June 8, 2014 Leave a comment
Reading the story of another episode of homemade American terrorism here and saw the following remark in the comments section
"I have often been forced to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that there was no place else to go.”
June 6, 2014 1 Comment
The article below really exposes the lie advanced by the Right that guns don’t kill people, it’s people who kill people. In reality it’s people with guns who kill people and such brutality doesn’t have as much to do with gang related activity as we’ve been led to believe. (Emphasis in red mine)
In a scathing critique of ABC’s recent report “Young Guns,” Dana Loesch stated that most gun deaths were the result of gang violence; therefore, America has a gang problem, not a gun problem. Her claim appears to be supported by sites positing that “a staggering 80 percent of gun homicides are gang-related.” As it turns out though, not only is her statement factually incorrect, as the majority of gun deaths are suicides, but there is not a shred of evidence to support her characterization that gangs are the driving force behind firearm violence.
Unfortunately, Dana Loesch’s sentiment is shared by many gun advocates, including the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, who, when opposing firearm background checks said, “President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.”
So, do we have a gang problem or a gun problem? Data collected by the National Gang Center, the government agency responsible for cataloging gang violence, makes clear that it’s the latter. There were 1,824 gang-related killings in 2011. This total includes deaths by means other than a gun. The Bureau of Justice Statistics finds this number to be even lower, identifying a little more than 1,000 gang-related homicides in 2008. In comparison, there were 11,101 homicides and 19,766 suicides committed with firearms in 2011.
According to the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the number of gangs and gang members has been on the rise for some time now, increasing by more than one-third in the past decade. Between 2010 and 2011, for example, there was a 3 percent increase in the number of gangs, but an 8 percent decrease in gang-related homicides. If gang violence was truly driving the gun homicide rate, we should not see gang membership and gun homicide rates moving in opposite directions.
The most recent Centers for Disease Control study on this subject lends further credence to our claim. It examined five cities that met the criterion for having a high prevalence of gang homicides: Los Angeles, California; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Long Beach, California; Oakland, California; and Newark, New Jersey. In these cities, a total of 856 gang and 2,077 non-gang homicides were identified and included in the analyses. So, even when examining cities with the largest gang problems, gang homicides only accounted for 29 percent of the total for the period under consideration (2003-2008). For the nation as a whole it would be much smaller.
The 80 percent of gang-related gun homicides figure purporting to support Loesch’s claim, then, is not only false, but off by nearly a factor of five. The direct opposite is necessarily true: more than 80 percent of gun homicides are non-gang related. While gang violence is still a serious problem that needs to be addressed, it is disingenuous to assert that the vast majority of our gun problem (even excluding suicides) is caused by gangs.
Gun advocates’ blind focus on gangs, drugs and violent felons overlooks the larger gun problem facing America. It is irresponsible and disingenuous for some of us to brush off our staggering death toll from firearms merely as the product of gangs or even violent criminals. Recognizing America’s high homicide rate for what it is — a gun problem — is the first step in solving it.
Don’t expect to be able to persuade people with the rational of the article above about the perils of the proliferation of firearms because for the Right facts never are the driving point of their argument but now YOU know.
January 1, 2011 Leave a comment
The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Since the September 11th Attacks on the United States in 2001, which resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and severe damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the United States has changed its priorities to focus upon eradicating terrorism in the world. Terrorism involves the systematic use of terror or violence to achieve political goals. The targets of terrorism include government officials, identified individuals or groups, and innocent bystanders. In most cases terrorists seek to overthrow or destabilize an existing political regime, but totalitarian and dictatorial governments also use terror to maintain their power.
As clear and distinct as this definition is, it cannot but include the Israeli government as a dictatorial government that uses terrorism to maintain power, as this article in RawStory suggests. In spite of a newly signed peace agreement with Egypt, in 1979 Israel was intimating that it would use nuclear weapons against its neighbors because somehow it feared for its existence. We know now that was a crock….Israel then as now, has no more to fear from its neighbors than the man in the moon. In fact, since 1973 all of Israel’s wars have been wars of aggression and expansion, not self-defense. One could argue they have been the precursor to America’s aggression in the Mid East…a kind of good cop, bad cop play on empire and subjugation of the Middle East.
