Thursday, November 20, 2014

Intifada III Anyone?

Talk of a Third Intifada: Where to From Here, Palestine?

by Ramzy Baroud - Common Dreams

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. Now imagine if that journalist was not dependable to begin with, even more than it being “interesting”, the outcome runs the risk of becoming a mockery.

Consider the selective historical views offered by New York Times writer Thomas Freidman - exposed in the book “The Imperial Messenger” by Belen Fernandez for his pseudo- intellectual shenanigans, contradictions and constant marketing of the status quo.

In an article entitled, The Third Intifada, published last February, Friedman attempts to explain two of the most consequential events in the collective history of the Palestinian people, if not the whole region:

“For a while now I’ve wondered why there’s been no Third Intifada. That is, no third Palestinian uprising in the West Bank, the first of which helped to spur the Oslo peace process and the second of which - with more live ammunition from the Israeli side and suicide bombings from the Palestinian side - led to the breakdown of Oslo.”

Ta-da, there it is: Palestinian history for dummies, by, you know .. Friedman. Never mind that the consequences that led to the first uprising in 1987 included the fact that Palestinians were rebelling against the very detached elitist culture, operating from Tunisia, which purported to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. It was a small clique within the PLO-Fatah leadership that were not even living in Palestine at the time who signed a ruinous, secret agreement in Olso in 1993. And, at the expense of their people’s rightful demands for freedom, this arrangement won them just a few perks.

The uprising didn’t help “spur the Oslo peace process”; the ‘process’ was rather introduced, with the support and financing of the United States and others, to crush the intifada, as it did.

While there is some truth to the fact that the second uprising led to the breakdown of Oslo, Friedman’s logic indicates a level of inconsistency on the part of the Palestinian people and their revolts - that they rebelled to bring peace, and they rebelled again to destroy it. Of course, his seemingly harmless interjection there of Israel’s use of live ammunition during the second uprising (as if thousands of Palestinians were not killed and wounded by live ammunition in the first), while Palestinians used suicide bombings - for the uninformed reader, justifies Israel’s choice of weapons.

According to the Israeli rights organization B'Tselem, 1,489 Palestinians were killed during the first intifada (1987-1993) including 304 children. I85 Israelis were reportedly killed including 91 soldiers.

Over 4,000 Palestinians were killed during the second intifada, and over a 1,000 Israelis. However, according to B’Tselem, the high price of death and injury hardly ceased when the second Intifada was arguably over by the end of 2005. In “10 years to the second Intifada,” the Israeli organization reported that: “Israeli security forces killed 6,371 Palestinians, of whom 1,317 were minors. At least 2,996 of the fatalities did not participate in the hostilities when killed. .. An additional 248 were Palestinian police killed in Gaza during operation Cast Lead, and 240 were targets of assassinations.”

There are other possible breakdowns of these numbers, which would be essential to understanding the nature of popular Palestinian revolts. The victims come from diverse backgrounds: refugee camps, villages, small towns and cities. Until Israel’s devastating war on Gaza, 2008-09, the numbers were almost equally divided between Gaza and the West Bank. Some of the victims were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Israeli bullets and shells targeted a whole range of people, starting with bystanders, to un-armed protesters, stone throwers, armed fighters, community activists, political leaders, militant leaders, men, women, children, and so on.

In some tragic way, the Israeli responses to Palestinian uprisings is the best validation of the popular nature of the intifada, which goes against every claim made by Israeli leaders that say intifadas are staged and manipulated for specific political ends.

For years, many journalists have busied themselves asking or trying to answer questions regarding the anticipated Third Intifada. Some did so in earnest, others misleadingly, as in the NBC News report: Palestinian Violence Targets Israelis: Has Third Intifada Begun? Few took a stab at objectivity with mixed results as in CNN's: In Jerusalem, the 'auto intifada' is far from an uprising.

But most of them, using a supercilious approach to understanding the Palestinian collective, failed to understand what an uprising is in the first place.

Even the somewhat sensible approach that explains an intifada as popular outrage resulting from the lack of political horizon can, although at times unwittingly, seem distorted.

It is interesting that hardly any had the astuteness to predict previous uprisings. True, violence can be foreseen to some degree, but the collective course of action of a whole nation that is separated by impossible geographical, political, factional and other divides, is not so easy to analyze in merely a few sentences, let alone predict.

There were numerous incidents in the past that never culminated into an “intifada”, although they seem to unite various sectors of Palestinian society, and where a degree of violence was also a prominent feature. They failed because intifadas are not a call for violence agreed upon by a number of people that would constitute a critical mass. Intifadas, although often articulated with a clear set of demands, are not driven by a clear political agenda either.

Palestinians lead an uprising in 1936 against the British Mandate government in Palestine, when the latter did its most to empower Zionists to establish a ‘Jewish state’, and deny Palestinians any political aspiration for independence, thus negating the very spirit of the UN mandate. The uprising turned into a revolt, the outcome of which was the rise of political consciousness among all segments of Palestinian society. A Palestinian identity, which existed for generations, was crystallized in a meaningful and much greater cohesion than ever before.

If examined through a rigid political equation, the 1936-39 Intifada failed, but its success was the unification of an identity that was fragmented purposely or by circumstance. Later intifadas achieved similar results. The 1987 Intifada reclaimed the Palestinian struggle by a young, vibrant generation that was based in Palestine itself, unifying more than the identity of the people, but their narrative as well. The 2000 Intifada challenged the ahistorical anomaly of Oslo, which seemed like a major divergence from the course of resistance championed by every Palestinian generation since 1936.

Although Intifadas affect the course of politics, they are hardly meant as political statements per se. They are unconcerned with the belittling depictions of most journalists and politicians. They are a comprehensive, remarkable and uncompromising process that, regardless of their impact on political discourses, are meant to “shake off”, and defiantly challenge all the factors that contribute to the oppression of a nation. This is not about “violence targeting Israelis”, or its collaborators among Palestinians. It is the awakening of a whole society, joined by a painstaking attempt at redrawing all priorities as a step forward on the path of liberation, in both the cerebral and actual sense.

And considering the numerous variables at play, only the Palestinian people can tell us when they are ready for an intifada - because, essentially it belongs to them, and them alone.


Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Kinder Kops: RCMP Moves In On Burnaby Mountain Trans Mountain Pipeline Protesters

RCMP arrests on Burnaby Mountain will not deter opposition to Kinder Morgan

by ForestEthics Advocacy

 Caretakers call for solidarity presence on Burnaby Mountain


VANCOUVER - RCMP have arrested at least 12 Burnaby Mountain caretakers and supporters today, as police moved in to remove a long-standing protest presence against Kinder Morgan's pipeline survey crews.

The caretakers have been camped out to stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline geotechnical survey work. Arrests included Kaleb Morrison, Erin Flegg and Adam Gold, who have been on site for months. There is also a tree-sit underway at Borehole 2 to protect that site.

On Monday evening there was a mass protest in solidarity with the caretakers of Burnaby Mountain, and organizers say these arrests will not deter opposition to Kinder Morgan.

For updates on the situation: https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

- 30 -

MEDIA ADVISORY

Media contacts:

Lynne Quarmby:
Maryam Adrangi:

For updates follow #BurnabyMountain
and https://www.facebook.com/burnabymountain

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NATO Return Planned for Benighted Afghanistan

Uncomplicated, in Afghanistan

by Kathy Kelly - TeleSur

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth.

On November 7, 2014, while visiting Kabul, The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, noted that NATO will soon launch a new chapter, a new non-combat mission in Afghanistan. But it’s difficult to spot new methods as NATO commits itself to sustaining combat on the part of Afghan forces.

In an October 29th speech, in Brussels, Stoltenberg commended NATO Allies and partner nations from across the world because, for over a decade, they “stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan.” According to Stoltenberg, “this international effort has contributed to a better future for Afghan men, women and children.” Rhetoric from NATO and the Pentagon regularly claims that Afghans have benefited from the past 13 years of U.S./NATO warfare, but reports from other agencies complicate these claims.

UNAMA, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that 2013 was “the worst year for Afghan women, girls and boys since 2009, with the highest number of deaths and injuries recorded from conflict-related violence.”

