Saturday, 26 January 2013

Abuse in UK's Iraq occupation was 'systemic'


The UK government is facing more allegations of vicious abuse in its Iraqi prisons during the occupation. Now, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the invasion, lawyers want to prove that the abuse was systemic.

Next week, from January 29, not long before the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, UK lawyer Phil Shiner will present 180 statements to a high court in London. They were gathered in Beirut by Shiner and his Public Interest Lawyers team from Iraqis detained by the British army in southern Iraq between 2003 and 2008. The testimony is shocking, both because of its volume (another 871 statements are still to come), and its sickening detail.

One civilian, known only as Khalid, said, "[A British soldier] then grabbed my penis and dragged me around the floor while holding it. He also made me squat up and down whilst naked and inserted his finger into my anus. I would have preferred to have been killed than subjected to this."

Another prisoner, named Halim, claimed he was told: "Fuck you and fuck Islam!" by a soldier who then "opened the belt of my trousers and said 'now jiggy jiggy'. The soldier put his boot in my chest and pulled my trousers down … The soldier put his foot on my chest … lifted me in the air and turned me on to my front."

FILE - Undated handout photo made available by the Baha Mousa Public Inquiry shows Iraqi man Baha Mousa and family. A British doctor was stripped of his medical license Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, for misconduct and dishonesty over the death of an Iraqi man who was beaten and killed while in the custody of British troops.The latest fallout from Britain's troubled occupation of Iraq came as defense officials confirmed they have paid 14 million pounds ($23 million) to settle claims of abuse from more than 200 Iraqis. Dr. Derek Keilloh treated Baha Mousa, a hotel clerk who died at a British base after being detained in Basra in September 2003 during a sweep for insurgents. Keilloh, then a 28-year-old captain in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, tried unsuccessfully to revive Mousa, but denied knowledge of the scale of the man's injuries. A public inquiry found that Mousa had sustained 93 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, in an appalling episode of serious gratuitous violence by British troops. (Foto:Baha Mousa Inquiry, File/AP/dapd)
Mousa was 'kicked to death' by British troops in Basra

Not just 'bad apples'

These are two of the dozens of descriptions, which feature hooding, sleep and sensory deprivation, mock executions, stress positions, threats of rape of detainees' female relatives, regular beatings, and religious abuse.

Shiner intends to show that the "bad apples" defense usually peddled by governments in such cases will no longer wash. He will argue that the sheer volume of the evidence he has gathered shows that the abuse was "systemic," and that, under the European Convention on Human Rights, a full inquiry is required.

"We've got the training materials, we've got the policy documents," Shiner told the British Observer newspaper. "Violence was endemic to the state practices."

Kartik Raj, UK-based campaigner for Amnesty International, agreed. "The allegations of abuse, ill-treatment, and death in custody - some of them are not allegations, they're proven fact - are so credible and so many, that there really does need to be an independent and thorough investigation," he told DW. "And it is something that should be looked at as a systemic issue in a systematic manner, rather than a series of individual cases where individuals have to take out a civil action against the government."

Proving systemic abuse

The importance of proving that such cases are not isolated is shown by the injustice that followed the killing of Baha Mousa. Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist, died after just 36 hours of British custody in Basra in September 2003. A British government inquiry into the death found that he had died after having been hooded for 24 hours and severely beaten. He suffered "at least" 93 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, and died, the inquiry concluded, of a combination of lack of food and water, heat, exhaustion, fear, previous injuries, and the hooding and stress positions. Andrew Williams, a law professor who wrote the book A Very British Killing on the Baha Mousa case, concluded more simply, "He was kicked to death."

Baha Mousa's father Dawood Mousa arrives to give evidence to the Baha Mousa Inquiry in London, Wednesday Sept. 23, 2009. Mousa was a 26-year old Iraqi who was beaten and killed in the custody of British troops following a raid on his hotel in the southern Iraq city of Basra in September 2003. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Mousa's father gave evidence at the inquiry into his son's death
Seven soldiers were charged for the war crime. Six were acquitted or had their charges dropped, while the seventh, Corporal Donald Payne, was discharged from the army, served a year in prison for "inhumane treatment," while being cleared of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. The judge, Justice Ronald McKinnon, stated that "none of those soldiers has been charged with any offence simply because there is no evidence against them as a result of a more or less obvious closing of ranks." "A collective amnesia set in," Williams told DW.

Thanks to the sheer number and the repetition in the new statements collected by Shiner, it seems easy to establish that there was a pattern of abuse during the British army occupation of southern Iraq. According to Williams, who also works as a researcher and legal advisor for the Public Interest Lawyers, "Under international criminal law, it's not completely required that you have to prove beyond any doubt that a particular person was responsible for setting up a program of abuse." Instead, Shiner will try to "establish that there is clear evidence… that people in authority knew that it was happening, and yet nothing was done to stop it."

Training interrogators

Some of the interrogation techniques described both in the Baha Mousa inquiry and the new testimonies - including hooding, sensory deprivation, and stressing - were made illegal in Britain in the early 1970s, following a European Court of Human Rights case on the treatment of Irish prisoners.

