Israel beats and tortures children; U.S. tries to spin mass murder of civilians in the Obama-led Farah Massacre; Democrats’ consent makes these Obama’s wars; Gleen Greenwald on “state secrets” and Obama’s rhetoric against secrecy conflicting; Iran protests continue despite orders from Supreme Leader to cease; John Dugard blasts Obama’s silence on the Gaza Massacre; Chicago Police to ‘celebrate’ 1968 brutality next week.
“Israeli Army Beats and Tortures Children” by Jonathon Cook (AntiWar.com): “[H]undreds of Palestinian minors are prosecuted by Israel each year without a proper trial and are denied family visits… 150 detainees were blindfolded and handcuffed from behind, with the nylon restraints so tight their hands turned blue. The worst beatings, the soldiers said, occurred in the school toilets…. According to one soldier’s testimony, a boy of about 15 was given “a slap that brought him to the ground”. He added that many of his comrades “just knee [Palestinians] because it’s boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up”. The whole article is full of these accounts — findings from Defense for Children International, confirmed by Israeli human rights groups Yesh Din and B’Tselem.
“McChrystal Looks to Spin Afghan Civilian Deaths Problem” by Gareth Porter (IPS): “[T]here are growing indications that his command is preparing to deal with the issue primarily by seeking to shift the blame to the Taliban through more and better propaganda operations and by using more high-tech drone intelligence aircraft to increase battlefield surveillance rather than by curbing the main direct cause of civilian casualties…. The command has argued both that the Taliban were responsible for the massive civilians casualties in a U.S. airstrike on May 4 that killed 147 civilians, including 90 women and children, and that the number of civilian deaths claimed has been vastly exaggerated, despite detailed evidence from village residents supporting the casualty figures.” Guy Smallman wrote a pretty in-depth analysis of the May 4 Farah province bombing in today’s FT. David Zucchino’s article in the LAT just shows how all executions of this war is just executive orders to kill civilians, if you ignore the title which can lead you believe you’re suppose to sympathize with the “tough decisions” of the U.S. military and it’s decider-in-chief. Though, the military sticks to the statement that only 26 civilians were killed after a probe (somehow the report [.pdf] magically equals the impromptu estimate), the report cites an Afghan human rights group concluding 86 civilians dead without discrediting it. The U.S. will not pursue any internal disciplinary actions for the Farah Massacre, so it’s pretty clear that the massacre was ‘mission accomplished’, right?
U.S. Senate passed the $106bn war bill 91-5. The five nays came from Sens.: Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Michael Enzi (R-WY). Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened to vote nay on every bill or abstain or something unless a bill passed blocking the release of torture photos. The president backed this bill to block transparency into evidence of war crimes and it passed, as well.
“These Are Obama’s Wars Now” by Joshua Frank slams the politics of mass murder after House Democrats vote to escalate the Af-Pak War out of “loyalty to the president”. (AntiWar.com)
The White House “threatened to pull support from Democratic freshmen who vote no,” the San Francisco Chronicle quote on which Norman Solmon bases his article, “Obama Targets Antiwar Democrats“.
Pakistan has “officially launched” an offensive on South Waziristan, backed by Pres. Obama.
A bill to block the closure of Gitmo did not pass the House. 212 yays and 213 nays.
Glenn Greenwald on the political doublespeak of domestic spying (Salon): “Every time new revelations of illegal government spying arise, the same exact pattern repeats itself: (1) euphemisms are invented to obscure its illegality (“overcollection”; “circumvented legal guidelines”; “overstepped its authority”; “improperly obtained”); (2) assurances are issued that it was all strictly unintentional and caused by innocent procedural errors that are now being fixed; (3) the very same members of Congress who abdicate their oversight responsibilities and endlessly endorse expanded surveillance powers in the face of warnings of inevitable abuses (Jay Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, “Kit” Bond, Jane Harman) righteously announce how “troubled” they are and vow to hold hearings and take steps to end the abuses, none of which ever materialize; (4) nobody is ever held accountable in any way and no new oversight mechanisms are implemented; (5) Congress endorses new, expanded domestic surveillance powers; and then: (6) new revelations of illegal government spying emerge and the process repeats itself, beginning with step (1).” Mr. Greenwald also had an excellent post putting Pres. Obama’s words next to his actions regarding transparency.
The CIA delayed the release of a secret prisons report. The report was released last year and so redacted, it wasn’t legible. The ACLU expected the report today.
