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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review: Europe's Alliance with Israel


Sarah Irving, The Electronic Intifada, 30 December 2010

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From the eastern side of the Atlantic, it's easy to pin all the world's ills on the United States. Other Western countries may have perpetrated their share of imperialistic crimes but since World War II, Washington's global might has meant that other nations' evils can often be chalked up as following-the-leader, willingly or otherwise.

David Cronin's immensely valuable new book, Europe's Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation, does not entirely reject this position. But in charting how the European Union (EU) and its member states back Israel, Cronin dispels the idea that the US is the only game in town (and that those of us who aren't resident there can therefore change nothing), while also offering activists new targets for institutional lobbying and boycotts.

The bulk of Europe's Alliance with Israel is a meticulous documentation of the ways in which a variety of institutions -- the European Union (and its major constituent bodies, the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission), North American Treaty Organization (NATO) and various European states -- have, despite superficial commitments to the "peace process," consistently sold out Palestinian rights and interests. And the list is a long one.

Cronin starts by cataloging European toleration of Israeli human rights abuses and infringements of international law. He cites the fact that just five EU states (Ireland, Cyprus, Portugal, Malta and Slovenia) supported the UN General Assembly acceptance of the Goldstone Report into war crimes in Gaza, with the remaining 22 opposing or abstaining. This is contrasted with the strong EU positions taken on, for example, the Georgia-Russia conflict of summer 2008, controversies over the treatment of civilians by the Sri Lanka government during its offensive against the Tamil Tigers in spring 2009, or attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Cronin quotes senior EU figures such as Javier Solana and Benita Ferrero Waldner on the ever-nearer relations between the EU and Israel. At a presidential conference in Jerusalem in October 2009, Solana even claimed that the relationship was closer, even, than the EU's ties to new and recent additions like Croatia. "There is no country outside the European continent that has this type of relationship that Israel has with the European Union," the then EU foreign policy chief was quoted as saying in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, going on to joke that: "I am sorry to say, but I don't see the president of Croatia here. His country is a candidate for the European Union, but your relation today with the European Union is stronger than [our] relation to Croatia."

Cronin's background and experience as a journalist covering European affairs is evident in these and other details. The direct quotes from senior -- often anonymous -- sources and access to obscure or confidential correspondence and reports demonstrate his exhaustive knowledge of the famously Byzantine workings of the EU's institutions.

Cronin examines Israel's progressive integration into the EU's scientific research and development programs, and the collaboration of EU researchers with Israeli arms manufacturers. He notes that Israel was the first country outside the EU to be brought into its research funding programs and cites the huge sums involved -- 204 million euros during the 2002-2006 finance round and possibly over half a billion euros in 2007-2013.

Discussing the incorporation of Israel into supposedly civilian aviation and aerospace projects such as the "green" Clean Sky initiative and the Galileo satellite project, Cronin quotes his interview with Janez Potocnik, the EU commissioner for scientific research from 2004-2009, whose position he calls "Jesuitical and deceptive." Responding to questions on whether working with the Israeli military had been excluded as an option for European-funded researchers, Potocnik said, "Defense is not part of the 7th Framework Programme [on scientific research]. We have space and security as themes for the first time [neither were included in previous versions of the multi-annual programs]. But there is nothing that would be defense-related in any context."

But Cronin also quotes contacts within the EU who have confirmed that Israeli ministry of defense staff were present at negotiations on EU bankrolling of research projects. He reports that some Commission negotiators were concerned about the pressure being exerted by Israeli officials at their meetings, but that, "As part of a tacit policy of trusting the Israeli authorities, the Commission does not normally carry out background checks on Israeli officials that it deals with. 'These guys [defense officials] are present in the system,' a Commission insider told me. 'It is unbelievable that their backgrounds aren't checked.'"

According to Cronin, millions of euros in research funding have also gone to Israeli companies with major military operations, including direct funding of drone development by Elbit and Israel Aviation Industries.

Cronin's access to EU officials willing to talk off the record also illuminates the huge gap between EU claims to fund and collaborate only with organizations within "Israel's legally recognized borders," and the reality of its relationship with Israel's illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights. Research finance has, according to Cronin, reached academic institutions in settlements in both the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights, while cultural funding has ended up with organizations based in occupied East Jerusalem.