“It is particularly alarming that the number of Afghan women and children killed and injured in the conflict increased again in 2013,” said the UNAMA Director of Human Rights, Georgette Gagnon.
“It is the awful reality that most women and children were killed and injured in their daily lives – at home, on their way to school, working in the fields or traveling to a social event. This situation demands even greater commitment and further efforts by the parties to protect women and children from conflict-related violence.”

Stoltenberg’s assurance of NATO’s positive contribution to civilian welfare in Afghanistan is also undermined by a recently issued Amnesty International report examining NATO/ISAF operations, such as air strikes, drone attacks and night raids, which caused civilian deaths and also involved torture, disappearances, and cover-ups. The report, entitled “Left in the Dark,” gives ten chilling and horrific case studies, occurring over a five year period, 2009 - 2013. Amnesty International states that two of the case studies “involve abundant and compelling evidence of war crimes.”

I wish that NATO’s commander could have joined Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs) that same week, in Afghanistan, as they visited an extraordinarily sustainable project, called “Emergency.” This Italy based network of hospitals and clinics has been particularly remarkable for effectively saving and improving the lives of Afghan people, over the past 13 years, while at the same time rejecting any form of war or use of weapons within its facilities.

At the entrance to any one of Emergency’s clinics or hospitals, a sign says “No Weapons Allowed.” A logo banning guns is next to the Emergency logo. Although they work in one of the most intense war zones in the world, Emergency staff, including security guards, reject any use of weapons inside their facilities.

Yusof Hakimi, the nurse in charge of Emergency’s ICU in the Kabul hospital, assured us that the ban is strictly upheld. A child isn’t allowed to carry a plastic toy gun inside the hospital premises. No one can wear camouflage clothing.

“Even the president of Afghanistan cannot carry a gun inside our hospitals!” says Luca Radaelli, the medical coordinator of Emergency’s hospital in Kabul.

He added that it’s not easy to maintain a facility where wars are banned. “But,” he adds, “everyone understands the purposes and respects the rules.”

They’ve learned unarmed ways of providing security. One such way involves an absolute commitment to neutrality. They never take sides in the various conflicts that plague Afghanistan. In fact, they don’t even ask if a patient belongs to one side or another.

Most NGOs in Afghanistan arrange for their staff to travel in heavily armed vehicles. But unarmed Emergency ambulances travel through war zones, in multiple directions, across the country. “We don’t have armed guards,” says Luca. “We don’t have bullet proof cars. We don’t change our routes because,” he explains, in his clear, matter-of-fact style, “we have never been targeted.”

Luca says they acquire security through their reputation. Since they never charge any patient for health care, no one would accuse them of trying to make a profit.

They also pursue strong diplomatic conversations with each group affected by their work. When Emergency opens a clinic, they explain their policy of maintaining neutral independence to everyone involved, including new workers, contractors, local government officials, and religious leaders. “If you provide something good, something skilled, and it is free of charge,” he adds, “there is no need to protect yourself. People won’t get angry.”

If NATO and U.S. commanders took a fraction of what they have spent securing this region by violence,- (the Pentagon has requested 58.5 billion dollars for Fiscal Year 2015 in Afghanistan),- and spent that instead on helping heal people from war and from war’s causes, providing, say, chances at a survival wage that don’t require enlisting with the local Taliban or the local warlord, sending enough food for the families war has displaced instead of weapons donated this month to one faction, next month to another; if a portion of the 104 billion the U.S. has spent on non-military aid to Afghanistan, since 2001, could have subsidized actual food crops so that poor farmers disgusted with their subsistence role in poppy production could somehow survive without it, could non-combat projects start to work, as have Emergency’s projects?

There are numerous, obvious solutions to problems in Afghanistan which NATO countries could consider, could even attempt if the alliance wasn’t there for the mineral wealth, for another foothold on which to stand between once-and-future superpower rivals and the world’s oil. The world looks so much different when you’re in it to make a profit.

But Emergency isn’t in Afghanistan to point out a sane path through disaster to all the actors, here and abroad, who seem unlikely to discard paths of suicidal hatred and ignorance.

In Luca’s view, Emergency is simply what a healthcare institution ought to be.

“It grows from a very simple idea. Provide high quality service for everyone, not thinking about profit, but just about patients' health.”

“What is so complicated?” he asks.

We might address a similar question to NATO Sec. Gen. Jens Stoltenberg: A new, non-combat mission, in Afghanistan, one that rejects weapons and war—what would be so complicated?

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (vcnv.org)

Kerry's Absurd Theatrics in Amman

John Kerry conducted a theatre of the absurd in Amman

by Mazine Qumsiyeh - Middle East Eye 

US Secretary John Kerry met in Amman with King Abdullah, PM Netanyahu, and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas for the umpteenth episode of the ongoing theatre saga dubbed the "peace process."

Just across the river in occupied Palestine, a sadly familiar scene continues to unfold: increased colonial activities; attempts to drive Jerusalemites out of the occupied city and make it into a Jewish on; restrictions on millions of Muslims and Christians from reaching their Holy sites; home demolitions; random and bizarre acts of violence; and 6,000 political prisoners languishing in Israeli gulags/prisons.

Seven million of us Palestinian are refugees or displaced people (out of a population of 12 million). Land left for us to live on in historic Palestine is now a mere 8 percent of our historic land (that includes the cantons left for us in the Galilee, Naqab, Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank).

Millions of Jewish settlers from Europe and other parts of the world now control 92 percent of the land, more than 90 percent of the water, all border crossings, and all other natural resources in the country. Israel's latest assault on the besieged people of Gaza this year killed 2,170 and injured 10,900 human beings. About 80 percent of these casualties were civilians, including 519 children who were killed and 2,114 children who were injured.

During that genocidal assault, Kerry had nothing but praise for the colonizers.

Zionism started here in the 19th century as a colonial movement to change a multi-religious flourishing Palestine (3 percent Jewish at the time) into the Jewish state of Israel in the Levant (JSIL).

The support of western powers was and continues to be critical for JSIL's establishment and (increasingly more expensive) maintenance. Kerry's intentions were made clear by his statements that were directed toward the goal of supporting JSIL. Not one word was mentioned about Palestinian rights.

The rich, manoeuvring, and conniving politicians can continue their macabre theatre in places like Amman and Washington and Ramallah and Tel Aviv, while millions of destitute people suffer and continue to stew with anger as they try to liberate themselves.

The question remains when will this insanity end and do meetings like those in Amman merely prolong the agony and give cover to ongoing atrocities? Most people here understand that the USA cannot be a peace broker when it continues to fund Israel to the tune of billions of dollars a year, arm it to the teeth, and shield it from international law by using its veto power at the UN against the will of the international community.

The US/Israel-created “Palestinian Authority” (PA) is now dominated by men more concerned for their jobs than the future of Palestine. This was the trap that was created in the negotiations in Norway in 1993 (the Oslo accords). Since then, the number of Israeli colonial settlers in the West Bank alone rose from 180,000 to 650,000. More and more, life for us - the remaining Palestinians - has become unbearable.

Maintaining a racist system has meant creating and pushing an Israeli educational and social system that increasingly forces its population to the extremes – a development that helps to explains mosque torching, random attacks on civilians with impunity, and more.

Former Israeli Knesset Member, Avraham Berg, has come to clearly understand this in his later years, writing recently in Haaretz that:

“Here are Israel's shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country's hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the Pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbours, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits....we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us.”

Declassified documents confirm now the analysis of many writers who have long argued that starting right after the 1973 war, PLO leadership including Mahmoud Abbas (of Fatah) and Nayef Hawatmeh (of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine or DFLP) were eager for a resolution that falls short of securing basic Palestinian rights, in exchange for the promise of self-determination.

There are certain inflexible positions that preclude arriving even at this sell-out positions of giving up 78 percent of historic Palestine to settle for what an American official described in 1973 as the “rump entity” and now commonly referred to as the Palestinian Authority in (parts of) the West Bank and Gaza. One major obstacle is the “enduring special relationship” between Israel and the US that Kerry speaks about and that is shaped for many decades worth of persistent Zionist lobbing in Washington.

But more and more people outside of the narrow circle of politicians are speaking out for Palestinian rights. Most people know that negotiations between occupied and occupier will get us nowhere because the math does not add-up.

