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U.S. Protects Free Speech for U.S. Citizens on Flotilla to challenge human rights violations in Cuba, but wants to prosecute those on Gaza Flotilla to challenge Israeli human rights violations
By Ann Wright
I guess considering the U.S. policy toward Cuba over the past 50 years, it should come as no surprise that the US Coast Guard would protect the right of “free speech” of US citizens participating in a flotilla of boats challenging Cuban human rights violations.
Organized by a group called Democracy Movement, On December 10, 2011, 50 protesters in six boats, including an 85-foot vessel and a small security craft with about a dozen members of the media, sailed from Key West to explode fireworks off Cuba to mark International Human Rights day.
Rho City Council (Milan) approves resolution condemning Pizzarotti
The Italian company condemned for involvement in the Israeli high-speed railway that crosses the occupied Palestinian territories
New Report on Israel Restricting Free Expression and Assembly - by Stephen Lendman
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel assesses Israel's human and civil rights record annually. Its newly released 2011 report cites increasing crackdowns on basic freedoms. More on it below.
Losing free expression and assembly rights threatens others. They're basic ones Israel's High Court affirmed.
Max Blumenthal: How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests
New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.
At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”
Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.
BERLIN—Germany has approved the sale of another Dolphin-type military submarine to Israel and will pay for about a third of its cost, a senior German official said Wednesday.
Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, even though there is no evidence that Israel has armed them with such weapons.
Germany's parliament has set aside a maximum euro135 million ($180 million) in next year's budget to pay for its share of the submarine's cost, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany -- one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, and two more are currently under construction.
The official said the latest submarine, which brings the total to six, results from a 2005 agreement between the two nations that included an option for another subsidized sub. That option was now activated at Israel's request.
The contract for the submarine will be between the German and Israeli Defense Ministry and the manufacturer, with Germany starting to pay out its share of the cost next year, he said.
Israel is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal. It neither confirms nor denies foreign reports that it has nuclear arms.
Israel: Profile of a Rogue State - by Stephen Lendman
Rogue states spurn international law, treaties, conventions, and in Israel's case its own laws and Supreme Court decisions.
Daily examples offer proof, including from Ahmed el-Helah and Mariam Itani's new book titled, "The Suffering of the Palestinian Child under the Israeli Occupation," saying:
70 delegates including Parliamentarians from 11 Countries Issue Appeal for the End of the Siege of Gaza-No US Congresspersons involved
By Ann Wright
70 delegates from 20 countries, including Parliamentarians from 11 countries, this week have seen the disastrous effects of the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza two years ago and the five year naval and land blockade on Gaza. The trip was organized by the Council for European Palestinian Relations (www.cepr.org).
Two members from the European Parliament (one each from Ireland and Portugal), four national Parliamentarians from Chile, three from Malaysia, two from Ireland and one Parliamentarian from Scotland, Pakistan, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Brazil and Morocco, traveled to Gaza. The delegation was led by former British government minister Claire Short. A retired Ambassador from the Netherlands and a former U.S. diplomat were also on the delegation.
Due to the extreme influence of the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, no US Congresspersons were on the delegation.
Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR)
Brussels/London – November 18, 2011
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) prepares to leave for Gaza with its largest international delegation yet. Delegates include renowned politicians from countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe; as well as, two outspoken Members of European Parliament – Ms. Marisa Matias and Mr. Paul Murphy.
On 4 November 2011, Mr. Paul Murphy was detained onboard the Irish boat, MV Saorise, by Israeli authorities in international waters. Along with other activists, he himself was detained for a week for having tried to help break the Gaza blockade.
Retired United States Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright will accompany the delegation. She visited Gaza three times in 2009 and was on the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.
Rogue Israeli Lawlessness - by Stephen Lendman
Endless examples occur daily. Overnight Sunday, Maan News said Israeli forces raided homes of seven recently released prisoners as part of the October 18 exchange.
Notices were sent to Akram Mansour, Shadi Zayid and Ibrahim Yasin. They were ordered to report to Israeli intelligence for questioning.
By Kit Kittredge
Why I wanted to Challenge the Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza
Anti-Democratic Israeli Legislation - by Stephen Lendman
On October 31, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed concern about "two contradictory main trends" in Israel's Knesset winter session:
From Mazim Qumsiyeh:
I was finally released. Israeli soldiers abducted me while filming an attack on villagers of Al-Walaja. The attack started with dynamiting their village lands near their houses, a process that already shook and cracked houses and injured some residents before (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCDNg_ScDtU). The villagers were speaking with soldiers demanding paperwork and telling them that court cases are pending and to stop blowing up their lands. Instead the soldiers arrogantly pushed and shoved and as they tried to arrest one young man, a group of Israeli soldiers and native Palestinians fell off the side of the bulldozed area of the route of the apartheid wall. Outside of camera views, Mustafa was beaten repeatedly in the car (I was hit twice) by a mean young Israeli soldiers who said he hated Arabs. The video we have of our abduction is at http://youtu.be/v_GE16wmcAo and still pictures can be seen here http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills and here http://chroniquespalestine.blogspot.com/
After the US government (under the Yolk of the Israel lobby) cut funding for UNESCO, people of the world and other governments should step up to the plate and donate to this institution. You can do so here: http://www.unesco.org/donate Or mail your donation in US dollars or Euro checks to: UNESCO, Treasurer - BOC/TRS - 7 place de Fontenoy - 75352 PARIS 07 SP - France Letter to Mr. Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister by Majed Abusalama (23 y.o. young man from Jabalia Refugee Camp) http://www.facebook.com/notes/majed-abusalama/letter-to-mr-carl-bildt-swedish-foreign-affairs-minister/10150383295939435 The Lesser of Two Evils - The Catholic Monastery of Cremisan Chooses Not to Support Villagers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YV3s0_I3Tk
Freedom Waves to Gaza
Palestine Office @PALWaves
7 November 2011
[RAMALLAH] Of the 27 human rights defenders captured during Israel’s illegal takeover of the Freedom Waves to Gaza vessels on Friday, 4 November, 20 remain in Givon prison and the whereabouts of one is unknown.
Israeli officials have been claiming that all 27 people aboard the MV Tahrir and MV Saoirse have been released or are awaiting deportation. This is not true. Freedom Waves can confirm that six people have been released or deported. These are Majd Kayyal (Palestinian from Haifa), Lina Attalah (Journalist from Egypt), Casey James (Journalist from the US), Aimane Zoubir (Journalist from Morocco), Captain George Klontzas (Greece) and Captain Zacharias Stylianakis.
Activists Badly Treated by Israeli Authorities
By Ann Wright
A press release from Irish Ship to Gaza (www.irishshiptogaza.org) reported that National Coordinator Fintan Lane was able to make a phone call Sunday afternoon, November 6, 2011, from the Israeli prison in which he and 13 other Irish citizens are being held.
Israeli attack on freedom waves ships “violent and dangerous”
Lane told the Irish Ship to Gaza team in Dublin that “the takeover of the MV Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole takeover took about three hours.”
Date: Friday, November 4, 2011, 9:01 AM
We are 65mi from Gaza
Excited to have gotten this far and ever hoping to make it all the way!
Banners are hung, flags waving, people puking and still no sign from the IDF.
A bit unsettling but that goes with the territory.
Spirits continue to be high as we zig zag with the Irish ship.
Weather continues to hold and we hope to arrive before sunset as we go 10mph and it is 11am here.
Full throttle ahead, Gaza here we come!
URGENT: ACTION NEEDED NOW!
Boats to Gaza Stopped by Israeli Warships
At 7:43 am (east coast time) ground support crew lost contact with two ships, the Saoirse of Ireland and the Tahrir of Canada, carrying 27 civilian passengers, medical supplies and letters of support for the people of Gaza. On board the Tahrir is one American, Kit Kittredge.
At 7:30 am the Tahrir was interrogated, via radio, by the Israeli Navy. The ships were approximately 48 nautical miles off the coastline, well into international waters. Asked by the Israeli Navy for their destination, Canadian activist Ehab Lotayef replied, "The conscience of humanity." When they repeated the question, asking for final destination, Lotayef said, "The betterment of mankind."
Now is the time to act. Call the State Department and the White House and tell them to press the Israelis to ensure the safety of those aboard the two ships!
Call the State Department:
and the White House: 202-456-1414
We urge you to organize support actions in your area today. Send the information to our webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org - it will be posted immediately.
For those of you in the NYC area an emergency support vigil will take place from 5pm to 6:30pm today - Friday, November 4th across the street from the Israeli Consulate at 800 2nd Avenue between 42nd Street and 43rd Street. Denise Rickles, with Code Pink NYC, will be the point person for this support rally. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Please bring appropriate signs with you such as:
END THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW!
OCCUPY WALL STREET NOT GAZA
END U.S. FUNDING OF ISRAELI ATTACKS
GET ON BOARD THE U.S. TO GAZA CAMPAIGN
Israel Called Biggest Threat to World Peace - by Stephen Lendman
America easily takes top honors, followed by Israel, Britain, and France, the real axis of evil.
In Israel's case, it's easy to see why. It's been top regional rogue state for decades. No other Middle East nation matches it.
Israel and the US outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!
Below is a letter sent by BDS Italy to Malian singer and women's rights advocate Oumou Sangaré.
Anti-Defamation League National Pledge for Unity on Israel - by Stephen Lendman
ADL's audacity gives chutzpah new meaning. Whether it's latest scheme works isn't known. However, early indications express displeasure. More on that below.
Along with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), ADL's web site calls for a "National Pledge for Unity on Israel," saying:
Anti-Democratic Knesset Bills - by Stephen Lendman
Knesset summer session bills grievously harm civil and human rights if passed. Basic freedoms are at risk, including speech, assembly, association, and right to dissent.
Ongoing Israeli Human Rights Abuses - by Stephen Lendman
Throughout its history, Israel's been a serial human rights abuser. Count the ways.
State-sponsored terror is official policy. So is collective punishment, apartheid, colonialism, premeditated war, torture, and filling prison cells illegally with Palestinians wanting to live free on their own land in their own country.
Israeli leaders and their supporters are again pounding the drum about the need to nip in the bud the danger they profess to see coming from Iran. No one ever mentions the key, "high-confidence," unanimous judgment by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies (published in a National Intelligence Estimate in November 2007) that Iran stopped work on a nuclear weapon in the fall of 2003 — yep, that's right; EIGHT YEARS AGO.
The evidence supporting that judgment is continually reviewed very closely, as you might imagine. It has be reaffirmed every year since...as recently as February and March 2011. There are still some honest analysts and managers working in our intelligence community.
The Fawning Corporate Media (FCM), however, avoid any allusion to this; go ask your neighbors if they think Iran is trying to get the bomb.
Later this evening, more activists arrived to protest against the pogrom which had taken place earlier. They too were attacked and beaten, with stoned being thrown at them too. In spite of police presence at the scene, the police did nothing.