In the case of funds allocated to corporations, he recounts how EU officials on the ground are denied information which would reveal whether they were in fact dealing with settlements. "After they were made aware of how grants they were administering were going to Israeli settlements, EU officials pledged to do what they could," writes Cronin. But instead of taking making firm commitments to block settlement products taking advantage of trade preferences, Palestine solidarity activists reported that the EU kept its promises verbal, and that its rules remained painfully easy to get around. “All a firm in a settlement would have to do is set up a front company in Tel Aviv or another Israeli town or city and it could apply for EU funding, without EU officials knowing that its real work is done on occupied land," Cronin concludes.

EU bodies are also revealed to have dragged their feet over excluding settlement goods from trade preferences (which mean they can be imported into Europe without duties being paid), with the German and Dutch governments "staunchly opposing" efforts to stop settlement products getting preferential treatment.

Even after the bar was in theory enforced, evidence that settlement produce was being illegally sneaked into Europe without taxes being paid on it was sidelined. "Although they learned through the grapevine that the British authorities had discovered that two out of 26 companies based in Israeli settlements that they had investigated were benefiting illegally from EU trade preferences, Brussels officials said they could not do anything until a dossier had been transmitted to them through formal channels," writes Cronin.

By actively bankrolling parts of the Israeli military-industrial complex and settlement economy, Cronin argues that the EU is both ignoring its legal duties and cheating its own taxpayers by enabling Israel to abdicate its responsibilities under international law. The EU makes much of its status as the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority (PA), arguing that this demonstrates its commitment to the welfare of the Palestinian people and its position as an "honest broker" in the Middle East conflict.

But as Cronin demonstrates, the 1907 Hague Regulations impose upon occupying powers the duty to ensure the welfare of occupied populations. But by continuing to pay for food and other basic aid, the EU is assuming Israel's responsibilities under international law and underwriting its occupation. In addition, the huge sums spent on aid to the PA often go straight to Israeli food and utility companies, many of which are directly complicit with human rights abuses such as the siege on Gaza, now in its forty-second month.

On top of this, Cronin says, senior EU figures have consistently shown "cowardice" in refusing to pursue the Israeli military for the cost of European-funded infrastructure projects which have been damaged or destroyed in repeated Israeli invasions. "Privately, EU officials acknowledge that the aid policies they are implementing have become hugely problematic. 'Are we subsidizing activities that should fall on Israel as a consequence of its responsibilities as an occupying power?' a well-placed Brussels source said to me. 'The answer is unquestionably yes,'" writes Cronin.

While the EU's continued aid to the PA is said to be part of a "tacit division of labor" with the US, whereby Washington holds the political reins and Europe the financial ones, Cronin provides examples of US refusal to allow joint donor statements which criticized Israel for damage to donor-funded projects illustrating the EU's junior role in that relationship. In the meantime, the EU's "aid" is also revealed by Cronin's writings -- both in the book and for The Electronic Intifada -- to include the far-from-benign training given by European police organizations to PA security forces.

Cronin offers a range of causes underlying the EU's sometimes pyrrhic support for Israel. He cites the power of justifiable Holocaust guilt, whilst pointing out that this doesn't excuse imposing military occupation on a Palestinian population which had nothing to do with the Shoah. The common fear of "militant Islam" also raises its ugly head.

Cronin mentions the economic interests which European companies such as Volvo and Dexia maintain in Israel, and the fascination which Israeli technological development seems to hold for EU officials. Economic influences have included, says Cronin, the "'EU-Israel business dialogue,' a forum in which senior businessmen (with perhaps one or two women) could brainstorm on how best 'barriers to trade and investment' can be stripped away."

The strength of the European Israel lobby is a key point in the book's arguments. Cronin highlights groups such as European Friends of Israel, the highest profile pro-Israel lobby in the European Parliament with links to better-known US campaigners such as AIPAC, or the pseudo-respectable Transatlantic Institute (its opening graced by senior EU figures like Javier Solana). The Transatlantic Institute is an offshoot of the American Jewish Committee which also runs the UN Watch organization that infamously called author Naomi Klein "Goebbels-like" for her criticisms of Israel.