Israel gets $12 bn profit every year from its occupation and that is not counting the billions from US taxpayers or the billions from arms sales marketed as “battle tested” (on the guinea pigs in Gaza).

Freedom is never freely given by the privileged oppressor to the oppressed but it must be extracted and demanded with pain and sacrifice. Resistance from inside must be complemented by support from outside that includes topics like the growing campaigns of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).

Many hope that politicians will show some leadership and take steps to enact positive change but most of us know that we the people must act first and that is the way history changes.

Many internationals show solidarity because Palestine today is the lightning rod exposing hypocrisy and racism in the same way that South Africa provided such a beacon in the 1980s.

Most people also now understand that unless human rights and international law are observed uniformly, the “Middle East” (Western Asia) and the whole world risks of continuing down the path of mayhem and killings, a might makes right approach to existence.

We must all continue and strive to travel the different path of justice and coexistence. In the meantime, let the political theatre of the absurd play to empty seats in Amman and elsewhere.

Mazin Qumsiyeh is author of 'Sharing the Land of Canaan' and 'Popular Resistance in Palestine'. He is a professor at Bethlehem University and director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Swipe a Senate


The Secret Lists that Swiped the Senate

by Greg Palast

Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can’t understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count.

The answer, Nate, is “Crosscheck.”







No question, Republicans trounced Democrats in the Midterm elections. But, if not for the boost of this voter-roll purge system used in 23 Republican-controlled states, the GOP could not have taken the US Senate.

It took the Palast investigations team six months to get our hands on the raw files, fighting against every official trick to keep them hidden.

Here’s what we found.


Interstate Crosscheck is computer system that officials claim can identify anyone who commits the crime of voting twice in the same election in two different states. While the current list of seven million “suspects” did not yield a single conviction for double voting, Crosscheck did provide the grounds for removing the registrations of tens of thousands of voters in battleground states.

The purge proved decisive in North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and elsewhere. Without Crosscheck, the GOP could not have taken control of the US Senate. [Read my original investigative report.]

Nate Silver might want to punch these numbers into his laptop:

  • In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis upset incumbent Senator Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes. North Carolina’s Crosscheck purge list targeted a stunning 589,393 voters.
  • In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, defeated Mark Udall by just 49,729 votes. Colorado’s Crosscheck “potential double voter” list totals 300,842.

The Crosscheck purge list also swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.

No, states do not purge every name on the lists. Typical is Virginia which proudly purged 64,581 “duplicates” from its voter rolls in 2013, equal to about 19% of its Crosscheck list. Other states refuse to provide numbers, but their scrub methods are the same, or even more aggressive, than Virginia’s.

We can conservatively calculate that the purge of 19% of the Crosscheck lists accounted for at least three GOP Senate victories – and thereby, control of the Senate.

If the Crosscheck lists truly identified fraudulent double voters, then we’d have to concede that the election results are legit. But the ugly truth is, the lists are nothing more than racially-loaded lists of common names.




Click to Enlarge

And that’s why GOP Secretaries of State, a gaggle of Katherine Harrises, hid the lists until we cracked through the official wall of denial and concealment. These election chieftains refused our demands for the lists on the grounds that these millions of voters are all suspects in a criminal investigation and so must remain confidential.

Eventually (and legally), we were able to get our hands on 2.1 million of the 6.9 million names—and had them analyzed by the same list experts who advise eBay and American Express.

What we found is simply a giant list of common names—a lot of voters named Michael Jackson, David Lee and Juan Rodriguez. The racial smell of it was apparent and awful. As the US Census tells us, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are 67% more likely to share a common name as a white American. In other words, the lists heavily targeted “blue” Americans, Democratic leaning voters.

While state officials claimed that the criminal double voters were matched by social security number and other key identifiers, we discovered that, in fact, they only matched first and last name. Nearly two million of the pairs of names lacked middle name matches. Example: James Elmer Barnes Jr. who voted in Georgia is supposed to be the same person as James Cross Barnes III of Virginia.

Republican officials have gone to great lengths to cover Crosscheck’s operations. Voters purged are not told they are accused of voting twice. The procedure, created by Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is to send a postcard to each “duplicate” voter requiring them to re-verify their registration. A large percentage are never delivered—Americans, especially renters and lower-income Americans, move often—or cards are tossed away confused for junk mail.

Brad Friedman, the investigative reporter with encyclopedic knowledge of elections shenanigans, was also bemused by Nate Silver’s confusion over the missing Democratic four percent. He cites the Crosscheck purges we discovered and adds in all the other tried and true methods of bending the vote, from Photo ID restrictions to missing voter registrations and a deliberate shortage of paper ballots in minority precincts. In Georgia alone, 56,000 registration forms collected by a coalition of minority voting rights groups were simply not added to the voter rolls.

The Tool to Take 2016


The purge of those snared in the Crosscheck dragnet has only just begun. The process of actually removing names from the voter rolls is subtle and slow, involving several steps over many months. Some states mark their voters on the Crosscheck list as “inactive”— which means that, if they failed to vote in this midterm election, they will be blocked from voting in 2016. As a result, Crosscheck will take an even bigger bite out of the 2016 voter rolls.

This bodes ill for the upcoming Presidential contest when, once again, Ohio is expected to be decisive. Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, John Husted, has embraced Crosscheck.

We enlisted Columbus State University professor Robert Fitrakis, an expert in voting law to canvas county voting officials. He found these local elections officials concerned that the Republican Secretary of State is pushing counties to scrub voter rolls of “duplicates” within 30 days of receiving the names from the Secretary’s office. This gives counties little time and no resources to verify if an accused voter has, in fact, voted in a second state.

Secretary of State Husted has refused to give us the list of the 469,201 names on Ohio’s Crosscheck list—but we’ve obtained thousands anyway. We found that Ohio’s lists have the same glaring mismatches as we saw in the Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia lists.

We have now launched an investigation to uncover the names of all the voters Ohio plans to scrub from the registration rolls by 2016. The answer may well determine who will choose our next president: the voters or Crosscheck.

Please support our continuing investigation into Crosscheck and other election trickery. Make a tax-deductible donation of at least $40 and receive a signed copy of Vultures and Vote Rustlers Palast’s compendium of investigative reports. Or for $50 minimum donation, get a signed copy of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.

Or become a credited Producer ($1,000 min.) or Co-Producer ($500 min.) on our upcoming film based on the book Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Watch the trailer.

You can of course support our work for any amount you can afford, no matter how small or large. we appreciate it all.

* * * * * *
For 15 years, Greg Palast has been uncovering voter suppression tactics in investigative reports for BBC Television, The Guardian, Harper’s and Rolling Stone.

Greg Palast is the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.

Get a signed copy of Palast's latest film Vultures and Vote Rustlers.

Make a tax-deductible donation and support our ongoing investigation into voter suppression.

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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Zoe Blunt, Kathy Kelly, Janine Bandcroft Nov. 19, 2014

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com

Last week, the stand-off between locally concerned Burnaby Mountain residents and allied environmentalists opposed to the proposed TransMountain project, and Kinder Morgan, the company hoping to "twin" its Tar Sands interests by doubling down on pipelines, took another turn.

The BC government granted an injunction ordering those blockading surveyors, who hope to map a pipeline route through a conservation area on the mountain, to leave or face arrest.

Some have left, some say they will leave, and others are not prepared to bow out; while still others are organizing to reinforce the blockade.

Listen. Hear.

Zoe Blunt is a Victoria-area based environmental activist, organizer, and facilitator with Wildcoast and the Victoria Forest Action Network. She's a citizen journalist whose work has been instrumental in the implementation of myriad campaigns locally, and throughout the province, to protect B.C.'s wild lands, ensuring habitat viabililty and cultural continuity for the people and animals in it. Wildcoast sees Burnaby Mountain as vital in its attempts to forestall plans to make Vancouver a major trans-shipment hub for Tar Sands bitumen.

Zoe Blunt in the first half.

