22 September 2006

CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails

The hidden news appeared today in the Financial Times.

Remember the recent televised speech by President Bush in which, for the first time, he acknowledged the existence of CIA 'secret prisons', and his 'alternative set of procedures' programme?

According to the BBC,

"Mr Bush said he was making a limited disclosure of the CIA programme because interrogation of the men it held was now complete and because a US Supreme Court decision had stopped the use of military commissions for trials."
This theory was not entirely supported by the LA Times who reported at the time:

"The CIA, however, has become increasingly uncomfortable in its role running secret overseas prisons; agency officers in some cases are wary of carrying out orders for fear their actions might leave them vulnerable to legal liability, if not criminal prosecution, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials."CIA personnel were being left hanging without appropriate legal protections," said Robert Grenier, who ran the CIA's counter-terrorism center before retiring this year. Grenier said there had been a "period of stock-taking" within the agency after Congress late last year passed a measure, introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that placed new restrictions on the handling of detainees.The legal uncertainty brought interrogation work to a halt in some cases. The operation of the secret facilities also became a strain on agency resources, even as the information obtained from the so-called high-value detainees — including Mohammed — slowed to a trickle,"

However, according to an article in yesterday's Financial Times, the "CIA ‘refused to operate’ secret jails". Guy Dinmore in Washington reported:

"The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantánamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme.

The former officials said the CIA interrogators’ refusal was a factor in forcing the Bush administration to act earlier than it might have wished.When Mr Bush announced the suspension of the secret prison programme in a speech before the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, some analysts thought he was trying to gain political momentum before the November midterm congressional elections.

The administration publicly explained its decision in light of the legal uncertainty surrounding permissible interrogation techniques following the June Supreme Court ruling that all terrorist suspects in detention were entitled to protection under
Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

But the former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going. Senior officials and Mr Bush himself have come close to admitting this by saying CIA interrogators sought legal clarity. But no official has confirmed on the record how and when the secret programme actually came to an end.

John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, who was interviewed by Fox News on Sunday, said in response to a question of whether CIA interrogators had refused to work: “I think the way I would answer you in regard to that question is that there’s been precious little activity of that kind for a number of months now, and certainly since the Supreme Court decision.”

In an
interview with the Financial Times, John Bellinger, legal adviser to the state
department, went further, saying there had been “very little operational activity” on CIA interrogations since the passage last December of a bill proposed by Senator John McCain outlawing torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Mr Bellinger said the secret prisons remained empty for the moment. But he defended the US position that use of such prisons did not contravene international conventions as some in Europe have argued. He also said that, theoretically, the Pentagon as well as the CIA had the legal right to run such facilities. The CIA declined to comment.

Key figures among the 14 prisoners transferred to Guantánamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had been held in secret centres for three years or more

Backing this up we have this report from a few days later in the Washington Post: "Worried CIA Officers Buy Legal Insurance". According to Post staff writer R. Jeffrey Smith,

"CIA counterterrorism officers have signed up in growing numbers for a government-reimbursed, private insurance plan that would pay their civil judgments and legal expenses if they are sued or charged with criminal wrongdoing, according to current and former intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the program.

The new enrollments reflect heightened anxiety at the CIA that officers may be vulnerable to accusations they were involved in abuse, torture, human rights
violations and other misconduct, including wrongdoing related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They worry that they will not have Justice Department representation in court or congressional inquiries, the officials said.

The anxieties stem partly from public controversy about a system of secret CIA prisons in which detainees were subjected to harsh interrogation methods, including temperature extremes and simulated drowning. The White House contends the methods were legal, but some CIA officers have worried privately that they may have violated international law or domestic criminal statutes."

According to the Manual for Judges and Prosecutors: Combating Torture prepared by the University of Essex, a project "sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom":

"General prohibition

1.7 The prohibition of torture is found in a number of international human rights and humanitarian treaties and is also regarded as a principle of general international law. The prohibition of torture is also considered to carry a special status in general international law, that of jus cogens, which is a 'peremptory norm' of general international law.2 General international law is binding on all states, even if they have not ratified a particular treaty. Rules of jus cogens cannot be contradicted by treaty law or by other rules of international law.