In this undated still photo provided by The Washington Post on Friday, May 21, 2004, a hooded Iraqi detainee appears to be cuffed at the ankle chained to a door handle while being made to balance on two boxes at the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad. The Washington Post has obtained what it says are hundreds of photographs and short digital videos - as of yet unreleased - depicting U.S. soldiers physically and emotionally abusing detainees last fall in the Abu Ghraib prison. (AP Photo/Washington Post)
The abuses alleged against UK forces recall those of Abu Ghraib
In light of this, the training materials for British army interrogators, some of which were disclosed in the Baha Mousa inquiry, have become key evidence. But the allusions in those manuals and Powerpoint presentations are vague. "They show that there was a degree of contempt for detainees," said Williams. "There would be comments such as, 'Get them naked.' There are certain indications in these materials that most people would see as abusive in themselves, but they also open the door for soldiers to take the material as a license to invent ways of treating detainees. You need to put together the pieces of a jigsaw."

The British Ministry of Defense's answer to all this is that any general questions about abuse were dealt with by the Baha Mousa inquiry, which resulted in 73 recommendations, as well as the ongoing work of its own internal "Iraq Historic Allegations Team." But this, says Amnesty International's Raj, is not enough.

"It's clear that the Baha Mousa recommendations, including the systemic recommendations, are based on a very, very specific time frame," he said. "I think the new issues have not been sufficiently addressed."

British soldiers help Iraqi soldiers during the construction of a military base in Basra, southern Iraq on 13 April 2008. Iraqi security forces set up several military bases in areas which witnessed battles between Iraqi security forces and the Mahdi Army in Basra. EPA/HAIDER AL-ASSADEE +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
British troops occupied Basra until 2009
"The inquiry only looked at the particular systems in that particular case," added Williams. "It couldn't look at the investigation that took place after Baha Mousa was found dead, nor could it look at any other examples of abuse that had come to light. It couldn't join the dots."

'Culture of contempt'

Once they are joined, argues Williams, these dots create an image of what he calls a "culture of contempt" during the occupation of Iraq - including not only abuse of prisoners of war and civilians, but also unlawful killings on the streets.

If the high court does rule that there will be a public inquiry, it could go beyond making recommendations to actually prescribing responsibility. "From an international criminal law position, the answer to the question 'how high does it go?' is that it goes to top of government," said Williams. "But in terms of direct culpability - that's impossible to know unless you look at individual cases. As to general governmental responsibility, one has to ask who was in power at the time, who was overseeing the way that troops were operating and the means of interrogation."

The fact that the British government recognizes that there is a problem seems beyond doubt - in December it was reported that over £14 million (16.7 million euros) had been paid out to over 150 Iraqis in compensation for their treatment at the hands of British soldiers. "Why would they receive compensation, unless there was some legitimacy to their complaints?" asked Williams
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

On the anniversary of the birth of Nasser: Brotherhood and heritage of Abdel Nasser, It will never die


عبد الناصر،سلام عليك في يوم مولدك، لن يستطيع الإخوان المسلمون محو تراثك ومنجزاتك وجماهيرتيك, فالشمس لا تغطى بغربال


الإخوان وتراث عبد الناصر - د. فايز رشيد

وبقيت وستبقى فقد ولى عصر الهزائم

مرّت الذكرى الخامسة والتسعين(15 يناير 1918) لميلاد الزعيم الخالد جمال عبد الناصر، دون أدنى إشارة من السلطات المصرية لهذا الحدث.

معروف حقد الإخوان المسلمين على الزعيم الوطني والقومي العربي،فهم وطوال عقود من الزمن يحاولون تشويه صورته، وتقزيم منجزاته واتهامه"بالعلاقة مع الأمريكان" والإساءة إليه بكافة الطرق والوسائل، فوفقاً لنائب رئيس الجماعة عصام العريان" قام بطرد اليهود من مصر"!
الإخوان حاولوا اغتيال عبد الناصر في المنشية (الإسكندرية) عام 1954 أثناء إلقائه لخطابه ولم يعترفوا حينئذٍ بالعملية، بل أوعزوها إلى أحد أجهزتهم, ثم فيما بعد تكشفت الحقائق وأخذوا يجاهرون بها , ويتأسفون على عدم إصابته.

الإخوان يهزؤون بالثورة المصرية التي قادها الضباط الأحرار في عام 1952 , فبعد تسلم مرسي لمنصبه بأسابيع قليلة جاءت ذكرى ثورة 23 يوليو، وإذ بالرئيس مرسي وفي خطاب له يتعامل بازدراء واضح مع هذه المناسبة العظيمة من خلال القول "الستينات، وما أدراك ما الستينات"

ثم قام فيما بعد بزيارة ضريح السادات ومنحه أرفع وسام مصري.

مرسي يزور قبر السادات - قاتل عبدالناصر

لم يقم الرئيس مرسي بزيارة ضريح عبد الناصر في ذكرى الثورة، ولم يُشر إليه إلا بالطريقة الاستهزائية.

Brothers of America
معروف أيضاً التحالف الوثيق بين السادات والإخوان المسلمين , فبعد وفاة عبد الناصر بفترة وجيزة ,استعان الرئيس بهم لضرب القوى الوطنية الناصرية واليسارية فيما أسماه"مؤامرة مراكز القوى".

الغريب أن الإخوان أصحاب الجمل الرّنانة ضد اليهود وإسرائيل قبلوا هذه العلاقة وهذا التحالف مع صاحب اتفاقية الذل في"كمب ديفيد".