First and foremost, Cronin sees the US dominance of foreign policy -- of the EU itself and of many of its member states -- as key to the EU's support for Israel. Whether through the desire of European states like the United Kingdom to maintain their "special relationship" with the US, or through the influence of US-based lobby groups and the impact of their lobbying and "monitoring" activities on parliamentarians, officials and the press, the hand of American politicians and lobbyists is seen as a major force shaping EU policy and practice.

David Cronin has written a very important book. Its detailed cataloguing of the links between European institutions and the Israeli state and economy is long overdue. The book benefits from Cronin's journalistic roots and is written in a readable style.

If any criticism can be leveled at Europe's Alliance with Israel it is that it presupposes, or deems unnecessary, a level of knowledge about the workings of the EU and other European institutions that many readers won't possess. The activities of the European Union, European Parliament, Council of Ministers, European Commission and other institutions in relation to Israel are discussed without explanations for the uninitiated of how these organizations interact, what their powers and spheres of interest are or what countries and regions they represent.

This book should be required reading for anyone trying to understand the scale of international support for the State of Israel, for any European Palestine Solidarity activist looking to assess how their energies are best used, and for students of the EU wanting to understand the workings and wider impacts of European policy.

Sarah Irving is a freelance writer. She worked with the International Solidarity Movement in the occupied West Bank in 2001-02 and with Olive Co-op, promoting fair trade Palestinian products and solidarity visits, in 2004-06. She now writes full-time on a range of issues, including Palestine. Her first book, Gaza: Beneath the Bombs, co-authored with Sharyn Lock, was published in January 2010. She is currently working on a new edition of the Bradt Guide to Palestine and a biography of Leila Khaled.

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Photostory: Volvo equipment used in house demolitions (part 2)


Photostory: Volvo equipment used in house demolitions (part 2)
Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 29 December 2010

(part 1)

Israeli forces are using Volvo construction equipment and trucks in the destruction of Palestinian property. The Electronic Intifada has previously documented the use of Volvo equipment by the Israeli government in its destruction of Palestinian property ("Photostory: Volvo equipment used in house demolitions," "Volvo: Symbol of safety or human rights abuses?").

Al-Walaja

Volvo construction equipment and trucks were seen in action on the construction site of Israel's wall near al-Walaja village in the occupied West Bank. The wall will surround al-Walaja from all sides, completely isolating the villagers from their land, near East Jerusalem and on land of the original part of the village which was occupied and destroyed by Zionist forces in 1948, and which is now annexed to parts of Gilo settlement. The villagers of al-Walaja have resisted the wall's construction and have tried to change its path by bringing the case to an Israeli court. On 8 November, Israel's high court suspended the construction of the wall near al-Walaja for 45 days, but the court also ruled that bulldozers can continue to excavate along the wall's path.

Volvo bulldozers being used to build Israel's wall in al-Walaja village, occupied West Bank, June 2010. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

Jordan Valley

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) reaffirmed the illegality of the construction of the wall and Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, in its 2004 ruling. According to the ICJ, construction activities should stop immediately and the wall and settlements should be dismantled.  In recent weeks, the Palestinian Bedouin community of Abu Alajaj in Jiftlik, occupied Jordan Valley, was raided by approximately 200 Israeli soldiers. There are plans to expand on the illegal Israeli settlement of Massua and confiscate further land from the Palestinian shepherds of Abu Alajaj. In the early hours of 24 November, one house and three animal shelters were demolished by Israeli forces using a Volvo bulldozer. Settlers cheered the action by the Israeli army. Following the Israeli demolition, villagers found several baby goats lying dead on the ground and many more injured. Three Palestinian men were arrested during the raid.

Israel using Volvo equipment to demolish homes in Jiftlik village, occupied Jordan Valley. (Jordan Valley Solidarity)

Residents from the Khirbet Yarza village in the Jordan Valley stand beside their home after it was demolished by Israeli forces, November 2010. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

Al-Araqib

The Palestinian Bedouins living in al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south of Israel also witnessed the destructive force of Volvo equipment when their village was destroyed for the third time by Israeli forces on 10 August. The demolition of 45 houses left approximately 300 persons homeless, including 200 children. In an earlier raid the Israeli police had uprooted 850 of the village's olive trees. The land of al-Araqib is being confiscated for a "peace forest" funded by the Jewish National Fund, an international Zionist organization that assists the State of Israel with appropriating Palestinian land. About half of the 90,000 Bedouin holding Israeli citizenship live in unrecognized villages without access to basic amenities. Israeli professor Neve Gordon characterized the razing of Bedouin villages by the Israeli police as "ethnic cleansing" ("Ethnic cleansing in the Israeli Negev," Guardian, 28 July 2010).




