Saturday, January 23, 2010

Report: US Weapon Test Aimed at Iran Caused Haiti Quake

Stranger Than Fiction?
Report: US Weapon Test Aimed at Iran Caused Haiti Quake
By Press TV

January 23, 2010 "Press TV" -- An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before the weapons could be utilized against Iran.

United States Navy test of one of its 'earthquake weapons' which was to be used against Iran, went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report.

After the report was released, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also made a similar claim, saying that a US drill, carried out in preparation for a deliberate attempt to cause an earthquake in Iran, had led to the deadly incident in Haiti, claiming more than 110,000 lives.

Though Russian Northern Fleets' report was not confirmed by official sources, the comments attracted special attention in some US and Russian media outlets including Fox news and Russia Today.

Russia Today's report said that Moscow has also been accused of possessing and utilizing such weapons.

In 2002, a Georgian Green Party leader claimed that Moscow had instigated an earthquake on Georgian territory, the TV channel said.

According to ViVe, the unconfirmed Russian report says earlier this month the US carried out a similar test in the Pacific Ocean, which also caused another 6.5 magnitude earthquake in an area near the town of Eureka, California.

The California quake resulted in no deaths or serious injury, but left many buildings damaged.

The Venezuelan news website said that the report also introduced the possibility that the US Navy may have had "full knowledge" of the damage that the test could cause.

The report also speculated that knowledge of the possible outcome was why the US military had pre-positioned the deputy commander of US Southern Command, General P. K. Keen, on the island so that he could oversee relief efforts if the need arose.

Based on the alleged report, the ultimate goal of the US weapons tests was to initiate a series of deadly earthquakes in Iran to topple the current Islamic system in the country.

The tests are believed to be part of the United States' High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), which has been associated with many conspiracy theories.

Other than being blamed for earthquakes, HAARP has also been associated with weather anomalies that cause floods, droughts and hurricanes.

Some sources have even linked the 7.8 magnitude quake that shook the Chinese city of Sichuan in May 12, 2008 with the program.

Allegations have been made that since the late 1970's, the US has 'greatly advanced' the state of its earthquake weapons to the point where it is now utilizing devices that employ a Tesla Electromagnetic Pulse, Plasma and Sonic technology, along with 'shockwave bombs.'

Russia has accused the US military of employing such devices in Afghanistan to trigger the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the country back in March, 2002.

In the mid-1990s the Russian State Duma issued a press release on HAARP, which was signed by 90 deputies. The statement said the US was "creating new integral geophysical weapons that may influence the near-Earth medium with high-frequency radio waves."

"The significance of this qualitative leap could be compared to the transition from cold steel to firearms, or from conventional weapons to nuclear weapons.”

“This new type of weapons differ from previous types in that the near-Earth medium becomes at once an object of direct influence and its component,” the statement explained.

In 1997, US Secretary of Defense William Cohen also expressed concern about activities that "can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves."

The US government, however, has chosen to stick to its position that HAARP is merely a program aimed at analyzing the Earth's ionosphere for the purpose of developing communications and surveillance technology.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?

The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti:

By Michel Chossudovsky

Haiti has a longstanding history of US military intervention and occupation going back to the beginning of the 20th Century. US interventionism has contributed to the destruction of Haiti's national economy and the impoverishment of its population.

The devastating earthquake is presented to World public opinion as the sole cause of the country's predicament.

A country has been destroyed, its infrastructure demolished. Its people precipitated into abysmal poverty and despair.

Haiti's history, its colonial past have been erased.

The US military has come to the rescue of an impoverished Nation. What is its Mandate?

Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?

January 17, "GlobalResearch" January 15, 2010 -- The main actors in America's "humanitarian operation" are the Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (See USAID Speeches: On-The-Record Briefing on the Situation in Haiti, 01/13/10). USAID has also been entrusted in channelling food aid to Haiti, which is distributed by the World Food Program. (See USAID Press Release: USAID to Provide Emergency Food Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims, January 13, 2010)

The military component of the US mission, however, tends to overshadow the civilian functions of rescuing a desperate and impoverished population. The overall humanitarian operation is not being led by civilian governmental agencies such as FEMA or USAID, but by the Pentagon.