كان من المفترض أن تكون انتفاضة 25 يناير مكملة لثورة 23 يوليو،غير أن الإخوان المسلمين ركبوا موجة هذه الانتفاضة مع أنهم لم يشاركوا بها إلا متأخراً, وبعد أن قبلوا وحدهم من بين كل الأحزاب المصرية: الحوار مع نائب الرئيس المخلوع عمر سليمان ووقفوا منفردين في مشاركتهم بالأستجابة لدعوته.

الإخوان المسلمون يحاولون محو إرث وتراث ومنجزات الرئيس الخالد عبد الناصر،وما أكثرها:
توزيع الأراضي على الفلاحين،
التعليم والطبابة المجانيين،
نشر مبادئ العدالة والمساواة بين كل فئات الشعب،
التصنيع، بناء السد العالي،
تأميم قناة السويس
والوقوف في وجه العدوان الثلاثي, المشاركة الفاعلة في إنجاز حركة عدم الانحياز، دعم حركات التحرر الوطني في إفريقيا وآسيا وأمريكا اللاتينية حيث أصبحت القاهرة محجاً لكل الأحرار في العالم.
دعم ثورة جنوب اليمن ضد الاحتلال البريطاني،
دعم الثورة الجزائرية،
العمل على إسقاط حلف بغداد،
التصدي للمشاريع الأمريكية والصهيونية في العالم العربي والمنطقة ,
 الإسهام الفاعل في رفع الوطنية العربية إلى مستوى رفيع،
مساندة القضية الفلسطينية.
هذا غيض من فيض مما أنجزته ثورة يوليو وزعيمها عبد الناصر
الإخوان المسلمون استأثروا بالسلطة وبكل مواقعها في مصر،وهم أقصوا كل القوى الأخرى ومارسوا ازدواجية في الخطاب السياسي قبل وبعد تسلمهم للسلطة.

الأوضاع الاقتصادية في عهدهم تردت إلى الحد الذي يُنذر فيه بانهيار اقتصادي في مصر، القطط السمان استبدلوا بكبار أغنياء الإخوان المسلمين، الفقراء ازدادوا فقراً وصولاً إلى مرحلة الجوع الحقيقي، ارتفاع نسبة البطالة والعجز، انخفاض قيمة الجنيه، وانفلات الأمن وتكميم الأفواه وممارسة القمع والدكتاتورية بأبشع صورها .

السلطات المصرية طالبت البنك الدولي بقرض تبلغ قيمته أربعة مليارات دولار،والأخير متردد بسبب عدم اطمئنانه للوضع الاقتصادي المصري.

أما فيما يتعلق بالعلاقة مع الولايات المتحدة فإن اتفاقاً جرى بين الجانبين أثر محادثات طويلة وعلى جولات عديدة، تقبل بموجبه أمريكا صعود الإخوان إلى السلطة في مقابل استجابتهم لشروط أمريكية عنوانها:

علاقة مصرية جيدة معها ومع الدول الغربية،
المحافظة على اتفاقية كمب ديفيد مع العدو الصهيوني.
الإخوان التزموا بهذه الاشتراطات وزادوا عليها: تغيير خطابهم السياسي فيما يتعلق باليهود وإسرائيل، ممارسة نفس الدور المصري أبّان حقبة الرئيس المخلوع تجاه القضية الفلسطينية والموقف من العدو الصهيوني, والالتزام بنفس الترتيبات السابقة لمعبر رفح.

هذا لا نتجنى فيه على الإخوان، فالمدقق في سياساتهم حول هذه المسألة يستنج ذلك بكل سهولة، وبخاصة أن خطابات الرئيس مرسي قد أكدّت على هذه المواقف ,
أن تجربة السياسات المصرية تجاه إسرائيل أثناء عدوانها الغاشم على القطاع في نوفمبر من العام الماضي، كررت وساطة نظام مبارك (مجرد وساطة وليس الوقوف مع الجانب الفلسطيني) بين الطرفين مصر. دعمت أيضاً "الاتفاق السري"الذي جرى تحت الطاولة بين وفدي حركة حماس والجانب الإسرائيلي , وبموجبه تم التوصل إلى"هدنة طويلة الأمد".

لكل هذه السياسات ونظراً لإدراك الولايات المتحدة لطبيعة سقف سياسات الإخوان المسلمين بالنسبة لإسرائيل، طالب الناطق الرسمي باسم الإدارة الأمريكية الرئيس مرسي بالاعتذار عما ورد في خطاب له قبل ثلاث سنوات فقد وصف اليهود "بأنهم أولاد القردة والخنازير" ,وطالب بسحب هذه الأقوال واستنكارها. ما كانت الولايات المتحدة لتطالب مرسي بذلك لو أنه كان يمارس سياسة أخرى (غير المتفق عليها مع أمريكا) ضد تل أبيب. الرئيس مرسي رد على الطلب الأمريكي " بأن تصريحاته أخرجت عن السياق الذي جاءت فيه " انه رد باهت .

كانت هذه هي أبرز الفروقات بين مصر في عهد عبد الناصر،وحقيقة مصر في هذه المرحلة الحالية في ظل استئثار الإخوان المسلمين بالسلطة.

أما على صعيد الاستجابة لشعارات الجماهير الشعبية المصرية من قبل السلطة:

في الحقبة الناصرية : كانت الشعارات والسياسات التنفيذية المصرية متماهية تماماً ولم يسبق أن قامت مظاهرة ضد حكم الرئيس عبد الناصر.