Video by Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana showing Israel's third demolition of homes in al-Araqib using Volvo equipment, August 2010.

Lod

On 13 December, Volvo equipment was used in Lod near Tel Aviv by the Israeli authorities in the demolition of homes owned by Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions expects the Israeli action to continue "in what is one of the biggest demolition operations inside the 1948 borders this year." The Israeli action left seven families homeless and riot police were deployed at the site of the demolition to intimidate local residents. ICAHD reports "The houses, owned by Palestinian citizens of Israel are located in an area which is not zoned for building despite the repeated attempts of the residents to rezone the area in order to permit building. At the same time, large plans are already approved for Jewish-Israeli building as soon as the Palestinian houses are gone" ("Demolitions in Lod," ICAHD, 13 December 2010).

A Volvo bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian home in Lod, December 2010. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)


Lod resident Safia Abi Eid reacts to seeing destroyed homes belonging to her and her relatives, December 2010. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Volvo equipment seen on the site where it was used to demolish a number of Palestinian homes in Lod, December 2010. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

In 2007, Volvo informed the Business and Human Rights Resource Center in London that Volvo Group does not condone the destructive use of Volvo equipment and would regret the use of its products for destructive purposes ("Volvo response to article about concerns on the use of Volvo vehicles in Israel and the Occupied Territories" [.doc], Volvo, 6 July 2007). The company claimed to have no control over the use of their products. However, as a partner in the UN Global Compact, Volvo should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence, and make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses. The Global Compact, launched in 2000, is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. Volvo has also adopted principles of Corporate Social Responsibility. According to its website, Volvo "operations are part of the everyday life of numerous people worldwide. This gives the Volvo Group the opportunity to contribute to positive development in society, both in social, economic and environmental terms" ("Committed to Corporate Social Responsibility," Volvo).

The Electronic Intifada asked Volvo to comment on how the company's principles relate to the documented use of its equipment in Israel's violations of international law. The External Relations Director of Volvo Construction Equipment, Bill Law, replied that there are tens of thousands of Volvo machines in operation across the world at any given time. He added, "We are not in a position to monitor how every one of our machines is used. Indeed both from a logistical point of view and a legal standpoint the company is not able to dictate exactly how every machine is used in the many countries in which they are operated, especially where machines may be used by second, third or even fourth generation owners. At the same time, within our sphere of influence, we have a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. As a company we are involved in social issues, working together with everything from global organizations and universities to local authorities and citizens in order to contribute to a positive development on all levels." However, the use of Volvo construction equipment and trucks in Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people are contrary to Volvo's basic values and commitments. Volvo Group has known about the destructive use of its equipment by the Israeli government since 2007 -- if not earlier. But as its spokesperson makes clear, Volvo is not willing to put a stop to this.

Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate.

JAIL POISONING ATTEMPT: ACCUSED ISRAELI SERIAL KILLER, “MYSTERY MAN”