In 1980, British officials were concerned that Israel could be heading for a new conflict, despite signing a peace treaty with Egypt the year before, according to official papers released from the National Archives after being kept secret for 30 years.
“The situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow,” warned a cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4.
What Israel served to do with this threat to use nuclear weapons was to get governments to support her in her continued suppression of Palestinian statehood, in other words to achieve the political objective of denial of human rights to her Palestinian neighbors as well as forge political hegemony in the area. Let’s not forget existential threats to Israel are no more than political dissent that are the basis for a mature political entity, not a threatening bullying one like Israel, which usually contribute to the improvement of the social fabric, not its elimination. Very few but the extreme of the extreme, (and who could that be?) would dare suggest Israel not exist, but what everyone of conscience and morality should insist upon is that Israel honor the territorial integrity of its neighbors, not interfere with Palestinian statehood, cease its racist policies towards non-Jews within its borders and honor international treaties against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That’s the kind of discourse that countries can conduct on the world’s stage in a mature, socially and internationally acceptable manner. Not so with the Israeli interpretation of dissent. In its case dissent is not tolerated except from within and only within limits defined by the government. That is called fascism.
December 18, 2010 Leave a comment
Search for transplant here at Miscellany101 and you’ll see several references to stories similar to this news, stretching back a year or more. In some ways it explains Israel’s blood lust….shooting people is a way to harvest organs, especially a well placed head shot.
Israel has admitted that in the 1990s, its forensic pathologists harvested organs from dead bodies, including Palestinians, without the permission of families.The issue emerged with the publication of an interview with the then-head of Israel’s Abu Kabir forensic institute, Dr. Jehuda Hiss. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic, who released it because of a huge controversy last summer over an allegation by a Swedish newspaper that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs. Israel hotly denied the charge.
Parts of the interview were broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 TV over the weekend. In it, Dr. Hiss said, “We started to harvest corneas … . Whatever was done was highly informal. No permission was asked from the family.”
No accountability for the Israeli government…it was all informal, and Hiss is no longer in a position of authority will be the official party line, but they’ve already been caught in one lie, so don’t believe the next one that comes out.
December 11, 2010 Leave a comment
I read this very interesting article that asserts President Obama is going down the same onerous road as his predecessor in dispensing justice to perceived enemies of the state…..at the expense of breaking the law and further endangering the national security as well as the national psyche. What is the matter with America that she has become afraid of people, not nations mind you, but individual people, that it makes her break her own laws as well as the laws she has agreed with the international community upon for decades?!?
The Obama administration now claims a right to kill American citizens without trial, without notice, and without any chance for the marked men or women to object legally. The Bush administration’s “targeted killing” program has been radically expanded to include Americans far from any war zone. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair testified earlier this year that the targeting-to-kill decision depends only on “whether that American is involved in a group that is trying to attack us.”
The poster boy for the targeted killing program is Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric who is reportedly in Yemen. The Obama administration touts allegations that al-Awlaki helped spark the slaughter at Ford Hood, Texas, inspired the attempt to destroy a jetliner on Christmas Day 2009, and has done other dastardly things that the government has not yet disclosed (for our own good, of course). Al-Awlaki might well be a four-star bastard, but government press releases and background briefings have not previously been sufficient to justify capital punishment.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to compel Uncle Sam “to disclose the legal standard it uses to place U.S. citizens on government kill lists.” The Obama administration has responded by invoking the doctrine of state secrets, effectively claiming that national security demands that these policies be kept hidden. By hiding behind state secrets, the feds don’t even have to explain why the law doesn’t apply to their actions.
In oral arguments in federal court on Nov. 9, Justice Department attorney Douglas Letter asserted that no judge has authority to be “looking over the shoulder” of the Obama administration’s targeted-killing program. Letter declared that the program involves “the very core powers of the president as commander-in-chief.” When Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008, entitling the president to kill Americans without trial was not one of the reforms he promised.
The Obama administration has decided to pursue a Bush administration policy of extra-judicial punishment for individuals anywhere in the world, even American citizens, and claim no one has the right to oversight. It is an extraordinary position to take on the heels of an administration whose party was soundly defeated in the presidential elections in part one may argue for just such a disregard for law and the rights of US citizens. There has been no hue and cry on the part of the people for their president to undertake this action, so why does he feel the need to do so?