في ظل سلطة الإخوان المسلمين : فإن هناك انفصاماً بين الشعارات التي يرفعها الشعب المصري وسياسات السلطة!

لقد رفعت الجماهير المصرية شعارات تطالب بــ"إلغاء اتفاقية كمب ديفيد" وقامت بمحاصرة السفارة الصهيونية في القاهرة واقتحمتها.

الرئيس مرسي ممثل الإخوان المسلمين في السلطة : لم يستجيب لكل هذه الشعارات، ومارس سياسات مختلفة تماماً على هذا الصعيد.أيضاً فإن تظاهرات كبيرة ما زالت تُنظم في القاهرة (في ميدان التحرير) وغالبية المدن المصرية احتجاجاً على سياسات السلطة الإخوانية

ان أكبر هدية في ذكرى ميلاد عبدالناصر لهذا العام هي : اتفاق الأحزاب القومية الناصرية المصرية على التوحد في حزب واحد. .

عبد الناصر،سلام عليك في يوم مولدك، لن يستطيع الإخوان المسلمون محو تراثك ومنجزاتك وجماهيرتيك, فالشمس لا تغطى بغربال.

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

Friday, 25 January 2013

Ignorance is The Only Devil


The first idea that split humanity into two was between those who believed in the unmanifest or those who believe in the spirit and those who do not believe in the unmanifest ie : the materialists , this is the first division and we don’t know whether the “spirituals were first and then the emergence of the materialists split them into two or whether the materialists were first before the spiritualists . This division between the two is the first “Sectarian division” and is similar to the division between the two Muslim sects : Sunnis and Shi’as or any two other sects .

 The truth of the matter is that these two ideologies are not necessarily excluding each other; for as is the case with the man whose work for his material self does not contradict his work for his spiritual self , so is the case between the material person and the spiritual person, they really do not have contradictory and exclusive ideologies . Imam ‘Ali had explained this in his famous saying : work for this world as if you lived for ever and work for the here after as if you were dying tomorrow”.
So we address the two sects as we addressed the Sunnis and Shi’as . We tell them : You have a common enemy that is ignorance. And ignorance is not nothing, it is the cause of many deaths and calamities and sorrows which we all have to live with , so we might correctly say: ignorance is the devil and both sects will not disagree about that.

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

Fascism Wins Big in Israel

My PhotoIsraeli election results hardened fascist rule. Dominant right-wing parties control 102 of 120 Knesset seats. 

Israelis have themselves to blame. They elected Israel's most extremist government in history. Militarism, belligerence, state-sponsored terrorism, occupation ruthlessness, settlement expansions, and neoliberal harshness reflect official policy.

Peace is a non-starter. A so-called process never existed and doesn't now. Israel won't tolerate it. Netanyahu scorns it. He calls it a waste of time. 
Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have the greatest cross to bear. They're marginalized, denied, persecuted and brutalized. 

Institutionalized racism terrorizes them. Their rights are off the table. Israeli Arabs are enfranchised in name only. 

Millions of Occupied Palestinians are entirely denied. They're disenfranchised. They had no say in Tuesday's election. Around 600,000 West Bank/East Jerusalem settlers alone got to vote.
Imagine holding an election excluding millions. Imagine calling fascism, colonization, apartheid and militarized occupation democratic. Imagine extolling the results. Imagine ignoring police state terror. 
Imagine coverup and denial. Imagine the world community and scoundrel media turning a blind eye. Imagine ignoring what demands headlines. 
Don't expect media scoundrels to explain. They spurn journalistic ethics. They mock truth and full disclosure. They’re pro-Israeli apologists. They sanitize and conceal its worst crimes. They call hardline fascism “centrist.”
On January 23, a New York Times editorial headlined "Israel's Election," saying:
Netanyahu was weakened. He'll remain prime minister. "Centrist" partners will join him. Doing so will "temper his hard-right line" rule.
"The rejection of religious parties by an overwhelming majority of voters sends a signal that Israelis are tired of sectarian divisiveness and the often-oppressive policies that religious leaders have championed."
Fact check

So-called Israeli centrism doesn't exist. Hardline right-wing rule dominates. Religious parties are involved. Results showed they largely matched their 2009 performance.

The Times expressed "hope that the new government could be more receptive to a peace initiative. The vote suggests that if it is not, Israelis may give even more support next time to a centrist coalition not led by Mr. Netanyahu."

Fact check

Israelis care more about quality of life, economic well-being, and security than international politics and peace negotiations. According to Israel Today:

"Compared to previous elections when the peace process was still one of, if not the primary topic, the 2013 election is further evidence that the land-for-peace process is dead in the eyes of most Israelis."

Peace process politics reflects hypocrisy. It was stillborn from inception. It's no exaggeration calling it the most specular deception in modern diplomatic history.

It never existed and doesn't now. Former IDF chief/defense minister Moshe Dayan called occupation "permanent." 

Former prime minster Yitzhak Shamir said he wanted to drag out talks for a decade. Doing so would facilitate settlement expansions, he explained.
Netanyahu and likeminded hardliners spurn peace. They prioritize militarized occupation, settlement construction, brutalized repression, Jerusalem as Israel's exclusive capital, and unchallenged dominance.

Decades of so-called peace talks used slogans and deception to buy time. Israel took full advantage. It doesn't negotiate. It demands.

Oslo reflected unilateral Palestinian surrender. Land theft accelerated. Settlements expanded. From 1993 to today, population numbers grew from 200,000 - 600,000.