December 30, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff ·

10 ANOTHER STORY “DISAPPEARED” FROM THE NEWS, “WIKI-STYLE”
“Prosecutor: Genesee County jail inmate tried to poison serial killing suspect Abuelazam
Suspected serial stabber Elias Abuelazam appears in court earlier this month.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FLINT, Mich. — The Genesee County prosecutor’s office says a jail inmate has been charged with trying to poison serial killing suspect Elias Abuelazam (EE’-lee-uhs A’-boo-LAH’-zuhm).  Prosecutor David Leyton tells the Flint Journal an inmate tried to put an oven cleaner in Abuelazam’s food.
Leyton says it happened some time ago and he isn’t revealing the suspect’s name. Attempted poisoning can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.  Abuelazam faces charges of murdering three people and trying to murder five others for a series of stabbings in the Flint area. He’s also charged with attempted murder in Toledo, Ohio, and suspected in similar attacks in Leesburg, Va., where he once lived.
Abuelazam was arrested in Atlanta on Aug. 11 while trying to fly to his native country, Israel.”
———————————————————–
EDITOR’S NOTE:  AS USUAL, THE MAINSTREAM PRESS, WITH ITS “WIKI-FASHION” CENSORSHIP, OR AS IT IS NOW CALLED “SENSITIVITY” TO ANYTHING ABOUT ISRAEL, HAS CONTAINED THIS STORY AS IT HAD THE “CROTCH BOMBER” OF LAST CHRISTMAS.  WHEN MILLIONS OF AMERICANS CAN’T MANAGE TO BOARD AIRCRAFT WITH OUR OWN UNDERWEAR INTACT, TERRORISTS WITH BOMBS, SERIAL KILLERS, NO PASSPORTS, VISAS, TICKETS, BUT WITH ISRAELI FRIENDS, TRAVEL LIKE ANGELS ON WINGS OF HEAVEN.
BELOW, THE AUGUST 2010 STORY AND, PERHAPS, SOME INSIGHT INTO WHY THIS INFAMOUS SERIAL KILLER CASE DISAPPEARED INTO THE WOODWORK, AND THE ACCUSED KILLER NEARLY DISAPPEARED WITH IT, FIRST TO ISRAEL AND THEN, TO THE NETHERWORLD

“MIDDLE EASTERN” TERRORIST, 20 ATTACKS, 5 MURDERS, ISRAELI WITH EXPIRED PASSPORT REMOVED FROM PLANE
EVERY PASSENGER BOARDING A FLIGHT TO ISRAEL IS ROUTINELY QUESTIONED BY SECURITY PERSONNEL AT THE GATE.  THIS IS A LONG STANDING PROCEDURE INSTITUTED BY ISRAEL LONG AGO AND HAS BEEN HIGHLY EFFECTIVE IN ASSURING THAT NO PASSENGER WITHOUT GOVERNMENT APPROVAL CAN BOARD A PLANE FOR ISRAEL.


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor
Toledo (VT) August 12, 2010

“If this lame f%#@ would have made it they never would have kicked him back”…..Robert Walsh, law professor
Elias Abuelazam, 33, an Israeli national arrested on suspicion of terror attacks in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, leaving at least 5 dead and many wounded, was captured on a flight to Tel Aviv waiting for departure at the Atlanta airport by US Customs officers.  Elias was captured with an expired Israeli passport.  Israeli security officers that screen all passengers boarding flights to Israel had two reasons to stop him.  That Abuelazam was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in which Israeli security is routinely notified, is one.  The other, of course, is the expired passport.  A “special exception” had to be made to allow Abuelazam on the plane to Israel, a country with no extradition treaty with the United States.

Abuelazam worked at an Islamic owned convenience store in the small town of Beecher, Michigan.  Most of Abuelazam’s attacks were on African-American males including his latest, in Toledo, Ohio, the slashing of a church custodian.  The victims were all Christians.  The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli “right wing” publication, identified Abuelazam as a “Christian Israeli.”

Initially identified as a “budding serial killer,” Abuelazam managed to travel across the United States with no known source of funds or support, eventually attempting to flee to Israel when both a reliable likeness was distributed and his vehicle, a green Chevrolet Blazer, was identified.

Knife attacks in Flint or Detroit aren’t, in themselves, remarkable.  That a single suspect would quickly murder so many people and be involved in so many attacks, particularly a suspect mis-identified as an Arab, made front page news for weeks across the region, keeping communities in a very real state of terror.
“That Abuelazam could manage to get through the tightest airport security screening in the world, boarding a flight to Israel, without a valid passport should be impossible,” said an FBI spokeman “off the record.”
“Nobody gets into Israel that they don’t want.”

Of late, many Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin have been denied reentry to Israel.  In each case, they are refused boarding rights on planes.  No individual boards a flight to Israel without a security check, overseen by Mossad trained officers.

