Search This Blog

Loading...

Sunday, 31 August 2014

What Happened in Ferguson



Foreword: 

I am so busy with the events in the Ukraine that I barely had the time to follow the events in Ferguson so I will readily admit that I have no opinion about it.  I do have quite a few opinions about race-relations in the USA, including some rather politically incorrect ones (I don't consider US Blacks either as either Africans or Americans, for example).  

While I lived in Washington DC (from 1986-1991) at the time of Marion Barry and I often found myself on the receiving end of Black racism and yet I consider Malcolm X the greatest "American" (in quotation because he never considered himself "American" and neither do I) in the history of the USA and one of my personal heroes.  I now  live in the South (though one could argue that Florida is culturally north of the Carolinas) where I have African and local Black friends tell me very interesting stories about how it feels to be Black and have your car pulled over by a cop.  I find the issue of race relations in the USA absolutely fascinating if tragic, but right now is not the time for me to deal with this issue.  But one day, if somebody is interested, I might.  Right now, the Russian Team has requested articles about the events in Ferguson and one of the best ones was written up by Nora.  

Now, full disclosure and warning: I consider Nora as a personal friend and a wise and kind lady, don't you even think of posting something ugly if you disagree with her.  You are more than welcome to criticize and disagree, but make darn sure it is substantive and respectful towards Nora. Second, while race is most definitely an issue in the USA, any racist post will immediately go to the trash.  Criticize Blacks or Whites as a social group if you want, or White or Black organizations, but do not use any argument which implies that a member of race X has his/her free will restricted by his ethnicity or which lumps all the individual people into one. Deal? 
The Saker
-------
What Happened in Ferguson

Setting The Stage

To set the stage for what happened in Ferguson, it would probably be helpful to understand a bit about how the deck has been stacked against people of color in the United States.  Although slavery officially ended in 1863, it was ultimately replaced in the South by not only the state-sponsored terrorism of Jim Crow but unofficial re-enslavement via both the sharecropping system and arrest on trumped-up charges leading to unpaid labor on prison chain gangs. The Civil Rights Era brought an end to the worst of this but the War on Drugs ensured that African Americans continue to be arrested and imprisoned at more than twice the rate of whites for similar offenses even though drug usage is about the same for both groups.  And outrageously underpaid prison labor in for-profit private prisons is now replacing what little remains of American manufacturing.

Richard Nixon augmented white resentment in the way he "resolved" the implementation of Brown vs. The Board, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, because he shrewdly realized that working-class white Democrats, North and South, would happily become Republicans if the Republican Party "took their side" on the issue.  The end result of that was that re-segregation occurred and black schools are now once again under-funded, with poorer facilities, out-of-date and sometimes even *no* books (!), and generally much worse teachers.  I.e., not much has really changed at all in terms of education either.

Worse yet, although blacks once lived in all areas of this country, beginning in the third quarter of the 19th century, they were herded into the cities and literally forbidden to be in many towns after dark.  And the parts of the cities they live in generally have far worse services -- less frequent garbage pick-up or snow-removal, streets and street lights not well-maintained -- but still very high rents, especially considering the quality of the housing.  Ostensibly these problems were to have ended with the passage of various Civil Rights laws but again, not really.  Redlining is an ongoing process by which blacks are prevented from buying homes in certain areas by making it far more difficult to obtain mortgages and setting higher interest rates for them than whites with similar qualifications.  Given that home ownership is generally the primary source of wealth for most American families, this arena too has been closed off to most African Americans.  And finally, jobs: given two candidates equally qualified for a position, the African American is significantly less likely to be hired.

White attitudes meanwhile have not shown much improvement either.  This is in part due to Nixon's Southern Strategy for re-empowering the Republican Party, and in part due to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush's deliberate race-baiting (and vote-getting) strategies, including deliberately trumping up white fears of black violence and lying about the extent of welfare fraud by blacks.  But the Democrats, frightened at their loss of white voters, weren't much better:  Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform hurt a lot of innocent people, white and black, because he too wanted to look tough on black crime -- which had actually been declining -- while ignoring the serious and far more expensive crimes of wealthy whites.  Another factor here is due to the relative isolation of whites from blacks:  it's far easier to remain afraid of people you never get to know, especially if the media commentators you trust keep filling you with stereotypes instead of telling the truth.  And make no mistake about it:  the most prejudiced whites are also the most frightened whites.  Sadly, it is not only to the benefit of the Republican Party to keep them that way but, because few blacks vote Republican, the Democratic Party really doesn't have to work very hard to get the black vote  -- so they don't much bother either.  So it's a truly lose-lose situation there too.

Now for the police.  Racial profiling and police brutality have always been a fact of life for people of color in this country.  This stems in part from the fact that traditionally the people recruited to be policemen have been quite likely to view blacks as inherently inferior, dangerous and more likely to be criminal.  Gun use is deeply ingrained in American culture, and those who hold such racist views are particularly likely to see their guns as essential for personal safety and the only real way to maintain public order.  It should also be noted that fears of a black insurrection as well as the desire to conserve one's human property led quite early to the formation of armed paramilitary slave patrols throughout the South, a primary reason for both the inclusion and peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. http://truth-out.org/news/item/13890-the-second-amendment-was-ratified-to-preserve-slavery The growth of the American gun lobby over the past 25 years has both fed upon and reinforced these views but in point of fact, parents in the black community have traditionally had to sit their pre-teen children down for the rite of passage known as "The Talk", in which they're given very specific instructions on how to behave with sufficient meekness and submission to, hopefully, remain alive.

However, the over-militarization of local police -- up to and including official instructions to consider and respond to non-violent protesters as terrorists -- is a disturbing new trend. The Department of Homeland Security has been a huge profit-making venture for the Military Industrial Complex, both in terms of providing taxpayer-funded grants to local police and fire departments ostensibly to protect us from terror attacks but in fact to ensure that items no longer needed for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could be sold somewhere.  So now the tiniest rural fire departments have armoured vehicles they can hardly afford to fuel, and local police have the latest in military equipment and Mossad training inculcating in them a genuine terror of the population -- i.e., us -- they are paid with our tax dollars to protect.