Apartheid is policy. So is colonization. Israel wants all valued Judea and Samaria areas Judaized. It claims Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. Ethnic cleansing is policy. At most, Palestinians will get worthless cantonized scrubland.

They got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel's right to exist, and leaving major unresolved issues for later final status talks. They're still waiting.

Major issues include sovereign Palestine free from occupation, the right of return, settlements, borders, water rights, and East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and future capital.

"The Israeli Center Lives," said Times contributor Roger Cohen. Netanyahu has "himself to blame." He "had no new ideas."

"The price of his survival….will almost certainly be a pivot away from the right toward a centrist coalition."

"The Israel that emerged from (Tuesday's) vote is not the rightward-drifting, annexationist-tending, religious-lurching nation it has become fashionable to portray."

Fact check

Rose-colored glasses obscure reality. Calling Israel centrist turns truth on its head. Dominant parties spurn democracy. They reflect Zionist extremism. They claim Jewish supremacy.

They deplore peace. They embrace violence, not peaceful coexistence. They endorse confrontation over diplomacy.

They believe in strength through militarism, intimidation, and naked aggression. They menace Jews and Arabs alike. They threaten neighboring states and humanity.

The Wall Street Journal headlined “Israel’s New Political Center,” saying:

Netanyahu remains prime minister with “different partners.” Israel’s "center" held. “Conventional wisdom” was wrong.

The Washington Post said Netanyahu's "weakened" position "raised the prospect of a more centrist government that could ease strained relations with Washington and signal more flexibility in peace efforts with the Palestinians."

The Los Angeles Times said Netanyahu's "disappointing performance will require him to reach out to the center in order to form a governing coalition."

Haaretz contributor Ari Shavit highlighted "The dramatic headline of this election: Israel is not right wing."

He's Haaretz's resident hawk. He claims King Bibi's reign ended. He'll remain prime minister but won't rule. "His life will not be easy, not politically and not in terms of policy."

Israel is more centrist, says Shavit. Imagine calling a dog a cat. Israel is more rightwing than ever. Election results left no doubt.

Haaretz's Chemi Shalev said they showed voters "elected a government that is bound to be more centrist, more moderate, more secular, more pluralistic and more inclusive than its predecessor or any of the alternatives that seemed plausible just a few short days ago."

Hardline fascist rule is policy. Worse than ever times loom. Events eventually awaken people to reality. Perhaps Israelis will realize they've been had. It bears repeating. They've got themselves to blame.

A Final Comment

Alan Dershowitz is a notorious bigot. He's a longstanding Islamophobe. He believes in unique Jewish suffering. He's mindless of all others.

He's a committed Zionist and Israeli apologist. He legitimizes its crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. He believes waging war achieves peace.

He advocates torture and targeted assassinations. Francis Boyle once called him an "infamous self-incriminating war criminal."

He "publicly acknowledged being a member of a Mossad Committee for approving the murder and assassination of Palestinians, which violates the Geneva Conventions and is thus a grave war crime."

He's "unfit" to educate aspiring lawyers. He got prominent Haaretz op-ed space. He turned truth on its head. He said election results shifted Israeli politics "toward the center and away from the extremes."

It's more likely to "have more flexibility in dealing with the Palestinian Authority and in moving toward a two-state solution."

Two states were once possible. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank and much of East Jerusalem. More is added daily. Peaceful resolution requires one state for all its people. Nothing else works.

Dershowitz is hardline. He believes only Jewish rights matter. He wants Palestinians marginalized and denied. He favors accelerated settlement construction.

Resume peace talks, he says. Tolerate no preconditions. He blames Palestinians for Israeli crimes.

He claims Netanyahu "very much wants to be the person who brings about peace…." He spuriously calls Iran an existential threat.

He says Israel reflects real democracy. Its "people and (their) leaders (will) prove to the world that (they) know (their) own best interests and (are) in the best position to implement them."

"That is what democracy is all about, and Israel's recent elections display democracy at its best."

He teaches this stuff to law students. His pedagogy subverts truth. He's best avoided. He's part of Harvard Law's school for torturers. 

Don't send your children there, urges Francis Boyle. Dershowitz, other notorious faculty members, and deans "are no longer fit to educate lawyers. They are a sick joke and a demented fraud."

"Harvard is to Law School as Torture is to Law." It's a "Neo-Con cesspool." Dershowitz's presence bears much responsibility. He gives higher education a bad name. Avoid him at all costs.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Terrorists and ‘Terrorists’: Quotes Make the Difference

Jan 23 2013 / 10:27 pm 

By Jeremy Salt

The French bombing of Islamic extremists and terrorists in Mali contrasts nicely with France’s support for Islamic extremists/terrorists in Syria. Francois Hollande says Mali had to be stopped from becoming an Islamic terrorist base on ‘Europe’s doorstep.’

Mali is 3237 kms from France and Syria is 3322 kms from France, so the doorstep difference is 85 kms. Yet, while blocking ‘Islamic terrorism’ in Mali, France is promoting it in Syria through its support for the Islamist groups fighting to bring down the secular government of Bashar al Assad.

In the past two weeks alone they have fired rockets at Aleppo University, killing nearly 90 students on the first day of their semester examinations, and set off bombs in towns across north and central Syria, including Salamiyya, killing more than 40 people. The population of Salamiyya is largely Ismaili, heterodox Muslims who will have no place in the Islamic emirate the armed groups want to set up. But let us not call the men who do this terrorists. According to the British newspapers, they are rebels whom the Syrian government simply chooses to call ‘terrorists.’