Another senior official working with Homeland Security stated,
“The whole thing sounds fishy.  In fact, it is too similar to the “crotch bomber” who boarded a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit without a passport.  The idea of a single male in his early 30s, especially one who is likely to be acting not just suspiciously but perhaps ‘disturbed’ getting through security for anywhere nowadays is not believable.  Make it a plane to Tel Aviv, no passport, a wanted fugitive and we have something clearly wrong.  These things simply don’t happen anymore, not without people losing their jobs or worse, perhaps much worse.  It was a lucky break that law enforcement officials caught him on video, this combined with the vehicle description sent him running.  There is no knowing how many more would have died.
Another point is his identity itself.  We are told he is in the United States “legally” but is an Israeli citizen.  Yet his passport is expired.  First he is “Middle Eastern” then Muslim, then Jewish then Christian.  It all sounds like someone didn’t have enough time to get their cover story in good shape.”
The Israeli paper, Haaretz, in a story about a 2007 attempt to extradite an orthodox Jew from Israel, in this case, a sexual predator indicted in New York, reports the following:
“The U.S. Justice Department has asked Israel to facilitate the extradition of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man suspected of raping and sexually abusing dozens of boys.
Avrohom Mondrowitz was investigated by the New York Police Department in the 1980s and was indicted for sex crimes against four boys in Brooklyn, N.Y., but fled to Israel before he could be arrested.
According to witness reports, 60-year-old Mondrowitz, a married father of seven, would pose as a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children that suffered sexual abuse.
Mondrowitz currently resides in Jerusalem. Over the years he has worked in several educational institutions, but he is now unemployed, and allegedly supports himself by selling forged academic degrees.  Mondrowitz refused to answer questions regarding the allegations against him.”
In a Russia Television report, the Israeli government indicates that it will no longer protect Jewish criminals from prosecution as they had in the past:
“Extradition Lawyer Eitan Maoz says that even if in the past Israel may have been considered a safe heaven for criminals, now it is no longer the case.
‘During the nineties, Israel was well-known to be a safe haven, especially for Jewish people that could come and get Israeli citizenship through the Aliya process and stay here very calmly because Israel won’t be extraditing its own citizens,” he said. “After the nineties this law was amended, and so Israel is no longer a safe haven for criminals.’”
The best known case thus far involved Samuel Shinbein, accused of killing, dismembering and burning a teenager in 1997.  The Israeli Supreme Court refused to extradite Shinbeing despite demands by Attorney General Janet Reno.  From Laura Blumenfeld and Kathryn Shaver of the Washington Post:
“Israel’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Samuel Sheinbein, charged with killing, dismembering and burning another Montgomery County teenager in September 1997, is a citizen of Israel and cannot be extradited to the United States.
Sheinbein, 18, who never lived in Israel but whose family sent him there three days after Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr.’s mutilated and charred torso was found, remains in custody, and Israeli officials said he will be indicted there within days on a murder charge.
The court’s ruling disappointed U.S. officials and created a furor among some Israelis, who said the country should not provide a haven for murderers. Tello’s mother, Eliette Ramos, speaking publicly for the first time since the death of her son, 19, denounced the court’s decision as “ridiculous.”
Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas Gansler said Sheinbein’s “guilt or innocence should be adjudicated here.”
“He should be held accountable here,” Gansler said. “Our view is that Mr. Sheinbein does not fit within [Israel's extradition] law. He shouldn’t be able to hide himself under the law.”
Attorney General Janet Reno, who had fought for Sheinbein’s return, said, “We’re disappointed with the response, but at the same time, we’re going to be dedicated to doing everything we can to work with the local prosecutor and with Israeli authorities, if the case is tried there, to see that justice is done.”
Sheinbein claimed citizenship through his father, who was born in British-ruled Palestine before Israel became a country. Under a 1978 law, no Israeli citizen may be extradited.
A State Department official said the department recognized that the decision was made within a responsible judicial system, but added that U.S. officials might recommend that Israel consider amending its extradition law.”
Shinbein was tried in Israel and received a 24 year sentence for a crime that qualified, in Maryland, for the death penalty.  His victim’s family was outraged to learn that Shinbein was eligible for very early parole as the victim was not a Jew and that different sentences apply for Jews who murder Gentiles, even if the crime was committed in the United States.
With nearly one million Israeli passport holders in the United States, 500,000 of them in New York  alone, the threat of giving unrestricted residency and employment access to people who may not be subject to extradition, including untold thousands living in Israel specifically to avoid prosecution for financial crimes, or worse, represents a clear threat to national security.  When “superspy” Jonathan Pollard, responsible to giving the Soviets top US nuclear secrets at the height of the Cold War was offered protection by Israel, it became clear the threat was real.