And; Kathy Kelly is a long-time peace and social justice activist who has lived with and been a witness to the suffering and struggles of people brutalized by war and the business of greed from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, to Central America, Haiti and at home in the United States. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her peace service, including: Three nominations for the Nobel Peace prize; the Bradford-O'Neill Medallion for Social Justice; Oscar Romero Award; War Resisters League Peace Award; The Chomsky Award of the Justice Studies Association, and too many more to name. She's also been recognized by the US government, which has convicted and imprisoned her for steadfastly refusing to allow America's war-making go unchallenged. Kelly is also co-founder of Voice in the Wilderness and Voices for Creative Nonviolence, has written too many essays and articles to relate, is co-author of the book, 'Prisoners on Purpose: a Peacemakers Guide to Jails and Prison,' and authored the book, 'Other Lands Have Dreams: from Baghdad to Pekin Prison.'

Kathy Kelly, returned from Afghanistan again in the second half.

And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour to bring us some of the coming week's newz from our city's streets, and beyond there too. But first, Zoe Blunt and tellling it on the mountain.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. And now heard at Simon Fraser University's http://www.cjsf.ca . He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/

G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.

Israel: Classroom to Police the World Over

US Police Visit Israel to Learn New Strategies

by TeleSur

Police officers from Chicago, Illinois, in the United States, which is one of the countries with the most militarized police corps, visited Israel, which has one of the most repressive security agencies, to learn “cutting-edge policing strategies and technologies.”

The public security officials attended the Third International Homeland Security Conference held last week in Tel Aviv.

The U.S. delegation was led by the Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who spoke at the conference, according to the Jewish United Fund (JUF), which sent the officials to Israel.

Several areas were addressed during the conference, including cybersecurity, emergency preparedness, counterterrorism and critical infrastructure, such as ports, airports, trains and pipelines.

Both countries have recently been under the radar for the repressive and violent methods that their police corps use against their population.

As an example, United States security agencies have been condemned over the incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, where heavily armed policemen dispersed huge protests and riots that erupted in August after officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenage African-American boy.

Witnesses assert that Brown had his arms raised before being shot, six times. But Wilson claims he feared for his life after Brown resisted arrest.

Policemen that attended Ferguson to “control” the riots were seen using automatic rifles, camouflage uniforms and tactical equipment. Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars condemned authorities for that and asserted that the policemen were better equipped and armed than they were when at war in the aforementioned countries.

“Lets remind the officers were facing unarmed angry civilians and that the U.S. soldiers were fighting a regular army and insurgent groups, all of them using heavy weapons,” the veterans said in a joint statement.

In the other hand, Israeli security corps, who are always questioned over their lack of respect toward human and civil rights, have always been criticized for the repressive methods they use against Palestinians.

They use tear gas, rubber bullets and even real bullets to disperse demonstrations, while Palestinians throw rocks. Dozens of videos demonstrate how Israeli policemen and soldiers hit children and unarmed Palestinians.

And most recently, Israeli security agencies have staged several clashes with dozens of Palestinians after agents blocked access to the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the most holiest sites in the world for Muslims.

However, United States is not the only country that is learning Israeli methods. Agencies from over 60 nations sent representatives to the security conference in the Israeli capital, according to the JUF.

“We will now bring the lessons home; our community should feel secure knowing that the relationships in Chicago and Cook County between homeland security, law enforcement, emergency management and JUF is a testament to the strong relationships, common interests and shared concerns of everyone,” said McCarthy.​

Ten Police Crimes to Watch for in Ferguson

Ten Illegal Police Actions to Watch for in Ferguson

by Bill Quigley - What Really Happened

When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least ten different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights.

The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the US.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution promises the government will not abridge freedom of speech or to prevent the right of the people to peaceably assemble or to petition to the government for the redress of grievances.

Here is what they are going to do, watch for each of these illegal actions when the crowds start to grow.

  • One. Try to stop people from protesting. The police all say they know they have to let people protest. So they usually will allow protests for a while. Then the police will get tired and impatient and try to stop people from continuing to protest. The government will say people can only protest until a certain time, or on a certain street, or only if they keep moving, or not there, not here, not now, no longer. Such police action is not authorized by the US Constitution. People have a right to protest, the government should leave them alone.

  • Two. Provocateurs. Police have likely already planted dozens of officers, black and white, male and female, inside the various protests groups. These officers will illegally spy on peaceful protesters and often take illegal actions themselves and encourage other people to take illegal action. They will even be arrested with others but magically not end up in jail. Others inside the groups will be paid to inform on the group to the government. Comically, when undercover police are uncovered they often claim they have a constitutional right to be there and try to use the constitution they are violating as a shield!

  • Three. Snatch Squads. Police will decide who they do not like or who they think are leaders. Then they will use small heavily armed groups to knife into peaceful crowds and grab people, pull them out and arrest them.

  • Four. False Arrests. The police will arrest whoever they choose whenever they choose and will make up stories to justify the arrests. If people are breaking glass or hurting others, those arrests are legal. However, the police will arrest first and sort out who they arrested later. Police in Ferguson have already wrongfully arrested legal observers, a law professor, and church leaders.

  • Five. Intimidation. As they have shown many times in Ferguson and all over the country, once the protests heat up, police will show up in full riot gear, dressed like ninja turtles (big flashy guns, plastic shields, big batons, shin guards, gas masks, flex cuffs) and act like they are military warriors protecting people from ISIS invasion.

  • Six. Kettling or Encircling. The police will surround a group and pen them in and not let them move. They will either arrest all or force them to leave in one direction. This, as the police know fully well, always sweeps up innocent bystanders as well as protestors. NYPD did this with hundreds on Brooklyn Bridge and at many other protests. Sometimes they deploy orange plastic nets or snow fencing, sometimes just lots of police.

  • Seven. Raids on supportive churches, organizations or homes. Often the police make illegal pre-emptive raids on places where volunteers are sleeping, cooking or parking their cars. They lie to locals and accuse the protesters of links to violent organizations.

  • Eight. Pain Noise Trucks. Police will also use LRAD noise trucks (Long Range Acoustic Device). First used in Iraq now used against peaceful protesters in the US. The trucks blast bursts of sound powerful enough to cause pain. Never approved by any court, this intentional infliction of pain is another sign of the militarization of the police. Police also use MRAPs Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles – heavily armored trucks which look like tanks but roll on wheels not treads. This is part of the intimidation.

  • Nine. Arresting reporters. When the police are feeling the heat of public view, they will force journalists away from the protesters. Those who insist on engaging in constitutionally protected activity and returning to the scene will be arrested.

  • Ten. Chemical and other weapons. When the police get really desperate and afraid, they will try to disperse the entire crowd with pepper spray, tear gas, and other chemical weapons, rubber or wooden bullets. If this happens the police have just about lost control and are at their most dangerous.

Dozens and dozens of different police forces which will be surrounding the protesters in Ferguson when the Michael Brown verdict is announced. There will be federal FBI agents, Homeland Security, US Marshalls, State Police troopers, County Sheriffs, and local city cops from the dozens of little towns in and around St. Louis. Perhaps this will be the time when the peoples’ constitutional rights to protest are actually protected. We can only hope. But in the meantime, look for these common police tactics.


Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port au Prince. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

BC Liberals Fight Social Media to Save Fracking/LNG Ambitions

Govt Fears Losing LNG, Fracking Social License to Social Media: Internal Memo

by Damien Gillis - The Common Sense Canadian

The BC government is worried it can’t control the way fracking and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are being criticized through social media, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal.

As a result, the Liberal administration fears losing the “social licence” required to advance its LNG strategy – the core policy of its recent election platform and economic vision.

The June, 2014 briefing note (view full document here) was dug up by Propeller Strategy, a non-profit group with a focus on environmental and public interest issues in BC. Prepared by staff for Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman, it compares criticism of fracking with the kind of fake news and tweets that surrounded the Boston Marathon Bombing several years ago.

“Misinformation about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions relating to natural gas extraction and LNG production facilities is rampant in the community, particularly in social media,” the briefing note states.

Allowing this kind of “framing” to occur is not in the public interest as social licence is eroded.

“Cascade of misinformation”



The document uses the Boston Marathon Bombing as an example of how quickly misinformation can spread through sites like twitter and facebook. In that particular incident, thousands of false tweets muddied the public’s initial understanding of the situation.

“Part of it is people wanting to be part of the story, but part of it is spammers and hoaxers trying to cash in on the fact that people are talking about this,” UBC media professor Alfred Hermida recently explained to The Georgia Straight’s Charlie Smith in a story on social media hoaxes.