A commenter on the English version of this blog who lives in a Washington DC suburb recently called her local police department about a possible fraud case which ordinarily would have required simple fact-finding by a single detective.  Instead, a fully-armed five-man SWAT team arrived at the wrong address, ready to fire.  These events are increasingly common across the board, with innocent people of every age and color and sometimes even their pets being brutalized and/or murdered at traffic stops, in clearly non-violent situations in their own homes when simple medical or other assistance had been requested or again the police burst into the wrong home, and/or the simply because the policeman did not feel his (often quite arbitrary and illegal) orders were being sufficiently obeyed. There is also considerable  evidence to suggest poor screening for excess violence or poor behavioral controls, previous job infractions of this sort and/or drug and alcohol abuse among applicants for police work.

Add in a "normal" quantity of southern racism (also quite present in the North, of course, reinvigorated by Sarah Palin and deliberately amplified by various rightwing media in efforts to get Republicans out to vote), a large group of African Americans recently moved from the inner city to one of the few areas they were begrudgingly allowed to enter, and a town whose second-largest source of operating revenues comes from the fines and fees paid by African Americans disproportionately targeted for traffic stops and other low level offenses  http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/27/is_ferguson_feeding_on_the_poor  and yes, Ferguson was a recipe for disaster.  The event itself though, while hardly atypical, is in some ways less interesting than its aftermath, which provides almost a Rohrschach test for America's people, media and governance at this point in time.

The Event

The evidence on which all parties agree is that Michael Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old highly regarded by his teachers who wanted to start his own business and had no criminal record.  He was shot and killed by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson while walking with a friend to visit his grandmother at approximately noon on Sunday, August 9, 2014, just two days before he was due to start college.  There is no police video of the shooting although an audiotape of several shots appears legitimate and many eyewitness tweets and a later video of Brown's body are also on record; nevertheless, many details of the incident remain unclear. What can be stated without dispute is that Wilson stopped the two teens and ordered them with rather questionable legality to get off the street and onto the sidewalk; accounts differ as to how hostile this confrontation was or whether Brown remained on the street, was pulled by Wilson towards or into the car or was at some point actually in the car assaulting Wilson as later claimed by the police. It is fairly well established, however, that Wilson was seated in his car when he first shot at Brown and his friend through the open car window but missed as they fled.  He then got out of his car, fired again at Brown and continued to shoot multiple rounds after the teen turned around with his hands up, ultimately killing him with a shot in the head as he fell. What happened next is like plate tectonics or watching a Greek tragedy unfold.

The Aftermath

Not trusting the hostile and overwhelmingly white power structure in Ferguson, Brown's family requested a private autopsy by a former NYC forensic pathologist; his results showed nine gunshot wounds (four on the right arm, three on the head and two on the chest) suggesting he had been shot at least six times though not from very close range since there was no gunshot residue on the body.
 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html?_r=0   However, the full findings from the official autopsy by the St. Louis County medical examiner's office have not been made public, so the presence of any residue on Brown's clothing or in Wilson's car remains uncertain. The Justice Department was also asked to conduct an autopsy, though it is highly doubtful that additional information can be obtained.

Michael Brown's body lay in the street for four hours afterwards at police insistence, Wilson's name was not revealed for another week and although the Ferguson Police Department filed an incident report on 8/15 alleging that Brown and his friend had committed a robbery just before he was killed, it took the department another full week to file even a highly-abbreviated report of his murder. It was acknowledged, however, that Wilson had no knowledge of the robbery at the time he ordered Brown off the street.

Meanwhile, when the police finally allowed people to access the site of his death, Brown's family and other residents placed flowers and candles over the bloodstains on the street.  At that point, in gestures of contempt quite familiar to people who had lived through Jim Crow, one policeman let his dog urinate on the memorial and others re-blocked the street from cars and then deliberately drove their cars over the candles and flowers, scattering the petals, ruining the memorial and deeply horrifying the already shocked, grieving people.

 http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/ferguson-st-louis-police-tactics-dogs-michael-brown
Over the next few nights the unarmed mourners and protesters grew increasingly restless and perhaps a dozen of them began looting and vandalizing and set one business on fire. Accustomed to enforced deference but at this point genuinely afraid they might have a riot on their hands, the police refused to acknowledge any culpability, attempted with questionable veracity to place the entire blame on Brown, and responded to the protesters according to the Mossad training provided their chief.  This included riot gear, SWAT team tactics and helicopters the first night, followed by tear gas, wooden pellets, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, and flash grenades. The results were about as predicted, the governor intervened, steps were taken to calm things down, more people protested, the situation gained national attention, the media took their accustomed positions along predetermined political fault lines, the police over-reacted again, the intensity ebbed and flowed, the National Guard were called in, many people were roughed up, threatened and arrested, including several journalists, and statements by the Obama administration appeared more interested in the violence perpetrated by the protesters than against Michael Brown.  Things finally began to calm down after his funeral.

The Fault Lines

Every single part of this tragedy, up to and including the poor training, judgment and violent behavior by some of the police, was utterly predictable; so too was the sensationalized and highly-slanted media coverage, the location, content and intensity of the public outcry on both sides of the Left-Right political divide with the typical uncaring indifference in the middle, and the far greater amount of money collected on behalf of Darren Wilson than Michael Brown.

 http://www.ksdk.com/story/homepage/2014/08/23/cash-raised-for-mo-cop-surpasses-brown-donations/14506401/  The intensity of the protesters' response is likewise hardly surprising given the destruction of a simple memorial to a murdered teenager whose body was not yet cold, performed deliberately by members of the same organization as the man who had killed him under highly questionable circumstances.

It is equally important to recognize that what happened in Ferguson was hardly an anomaly:  not a single thing happened there that hasn't happened in many places in this country many times before.  In fact, taking a longer view, the biggest question is why the media chose to give it so much coverage.  And the answer to that most likely has more to do with their own increasingly precarious finances and the current state of our foreign rather than domestic affairs and their resulting assessment once again that the public really needs a strong diversion and the inculcation of yet more fear.

Nevertheless, just as people all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of the Anglo-Zionist Empire's true role in taking over and/or destroying so many other countries, the ugly difference between myth and reality in American life -- essentially unchanged since our very beginning -- has been revealed for everyone to see.  The sad truth, however, is that the vast majority of Americans remain locked in to their own propaganda-induced preconceptions, and while efforts continue to be made to address the underlying issues of police militarization, brutality and unequal treatment before the law, the likelihood of genuine improvement in any of these areas is extremely low.