1.8 The prohibition of torture is found in Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and a number of international and regional human rights treaties. The vast majority of states have ratified treaties that contain provisions that prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment. These include: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966),
3 the European Convention on Human Rights (1950),4 the American Convention on Human Rights (1978)5 and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (1981).6 The texts of the Articles relating to torture from some of these treaties and a table of country ratifications of selected universal treaties are included in the Appendices
to this manual.

1.9 A number of treaties have also been drawn up specifically to combat torture. These are: the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1984 (Convention against Torture) the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment 1987 the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1985. The absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is underlined by its non-derogable status in human rights law. There are no circumstances in which states can set aside or restrict this obligation, even in times of war or other emergency threatening the life of the nation, which may justify the suspension or limitation of some other rights.
7 States are also restricted from making derogations which may put individuals at risk of torture or ill-treatment -- for example, by allowing excessive periods of incommunicado detention or denying a detainee prompt access to a court.8 This prohibition operates irrespective of circumstances or attributes, such as the status of the victim or, if he or she is a criminal suspect, upon the crimes that the victim is suspected of having committed.9

1.10 State officials are prohibited from inflicting, instigating or tolerating the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any person. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification for torture.10 States are also required to ensure that all acts of torture are offences under their criminal law, establish criminal jurisdiction over such acts, investigate all such acts and hold those responsible for committing them to account.11

1.11 Torture and other ill-treatment of any person in the power of another party are also banned as a war crime under the laws of armed conflict (humanitarian law).12 The prohibition against torture in humanitarian law is expressly found in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and in various provisions of the four Geneva Conventions, including the grave breaches provisions,13 and the Additional Protocols of 1977.14 Torture is also considered to be a crime against humanity when the acts are perpetrated as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, whether or not they are committed in the course of an armed conflict. Thus, for example, Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes torture and rape within the Court's jurisdiction. The text of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute are included in Appendix One of this manual.

1.12 The main focus of this manual is on torture and ill-treatment by state agents, particularly law enforcement officials. However, there is also a growing acceptance of the importance of safeguarding people from similar treatment carried out by private groups or individuals against persons under the effective control of those groups or individuals. Sates are responsible for safeguarding the rights of everyone within their jurisdiction and may be held accountable for acts carried out by private individuals if it supports or tolerates them, or fails in other ways to provide effective protection in law against them.

1.13 The right of an individual to protection against torture and other prohibited forms of ill-treatment includes the right not to be returned to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she is at risk of suffering such treatment.16 People have a right not to be forcibly returned where they are at risk of suffering torture -- even if they have not yet been recognised as refugees. A state responding to an extradition request also needs to ensure that the other country is complying with its obligations under international law in respect of torture and ill-treatment before it may hand someone over to that jurisdiction.17"

The University of Essex Manual also sets out the definitions of torture:

"Legal definitions
1.17 Article 1 of the Convention against Torture sets out an internationally agreed definition of acts that constitute 'torture'. This states that: the term 'torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is ntentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

1.18 The exact boundaries between 'torture' and other forms of 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' are often difficult to identify and may depend on the particular circumstances of the case and the characteristics of the particular victim. Both terms cover mental and physical ill-treatment that has been intentionally inflicted by, or with the consent or acquiescence of, the state authorities. The 'essential elements' of what constitutes torture contained in Article 1 of the Convention against Torture include: The infliction of severe mental or physical pain or suffering; By or with the consent or acquiescence of the state authorities; For a specific purpose, such as gaining information, punishment or intimidation.