The Ministry of Natural Gas memo describes how quickly a single tweet, being picked up by twitter celebrities with large followings, can spread through “thousands of re-tweets” – creating a “cascade of misinformation.”

In the words of Winston Churchill…


Bringing it back to the government’s messaging challenges around fracking, the briefing note warns, “It’s rather difficult to win back the public once the misinformation is etched into the memory of British Columbians.”

As Winston Churchill pointed out: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

But is that a fair description of the social media discourse surrounding fracking and LNG in BC? The way the document reads, it’s as though the government takes for granted that any discouraging words said about these industries must inherently be construed as “misinformation.”

Why all the secrecy?


It’s difficult to know how much weight the government’s concerns hold, since much of the document supplied to Propeller Strategy was redacted. The entire second page, containing specific discussion and conclusions, was whited out, leaving not a single, tangible example of the kind of false claims the ministry alleges surround fracking and LNG.

Says Stan Proboszcz, who filed the FOI request, “I’m disconcerted about what the province may be planning to do to improve the industry’s failing image, given the redactions. Why all the secrecy?”
It’s clear the province is concerned with the industry’s evaporating social licence.

Cleanest fossil fuel on the planet?


Meanwhile, The Common Sense Canadian has been tracking and publishing on social media the evolving, peer-reviewed science related to fracked shale gas, which increasingly contradicts the government’s branding of BC LNG as the “cleanest fossil fuel on the planet”. (This proposed LNG industry would be fed by a major increase in fracking in northeast BC.)

Methane leaks are common with fracking operations


Cornell University climate scientist Dr. Robert Howarth – an acknowledged leader in the field of measuring the real climate impacts of fracking – scoffs at Premier Christy Clark’s “cleanest fossil fuel” claims. Based on his research into escaping methane gas, which is some 86 times more potent as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period than CO2,“natural gas – and particularly shale gas – is the worst of the fossil fuels…Your premier has her facts wrong.”

That particular story was liked over 2,300 times on facebook and widely shared amongst BC users. Is this the kind of “misinformation” in social media that the ministry is referring to?
LNG would dramatically boost BC’s carbon footprint

In addition to the climate problems associated with fracked gas, “using it in LNG is probably the worst way to use it,” Dr. Howarth explains. “It takes a tremendous amount of energy to liquefy the gas to LNG, so a lot further methane emissions associated with transporting and storing the fuel.”

Studies from the Pembina Institute suggest that just the coastal LNG plants associated with the government’s plan could more than double BC’s entire carbon footprint – and that’s only factoring in a handful of the 15-plus terminals currently proposed for the province.
…even the lower end of that development scenario would produce a staggering 73 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year by 2020. For comparison, the oilsands are currently Canada’s fastest-growing source of climate pollution — but by 2020, B.C.’s LNG plans would produce three-quarters as much carbon pollution if development proceeds as hoped.

Even the government’s own scientists have warned it about the climate consequences of its LNG vision – apparently to no avail.
Misinformation claims don’t hold water

The government is also clearly concerned about criticism of fracking’s impacts on water – criticism which, again, would seem to be prudent, based on the evidence.

In 2012, BC used close to 11 Billion litres of water for fracking – most of that drawn from the rivers, lakes and streams of northeast BC, a region already hard-hit by drought in recent years. And that’s just what was reported through government figures. Not all water extraction is properly measured or reported.

Shale gas expert David Hughes has run the numbers on what it would take to supply those LNG plants, and it means as many as 50,000 new fracked wells – close to double all the gas wells drilled in the 60-year history of the province’s gas industry.

In order to supply this LNG-driven ramp-up, he and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives researcher Ben Parfitt figure “a very conservatively estimated 582 billion litres of water would then be polluted and removed from the hydrological cycle.”

On an annual basis, that’s equivalent to all the water used by the city of Calgary.

A Century of Conflict Later, What Have We Learned from the Great War?

What We Truly Learned From the Great War

by John Chuckman - CounterPunch

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, The Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding to a longstanding principle that no one nation should ever be permitted to dominate the continent.

It was also a war between the world’s greatest existing imperial power, Britain, and another state, Germany, which aspired to become a greater imperial power than it was.

To a considerable extent, it was a war resulting from large standing armies and great arms races, a telling indictment of those who preach the false gospel of ever-greater military strength to defend freedom. As with any huge, shiny new investment, great armies will always be used, and the results are almost invariably great misery.

The First World War was not a war to end all wars, as a slogan of the time claimed. If anything, it was a precursor for a great many wars to follow, and, most importantly, it was a powerful and important cause of World War II.

It also was not a war about democracy since none of the participants, including Britain, would qualify as democracies by any reasonable reckoning with their heavily limited voting franchise and government structures stacked in the interests of old and privileged orders, quite apart from their holding empires whose populations enjoyed no franchise at all.

The war was also one of history’s great instances of mass hysteria, particularly among the young men of several countries. In Britain, there have been many laments over the loss of some fine and promising young men who rushed to join up. In Germany, it was no different, and we note one young man, then of no importance, by the name of Adolph Hitler rushing to join up, much as his British contemporaries, to share in the “glory.”

Today, we pretend shock that young men sometimes go abroad to fight for a cause, religious or otherwise, but compared to the mass insanity of World War I, what we see today is truly petty. The authorities everywhere then made great efforts to push young men, using songs, marching bands, slogans, shame and social pressure in many forms, and countless lies. The nonsense about the Kaiser’s troops bayonetting babies was one example, a lie served up again decades later with a slight twist by George Bush the Elder’s government as it desperately wanted support to invade Iraq, the babies the second time around supposedly being ripped from respirators.

World War I made absolutely no sense. It achieved nothing worth achieving, and it did so at immense cost. Apart from killing about 20,000,000 people, the war left countless crippled and disabled and created a great swathe of destruction across Europe.

If Germany had been allowed to dominate Europe for a time, it would have made comparatively little difference to the lives of most people. Indeed, today, that is the situation we find in the European Union.

It is important to realize that large wars are always revolutionary in nature, and no one at the outset can possibly predict the outcomes of such chaotic storms in terms of social, economic, and political change. World War I very much set the stage, with huge losses of men and the incompetence demonstrated by Imperial commanders, for the Communists to take power in Russia, a development which led ultimately to the Cold War.

The War’s immense costs and the realization by millions of soldiers from abroad that they fought for a nation which gave them no rights provided the great first blow towards ending the British Empire. The approaching World War II would finish the work of imperial rot and collapse.

The First World War set the stage for the rise of Hitler less than two decades later and made inevitable the catastrophe of World War II, which would inflict at least two and a half times as many deaths again and would see such horrors as the Holocaust and the use of atomic bombs.

So why, about a century later, do we still treat The Great War with reverence and sentimental remembrance?

The act of remembrance actually contradicts the sound human tendency to forget terrible experiences. Of course, we hear repeated countless times the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” one of those glib and catchy sayings which seem at first hearing to carry some deep truth. Just the consideration that in real life no two events ever can be identical makes the saying a pleasantly-phrased nonsense, resembling the aphorisms on far lighter subjects from Oscar Wilde.

Those repeating the glib phrase as received wisdom from an unimpeachable prophet always neglect to remind us of the importance of scrupulously defining what it is that you are remembering. If we remember World War One for exactly what it was, and not for what we wish it had been, we see a vast, pointless slaughter that succeeded in setting conditions for still more slaughter. Never repeating it would be a blessing indeed.

But if we see it as moving and inspirational, if we associate its name with thoughts of ending war or protecting democracy or of great camaraderie and shared hardship, if we are emotionally moved by troops in uniforms and flags flying and bugles and drumbeats, then we most assuredly will repeat it, as we have already done more than once, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the arrogant politicians and jingoes want us ready to do.

Remembrance Day surely is not about the loss of life, as we pretend it is, because the only way to hold those or any lives sacred is not to send them off to war in the first place. The ugly truth is that governments, run by men with great egos – likely more often than not, actual narcissists – who are supported by privileged wealth wanting to keep or expand its privilege, make the decision for wars largely on the basis of fairly primitive instincts, instincts about being first or not letting a competitor gain an advantage, or just vague and meaningless stuff about being manly or resolute – standing your ground, keeping a stiff upper lip, putting up with no nonsense, showing your manhood, and so on and so forth.