About the same time Aleppo university was being bombed, three men were arrested in England on suspicion of the ‘commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism’ in Syria. What led ultimately to their arrests was the seizure of a British photographer in Syria by a takfiri group that included Bangladeshis, Chechens, Pakistanis and at least one Briton, a doctor taking time off from his job with the National Health Service to wage jihad in Syria. If the British government was alarmed it was not because of the Syrians being killed but because of the threat to Britain itself from these home-grown takfiris. Good heavens, they might come home and do there what they are doing in Syria, and that can’t be allowed.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Like France the British attitude to terrorism is massively hypocritical. Hollande, Fabius, Cameron and Hague express their outrage at crimes committed by the Syrian government or army while remaining silent in the face of atrocities being committed every day of the week by the armed groups. When British hostages are killed in Algeria it is ‘cold blooded murder’, according to William Hague: 90 students are butchered in Aleppo and he has nothing to say.
The media plays its part by snapping up the claim that actually it was the Syrian government that organized the bombing of its own university and within a day the story is forgotten anyway.

The Syrian army had it right when it issued a statement saying the university was targeted as an act of revenge against the people of Aleppo for refusing to support the armed groups. We know this is true because even the armed groups have admitted it. Suburb by suburb they are now being cleared out of Aleppo, Damascus and other cities. All they can do now is bomb, snipe and massacre.

The military council set up to coordinate the activities of the armed groups exists only in name. There is no coordination at the political or armed level. The armed groups are following their own leaders. They reject the authority of the new Doha council. This matters not at all because this council has quickly proved to be as useless as the Syrian National Council set up in Istanbul. It has no support on the ground and the idea that somehow it can turn itself into an alternative government is laughable.

Events in North Africa are bound to affect how the governments who have sponsored these groups read the situation in Syria. Noone knows how much money Doha and Saudi Arabia have poured into this anti-Alawi, anti-Iran and anti-Shia operation but much of it has ended up in European bank accounts. Many of the figures bribed to betray the government in Damascus took the money and took off, never to be seen again.

Referring to Bashar al Assad and his government, Hague says ‘their failed leadership is now the prime cause of the instability and crisis in Syria’. In fact, the prime cause of the death and devastation in Syria is the intervention by William Hague and his friends. Hague even had the gall to say that the situation in North Africa would have been much worse had not Britain, France and the US intervened in Libya, when the exact opposite is true. Libya is connected to Mali and Mali to Algeria as surely as the thigh bone is connected to the hip. Behind the ponderous Churchillian rhetoric and the gravelly voice, Mr. Hague comes across as a very silly man.

While fighting Islamic ‘extremism’ or ‘terrorism’ in Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, the US, the UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been fuelling it in Syria. They will never admit it but the only barrier against Syria being turned into a Taliban-style state in the heart of the Middle East is the government they are trying to destroy. Transition to a democratic order is not even remotely on the cards as long as the western governments, the gulf states and Turkey continue to back the armed groups - the ‘terrorists’ as they don’t like to call them.

The French are now speaking of the reconquest of Mali. Britain and the US are slowly joining in. What is at stake is not just the rise of an Islamic ‘terrorist’ state in North Africa but Mali’s phenomenal mineral wealth, which takes us back to Libya and why it was attacked.
We still have to surmise. Was it for oil, was it to prevent Qaddafi from taking Africa out of the hands of the IMF, was it to lay hands on the 137 tons of gold bullion stored somewhere in Tripoli, present whereabouts unknown, or was it a combination of all these reasons? What we can say is that the ‘dictator’ was simply the way in.

The recent actions of these governments across the Muslim world, often, unfortunately, with the collaboration of so-called Muslim governments, duplicate 19th century imperialism at the high water mark.

As for Syria, the International Crisis Committee (IRC) has described the humanitarian crisis created as the result of outside intervention through the sponsorship of armed groups as ‘staggering’. More than 600,000 Syrians have fled into surrounding countries, and another two million have been internally displaced. Palestine 1948 and 1967 and Iraq 2003 have been replicated. Rape and sexual violence inside Syria is ‘horrific’, says the IRC. Frustrated at what they say is a lack of support from outside, the armed groups are fighting among themselves and, most recently, fighting with the Kurds for control of territory close to the Syrian border. There is widespread looting of public and private property, including factories, and profiteering from the sale of wheat to Turkish middlemen.

According to a US State Department intelligence report: ‘Warlords are a reality on the ground now …A failed state is the most likely outcome of the current conditions unless adjustment [is] done.’ People are moving from one ruined city or town to another in attempt to get away from the violence. In Lebanon and Jordan refugee are being flooded out of their tents by winter rains.

So, what do we say in the face of this endless western meddling? Vive la France? God save the Queen? Hail the Chief? 

How many times will the people of the Middle East have to go through what we have seen in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and what we are now seeing in Syria before they realize that dealing with the west is always the kiss of death. 

How many countries will have to be destroyed before they wake up?

No matter how much they hate a dictator, a government or a system, they have to sort out their problems amongst themselves. Behind the siren slogans of civilization, liberation, democracy or humanitarian concern, what they get is always going to be much worse once the west gets its foot through the door.

- Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He contributed this article to
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Al-Assad’s Clear Message: Tel Aviv into City of Ashes, Talk of Toppling Regime Farce

Hussein Salman

Two years on the disintegration of Syria, the solid center of the resistance axis, and away from failing bets on the fall of the Syrian regime, the speech of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad formed a thunderbolt to some Western and Arab countries.
They simply were slapped as their hopes turned into mirage. Al-Assad succeeded in cutting the rope of bets by the knife of firmness: The talk of toppling Syria are mere dreams.

In his honest and firm speech, al-Assad derived the words from ground evidences: The significant progress, achieved by the Syrian army in its confrontation with the armed groups, caused heavy losses in their ranks, despite the fact that the Syrian media was unable to portray this image due to the modesty of its means.

This comes as the countries, supporting these groups, acknowledged that the Syrian army showed poise as well as a high defensive and combat doctrine, that the strongest armies in the world might lack.
In this context, Syrian military sources confirmed that "al-Assad's speech was multidirectional and included many letters to a number of countries that have their influence on the armed groups."  
In an interview with al-Ahed news site, the sources highlighted that "this confused these countries and remixed the papers after some betters got drunk with the hopes of toppling al-Assad's regime."

""Israel", on top of the hop
eful waiters, soon felt the pain of al-Assad's speech multi-stock," the sources mentioned, and noted that "the Zionist entity rushed to mediated the US to inform the Syrian leadership that "such an operation would lead to a huge all-out war.""Israel" threatened, according to the sources, that "it will respond to any Syrian missile by destroying the Mezze region, the presidential palace, basic facilities in the Syrian capital, including Damascus International Airport, in addition to the infrastructure in all Syrian provinces."
However, "Israel" was surprised by al-Assad's firm and decisive answer :
"If the issue turned to be to life or death in face of the conspiracy against Syria, we choose martyrdom to defend every grain of country's soil and I am the first to carry the gun and come down into the street," Al-Assad said.
Moreover, he vowed: "We will turn Tel Aviv to a city of ashes."
Meanwhile, the military sources revealed to al-Ahed that "there are between 500 and 750 Scud missiles that are directed towards specific targets all over "Israel"."

"We are able to lead to mass destruction and "Israel" is fully aware that it well be paralyzed because of its close distance to Syria," they iterated, and warned that "this will be the greatest missile strike since the Vietnam War."
Given this situation - sources clarified - that "Israel" received the concept of the threat, especially after recognizing that Syria will not stand idly if attacked from "Israel" or any other side , especially in light of the Western, Arab, and regional conspiracy against its existence.

In response, the US administration urged Moscow to pressure Syria to alleviate its tone and practice restraint regarding these issues as they would lead to a global unlimited war.
The sources also set the talk of US-Russian convergence over Syria within the framework of Damascus' threats to the Zionist entity.

"The "Mossad" activated its participation in the bombings and assassinations of a number of areas and high-ranking military officers," they unveiled, and accused the "Israeli" intelligence of "recruiting Syrian rebels to gather information about the whereabouts of a number of political, military, and academic figures."
According to the al-Ahed sources, Washington was quick to grab any political initiative that will find a way to resolve the crisis contrary to what it promotes in public.

"It further called Moscow to understand its position because a rapid decline in its positions will leave a great shock on the US administration's allies," they said.

On this level, the sources attributed the decline in US attitudes over Syria to the following matters:
- First: Washington is well aware that the Syrian threats to "Israel" are very serious and would threaten the existence of the Zionist entity on the map.  
- Second: The US touched the preponderance of the Syrian regime's gains parallel to the cohesion of the army and its adherence to a military doctrine that is way from being affected by sticks and carrots, temptations, and compromises. In the military terminology, the facts proved that this army is not broken before the waves and no intelligence, including the Mossad and the CIA, is able to drain its abilities even if the battle continued for several years. This is added to the Syrian leadership, army, people and institutions' steadfastness in face of a fierce war, not ever seen before.  
- Third: [Added to the Syrian army's achievements] The US and other countries became convinced that toppling the current regime, despite the difficulty to be achieved - will not change the equation unless the army's doctrine falls and is replaces by another. This might be similar to Iraq and Libya after the toppling of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi.
In addition, the Russian officials told the US administration that President Assad has a fixed will not be altered even by all nations. It stated:
"We will neither allow to topple Syria nor to confiscate its geo-strategic and resistant location, role, and position .. We strive to save the national sovereignty and will not listen to the foreign noise. . Our army is strong and any talk about removing the system is a farce."
Pending what will the coming days imply of ground developments and events, and given the achievements of the Syrian army in eliminating a large number of armed groups, things move towards a political solution that will be blessed by its giant godfathers: Russian and the US. Meanwhile, other countries will deliver their blesses although they preferred not to reveal their role in this solution.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Egyptians Mark Revolution Anniversary with Protests against Mursi

Egypt witnesses spate of violence on revolution anniversary

Egyptian protestors take cover as others throw stones towards security personnel in Sheikh Rayhan street that leads to the Interior Ministry headquarters, near Tahrir Square, on 25 January 2013. (Photo: AFP - Khaled Desouki)
Published Friday, January 25, 2013
Violence spread throughout Egypt Friday on the second anniversary of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011, as protesters denounced President Mohammed Mursi and his Islamist government.

Inspired by Tunisia's historic popular uprising, Egypt's revolution spurred further revolts across the Arab world. But the sense of common purpose that united Egyptians two years ago has given way to internal strife that has only worsened and last month triggered lethal street battles.
Opponents of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square to revive the demands of a revolution they say has been betrayed by Islamists.
Jared Malsin @jmalsin

Following marchers down the Nile Corniche en route to . Protesters chanting "Bread, freedom, down with the Brotherhood!"

"Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state," Hamdeen Sabahy, a popular leftist leader, told Reuters TV as he made his way to the square for the rally.

Police battled protesters who threw petrol bombs and firecrackers as they tried to approach a wall blocking access to government buildings near the square in the pre-dawn hours.

Adel Abdel Ghafar @dooolism

Clouds of tear gas fired by police filled the air. At one point, riot police used one of the incendiaries thrown at them to set ablaze at least two tents erected by the youths, a Reuters witness said. Clashes between stone-throwing youths and the police continued in streets near the square into the day.
Ambulances ferried away a steady stream of casualties. The health ministry said 25 people had been injured since Thursday in clashes around Tahrir Square.

There were similar scenes in Alexandria, where protesters and riot police skirmished near local government offices. Tear gas fouled the air and black smoke billowed from tyres set ablaze by youths. Nine people were wounded by birdshot pellets, according to medical and security sources.
Thousands more protested against the Brotherhood in cities across Egypt including Suez, Ismailia and Port Said.

The Brotherhood decided against mobilizing in the street for the anniversary, wary of the scope for more conflict after violence in December that was stoked by Mursi's decision to fast-track an Islamist-tinged constitution.

"We are not here to celebrate but to force those in power to submit to the will of the people. Egypt now must never be like Egypt during Mubarak's rule," said Mohamed Fahmy, an activist.

Mursi, in a speech on Thursday marking the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, called on Egyptians to mark the anniversary "in a civilized, peaceful way that safeguards our nation, our institutions, our lives".

His opponents say he and his group are seeking to dominate the post-Mubarak order. They accuse him of showing some of the autocratic impulses of the deposed leader by, for example, driving through the new constitution last month.

The Brotherhood dismisses many of the criticisms as unfair. It accuses its opponents of failing to respect the rules of the new democracy that put the Islamists in the driving seat by winning free elections.

Six months into office, Mursi is also being held responsible for an economic crisis caused by two years of turmoil. The Egyptian pound has sunk to record lows against the dollar.

Other sources of friction abound. Little has been done to reform brutal Mubarak-era security agencies. A spate of transport disasters on roads and railways neglected for years is feeding discontent as well. Activists are impatient for justice for the victims of violence over the last two years.

One newly-formed group called the Black Bloc, has become more visible during the anniversary clashes, both for their dark attire and their staunch opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Critics say the constitution, which was approved in a referendum, offers inadequate protection for human rights, grants the president too many privileges and fails to curb the power of a military establishment supreme in the Mubarak era.

Mursi's supporters say that enacting the constitution quickly was crucial to restoring stability desperately needed for economic recovery, and that the opposition is making the situation worse by perpetuating unrest.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

Egyptians Mark Revolution Anniversary with Protests against Mursi
Local Editor
Protesters gathered in Egypt's capital on Friday on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, as thousands made their way to Cairo's Tahrir Square and the surrounding streets chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Anti_Mursi protests
Some protesters had already spent the night, after police clashed Thursday with protesters who tried to dismantle a wall of concrete blocks closing a street leading to the square.

Some demonstrators hurled rocks at riot police who responded with tear gas grenades. The interior ministry said five policemen were injured and appealed to demonstrators to avoid confrontation with the security forces.

The secular-leaning opposition has called for mass protests against Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which Mursi hails.

"Go out into the squares to finally achieve the objectives of the revolution," opposition leader and former head of the UN's atomic agency Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on his Twitter account.

Friday's demonstrators gathered at Tahrir Square, iconic birthplace of the 2011 revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak, and in front of the presidential palace, where anti-Mursi rallies last December erupted into deadly clashes with Brotherhood supporters.

Rallies were staged elsewhere, notably in Egypt's second city Alexandria, and the authorities have prepared for a heavy security presence, an official told Agence France Presse (AFP).

The Muslim Brotherhood has not officially called for its own rallies, instead marking the anniversary by launching a charitable and social initiative dubbed "Together we will build Egypt."


In a speech marking the birthday of Prophet Mohamad (pbuh), Mursi urged Egyptians to spend the anniversary in a "peaceful and civilized way." Mursi speech
He slammed the opposition, describing them as remnants of the Hosni Mubarak regime who are trying to plunge the country into deep troubles as it struggles to recover from economic woes.

"The counter-revolution is being led by remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime to obstruct everything in the country," he said at the Azhar Conference Hall in Cairo.

Mursi also called on the Egyptian people to direct their efforts towards work and production and provide a “suitable environment for investment.”

“We will remove all the obstacles in the way of Egyptian, Arab and foreign investors to encourage them to work in Egypt,” he said, before calling on foreign-based Egyptians to invest in their country.
“I hope all groups will remain peaceful during [the anniversary's] celebrations,” he added.

“The revolution was a turning point in Egypt's history. Egyptians have achieved unlimited freedoms and a constitution that reduced the president's powers.

“A structural reform is taking place in the state’s institutions to fulfill the revolution’s demands. I’m also working with the government to solve the problems of slum areas in Egypt.”

  • Protests to Mark Anniversary of Revolution: Egypt
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!