The Obama administration’s position “would allow the executive unreviewable authority to target and kill any U.S. citizen it deems a suspect of terrorism anywhere,” according to Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pardiss Kebriae. And the feds have a horrible batting average when it comes to accurately identifying terrorist suspects. In the six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government rounded up 1,200 people as suspected terrorists or terrorist supporters. None of the detainees proved to have links to the attacks. And as the ACLU noted earlier this year, “the government has failed to prove the lawfulness of imprisoning individual Guantanamo detainees in 34 of the 48 cases that have been reviewed by the federal courts thus far, even though the government had years to gather and analyze evidence for those cases and had itself determined that those prisoners were detainable.”
It’s clear to this viewer that the Obama approach to the war on terror, is just as pernicious as Bush. In fact it is a continuation of the former President’s policy at at time when the “threat” level is not as imminent as it was after 911 all the inaccurate and misleading press propaganda to the contrary. What we are witnessing is the way in which government works; it’s march towards diminution of citizen rights is gradual, slow, deceptive and relentless. New faces have little to do with changing the progress of government’s march toward this goal. Obama isn’t ‘change we can believe in’, he’s more of the same.
June 3, 2010 Leave a comment
When it comes to Israel that bar keeps getting lower and lower. I just finished reading a NYT article, In Bid to Quell Anger Over Raid, Israel Frees Detainees which proclaimed
Israel worked Wednesday to defuse rising international anger by agreeing to a rapid release of all detainees — including those suspected of attacking its soldiers — taken after the deadly nighttime raid of six ships seeking to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The release seemed most immediately aimed at repairing dangerously eroding ties with Turkey, Israel’s main ally in the Muslim world, as demands continued to intensify around the world to end a blockade that critics say has kept Gazans isolated and impoverished.
which seems to imply Israel was doing the activists a favor by releasing them even though they “attacked” IDF soldiers. This is the same theme repeated in defense of Israeli action that fateful morning; the Israelis inflicted casualties on people only after they were attacked, which begs the questions why were they attacked? The fight didn’t happen in a vacuum; indeed it occurred only after Israeli soldiers first fired on and then assaulted the flotilla that was at the time in international waters, far from the coast of Gaza, its intended target or better yet, Israel its final destination. However, Israelis would have you believe the people on board those vessels were the worst of the worst terrorists and of course have even thrown in the word al-Qaida to frighten people even more. It doesn’t matter that the al-Qaida label applied to the organizers of the flotilla is as false and non-existent as the one many tried to affix to Saddam Hussein; the mere mention of the word generates the “shock” value that legitimizes any reaction even illegal ones.
The Israelis who probably just a few short weeks ago were leading the calls for freedom of the press in response to the Draw Muhammad day fiasco dreamed up by people who want to antagonize members of the Islamic faith, went on to perform the best press censorship of the modern era, by taking all the recording devices from any and everyone on any ships and not releasing them while spinning their (Israeli) yarns about what went on during that dreaded encounter. The IDF even went so far as to release their video version of events and the aftermath, which was as sloppy as the tale they tried to spin. For example, it was discovered that pictures of some of the “weapons” they claimed to have confiscated and displayed were taken several years ago and other photographs showed instruments, rather tools, one would expect to see on a boat that handled several hundred passengers and cargo not the weapons Israelis hoped one would dream up when it was said they were fired on or assaulted. Those pictures immediately discredited the scenario the Israelis painted of having been fired on by passengers during their own assault on the ship; there were no firearms on any of the vessels except the firearms the Israelis brought when they pirated the ships.
