2015, and was later elected by the Front for Victory Party, led by former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, to Mercosur’s Parliament.

News of the one-year extension to Sala’s illegitimate imprisonment were accompanied by news of thousands of Argentines protesting the federal ruling that granted house arrest for convicted murderer and torturer Miguel Etchecolatz, who was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity when he worked as a top police officer under the brutal military dictatorship of the 1970s.

He is not the only one. According to Argentina’s Office of Crimes Against Humanity, 549 of people convicted for crimes against humanity in Argentina are currently under house arrest.

Social leaders and opponents of the current right wing government argue that in Macri’s Argentina social and political activists are repressed, prosecuted, and disappeared while those who repress and abuse their power are granted favors.

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Israel considering death penalty… but only for Palestinian prisoners

MEMO | January 4, 2018

The Israeli Knesset approved on Wednesday a first reading of the death penalty bill which would allow the authorities to execute Palestinian prisoners accused of taking part in “operations against Israeli targets,” Anadolu has reported. The bill was proposed by the right-wing leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet; it was approved by a vote of 52 to 49 but needs a second and third reading before it becomes law.

Extremist Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Defence Minister, endorsed the bill, which he said would increase Israel’s deterrence effect. In televised comments last week, Lieberman said that the law would specifically target Palestinians convicted of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers.

Last year, at a rally following the death of three Israeli police officers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his support for the death penalty for Palestinians, whom he described as “terrorists with blood on their hands.”

Israel applies civilian law to illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians, however, face military courts and military law. The proposed death penalty would only be applicable in military courts. In the already unlikely event of an Israeli being convicted for killing a Palestinian, the accused would never face the death penalty.

“The fact that Israel lacks a constitution allows its prime ministers to enact legislation that serves the interests of their respective racist governments,” explained Mohammed Dahleh, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs. “Israel refuses to adopt a constitution. This also allows it to create laws — or modify them — to suit its expansionist tendencies.”

According to international lawyer Yasser Al-Amouri, the proposed Israeli law violates basic international legal tenets. “The conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis is not criminal in nature but nationalist,” he pointed out. “This means Israel cannot sentence Palestinian prisoners to death under the provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.”

One commentator in London suggested that this legal nicety wouldn’t make any difference. “Israel already treats international laws and conventions with contempt,” said MEMO’s senior editor Ibrahim Hewitt, “so why would it sit up and take notice of this point? The state is guilty of the crime of apartheid, and this bill demonstrates that fact.”

January 4, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 2 Comments

A Tale of Two Americas: Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Go to Jail

By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute | January 3, 2018

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela

This is the tale of two Americas, where the rich get richer and the poor go to jail.

Aided and abetted by the likes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a man who wouldn’t recognize the Constitution if it smacked him in the face—the American dream has become the American scheme: the rich are getting richer and more powerful, while anyone who doesn’t belong to the power elite gets poorer and more powerless to do anything about the nation’s steady slide towards fascism, authoritarianism and a profit-driven police state.

Not content to merely pander to law enforcement and add to its military largesse with weaponry and equipment designed for war, Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.

Now Sessions has given state courts the green light to resume their practice of jailing individuals who are unable to pay the hefty fines imposed by the American police state. In doing so, Sessions has once again shown himself to be not only a shill for the Deep State but an enemy of the people.

First, some background on debtors’ prisons, which jail people who cannot afford to pay the exorbitant fines imposed on them by courts and other government agencies.

Congress banned debtors’ prisons in 1833.

In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the practice to be unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection clause.

“Despite prior attempts on the federal level and across the country to prevent the profound injustice of locking people in cages because they are too poor to pay a debt,” concludes The Atlantic, “the practice persists every day.”

Where things began to change, according to The Marshall Project, was with the rise of “mass incarceration.” As attorney Alec Karakatsanis stated, “In the 1970s and 1980s, we started to imprison more people for lesser crimes. In the process, we were lowering our standards for what constituted an offense deserving of imprisonment, and, more broadly, we were losing our sense of how serious, how truly serious, it is to incarcerate. If we can imprison for possession of marijuana, why can’t we imprison for not paying back a loan?”

