Saturday, 18 December 2010

USPCN Stands Against Political Repression

USPCN

By
uspcn
Published: December 16, 2010Posted in: Features, News, Statements
USPCN Stands Against Political Repression

The United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) strongly condemns and denounces the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s political repression of 19 anti-war, Palestine solidarity and Palestinian activists. The USPCN calls for the immediate suspension of the federal government’s grand jury prosecution of these activists, and an end to the FBI’s harassment of our communities.

Since September 24, the FBI has raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of activists and has served a total of 19 federal subpoenas across the Midwest. The targeted citizens are outspoken community organizers and students critical of U.S. policy in Colombia, Palestine, and the Middle East.

The grand jury and FBI are seeking evidence that connects the 19 activists and their “potential co-conspirators” to U.S.-designated “terrorist organizations.” Five of the nineteen activists being targeted are Palestinian-Americans whose only crime is working tirelessly to inform fellow citizens of the realities of Israeli occupation. None of the 19 has been charged with a crime, and all deny providing material support, including money, to any foreign organization. These activists are shining examples of courage and fortitude, ordinary citizens doing the extraordinary work of building knowledge and support for justice and a common humanity
Federal harassment of our communities and associational life has grown precipitously during the last decade, as Arabs, Muslims, and their allies, continue to be persecuted for their lawful and necessary civic engagement. This suppression of civil rights and free speech seeks to criminalize and quell civic activism undertaken in support of Palestinian and other oppressed peoples’ struggles against U.S.-funded occupation and war. This harassment must stop.

The United States Palestinian Community Network stands in full support of our brothers and sisters unjustly targeted by the federal government.

We assert our determination and commitment to challenge our government’s policies, both here and abroad, and will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians, our allies, and all those struggling against oppression. The USPCN upholds the constitutional right of Americans to dissent without fear of persecution, and the rights of peace and justice organizations to organize, educate, and assemble, free and unbridled.
We call upon all USPCN local chapters, members and fellow citizens, to join existing local and national efforts organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Please visit: http://www.stopfbi.net

Do not be intimidated, we struggle together. Continue to speak your conscience, continue to educate, and continue to organize. Justice will prevail.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

God Will Bring His People Back

Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 9:23AM Gilad Atzmon


GOD TV and Jewish National Fund's Forest Of Hate from Max Blumenthal on Vimeo.

One may wonder what kind of God is so careless about the indigenous people of the land...
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

GORDON DUFF: GOV. JESSE VENTURA PROVES 9/11 COVER-UP, WILL AMERICA’S GOVERNMENT FALL?

"thought it was a bomb...walked out through the hole.
.burning wreckage..no plane parts...threatened to keep silent"
December 18, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff ·

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY ACCUSED OF ENGINEERING PENTAGON ATTACK

DONALD RUMSFELD CITED AS POSSIBLE ACCOMPICE

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Confirmed sources in the Nigerian government tell us, in order to keep former Vice President Cheney out of prison for crimes involving Nigeria, $500,000,000 in bribes have been promised, negotiated by former President George H.W. Bush.  

Now, only a day later, Cheney faces possible charges, so many charges they can only be imagined, for planning the Pentagon attack on 9/11.  TV host, Jesse Ventura, former Navy Seal, former Governor of Minnesota, on a one hour documentary on prime-time American television, makes an open and shut criminal case tying Cheney, Rumsfeld and officials throughout the US government with complicity in the planning, execution and subsequent cover-up of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.



YouTube - Veterans Today -

According to experts on 9/11, engineers, pilots, intelligence officers and members of our military, Jesse Ventura “hit the nail on the head.”  Ventura, using evidence developed over 9 years by hundreds of individuals, outlines the utter impossibility of the government’s cover story on 9/11 and systematically debunks it using testimony and scientific evidence.

Ventura cites, in an interview with a 9/11 commissioner, a possible motive for the Pentagon attack being included with the attacks on the World Trade Center.  $2,300,000,000,000, yes 2.3 billion US dollars had disappeared, cited only the day before in a televised statement by Secretary Rumsfeld, money “gone missing” from the Pentagon’s accounting.  The are of the Pentagon hit by a missile or destroyed by explosives or both contained all records of this missing money.

NO PLANE, NO WAY, NOT EVEN CLOSE

Ventura proves, beyond any doubt that no airplane every hit the Pentagon.  As the video shows, not even a highly trained airline pilot was capable of the maneuvers claimed.  Long before, it had been proven that the 757 was incapable the task, either the maneuvers or the speed and trajectory.  The plane would have come apart, there is no disagreement with this and hasn’t been for some time, yet nothing had been done.  Why?

It is also clearly shown that there is absolutely no evidence of any kind showing a plane hit the Pentagon, no wreckage, no bodies, no luggage.  Items claimed to have been taken to Dover Air Force Base, bodies, plane parts, were never at the Pentagon as both video and testimony prove.

There is also proof that the government threatened witnesses, telling them to support the “aircraft scenario.”

NO MUSLIMS, NO HIJACKERS, NO BOX CUTTERS, ALL PROVEN LIES FINALLY

The basis for the conspiracy theory regarding Muslim hijackers with box cutters was based on supposed phone calls made by Barbara Olson, wife of Bush Solicitor General.  Solicitor General Olson claimed he talked to his wife on a cell phone, spoke with her at length, while she described the hijackings as now dramatized by Hollywood.  When it was proven that a cell phone is incapable of making such calls, Olson claimed it was a “seat back phone.”  When it was proven that there were no seat back phones on American Airlines 757 aircraft, nothing further was asked.

Then investigations shows he received one call, lasting “0″ seconds.  Ventura questions as to whether Olson was duped or complicit?  Should he be arrested too?  Was his wife, Barbara, ever really on the plane?

Then Ventura looks into the flight itself.  Not only was the flight recorder “dead” but during the flight itself, the transponder was turned off.  Even more suspicious, the plane disappeared from radar for 28 minutes.

There is no discussion of this 28 minutes, but speculation, perhaps no longer speculation, has long been that the flight landed.  As to what happened then, we cannot guess, or can we.  One of my friends, a former Pentagon official, had a friend on that aircraft.  Not long ago, he asked me.

“Gordon, what do you think happened to him, do you think he was executed?  Bullet in the brain as they stepped off the plane or something even worse?”

Ventura didn’t go there.  None of us want to.  It requires visualizing a scene out of Auschwitz.