We still don’t have a casualty count from the Israelis, not that anyone is asking any more, but it would certainly tell us the extent of the killing that went on that night. There is at least one account that says the Israelis threw some bodies overboard into the water. Nor do we know just how badly wounded and how many there are of the other people involved in the flotilla. Main stream media has settled on the number 9 but other accounts have said as many as 20 were killed and so what will happen is people will begin to quibble about numbers and forget about the fact that those numbers represent people who were murdered for there is absolutely no justification for the Israeli boarding of those boats in international waters or anywhere near the coast of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is not meant to secure Israeli borders……it is an act of war and intimidation used to impoverish an entire group of people and frighten others from coming to their aid in order for the Israelis to seize the land they want those people to abandon and grab the natural resources contained therein. We’ve already posted stories here on Miscellany101 of Palestinian farmers and fisherman who have been killed or wounded while going about their daily business of subsistence living in plain view, during daylight hours when there was no ambiguity about their actions or intentions, by IDF. What was the security risk they posed, other than their living, as they went about the daily chores associated with gathering food and providing for their families? What group did they represent to the Israelis as they toiled on their boats, in an area off the coast of GAZA, not Israel, that was an existential threat? We have grown used to this war of attrition the Israelis are waging against unarmed civilians to the extent we don’t even ask those kinds of questions anymore. Instead we are fed the diet of the importance of Israel maintaining its security and the rights of victims of Israeli aggression are never considered and their deaths continue. Israel has no right to murder farmers and fishermen, but that axiom of law is lost in the clamor about Israel’s right to self defense.
In like fashion, the argument about Israel’s latest atrocity never addresses the illegal nature of the Israeli blockade of Gaza which has slowly been lost in the noise about international waters. Instead we’re told indignantly how the flotilla was well away from the Israeli imposed blockade limit, miles away in fact, in international waters. That too has become another encroachment that will fall to the Israeli march towards total abandonment of law and order as the Israelis claim they were fired upon by members of the flotilla who were out to lynch these heroes of Israel’s gestapo storm troopers when they descended onto the ships. Israel didn’t consider for one moment international law and boundaries and it doesn’t want you to either when it comes to their illegal activity. And have you heard how tolerant the Israelis were by boarding ships with non lethal paint guns and how they only resorted to deadly force when they were attacked, as if they magically appeared on those ships or were passengers all along from the moment they set sail from ports in Cyprus who had to defend themselves suddenly and unexpectedly from bloodthirsty anti-semitic activists who turned on them, endangering their lives.
The very idea of Israel confronting the ships was illegal, and the actions which ensued during or after that confrontation were murderous at best, war crimes/atrocities at worse. What’s sad is an American administration’s reaction to such criminal behavior, ostensibly done in its name; Joe Biden suggesting murder is no big deal, Obama being absolutely silent on the issue and America before the UN watering down any resolutions critical, not condemnatory mind you, of Israeli action. This all because the international community has continued to dismiss pass transgressions and only focus on current ones which are increasingly more narrowed and defined by Israel. Israeli soldiers were attacked, even though they were engaged in internationally criminal activity, but that’s not a big deal, they were attacked and some were injured, even though they themselves murdered unarmed citizens, but that’s not important because they have a right to know what was contained on the boats, even though they sabotaged some of them while they were at port but that’s not a big deal, and so it goes. And did you know an American was killed on one of the boats, shot four times in the head, but the US government is used to its citizens being killed by Israelis and so that’s not a big deal either.
In the last month we have seen or read about Israel rejecting calls for a nuclear free Middle East; condemned the NonProliferation Treaty; put out news stories that it has placed nuclear armed submarines off the coast of Iran; attacked a ship belonging to a country that signed an accord with Iran that a US administration had sought; attacked and killed unarmed civilians on relief aid boats in international waters; continued the blockade and siege of a defenseless population and American troops are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for what?
In this day of information technology and rapid news gathering, there is still too much silence coming from the halls of government and the corporate media about the attack on the Gaza bound flotilla and the violation of international law on the part of the Israelis. So here is a response to the vacuum left by “power” and by the way the answer to the question posed by Cook is a resounding NO!
It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past 12 hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago, into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed Israeli spokespeople to step in unchallenged.
How many civilians were killed in Israel’s dawn attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla of aid? We still don’t know. How many wounded? Your guess is as good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel. Were they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did the soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.
If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists are simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply proving it. Mark Regev, Israel’s propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to himself.
The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news agenda.
So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let’s reiterate a few simple facts:
* Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent “lynch” by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves.
* The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby.
Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.
Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians under occupation but at the international community itself.
Will our leaders finally be moved to act?