The case for Abeulazam will, it seems, become less clear as time goes on.  If the Jerusalem Post has its way, tomorrow he will be Muslim, Paksitani and working for Iran.  The families of the dead and injured have questions.  Who put this man on a plane?  What would have happened if he had reached Tel Aviv?  Would he be a national hero like Pollard and the pilots who attacked the USS Liberty?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

GORDON DUFF: “WIKI-MURDERS” IN IRAN, SIGNAL “FALSE FLAG” TERROR



SITE OF REPUTED MOSSAD ATTACK IN TEHRAN

November 29, 2010 posted by Gordon Duff · 5 Comments 

“WIKI-MURDERS”…”WIKI-TERROR”….”WIKI-WAR”


By Gordon Duff

An attack on American forces in the Persian Gulf is being planned.  Wikileaks is an integral part of the operation. 

Step one was the current “diplomatic” Wikileak. 
Step two, the brazen “Mossad style”murders in Iran.

Wikileaks couldn’t be more involved if they built the bombs or fired the missiles themselves.

When America is attacked, either in the Persian Gulf or at home, Wikileaks will be a part of it.  The operation is staged for the Persian Gulf where American warships are “sitting ducks” for a sneak attack like the USS Liberty “incident.”

As with the Liberty attack, Israel can use friends in high places in the United States to assure that if they are blamed, they can claim it was an honest mistake, even if an American super-carrier goes down with all hands.

The preferred weapon will be submarine launched missiles, probably with small nuclear warheads, that will appear to be launched from Iran. Israeli submarines are currently on station within range of American targets, subs known to be armed with cruise type missiles similar to those used by Iran.  The attacks on US forces are dependent on the build-up of tensions tied to terror bombings that have killed one Iranian scientist and wounded another.

A “working group” within the American military is tasked with placing the blame on Iran with “in the can” intelligence much as was used on 9/11. The same forces responsible for planning the Building 7 demolition on 9/11 are being called upon.

Iran is being “set up” through terrorist attacks timed to make any military action in the region immediately look like Iran “out of control.”  More attacks on scientists and their families are planned until international tensions are high enough for a “false flag” terror attack on the United States to seem plausible.
Key media assets have been warning that a major story can be expected.

ISRAELI SUBMARINE LAUNCHED MISSILES

It will be claimed Iran attacked the United States in retaliation for terrorist acts Iran now  blames on Israel and the United States.  In truth, these acts are meant to be intentional provocations, but it is clearly understood that Iran is incapable of acting.  Russia has never delivered the advanced air defense system Iran needs and with virtually no air force, Iran is incapable of resisting an American onslaught.

A SIGNATURE MOSSAD OPERATION

The attacks have killed one scientist and wounded another.  The wives of both men were wounded.  Israel has done everything but announce that it planned and executed these attacks and is planning more. Iran is being dared to respond but, in fact, no response by Iran will be necessary.  Sources tell us that an act of war against the United States, one which can be blamed on Iran, is in the planning.

The attacks inside Iran are staged from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, a remote province of Pakistan.  Each of these nations has surrendered control of border regions with Iran to intelligence agencies, including the CIA, Mossad and MI-6.  All have separatist movements with ties to Israel and India.

The Baloch separatist group, Jundullah, funded by the CIA and operated by the Mossad, acts for Israel much as Hizbollah acts for Iran in Lebanon.  Regular terror attacks inside Iran are staged, not only military targets but mosque bombings and assassinations.  Jundullah, the PKK in Turkey and Kurdistan, the Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan, all are operated by Israel as surrogates, attacking Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and sometimes American forces as well.
WIKILEAKS TIMING
There is now little doubt that Wikileaks is an intelligence operation managed from Tel Aviv, carrying out Israeli foreign policy.  The most recent “leaks” have successfully reset the diplomatic stage in the Middle East, exposing undercurrents of animosity against Iran while destroying American diplomatic credibility.

Were a crisis in the region to arise, and one is already in motion thanks to the Israeli terrorists openly operating inside Iran, the United States would now be hamstrung in attempts to foster a regional settlement.  Nobody is talking, not anymore, not when anything said will be in the newspapers and nobody is trusting the United States.  President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have been exposed as highly suspicious of Gulf region allies.