One American politician, in a play on an infamous quote by George Wallace, said no one would ever “out-commie” him again in an election. Such was the thinking of Lyndon Johnson in making the fatal decision to start a major war in Southeast Asia. On just such hormone-laden considerations hung a decade’s brutal fighting and the deaths of 3 million Vietnamese.

The real reason for the ceremonies and parades and speeches is to keep young men keen to go and kill and die, there being no group of humans more subject to cheap emotional appeals about glory and heroism than young men, as we see, ad nauseam, generation after generation.

As I’ve written before, humans are little more than chimpanzees with larger brains, those larger brains enabling us to magnify immensely the power of our murderous instincts, a fact we seem determined proudly to display every Remembrance Day.


John Chuckman is a writer living in Canada.

Hassan Diab: Canada Sacrifices Citizen to French Kangaroo Court

Kangaroo Court Justice for Hassan Diab

by Stephen Lendman - Dissident Voice

On November 13, 2008, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) unjustly arrested Diab. In connection with a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing. A crime he had nothing to do with. At the time, France’s Le Figaro newspaper cited unnamed 2007 sources. Saying Diab led “the small commando team responsible for the attack…” Despite no verifiable evidence proving it.

In mid-November 2008, L’Express said French police, magistrates and intelligence officers were in Canada.

“(T)ry(ing) to arrange Mr. Diab’s extradition to France. The French warrant *(unjustly) accuse(d) him of making and planting the bomb.”

His lawyer, Rene Duval, said he had no involvement at all. “Most definitely he’s innocent,” he stressed. “He didn’t even set foot in France in 1980. At the time, he was studying sociology at the University of Lebanon.”

He was unjustly accused of “driv(ing) the motorbike that eventually exploded.” Killing three French men and an Israeli woman.

Diab is a former University of Ottawa and Carleton University sociology professor. Terminated without just cause. Violating his presumed innocence right. Capitulating unjustly to political pressure.

Diab is a Lebanese national with dual citizenship. With no criminal record whatever. No involvement with the group accused of the Paris bombing.

Or other resistance organizations. Including alleged Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine membership.

No knowledge of what happened until a Le Figaro reporter told him at the University of Ottawa. On June 6, 2011, an Ottawa judge ordered Diab extradited to France. Several appeals for justice followed. To no avail.

On April 4, 2012, Canadian Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson ordered Diab’s extradition. To face terror charges.

In 2014, Diab’s appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal and Canadian Supreme Court were rejected. His extradition order remained upheld.

On November 14, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported his extradition. After Canadian Supremes refused to hear his appeal. Without explanation. Based on deeply flawed handwriting analysis. So-called secret information. Unavailable to Diab or counsel representing him.

Raising fundamental constitutionality issues. Procedural fairness. Kangaroo court justice prevailed. Operating like America’s High Court. Representing wealth, power and privilege. Anti-populist. Denying justice.

Diab’s current lawyer, Donald Bayne, confirmed what happened. Saying he didn’t even have a chance to see family members before extradition.

“We were trying to arrange, in the early morning, a visit for Dr. Diab’s wife and child before he was taken away, and the jail replied that he had been in fact picked up at 5:30 AM,” Bayne said.

“So he has not, since the decision yesterday, had even a visit with his wife or child…You can imagine. She’s beside herself with grief.”

In December 2009, Amnesty International lawyer Paul Champ said: “If the Canadian government and the French government are able to rely on this kind of intelligence information to support an extradition, I think it’s yet another step in the erosion of civil liberties that we’ve been familiar with in Canada and in other countries for a very long time.”

In October 2007, Diab told Le Figaro: “I am a victim of mistaken identity not based on anything” but unjust conjecture. “I have never belonged to a Palestinian organization, nor have I been militant politically.”

“Because of such mistaken identities, my travel in Canada was often affected.” He explained how often he’s mistaken for others with the same name, adding: “Since (9/11), we know that files are created on nothing, particularly if you are a member of a minority, and that innocent people will admit to anything if they are put under pressure.”

His JusticeForHassan.org web site said until October 2007, he “enjoyed and engaged in a productive public life, including teaching, publishing research, and traveling internationally.”

False accusations changed everything. On November 8, 2010, he released the following statement, saying:

“I am innocent of the charges against me. I condemn all ethnically, racially, and religiously motivated violence.”

“Since Sept. 11, 2001, the presumption of innocence and other core values of our legal system have eroded, especially for people from particular minority backgrounds.”

“I hope this extradition hearing will end the witch-hunt atmosphere I have been living under for the past three years, and that no one else will have to endure the burden of false, unfounded accusations.”

“I also wish to thank the many people and groups across Canada who have signed a statement in my support.”

On November 14, he issued a statement, saying:

“I am deeply shocked that the Supreme Court refused to even hear the appeal in my case.”

“This is a very sad day for me, my family and supporters, and the state of extradition law in Canada. I had hoped for justice from the Canadian legal system.”

“I have been living a Kafkaesque nightmare for over six years, fighting false allegations against me, enduring detention, strict bail conditions, the loss of my employment, and enormous stress on my family.”

“It is beyond devastating that the Supreme Court would allow my extradition for a crime that I did not commit and based on a handwriting analysis report that was shown by world-renowned handwriting experts to be wholly unreliable, totally erroneous, and biased.”

“It is shocking that this would happen in Canada, despite the numerous commissions on wrongful convictions based on faulty forensic evidence and the Court’s vow to never let this happen again.”

“I, my family, friends, and supporters, will continue to fight the false allegations that have been imposed on me, a Canadian citizen who is law-abiding, peaceful, compassionate, and who abhors violence.”

“I am grateful and heartened by the outpouring of support from thousands of individuals and organizations that recognize the injustice that I have experienced and the unfairness of Canada’s extradition law.”

“I am also deeply thankful to my devoted lawyers who tirelessly worked on my behalf for years.”

“I vow to never give up, and I will always remain hopeful that I will eventually return to my home in Canada and be reunited with my wife and children.”

His web site explained the Kafkaesque case against him, saying: Imagine being told “by a foreign country you committed a crime 30 years ago…(One) you know nothing about.”

“(Y)ou face allegations based on misrepresentations, contradictions, and secret intelligence from unknown sources.”

“(D)eeply flawed handwriting analysis is used as (so-called) ‘proof’ of your guilt when it actually (proves) innocence.”

“(F)inger and palm print evidence…shows you are innocent…” Authorities suppress it to wrongfully claim guilt.

Since November 2008, Diab endured months of detention. Loss of academic employment. Humiliating/oppressive bail conditions.

Including house arrest and hugely expensive GPS monitoring. An electronic ankle bracelet costing Diab $2,000 a month.

Letting him leave home only if accompanied by one of five sureties posting over $250,000 in bail.

Like many others of Middle East origin, he’s another war on terror victim.

Hung out to dry unjustly. His lawyer, Donald Bayne, called the Supreme Court’s decision “profoundly disappointing.”

“Unfortunately, in this case, we now have, in my view, a classic recipe for the wrongful conviction of a Canadian,” he said.

“This could never meet Canadian constitutional standards for criminal trial, yet we’re sending a Canadian to such a Kafkaesque trial, where he can’t possibly meet the standards of knowing the case against him and making and having a real and meaningful opportunity to answer that case.”

So-called secret evidence was crucial in his case. Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented instances of French courts using torture-obtained evidence to convict.

What no legitimate court would allow. What America’s Supreme Court decades earlier ruled illegal.

In testimony at Diab’s extradition November 2010 hearing, University of Toronto Law Professor Kent Roach said so-called intelligence used doesn’t meet Canadian evidentiary standards.

Raising concerns about French “tunnel vision.” Cherry-picking or inventing intelligence to convict.

Ignoring hard truths exonerating Diab. Warning about relying on unsourced intelligence.

Unverified. Unchallenged. Ignoring judicial fairness. Pronouncing guilty by accusation.

Setting a dangerous legal precedent. Undermining fundamental Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A constitutional bill of rights. Section 2(b) stating:


Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

Article 7 assures “(e)veryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and the right not to be deprived thereof in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

The Charter protects fundamental freedoms. Democratic rights. Fairness in legal proceedings. Especially in criminal cases.