December 8, 2009 1 Comment
Guantanamo Bay will most likely go down as the place which housed the most terrorist we ever faced in our war on terror, the phony war started by George Bush, and those terrorists were US personnel who engaged in torture and even murder. The latest news that three suicides and the resulting investigation was so botched as to lead to more questions than answers can only lead one to the conclusion that the “suicides” were indeed murder and lead to other questions of how many other deaths at Gitmo were at the hands of the captors and not the captive. The facts from the only independent study conducted are three detainees were found swinging at the end of a ligature in their closely guarded cells with rags stuffed in their throats and one “suicide” victim had his internal organs, heart and kidneys and throat removed before his body was interred.
The removal of internal organs closely dovetails into another story we’ve covered in the pages of Miscellany101 as it regards Palestinians in the Occupied Territories who’ve died at the hands of their terrorist captors. That is scary enough, the parallel universe that seems to pervade all that the American and Israeli authorities do to Arab, semitic and Muslim peoples the world over; however, the lengths at which authorities went to blame even the victims for their murder at the hands of those same authorities (for how can a man both hang himself, stuff rags in his own throat and remained undetected for several hours long enough for rigor mortis to develop in a cell that was under 24 hour scrutiny by security guards because said occupant of the cell possessed the super human capability to break loose over power his guards and eventually find his way to the US mainland to wreak further havoc on innocent Americans) is a further nail in the coffin of US legitimacy and credibility.
Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair. “They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,” he said. “They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”
Or how about this wildly insane comment from a former Bush Administration official who seemed to have the intent correct, i.e. publicity, although assigning it incorrectly to the victims
“It does sound like this is part of a strategy – in that they don’t value their own lives, and they certainly don’t value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic,” Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC’s Newshour yesterday. “Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move.”
What Guantanamo Bay became and perhaps still is today was a battleground for a disgraced titular warrior and leader of the free world, George Bush and now Barack Obama, to play out fantasies of getting even with a perceived foe at the expense of the Nation’s Constitution and way of life. He descended into the depths of every type of illegal and immoral activity to satisfy a blood lust to exorcise demons of inferiority and insecurity and in term projected that all onto the national consciousness that have seriously affected our judgement and moral compass until the present.
August 5, 2009 1 Comment
Blackwater founder and Christian mercenary/missionary Erik Prince is in the news again for allegations he sent people to kill Muslim Iraqis under the sponsorship of the US State Department. Inflammatory but you can read the story here.
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
Now even if you believe in the phony war on terror, you have been told several times it had nothing to do with Iraqis; rather we were going there for the purposes of removing a ruler we didn’t like but who we knew all along had nothing to do with 911. Blackwater became Dick Cheney’s praetorian guard, initially to guard his interests, Halliburton, there in Iraq and ostensibly to do Cheney’s demented bidding which included political assassinations the world over. As if the torture issue isn’t reason enough for federal authorities to look into prosecuting Cheney, this latest revelation about Blackwater and the nefarious dealings of its president, Prince, should be the nail in the coffin for Cheney and many other former Bush officials’ incarceration. However, because of Blackwaters’ close ties with federal government officials, many of them career employees who remain when administrations leave and who have a direct impact on policy no matter who’s in charge, don’t look for the investigation into Blackwater malfeasance to go too far, unless the public demands it. Meanwhile, Blackwater and the US government will continue to get away with murder, and earn the scorn of the rest of the world.
July 20, 2009 1 Comment
The Israeli government is clearly up to, planning, attacks against some of its neighbors as it hypes up, read that lies, allegations about what they are doing. First comes this incredible, un-sourced story, a former Revolutionary Guard member talks about deflowering Iranian girls who were to be executed. Clearly this piece of work is aimed at legitimizing an Israeli attack on Iran. It is doubly anonymously un-sourced so isn’t really worth the bandwidth it passes on, but it has already gotten play in such reputable places as here, although it’s good to see in the comments section people aren’t buying it as readily as some would like.