A Word About Sources

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.  For more information on any of this, I will be happy to provide all sorts of URLS but for a deep and nuanced view of the African American experience I cannot more highly recommend a writer and blogger named Ta-Nehisi Coates.

He sees things clearly, thinks things through exquisitely well, and is a genuinely superb writer.  http://www.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/

Another good resource on this issue and others affecting African Americans is Professor Gerald Horne, interviewed here in a six-part series with transcripts:  http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?
option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12258   Alexander Reid Ross also provides an interesting and informative view of other developments in Ferguson that have an impact on this case, http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/28/notes-on-ferguson/  And finally, The Color Of Change, http://colorofchange.org/ and Black Is Back Coalition  http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/2014/08/27/national-march-on-ferguson-saturday-aug-30th/ are both good resources for anyone interested in the determinedly measured response by the African American community and its supporters to resolving these issues.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Are You A Passive Supporter Of Racially-Motivated Killing, Ethnic Cleansing And War-Crimes?

By Stuart Sterzel, London, August 2014

“Long live the White Races, and down with the Semite-led subhumans and interracial contacts”.

Look at that slogan. Should this be regarded as a great and laudable sentiment or call-to-action?

If you think so, then, then here are some equally laudable sentiments, provided by the same person and organisation:

“The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the White Races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led subhumans”.

and
“Punish severely sexual perversions and any interracial contacts that lead to the extinction of the white man”.

And
“Prepare for further expansion and to struggle for the liberation of the entire White Race from the domination of the internationalist speculative capital”.

If you don’t like or agree with these sentiments, then you are obviously not a citizen of any European Union country, or any NATO country, or of the United States of America.

That is because the person who said this - on his own behalf, and on behalf of his organisation “Patriots of Ukraine” – is the commander of the unit which is currently fighting under the banner of the glorious and heroic “Azov Battalion”. The Azov battalion is – along with many other identically-orientated “Special Units” of the “National Guard” of Ukraine (established by the “Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine”) – currently fighting to “liberate” Eastern Ukraine from “Semites” and “Semite-led subhumans”; with the full encouragement of the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainian government, and all of the many organisations – such as the “Socialist-National Assembly”, the “Patriots of Ukraine”, the “Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists”, the “Tryzub”, the “Swoboda” and other such organisations - have taken over the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs and other Key Ministries within the current post-coup government of Ukraine. They are also providing the personnel from within their political party structures to form the “Special Units” of the “National Guard” – tasked with liquidating the (in their words) Semites and Semite-led subhumans in Eastern Ukraine. In this “historic mission” of theirs, they are being completely supported to carry it out with impunity by the member countries of the European Union and NATO, and the United States of America.

In fact, it is only the financial, diplomatic and military support provided by the European Union, NATO and the United States of America that has enabled these views to prevail with impunity in Ukraine, and enabled corresponding acts to be perpetrated with impunity in Eastern Ukraine by those who hold these views, against the people that they regard as “Semites” (aka Ukrainian citizens who have the Jewish faith) and “Semite-led subhumans” (aka Ukrainian citizens who are of Russian ethnicity, and all Asians, Africans, Latin Americans, Arabic people and “non-White races”); as well as against those who engage in “interracial contacts”.

It is therefore worth noting that if you are a citizen of any European Union or NATO country, or of the United States of America; seeing as these are democratic countries where the governments are elected by you to represent and carry out the will of their people (i.e. your will), and where they are funded by you to carry out your will through the money paid in taxes by their people (i.e. your money); it is, in fact, you who is facilitating, condoning, supporting and encouraging these views.

Consequently, if you are a citizen of the European Union, a NATO country or the United States of America, the question is, therefore - do you feel satisfied, or proud of yourself, for your association with these views?

Moreover, the people whose speech and views are being facilitated, supported and condoned don’t just talk. They translate their words into deeds and actions – rapidly, efficiently and thoroughly.

That is why in the last two months, far more “Semites and Semite-led subhumans” (including very many women and children) have been killed in Eastern Ukraine through indiscriminate shelling and bombing – including by ballistic missiles – or burnt alive, beaten to death, shot or starved, than were killed in Gaza over the corresponding period. Moreover, over seven hundred thousand have fled to refugee camps in the Russian Federation, while over one hundred thousand more are internally displaced within the Donbass region of South Eastern Ukraine. All this has been done most efficiently and premeditatedly, by the people that the EU and NATO country governments, and the government of the USA, are facilitating, supporting, condoning and paying for.

To illustrate the level of impunity which this support has now led the persons implementing this “solution” to their “problem” enjoy, please see here a recent public quote from the Prime Minister of Ukraine; who was installed in his post not according to the will of the Ukrainian people, but rather according to the will of the USA’s Department of State:

“They lost their lives because they defended men and women, children and the elderly who found themselves in a situation facing a threat to be killed by invaders and sponsored by them subhumans. First, we will commemorate the heroes by wiping out those who killed them and then by cleaning our land from the evil”.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk – Prime Minister of Ukraine

According to him, the heroes of the Azov Battalion and other “Special Units” of the “National Guard” will be honoured, and the subhumans will be wiped out, after which the land will be cleaned of the subhumans’ evil. Although the written record of his public comment was re-written to change “subhuman” to “inhuman” to cater for the required public narrative, a screenshot of the posting of his original speech is here. In any event, as that speech was broadcast live to the “subhuman” inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine, they all got it first-hand themselves, and they therefore know what awaits them - if the government in Kiev has its their way.

It seems that once the “heroic” wiping out of the subhumans has been completed in the main, the post-coup Ukrainian government also has a plan in place for how to deal with the ones who’re still there. Here it is:

"There will be a thorough filtration of people. There will be special filtration measures put in place. We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism, who were committing crimes on Ukrainian territory. Crimes related to terrorist activities. We have a lot of information about this, and we have a formidable framework to combat this. Various power structures will carry out this operation.
Mykhailo Koval – Minister of Defence of Ukraine

Read this quote carefully. Especially look at the phrase “Special ‘Filtration’ Activities”. One wonders what the Ukrainian government ministers and their advisors from other countries who formulated this plan had in mind. Perhaps if they closed their eyes and thought about it they could catch the faint sound of freight trains moving off into the dark of the night, travelling to parts unknown; full to the brim with an unusual cargo. It would not be the first time that something like this has happened in Ukraine.
The current post-coup government in Ukraine clearly has a problem with people that it perceives to be “Semite-led subhumans”, and – according to Ukrainian political leaders – this problem must be attended to. In stirring up a section of their (presumably non-subhuman) population through rhetoric, it seems that they have driven many people to start “helping” with this, and helping most thoroughly. As such, their will will be done – in fact, it is currently being done as you read this. As for the survivors, it seems that they’ll just be ethnically cleansed from the land (to make the land “clean”, it seems).