Habeas rights. Challenging detention. Presumption of innocence. Unless or until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on verifiable evidence.

Constitutionally guaranteed. Prohibiting anyone being denied liberty and security. Except through proper legal procedures.

Protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. Excessive police force. Arbitrary arrest and detention.

Arbitrary/improper law enforcement actions. The right to be told precisely why arrest and detention were ordered.

Immediate counsel representation. Quick court determination whether arrest and detention are lawful. If charged with an offense, the right:

  • for prompt full explanation;
  • to be tried without unreasonable delay;
  • to remain silent at trial; not testify;
  • to presumed innocence unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; in fair, impartial, public tribunal proceedings;
  • to reasonable bail;
  • not to be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment;
  • to jury trial; and
  • to no double jeopardy; no retrial for the same offense.

Everyone is constitutionally equal before the law. With equal protections. Regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability.

Constitutionally guaranteed rights don’t matter. Canada more police state than democracy. Marching in lockstep with America. Rogue states operate this way.

Diab one of many politically persecuted victims. Guilt by accusation suffices. Deprived of judicial fairness. Justice remains denied.


Stephen Lendman wrote How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Contact him at: lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.

Sealing al-Aqsa

Political Prophecies: Sealing the Fate of al-Aqsa

by Ramzy Baroud - Middle East Eye

Israel's decision to shut down al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, 30 October, is not just a gross violation of the religious rights of Palestinian Muslims.

In fact, the rights of Palestinian Muslims and Christians have been routinely violated under the Israeli occupation for decades, especially in Jerusalem, and more recently in Gaza. During the 51-day war on the Gaza Strip, a reported 73 mosques were destroyed, while 205 were partially destroyed, according to a Palestinian government report.

The Noble Sanctuary located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is known as Haram al-Sharif in Arabic and is home to the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. It serves as much more than a religious role in Palestinian society because it is a unifying national force and symbol as well. Thus, unsurprisingly, it has been a target of numerous Israeli raids, including attempts to burn it down, or conduct excavations under it to seek the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

In response, “Defending al-Aqsa” has been an unswerving rallying cry for Palestinians throughout the years. Several Palestinian uprisings were unleashed as a reaction to Israeli political or military plans to alter the status quo over the mosque. The Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 was one such uprising. It lasted for nearly five years, during which thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis were killed in clashes that were provoked by late Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon.

That context should be remembered if the current coverage of the very worrying situation in and around Jerusalem is to be meaningful in any way. The war on the mosque, which is central to the spirituality of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, is not simply the work of a few Jewish extremists. It is part and parcel of an Israeli government agenda which has been crystalizing in recent years and months. Next month, for example, the Israeli Knesset will vote on a motion calling for the partitioning of al-Aqsa.

One of the leading advocates of that partition, at least in terms of a first step towards a complete takeover, is the Temple Mount Faithful organisation, headed by Yehuda Glick.

Founded by Gershon Salomon, Temple Mount Faithful Movement, according to its website, is dedicated to the “the vision of consecrating the Temple Mount to the Name of G‑d, to removing the Muslim shrines placed there as a symbol of Muslim conquest, to the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount, and the godly redemption of the People and the Land of Israel.”

This messianic vision is not entirely alien to the discourse of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. His logic in defence of illegal settlements in occupied Jerusalem is such: "The French build in Paris, the English build in London and the Israelis build in Jerusalem. To come and tell Jews not to live in Jerusalem - why?"

Indeed, there seems to be little conflict between the vision of the Temple Mount Faithful Movement-like organisations, the political attitude of Tel Aviv or the many steps underway to terminate Palestinian properties, demolish homes, and expand Jewish settlements.

Yehuda Glick, the well-funded US-Israeli “activist”, whose obsession with destroying al-Aqsa knows no bounds, and who has been frequenting the mosque in provocative visits under Israeli police cover for years, has been the face of the Israeli designs against al Aqsa.

On Wednesday, 29 October, a suspected Palestinian assailant shot and wounded him as he stepped out of a Jerusalem conference focused on building the Temple Mount on the ruins of al-Aqsa. His alleged attacker, Moataz Hejazi was killed by Israeli police. His sister told Al-Jazeera on 30 October that her brother was badly beaten, then taken to the roof of a nearby building and shot.

The decision to shut down al-Aqsa took place after the incident. Some in the media and in Israel see Glick - who has been a notorious figure for many Palestinian Jerusalemites throughout the years - as a victim of wanton Palestinian violence. He was “part of a growing movement among religiously militant Jews demanding more prayer rights at the al-Aqsa compound,” ABC News casualty reported.

But Glick demanded more. His group’s mission was to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem. His actions testify to this.

The shooting of Glick is reminiscent of a similar episode in the blood stained history of the region, one that had dreadful consequences. On 25 February, 1994, the US-born Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein stormed into the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) and opened fire.

The aim was to kill as many people as he could, and that he did, by killing up to 30 people and wounding over 120.

It was not enough that Israeli soldiers within the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque allowed Goldstein - armed with a Galil rifle and other weapons - access to the mosque, but they opened fire on worshippers as they tried to flee the scene. Israeli soldiers killed 24 more and injured others.

Goldstein was a member of the Jewish Defence League (JDL), a racist party of Jewish extremists founded by Meir Kahane. The Temple Mount Faithful, like other such extremists groups, consider Goldstein, a hero. Like Glick, Goldstein was also American and lived in an illegal al-Khalil settlement.

While Goldstein’s mass murder was condemned by many, including many Israelis, there is no denial that Jewish extremists, who are mostly populating the illegal settlements of the West Bank and Jerusalem, are part of a larger Israeli government plan aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians.

While Israeli bulldozers dig into Palestinian land during the day, levelling mounds of ground and destroying olive groves for settlement expansion, heavy machinery burrows beneath the Old City of al-Quds - Jerusalem - at night. The Israelis are looking for evidence of what they believe to be ancient Jewish temples, presumably destroyed in 586BC and 70AD.

To fulfil the "prophecy," Jewish extremists believe that a third temple must be built. But of course, there is the inconvenient fact that on that particular spot exists one of Islam's holiest sites: The Noble Sanctuary. It has been an exclusively Muslim prayer site for the last 1,300 years.

The combination of right-wing politicians allied with religious zealots is now defining the Israeli attitude towards Palestinians, particularly in Jerusalem. They are eyeing al-Aqsa for annexation, the same way the Israeli government is labouring to permanently annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank.

In fact, last February, the Israeli Knesset chose the 20th anniversary of the Goldstein massacre of Palestinians in al-Khalil, to begin a debate concerning the status of the al-Aqsa compound. Powerful right-wingers want the government to enforce its "sovereignty" over the Muslim site, which is administered by Jordan per the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty of 1994. Israeli MP, Moshe Feiglin, is the man behind the move, but he is not alone.

Feiglin is a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, and has strong backing within the party, the government and the Knesset. His supporters include Yehuda Glick, the American-born fanatic.

It remains unclear what fate awaits al-Aqsa Mosque. Caught between Israeli annexation plans, raids of Jewish extremists, international silence and a history of bloodshed, al-Aqsa is facing difficult days ahead, as indeed are the people of Jerusalem, whose suffering, like their city, seems eternal.

Ramzy Baroud is a PhD scholar in People's History at the University of Exeter. He is a consultant at Middle East Eye. Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

One Wall Down...

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Multiplication of Western Walls

by James Petras

On November 9, 2014, Germany and its Western Allies, celebrated the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ and the subsequent‘re-unification’of the ‘two Germanys’. Prime Minister Merkel described the ‘historic event’ as a “victory of freedom for all peoples in Europe and across the world.”

The entire Western media and officialdom echoed Merkel’s rhetoric, as 300,000 Germans gathered at the Brandenburg Gate hailed their leader as she spoke of ‘one people, one nation and one state in freedom, peace and prosperity…’

But Merkel’s discourse is a self-serving chauvinist fabrication which distorts the real consequences of a united Germany. Moreover, the Western celebration of ‘fallen walls’ is very selective.

The notion that Germany was ‘unified’ democratically is of dubious historical accuracy. The consequences of a powerful unified Germany have not led to a peaceful prosperous Europe and Germany’s current role in world politics, particularly its policies toward the Middle East, North Africa and the Ukraine, has been anything but peaceful.