The next incredibly stupid story is this one about the Pope and the Vatican, which appeared here. This story was so unbelievable that halfway through the article the writer seems to doubt the authenticity of what he/she’s writing about! This second story is more insidious because it takes aim at both the Roman Catholic Church as well as Hizbollah. Jews it seems are at war with both Christianity, that is the branch that’s not politically zionist leaning, as well as Islam, so both are fair game. While you read this latest bunch of news emanating from Israel to cover Netanyahu’s belligerence towards his US sponsors, consider this: Israel is the only country in the Middle East and Europe that is a foreign occupier and which regularly wages war against its neighbors. Murder is the engine that drives and gives meaning to the Israeli government. Just ask the Palestinians.
June 11, 2009 Leave a comment
The Department of Homeland Security warned of extremists elements in our country with the potential to wreck havoc in our society; the right was up in arms and cried foul and someone from some hate group walked into the Holocaust Museum in the backyard of DHS and killed a guard!! What good is Homeland Security?
Oh sure, they are one of the biggest government agencies, outspending the Justice and State departments, and during the Bush years we were told they were essential to the safety and well being of America. During their lifetime they have expanded a terrorist watch list which numbers into the hundreds of thousands, many who are innocent and probably don’t even know their names are there; elevated risk levels and the blood pressures of scores of Americans with faulty terror level alerts that usually panned out to be nothing at all or based on tortured confessions from rendered suspects we’ve never heard nor seen, and all this at a considerable expense to the taxpayer. Yet, an 88 year old man can walk down a city street in Washington, DC with a rifle, and into a government building and shoot and kill someone employed there.
The guy is a former felon, 88 years old, used a rifle in this attack, had an internet history of making incendiary comments and lived in the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area and all that the federal government has to offer couldn’t save that police officer from this guy’s dementia. I could understand the federal government not being able to follow all 12 or 14 911 hijackers……you could argue there were just too many for the government to keep up, but one guy with a history in the heart of the government…… Basically this means the government is not the instrument we should trust or turn to in order to protect us in our daily lives. It cannot do this, despite the promises it makes to the contrary; and all those right leaning individuals who are now slamming Obama with claims that he’s made the country unsafe for us, ask them what did their Department of Homeland Security do for Stephen Johns, the guard killed by that pathetic gunman on Wednesday, June 10?
April 3, 2009 10 Comments
Why is it that a country of immigrants, and lets face it we are all immigrants to this country whether recent or from a very long time ago, some of us willing and others of us unwilling conscripts, have such a disdain for today’s immigrants? The deaths of immigrants while under federal government custody is a stain upon the tradition of America and its rule of law. It is unconscionable that people are left to die in federal immigration detention facilities yet there seems to be a pattern of such abuse taking place on our shores.
April 2, 2009 Leave a comment
In an earlier post I spoke of how Israelis have the view they can kill anyone they consider a terrorist. Ever since the Bush administration’s ascendancy, the public announcement of the Israeli government has been they will go anywhere to kill terrorists they think are a threat. Well, it seems this has been policy of the government long before it was stated back at the beginning of Bush’s first term, and it also seems the Israelis include Americans as possible targets of their murder. No, I don’t mean Americans who stand in front of bulldozers and get plowed under or Americans who are standing on land owned by Palestinians and get shot by IDF goons, I mean Americans employed as civil servants to project American interests.
(John Gunther) Dean, whose memoir is titled Danger Zones: A Diplomat’s Fight for America’s Interests, was American ambassador in Lebanon in August 1980 when a three-car convoy carrying him and his family was attacked near Beirut.
“I was the target of an assassination attempt by terrorists using automatic rifles and antitank weapons that had been made in the United States and shipped to Israel,” he wrote. “Weapons financed and given by the United States to Israel were used in an attempt to kill an American diplomat!” After the event, conspiracy theories abounded in the Middle East about who could have planned the attack, and why. Lebanon was a dangerously factionalized country.
The State Department investigated, Dean said, but he was never told what the conclusion was. He wrote that he “worked the telephone for three weeks” and met only official silence in Washington. By then Dean had learned from weapons experts in the United States and Lebanon that the guns and ammunition used in the attack had been given by Israelis to a Christian militia allied with them.
“I know as surely as I know anything that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was somehow involved in the attack,” Dean wrote, describing how he had been under sharp criticism from Israeli politicians and media for his contacts with Palestinians. “Undoubtedly using a proxy, our ally Israel had tried to kill me.”