1.19 Cruel treatment, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are also legal terms. These refer to ill-treatment that does not have to be inflicted for a specific purpose, but there does have to be an intent to expose individuals to the conditions which amount to or result in the ill-treatment. Exposing a person to conditions reasonably believed to constitute ill-treatment will entail responsibility for its infliction. Degrading treatment may involve pain or suffering less severe than for torture or cruel or inhuman treatment and will usually involve humiliation and debasement of the victim. The essential elements which constitute ill-treatment not amounting to torture would therefore be reduced to: Intentional exposure to significant mental or physical pain or suffering; By or with the consent or acquiescence of the state authorities It is often difficult to identify the exact boundaries between the different forms of ill-treatment as this requires an assessment about degrees of suffering that may depend on the particular circumstances of the case and the characteristics of the particular victim. In some cases, certain forms of ill-treatment or certain aspects of detention which would not constitute torture on their own may do so in combination with each other. Ill-treatment is, however, prohibited under international law and even where the treatment does not have the purposive element or, as far as degrading treatment is concerned, is not considered severe enough (in legal terms) to amount to torture, it may still amount to prohibited ill-treatment.31

1.20 The Human Rights Committee has stated that: 'The Covenant does not contain any definition of the concepts covered by article 7, nor does the Committee consider it necessary to draw up a list of prohibited acts or to establish sharp distinctions between the different kinds of punishment or treatment; the distinctions depend on the nature, purpose and severity of the treatment applied.'32 It has, however, stated that the prohibition in article 7 relates not only to acts that cause physical pain but also to acts that cause mental suffering to the victim.33 The European Court of Human Rights has also noted in Selmouni v France: 'Certain acts which were classified in the past as 'inhuman and degrading treatment' as opposed to 'torture' could be classified differently in the future ... the increasingly high standard being required in the area of the protection of human rights and fundamental liberties correspondingly and inevitably requires greater firmness in assessing breaches of the fundamental values of democratic societies.'34

1.21 The drafters of the Geneva Conventions also avoided a detailed list of prohibited acts. In its Commentary on the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross has stated 'It is always dangerous to go into too much detail -- especially in this domain. However great the care taken in drawing up a list of all the various forms of infliction, it would never be possible to catch up with the imagination of future torturers who wished to satisfy their bestial instincts; the more specific and complete a list tries to be, the more restrictive it becomes. The form of wording adopted is flexible, and, at the same time, precise.'35"

Well, one assumes the CIA 'interrogators have read these international regulations on the subject, and therefore, if they are "worried" they "may have" violated international law, then they probably have good cause to be!

17 September 2006

Outlawed - Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'

Human rights groups and several public inquiries in Europe have found the U.S. government, with the complicity of numerous governments worldwide, to be engaged in the illegal practice of extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture.

The U.S. government-sponsored program of renditions is an unlawful practice in which numerous persons have been illegally detained and secretly flown to third countries, where they have suffered additional human rights abuses including torture and enforced disappearance. No one knows the exact number of persons affected, due to the secrecy under which the operations are carried out.

"Outlawed: Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'" tells the stories of Khaled El-Masri and Binyam Mohamed, two men who have survived extraordinary rendition, secret detention, and torture by the U.S. government working with various other governments worldwide.

"Outlawed" features relevant commentary from Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.S. President George W. Bush, Michael Scheuer, the chief architect of the rendition program and former head of the Osama Bin Laden unit at the CIA, and Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State.

"Outlawed" places the post-9/11 phenomenon of renditions and the "war on terror" in a human rights context and calls for action end these human rights abuses. Click here to act now.

Film can be viewed here.

14 September 2006


“We felt the country was at risk from terrorists and from incompetence…and maybe worse.” —Lorie Van Auken, September 11th Widow

Following the attacks of September 11th, a small group of grieving families waged a tenacious battle against those who sought to bury the truth about the event—including, to their amazement, President Bush. In ‘9/11 PRESS FOR TRUTH’, six of them, including three of the famous “Jersey Girls”, tell for the first time the powerful story of how they took on the greatest powers in Washington—and won!—compelling an investigation, only to subsequently watch the 9/11 Commission fail in answering most of their questions.

Adapting Paul Thompson’s definitive Complete 9/11 Timeline (published by HarperCollins as ‘The Terror Timeline’), the filmmakers collaborate with documentary veterans Globalvision (‘WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception’, ‘Beyond JFK’) to stitch together rare overlooked news clips, buried stories, and government press conferences, revealing a pattern of official lies, deception and spin. As a result, a very different picture of 9/11 emerges, one that raises new and more pressing questions.

What actions were taken by top government officials who received dozens of specific warnings before the attack? Was Osama Bin Laden and his top al Qaeda leadership allowed to escape U.S. forces in Afghanistan? And what has been the reason for the deliberate obscuring of evidence for state sponsorship? Perhaps the most important one of all: Why, five years later, are so many of the families’ questions still unanswered?

View this video here:

09 September 2006

What planet do the Guardian Leader writers live on? Planet Hollywood?

Having just read today's Guardian Leader "Bleak horizons", here are a few comments:

Once again the Guardian leader writers prefer a Hollywood version of events to reality.

Once again, for the Guardian, the US and Britain's problems in Iraq are "no clear exit strategy in the face of a weak government, the strength of the insurgency and the sectarian nature of the conflict" not the fact that they waged a war of aggression on a sovereign country committing in the process what the Nuremberg principles, enshrined in international law, call the "supreme crime". It is this fact that unites the majority of the people in the world against the US/UK's criminal acts, not the supposed expert 'propaganda' of Bin Laden, which is, in reality, pale in comparison to Western media propaganda.

Once again, for the Guardian, all resistance to the US/UK attempt to dominate the world by force is labelled Al Qaeda, although there is no proof that the majority of the attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan are anything other than resistance forces at work to expel foreign invaders.

Once again, the Guardian bombards us with the official conspiracy theory that "this prolonged global crisis" began when 19 Arabs from caves in Afghanistan hijacked 4 planes with boxcutters, which is, in fact, manifestly false as any student of Modern History could explain. We are expected to ignore 60 years of US/UK meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries, especially in the ME, all in the name of 'our way of life' which is in fact nothing more than code for our selfish, avaricious society enriching itself at the expense of others.

Once again, the Guardian turns truth on its head describing the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people as an "impasse", reinforcing Israeli propaganda that the conflict is between 2 equal parties with only one (Israel) facing an existentialist danger. The reality is that only one nation on this planet faces being "wiped of the map": and that is Palestine.

Once again, the Guardian's Hollywood/Made-in-Israel version describes the recent Israeli aggression in the Lebanon as "almost accidental", when we now know for a fact was planned with the Americans well in advance.

Once again the Guardian describes the leader of one the US/UK's 'official' enemies as "led by a populist loose cannon of a president". Would the Guardian ever describe George Bush as "populist loose cannon of a president"?

Once again, despite any evidence to back them up, the Guardian's Leader writer claims that Iran "seems on course to acquire nuclear weapons". In fact, the evidence all points to the contrary. The Guardian says it's "because, after Iraq, the international community is powerless to stop it " Powerless? What utter bullshit. They rest of the international community just doesn't agree with the US/UK worldview, and can you blame them? As if we have a monopoly on the truth.

Once again, for the Guardian, the "view that democracy could be exported on American bayonets " is only "misplaced" not criminal.

Once again, the Guardian turns the truth on its head when it declares that "jihadi terrorism" now threatens "our most cherished freedoms". I was unaware until this morning that the "jihadi" terrorists were able to pass laws in the British Parliament cutting our civil liberties. I foolishly thought it was Blair and his "Socialist" majority government that were doing this.

But finally, The Guardian gives some good advice: "Governments on this side of the Atlantic must work harder to tackle the Middle Eastern grievances that feed the resentment on which jihadi ideology thrives". Obviously due to lack of space (I can't see any other reason) we are not told what these "grievances" are.

08 September 2006

The Genocide in Gaza continues with the complicit silence of the West

In today's Independent, Patrick Cockburn reports:

"Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored because the world's attention has been diverted by wars in Lebanon and Iraq.
A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world."

What Patrick Cockburn doesn't tell us is that in a report issued on 06 September 2006, the UNDP estimates the damage to infrastructure in Gaza caused by the Israeli Occupation Forces in just 2 months between 26 June 2006 and 28 August 2006 at US$46 million!

I quote the UNDP Press Release:

"JERUSALEM -- The UNDP's Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) released the findings of an extensive damage assessment it conducted of the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip over the past two months. Covering the damage incurred since the beginning of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation that began on 28 June to August 27, 2006, the assessment examined physical and material damage to six sectors: municipal infrastructure, housing, public buildings, agriculture, energy and industry.

The assessment was divided across 5 distinct geographic areas in the Gaza strip, namely the officially established Governorates: Gaza, Rafah, Khan Younis, Middle and North.

The team of over 25 UNDP engineers and programme specialist, who assessed every single damaged site in the Gaza Strip, estimated that the total cost of the damage for the period between June 28 and August 27, 2006 is around US$ 46 million.

Commenting on these initial findings, the acting Special Representative of UNDP/PAPP in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt.), Ms. Minna Tyrkko stated: "As a leading development agency in the oPt., with a long history of building essential infrastructure, we felt it necessary to take stock of the physical damage incurred by in the Gaza strip in the past two months" "We would not be able to begin the process of recovery if we did not empirically know the extent of the damage," she added.

It is important to note that the figure of US$46 million reflects the actual estimated costs of damage and not estimates for the required repairs. Nor does this figure represent the total aggregated economic loss, which would be in the hundreds of millions.

Below is a breakdown of the estimates. For a full copy of the damage assessment report visit PAPP's web site at: www.undp.ps

The initial damage estimates per sector hitherto yielded are:

1. Municipal infrastructure (including bridges water and wastewater lines and roads) US$ 8 million

2. Energy (including the electricity lines and power station) US$ 8 million

3. Agriculture (including olives and citrus orchards, greenhouses, poultries and livestock farms, water wells) US$ 23.5 million

4. Housing US$ 2 million

5. Public buildings (both governmental and NGO) US$ 4.2 million; and

6. Industry US$ 0.3 million

The damage estimates per Governorate are:

1. Gaza - US$ 13.5

2. Middle - US$12 million

3. Rafah - US$ 9.6 million

4. North - US$ 6.6 million

5. Khan Younis - US$ 4.2 millions"

Patrick Cockburn also falls into the Israeli trap and accepts that this episode started, as he puts it "in the aftermath" of the "the kidnap of Cpl Gilad Shalit by Palestinians on 25 June".

This is the Israeli version of events, but the actual events are not that cut and dried as Media Lens informed us in their alert of 10 July 2006, BLAMING THE VICTIM IN GAZA:

"The media have emphasised the capture of the Israeli soldier as key in escalating tensions. On June 29, Stephen Farrell reported in The Times "a dramatic escalation of the conflict sparked by the abduction". (Farrell, 'Tanks go into Gaza as Jewish settler is murdered,' The Times, June 29, 2006)

On June 30, the Financial Times reported "the rapid escalation of the crisis sparked by last Sunday's kidnap" (Ferry Biedermann and Roula Khalaf, 'Abbas appeals to UN over arrests,' Financial Times, June 30, 2006).

The BBC described the Palestinian attack as "a major escalation in cross-border tensions". (BBC World News, June 25, 2006)

Few readers will be aware that on June 24, the day before the "kidnapping", Israeli commandos had entered the Gaza Strip and captured two Palestinians claimed by Israel to be members of Hamas. (See our Guest Media Alert by Jonathan Cook, 'Kidnapped by Israel'; )

Nor have the press suggested that the one-sided nature of the killing in the weeks leading up to the capture of the Israeli soldier might have "sparked" Palestinian actions.

On June 8, the Israeli army assassinated the recently appointed Palestinian head of the security forces of the Interior Ministry, Jamal Abu Samhadana, and three others. On June 9, Israeli shells killed seven members of the same family picnicking on Beit Lahiya beach. Some 32 others were wounded, including 13 children.

On June 13, an Israeli plane fired a missile into a busy Gaza City street, killing 11 people, including two children and two medics. On June 20, the Israeli army killed three Palestinian children and injured 15 others in Gaza with a missile attack. On June 21, the Israelis killed a 35-year old pregnant woman, her brother, and injured 11 others, including 6 children. Then came the Israeli capture of two Palestinians, followed by the Palestinian capture of the Israeli soldier and the killing of the two other soldiers.

After the beach deaths, Hamas, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority, broke an 18-month ceasefire and joined other militant groups in firing Kassam rockets into Israel. The Financial Times reported on June 23 that the missiles, principally targeted towards the Israel town of Sderot, have caused damage and some casualties but no fatalities in the recent barrages. A June 29 Guardian leader noted that the home-made Kassam rockets are "not in the same league as Israel's hi-tech (though not always accurate) weaponry". (Leader, 'Storm over Gaza,' The Guardian, June 29, 2006)

In an interview for Democracy Now, Norman Finkelstein, Professor of Political Science at DePaul University in Chicago, compared the lethality of Israeli and Palestinian weapons:
"Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in September 2005 'til today, the estimates run between 7,000 and 9,000 heavy artillery shells have been shot and fired into Gaza. On the Palestinian side, the estimates are approximately 1,000 Kassam missiles, crude missiles, have been fired into Israel. So we have a ratio of between seven and nine to one.

"Let's look at casualties. In the last six months, approximately 80 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza due to Israel artillery firing... There have been exactly eight Israelis killed in the last five years from the Kassam missiles. Again, we have a huge disproportion, a huge discrepancy." ('AIPAC v. Norman Finkelstein: A Debate on Israel's Assault on Gaza,' June 29, 2006; http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/29/1420258)

Finkelstein also compared the situation with regard to hostages: "let's talk about those 9,000 Palestinians who are effectively hostages being held by Israel. 1,000 of them are administrative detainees... Administrative detainees who are being held without any charges or trial. And the other 8,000 are being held after military courts have convicted them, almost always on the basis of confessions which were extracted by torture. So if we're going to look simply at the numbers, we have one hostage on the Palestinian side, and effectively we have about 9,000 on the Israeli side."

Earlier this month, the Israeli human rights organisation, B'Tselem, published fatality figures for June 2006 in the Occupied Territories and Israel. Forty-two Palestinians, six of them minors, were killed by Israeli armed forces. Twenty-four of the fatalities were bystanders not involved in the conflict. (http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EKOI-6RC53K?OpenDocument&rc=3&cc=isr )

B'Tselem's figures do not include the seven members of the Ghaliya family killed on Beit Lahiya beach. However, a June 17 report by Donald Macintyre in the Independent "cast doubt on crucial elements of the conclusion of the military investigation which absolved Israel of any responsibility". (Macintyre, 'Hospital casts doubt on Israel's version of attack that killed seven Palestinians,' The Independent, June 17, 2006)

According to B'Tselem, in May 2006, 36 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, one Israeli civilian died from injuries he sustained the previous month. At time of writing, Israeli soldiers have killed a total of six Palestinians since the re-invasion.

07 September 2006

Videos Israel Doesn't Want You to See

The first video is a excellent report from CBC showing the extent of Israeli press censorship and Israeli Occupation Forces brutality:

There are several other videos on YouTube taken by members of the International Solidarity Movement with some of the most shocking involving Israeli children (fucking little savages judging by the video) stoning Palestinian women and children on ther way to school, or members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

This all takes place in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood in Hebron, West Bank. As the ISM Tel Rumeida Project states:

"Tel Rumeida is a small Palestinian neighborhood widely acknowledged as housing the most racist, violent and extremist faction of the Israeli settler movement. Tel Rumeida is located on a hill in the tensest area of Hebron, with Beit Hadassah settlement at its base and the Tel Rumeida settlement at the peak. Nearly every tactic used by Israel to create its merciless occupation is employed in Tel Rumeida: displacement, imprisonment, economic strangulation, extreme militarization, arbitrary detention, land confiscation, disruption of normal Palestinian life, settler violence, soldier brutality, government complicity with illegal settler acts, and daily humiliation. Israeli settlers’ constant violence against and humiliation of Palestinians and the destruction and theft of their property has one purpose: to ethnically cleanse Hebron of Palestinians, giving the settlers permanent control of the land. The goal of the Israeli government and the settlers is within reach: many Palestinian families have left and continue to leave the area."

We are talking about illegal settlements - illegal under international law. But hey, does Israel give a fuck about international law? Of course not. Criminal nation, genocidal state.