The Walls of Freedom and the Walls of Prison


While NATO regimes celebrate the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ as the highest expression of freedom, these same political leaders support, finance and promote the construction of oppressive walls throughout world: Unified Germany and its NATO partners have supported Israel’s Separation Wall dividing and caging millions of Palestinians for the better part of two decades. Apparently there are progressive and reactionary ‘walls’ – ‘good walls’ and ‘bad walls’. Unlike the Palestinians, Berliners were never deprived of basic necessities and subject to random displacement or even murder – the Western airlift provided all for West Berliners. Israel’s Separation Wall results in division and seizure of Palestinian land, ancestral homes, farms, schools and cultural sites while centuries-old olive groves are razed – depriving their owners of productive income.

The US has built its own massive ‘Security Wall’ along its Mexican border, incarcerating and even shooting refugees fleeing Washington’s militarization of Central America and Mexico. The US ‘Security’ Wall condemns millions of Mexicans and Central Americans to live in terror and misery in murderous US client narco-states. In the past seven years, over 100,000 Mexican civilians have been killed under the reign of US-backed Presidents, who were elected through fraud, as they relentlessly pursue the US mandated “War on Drugs”. Similar levels of killings ravage Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala where narco-gangs, with the backing of corrupt political, police and military officials, terrorize the cities and countryside. The death toll from US military interventions in Central America far exceeds those by the former-Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. The US border wall ensures that the survivors of this terror will remain exposed to the brutal rule of US-backed regimes.

At the same time, the civilized ‘European Union’ has erected its land and sea ‘Walls against refugees’ from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Palestine, fleeing NATO directed invasions and proxy wars in their countries. According to the UN Commission on Refugees, 13 million civilians have been displaced by US wars in Iraq and Syria. Many fleeing the war zones crash up against the European ‘legal walls’ – immigration restrictions, concentration or “internment” camps and prolonged detentions welcome their “flight to freedom”.

Chancellor Merkel chose not to mention these ‘civilized’ walls against people fleeing NATO’s ‘humanitarian interventions’. Nor have the Prime Ministers and Presidents of Europe or the US and its ‘ally’ Israel acknowledged the deaths and suffering…because these are their Walls, their own ‘barriers to freedom’.

Democratic Re-Unification or Annexation by Force


Merkel glosses over the crucial fact that the East Germans were never consulted or allowed to hold a free election to decide what kind of relation they would like with the West German regime. They were never asked under what terms and in what time frame “reunification” would take place. The West German regime seized control and dictated economic and social policies that destroyed their eastern neighbors’ economy by fiat. Hundreds of thousands of East German factory-workers faced brutal arbitrary firings as the capitalist ‘West’ shut closed state factories. East German farmers looked on helplessly as their prosperous, stable co-operatives were dissolved on the orders of West German officials. Where was the democracy in this policy of brutal annexation and political viciousness that slashed the former ‘East’ Germans living standards, multiplied unemployment ten-fold, greatly prejudiced the welfare benefits and employment of female workers and devastated pensioners? Over 1.5 million Eastern German workers were uprooted and became economic refugees in the ‘West’ where wages were double the rate in ‘liberated’ East Germany. The wages were higher, but so was the job insecurity and the loss of social welfare provisions of the East. And if the death of 138 East Germans during 28 years, trying to escape over the Wall, was a tragedy, then what should we call the thousands who have drowned or died other horrible deaths trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe or to scale the Wall separating the US and Mexico, or Israel’s Wall strangling six million Palestinians?

There are many ‘death strips’ denying Latin Americans, Palestinians, Middle Easterners their freedom from want, blocking their escape from US-NATO wars and Israeli genocide. But those ‘atrocious walls’ were not mentioned by Chancellor Merkel at the Brandenburg Gate as she celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The scribes and scribblers from the New York Times, the Financial Times and the Washington Post did not mention these real, contemporary walls and their brutal toll. The selective denunciation of certain Walls contrasts with the politics of erecting ‘other’, more formidable Walls. Western walls of exclusion carry with them a denial of responsibility for the political and economic conditions that has driven millions of refugees to flee Central America, Palestine, the Middle East and North Africa.

US intervention and support of proxy death-squad regimes and the brutal military in Central America, from the 1960’s to the 1990’s, resulted in over 250,000 civilian deaths and the displacement of over 2 million refugees.

US-EU invasions and proxy wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria for over a decade have uprooted more than 13 million people and killed well over million civilians.

Israel’s wars and occupation against the Palestinian people have resulted in over 500,000 Jewish colonial settlers grabbing Palestinian land since 1967.The self-proclaimed Jewish state forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands and killed, maimed and jailed over 300,000. To admit that the West constructs and maintains its own system of atrocious walls inevitably points to the policy of decades of prolonged bloody imperialist wars leading to millions of refugees.

Imperial wars are characterized by the construction and maintenance of complex ‘Western Walls’, far deadlier and brutal than the Berlin Wall and less likely to fall. In fact, Western Walls are multiplying and being fortified by the latest surveillance technology. Larger budgets and more lethal arms for anti-immigrant police, has led to the brutal hunt, capture and incarceration of refugees – as Western regimes become more like police states .

The Malignant Consequences of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Annexation of East Germany


The annexation of East Germany vastly increased the economic power of Germany, providing German capital with several million skilled workers and trained engineers at no cost. Germany’s enhanced power dictated the course of the European Union’s economic policy. With the onset of the economic crisis, Germany’s capitalist and political elite were well positioned to dictate the terms of ‘recovery’ – and impose the entire burden on the working and middle classes of Southern Europe and Ireland. Germany’s ruling class, in firm control of the EU directorate, forced “austerity programs” on Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland. These regressive policies, which ensured that creditors would recover their loans with interest, led to spiraling unemployment rates, in some cases of over 50% for young people, and long-term, large-scale decline in living standards. ‘Unified Germany’ flexed its newly found economic muscle and extended its hegemony over the EU and ensured debt payments from its European subjects.

Unified Germany’s economic power led to renewed political and military aspirations to engage and assert its presence in the US led imperial wars in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the Ukraine. By the end of the first decade of the 21stcentury ‘united Germany’ was profitably supplying weapons, logistics and military missions in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. It provided Israel with weapons and economic aid while Palestinians were expelled from their homes and land. Merkel’s imperial ambitions were revealed in her wholehearted backing of the far-right coup in Ukraine. Subsequently Germany imposed sanctions against Russia and supported the Kiev regime’s savage military blitz against the Donbass. In the Ukraine, Germany once again, as in the 1930’s, found allies among neo-Nazi collaborators and thugs willing to slaughter ethnic Russian speaking federalists in the East. Merkel’s dream is to convert the Ukraine into a German-American client state, where German exports would replace Russian goods and German agro-mineral investors can exploit the country’s raw materials.

Conclusion


It is obvious that Merkel, Obama and other imperialist rulers have a double standard with regard to ‘Walls’ – they denounce ‘Communist Walls’ while supporting murderous ‘Capitalist Walls’ against refugees; they celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall while they build bloodier Walls against the victims of their imperial wars.

Apart from the cant and hypocrisy of Western officialdom, there is a political logic guiding these policies. The West’scriteria , for deciding which Walls are worthy of support and which Walls should fall, runs along the following lines: Walls that keep out victims of imperialist wars are progressive and necessary for ‘national security’; Walls that protect Communist, nationalist or leftist regimes are repressive, dehumanizing and must fall.

If we consider the larger political consequences of an event, like the fall of the Berlin War and the subsequent arbitrary annexation of the East, it is clear that ‘re-unified’ Germany’s exercise of power has had a profoundly negative impact on the economies of Southern Europe and has concentrated dictatorial political powers in the hands of German decision-makers operating through EU headquarters in Brussels. Unified Germany has renounced its passive role and re-asserted its role in world politics: slowly at first as a passive junior partner to US imperialist wars in the Middle East and now, more decisively, by linking up with Ukraine rightists and thugs and imposing economic sanctions on Russia.

Germany’s ‘great fall’ after World War II required a half century to “put all the pieces together again”. But once in place, Germany seeks to project world power, particularly through its proxies in the EU and NATO, in alliance with US imperialism. The Fourth Reich increasingly looks back to the Third Reich.