Why America continues to be assaulted, threatened and intimidated by a petulant friend is an example of the decline of an empire at the expense of an ally. Inevitably, we get what we deserve; if we allow ourselves to be owned by the Israelis and whimper and cry at what they’ve done to us as a nation, then we have no one to blame but ourselves. With the economy in near collapse, and a world war looming on the horizon, it won’t take much for America to become a second rate power following the lead of lesser nations and we’ll have no one but ourselves to thank for that. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
March 23, 2009 Leave a comment
“This is an action that sowed massive destruction among civilians. It is not certain that it was possible do have done it differently, but ultimately we have emerged from this operation and are not facing real paralysis from the Qassams. It is very possible that we will repeat such an operation on a larger scale in the years to come, because the problem in the Gaza Strip is not simple and it is not at all certain that it has been solved. What we want this evening is to hear from the fighters.”
Aviv: “I am squad commander of a company that is still in training, from the Givati Brigade. We went into a neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City. Altogether, this is a special experience. In the course of the training, you wait for the day you will go into Gaza, and in the end it isn’t really like they say it is. It’s more like, you come, you take over a house, you kick the tenants out and you move in. We stayed in a house for something like a week.
“Toward the end of the operation there was a plan to go into a very densely populated area inside Gaza City itself. In the briefings they started to talk to us about orders for opening fire inside the city, because as you know they used a huge amount of firepower and killed a huge number of people along the way, so that we wouldn’t get hurt and they wouldn’t fire on us.
“At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?
“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit. I tried to exert some influence, insofar as is possible from within my subordinate position, to change this. In the end the specification involved going into a house, operating megaphones and telling [the tenants]: ‘Come on, everyone get out, you have five minutes, leave the house, anyone who doesn’t get out gets killed.’
“I went to our soldiers and said, ‘The order has changed. We go into the house, they have five minutes to escape, we check each person who goes out individually to see that he has no weapons, and then we start going into the house floor by floor to clean it out … This means going into the house, opening fire at everything that moves , throwing a grenade, all those things. And then there was a very annoying moment. One of my soldiers came to me and asked, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘What isn’t clear? We don’t want to kill innocent civilians.’ He goes, ‘Yeah? Anyone who’s in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact.’ I said, ‘Do you think the people there will really run away? No one will run away.’ He says, ‘That’s clear,’ and then his buddies join in: ‘We need to murder any person who’s in there. Yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist,’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media.
“And then I try to explain to the guy that not everyone who is in there is a terrorist, and that after he kills, say, three children and four mothers, we’ll go upstairs and kill another 20 or so people. And in the end it turns out that [there are] eight floors times five apartments on a floor – something like a minimum of 40 or 50 families that you murder. I tried to explain why we had to let them leave, and only then go into the houses. It didn’t really help. This is really frustrating, to see that they understand that inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want, to break down doors of houses for no reason other than it’s cool.
“You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing in understanding how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”
“One of our officers, a company commander, saw someone coming on some road, a woman, an old woman. She was walking along pretty far away, but close enough so you could take out someone you saw there. If she were suspicious, not suspicious – I don’t know. In the end, he sent people up to the roof, to take her out with their weapons. From the description of this story, I simply felt it was murder in cold blood.”
Zamir: “I don’t understand. Why did he shoot her?”
Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.”
Zvi: “Aviv’s descriptions are accurate, but it’s possible to understand where this is coming from. And that woman, you don’t know whether she’s … She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right. It’s known that they have lookouts and that sort of thing.”
Gilad: “Even before we went in, the battalion commander made it clear to everyone that a very important lesson from the Second Lebanon War was the way the IDF goes in – with a lot of fire. The intention was to protect soldiers’ lives by means of firepower. In the operation the IDF’s losses really were light and the price was that a lot of Palestinians got killed.”
Ram: “I serve in an operations company in the Givati Brigade. After we’d gone into the first houses, there was a house with a family inside. Entry was relatively calm. We didn’t open fire, we just yelled at everyone to come down. We put them in a room and then left the house and entered it from a different lot. A few days after we went in, there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sharpshooters’ position on the roof. The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go, and it was was okay and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.”