By the late 1980s and early 90s, “there was a dramatic increase in the number of statutes listing a prison term as a possible sentence for failure to repay criminal-justice debt.” During the 2000s, the courts started cashing in big-time “by using the threat of jail time – established in those statutes – to squeeze cash out of small-time debtors.”

Fast-forward to the present day which finds us saddled with not only profit-driven private prisons and a prison-industrial complex but also, as investigative reporter Eli Hager notes, “the birth of a new brand of ‘offender-funded’ justice [which] has created a market for private probation companies. Purporting to save taxpayer dollars, these outfits force the offenders themselves to foot the bill for parole, reentry, drug rehab, electronic monitoring, and other services (some of which are not even assigned by a judge). When the offenders can’t pay for all of this, they may be jailed – even if they have already served their time for the offense.”

Follow the money trail. It always points the way.

Whether you’re talking about the government’s war on terrorism, the war on drugs, or some other phantom danger dreamed up by enterprising bureaucrats, there is always a profit-incentive involved.

The same goes for the war on crime.

At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, the flawed yet retributive American “system of justice” is being replaced by an even more flawed and insidious form of mass punishment based upon profit and expediency.

Sessions’ latest gambit plays right into the hands of those who make a profit by jailing Americans.

Sharnalle Mitchell was one such victim of a system for whom the plight of the average American is measured in dollars and cents. As the Harvard Law Review recounts:

On January 26, 2014, Sharnalle Mitchell was with her children in Montgomery, Alabama when police showed up at her home to arrest her. Mitchell was not accused of a crime. Instead, the police came to her home because she had not fully paid a traffic ticket from 2010. The single mother was handcuffed in front of her children (aged one and four) and taken to jail. She was ordered to either pay $2,800 or sit her debt out in jail at a rate of fifty dollars a day for fifty-nine days. Unable to pay, Mitchell wrote out the numbers one to fifty-eight on the back of her court documents and began counting days.

This is not justice.

This is yet another example of how greed and profit-incentives have not only perverted policing in America but have corrupted the entire criminal justice system.

As the Harvard Law Review concludes:

[A]s policing becomes a way to generate revenue, police start to “see the people they’re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential sources of revenue, as lawbreakers to be caught.” This approach creates a fugitive underclass on the run from police not to hide illicit activity but to avoid arrest for debt or seizure of their purportedly suspicious assets… In turn, communities … begin to see police not as trusted partners but as an occupying army constantly harassing them to raise money to pay their salaries and buy new weapons. This needs to end.

Unfortunately, the criminal justice system has been operating as a for-profit enterprise for years now, covertly padding its pockets through penalty-riddled programs aimed at maximizing revenue rather than ensuring public safety.

All of those seemingly hard-working police officers and code-enforcement officers and truancy officers and traffic cops handing out ticket after ticket after ticket: they’re not working to make your communities safer—they’ve got quotas to fill.

Same goes for the courts, which have come to rely on fines, fees and exorbitant late penalties as a means of increased revenue. The power of these courts, magnified in recent years through the introduction of specialty courts beyond your run-of-the-mill traffic court (drug court, homeless court, veterans court, mental health court, criminal court, teen court, gambling court, prostitution court, community court, domestic violence court, truancy court), is “reshaping the American legal system—with little oversight,” concludes the Boston Globe.

And for those who can’t afford to pay the court fines heaped on top of the penalties ($302 for jaywalking, $531 for an overgrown yard, or $120 for arriving a few minutes late to court), there’s probation (managed by profit-run companies that tack on their own fees, which are often more than double the original fine) or jail time (run by profit-run companies that charge inmates for everything from food and housing to phone calls at outrageous markups), which only adds to the financial burdens of those already unable to navigate a costly carceral state.

“When bail is set unreasonably high, people are behind bars only because they are poor,” stated former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “Not because they’re a danger or a flight risk — only because they are poor. They don’t have money to get out of jail, and they certainly don’t have money to flee anywhere. Other people who do have the means can avoid the system, setting inequality in place from the beginning.”