The CIA is recruiting on Wall Street, the Lex blog on FT reports: “‘You didn’t see the financial crisis coming. We missed 9/11 and the end of the cold war. Sounds like a match made in heaven – particularly now that you’re unemployed.’ This is not how recent internet adverts from the Central Intelligence Agency targeted at financial professionals read.” You once controlled the money supply, now help us protect the bosses who laid you off after you helped them loot humanity of tens of trillions of dollars. Gotta love how the CIA makes a cute joke out of Wall St.’s robbery and a day where over 3,000 people died that was used as a guise to kill well over a million and create more than five times as many refugees as a recruiting tool.
‘Ahmadinejad probably won the Iran election’, two American pollsters wrote in WaPo and the Guardian a couple of days ago. Last week, one of the pollsters, Ken Ballen wrote a favorable article of Iranians wanting regime change, supporting diplomacy with the West, more freedom, but Ahmadinejad was well ahead in their polls. Mr. Ballen was on AntiWar Radio last week before the election and the co-author of this article, Patrick Doherty was on Wednesday to discuss this article.
About 100,000 marched in Tehran in memorial of those who’ve died in the protests following Iran’s disputed election. Iran’s Guardian Council is investigating 646 complaints filed by the three candidates who opposed Pres. Ahmadinejad. The Iranian government’s secret police are being ordered to start cracking more heads and are infiltrating the protests with “shock troops… working in stealth“. The NYT put the death toll at 13 thus far. Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has told the primary opposition candidate, Mir Housein Mousavi to accept Mr. Ahmadinejad as president or leave Iran. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s (AI) Middle East and North Africa Programme said, “We are extremely disturbed at statements made by Ayatollah Khamenei which seem to give the green light to security forces to violently handle protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views… For a Head of State to put the onus of security on peaceful demonstrators and not on the security forces is a gross dereliction of duty and a license for abuse.” AI’s press release continues: “Peaceful assembly is expressly permitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a state party.” In defiance, Iranians will protest Saturday.
An anonymous Iranian student was published in the NYT — writing about the stark differences between Iranians in 1979 and June 2009. Great article for those who think Iranians live in caves plotting against America on their magic carpets.
“Iran: Epic Fail? No Such Luck” by Thomas Knapp (C4SS): “[I]t’s too early to tell whether or not the Iranian masses are truly in the process of putting together a revolution. If so, good on them … but don’t expect too much…. By way of analogy to Russia, it looks a lot more like 1905 than 1917, and the outcome is likely to be similar as well: A few reforms, with the lion’s share of those reforms snatched back in short order and the real reckoning postponed for another day. That said, it’s always exciting to see the people taking to the streets, inspiring to watch as they face down truncheons, tear gas and even bullets, as they grasp toward whatever they’ve understood, for the moment, to represent freedom.”
“The core issue is whether, given the dimension of protests, internal and international, Khamenei will come to view Ahmadinejad as a liability,” Roger Cohen comments in the NYT from Tehran. A lot of Truth in that statement. The “revolution” will be as effective as the Ayatollah feels it will be difficult to go with the current results. There’s little reason (right now) to believe the Ayatollah will be toppled.
About 57 of the 229 Gitmo detainees will be tried in U.S. courts. The Justice Dept. says the number could be as high as 80.
“Israel’s Crimes, America’s Silence” by John Dugard (The Nation) is a criticism of Pres. Obama’s silence toward the recent Gaza Massacre. The criticism takes an in-depth at the Arab League’s Independent Fact Finding Committee (IFFC) report on this year’s massacre, concluding: “We concluded that these actions constituted war crimes and that those responsible committed the war crimes of indiscriminate attacks on civilians and the killing, wounding and terrorization of civilians…. Israel has possibly secured impunity for itself by failing to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court…. A bold Obama speech on Gaza would have ensured that the public is on notice that it’s not business as usual in Washington. Even American allies, such as Israel, should have to answer evidence of serious international crimes.”
U.N. nuclear watchdog: Israel’s 2007 attack on Syria was a “clear violation of international law“. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei was accused of political bias and responded that Israel needs to stop telling him how to do his job and be held accountable for their nuclear arsenal. Israel has an estimated 75-400 nuclear weapons. The number is unsure because they are one of four nuclear powers to not have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). NPT signatories are subject to inspections by the IAEA. Israel wants everyone else watched, but not them. As far as I know, it wasn’t Syria or Iran that massacred almost 1,000 Gazan civilians in three weeks this year. Who’s the threat to “peace in the Middle East”? Mr. ElBaradei basically told Israel to STFU until it holds itself to the minimal standards it wants the big guns of the world to hold everyone else to.
Saree Makdisi does a phenomenal job at breaking down the Newspeak of the Palestine-Israel conflict in her LAT op-ed today: “[W]hy is no Palestinian leader referred to here as a ‘hawk’? Why are Israeli politicians rarely labeled ‘extremists’? Or, for that matter, ‘militants’?… Similarly, Israeli housing units built in the occupied territories in contravention of international law are always called “settlements” or even “neighborhoods” rather than what they are: colonies.’… Look up the word ‘state’ in the dictionary. You’ll probably see references to territorial integrity, power and sovereignty. The entity that Netanyahu was talking about on Sunday would lack all of those constitutive features.”
FROM GAZA: “Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis” by Eva Bartlett (IPS)
“We cannot accept this vision about absolutely, completely freezing all settlements,” Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to the U.S. Secy. of State Hillary Clinton. Daniel Dombey of the FT reported: “While Mr Lieberman suggested that Israel had reached ‘some understandings with the previous [Bush] administration’ allowing natural growth, Mrs. Clinton vigorously rejected such a claim.” According to Mr. Liberman, the settlements are ‘an excuse for avoiding peace talks‘. No, sir. The settlements are you bulldozing someone’s house down and saying, “Tough luck. Sucks to not be a Jew.”
“[Palestinians] do want a Palestinian state, but much more they want there to be no Jewish state,” writes Israel Harel in Ha’aretz. No shit. Shame on Palestinians for not wanting to be second-class citizens in where they reside within Israel and on land that would be conceded to Israel in the West Bank. The Palestinians don’t want an Islamic state, either. This is uncontroversial.
RT story on young Israelis for peace ditching the military.
“Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili started the war by attacking South Ossetia on August 7, 2008,” Robert Bridge analyzes the recent Der Spiegel article on an EU probe into the Russo-Georgia War last year, where the U.S. backed Georgia. (RT) Listen to “The U.S., Russia, Georgia, and the Five-Day War” for more of the Five-Day War between Russia and Georgia last August. It should not be forgotten.
The U.S. military is stationing ground-based missile systems in Hawaii and radar nearby — a move suspected to better track North Korea sea vessels to boss around. (RT)
Russia conducted the largest military drill since the Soviet Union collapse as the U.S. moves to station missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. (RT)
Human Rights Watch calls for an international probe into abuses by the Sri Lanka gov’t and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) after Sri Lanka abruptly ended an internal probe which began in 2006, leaving over half of the cases dormant. BBC: “A usually pro-government newspaper, The Island,… launched a scathing attack on the police, saying they were only efficient if they had political orders to prosecute someone — but that when opposition or media figures were physically attacked, they were liable to ignore it.” According to preliminary U.N. estimates, the brutal 25+ year civil war killed over 100,000 and displaced over 250,000 civilians in its final days where the Sri Lanka gov’t attacked civilian hospitals and refugee camps under the allegation that the LTTE were using the civilians as “human shields”.
280,000 refugees are still being held, involuntary, in refugee camps surrounded by barbed wire. (CSM)
UN: World hunger hits 1,020,000,000. That’s billion with a “B”. Good ole’ humanitarian IMF — robbing and indebting the hungry, plundered, and defenseless worldwide.
Peru’s prime minister, Yehude Simon, is resigning. There’s an uprise of the indigenous there. A recent clash between activists and police left scores dead. Official reports have said around nine civilians died in that clash. Civilians have said as many as 40 and there are eyewitness accounts of police dragging dead bodies into the river.
For all you big government fans, Pres. Obama’s “council of regulators” will have no say over the Federal [sic] Reserve. Not that it matters when the person heading this “council of regulators” is bankster butt-boy #1, Treasury Secy. Timothy Geithner. Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX} bill to audit the Fed is now at 232 co-sponsors (16 more than needed to pass).
Clinton Clad-Johnson reports on the D.C.police killing of Trey Joyner, who was shot multiple times in the back. (SWO)
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Chicago Police union, members from 1968 are getting together next week to celebrate beating the shit out of protesters at the Democratic Party convention that year. Chicago Copwatch is hosting a rally on June 28 “against police brutality and in celebration of murdered Black Panther Mark Clark’s 62nd birthday. From the group’s blog: “Officers who cracked heads at the Democratic Convention (and at the Division Street riots of 1966, and murdered Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark) will be hobnobbing with today’s police who are still occupying our communities and repressing our rallies.” We’re in Chicago and we”ll be there.
Warren Richey analyzed the significance of yesterday’s SCOTUS case declaring the State has the right to deny DNA testing to an inmate looking to be exonerated. My response to the case is here. (Little Alex)
The ACLU is suing U.S. Homeland Security over the Transportation Security Organization (TSA) over the illegal detention of Campaign for Liberty (C4L) Treasurer Steve Bierfeldt in St. Louis, last April. He was bullied by the TSA thugs for carrying cash and material supporting C4L founder Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Remember that Missouri report branding Dr. Paul’s supporters as potential terrorists? The recording of Mr. Bierfeldt’s detention is on the ACLU website.
China’s dictating that Google block foreign web sites. LOL?