Question from the audience: “At what range was this?”
Ram: “Between 100 and 200 meters, something like that. They had also came out of the house that he was on the roof of, they had advanced a bit and suddenly he saw then, people moving around in an area where they were forbidden to move around. I don’t think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to … I don’t know how to describe it …. The lives of Palestinians, let’s say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way.”
Yuval Friedman (chief instructor at the Rabin program): “Wasn’t there a standing order to request permission to open fire?”
Ram: “No. It exists, beyond a certain line. The idea is that you are afraid that they are going to escape from you. If a terrorist is approaching and he is too close, he could blow up the house or something like that.”
Zamir: “After a killing like that, by mistake, do they do some sort of investigation in the IDF? Do they look into how they could have corrected it?”
Ram: “They haven’t come from the Military Police’s investigative unit yet. There hasn’t been any … For all incidents, there are individual investigations and general examinations, of all of the conduct of the war. But they haven’t focused on this specifically.”
Moshe: “The attitude is very simple: It isn’t pleasant to say so, but no one cares at all. We aren’t investigating this. This is what happens during fighting and this is what happens during routine security.”
Ram: “What I do remember in particular at the beginning is the feeling of almost a religious mission. My sergeant is a student at a hesder yeshiva [a program that combines religious study and military service]. Before we went in, he assembled the whole platoon and led the prayer for those going into battle. A brigade rabbi was there, who afterward came into Gaza and went around patting us on the shoulder and encouraging us, and praying with people. And also when we were inside they sent in those booklets, full of Psalms, a ton of Psalms. I think that at least in the house I was in for a week, we could have filled a room with the Psalms they sent us, and other booklets like that.
“There was a huge gap between what the Education Corps sent out and what the IDF rabbinate sent out. The Education Corps published a pamphlet for commanders – something about the history of Israel’s fighting in Gaza from 1948 to the present. The rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles, and … their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war. From my position as a commander and ‘explainer,’ I attempted to talk about the politics – the streams in Palestinian society, about how not everyone who is in Gaza is Hamas, and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us. I wanted to explain to the soldiers that this war is not a war for the sanctification of the holy name, but rather one to stop the Qassams.”
March 20, 2009 Leave a comment
First off let me give props to the blogger(s) who deserves it and Mondoweiss has been the leader in exposing this story to the English reading blogspere. One can’t say what the outcome of the news that Isreali soldiers purposefully shot and killed innocent civilians will be, but it’s now been said by those who did just that and it’s something that if not apparent by how the Gazan conflict was conducted was certainly pointed out by many people in the blogsphere.
Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered.
The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader’s soldiers complained that “we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist.”
The squad leader said: “You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won’t say anything. To write ‘death to the Arabs’ on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It’s what I’ll remember the most.”
There is no rhymn nor reason for this murder spree committed in the name of “fighting terrorism” which has also been glossed over with “fear” and the threat, as Rupert Murdoch said just the other night that the fate of the entire western world hinges on the existence of Israel. Of course, nothing could be further than the truth; the world existed before the state of Israel, and did rather well it might be argued, just as it will exist well after Israel has become an historic relic just as it once was, but the intent of the leaders of Israel to tie their fate with that of their western sponsors has been a constant thread allowing for the West’s acquiescence towards Israeli atrocities. It is interesting to note, already spin is being generated to calm the furor about the published (read that “leaked“) accounts.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that he believed such incidents to be exceptions, adding, “The Israeli Army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I’m talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq.”
Like most other Israeli analogies the Yugoslavia one is a faulty one. That conflict which plagued Europe went on for several years, whereas the Gaza invasion was a month long intrusion. Nevertheless the reality that civilians were targetted has been made clear. Note the word “lead” in the reference above; this was not something that was to be made known to the public, but rather kept secret in the halls of Israeli government. I wonder whether it was to be used to build upon or improve what was accomplished/committed in Gaza, the policy of the Israeli government has become just that dastard. I salute those within Israeli society who exposed this story to the international public; no doubt at great risk to their position in that society. I wish American politicians were equally courageous, because it will take that kind of courage to stop the madness known as the Israeli government from its murderous rampages.