As with all thorough plans, it also seems that the current Ukrainian government has already worked out how to recompense the people who are cleaning the land of the “evil of the subhumans”. Here it is:
“Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country”.

Land Agency of Ukraine

Clearly, according to the current Ukrainian government, the land, possessions and businesses of the subhumans will be taken over and given away to the “heroic” personnel of the “Special Units” of the “National Guard” for free. It seems that in the “New Ukraine”, those classified as subhumans have no rights, so ownership and title don’t apply to them. Not anyway in the “New Europe” being forged within Ukraine.

If any Ukrainian speaks out against these acts too loudly, they are, more and more, just grabbed off the street and “disappeared”. Also, if any Ukrainian wants to broadcast anything other than the required narrative on Television, such a person will be assaulted and forced to resign (in this case, being assaulted and forced to resign by the Member of Parliament of Ukraine responsible for “Free Speech”). Similarly, if any Ukrainian wants to speak out against this in the Ukrainian Parliament, they will similarly be silenced by force applied in the parliament building (and then have their political party banned).

The iron-clad priority of the current Ukrainian government – and their supporters – appears to be that at all costs they must project the required narrative to outsiders in order to justify their conduct. The required narrative is that the prevailing situation is a war between Russia and Ukraine, not that it is a civil war inside Ukraine between Ukrainian citizens – with the Ukrainian “Special Units”, “National Guard” and army killing and ethnically cleansing the “subhuman” category of the Ukrainian civilian population in the Donbass Region of South-Eastern Ukraine.

As for the so-called “subhuman” section of the population trapped inside South Eastern Ukraine, it is not as though these acts are being carried out against them in silence. They are being done openly. However, although the people trapped inside the surrounded cities are crying out for help most publicly, nobody’s listening. It seems to be that the narrative has been accepted that all 8 million of these “subhumans” are “terrorists”, so their money can be taken from their bank accounts and from the money due for their pensions, insurance won’t pay for their destroyed houses, businesses or possessions – and whatever’s left can just be confiscated, and their water, electricity and gas supplies can be cut.

Moreover, it seems as though these people’s residential houses can be rocketed and shelled and bombed with impunity, and their windows can be blown out and roofs destroyed. In that part of Europe this can force people to – when winter, and minus 40 degree centigrade weather arrives (soon) – have to risk freezing to death or otherwise be forced to leave their homes.

Also, there are, apparently, no consequences incurred by the current Ukrainian government, their “National Guard” units, or their supporters for the daily contraventions of multiple Ukrainian and International Laws, including:

Ukrainian Criminal Laws and its Constitution, or
European Laws, or
International Laws, or
International War Crimes Laws, or
International Law against the Bombing of Civilians, or
Customary International Humanitarian Law, or
the Geneva Conventions, or
the law on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, or
International Refugee Law, or
the Laws on Forced Evictions and Forced Displacement, or
the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, r
The Convention against Torture, or
Hate Crime Laws, or multiple International Human Rights Treaties, or
Multiple other laws relating to Siege / Immunity of Civilians / Starvation / Blocking of Humanitarian Aid, or Destruction and Seizure of Property, or Wanton Destruction, or Crimes Against Humanity, or Corporate War Crimes, or Hate Speech, etc, etc, etc.

Even though more than enough documentary, photographic and video material already exists for criminal charges to be brought by any person or organisation, from any jurisdiction, for contravention of numerous of these laws and conventions against:

any private persons, or
any organisation leaders or members, or
any military leaders or soldiers, or
any private military company or organisation directors, leaders or members, or
any political party leaders or members, or
any government leaders or members,
from any country involved with these acts directly or indirectly,
for either their acts or their failures to act,
or against any person (or spokesperson) for aiding, abetting or encouraging such acts, or concealing information on such acts,
and although there is no statute of limitations for when these charges can be brought;
Total impunity for the members of the current Ukrainian government, the members of the “National Guard” and their supporters – in Ukraine and abroad – seems to be the order of the day. For now.

This is especially as very few foreign journalists are reporting from within the encircled cities or areas or the border of the Russian Federation; but also primarily because the “solution” being applied to this “subhuman terrorist” problem is being applied with the support and protection of the governments of the EU and NATO countries, and the USA. As a result, there is a total absence of balance when it comes to reporting of statements or to reporting of rebuttals from parties being mentioned in the media.

Other than this, all statements from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and any other party that doesn’t follow the required narrative appear to being kept out of the primary media in many countries. Other events that are contrary to the required narrative also appear to be left out of primary media reports in some countries.

In amongst this situation have also occurred some very irregular events which do not and could not pass muster if measured against any yardstick of probity or decency whatsoever.

Moreover, in early 2014, Ukraine was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy due to default on tens-of-billions of dollars of debt. Where has that all suddenly disappeared to? Also, the requirement to pay back any of the other tens-of-billions of dollars in loans from multiple international creditors, or to pay for gas supplies, or any other normal requirement for any normal country in any normal situation seems to either have mysteriously disappeared, or be able to be totally ignored by the current government – primarily, it seems, due to external protection provided to Ukraine’s current government by the governments of the EU and NATO countries, and the USA.

Similarly, despite Ukraine’s financial bankruptcy, there is, however, suddenly and just as mysteriously – from thin air, it seems – a tremendous amount of money available for military spending. This is specifically for the current Ukrainian government to launch the very expensive and ongoing military operation against the eight million “subhuman terrorists”. This includes money for the brand-new military equipment used by the “Special Units” of the “National Guard” to kill the terrorists, much of which equipment does not come from Ukraine.

Perhaps it is time – as the “Watergate” saying went – to “follow the money”, and see where it leads to.
For all of this, the citizens of EU and NATO countries, and of the USA – whose governments are covering for, or guaranteeing the cost of, this land-cleaning of the evil of subhuman terrorists – are morally co-responsible if you allow your governments to continue this policy of support, condoning or financing of these actions.