The dominant decision making role has been entrusted to US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

A massive deployment of military hardware personnel is contemplated. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has confirmed that the US will be sending nine to ten thousand troops to Haiti, including 2000 marines. (American Forces Press Service, January 14, 2010)

Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships has already arrived in Port au Prince. (January 15, 2010). The 2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit as well as and soldiers from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division "are trained in a wide variety of missions including security and riot-control in addition to humanitarian tasks."

In contrast to rescue and relief teams dispatched by various civilian teams and organizations, the humanitarian mandate of the US military is not clearly defined:

“Marines are definitely warriors first, and that is what the world knows the Marines for,... [but] we’re equally as compassionate when we need to be, and this is a role that we’d like to show -- that compassionate warrior, reaching out with a helping hand for those who need it. We are very excited about this.” (Marines' Spokesman, Marines Embark on Haiti Response Mission, Army Forces Press Services, January 14, 2010)

While presidents Obama and Préval spoke on the phone, there were no reports of negotiations between the two governments regarding the entry and deployment of US troops on Haitian soil. The decision was taken and imposed unilaterally by Washington. The total lack of a functioning government in Haiti was used to legitimize, on humanitarian grounds, the sending in of a powerful military force, which has de facto taken over several governmental functions.


US Military Assets to be Sent to Haiti. (according to official announcements)

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50).

A 2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and soldiers from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne division. 900 soldiers are slated to arrive in Haiti by January 15th.

Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships. (arrived in Port au Prince on January 15, 2010): USS Carl Vinson CVN 70

The hospital ship USNS Comfort

Several U.S. Coast Guard vessels and helicopters

USS Carl Vinson

The three amphibious ships will join aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and guided-missile frigate USS Underwood.

USS Normandy

Leading Role of US Southern Command

US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) with headquarters in Miami is the "lead agency" in Haiti. Its mandate as a regional military command is to carry out modern warfare. Its stated mission in Latin America and the Caribbean is "to conduct military operations and promote security cooperation to achieve U.S. strategic objectives." (Our Mission - U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) The commanding officers are trained to oversee theater operations, military policing as well "counterinsurgency" in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the recent establishment of new US military bases in Colombia, within proximity of the Venezuelan border.

General Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command has defined the Haiti emergency operation as a Command, Control, Communications operation (C3). US Southern Command is to oversee a massive deployment of military hardware, including several warships, an aircraft carrier, airborne combat divisions, etc:

"So we're focused on getting command and control and communications there so that we can really get a better understanding of what's going on. MINUSTAH [United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti], as their headquarters partially collapsed, lost a lot of their communication, and so we're looking to robust that communication, also.

We're also sending in assessment teams in conjunction with USAID, supporting their efforts, as well as putting in some of our own to support their efforts.

We're moving various ships that we had in the region -- they're small ships, Coast Guard cutters, destroyers -- in that direction, to provide whatever immediate assistance that we can on the ground.

We also have a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, moving in that direction. It was at sea off of Norfolk, and so it's going to take a couple of days for it to get there. We need to also just resupply it and give it the provisions it needs to support the effort as we look at Haiti. And then we're looking across the international agencies to figure out how we support their efforts as well as our efforts.

We also are looking at a large-deck amphibious ship with an embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit on it that will be a couple of days behind the USS Vinson.

And that gives us a broader range of capability to move supplies around, to have lift capability to help support the effort there also.

So bottom line to it is, we don't have a clear assessment right now of what the situation on the ground is, what the needs within Port-au-Prince are, how extensive the situation is.

We also, finally, have a team that's headed in to the airport. From my understanding -- because my deputy commander just happened to be in Haiti when this situation happened, on a previously scheduled visit. He has been to the airport. He says the runway is functional but the tower doesn't have communications capability. The passenger terminal -- has structural damage to it, so we don't know what the status of it is.