Can Americans be so brutal, so devious, so traitorous?  It isn’t just Jesse Ventura that is willing to risk his life to bring it out, Fox News journalist Geraldo Rivera, several weeks ago, debunked the Building 7 collapse at the World Trade Center as “controlled demolition.”


YouTube - Veterans Today -

9/11 COMMISSION DUPED, ADMITS THERE WAS NO REAL INVESTIGATION AT ALL
Commission video’s redacted to remove testimony by the Secretary of Transportation, transcripts altered, witnesses blocked, evidence, tons of evidence of government conspiracy withheld, this is the case against the government.  Threats, intimidation, going on for years, this is proven.  Were there more than threats, murders, “heart attacks” or threats against families?  Ventura proves the Pentagon was a government conspiracy, he “names names.”  Geraldo makes any other explanation for Building 7 other than “controlled demolition” pure insanity.

IGNORING EVIDENCE, PROOF OF DICTATORSHIP OR ARE ARRESTS PLANNED?
It isn’t as though the evidence presented by Governor Ventura and Geraldo Rivera or even the other stories, Judge Napolitano’s revelations of knowledge of the attacks as early as 9/11, was new.  All has been know, all highly credible and all systematically ignored, attacked by the press, suppressed by courts, officials at every level.

9/11 and the recent revelations aren’t proof of a conspiracy by 2 men, or Israel.  It is proof that there never was an Al Qaeda and that the deaths, two wars, the 9/11 deaths and the carnage across the world wrought by the United States was part of a criminal conspiracy, one that could only be perpetrated by a dictatorship under the guise of representative democracy.

Everything we have seen, and millions around the world have watched, nobody can ignore it anymore, it all says that what has happened is something no American would allow, not if this still were America.  Jesse Ventura proved something startling to most, suspected by some.  He proved that, at some point in our past, 10 years, more, we don’t know, our government was overthrown.

MORE WIKILEAKS, MORE ASSANGE, MORE 9/11 COVER-UP

The strongest and most vocal opponent of a new 9/11 investigation is Julian Assange of Wikleaks.  If any individual outside the US government were to be named as most complicit in a 9/11 cover-up, it would be Julian Assange.


YouTube - Veterans Today -

Everything since then, certainly 9/11 and now, the news about Iran and, especially Wikileaks, all subterfuge.  When former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsky cited Wikileaks on a PBS interview, televised nationally, that Wikileaks was the word of an intelligence agency, Israel never reported it or responded.  Instead, they attributed Brzezinski’s quote to me:

“Speaking to Haaretz, Duff added that ‘it sticks out like a sore thumb that WikiLeaks is obviously concocted by an intelligence agency.’”
This is what Brzezinski told Judy Woodruff of PBS:

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: But I think the most serious issues are not those which are getting the headlines right now. Who cares if Berlusconi is described as a clown. Most Italians agree with that. Who cares if Putin is described as an alpha dog? He probably is flattered by it.

The real issue is, who is feeding Wikipedia on this issue — Wiki — Wiki — WikiLeaks on this issue? They’re getting a lot of information which seems trivial, inconsequential, but some of it seems surprisingly pointed. …The very pointed references to Arab leaders could have as their objective undermining their political credibility at home, because this kind of public identification of their hostility towards Iran could actually play against them at home.
It’s, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.
And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren’t some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments.



BUSH, OBAMA, CONTINUING DICTATORSHIP, CONTINUING COVER-UP, CONTINUING WAR

Barak Obama ran for president on a platform based on justice, ending the wars and bringing accountability to government after 8 years of scandals, deceit and what can only be called “hooliganism and piracy.”  Instead, he has done nothing, the wars continue, drugs are flowing from Afghanistan even faster than before, 9/11 evidence, now overwhelming and impossible ignore is still ignored.

Americans looking for reform wonder if Bush left at all.  Those complicit are, though few admit it, disturbed by seeing America led by an African American.  The visible public face on the very well financed attacks on President Obama are all very much based on race hatred.  Who would want a return to policies enacted by the least successful president in American history, George W. Bush, who left office with an approval record listed at 22%.  Many would find a number lower, even half, more credible.  President Clinton, after surviving impeachment for lying about sexual misconduct left office with 68% approval.

Even through the assaults on President Obama, many financed by the Koch brothers,  tied to ultra-nationalists in Israel, whether there was a real change of government is not clear.  As Jesse Ventura pointed out, while Vice President Dick Cheney was getting reports of a plane approaching the Pentagon, seemingly even orchestrating the attack himself, President Bush was in Florida reading to school children.  Two years of Obama have been similar, too similar.

What can we assume from this?  Is, in fact, the President of the United States no longer Commander in Chief?  Did our government hand itself over to “shadow” rule with Bush or did it happen earlier, after President Reagan’s dementia made him unable to manage the cabal that surrounded him?
The headline on today’s New York Times:

SENATE BLOCKS BILL FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

The headline on today’s Washington Post:

TOP US SPY REMOVED AFTER THREATS

What is “their” message?  Certainly not “never again.”  In fact we know that “again” is just around the corner, an Iran war with or without a new 9/11, planned and executed by the same folks, older, not wiser and certainly more pathologically insane and murderous.
..and we continue to allow it.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Scott Horton Interviews Max Blumenthal

Friday, December 17, 2010 at 1:59AM Gilad Atzmon

More about the fire in Israel and its symbolic meaning.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Jody McIntyre: It is rough out there

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 8:24AM Gilad Atzmon



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israel's new wall

Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani, The Electronic Intifada, 17 December 2010


Immigrants protest for human rights in Tel Aviv. (Eduardo Soteras/ActiveStills)

CAIRO (IPS) - After building a wall in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israel has begun construction on a new wall, this one to keep migrants from Africa out. The new wall is coming up on the Egyptian border, and with Egyptian support.

The Israeli government approved plans late last month to build a detention camp near its border with Egypt to house illegal African immigrants. Local activists decried the move, which they say flies in the face of internationally-accepted human rights norms.

"The idea of a prison built expressly for African immigrants is not only racist, it also contravenes basic tenets of international law," Hafez Abu Saeda, president of the Cairo-based Egyptian Organization for Human Rights told IPS.

On 28 November, Israel's cabinet approved construction of a camp to temporarily accommodate undocumented African immigrants that enter Israel from neighboring Egypt. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who provided little else by way of detail, the project comes within the context of a wider plan to halt the "wave of illegal immigrants" entering the country in search of employment.