Therefore, look again at the headline of this article. Look at the quotes, in bold. Systematically review the documents and videos located at hyperlinks like this one in this article. Take your time and do it thoroughly. If they leave you cold, or if you agree with what is being done, well then – stand aside and let it happen, because then, you will never again have to concern yourself about it.

If, however, you are not in agreement with what is going on – whether you are a citizen of an EU or NATO country, the USA, or for that matter, any country – and it does not leave you cold, then there is some action required. You see, disagreeing but doing nothing is akin to consent. If you don’t agree with what is being done, you have to actually do something to stop it. In doing so, you should take note of this very important point.

If you are a citizen of a democratic country, it is you who is the ruler. Your government is not elected to rule you, to tell you what to do or to do as it pleases. No indeed.

Your government – comprising citizens who are no better or worse than you, and no more or less worthy than you – is elected to serve you. To administer the affairs of your country on your behalf, according to your wishes. As such, you can compel them to accede to your will.

Regrettably, many of them lose sight of this fact once they are elected, and think they are kings or queens, so you may have to remind them of who, in fact, works for who.

One way to do this is through the use of the law.

Just as a company director can face legal consequences for reckless endangerment of a company, so can a political leader face legal consequences for reckless endangerment of a country or of people’s lives. Just as a company director can face legal consequences for making false and misleading statements, so can a political leader. When a company director takes a company in a direction that the majority of its shareholders disagrees with, they can band together and force him out – and the same can be done with political leaders and citizens or voters. There are many avenues of recourse, and many intelligent and committed law firms and legal minds that know how to do this.

If this avenue is not open to you, then make your voice heard in any way that is possible. Doing anything – as long as it is non-violent and geared towards achieving positive change – is preferable to doing nothing.

Let your political leaders and governments know your thoughts. Make them comply with your will – for if you do not, they will condone or support the carrying out of these acts in your name.

Moreover, because this situation is being ignored or condoned by governments, and because many ordinary people think that the condoning of this situation by their governments is perverse, they are taking matters into their own hands, and what is happening in that region of Europe is starting to spread its tentacles far and wide – and very rapidly too.

Therefore, take note that as sure as night follows day, if you allow the Law of the Jungle to reign supreme in Ukraine today, you run the risk that tomorrow, when you open your front door, the jungle could be on your own doorstep.

A cold wind is blowing through Europe. It carries on it the sound of voices from the past – gone but not forgotten. Voices of people who cried out for help - but no help ever came. Mingling in are the sound of new voices, also crying out for help - but their cries too go unanswered.

Pay heed to this wind, and to the voices that it carries; for if you do not, this wind can become a storm; and if it does, you will find, when that storm arrives, that tomorrow belongs to you.

The writer is an executive at a multinational company based in Europe. Prior to his business career, he provided Strategic Geopolitical Consulting services to national and federal governments in Eastern and Western Europe and the CIS, as well as to international organisations. He is the author of geopolitical articles which are published in the press internationally, and is also a guest commentator on geopolitical affairs for international television stations. He has been a delegate and guest speaker at United Nations conferences. He has chaired a Humanitarian Organisation in Europe and a Military Veterans Organisation in South Africa as pro-bono activities. Prior to his career in Strategic Geopolitical Consulting, he was a Special Forces Operator and member of the Directorate of Special Tasks of Military Intelligence, and participated in the Angolan War, where he took part in combat operations against USSR and USSR-proxy forces during the Cold War.
______________________________________________
Republication Guidelines:

This article was reproduced from the originally-published article. The originally-published article was published under a "GNU Free Documentation Licence". This article may therefore be therefore freely reproduced and republished by any person or entity provided that:

1. The original article is republished verbatim with no alterations or edits at all.

2. The original and same hyperlinks within the original article are included in the republished article, in the same position and context.

3. If a translation of the original article is made, it is made to represent exactly the same statements and content as the original article, in context; and the original and same hyperlinks are inserted in the corresponding location in the translated version; and the original English language article or a link thereto is included below the translated version when republished, and is identified as the original article from which the translation was made.

POSTED BY VINEYARDSAKER: AT 18:12
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

“Russian Invasion” – How long is screaming ‘Wolf!’ having an impact of the Western Populations? – Until Full Spectrum Dominance has been attained?

by Peter Koenig 

"The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing, but it's not really a shift."
Barak Obama, 29 August 2014.

"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.
Joseph Goebbels

Interestingly, most of us who are seeking the truth are primarily attempting to undo the lies - lies umpteen times repeated, lies about Russian invasions, first proclaimed by Poroshenko, Ukraine’s oligarch leader (sic), lies of Russia not respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, demonization against President Putin, Malaysian airliners downed by Russia – and-so-on. The latest accusation is that JP Morgan and four other Wall Street banks have been hacked. And the culprit is…. Of, course Russia, according to the presstitute MSM.

It doesn’t matter whether what Poroshenko said and is repeated the world over was based on a translation error (according to the German Tagesschau, the German mainstream TV news) – or whether it is just a conventional lie continuously repeated until it becomes the truth à la Goebbels – the western bought propaganda machine takes full advantage of this hundreds of years old simple strategy of deception.

The interesting part, however, is that hardly anyone on that very occasion is presenting the counter-weight, so to speak, namely to what extent Kiev is assisted by US paid mercenaries, CIA military and strategic advisers and their equipment, all paid for in one way or another by the State Department, CIA, or NATO. And these are facts. Not inventions for deception.

There is enough proof about who caused the 22 February 2014 coup (Maidan) – Madame Nuland, Kerry’s assistant, bragged about it at the Washington Press club – remember the US$ 5 billion investment in Ukraine’s regime change that cannot be let go down the drain because of the f….ing Europeans. She was caught hot-handed or hot-voiced on the phone with the US Ambassador in Kiev.

Ever since that infamous coup, the US / NATO and the EU have had their dirty hands in Kiev's Nazi killer junta - otherwise the Kiev thugs would have never had either the courage or the military knowledge to advance to the Donbas area of Ukraine, where they were literally ordered to kill their brothers. Some of them with some conscience defected early on; then they were accompanied under threats of life by CIA ‘advisers’. Eventually they defected by the thousands because of lack of food and ammunition and the resulting low-low morale.

It is actually irrelevant whether Russia has troops and armory in East Ukraine. In fact it would be well justified for Russia to defend her countrymen from savage slaughter, as many Donbas citizens are originally Russians. But - they don't, as Mr. Putin is too smart to spoil his diplomatic assets on a war that is already lost by Kiev.

Be this as it may, why do we, truth seekers, at a time of Obama’s lie exclamations and countless media repetitions not present more frequently the US / NATO invasion in Ukraine and their assistance to the Kiev murderers, rather than always being on the defensive, undoing lies in defense of Russia?

The truth of what the US-NATO killing machine, its vassal EU states and its paid mercenaries are up to in Ukraine, and that they won’t let go regardless of what Obama mutters to tranquilize the world --- the truth is in one way or another Washington is committed to its financial and corporate elite to achieve Full Spectrum Dominance, meaning complete subjugation of the world to Washington’s masters, the military-security industrial complex and the war financing monetary system – FED-Wall Street-IMF, the latter being a mere extension of the US Treasury.

The Endgame means encircling Russia and China with more NATO bases, including in Ukraine and Moldova, as close as possible to Moscow’s doorsteps; and, foreseen by 2015, with 60% of the US naval fleet in the South China Sea.

We should not be detracted by the day-to-day details and lies, by the fires that flare up here and there, though all horrible, killing thousands of people; we should not be confused by ‘who is doing what?’ – But rather focus on the Big Picture, the intentions behind the US / NATO killing machine, not so much by denying the obvious lies, but rather by describing actual facts and the long-term strategy behind them.

Obama screamed again ‘wolf’ today, literally shouting – ‘Russia has invaded Ukraine, Russia’s military and equipment are in Ukraine, Russia is funding the separatists’ --- then adds, ‘but it’s not in the cards for America to intervene now.’

Don’t be fooled. Obama and his masters won’t go away. He says the same about American intervention in Syria – it’s not the right time, while arming and bombing (as a disguise) at the same time ISIS, created and funded in 2007 by Washington under successively different names to further confuse the public at large. At that time they came out of Turkey as Syrian Freedom Fighters, later they converted into the Al’Nusra Front of rebels, and now they are the ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also called the Islamic State of the Levant. 

This will do until the public needs to be again confused with a new group of Islamic terrorists to justify continuous wars on terror – to feed continuously the fat profit accounts of the eternal war lords. But only, if we the people let them confuse and deceive and divide us.

At the same time, Washington’s warmonger-in-chief, encourages his EU puppets to intervene and sending their troops into Ukraine, and imposing still more ‘sanctions’ on Russia. Let Europe take the hit if there is war. Not for nothing are NATO bases spiked throughout Europe, convenient targets for Russian missiles. – One could wonder – are the Europeans blind or just don’t care – or their leaders (sic) bought to the point where they hope to just disappear to America’s paradise when Russian rockets hit their countries’ NATO bases - and let their people smolder under nuclear dust?

We the 99.99% have all the powers to stop these US instigated murderous aggressions, by rejecting the continuously lying and deceiving propaganda machine, by rejecting and refusing to listen to the corporate presstitute media.

A few weeks ago there was hope that German Chancellor Merkel would see the light, would abandon the bandwagon of the ‘sanctioners’, because not only did she get a lot of pressure from German industrialists, but also the German people are worried about their energy supply – especially this coming winter. Germany depends by up to 40% on Russia for their energy supplies.

Unfortunately we were wrong. Madame Merkel bent over backwards to please Obama. The naked emperor convinced her not to leave his sinking ship. – What does he have up his imaginary sleeve? Anything he may have discovered by eavesdropping on her cellphone conversations? - So strong to sway her away from reason to the detriment of all of Europe? - These latest sanctions are backlashing on the EU, especially the farmers, a multiple times harder than they hit Russia. European agriculture and mostly small farmers, are losing billions of euros worth on stalled exports to Russia of meat, vegetables, fruit and other food stuff, because Russia retaliated by blocking imports from the EU. Russia is now establishing new trade routes with Latin America.

On 18 September Obama will meet at the White House with Poroshenko, to be sure he stays in line and doesn’t sway Putin’s way, because corrupt oligarchs tend to be not very reliable. Obama may promise him premature entry to NATO and all the fake fiat dollars that come with it.

It would not be a surprise if Obama were also to receive Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the ‘new’ ISIS caliphate, to assure him of America’s continuous support, if he lets him bomb them, the ISIS troops that is, ever so often, just for show and to confuse the public mind - and, of course, as a disguise to bomb Syria to eventually topple Baschar al-Assad for – regime change.

Obama may also promise the ISIS a key role in the new Syrian government – provided he succeeds in regime change (for now unlikely) – similar as he did to the ‘rebels’ and other Islamic fractions of Libya. What Obama needs are not well-organized new regimes, but civil wars, fighting sections of societies to keep populations dying, and those still alive on their toes, fighting for their daily survival and fleeing across borders into refugee camps of other lands, thereby swallowing up neighboring countries resources and creating anger in the local population – the old divide to rein tactic.

The Big Picture is important. The people need to see it, the End Game – what is expecting them, if they – we, the 99.99% - are not taking actions to prevent Full Spectrum Dominance from succeeding.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Perpetual war, indefinite detention, and torture: The U.S. and Israel’s shared values


US Military Prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo: AFP)
Published Saturday, August 30, 2014
The United States and Israel have "shared values" but not when it comes to upholding democracy and the rule of law. Their shared values are perpetual war, torture, indefinite detention, and military courts. Guantanamo is a perfect example of this. Both states have been in a state of perpetual war for quite some time with Israel against the Palestinians since its founding in 1948 while the U.S. can trace back its war to its founding in 1776 and the colonization of Native American lands. Today's global war on terror is the latest chapter in that saga. Under perpetual war, the United States and Israel can justify a litany of draconian policies, such as indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial killing.
International human rights law prohibits torture and detention without charge or trial. The UN Convention Against Torturestrictly forbids torture, even in "exceptional circumstances" like "a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency." Meanwhile, article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention." The rights to a fair trial, due process, and to be free from torture and inhumane treatment are basic human rights that governments are obliged to uphold. Yet, both the United States and Israel practice indefinite detention – also known as "administrative detention" in Israel – and torture.
Administrative detention and torture in Israel


Israel has detained thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories without charge or trial over the years "for periods ranging from several months to several years," according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. B'Tselem figures also report that, "At the end of May 2014, 196 Palestinian administrative detainees were held in facilities run by the Israel Prison Service (IPS)." Israel recently locked up over 250 Palestinians in administrative detention as part of its operation to find the three missing but killed Israeli settlers, putting the current population at around 450.
Three Israeli laws allow and regulate Israel's administrative detention powers – theAdministrative Detention Order, the Emergency Powers (Detention) Law, and the Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law.
The Administrative Detention Order, which applies to the West Bank except East Jerusalem, allows military commanders to detain a person for a maximum of six months "for reasons to do with regional security or public security." Commanders can repeatedly add six months of administrative detention, since there is no limit on extensions. The 1979 Emergency Powers Law allows the defense minister to detain a person for up to six months, like the Order, and extend the detention repeatedly six months at a time. It applies to Israeli residents, residents living in Israeli occupied territories, and residents of other countries, such as Lebanon. However, this law grants detainees more protections than the Order does. The 2002 Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law allows for the administrative detention of a civilian who directly or indirectly participates in hostilities against Israel or is a member of a force that does so. Under this law, persons can be detained for an unlimited period of time. This law is used to detain Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.
While the occupation is illegal and unjust, Israel, as an occupying power, has an international legal responsibility to uphold the welfare of Palestinians living under its control. International humanitarian law permits some internment (or detention without charge or trial) in wartime but only "for imperative reasons of security," according to Article 78 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Internment [detention] also has to be done on a case-by-case basis rather than implemented widely.


B'Tselem names the numerous ways in which Israel's use of administrative detention violates its international legal responsibilities as an occupying power. One is its "[e]xtremely extensive use" in contravention of international law. "Administrative detention has become routine practice, rather than an exceptional measure," according to B'Tselem. Relatedly, administrative detention is used as "an alternative to criminal proceedings" with authorities using it "as a quick and efficient alternative to criminal trial, primarily when they do not have sufficient evidence to charge the individual, or when they do not want to reveal their evidence." Administrative detention also lacks due process as detainees "are not provided meaningful information on the reasons for their detention and are not given an opportunity to refute the suspicions against them." Additionally, detention periods are repeatedly extended, which leaves Palestinians detained for several months to years without charge or trial. Israel has also used administrative detention against political opponents, including non-violent political activists. Finally, many Palestinian administrative detainees are held inside Israel.
In 1999, Israel's High Court of Justice issued a ruling that prohibited interrogators from using methods of torture as a means of interrogation. Before that ruling, Israeli security forces regularly "tortured thousands of Palestinian detainees each year," according to the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. In 1987, an Israeli government commission, headed by former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau, issued a report that provided a framework for Israel's torture regime. The Landau Commission recommended Shin Bet interrogators utilize torture methods, namely "psychological pressure" and a "moderate degree of physical pressure," against people suspected of "hostile terrorist activity." It argued that "an effective interrogation is impossible" without some physical force.
Despite the High Court's 1999 ban on torture, rights groups like the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) point out that the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet and other law enforcement agencies still commit acts of torture. The PCATI largely relied on testimonies from Palestinian prisoners and forensic evaluations. In response, the Shin Bet denies it commits torture and argues that its interrogation methods are not only lawful but save lives.
Methods of torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners since 1999, according to the PCATI, include "sleep deprivation, binding to a chair in painful positions, beatings, slapping, kicking, threats, verbal abuse and degradation," special methods like "bending the body into painful positions," "forcing the interrogee to crouch in a frog-like position ('kambaz'), choking, shaking and other violent and degrading acts (hair-pulling, spitting, etc.)," and psychological torture. Prisoners, some of whom are children, in solitary confinement often face "sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme heat and cold, permanent exposure to artificial light, detention in sub-standard conditions."


The High Court's ruling has loopholes for Israeli intelligence to circumvent the torture ban. One is the "necessity defense", which,according to PCATI, "under certain circumstances, exempts interrogators who employ illegal interrogation techniques, including physical violence, from criminal responsibility." Another is well-known the "ticking bomb" scenario, where torture is allowed to prevent an imminent threat, such as a bomb about to explode. PCATI argues that the government exploited this loophole to declare more detainees ticking time bombs and overstepping the court's intended scope. PCATI also accused the Shin Bet "taking advantage of the fact that only sleep deprivation for the sake of deprivation is illegal, not sleep deprivation indirectly caused from an extended interrogation," according to the Jerusalem Post.
Guantanamo, U.S. global war on terror
The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed shortly after 9/11, authorizes the President of the United States "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons" who "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" the 9/11 terrorist attacks "or harbored such organizations or persons." This bill gives the United States wide power to wage perpetual war around the world against alleged terrorist groups.
When the Obama administration entered office, it not only kept the AUMF in place, but expanded the bill's scope to continue the global war on terror. The Obama administration interprets the AUMF to include "associated forces" – essentially co-belligerents – of al-Qaeda, even though the bill does not include those words. Last year, the Washington Post reported that Obama administration officials were debating whether the AUMF could be stretched to include "associates of associates" of al-Qaeda, including groups like al-Nusra Front in Syria or Ansar al-Sharia in North Africa. Thus, Obama has shifted the war on terror's goalposts and continued its perpetuity.
The AUMF is the legal linchpin for the United States' global war on terror. It justifies the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, indefinite detention, kill-or-capture raids, extraordinary rendition, and drone strikes. But it is not the only legal measure for doing so. Last year, a week before President Obama'snational security speech, Obama administration officials told the Senate that even without AUMF, the government could use other laws to continue lethal operations against suspected terrorists, such as self-defense under international law. While both states engage in perpetual war under the language of "fighting terror," Israel's battlefield mostly extends to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while the United States' is the entire world.


The Guantanamo Bay detention facility was opened in 2002, as the global war on terror began. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, it provided bounties to tribal allies and Pakistani security forces to capture anyone believed to be connected with al-Qaeda or the Taliban and send them to American forces. This led to large swaths of low-level fighters and guys at the wrong place at the wrong time getting snatched up thanks to informants looking for money or scores to settle with their enemies. A Seton Hall studypointed out that only 5 percent of Guantanamo detainees were captured by U.S. forces, while 86 percent were captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and handed to the United States.
Presently, there are 149 men detained in Guantanamo. Of those, 78 are cleared for release, 38 are designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial, 6 currently being tried in military commissions, and 36 who could go to trial. However, Guantanamo chief prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins told reporters last summer that 20 could be "realistically prosecuted."
Recently, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress that the military intends to release six Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay – four of whom are Syrian, one is Palestinian, and the other is Tunisian. All six have been cleared for release for over four years. This would bring the number of detainees cleared for release down to 72 and total Guantanamo inmate population to 143. Meanwhile, the U.S. government deems the indefinite detainees too difficult to prosecute, as there is little to no admissible evidence against them (some was obtained throughtorture), but too dangerous to release. According to Martins, these indefinite detainees will remain in Guantanamo "until the end of hostilities" against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and "associated forces." Thus making them prisoners of war in an endless war.
In 2012, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sections of which allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens on US soil who allegedly "substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces." When Obama stepped into office, he pledged to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo. But the other half of his plan was less advertised. In order to close Guantanamo, Obama's original plan was to to move some Guantanamo detainees to an Illinois prison. Moreover, his administration decided, early on, to continue utilizing indefinite detention, much to the chagrin of civil liberties groups. However, Congress, particularly members of the Republican Party, fought against this plan not out of opposition to indefinite detention but because they did not want "terrorists" on American soil. This past May, the Obama administration's legal team told Congress that if Guantanamo detainees "were relocated to a prison inside the United States, it is unlikely that a court would order their release onto domestic soil," reportedThe New York Times.
Despite the fear-mongering of releasing "terrorist" from Guantanamo, according to a New America Foundation study, only 4 percent of released Guantanamo detainees engage in "militant activities against U.S. targets."
Abuses in Guantanamo, according to a 2006 Center for Constitutional Rights report, include beatings, shackling, solitary confinement, sexual harassment and rape, sleep deprivation, medical abuse, and religious and cultural humiliation. Some Guantanamo detainees were detained in secret CIA prisons before arriving at the U.S. military prison in Cuba. An ICRC report on the treatment of 14 "high value" detainees held in CIA black sites revealed that torture techniques in the secret prisons included sleep and food deprivation, playing of loud music, waterboarding, beatings, stress positions, cold temperatures and water, prolonged shackling, threats, and forced shaving. Around 100 detainees were held in CIA black sites and the majority of them were tortured.
However, torture is nothing new in U.S. foreign policy. A 1963 CIA interrogation manual instructs interrogators to utilize similar torture methods during the Cold War that have been used in the War on Terror.


To protest their indefinite detention and prison conditions, last year, Guantanamo detainees went on hunger strike, which launched the issue back into public consciousness. At its height, over 100 prisoners went on hunger strike. Hunger strikers were punished through force-feeding, a harsh procedure that involves shoving a tube up someone's nose and down their esophagus in order to feed them. This practice violates medical ethics and amounts to torture.
While the protest fizzled last year, dozens of Guantanamo prisoners reportedly remain on hunger strike. However, since the military instituted a media blackout on releasing hunger strike numbers, it's hard to know how many.
Last year, officials from the Israeli Medical Association wereinvited to the United States to advise American policymakers on how to deal with hunger-striking Guantanamo detainees. The Israeli doctors shared their experiences dealing with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.
Presently, a draft bill allowing Israeli prison authorities to force-feed prisoners sits in the Israeli Knesset. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pressing strongly for the bill's passage, using the United States' infamous force-feeding of prisoners in Guantanamo as a justification. According to Israel's Channel 2 News, in order to justify the bill, Netanyahu noted "in Guantanamo the Americans are using the method of force-feeding too." Two months ago, dozens of Palestinians prisoners ended their 63-day-long hunger strike. But Israeli leaders like Netanyahu certainly see force-feeding as a useful tool to deal with future hunger strikes.
Military courts in Israel and Guantanamo
To prosecute Palestinians in the occupied territories, Israel utilizes a military court system. Military tribunals are typically used in wartime, particularly by occupying forces. At the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the United States erected a military court system, at the beginning of the global war on terror, to prosecute suspected terrorists. Currently the defendants include Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the suspected mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing, and the five alleged plotters of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The military court systems in Israel and at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay each have their own unique, byzantine features. However, they do share a number of notable traits.


One commonality is the allowance of coerced evidence. In Professor Lisa Hajjar’s Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, Ltd. 2005, p. 68-69), she writes that interrogations, mostly carried out by Shin Bet but sometimes the IDF and police, "feed the legal process by procuring confessions that are then turned over to police and prosecutors.” Interrogations occur in "inaccessible sites," are "conducted by secret agents," and commonly involve torture methods and other harsh treatment. A Defence for Children International/Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) report on the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military courts points out that, "According to DCI-Palestine lawyers that represent children in Israeli military courts, evidence is rarely excluded that is obtained through force or coercion."
In the Guantanamo military commissions, evidence obtained through torture is prohibited. However, coerced evidence is still allowed.
Another commonality is the use of secret or classified evidence. In the Israeli military court system, "Secret evidence is always the basis for administrative detention (i.e. incarceration without trial). Within the military court system, prosecutors can use secret evidence at extension-of-detention hearings to support their request that judges remand detainees. Secret evidence can also serve as a basis for charges," according to Lisa Hajjar (Ibid., p. 110).
Secret evidence is unavailable to both defense lawyers and defendants. "[T]he defense is afforded no opportunity to know the contents or contest the veracity of the evidence directly," which "taints the legal process" as a result, writes Hajjar (Ibid., p. 111).
The use of classified evidence has been a major issue in the Guantanamo military commissions system. In the commissions system, a protective order prohibits defense attorneys from disclosing classified information to unauthorized parties, including their clients, the press, and nongovernmental bodies. Defense attorneys argue that this undermines efforts to seek redress for torture victims, such as their clients, which is a right under international law. Additionally, defendants can be excluded from pretrial hearings in which classified evidence used against them will be discussed. Much of that classified information relates to how the detainees were treated in CIA custody. All six detainees who are being prosecuted in the military commissions system were detained and tortured in CIA black sites before they were sent to Guantanamo in 2006. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, while al-Nashiri was waterboarded and threatened with a gun and power drill. Defense attorneys in the respective cases argue that their clients' torture is mitigating evidence and have been fighting for further disclosure.
Not only is the American-Israeli alliance characterized by $3 billion in yearly aid from the United States to Israel, along withunyielding political and diplomatic support, it is also characterized by shared values in perpetual war and indefinite detention.
Adam Hudson is a freelance journalist and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He covers U.S. national security, war and peace issues, Guantanamo, human rights, police brutality, and institutional racism. He tweets@adamhudson5

RELATED 
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!