So we have a group going in to make sure we can gain and secure the airfield and operate from it, because that's one of those locations we think we're going to have a lot of the immediate effort from an international basis going into.

And then we're out conducting all the other assessments that you would consider appropriate as we go in and work this effort.

We're also coordinating on the ground with MINUSTAH, with the folks who are there. The commander for MINUSTAH happened to be in Miami when this situation happened, so he's right now traveling back through and should be arriving in Port-au-Prince any time now. So that will help us coordinate our efforts there also, because again, obviously the United Nations suffered a significant loss there with the collapse -- at least partial collapse of their headquarters.

So that's -- those are the initial efforts that we have ongoing And as we get the assessments of what's coming next, then we'll adjust as required.

The secretary of Defense, the president, have all stipulated that this is a significant effort, and we're corralling all the resources within the Department of Defense to support this effort." ( News Transcript: DOD News Briefing with Gen. Fraser from the Pentagon, January 13, 2010)

A Heritage Foundation report summarizes the substance of America's mission in Haiti: "The earthquake has both humanitarian and U.S. national security implications [requiring] a rapid response that is not only bold but decisive, mobilizing U.S. military, governmental, and civilian capabilities for both a short-term rescue and relief effort and a longer-term recovery and reform program in Haiti." (James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, American Leadership Necessary to Assist Haiti After Devastating Earthquake, Heritage Foundation, January 14, 2010).

At the outset, the military mission will be involved in first aid and emergency as well as public security and police activities.

US Air Force Controls the Airport

The US Air Force has taken over air traffic control functions as well as the management of Port au Prince airport. In other words, the US military regulates the flow of emergency aid and relief supplies which are being brought into the country in civilian planes. The US Air Force is not working under the instructions of Haitian Airport officials. These officials have been displaced. The airport is run by the US Military (Interview with Haitian Ambassador to the US R. Joseph, PBS News, January 15, 2010)

"The FAA's team is working with DOD combat controllers to improve the flow of air traffic moving in and out of the airport. The US Air Force reopened the airport on 14 January, and on 15 January its contingency response group was granted senior airfield authority ... Senior airfield authority enables the Air Force to prioritise, schedule and control the airspace at the airport, ..." (, January 16, 2010, emphasis added)

The 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort, which includes more than 1,000 medical and support personnel has been sent to Haiti under the jurisdiction of Southern Command. (See Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds readies for Haiti quake relief, Digital Journal, January 14, 2010). There were, at the time of the Earthquake, some 7100 military personnel and over 2000 police, namely a foreign force of over 9000. In contrast, the international civilian personnel of MINUSTAH is less than 500. MINUSTAH Facts and Figures - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti


United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)

Current strength (30 November 2009)

9,065 total uniformed personnel

7,031 troops
2,034 police 488 international civilian personnel
1,212 local civilian staff
214 United Nations Volunteers

MINUSTAH Facts and Figures - United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti

Estimated combined SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH forces; 19,095*

*Excluding commitments by France (unconfirmed) and Canada (confirmed 800 troops). The US, France and Canada were "partners" in the February 29, 2004 Coup d'État.
Haiti has been under foreign military occupation since the US instigated February 2004 Coup d'Etat. The contingent of US forces under SOUTHCOM combined with those of MINUSTAH brings foreign military presence in Haiti to close to 20,000 in a country of 9 million people. In comparison in Afghanistan, prior to Obama's military surge, combined US and NATO forces were of the order of 70,000 for a population of 28 million. In other words, on a per capita basis there will be more troops in Haiti than in Afghanistan.

Recent US Military Interventions in Haiti

There have been several US sponsored military interventions in recent history. In 1994, following three years of military rule, a force of 20,000 occupation troops and "peace-keepers" was sent to Haiti. The 1994 US military intervention "was not intended to restore democracy. Quite the contrary: it was carried out to prevent a popular insurrection against the military Junta and its neoliberal cohorts." (Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti, Global Research, February 28, 2004)

US and allied troops remained in the country until 1999. The Haitian armed forces were disbanded and the US State Department hired a mercenary company DynCorp to provide "technical advice" in restructuring the Haitian National Police (HNP). (Ibid).

The February 2004 Coup d'État

In the months leading up to the 2004 Coup d'Etat, US special forces and the CIA were training death squadrons composed of the former tonton macoute of the Duvalier era. The Rebel paramilitary army crossed the border from the Dominican Republic in early February 2004. "It was a well armed, trained and equipped paramilitary unit integrated by former members of Le Front pour l'avancement et le progrès d'Haiti (FRAPH), the "plain clothes" death squadrons, involved in mass killings of civilians and political assassinations during the CIA sponsored 1991 military coup, which led to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide." (see Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Haiti: Global Research. February 28, 2004)

Foreign troops were sent into Haiti. MINUSTAH was set up in the wake of the US sponsored coup d'Etat in February 2004 and the kidnapping and deportation of the democratically elected president Jean Bertrand Aristide. The coup was instigated by the US with the support of France and Canada.

The FRAPH units subsequently integrated the country's police force, which was under the supervision of MINUSTAH. In the political and social disarray triggered by the earthquake, the former armed militia and Ton Ton macoute will be playing a new role.

Hidden Agenda

The unspoken mission of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) with headquarters in Miami and US military installations throughout Latin America is to ensure the maintenance of subservient national regimes, namely US proxy governments, committed to the Washington Consensus and the neoliberal policy agenda. While US military personnel will at the outset be actively involved in emergency and disaster relief, this renewed US military presence in Haiti will be used to establish a foothold in the country as well pursue America's strategic and geopolitical objectives in the Caribbean basin, which are largely directed against Cuba and Venezuela.

The objective is not to work towards the rehabilitation of the national government, the presidency, the parliament, all of which has been decimated by the earthquake. Since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, America's design has been to gradually dismantle the Haitian State, restore colonial patterns and obstruct the functioning of a democratic government. In the present context, the objective is not only to do away with the government but also to revamp the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), of which the headquarters have been destroyed.

"The role of heading the relief effort and managing the crisis quickly fell to the United States, for lack -- in the short term, at least -- of any other capable entity." ( US Takes Charge in Haiti _ With Troops, Rescue Aid -, January 14, 2009)

Prior to the earthquake, there were, according to US military sources, some 60 US military personnel in Haiti. From one day to the next, an outright military surge has occurred: 10,000 troops, marines, special forces, intelligence operatives, etc., not to mention private mercenary forces on contract to the Pentagon.

In all likelihood the humanitarian operation will be used as a pretext and justification to establish a more permanent US military presence in Haiti.

We are dealing with a massive deployment, a "surge" of military personnel assigned to emergency relief.

The first mission of SOUTHCOM will be to take control of what remains of the country's communications, transport and energy infrastructure. Already, the airport is under de facto US control. In all likelihood, the activities of MINUSTAH which from the outset in 2004 have served US foreign policy interests, will be coordinated with those of SOUTHCOM, namely the UN mission will be put under de facto control of the US military.

The Militarization of Civil Society Relief Organizations

The US military in Haiti seeks to oversee the activities of approved humanitarian organizations. It also purports to encroach upon the humanitarian activities of Venezuela and Cuba:

"The government under President René Préval is weak and literally now in shambles. Cuba and Venezuela, already intent on minimizing U.S. influence in the region, are likely to seize this opportunity to raise their profile and influence..." (James M. Roberts and Ray Walser, American Leadership Necessary to Assist Haiti After Devastating Earthquake, Heritage Foundation, January 14, 2010).

In the US, the militarization of emergency relief operations was instigated during the Katrina crisis, when the US military was called in to play a lead role.

The model of emergency intervention for SOUTHCOM is patterned on the role of NORTHCOM, which was granted a mandate as "the lead agency" in US domestic emergency procedures.

During Hurricane Rita in 2005, the detailed groundwork for the "militarization of emergency relief" involving a leading role for NORTHCOM was established. In this regard, Bush had hinted to the central role of the military in emergency relief: "Is there a natural disaster--of a certain size--that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort? That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about." (Statement of President Bush at a press conference, Bush Urges Shift in Relief Responsibilities -, September 26, 2005).

"The response to the national disaster is not being coordinated by the civilian government out of Texas, but from a remote location and in accordance with military criteria. US Northern Command Headquarters will directly control the movement of military personnel and hardware in the Gulf of Mexico. As in the case of Katrina, it will override the actions of civilian bodies. Yet in this case, the entire operation is under the jurisdiction of the military rather than under that of FEMA." (Michel Chossudovsky, US Northern Command and Hurricane Rita, Global Research, September 24, 2005)

Concluding Remarks

Haiti is a country under military occupation since the US instigated Coup d'Etat of February 2004.

The entry of ten thousand heavily armed US troops, coupled with the activities of local militia could potentially precipitate the country into social chaos.

These foreign forces have entered the country to reinforce MINUSTAH "peacekeepers" and Haitian police forces (integrated by former Tonton Macoute), which since 2004, have been responsible for war crimes directed against the Haitian people, including the indiscriminate killing of civilians.

These troups reinforce the existing occupation forces under UN mandate.

Twenty thousand foreign troops under SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH commands will be present in the country. In all likelihood, there will be an integration or coordination of the command structures of SOUTHCOM and MINUSTAH.

The Haitian people have exhibited a high degree of solidarity, courage and social commitment.

Helping one another and acting with consciousness: under very difficult conditions, in the immediate wake of the disaster, citizens rescue teams were set up spontaneously.

The militarization of relief operations will weaken the organizational capabilities of Haitians to rebuild and reinstate the institutions of civilian government which have been destroyed. It will also encroach upon the efforts of the international medical teams and civilian relief organisations.

It is absolutely essential that the Haitian people continue to forcefully oppose the presence of foreign troops in their country, particularly in public security operations.

It is essential that Americans across the land forcefully oppose the decision of the Obama adminstration to send US combat troops to Haiti.

There can be no real reconstruction or development under foreign military occupation.

© Copyright 2005-2009

Nablus executions: Shoot first

Nablus executions: Shoot first, ask questions later
Bridget Chappell writing from Nablus, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 11 January 2010

The brutal killing of three Palestinian men by Israeli military forces in Nablus last week on 26 December 2009 sparked grief and outrage across Palestine and brought the northern West Bank city to a standstill as thousands mourned the lethal attack. However, their voices are drowned out yet again by a well-played hand of Israel's propaganda machine and repeated by the mainstream media.

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Israel's winter invasion of Gaza, a force of several hundred Israeli soldiers entered Nablus and invaded the homes of Ghassan Abu Sharkh, Raed Sarakji and Anan Subih where they were executed in cold blood in front of family members. A statement by the Israeli military alleged that an operation was carried out to arrest the men suspected of involvement in the killing of an Israeli settler, Meir Avshalom Hai, two days earlier.

The portraits of the targeted men -- armed perpetrators of another injustice -- painted by the military's statements have exploded throughout Israel's media and beyond, subsequently footnoted by Israeli police's forensic results, reporting a match between a rifle seized in the invasions and the weapon used to kill Hai, a rabbi and resident of the Shave Shomron settlement.

This postmortem revelation, which has not been verified by independent sources, raises alarming questions of Israel's "shoot first, ask questions later" policy. It also echoes the disparities between the statements of the Israeli military, repeated by the Israeli and international media, and the testimony of the victims' family members, which were collected by a handful of local media agencies and human rights organizations.

Ghassan Abu Sharkh's brother Diyaa Abu Sharkh said Israeli military forces stormed their home in Nablus' Old City at 12am. Sharkh's wife and four children were forced outside and the entire family was handcuffed, whereupon Sharkh's eldest son was kicked and beaten by soldiers with the butts of their guns. As Sharkh descended, unarmed, from the stairs inside in hopes of surrendering, soldiers immediately opened fire on him, riddling his body with bullet holes. Outside, Israeli soldiers continued to brutally beat Sharkh's son while their counterparts prevented Red Crescent ambulances from entering the area.

According to Tahani Jaara, the wife of Raed Sarakji, the Israeli military then forced their way in to their home in the Old City at 2:30am, where Sarakji was shot in the head immediately. The force of the close-range fire was so great that it caused his head to split in two. As his pregnant wife ran forward to catch his falling body she was shot in the foot. Only at this point did soldiers confirm the identity of the man just executed, ordering his wife to hand over both their IDs and mobile phones. Soldiers opened fire once again on his now lifeless body, then ordered his wife to summon their children to behold the grisly remains.

Half an hour later, Israeli soldiers entered Nablus' Ras al-Ain neighborhood. Quickly occupying several homes surrounding the house of Anan Subih, soldiers began firing anti-tank missiles at the upper levels of the building, blowing a giant cavity between the third and fourth stories. Farid Subih, brother of Anan, reported that soldiers entered the house on foot, firing live ammunition and destroying property as they forced family members out in to the street. Subih was found hiding in the rubble created by rocket blasts, where he was immediately executed.

A spokesman for the Israeli army claimed that after the men "refused to leave their houses and surrender, we entered. They continued hiding and endangering our soldiers, which made the shooting imperative." How these three men sleeping at home with their families endangered an overwhelming armed military force is unclear. As is the justification for brutally excessive force employed lethally against the targeted men and wantonly upon their family members, including children.

The Israeli military's trigger-happy strategies for the "liquidation" of those deemed a security risk have resulted in the tragic loss of hundreds of civilian lives in so-called "targeted killing" operations, as a result of both mistaken identity and the excessive use of force employed, such as the launching of missiles from aircrafts, tanks or missile launchers at densely populated areas. Although this did not occur during the 26 December Nablus incursion, it is particularly disturbing that the Israeli military issued a post-execution clarification of at least one of the slain men's identities.

Israel's long history of such extrajudicial killing operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) reached its height during and after the second Palestinian intifada. Israel's assassination policy resulted in the deaths of 754 persons from December 2000 to June 2008 in 348 operations. As reported by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights in July 2008, 521 of those killed were targeted and 233 were bystanders.

Categorical execution without trial constitutes state terrorism, whatever statements military spokespeople may peddle regarding Israel's exhaustive quest for "security" and the means necessary to enforce it. Whether or not Israeli intelligence's suspicions of Sarakji, Sharkh and Subih were well-founded, the cold-blooded execution of these and hundreds of other victims are a grave departure from a human's right to due process. Israel's tired accusations of terrorism against those it kills are rarely supported by evidence, and only a handful of cases of those killed on these grounds have ever been investigated; fewer still have been accountable for their actions.

There are still plenty of questions left unanswered and will likely remain that way forever. Two groups of two factions, at entirely opposite ends of the political spectrum, claimed responsibility for the attack on the settler: the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade associated with the Fatah party and the fundamentalist Islamic Jihad.

Of the three men, Sarakji, released from a seven-year prison term last January, was the only one officially wanted by Israel for suspected involvement in the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade. In contrast, according to his brother, Subih had surrendered his arms and received a full governmental pardon some years ago, while Sharkh's wife states her husband's only link to armed struggle was through his brother, who was assassinated by Israeli forces in 2004.

Israel's attempt to depict their actions as the standard routine of criminal inquiry is clearly a farce. However admissible the findings of the victim's armed involvement may be in a court of law, it amounts to little when those accused have already been tried and found guilty by the barrel of a gun. Whether these men were guilty or innocent -- they were executed without trial in cold blood. They leave behind traumatized children, grieving families and thousands of ex-prisoners and fellow citizens wondering who will be next.

Bridget Chappell is an Australian activist and writer who has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine since August 2009. She is based in Nablus.

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