In “Policing and Profit,” the Harvard Law Review documents in chilling detail the criminal justice system’s efforts to turn a profit at the expense of those who can least afford to pay, thereby entrapping them in a cycle of debt that starts with one minor infraction:

In the late 1980s, Missouri became one of the first states to let private companies purchase the probation systems of local governments. In these arrangements, municipalities impose debt on individuals through criminal proceedings and then sell this debt to private businesses, which pad the debt with fees and interest. This debt can stem from fines for offenses as minor as rolling through a stop sign or failing to enroll in the right trash collection service. In Ferguson, residents who fall behind on fines and don’t appear in court after a warrant is issued for their arrest (or arrive in court after the courtroom doors close, which often happens just five minutes after the session is set to start for the day) are charged an additional $120 to $130 fine, along with a $50 fee for a new arrest warrant and 56 cents for each mile that police drive to serve it. Once arrested, everyone who can’t pay their fines or post bail (which is usually set to equal the amount of their total debt) is imprisoned until the next court session (which happens three days a month). Anyone who is imprisoned is charged $30 to $60 a night by the jail. If an arrestee owes fines in more than one of St. Louis County’s eighty-one municipal courts, they are passed from one jail to another to await hearings in each town.

Ask yourself this: at a time when crime rates across the country remain at historic lows (despite Sessions’ inaccurate claims to the contrary), why does the prison population continue to grow?

The prison population continues to grow because of a glut of laws that criminalize activities that should certainly not be outlawed, let alone result in jail time. Overcriminalization continues to plague the country because of legislators who work hand-in-hand with corporations to adopt laws that favor the corporate balance sheet. And when it comes to incarceration, the corporate balance sheet weighs heavily in favor of locking up more individuals in government-run and private prisons.

As Time reports, “The companies that build and run private prisons have a financial interest in the continued growth of mass incarceration. That is why the two major players in this game—the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group—invest heavily in lobbying for punitive criminal justice policies and make hefty contributions to political campaigns that will increase reliance on prisons.”

It’s a vicious cycle that grows more vicious by the day.

According to The Atlantic, “America spends $80 billion a year incarcerating 2.4 million people.” But the costs don’t end there. “When someone goes to prison, nearly 65 percent of families are suddenly unable to pay for basic needs such as food and housing… About 70 percent of those families are caring for children under the age of 18.”

Then there are the marked-up costs levied against the inmate by private companies that provide services and products to government prisons. Cereal and soup for five times the market price. $15 for a short phone call.

The Center for Public Integrity found that “prison bankers collect tens of millions of dollars every year from inmates’ families in fees for basic financial services. To make payments, some forego medical care, skip utility bills and limit contact with their imprisoned relatives… Inmates earn as little as 12 cents per hour in many places, wages that have not increased for decades. The prices they pay for goods to meet their basic needs continue to increase.”

Worse, as human rights attorney Jessica Jackson points out, “the fines and fees system has turned local governments into the equivalent of predatory lenders.” For instance, Jackson cites:

Washington state charges a 12% interest rate on all its criminal debt. Florida adds a 40% fee that goes into the pockets of a private collections agency. In California, penalties can raise a $100 fine to $490, or $815 if the initial deadline is missed. A $500 traffic ticket can actually cost $1,953, even if it is paid on time. And so we are left with countless tales of lives ruined—people living paycheck to paycheck who cannot afford a minor fine, and so face ballooning penalties, increasing amounts owed, a suspended license, jail time, and being fired from their jobs or unable to find work.

This isn’t the American Dream I grew up believing in.

This certainly isn’t the American Dream my parents and grandparents and those before them worked and fought and sacrificed to achieve.

This is a cold, calculated system of profit and losses.

Now you can shrug all of this away as a consequence of committing a crime, but that just doesn’t cut it. Especially not when average Americans are being jailed for such so-called crimes as eating SpaghettiOs (police mistook them for methamphetamine), not wearing a seatbelt, littering, jaywalking, having homemade soap (police mistook the soap for cocaine), profanity, spitting on the ground, farting, loitering and twerking.

There is no room in the American police state for self-righteousness. Not when we are all guilty until proven innocent.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is no longer a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a debtors’ prison guarded by a phalanx of politicians, bureaucrats and militarized police with no hope of parole and no chance for escape.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at http://www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment