Thursday, 30 April 2009

Israel refuses to release detainee despite doctor's orders

NABLUS, (PIC)-- Israeli military court in Ofer jail has refused to release Palestinian detainee Nassim Al-Kharraz, from Nablus, despite a recommendation by the jail's doctor that he should be released in view of his critical condition.

Fares Abu Hassan, lawyer of the Tadamun institution for human rights, said on Tuesday that Kharraz was suffering serious disease, yet the Israeli military court said that he should be held under administrative detention for six months.

Abu Hassan held the Israeli prisons authority fully responsible for the life of the detainee, demanding his immediate release in view of his grave condition.

Kharraz has been held in Ofer for more than a month. He is married and has four children in addition to being the sole bread winner of his parents.

UK's BMI airline wipes Israel off the map

BMI joins the Gaza solidarity struggle. Oops, it was a 'logistical' mishap the airline tells us.

But, more seriously, it does provide another example of the growing isolation of Israel and the widening possibilities for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel.
British airline BMI has deleted Israel from electronic maps that appear on its flights in order to avoid angering Muslim passengers, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

Additional efforts on to appeal to Muslim customers include showing the distance and relation of the plane to Mecca, the direction to which Muslims face when they pray.

In the electronic maps appearing on a BMI flight from London to Tel Aviv, for example, Israel and its cities are not marked, with the exception of Haifa, which is spelled 'Khefa,' the city's Arab name dating to before the War of Independence.

BMI operates flights from England to many popular Muslim destinations, including Syria, Lebanon and Iran, but has also recently launched an agreement with the Tourism Ministry to add Israel to its roster.

BMI said in response that two planes en route to Tel Aviv were originally destined to arrive in Arab countries, so the map was tailored to those passengers and showed Muslim holy sites.

The company issued a statement saying that a "logistic failure" caused the map to appear on the Tel Aviv-bound flight and said it will be removed from planes flying to Israel. The statement added that BMI was making every effort not to hurt passengers' feelings by adopting a nonpolitical position, the statement added.

From Haaretz

MPA - G20 officer resigns over blog violence boasts, Boris Johnson defends killer cops

Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) - report back from lobby

A Metropolitan police officer has resigned over inappropriate comments on a website about the G20 protest, acting Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin said.

He revealed the resignation during a public meeting over the policing of G20 protests in London.

Protesters heckled and jeered Mayor Boris Johnson who said that officers in general had done a "fantastic job".

Two officers were later suspended and one of them was interviewed on suspicion of manslaughter.

Godwin refused to give any further information about the officer that resigned.

When the mayor defended the police officers on duty during the G20 summit, a protester shouted "rubbish".

Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) and the force's board of governors faced a group of protesters holding a large banner reading "Remember Ian Tomlinson" as they arrived at City Hall.

more at the BBC

Police blame media for G20 violence

Public Meeting Stop Police Violence!!!
Public meeting, 7:00pm, Tuesday 5 May
Friends Meeting House, Euston Road (opposite Euston station)

called by the United Campaign Against Police Violence

Speakers include:
· Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly
· Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary
· Anna Fairclough, Liberty
· Sam Rigg-David, Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, UCAPV
· Andrew Murray, Stop the War Coalition Chair
· Brenda Weinberg, United Friends and Family Campaign
· Martin Smith, SWP National Secretary
· Other speakers to confirm…
This rally is both the public launch of the UCAPV and a chance to pull hundreds of people together to go through the important political issues and questions that face us, and to build and strengthen our resistance. It will also be a vital launch pad for our national demonstration.

A new leaflet will be available soon.

Gaza surgeon's US tour shocks audiences

Chicago audience 'shell shocked' by doctor's presentation of Gaza under attack

By Rie Graham

I was a bit nervous ten minutes before the program was to start and only 20 people were seated in the cavernous Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. Perhaps people really have forgotten Gaza. Maybe they don't want to be reminded that for 23 days, Israel carried out a planned, brutal assault that flattened buildings and shattered lives.

Maybe they don't want to hear from someone who spent two weeks in Gaza elbow deep in blood, repairing small bodies and comforting weeping relatives. Maybe people have moved on - eager for a new diplomatic initiative or perhaps onto the next tragedy - Afghanistan and Pakistan where the blood seems more fresh. Maybe they are more interested in the work of pirates rather than those who use governmental power to attack civilians and then continue to hold them under siege so reconstruction efforts are hampered.

I was wrong about the interest. Within the next half hour, the chapel slowly filled with people, perhaps reaching 200. Lots of college students, women in headscarves, and Arab families - young children in tow - sat spellbound as Mads Gilbert (pictured right in al-Shifa Hospital , photo from the Lancet), a Norwegian doctor who has spent several decades working with Palestinians, shared with the audience his most recent experience working at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza at the end of December when the timed Israeli assault began. more at the Palestine Telegraph

Health, Human Rights, and the War on Gaza: Evidence from the Frontlines

"WE'RE WADING IN BLOOD" On Jan 3, 2009,
Dr. Mads Gilbert sent a text message to the world:

"They bombed the central fruit and vegetables market in Gaza town two hours ago. 80 wounded and 20 killed. All of them came here, to Shifa. Hades! We are up to our knees with death, blood and amputants. Lots of children. Pregnant women. I have never experienced anything this terrible. Tell people, pass it on, shout it from the rooftops. Everything. WE MUST DO MORE! We are living in the history books now, everyone!”

—Mads Gilbert, Gaza,

Palestine Dr. Gilbert is a professor and physician based in Tromsoe, Norway and has participated in and organized numerous international emergency medical missions and training projects in war and post-conflict zones in Lebanon, West Bank, Gaza, Iran, Burma, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Angola. During the most recent conflict in Gaza, Dr. Gilbert on emergency assignment for the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC), was one of a few foreign physicians on the ground, at a period foreign journalists were barred from entering Gaza. Dr. Gilbert has published several articles in The Lancet based on his recent observations and experience as a physician and human rights activist in Gaza.

He has been interviewed extensively by the international media, including CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera to discuss his experiences and will be releasing a book in May that documents the humanitarian and health impact of the most recent disaster in Gaza on the Palestinian population. Dr. Quentin Young is Co-Founder of PNHP and former physician to Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Young is a continued leader in public health policy and medical and social justice issues.

In 1998, he had the special distinction of serving as President of the American Public Health Association and in 1997 was inducted as a Master of the American College of Physicians.

In 1980, Dr. Young founded the Chicago based Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, of which he is currently Chairman.

See also Dime bombs were used on Gaza civilians, with video report of Dr Eric Fosse at Al-Shifa hospital

Jewish professor Robinson attacked at UCSB for comparing Israel to Nazis

The pro-Israel campaign against the Palestinian solidarity movement has found its way on to another US campus after two students at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) complained when their lecturer sent out an email juxtaposing images from the Holocaust with images from the Israeli war on the people of Gaza.

Gaza Solidarity is familiar with the images and chose not to post them at the time as we do not believe the comparisons are appropriate. Appalling crimes have been committed by Israel in Gaza, but there are no extermination camps there. And Gaza is not the Warsaw Ghetto, although it certainly is an open-air prison.

But the pictures do sharply point to the tragic irony of the 'Jewish State' built by those fleeing oppression to turn into one of the the world's most oppressive states. The pictures are in no way anti-semitic, and Professor William Robson deserves our support.
By Duke Helfand, LA Times

Controversy has erupted at UC Santa Barbara over a professor's decision to send his students an e-mail in which he compared graphic images of Jews in the Holocaust to pictures of Palestinians caught up in Israel's recent Gaza offensive.

The e-mail by tenured sociology professor William I. Robinson has triggered a campus investigation and drawn accusations of anti-Semitism from two national Jewish groups, even as many students and faculty members have voiced support for him.

The uproar began in January when Robinson sent his message -- titled "parallel images of Nazis and Israelis" to the 80 students in his sociology of globalization class.

The e-mail contained more than two dozen photographs of Jewish victims of the Nazis, including those of dead children, juxtaposed with nearly identical images from the Gaza Strip. It also included an article critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and a note from Robinson.

"Gaza is Israel's Warsaw a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians," the professor wrote. "We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide."

Two Jewish students dropped the class, saying they felt intimidated by the professor's message. They contacted the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which advised them to file formal complaints with the university.

In their letters, senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman accused Robinson of violating the campus' faculty code of conduct by disseminating personal, political material unrelated to his course.

"I was shocked," said Joseph, 22. "He overstepped his boundaries as a professor. He has his own freedom of speech, but he doesn't have the freedom to send his students his own opinion that is so strong."

Robinson, 50, who is Jewish, called the accusations and the campus investigation an attack on academic freedom. He said his former students, the Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had all confused his criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism.

"That's like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I'm anti-American," he said. "It's the most absurd, baseless argument." more at LA Times

More on US campus battles:

Pro-Israel campaign of hate at Rochester

Zionists vandalise black flags exhibit at Cornell University

* Email the UCSB Chancellor and responsible authorities on campus to express your outrage and register your protest (see sample letter and email addresses below)

PROFESSOR WILLIAM I. ROBINSON, UC CALIFORNIA (from Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UC Santa Barbara) Posted at Peterborough Coalition for Palestinian Solidarity

Dear colleagues,

UCSB has become the latest front in the war against Academic Freedom.

Professor William I. Robinson, a Sociology and Global Studies professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and two of his former students. In January of this year, he forwarded an email condemning the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The email contained an editorial by a Jewish journalist condemning Israel's actions in Gaza as well as juxtaposed images of Nazi atrocities with congruent images of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. The email was an optional read for students, intended to spark conversation by relating contemporary events to conceptual ideas discussed in class.

One week later, the ADL wrote him a letter charging him with anti-Semitism and sundry violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct (none of which were coherent claims). Another week passed, and the Academic Senate Charges Officer then notified him that two of the students in the class to which he circulated the email had filed complaints against him.

The complaints are that 1) critique of Israel is evidence of anti-Semitism and 2) the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be discussed in a class on Globalization.

This case has already escalated way too far. Throughout the process, the Charges Officer violated several elements of the charges procedure, shirked his responsibilities, and ultimately acted as a co-complainant by fabricating charges that were not raised by the students. The charges have reached the Committee on Committees, which is now in the process of convening an ad hoc Charges Committee to assess the complaints against Professor Robinson.

Based on patently absurd and malicious claims, the charges should have been dismissed out of hand from the beginning. Further consideration of the charges by the Academic Senate serves only to sanction politically-motivated attacks on academic freedom. The longer this case is pursued, the worse its chilling effect; it will spread fear among those who wish to present controversial and critical subjects. Even though the original complaint is regarding Israel/Palestine, the rights at stake extend beyond this specific topic. Academic freedom is a right that enables scholars to express diverse perspectives over contentious topics, free from the intimidation of political repression campaigns. If the case against Professor Robinson continues to go forward, it will lead down a slippery slope that may expose academics to repression tactics for addressing controversial issues such as stem cell research, evolution, feminism, LGBT rights, etc. It is incumbent upon members of the UCSB campus and the broader academy to roundly oppose this silencing campaign.

This is an obvious attack on Professor Robinson’s academic freedom, one that ominously recalls similar campaigns against other critics of Israel across the nation. This is part of a broader campaign to automatically vilify and attack any and all critiques of Israel’s policies and practices through unfounded use of the term “anti-Semitic.” A critique of the Israeli state, its policies, and the leaders responsible is not and should not be considered an affront to Jewish people as a collective, the Jewish religion, or Jewish heritage. In fact, conflating the state of Israel with the Jewish people essentializes the assorted political opinions of a diverse religious group by reducing them to the set of policies espoused by the prevailing regime.

For more information on the case, including continuing updates,
If you wish to contact the student campaign, please email:

Thank you for your time,
Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UC Santa Barbara

Send an Email:
The e-mail should be addressed to UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang and cc’d to the following faculty and administrators involved in the case. Please copy and paste the addresses.

UK minister attacks UN report instead of Israel's war crimes

With over 1,400 dead on the Palestinian side and only 13 on the Israeli, it is the junior British minister that is unbalanced, not the UN.
Britain criticised Wednesday a report by a UN human rights investigator on Israel's Gaza offensive as "unbalanced", but insisted it was extremely concerned by the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.

Last month, the UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, said in a report that there was "reason" to conclude that Israel's massive military offensive on Gaza in December and January was a war crime, but the Jewish state slammed the report as "one-sided".

"The report of the UN Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur is unbalanced and contributes little," junior foreign minister Bill Rammell said in a written reply to a parliamentary question published Wednesday.

UN report says Israel's war on Gaza may be war crime

University of Manchester to meet occupiers' demands to send aid to Gaza

DEMANDS OF PROTESTERS who took part in the month-long occupation of University buildings in protest against Israel’s military actions in Gaza last term are being met by the University of Manchester.

Arrangements have been made by the University for surplus academic aid to be sent to Gaza. Negotiations are in progress with the University to secure scholarships in Manchester for students from Gaza and to boycott the sale of produce from the occupied territories.

“The University has met with the student Executive and with representatives of the protesters and discussed a number of initiatives related to the policy on Gaza passed at the Union meeting,” a University spokesperson said.

“We are making progress on a number of issues and the discussions with the Executive are ongoing.”

The Manchester occupation was one of 34 protests taking place at universities around the UK. Other occupations have also had success in securing deals to benefit Gazan students.
From Student Direct
ManuUni Occupation blog - although no update as yet

G20 police blame media for violence - but who gave them the information to hype?

So what would the riot police have been like if their commanders hadn't calmed them down? I think we can safely discount this latest spin from the Met. The cops are now blaming the media for hyping the prospect of serious violence on the day. Well, we did have some very serious violence, and it was from the police.

Also, who are these supervisors who didn't ensure 'officers displayed ID numbers' and does the silence on the result of third postmortem probably mean it's not looking good for the unnamed police territorial support group policeman that carried out the attack on Ian Tomlinson?

Officers policing the G20 protests in London were told to remain "calm and restrained", says a Met police report.

Supervisors also had to ensure officers displayed ID numbers, says the report being presented to a Metropolitan Police Authority meeting later...

...The results of a third post-mortem, requested by the interviewed police officer's legal team, have not been released.

Temporary Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison's report says that in the run-up to the G20 meeting, the media had "exaggerated" the potential for violent disorder.

more at the BBC

Join today's lobby of the Metropolitan Police Authority at City Hall - 9.00am onwards.

Meanwhile, the Met has been forced to pay out compensation to five protesters after illegally detaining them following a vigil outside the Mexican embassy over the killing of a US filmmaker by police during a teachers' strike in the city of Oaxaca:

Five protesters who were assaulted by officers and kept in police custody for two nights have been paid tens of thousands of pounds in an out-of-court settlement.

The five have received £85,000 in compensation plus costs, together totalling more than £100,000, in a settlement recorded at the high court this week. Their detention after a demonstration in London three years ago was "unlawful" and a restriction of their "democratic right to peaceful protest", the Metropolitan police accepted in a statement released this week.

The admission follows criticism of police behaviour at the G20 summit this month and campaigners say the payout will reinforce concerns about the Met's handling of public order events and may encourage others to seek compensation.

The peaceful rally outside the Mexican embassy in October 2006 was attended by about 20 activists calling for action over the murder of an American filmmaker, Bradley Roland Will, during a teachers' strike in the city of Oaxaca. The shooting was blamed on local state officials. more

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Human shield war crimes of the 'moral' Israeli army

'Cases below are examples of customary Israeli practice in violation of international law.'

By Stephen Lendman – Chicago

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is a Gaza-based Palestinian NGO mandated "to promote, protect and prevent violations of human rights in general, and economic, social and cultural rights in particular, to provide effective aid to those victims of such violations, and to enhance the quality of life of the community in (Gaza's) marginalized sectors."

It monitors and documents violations, provides legal aid and advocacy, and helps Gazans on "fundamental issues such as basic human rights, democracy, and international humanitarian" matters. It also produces reports and publications on its work.

In April, it published a seven-case study update of its July 2008 report titled: "Hiding Behind Civilians - The Continued Use of Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields by the Israeli Occupation Forces." This article reviews both reports to highlight what international law unequivocally prohibits. Nonetheless, it's customary IDF practice even though Israel's Supreme Court banned it on October 6, 2005.

One Palestinian woman described her experience:

"They handcuffed and blindfolded me. Then, they forced us to move out of the room, pushing me with their hands and guns to move although I was blindfolded and pregnant. I heard them pushing others to hurry up as well. I got exhausted and fell down many times. I told them that I was four months pregnant and couldn't continue but a soldier threatened to shoot me."

Two case are highlighted in the article:

Number 1: 15-year-old child used as a human shield

After being used for that purpose, the child was detained in a hole in the ground with about 100 others for four days. He now suffers from serious mental health difficulties and refuses to speak to strangers. With help from his parents, Al Mezan got him to tell his story and presented excepts from it below. At home with his parents, he was terrified by days of conflict.

Case 2: Majdi al-Abed Ahmed Abed Rabbo, male, age 40

On January 5 at 9:30AM, he was at home when he heard a loud sound and someone say, "Open the door....I arrived at the door and opened it. I was surprised to see an (IDF) soldier hiding behind a man in his twenties and pointing a gun at me. He said in Arabic, 'Take off your pants.' I took" them off. He ordered him to strip naked, then get dressed. About "15 - 20 Israeli soldiers then entered the courtyard of my grabbed my neck from behind and put his gun to the back of my head."

Thanks to the Palestine Chronicle - full article

Hamas and Hezbollah resistance forces western rethink

From post at: Organisation to Understand Radical Arab and Islamist Movements
[pictured: Samir Al-Kuntar, Lebanese prisoner freed after the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon]

A new order emerges in Lebanon

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times Online

DAMASCUS - Last week, one of America's top allies in
Lebanon, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, caused a row when he
made remarks - off the record - criticizing his allies in
the pro-Western March 14 Coalition. Among other things,
Jumblatt scoffed at his patron Saad al-Hariri, the head of
the largest bloc in the Lebanese parliament, for having
tried - and failed - to combat Hezbollah on the streets of
Beirut last May.

Then, Hariri's armed men were round up and disarmed in a
matter of minutes by the well-trained Hezbollah fighters.
"We have seen the Sunnis in the field, huh!" he said,
adding, "They didn't last for more than 15 minutes!”
Jumblatt quickly apologized - but the damage was already

Shortly afterwards, when landing in Beirut, US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton did not meet the Druze warlord - who
had often played host to her predecessor Condoleezza Rice,
and been received previously at the Oval Office by George W

Jumblatt is a symbol of a loud anti-Syrian and
anti-Hezbollah stance in Lebanon. The fact that he has lost
faith in his own allies - who have bankrolled him for years
- and was snubbed by Clinton, are testimony to how much
things have changed in Lebanon. This is the same man after
all who called for regime change in Damascus, and betted on
American and Israeli forces to disarm Hezbollah in 2006.

Jumblatt is a political animal, however, who knows how to
get off a ship before it sinks. The US is simply no longer
interested in battle, either with Damascus or with
Hezbollah. On the contrary, it is trying to find common
ground with the Syrians to solve a basket of problems in
the region, like Iran's nuclear file, Palestinian
reconciliation and the future of Hezbollah.

If March 14 continues to challenge Syria, it should not
except much support from the Barack Obama administration.
That is why, according to some observers, Jumblatt might be
toying with the idea of a u-turn - which from where the
Syrians see it, is close to impossible, given the
aggressive stance he took against Damascus during the
difficult years in Syrian-American relations.

Why would the US continue to support March 14 if it is
cooperating fully with the Syrians? March 14 was useful,
after all, during the war against Syria in 2005-2008
-mainly to punish the Syrians for having worked against US
interests in Iraq.

Jumblatt realizes that for all practical purposes, its only
a matter of time until the United States begins dialogue
with two arch-enemies of the former Bush White House -Hamas
in Palestine and Hezbollah. Delaying his own rapprochement
with Hezbollah would harm nobody but him.

During the recent Summit of the Americas, Obama said that
he would respect the "legitimacy" of all democratically
elected governments, even if the US "might not be happy"
with the results of any elections. He added that the US
“condemns any efforts at a violent overthrow of
democratically elected governments, wherever it happens in
the hemisphere”. Talks with Hamas have already begun in
Europe and it is only a matter of time until they are
expanded to include Hezbollah.

Earlier this year, Britain announced that it would commence
political dialogue with Hezbollah, much to the displeasure
of March 14. In early April, British parliamentarians came
to Damascus and met with Hamas political chief Khaled
Meshaal. Certain American political figures, like former
president Jimmy Carter, also met with the Hamas chief in
Syria last December.

According to a January 9 article in The Guardian, "sources
close to the [Obama] transition team" will change course
via Hamas, and "initiate low-level clandestine approaches".
For that to be done, not only would there be a need for a
change in US mentality - both in the media level, on the
street and in American officialdom - but it would also
require changing a 2006 Congressional law banning any kind
of assistance to the Islamic group.

Recently, however, Paul Volker, a senior economic advisor
to Obama, was among those who authored a letter calling for
a more rational approach to dealing with Hamas. Martin
Indyk, the former US ambassador to Israel, who is close to
Clinton, recently wrote that any peace deal without Hamas
was destined to fail.

Additionally, former British prime minister Tony Blair in
his capacity as international envoy for the Middle East
warned of the dangers of continuing to ignore the Gaza
Strip, which effectively is under the command of Hamas. He
was quoted saying, "I think it is important to find a way
to engage Hamas in dialogue."

Richard Hass, a diplomat under both president George H W
Bush and George W Bush, who was earmarked to become Obama's
Middle East envoy, also supports low-level contacts with
Hamas. James A Baker, former secretary of state now based
at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston, was
quoted in Newsweek as saying that Obama must involve Hamas
in any peace process in the Middle East. Baker said, "You
cannot negotiate peace with only half the Palestinian
polity at the table."

Richard W Murphy, a veteran American diplomat and former
ambassador to Syria, added, "I don't think it will happen
quickly but I think it is inevitable. Hamas is, in my
opinion, a legitimate representative of part of the
Palestinian community."

Taking all of that into account, many raised questions
about Clinton's weekend visit to Beirut ahead of
parliamentary elections in June, which are expected to
bring about a smashing victory for Hezbollah. Already,
France has said that it will not boycott any Lebanese
government, even if it is packed with members of the
Islamic group.

With loud voices coming out of Washington calling for
engagement with Hezbollah, Obama promising to respect any
election, Britain taking the lead in dialogue with
non-state players, and the Syrians back in the
international arena, times are not good for leftovers of
the Bush era in the Middle East.

Decision-makers around the world have reasoned that not
talking to Hezbollah or Hamas will not make them disappear.
On the contrary, it will only lead them to radicalize.

Looking back at the Hamas tenure in government, everybody
realizes that the Bush administration missed a golden
opportunity when the Palestinian group said that it was
willing to accept a long-term truce with Israel, and abide
by the borders of 1967. Israel couldn't get them to disarm
by force, clearly demonstrated by the results of the
December 2008 war on Gaza.

The United Nations couldn't disarm them, nor could
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat or the United States. The
same applies to Hezbollah, which emerged victorious from
the war of 2006. Obama, a practical leader by all accounts,
realizes that if these groups are voted into power, it
would be sheer hypocrisy not to deal with them and repeat
what was committed by Bush.

Walid Jumblatt - and anti-Hamas figures in Palestine like
President Mahmud Abbas - is among the first to fully grasp
this new attitude in Washington.

Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria.

Israel in draft dodger clampdown

Israeli police have arrested seven people who are suspected of operating websites to encourage Israeli youth not to join the military.

The seven, allegedly operated websites that posted materials against enlisting in the Israeli military, Haaretz reported.

They also provided advice for those interested in dodging Israel's mandatory military draft through training how one can pretend to be psychologically unfit to join Israel's mandatory military service.

"The main part of the investigation has focused on locating those persons who are operating the two websites where violations to article 109 of the criminal law, incitement for draft evasion, are being carried out," said Superintendent Nimrod Daniel, chief of investigations in the Yarkon District Police.

"It may be that these persons have explanations, but according to the law this is a criminal violation that is punishable by five years imprisonment," he added.

Thanks to Press TV

Cardiff May Day protest against police violence

• End Police Violence
• Defend the Right to Protest
• Disband the Riot Squads
• Justice for Ian Tomlinson

There is a May Day protest on Friday 1st May at 6 pm outside Cardiff Central Police Station, Edward VII Avenue (Behind City Hall) called by Cardiff Stop the War Coalition & supported by several other social justice organisations.

With attacks on civil liberties, repeated attacks on the right to protest and harassment of campaigning organisations it is a v.important protest, unless you think it is okay to be beaten up by a policeman or have your house raided because you have a strong opinion on Gaza, climate chaos or the credit crunch.

"But something else has changed in this country: the resolution of the protesters. Despite repeated assaults, they appear to become better organised and less afraid. That, so soon after Operation Glencoe, 114 people were prepared to risk arrest and another beating testifies to the resilience of this movement. These people know that protest is not a threat to democracy but its cornerstone. They know that the issues they contest outweigh any harm they may suffer. They know that getting beaten up is a sign that state has lost the argument." - George Monbiot

Love & Rage,
Cardiff Students Against the War


Killing of non-violent protester Bassem Abu Rahme

Great Op-Ed piece in the Seattle Times from an ISM founder

The United States continues to supply Israel with approximately $3 billion in military aid annually, which allows Israel to continue abusing Palestinians and preventing any meaningful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, writes guest columnist Huwaida Arraf.

We Palestinians are often asked where the Palestinian Gandhi is and urged to adopt nonviolent methods in our struggle for freedom from Israeli military rule. On April 17, an Israeli soldier killed my good friend Bassem Abu Rahme at a nonviolent demonstration against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land. Bassem was one of many Palestinian Gandhis...

...Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed recently, "Believe me, America accepts all our decisions." I do not believe, however, that the United States condones the killing of my friend Bassem. But if President Obama is serious about true peace in the Middle East, he must demonstrate that Lieberman is wrong, break the American silence, and heed the voices of those calling for justice.

Huwaida Arraf, J.D., specializes in international human rights and humanitarian law. In 2001 she co-founded the International Solidarity Movement.

Demonstration by village of Bil'in Friday April 17th 2009, Bassem Ibrahim abu-Rakhma ('Phil") mortally wounded

Join Freedom Summer 2009 in Palestine

Freedom Summer 2009: Defend the Land and Jerusalem

Whether you can come for only a few weeks or several months, your presence is needed to support Palestinian communities who are nonviolently resisting the Israeli occupation. Freedom Summer 2009, which will run from June 6th until August 15th, aims to challenge the continued theft of Palestinian land for the rapid expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and their infrastructure in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Volunteer training sessions will be held every week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Visit our “Join Us in Palestine” section to read more information about volunteering.

Ian Tomlinson funeral today - lobby MPA tomorrow - defend right to protest

Ian Tomlinson's family will be holding his funeral today. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

The third post mortem, ordered on behalf of the policeman that attacked Ian, has been carried out but the result has not been released as yet.

Tomorrow campaigners will be lobbying, or should that be kettling, the Metropolitan Police Authority at City Hall.

Called by UCAPV
Assemble 9:00am, Thursday 30 April
Outside City Hall (

See message below from Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly:
Jenny Jones, Green representative on the MPA will be addressing the lobby prior to the MPA meeting this Thursday and would like to update all those concerned about the policing of the G20 protests on April 1st and those who have written to her. A call to write to members of the MPA then follows. Please use this opportunity to impress upon all members of the MPA the importance of our campaign ahead of the meeting and as they convene it.

JENNY JONES: "I'm writing to bring you up to date with the actions which I am taking to ensure that the police are both brought to account for their past actions and more professional in handling future protests.

"I've written two letters to the Commissioner outlining key questions about the G20 protests. I've also written to the London Mayor making practical suggestions about changing public order policing in the short term.

"Along with Dee Doocey, I have put forward the following motion [below] to the next public meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, 10am on 30th April at City Hall. This motion falls short of the full public inquiry which some of you have called for, and falls short of my own aims, but I'm keen for the MPA to pass something which takes the debate forward and developing that consensus is going to be quite challenging.

"Don’t forget that I am only one member of the MPA and there are lots of other members who would love to hear your views. The London Mayor chairs the MPA, then there are 11 elected politicians, who are members of the London Assembly and 11 independent members whose appointment is approved by the London mayor.
Contact details below are taken from the MPA website:

"Thanks again for taking the time and trouble to write in. Let's hope for an end to repressive policing here in London."

Jenny Jones
Members Services
Metropolitan Police Authority

MOTION TO MPA: “This Authority recognises that the job of policing the G20 demonstrations on 1st April was difficult but believes that the strategy and tactics adopted by the Metropolitan Police were fundamentally wrong. This Authority notes that the Commissioner has asked HMIC to review public order policing, and that the IPCC are investigating a number of specific complaints. In order to begin the process of restoring public confidence the HMIC review must take evidence in a public forum from all concerned, including protesters, and closely examine other recent protests to consider the growing concern that police tactics have become more aggressive in recent years. The HMIC review should make recommendations that would form the basis of long-term policies on the policing of protest in recognition of the following principles:

1. Demonstrations and other peaceful forms of protest are a fundamental democratic right, which all public bodies are under a duty to facilitate and protect.
2. Policing of demonstrations must always be proportionate, and must discriminate between the need to facilitate peaceful protest and prevent criminal acts committed by a minority.
3. The police must use aggressive tactics such as kettling’, baton charges, and attacks with dogs only when they are absolutely necessary and proportionate. The seizure of personal property from demonstrators is not acceptable. The use of aggressive or intimidatory tactics against peaceful protesters is provocative, inappropriate, and counter-productive, since it increases the tension and likelihood of violence.
4. Any officers not clearly identifying themselves by wearing an identification number are committing a disciplinary offence.
5. The police must exercise due care and attention when making statements to the media since predictions of violence can be self-fulfilling. The police must never exaggerate the likelihood of violence, nor should they dissemble the facts after a demonstration has occurred.
6. The police must consider Britain’s reputation abroad and not commit acts that set a poor example and thus undermine our country’s efforts to promote human rights.
If these principles are not fully incorporated into the HMIC review and any recommendations that arise from it, then this Authority will re-examine what further steps need to be taken, including the possibility of instigating a further review.”


Please write to and include the Member's name in the subject header. See if member links not live below.

Boris Johnson Mayor of London (London Assembly)
Vice Chairman
Kit Malthouse Deputy Mayor for Policing and Conservative Member of London Assembly
London Assembly members
Jennette Arnold – Labour constituency Assembly Member for Waltham Forest, Hackney and Islington
Victoria Borwick - Conservative Londonwide Assembly Member
James Cleverly - Conservative constituency Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley
Dee Doocey - Liberal Democrat Londonwide Assembly Member
John Biggs – Labour constituency Assembly Member for Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Newham, Tower Hamlets
Jenny Jones – Green Party Londonwide Assembly Member
Joanne McCartney – Labour constituency Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey
Stephen O'Connell – Conservative constituency Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton
Caroline Pidgeon - Liberal Democrat Londonwide Assembly Member
Richard Tracey – Conservative constituency Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth
Independent members
Reshard Auladin
Faith Boardman
Christopher Boothman
Valerie Brasse
Cindy Butts
Toby Harris
Kirsten Hearn
Neil Johnson
Clive Lawton
Deborah Regal
Graham Speed

Boycott Africa-Israel setttlement building company

The UK Foreign Office will no longer rent from Lev Leviev. Now other states must also boycott this builder of illegal settlements

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office must be commended for its decision to cancel renting premises for the UK embassy in Tel Aviv from the company Africa-Israel, owned by Israeli businessman and settlement builder Lev Leviev. This is an encouraging step that should now be backed by stronger sanctions against the building of the separation wall and the building of illegal settlements by Israel. Furthermore, the governments of Norway and Dubai should emulate the example set by the UK and sever their relationships with Leviev's companies.

From the Guardian

Justice for Tristan Anderson

A website has been set up for Tristan Anderson. You can done to help with medical expenses here
Tristan Anderson, 38, an American citizen, was critically injured on Friday [13 March 2009] by Israeli troops during protests against Israel’s Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin. He was hit in his forehead by a new type of high velocity, extended range teargas projectile, and has been transferred to Tel Hashomer hospital, near Tel Aviv. Tristan is unconscious, anesthetized and artificially respirated, has sustained life-threatening injuries to his brain (as well as to his right eye), and is expected to undergo several operations in the coming days, in addition to the one he underwent today.

The impact of the projectile caused numerous condensed fractures to Anderson’s forehead and right eye socket. During the operation, part of his right frontal lobe had to be removed, as it was penetrated by bone fragments. A brain fluid leakage was sealed using a tendon from his thigh, and both his right eye and skin suffered extensive damage. The long term scope of all of Tristan’s injuries is yet unknown. It should also be noted that soldiers at the Ni’ilin checkpoint prevented the Red Crescent ambulance from taking Tristan directly to the hospital, forcing it to wait for approximately 15 minutes until an Israeli ICU ambulance (called by Israeli activists) arrived at the scene, after which he had to be carried from one ambulance to the other. This, of course, is standard procedure - in the extremely rare cases where the army allows patients from the occupied territories to be tranferred into Israel.

Tristan was hit while standing with a fellow protester inside the village, several hours after the army initially attacked a protest march of Ni’ilin’s residents (joined by Israeli and international activists) who attempted to march onto their own lands in the vicinity of the wall. As opposed to previous demonstrations, this week protesters managed to actually reach the road on which the wall is currently being built, and even caused damage to parts of the razor-wire protecting the site, as well as to the newly erected fence segments of the barrier. Israeli troops dispersed demonstrators by using large amounts of teargas and rubber coated steel bullets, driving everyone back into the village. Soldiers then followed the crowd and proceeded to shoot concussion grenades, teargas canisters, rubber coated steel bullets and even live ammunition into the village, to which many of Ni’ilin’s youth responded with slingshots, trying to drive the army away from the outskirts of the village.

Anderson’s injury is part of a recent escalation in the army’s violent attempts to suppress Palestinian unarmed popular resistance to the occupation. Israeli troops have been using the new teargas canister since December 2008, coinciding with the beginning of Israel’s ruthless assault on Gaza. The black canister, labelled “40mm bullet, special/extended range” in Hebrew, has a range of over 400 meters, emits a very faint sound when fired and leaves hardly any smoke tail at all – making it extremely difficult to avoid. Furthermore, and against the army’s own regulations, soldiers routinely shoot it directly towards demonstrators, as opposed to in an arched trajectory. The combination of all these factors has led to numerous severe injuries from the projectiles, including a fractured skull and a broken leg suffered by Palestinians earlier this year.

In addition, Israel has resumed its use of sniper-fire, shot from a suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifle, as a means of crowd dispersal. This was forbidden by the army itself already in late 2001, after the Judge Advocate General at the time reclassified the Ruger as “live ammunition” for all intents and purposes, following numerous deaths of demonstrators as well as tests carried out in military shooting ranges.

During the Friday clashes in Ni’ilin, two other Palestinians and one international were lightly injured after being hit by teargas canisters, while a third Palestinian was shot in his leg with live ammunition by a sniper, and was evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah.

Illegal settlement taking root south of Jerusalem part of Israel encirclement plan

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority is embarking on establishing a new Jewish neighborhood in the Palestinian area of Arab Al-Sawahreh, south of occupied Jerusalem, adding that Jewish religious nationalists will live in this area.

The work on establishing this new neighborhood started about two months ago, and the area is surrounded by Palestinian homes from the north, south and west, while the eastern side has the main road, and only route, leading to the settlement.

The building of this neighborhood was ratified by the Israel in 2000 when Ehud Olmert was still the mayor of occupied Jerusalem and encouraging the settlement activities inside the Palestinian neighborhoods.

British circus entertainers going to Gaza for two months

A British group specialized in entertainment and circus shows declared its intention to go along with the "Hope" convoy to the Gaza Strip to give psychosocial and recreational support for Gaza children who sustained a severe psychological trauma as a result of the brutal Israeli war.

In a statement received by the PIC, Sameh Habib, the spokesman for the convoy, said Monday that the convoy will be accompanied by a group of seven entertainers and a number of European people with special needs, pointing out that Ruth Jamz, a member of the group, will drive a circus truck loaded with toys and other means to develop the capacity of disabled children in Gaza.

Habib added that the British circus will stay in Gaza for about two months, where it will be traveling around the Strip to hold a series of recreational shows for children.

The "Hope" convoy will include also more than 10 fully-equipped ambulances and trucks laden with medical equipment and supplies especially appliances and aids for handicapped children.

Thanks to Palestinian Information Center

Sixth Fatah conference preparations hit by splits, Egypt and Jordan turn down hosting

AMMAN, (PIC)-- Fatah sources ruled out holding the sixth conference of Fatah in the near future, attributing this to the altercations that erupted between members of the preparatory committee on the mechanisms and the location of the conference.

The sources said, in a statement published Wednesday in the Saudi Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, that these disputes became heated after members of the preparatory committee of the sixth Fatah conference Hakam Balawi and Nasser Yousef traded insults over the increase of the conference membership.

According to the sources, Yousef strongly refused the proposal of increasing the conference membership and insisted the committee reduce the number of members from 2,900 members to about 1,500.

The sources added that Fatah members inside the 1948 occupied land rejected this reduction and tried to raise the number of members.

They noted that Fatah conference members are also wrangling over the place for holding the conference after Jordan and Egypt refused ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's request to hold the sixth Fatah conference in their countries.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Venezuela opens diplomatic relations with Palestinian Authority

Chavez's moves forward with diplomatic ties to the Palestinian Authority after breaking relations with Israel during the Gaza war. Viva Chavez!

Venezuela on Monday opened diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority just months after leftist President Hugo Chavez broke ties with Israel to protest January attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Palestinian Authority Minister of Information and Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki signed agreements creating diplomatic ties and were scheduled to inaugurate a new embassy in Caracas in the afternoon. "The people of Palestine can count on our eternal and permanent solidarity with their just and humane cause," said Maduro. (Reuters)

7/7 trio cleared but who is accountable for persistent targeting of innocent people?

Yet another bogus terror trial ends with no convictions. How much more money are the authorities going to waste on spreading their 'state of fear'?
Three men have been cleared of helping to plan the 7/7 London suicide attacks.

A re-trial jury at Kingston Crown Court found them not guilty of conspiring with the 2005 bombers by organising a reconnaissance mission to London.

Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, all from Leeds, admitted knowing the bombers - but denied helping them.
more at the BBC

UN joins Egypt's campaign against Hezbollah

The Daily Star - Lebanon BEIRUT: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about Hizbullah operations outside Lebanese territories, saying interference in another country's internal affairs constitutes a violation of sovereignty. Egypt announced earlier this month that it had uncovered a plot by 49 men with links to Hizbullah to destabilize the country by carrying out attacks on Egyptian institutions and Israeli tourists.

But Nasrullah has denied Hezbollah had any such plans to unleash terror is Egypt. It is difficult see how such terrorism could possibly benefit Hezbollah. In fact the Lebanese resistance organisation has only ever launched attacks on Israel.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah does not deny that Hezbollah members have been or are in Egypt.
Nasrallah, while refuting Egypt's terror claims, defended his group's efforts to aid the embattled Palestinian resistance. "If helping our Palestinian brothers - whose land is occupied and who are being besieged, killed, displaced and starved - is a crime, then I officially confess," he declared.

A number of local commentators, meanwhile, question the terrorism charges levelled at Hizbullah by the government.

"Since its advent in the early 1980s, Hizbullah has only attacked Israeli targets on Israeli-occupied territory," said Rashwan, an authority on Islamist groups. "Under questioning, the accused men denied they were planning attacks in Egypt; they even said they were specifically ordered not to target Israeli interests in Sinai.
From the IPS
People in the Arab world are far more likely to listen to Nasrallah, known to be a man of his word, expecially in the military sphere, than to the corrupt dictator Mubarak whose credibility with his own people is pretty close to zero.

Palestinians injured as IDF opens fire near Gaza City

Three Palestinian civilians sustained wounds after the Israeli military opened fire east of Gaza City on Monday at midday.

Local sources report that three civilians sustained moderate wounds when Israeli soldiers at the Al Mintar crossing of the Gaza-Israeli border opened fire at them.

Medical sources announced that the three were moved to a nearby hospital for treatment. Meanwhile, an armed Palestinian group announced on Monday that its fighters clashed with Israeli military forces by the southern Gaza-Israeli border.

The group, Abu Ali Mustafa, a leftist group, said no injures were reported among its fighters.

Thanks to the International Middle East Media Center

Meanwhile settlers opened fire on farmers near Nablus on Monday:
Israeli settlers open fire at farmers near Nablus: youth injured

Hope for Gaza gathers steam with disabled contingent

Free Gaza: “Disabled Europeans join Hope convoy heading to Gaza”
Tuesday April 28, 2009 - 10:20
The Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS) announced that a number of disabled Europeans expressed willingness to join the Hope for Gaza Convoy, which will be heading to the Gaza Strip in May of 2009. Full Story

Met Police Authority demo 30 April - stop police violence - defend right to protest

Thursday, 30 April: Lobby of the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting on G20 policing, City Hall. With Jenny Jones, Green Party Assembly Member.

Come and join the protest against the Met's violent policing of the demonstrations and their extensive use of batons, dogs and "kettling".

In particular, come and make your voice heard against the Met's Territorial Support Group (TSG) which supposedly specialises in public order. Ian Tomlinson collapsed and died after being hit and pushed by a TSG officer who has since been questioned on suspicion of manslughter. If we're going to get justice and defend our right to protest we need to keep the pressure up on the Met.

Please bring trade union banners, and forward this information far and wide. A press release will be out soon - please also forward this to all relevant contacts.

Also, please see a message from Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, who will be at the protest, on the Facebook page.

Assemble 9am

Called by UCAPV

PA rejoices prisoner day, its security forces arrest ex-detainees

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- In stark contrast to the events held by the PA in Ramallah to mark the Palestinian prisoner day, the Fatah-affiliated security apparatuses escalated their kidnapping campaigns and harassment against Hamas cadres and other resistance factions in Tulkarem especially those who were released recently from Israeli jails.

The PA security apparatuses also used recently new means to torture their Palestinian prisoners which led many of them to be transferred to hospital for treatment.

These security apparatuses which are supposedly under the command of ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas kidnapped in Tulkarem city alone more than 50 Palestinian citizens who had been prisoners in Israeli jail.

One of the most dangerous kinds of torture used by PA security officers is the tying of prisoners' hands to the ceiling for hours while beating them severely in their backs which expose prisoners to the risk of paralysis or heart attacks and if one of those tortured prisoners collapses or faints, he is beaten further and forced to stand straight again.

Any jailer showing sympathy with Palestinian prisoners is tortured too as what happened with one of the PA intelligence jailers called Ali Al-Sharif from Nour Shams refugee camp, who was locked up in a solitary cell, beaten, insulted and charged with treason by his colleagues because he treated some prisoners nicely.

In a related new development, the PA security apparatuses reportedly kidnapped last week 40 Palestinian citizens affiliated with Hamas and three others affiliated with Islamic Jihad. The kidnappings usually take place either after summoning citizens or during raids.

In a statement leaked from Israeli jails, Hamas prisoners on Saturday deplored the PA security apparatuses for escalating their violations and attacks against Hamas cadres and supporters in the West Bank.

The Hamas prisoners said that Abbas's authority should understand that it became blatantly and clearly hostile to its people and biased in favor of the Palestinians' enemy.

They added that the PA security turned into one of Israel's task force operating according to the orders of US officer Keith Dayton.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Finkelstein beats Clark University ban on Gaza lecture

Clark University President John Bassett fails in his efforts to cancel a lecture by Norman Finkelstein on the Israeli massacre of Gazans.

Basset sparked student fury earlier this month after he nixed the appearance of Finkelstein -- an outspoken critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians -- for fear that any support would undermine a university-sponsored conference on the Holocaust.

The Students for Palestinian Rights and other organizations responded by circulating petitions and organizing a protest rally in criticism of what they believed to be a violation of the right of freedom of speech granted under the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberties Union also wrote a letter Basset, reprimanding him for infringing upon academic freedom.

In the face of the angry outburst, Basset revoked the cancellation and rescheduled Finkelstein's appearance for Monday, after the conference more at Press TV

Israel's campaign of deadly force against non-violent apartheid wall protesters

Protest against the apartheid wall, Nilin, Palestine, 27/3/2009. by activestills.
A protester (left) reacts to tear gas shot by the Israeli army during a protest against the apartheid wall in the West Bank village of Nilin, on the 27/3/2009. The Israeli army attacked the weekly protest in Nilin, entering the center of the village with large forces and trying to prevent the protest from taking place. Photo by: Oren Ziv/

Thanks to Rory McCarthy at the Guardian for reporting on the deadly force being used by Israel's soldiers against people protesting the apartheid wall. Video link here.

From the Guardian
It began calmly enough with a march down the high street after midday prayers at the mosque. Palestinian villagers were surrounded by dozens of foreigners singing and waving flags. They turned and headed out to the olive-tree fields and up towards the broad path of Israel's West Bank barrier. There, behind a concrete hilltop bunker, the Israeli soldiers looked down on them.

The crowd approached the barrier, still singing. One man flew a paper kite shaped as a plane. "This land is a closed military zone," an Israeli soldier shouted in flawless Arabic over a loudspeaker. "You are not allowed near the wall." Then the soldiers fired a barrage of teargas.

It has been like this every Friday in the village of Bil'in for more than four years – the most persistent popular demonstration against Israel's vast steel and concrete barrier. It is a protest founded on non-violence that is spreading to other West Bank villages. But it has become increasingly dangerous. more

The Death of Bassem Abu Rahme - Thanks to Moments of Gaza
By Frank Barat

On April the 17th, like any Fridays afternoon for the last 4 years, the small village of Bil'in, north of Ramallah, was preparing for the usual demonstration against Israel's annexation wall (some people call it apartheid wall or separation wall. The Israeli government refers to it as the security fence)...more

US and UK worries over Pakistan deepen as Taliban expand

[update 16:07 BST]
Asif Ali Zardari's pulls out of press conference in Islamabad after Brown calls country 'terror crucible'.

Gordon Brown this morning made it clear he is following the US game plan - Afghanistan and Pakistan are the 'crucible of terrorism' he tells us, as the UK government announces more troops for the Afghan disaster. Pakistan is desperately trying to block a drive by the Taliban in the Swat valley towards the Afghan border. The US has demanded this offensive. Thousands of ordinary people are fleeing the Malakand division. Clinton says she couldn't 'even contemplate' a situation where Pakistan's nuclear weapons are at risk. Gordon Brown sees no contradiction in appealing to Pakistan to step up its civil war in the name of the war on terror, while detaining its students on false terrorism charges here in the UK.
The Swat Taliban remain defiant. Overnight the militants seized control of a telephone exchange in Bahrain, a village in the upper Swat valley.

"The more they carry out operations the more we will expand across Pakistan," said spokesman Muslim Khan. "God willing, one day we will touch its last boundary."

Brigadier Mehmood Shah, a Peshawar-based analyst, said Pakistan was finally waking up to the seriousness of the Taliban threat.

"The Taliban have exposed their real intention – not the implementation of Sharia law, but to seize power in Pakistan. It is now clear that al-Qaida is driving these people, and the government has realised it can't [defeat] them with a small effort," he said.

More demolition notifications in Jerusalem

More demolitions in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli-controlled municipality of occupied Jerusalem on Sunday sent its so-called construction observation teams to deliver demolition notifications to 30 Palestinian families.

Local sources said that some of those homes were built 20 years ago and their owners paid fines, noting that the notified homes were located in Beit Hanina, Sha'fat, Aisawiya and Jabal Mukabir neighborhoods.

The sources pointed out that the new demolition orders raise the number of Palestinian homes threatened with destruction since start of this year to 1,052 inhabited by around 5,000 people.

They said that 60% of those houses were ordered to be flattened by the occupation municipality's local affairs court while 40% had received judicial rulings to the effect over the past years.

The local sources charged that the Israeli occupation authority was exercising "racist cleansing" against the Palestinian inhabitants of the holy city.

Palestinian prisoners pressured for information in exchange for treatment

Dr. Bassem Na'eem, the minister of health, told the visiting Scottish delegation headed by MSP Pauline McNeill, that Israel pressures Palestinian patients to give information about resistance fighters in exchange for receiving medical treatment in its hospitals.

Dr. Na'eem also accused the PA in Ramallah of assisting Israel in its blockade on Gaza through instigating foreign powers against the Palestinian government and its refusal to provide Gaza patients with passports.

From PIC

Total closure of West Bank and Gaza for 61 anniversary 'celebrations'

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces' command on Sunday imposed a hermetic closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as of Sunday evening until Wednesday evening.

The command said that the closure was on the occasion of celebrating the 61st anniversary for the establishment of the state of Israel on the land of Palestine.

It said that no Palestinian would be allowed into Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 and whoever is caught in violation of this decision would pay a double fine.
From the Palestinian Information Center

Egypt raids Sinai Bedouins in search for Hezbollah link

The fallout from the suspicious 'Hezbollah cell' arrests continues in Egypt where Bedouins of the Sinai are being killed and harassed by state security. They tried to hold a protest on Saturday.
Bedouins in Sinai attempted in vain to protest Saturday against increased security raids in the wake of the Hezbollah cell case.

Security forces managed to scupper the protest but the assembled Bedouins who gathered near Al-Oja in an area called Abu Hashad decided that another protest would be held on June 1...

...Security forces have stated that they are searching for some 25 people in Sinai who they believe are involved with the alleged Hezbollah terror cell that was exposed and captured in Egypt. From Daily News Egypt

Turkey-Syria military exercise 'distrurbing' says Israel

Israel's Gaza War continues to strain its strategic alliance with Turkey.

The row between Peres and Erdogan at Davos was the public manifestation of this, although Turkey has not ripped up its military agreements with Israel, despite the rhethoric. Nevertheless both the military and the government in Turkey are making it clear to the US and Israel that they may have other options. The uncovering of an Israeli plot to kill Turkish prime minister Erdogan will not ihave helped things either.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the joint Turkish-Syrian maneuver launched Monday was a "disturbing development."

Turkey and Syria staged their first joint military exercise, with the aim of boosting ties between the two countries’ land forces.

Millwall leafleting great result for police brutality campaign

Protesters from the United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV)leafleted Millwall on Saturday, and were joined by the family of Sean Rigg who died in police custody. Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT trade union, also gave a hand.

Campaigners received a warm reception from Millwall fans. Bob Crow took a banner advertising the national demonstration on 23 May into the stadium.

On Saturday members and supporters of the UCAPV, including Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT, went to The Den, homeground of Millwall FC, to give out leaflets about the campaign and forthcoming events.

Ian Tomlinson was a big Millwall fan, as is Bob Crow, and the support for the campaign was immense. We got rid of well over 1,000 leaflets within half an hour, with many Millwall fans coming back for more.

The press were in attendance too with Bob being interviewed for both Channel 4 News and The Times.

In fact, the only people who weren't happy to see us were a few shifty Met officers pacing around the ground.

Obama 'aid for Hamas' move has Israel supporters in a sweat

More evidence of daylight emerging between the US and Israel. The two allies don't quite see eye to eye on two states, with the new Israeli government set against any such move and linking the issue to Iran.

At the weekend the Obama administration signaled it wishes to see changes in US law to allow it to provide aid to a unified Palestinian government that would include Hamas. This is welcome, albeit purely theoretical as there is no such government in position.

Obama's timid move has enraged the pro-Israel lobby in the US and is worrying Israeli leaders, which is no bad thing, even if their fears are overstated.
The administration seeks changes that would permit aid to Palestinians even if officials backed by Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist group, become part of a unified Palestinian government...

...Nevertheless, the move has alarmed congressional supporters of Israel, who are watching for signs that the new Democratic team at the White House might be more sympathetic to Palestinians than was the Bush administration.

The administration's proposal is akin to agreeing to support a government that "only has a few Nazis in it," Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a House hearing last week. From the Los Angeles Times

Another attack on Sudan 'arms shipment' by Israel

Israel's undeclared war on Sudan continues. We reported in March that in January Israel attacked an overground convoy traveling through the country and supposedly carrying arms for the resistance in Gaza.

Now this Saturday there were reports of an attack on an Iranian ship about to dock in the country. The suspected arms ship was torpedoed by an unknown power.

Israel denied the earlier attack only for the US to reveal that it was indeed the Israeli, and not themselves, that had launched the attack.

There have been no reports of casualties so far or statement from the Sudanese government.
An Iranian vessel laden with weapons bound for the Gaza Strip was torpedoed off the coast of Sudan last week, allegedly by Israeli or American forces operating in the area, the Egyptian newspaper El-Aosboa reported yesterday.

Anonymous sources in Khartoum told the newspaper that an unidentified warship bombed the Iranian vessel as it prepared to dock in Sudan before transferring its load for shipment to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The sources said they suspect U.S. or Israeli involvement in the attack, but neither Washington nor Jerusalem have released a statement on the matter. From Haaretz

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Gaza killer drones to be leased from Israel by German army

German army wants them for Afghanistan to join the western sport of
airstrikes on wedding parties.

Breaking news: police blogs, facebook, boast 'good kicking' of G20 protesters

Police cash for protester to spy, coppers boasting of giving the citizens they 'serve' a bloody good kicking, the IPCC investigating 25 complaints of head injuries, and a PC Rob Ward's days in the force numbered (by the way, the first name of a policeman that has found its way into the public domain since the G20 police attacks and the murder of Ian Tomlinson) - the reputation of the police in Britain worsens by the day...
The Met said last night it was attempting to identify the author of the comments, which were left on the Policeman's Blog site following the death of Mr Tomlinson, a newspaper vendor, on 1 April.

The latest inflammatory remarks from serving policemen over the treatment of G20 protesters surfaced after it emerged that PC Rob Ward, 27, had allegedly bragged on Facebook how he was going to "bash some long-haired hippies" at the G20 demonstrations. On Friday, Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson responded to rising anti-police sentiment following Mr Tomlinson's death by announcing a new regime of "intrusive supervision" to root out rogue officers.

Meanwhile, the prospect of more Met officers facing criminal investigation for assaulting G20 protesters appears to be increasing, after lawyers revealed they had accumulated evidence indicating that more than 25 people may have sustained head injuries in the protests.

From the Guardian

More on police blogs at Ian Tomlinson updates - latest and breaking news
[update 21 April]

City of London coroner says third postmortem to be carried out on body of Ian Tomlinson at request of police on Wednesday 22 April.

Commissioner Paul Stephenson told MPs today that: "“This was a successful conference, although there have been a few disturbing images that need to be investigated.”

A few 'disturbing images' - what about the killing of an innocent man?
The IPCC is has now received 185 complaints against the police and is investigating 52 incidents according to chairman Nick Hardwick.

Meanwhile, 58% of people questioned by pollsters ICM were opposed to the police use of excessive force, while right wing MP Gerald Howarth bemoans what he sees as the challenge to law and order by Tamils in Parliament Square - the direct result of what he regards as unwarranted criticism of police violence.

Tamils beaten up by cops can be forgiven for not being aware of the new softly softly 'restraint' being shown by the territorial support group bully boys.

The police blogs have been fighting a rearguard action to defend 'outnumbered' police on public order duties. Now that's unusual - cops inflating figures for demos.

They had better hope that when hundreds of thousands of us, as opposed to the 15,000 in the City on 1 April, turn out again for Gaza etc we are forgiving mood if attacked by police.

As a famous and seminal bunch of US rappers by the name of NWA once said: Fuck the Police.

Release Fatima Azzak and her baby from Israeli prison

Following the failure of prisoner swap negotiations Israel's outgoing Olmert government set in motion, as a matter of public record, its intention to make even harsher the prison regime for Palestinians.

This is against all international norms. If a state was going to take such a move it would normally not advertised it, but such is the arrogance of the Israeli state that it paraded this criminality as a sop to the Israeli public, the parents of Shalit, the IDF prisoner of war, and of course to attempt to pressure the resistance.

Casting lead
into the heads of babies achieved nothing. Release all Palestinian prisoners.

Prisoners' center appeals for enabling Palestinian mother to see her kids
[ 25/04/2009 - 05:00 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- The prisoners' center for studies appealed to all institutions concerned with the issue of prisoners to enable a Palestinian mother called Fatima Azzak imprisoned with her one-year child in the Israeli Telmond Hashron prison to see her husband and eight children living in Gaza.

The center also called for pressuring Israel to release her and her little child and to lift restrictions imposed on visits and on sending and receiving letters to and from female prisoners' families

Mohamed Azzak, the husband of the prisoner, told the prisoners' center that his wife was detained two years ago at the pretext of planning to carry out a human bombing operation inside Israel, pointing out that his wife gave birth to their son Yousuf in jail and he was not able to see him till this moment.

The husband added that he and his eight children had not been allowed to see his wife and the new child Yousuf since she was sent to prison.

The imprisoned wife and mother had expressed, during a visit made by the lawyer of the prisoner's club, a yearning to see her eight children and called for raising the issue of Gaza families' visits to their relatives imprisoned in Israeli jails.

She also noted that Gaza female prisoners live in great suffering because of neglecting their issue in light of the prison administrations' refusal to provide the prisoners with their basic needs even if they were sent by their families.

In another context, the Israeli military court on Saturday sentenced MP Mohamed Totah to three years and a half in addition to a two-year suspended sentence on a charge of participating in the Palestinian legislative elections as a Hamas candidate.

The Red Cross office in Tulkarm reported that the Israeli prisons authority decided Saturday to ban family visits to the Palestinian prisoners in the Negev and Ofer prisons as of today until further notice.

Latest news: UK police caught offering cash on tape to recruit protester as spy - how many are targeting innocent Muslims?

Judging by the results being delivered by the counter terrorism spies in the Muslim community we can only conclude that either they are plain stupid or they are used to identify any Muslim person that uses the internet too much, shows an interest in world affairs and has been on a demo.

They don't need spies for that kind of work - all they need are secret police to do round-ups of everyone that fits that profile - that's to say hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the UK, and some internment camps.

As George Galloway pointed out the Stop the War Coalition conference yesterday alienating Muslims is not going to stop terrorism, on the contrary it may makes such acts more likely.

And as for spying on campaign groups, political parties and protesters - don't worry about it. There is an old socialist saying: if we all spat at once we'd drown the bastards. We are many, they are few.

No police spy has ever stopped a revolution.

Link to audio

Video report: Stop the War Coalition conference 25 April London

Press TV report on Saturday's Stop the War Coalition annual conference in London yesterday. Features interviews with Chris Nineham STWC and Dave Crouch from Media Workers Against the War, plus excerpts from speech by George Galloway.

Link to video report:
Hundreds of thousands in London decry British foreign policy

George Galloway speaking at the conference