Israel claims that within recent years tens of thousands of African migrants have illicitly crossed the Egypt-Israel border into its territory. Once inside the country, these migrants are often hired as manual laborers -- at relatively low wages -- by Israeli farms and in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

This influx, Netanyahu was quoted as saying, "is growing and it threatens the jobs of Israelis. It is changing the face of the state and we have to stop it."

The Egypt-Israel border represents a major transit route for African migrants, both political refugees and job seekers, coming mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Attempts to illegally cross the frontier -- already tense due to its proximity with the besieged Gaza Strip -- often result in fatal clashes with Egyptian border police.

In late October, a Sudanese national was killed by Egyptian border authorities while attempting to cross into Israel. A recent report by Human Rights Watch noted that since 2007 Egyptian border authorities have killed at least 85 African migrants, recording 24 fatalities this year and 19 the year before.

The Israeli prime minister, for his part, stressed that the planned detention center was intended to house illegal job seekers and not political refugees.

"We are not stopping the entry of war refugees," he was quoted as saying. "But we have to stop the mass entry of illegal work seekers due to the severe impact they can have on the nature and future of the State of Israel."

Abu Saeda, however, challenged Israel's right to make the distinction.

"The issue of who is and who isn't a political refugee should be decided by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which is mandated with determining if migrants' lives are in jeopardy in their home countries," he said.

Abu Saeda also refuted Israeli claims that African immigrants represented an economic liability.

"Israel welcomes the Falasha [Ethiopian Jews] as well as Jews from other countries, such as Russia, even going so far as to offer financial incentives to Jewish immigrants," he said. "So how can they say immigrants are bad for their economy?"

The last week of November saw Israel begin construction of a 250-kilometer long electric fence along its border with Egypt. Israeli officials say the $360 million fence, which will incorporate high-tech surveillance cameras, aims to stop the influx of African migrants.

A 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel strictly limits military and security deployments -- by either side -- on or near the shared border. Nevertheless, Egyptian officialdom appeared indifferent to news of Israel's planned border fence.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki has said that Egypt neither approved nor disapproved of the barrier "as long as it is built on Israeli territory." He went on to describe the project as "an internal Israeli affair" that neither threatened Egypt's national interests nor violated its sovereignty.

The planned fence will not be the only barricade to go up in the fraught border zone.

Over the last year, Egypt has been building an underground steel barrier along its 14-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip with the ostensible aim of disrupting smuggling operations. Since Israel -- and later Egypt -- hermetically sealed its boundary with the Strip in 2007, Gaza's roughly 1.5 million inhabitants have come to rely on cross-border tunnels for their most basic needs.

"The frontier zone is becoming a region of walls and fences," Ayman Abdelaziz Salaama, international law professor at Cairo University, told IPS. "For the last ten years, Israel -- ever obsessed with its own security -- has surrounded itself with walls and fortifications.

"But no country in history has been able to build walls high enough to keep out those determined to get in," he added.

Abu Saeda agreed, noting that no amount of border security could ever entirely deter attempts at emigration as long as certain countries continued to suffer chronic economic stagnation.

"Instead of building camps and fences, the international community should promote development in these countries so as to alleviate the root causes of undocumented migration, namely, unemployment and poverty," he said.

A conversation with one undocumented Darfurian migrant resident in Cairo, arrested earlier this year for attempting to cross the border illegally, appeared to bear this out.

"My cousins snuck into Israel and found jobs with relatively good salaries, some of which they sent back to Darfur," he told IPS on condition of anonymity. "Even though I was jailed for thirty days for attempting it myself, I'm thinking about trying my luck at the border again."

He added: "Because the situation in Darfur won't improve any time soon."

All rights reserved, IPS - Inter Press Service (2010). Total or partial publication, retransmission or sale forbidden.

Resisting an ideology of inequality: Jody McIntyre interviewed

Matthew Cassel, The Electronic Intifada, 17 December 2010



Over the past month, journalist and activist Jody McIntyre has joined a growing number of students, workers, activists and others in the United Kingdom in protesting a government decision to cut public sector funding, especially in the field of education. Last week, as tens of thousands of students took to the streets of central London, parliament voted in favor of a plan that will raise tuition fees by 300 percent.

Jody, who spent months alongside Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip protesting the Israeli occupation, has been a frequent contributor to The Electronic Intifada. Now back in London, Jody has been attending and reporting on the various student-led protests and other actions against the government's spending cuts. EI's Matthew Cassel spoke with Jody at his south London home.

Matthew Cassel: I'd like to start by asking you: what's happening in this country right now?

Jody McIntyre: Well, what's happening is that we now have a coalition government that we like to refer to as the "Con-Dem" [the ruling coalition government consisting of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties] government who care about no one but themselves and the elites that are keeping them in power. We now have a government cabinet with 16 millionaires in it, so clearly they are very far removed from our society. The first target of the axe that the government is wielding has been education; they want to increase tuition fees by 300 percent when they all got an education at university not for 3,000 pounds [$4,700, the annual maximum fee before the increase], but for free, every single one of them. They also want to cut EMA [Education Maintenance Allowance], a weekly allowance for 16- to 18-year-old students from poor backgrounds. They also want to slash university education funding. As a response to that we have seen huge demonstrations of tens of thousands of students in London and across the country. In the first demonstration [on 10 November], the Conservative Party headquarters in London was occupied by students. And these demonstrations are not getting smaller, they are growing and students are standing up and refusing to have their futures decimated by this government.

MC: You yourself, you're not a student, right?

JM: I'm not a student myself, but ...

MC: So, why are you protesting?

JM: But there are two main reasons why I'm joining the demonstrations against this. One, is that although I'm not a student myself, people like my younger brother, who is 16 years old, are in the generation that will be directly affected by these cuts. He will want to attend university in the next couple of years and thanks to these new laws being forced through by the government he will not be able to afford a university education. I feel that acceptance into university should be based on the merit of your grades not on the size of your wallet, and this is what we are fighting for. Equality, not inequality. Not a two-tier education system whereby only the rich can afford a university education. The second point is that education is only the first target for this government. For example, as a disabled person, I receive an amount of disability living allowance; the government have now announced that they will review every case of disability living allowance next year. So instead of focusing on the multinational corporations, such as Vodafone, who have an unpaid tax bill of six billion pounds [$9.4 billion], they are targeting the poorest and the most vulnerable sections of society and that will not be limited to students, that will affect us all. So we need to, from day one, all be united in resisting against the government.

MC: You've been making headlines in British media over the past week after you were dragged from your wheelchair not once, but twice, during the demonstration last Thursday. Can you tell us what happened exactly?

JM: During that demonstration [on 9 December], which is the fourth demonstration over the last few weeks to happen over these education reforms, I was attacked twice by the police. The first time, towards the beginning of the demonstration, I was sitting in my wheelchair at the front of the crowd with riot police in front of me and mounted police on horses behind them. One police office struck me on my shoulder with a baton, injuring my shoulder; four police officers then dragged me from my wheelchair and carried me down the road. Around 45 minutes later there was the second incident over at the other side of Parliament Square [where the majority of the protests happened]. I was sitting in my wheelchair in the middle of the road, a significant distance away from the crowd, when one of the police officers who recognized me from the first incident came running over, tipped me out of my wheelchair onto the road and then dragged me across the road by my arms.

MC: Now you're going to file a case against the officers who did this, right?

JM: Yes, I'm in discussion with my lawyer and all options are being considered, but an official complaint has been filed.

MC: This isn't the first time you've been beaten or dragged from your wheelchair during a protest, is that right?

JM: Well after living in Palestine for nine months and attending nonviolent demonstrations there and being attacked on a weekly, not on a one-off basis, but on a weekly basis by Israeli occupation forces attacking myself, Palestinians in wheelchairs, and other friends in wheelchairs -- not with their hands and with batons, but with sound grenades and tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition that is really a threat to my life, not just in terms of humiliation, but an actual threat. So for me, the threat of a police officer [in London] is really quite minor compared to that. So I think that the opposition here really need to step up their game if they think they're going to silence me that easily.

MC: Where was that in Palestine, exactly?

JM: Well I spent the first month of my time living with the Hanoun family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. During the time I was living with them they were evicted from their home to make way for American and British settlers. People not with Middle Eastern heritage, but with New York accents, and London accents, and British and American passports traveling thousands of miles across the world to steal someone else's home. And on that occasion, at around 5:00 in the morning, I was dragged out of the house and thrown down concrete steps by Israeli armed forces. And I spent the next few weeks sleeping on the pavement with the Hanoun family opposite their home.

I was then living in Bilin, a village in the West Bank, for six months, which became my home and the people there became my family. Every night the Israeli army would invade the village and arrest friends of mine, people I would hang out with and talk to all day. Teenagers, children were dragged from their beds at night and put in prison for months on end without their families being told where they were being taken, purely for the reason that they chose to resist against their oppressor and they chose to attend the weekly demonstrations at Israel's apartheid wall which has stolen over half of their land. After living in Bilin for six months, I traveled to Gaza, to the Gaza Strip, to Gaza City and Beit Hanoun in the north, and there were also nonviolent demonstrations where they would march into the 300-meter "buffer zone" that the Israeli army had illegally imposed as a collective punishment measure on the people of the Gaza Strip. But the only difference between Gaza and Bilin is that in Bilin the Israeli soldiers would use a wider range of weapons whereas in Gaza only live ammunition was used.

MC: Obviously the situations are very different in London, England when compared to what's happening in occupied Palestine, but as someone who has witnessed popular, grassroots and unarmed demonstrations and protest movements, are there some similarities that you can draw between the two or any connections?

JM: I think the similarity here is the question of equality and inequality, this is the root of all conflicts we are now seeing. We are fighting for equality, for all people, irrespective of race, religion, gender, wealth, or physical ability. In Palestine, the only way an Israeli soldier can morally justify how he's treating Palestinians on a daily basis is by holding the belief that Palestinian people are inferior to Western people, in the same way here, the only way our government can justify what they are doing is by holding the ideology that people with less money are inferior to those people with more money. This is the root cause. We want equality for all people, they want inequality.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Jody McIntyre outside his home in south London (Matthew Cassel)

MC: There is now a famous interview with you on the BBC going around the web, apparently it was the most watched YouTube video anywhere in the world on Wednesday. In that video you challenged the interviewer when he suggested that police violence against you and other protestors was somehow justified. Before the interviewer cut you off, you started to compare this "blame the victim" tactic the British media are using now with the protestors and how its a tactic that was used during events in Palestine. Would you mind continuing that point you were trying to make before you were cut off? I'm not going to cut you off, so don't worry, you can speak freely.

JM: Great, it's nice not to be cut off in an interview. The way I was going to expand on that point is quite simply to say, as with the Palestinian conflict, the BBC tried to portray the apartheid state of Israel, who are the oppressor and the perpetrator of violence, as the victim of violence, and the Palestinians, who are the oppressed people, in this conflict, as the perpetrator of violence. This is what they are now trying to do with the student demonstrators, to such an extent that they are prepared for eight minutes live on national television to try and suggest that a person with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair brought on himself assault from a member of the Metropolitan Police. They have this time gone so far down the road of insanity that I don't think they have a shred of credibility left as a news broadcaster. But I think the point that I'm also trying to make is that this should not be a surprise to us. That interviewer's line of questioning I don't think should be a shock to anyone, that is standard BBC tactics. They are the state media in this country. Why are we so easy to condemn state media in other countries but somehow expect to describe our own state media as impartial. It's so hypocritical that it makes me feel sick.

And again, the root of this is the ideology of inequality that the ideology of Western supremacy, of superiority, the ideology that our state media must be unbiased and fair, but the state media of other nations must be unfair and biased. Whereas in reality, all state media is biased, it is a media of the government, it is the media of the state, so obviously in the BBC's reporting of all issues, from Palestine, to Iraq, to Afghanistan to now with the student demonstrations on a domestic level, of course the BBC's reporting will be pro-government. They are the government's media wing, that's what the BBC represents. Just as the police represent the government's armed wing and the army represent the armed wing, the BBC are the government's PR campaign, the government's media wing.

MC: In their coverage of Palestine, if there are popular demonstrations in the West Bank, or during Israel's assault on Gaza in 2008/2009, did their coverage of those kind of events reflect this "blame the victim" tactic?

JM: Yeah, it's simply this "blame the victim" tactic, and not only that, but to flip the situation so that the perpetrator of the violence, the perpetrator of the crime, is the victim, and the victim is the perpetrator. So in the context of Palestinian conflict, this means that Palestinians resisting against the occupation of their country are terrorists, and Israelis who are occupying another person's country are victims. And it's a very strange line of argument. But, it's an imperialist argument, it's a colonialist argument: Israelis, as Western people, deserve that land. This is not new. Britain, and now America, have been colonizing other people's countries for centuries. Israel and Zionism are a symptom of imperialism and colonialism, ideologies of inequality. Israel is not the first example of this, or the cause, or the root, it is a symptom, just as we have colonized countries across the world, Israel is a colonialist state.

MC: So back here in London, other than bringing a case against the police officers who mistreated you, can we expect you to continue taking part in these demonstrations and reporting on them? What do you have planned?

JM: Of course. The police, and the government, and the media, will never cower me into silence and will never bully me into inaction. These demonstrations will continue, we will continue to come out into the streets in our thousands and the police know they can't control us to such an extent that you now have former police commissioners coming onto national television and suggesting that people should be arrested before they have attended a demonstration.

MC: Sounds a bit like Egypt or Iran.

JM: Well, it's now got to the point, that if we hadn't already, we have now finally crossed that line into a completely Orwellian society. But that's a good point you make. This statement says, from a former police commissioner, that we should arrest people intending on attending anti-government demonstrations. Let's imagine for one second that that statement was made in Egypt or in Iran, or in any Muslim country, any Arab country, any Latin American country, any African country, any Asian country -- this would be denounced as a dictatorship. But when it's announced here it's normal. This is a hypocrisy that runs through every line of the corporate media's reporting, from the BBC to Sky, to FOX and CNN in America, and often it is the more supposedly "center" media that are more dangerous than the far right media. Because the far right are so easy to brush off because of their stupidity in their reporting, whereas the BBC are far more, well, now they're going that way as well, but they try to be more subtle and veil their reporting in impartiality, but I think that the veil has been removed a long time ago and if it wasn't a long time ago, it certainly has been removed now.

Matthew Cassel is based in Beirut, Lebanon and is Assistant Editor of The Electronic Intifada. His website is justimage.org.

Hundreds of political detainees still in Abbas's jails in W. Bank

Dwaik: Hundreds of political detainees still in Abbas's jails in W. Bank

[ 17/12/2010 - 09:57 PM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- MP Dr. Aziz Dwaik, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, has urged Friday the militia of Mahmoud Abbas, the de-facto PA chief, to release all political detainees in the PA jails in the West Bank, considering such step necessary for achieving national reconciliation.

In an interview with the Quds Press on Friday, Dwaik criticized the Fatah-controlled media in the West Bank for attempting to twist facts by blaming Hamas for using the file of political detainees to evade national reconciliation.

"Neither our customs nor our law allows for the Palestinian to detain his fellow Palestinian for his political affiliation. A faction cannot be blamed for defending its innocent cadres as their detention is wrong in the first place,” said Dwaik in reaction to the allegations of Fatah media.

He underlined that hundreds of political detainees, the great majority from Hamas, are still incarcerated in Abbas's jails in the West Bank, and subjected to harsh physical and moral torture.

He further said that the PA jails are full of Hamas supporters, some of them are elderly and sick whose detention is very inhumane, some of them are cancer patients, calling for the release of all political prisoners to create a suitable atmosphere for national reconciliation.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Former top AIPAC official states that passing US secrets to Israel is routine for the Israel Lobby

Via MCS

- 17. Dec, 2010
By Philip Giraldi
Rosen claimed somewhat ominously that passing classified information obtained from government contacts was business as usual in Washington. He asked that high level witnesses including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former Defense Department officials Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, and Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state all be called on to testify that confidential information was frequently given to AIPAC for discreet passage to the Israeli Embassy.
  • Former top AIPAC official claims to have “about 180” documents that demonstrate that classified information was regularly collected by AIPAC and given to the Israeli Embassy with full knowledge of the organization’s Director Kohr and other senior officials
American Conservative – Philip Giraldi – Reports of surfing porn sites and frequenting prostitutes is not what one expects to read regarding the leadership of Washington’s most powerful foreign policy lobby.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is embroiled in a court battle with its former Director of Foreign Policy Issues Steven Rosen, who is claiming that AIPAC first unfairly fired then slandered and libeled him, publicly denouncing him for not exhibiting “the conduct that AIPAC expects from its employees.” He is seeking total damages of $20 million.

AIPAC has successfully limited the case to the defamation charge, fearing that it would spill over into other areas, but attempts to have the entire suit dismissed have so far been unsuccessful.

Defeat for AIPAC could have major consequences beyond a sudden shortage of donors, including increasing demands for the group to register as a foreign lobby and even criminal charges relating to the passage of classified information to Israel, an offense under the Espionage Act. Some have even predicted that the trial could spin out of control, with proliferating charges and counter-charges leading to the effective dismantling of AIPAC.

The betting is that Rosen might well be willing to accept an out of court settlement of most of the money he is seeking to make the suit go away and limit the damage to his former employer, but there are also reports that the exchanges have become so poisonous that reconciliation is impossible. AIPAC appears poised to try to discredit Rosen completely and is gathering a defense fund of between $5 and $10 million in an attempt to salvage its reputation among the well heeled Jewish donors who have up until recently provided its annual $70 million budget.

Rosen and his AIPAC colleague Keith Weissman were charged under the Espionage Act in 2003, after the FBI made the case that they had obtained classified information from Pentagon employee Larry Franklin and passed it on to Israeli diplomats and to journalist Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post.
In 2005, the two men were fired by AIPAC in spite of initial pledges of support. The trial, sometimes referred to as AIPACgate, dragged on until May 1, 2009, when it was finally dismissed after the government could not make its case due to adverse decisions by the presiding Judge T. S. Ellis, possibly acting under pressure from the White House to end the proceedings.

At the time, as the centerpiece of his defense, Rosen claimed somewhat ominously that passing classified information obtained from government contacts was business as usual in Washington. He asked that high level witnesses including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former Defense Department officials Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith, and Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state all be called on to testify that confidential information was frequently given to AIPAC for discreet passage to the Israeli Embassy.

Rosen’s lawyers also demanded access to numerous government documents to assist them in making their case. Many of those documents would have themselves been classified, eventually leading government prosecutors to abandon their attempts at a conviction in the belief that more damage would be done by proceeding than in dropping the case.

Rosen and Weissman were not, however, either exonerated or acquitted, an indication that the government lawyers believed the prosecution to be a sound one.

Dismissing Rosen was a bad move by AIPAC as he has since worked hard to get his revenge.

AIPAC director Howard Kohr
Recent moves and countermoves by Rosen and AIPAC have included a 260-page motion by AIPAC filed on November 8th that interestingly makes the case in some detail that Rosen engaged in espionage while distancing AIPAC itself from any involvement. The intention is clearly to demonstrate that Rosen and Weissman were a rogue operation, not sanctioned by their employer.

The motion also incorporates a lengthy deposition of Rosen in which he describes his own sexual “experimentations” with both men and women, some of whom were discovered on Craigslist. Rosen also recounts how pornography was regularly viewed and even saved on AIPAC computers by a number of senior employees, including Director Howard Kohr and his secretary, and there were visits to prostitutes by AIPAC officials.

Rosen is expected to counter the AIPAC November filing with his own motion later this month and there will be an obligatory mediation session with the presiding judge in mid January. The cycle of attacks and rebuttals has not done much to help AIPAC’s reputation, already tarnished by the long running Rosen-Weissman trial that led to the lawsuit and there are reports that donations have declined by 15%, with a number of major contributors like Haim Saban having opted instead to help Rosen financially.

Rosen contends that his betrayal by AIPAC was motivated by a desire to avoid criminal charges against its executives, an effort that was supported by a federal prosecutor who was pressuring the FBI to limit its case.

In a July 2009 filing Rosen claimed that: “On February 17, 2005, only two weeks after awarding Mr. Rosen the $7,000 special bonus for excellence in job performance, the AIPAC Board of Directors placed him on involuntary leave. This was done immediately after AIPAC was threatened by the Justice Department in a meeting between AIPAC’s counsel and its Executive Director Howard Kohr and federal prosecutors on February 15, 2005. There the lead federal prosecutor stated that, ‘We could make real progress and get AIPAC out from under all of this,’ if AIPAC showed more cooperation with the government.

On February 16, 2005, AIPAC’s counsel said that the lead federal prosecutor ‘is fighting with the FBI to limit the investigation to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and to avoid expanding it.’ This warning implied that AIPAC’s Executive Director and the AIPAC organization as a whole could become targets.”
And there is a much bigger story lurking in the background, though no one is quite sure who holds the cards and how it might play out, involving the regular provision of top level classified information from AIPAC to the Israeli government and to the media.

The November AIPAC motion and the Rosen deposition inadvertently demonstrate the close ties between AIPAC and the Israeli Embassy in Washington, recording as they do the details of numerous meetings with diplomats and intelligence officers in which secret information was passed. For AIPAC to win its war of words with Rosen it must demonstrate that he was indeed guilty of espionage with “a foreign country” while distancing itself from his activities and also at the same time keeping Israel out of the story insofar as possible.

Rosen must turn the tables on AIPAC by proving that it was completely collaborative in the collection and delivery of intelligence material to foreigners. He intends to replay his planned defense in the Espionage Act trial, asserting that passing classified information was a regular and accepted feature of life in Washington, particularly for those who worked to advance Israel’s interests.
Rosen claims to have “about 180” documents that demonstrate that classified information was regularly collected by AIPAC and given to the Israeli Embassy with full knowledge of the organization’s Director Kohr and other senior officials, something that they have denied under oath.

He also claims that depositions of FBI agents who questioned AIPAC officials will demonstrate that the collection and use of classified information was routine, generally known, and widely accepted within AIPAC. Rosen also has given signs that he might broaden the inquiry.



Elliott Abrams
In September 2009, he filed a list of 48 prospective witnesses that might be called to testify that included: Douglas Bloomfield, Morris Amitay, Thomas Dine, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Martin Indyk, David Satterfield, Kenneth Pollack, Malcolm Hoenlein, and Abraham Foxman. All are major figures in the Israel Lobby. The intent would appear to be to demonstrate that passing secrets to the Israeli government was standard operating procedure for many groups and individuals linked to the Lobby, not just AIPAC.
It will also motivate the groups that the men represent to put pressure on AIPAC to settle the case with Rosen, at whatever cost.
What is ultimately at stake is AIPAC’s powerful mystique, derived from its status as a foreign lobby posing as a domestic lobby that is so untouchable that it does not have to register with the Justice Department or play by anyone’s rules but its own. The charge of trading in US government classified information, even if the Barack Obama administration predictably opts not to prosecute the criminal activity, would render disingenuous the argument that AIPAC should not have to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) because it only operates domestically and its focus is educational. It could also lose its completely bogus non-profit tax exempt status.
But those who see a dark future for AIPAC fail to reckon with the strengths of the organization, to include an endowment fund of $50 million that can be tapped in emergencies.
It continues to be extremely powerful at all levels within the Barack Obama Administration and with congress. AIPAC has resources deep within the Justice Department, which will make sure that it is advised of every impending move against it and that will do everything they can to impede any investigation that might lead to criminal charges or to registration under FARA. And then there is the media role or rather the lack of one.
The mainstream media assiduously avoided the story of the Rosen-Weissman trial and it has not reported on the Rosen AIPAC lawsuit apart from few brave souls like Jeff Stein in his Spy Talk at The Washington Post. If the federal government prefers not to investigate or prosecute a clear violation of the law and if the media does not report the failure to do so the public will once again be kept in the dark. It could mean that those who long for the death of AIPAC might well be disappointed.
http://www.israel-palestinenews.org/2010/12/passing-us-secrets-to-israel-routine.html
Philip Giraldi is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. Original title: “The Death of AIPAC?”
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Turkey: ‘Who benefits from Wikileaks?’

Posted on December 18, 2010 by rehmat1


“We should look at the countries that are satisfied by the leak, and Israel is very satisfied,” Huseyin Celik, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party AKP.
“The documents show many sources backing Israel’s assessments, particularly of Iran,” Benji Netanyahu, Israel’s radical Jewish prime minister.

“Erdogan has an unbridled ambition stemming from the belief God has anointed him to lead Turkey,” Dr. Eric Steven Edelman, former US ambassador in Ankara (2003-2005).

“The Breaking News at Sky TV (owned by Zionist billionaire Rupert Murdoch) referred to a planned Israeli nuclear attack on two American cities which were to be linked to Pakistan. America would have had a cause to respond in kind and take out Pakistani nuclear sites,” Dr. Ghayur Ayub in A Missing Wikileak.

The Jewish Lobby in the US and among the EU countries – is exploiting Turkey’s internal (pro-Israel separatist Kurdish movement PKK and the anti-Islam high-ranking officials of Turkish Armed Force and Justice Department) and external (Sarkozy and Markel being against Turkey’s EU membership, Iran, Greece, Syria, Hamas, Lebanon, Cyprus, etc.) policies. Israel has already carried out two faild coups against the AKP government with the help of military officials and other Crypto-Jewish groups and individuals.
Erdogan and his foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu have been trying to position Turkey as a go-between Israel-Syria and US-Iran to broker peaceful co-existence among the Middle Eastern countries, which has been destroyed by the US imperialism and its blind support for the Zionist entity.

While AKP is preparing for the trial of the senior military officers involved in the coup, modification to Turkey’s secularist Constitution and coming general election – Israel with the help of the US – is planning how to bring a pro-Israel/anti-Iran regime change in Ankara. Since these anti-Islam crooks don’t expect this regime change through election, therefore, they’re betting on the military officers dedicated to Attaturk’s secular principles who had even refused to shake hands with Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s wife Hayrunnisa Gul, who wears the highly controversial head scarf – is not lost on the Turkish public, and should not be lost on outside observers, either. The TİKAD survey carried in October 2010 showed that 84% of the participants favored the head scarf (Hijab).

Earlier this month, appearing at a press conference upon his return from Kazakhstan, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the secret cables released by Wikileaks should not occupy Turkish politics and consume the country’s energy in vain.

Interestingly, Julian Assange, forgot to mention Israel’s 34-day invasion of Lebanon where it got its first tast of military defeat; Israel’s Dec.-Jan. 2009 attack on Gaza Strip and the meeting held at the American embassy in Beirut on 24th July 2006, which is widely considered as a ‘war council’ meeting between American, Israeli and Lebanese parties that played a role in the war again Hizbullah and its allies.

Ironically, the Jewish-owned TIME magazine’s readers have chosen Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, in the weekly’s annual poll for Person of the Year, while Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came in second. On the other hand, Assange praised Netanyahu as a hero of transparency and openness!
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A Bethlehem Christmas wish

A Bethlehem Christmas wish
Saed Bannoura writing from Portland, the US, Live from Palestine, 16 December 2010




Christmas in Bethlehem. (Moamar Awad/MaanImages)

More than 2,000 years ago, a miracle happened in Bethlehem and the prophet of peace, love and forgiveness was born. Now Bethlehem, as well as every other Palestinian city, town and refugee camp, still lives under occupation and oppression. If am allowed to make some wishes for this Christmas this is what they would be:

I wish that the spirit of this Christmas will make world leaders become unable to lie, unable to stand in front of TV cameras, in conferences, and tell one lie after another.

I wish that US President Barack Obama, who was seen as a symbol of change and hope, will come back to his senses and tell the truth.

I know politicians and truth are on opposite ends of the spectrum and rarely can they be on the same side. But it's Christmas after all and maybe we will have our own miracle today and world leaders will not be able to lie anymore.

We all know the Ten Commandments and what they instruct us to do or not to do, but maybe presidents and government officials are brainwashed before they take office in order to fit their new positions, in which they must lie to their people and to the whole world with a nice smile on their faces.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, yet Bethlehem -- the place where I was born and raised my whole life before moving to the United States several years ago -- is not witnessing peace, and the star that the shepherds followed more than 2,000 years ago is fading away.

Bethlehem is also the place where an undercover Israeli soldier shot me five times in my chest and back, and kicked me repeatedly until I lost consciousness. It was the place where the last words I heard from my oppressor were: "After all that I did, you are still alive?" I guess by living, even with injuries that require me to use a wheelchair, I am disappointing him. So living, along with loving my country and my people, is what I will continue to do, and real peace is what I will continue to seek.

Christmas is near, in Bethlehem and everywhere else around the world, and this means that we will continue to hear world leaders and politicians standing, once again, in front of the cameras and lying.

We will hear talk of peace and justice, but in Palestine we will continue to witness crimes and occupation.

"Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9). Leaders must not be among those blessed, because while they claim to seek peace, in truth they are only motivated by political gains and the next round of elections.

Due to the fact that I do not believe that there is a living leader who does not lie on a daily basis, I want to send my message to ordinary people who live their lives, day by day, trying to make ends meet.

The hope and change is in you, not in world leaders. You are the salt of the earth, you have the power to tell your elected politicians that it is about time to stop lying.

Tell them we do not want another Christmas lie, we want a real Christmas truth, not even a miracle, just the truth.

Let our Christmas message be a message of real peace and real love, the message of love that Jesus brought to the world, and the wisdom he spoke of. Maybe then peace will prevail, occupation will end and the people can live together in justice and equality.

Saed Bannoura is a Palestinian journalist who helped create the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC.org) in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and currently works as the center's Editor-in-Chief. Despite having been shot and paralyzed by Israeli special forces in 1991, Saed Bannoura has spent his adult life working for peace and justice through nonviolence.
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Former Egyptian official: Israel plans to reoccupy the Sinai Peninsula

[ 17/12/2010 - 11:04 AM ]

CAIRO, (PIC)-- Hassan Esa, the former Egyptian official in the ministry of foreign affairs, has warned of Israeli attempts to reoccupy the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula indirectly, noting that the Israelis were publicly talking about the "hope to return to Sinai".

"Israel will not relax and feel comfortable unless it reoccupied the Sinai Peninsula due to strategic, economic, and religious reasons", warned Esa who was handling the file of Israel at the ministry.

He also explained that the Israeli occupation government sends Israeli girls to the Peninsula to establish sexual relationships with Arab Bedouins there to have children, and then claim that they have the right to stay in the Peninsula for having Egyptian children.

He also highlighted that "Israel" was and still is striving hard to achieve the dream of returning to the Sinai.

He noted that after the signing of the Camp David treaty in 1979, and the following Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Peninsula in 1982 as stipulated in the agreement, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, "Israel would have been in a better condition had the Sinai Peninsula remained in its hand without a peace agreement".

Furthermore, Esa opined that the Israeli occupation government's keenness to dispatch more Israeli "tourists" to the Peninsula was part of the Israeli scheme to always link Jews to Sinai.


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Outcry in Denmark over firm's involvement in occupation

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 15 December 2010

The Danish-British security firm G4S has come under scrutiny after it was revealed last month that it supplies equipment and services to Israel for use at checkpoints and settlements in the occupied West Bank and at Israeli prisons. The company's own promotional material describes how it has provided "security systems" to the Israel Prison Service, which detains thousands of Palestinian political prisoners.

The outcry over G4S's role in the Israeli occupation was reported in the Danish media and was the subject of a presentation at the second international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held in London on 20-22 November.

Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Lene Espersen called on G4S "not to carry out activities that might help to sustain illegal settlements," as was reported in Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende on 28 November. Additionally, a group of university students and teachers at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Roskilde are urging their administrations to end the contracts they hold with G4S.

A number of large Danish pension funds hold shares in G4S, according to Berlingske Tidende, which reported that the country's leading provider of corporate benefit plans, PFA, asked its ethics screening company to check if the fund should divest. The Danish National Procurement Service (SKI) -- which is owned by the Ministry of Finance and an association of local municipalities, and assists more than 30,000 customers in their procurement of public services -- has also asked G4S for a written explanation of the company's activities in the West Bank.

The director of SKI, Soren Jakobsen, said the contract with G4S will be terminated if the company's clarification does not satisfy the requirement that G4S shows respect for UN Global Compact principles (Studerende vil boykotte sikkerhedsgigant," 26 November 2010). The Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative launched in 2000 for businesses that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. The principles include support and respect for the proctetion of international human rights and the avoidance of complicity in human rights abuses.

G4S is the result of a merge between the Danish security company Group4Falck -- which bought one of the largest Israeli security companies, Hashmira, in 2002 -- and the British Securicor company. Former Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller criticized Group4Falck in 2002 for its activities in the West Bank, prompting the company to leave the West Bank. Two years later the company merged with Securicor and established a new name. G4S's approximately 600,000 employees provide security services and equipment to governments, major companies and industries, financial institutions, ports and airports in 110 countries. G4S holds 91 percent of the shares of G4S Israel (Hashmira). The company is quoted at the stock exchanges in London and Copenhagen, and the chairman of the board is Danish.

Research by Danish financial watchdog DanWatch and the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) revealed that G4S has resumed its activities in the occupied West Bank. Hashmira's armed security guards were seen on duty in a supermarket in Modiin Illit settlement and in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo (G4S Israel (Hashmira)). DanWatch and CWP found on G4S subsidiary Moked99's website that the company is active in the settlements Adar, Maale Adumim and in occupied East Jerusalem (mokedinfo.co.il).

Meanwhile, G4S provides technology for several military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. Occupation industry watchdog group WhoProfits -- a project of CWP -- documented that Hashmira has supplied luggage scanning equipment and full body scanners to several Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, including Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah, Bethlehem checkpoint and Irtah checkpoint near Tulkarm. The company provided full body scanners to the Erez checkpoint in Gaza.

By providing services to Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, G4S has contributed to Israel's violations of international law. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed in 2004 that Israel's wall and checkpoint regime in the West Bank impede Palestinians of "the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living" and are contrary to international law.

G4S involved in Israeli prison infrastructure

In addition to the company's services to settlement businesses and military checkpoints, G4S also provides security systems to Israeli prisons. In a promotional brochure distributed at a security conference in Tel Aviv this summer and obtained by WhoProfits, G4S describes a perimeter defense system supplied for the walls around the Ofer prison compound, which has a capacity to detain 1,500 prisoners. G4S installed a central command room in Ofer prison from which the entire prison compound can be monitored.

In their presentation on G4S at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in London this November, Dalit Baum and Merav Amir of WhoProfits explained that Ofer prison compound, which is also the site of an army camp and a military court, is specifically for Palestinian political prisoners. The prison is situated in the Israeli-controlled "seam zone" in the occupied West Bank. Baum and Amir stated that visits to Ofer compound by Palestinians from the West Bank are highly restricted. Family members of detainees and their lawyers need a special access permit to attend court sessions or visit detainees.

G4S writes in its promotional material that it also provided all the security systems in Keztiot prison and a central command room in Megiddo prison; both facilities are within Israel's internationally-recognized boundary. According to G4S, the two prisons can detain 1,200-2,200 "security" prisoners -- the majority of whom are Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian prisoner support and human rights organization Addameer reports that as of the end of September, 6,180 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons in relation to "security" offenses. This number includes 212 administrative detainees who are held without charge, 264 children, 199 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, 691 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and 200 from occupied East Jerusalem ("Quarterly update on Palestinian prisoners," 20 October 2010 [PDF]).

The majority of Palestinian political prisoners are charged with offenses under Israeli military orders. These orders employ a broad definition of "security," which includes the banning of protest marches, meetings and the distribution of political articles and pictures. Palestinians can be arrested and imprisoned for practically any form of public activity regardless of whether they present a legitimate security threat to Israel; according to Addameer, Israel arrests and detains Palestinians as a means of repressing the national movement for liberation and self-determination.

Violations of international law

G4S's involvement in the Israel Prison System apparatus abets the violation of international law. Israel transfers Palestinian detainees from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to prisons within its internationally-recognized boundary, in contravention of international humanitarian law which forbids an occupying power from transferring prisoners outside the occupied territory.

Moreover, the conditions of Israeli prisons fail to meet international legal standards. According to Addameer, "prisoners held in Megiddo, Ofer and Ketziot prisons live in threadbare tents that do not provide adequate shelter against extreme weather in the winter or summer. In general, hygiene facilities are dire" (Palestinian prisoners of Israel).

In addition, Palestinian political prisoners are not allowed to have telephone contact with family members or friends. According to Addameer's October 2010 update, detainees in Ofer smuggled mobile phones into prison to circumvent their isolation but the Israel Prison Service installed signal disruption equipment to prevent any communication by detainees. After detainees destroyed the equipment, Israel Prison Service units raided Ofer prison and violently searched the prison sections. The prisoners protested and the Israel Prison Service units sprayed tear gas into the rooms of all sections, beating detainees with batons and using police dogs to intimidate them.

G4S's involvement in these human rights abuses contradicts its commitment to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as expressed in a 20 September 2010 letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. "Securing our world, for our Company, means more than just physical security. It means caring for people -- our employees, customers, suppliers, our local community and the public at large -- in a way which support fundamental human rights and freedoms in a just society, whilst working together to protect each other from all potential challenges to a safe and a secure world," the company wrote (G4S Israel ... supports the principles of the UN Global Compact [PDF]).

Governments, local municipalities, public institutions and public investors all over the world have relations with G4S. They should follow the example of Denmark: not renew or enter into new contracts and divest from the company until it has ended its involvement in Israel's violations of international law.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Switzerland.

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