As clear as it was, from the outset, that Wikileaks is an intelligence operation of Israel, making use of their extensive network within the Departments of Defense and State, staffed by hundreds of “dual citizens,” it is really the powerful Israeli lobby, AIPAC, that makes it all possible.
AIPAC SPYING ACCUSATIONS

Former AIPAC lobbyist, Steve Rosen, an employee we have been informed was fired, not for spying against the United States but being “caught,” is suing the organization for defamation.  He claims to have extensive files outlining spy operations by AIPAC that penetrate every aspect of America’s national security, information he claims the FBI has had all along, has had but has ignored.

Rosen claims, in a sense, that AIPAC is a spy organization.
AIPAC, the single most powerful organization in American politics, no member of congress, no president has ever held office without their blessing, has long been reputed to be a foreign lobby.  However, loopholes created specifically for AIPAC allow it to circumvent all regulations that help protect America from foreign influences.
Now it is believed that the information Rosen is referring to is actually Wikileaks itself and that AIPAC is, in fact, Wikileaks.
AMERICA, NOT THE SAME “RUBES” AS ON 9/11

One question that is never asked in the United States is how many American believe 9/11 was not what it seemed.  After ABC’s Jon Faine attacked Kevin Bracken, a popular Australian labor leader, a poll with over 10,000 respondents showed 77% support for a 9/11 conspiracy.  Though Bracken never accused Israel, Jon Faine was clear.  Faine believed that, if 9/11 was a “false flag” that Israel would be blamed.

Though it isn’t clear how many Americans support one of the several 9/11 conspiracies, with or without Israel’s involvement, one thing is clear.  When a suspected terrorist is arrested and a terrorist plot is uncovered, Americans seem unconcerned and millions are clearly skeptical.  The current car bomb threat in Portland, Oregon is one such incident.  There is no news followup, no internet chatter, nothing on “talk radio.”  Most Americans assume the FBI invented the whole thing.  Though this is probably not true, it is far easier to convince the average American the FBI has “gone bad” that of terrorist plotters.

A decade of phony alerts, airport hassles and outright lies have worn Americans out on terrorism.  If asked, Americans would say, “bring it on.”  However, it is because they fear real terrorists much less than their own political leaders, both former and current.
PLANS FOR A “WIKI-WAR”

The geopolitical goals of a “Wiki-War” are potentially unlimited.  The China-Iran-Pakistan axis, one that really doesn’t yet exist, could be preempted.  Turkey can be isolated from its Islamic neighbors and intimidated.  More likely, Israeli expansion is looking toward Western Iraq, where Israel has maintained a foothold in Mosul, near the Syrian border, for decades.  Israel believes Western Iraq is as much a part of Israel as Jerusalem itself, tracing their stake on the region back 3500 years.

Israel has managed to play Chaldean Christian groups against their Shiite neighbors, who have longstanding enmity toward their Sunni countrymen, a region ripe for plucking.  With Iran crushed by the United States, a nation whose economic viability would face immediate collapse with the closing of Persian Gulf oil supplies, a power vacuum would immediately open. 

Wikileaks has had significant success in neutering America’s diplomatic capabilities, leaving Israel as the regions only military force.

The “Wiki-War” is dependent on Iran having no air force and poor air defenses.  With these crippling problems and a “defense only” capability aimed at shutting off the world’s oil supply, an air campaign against Iran will be devastatingly successful.  Iran is virtually defenseless against it.

When the oil stops and the banks and stock markets crash, the exodus of “dual citizens” will begin.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Friday, January 1, 2010

Helen Thomas: Thrown to the wolves


At a time of forgiveness, why is Helen Thomas still being ostracized?
Danny Schechter Last Modified: 29 Dec 2010 13:58 GMT


Helen Thomas, who once occupied a front-row seat in the White House briefing room, has been completely ostracized due to some inelegantly-put remarks about Israel captured on film by provocateurs [EPA]

In 1960, I was fixated on emulating the courageous media personalities of the times, from Edward R. Murrow to a distinctive figure I came to admire at presidential press conferences - a wire service reporter named Helen Thomas.

In recent years, my faith in the power of dialogue in politics has been severely tested - as, no doubt has hers - in an age where diatribes and deliberate demonization chills debate and exchanges of opposing views.

Once you are labeled and stereotyped - especially if you are denounced as an anti-Semite - you are relegated to the fringes, pronounced a hater beyond redemption, and even beyond explanation.

As the legendary Helen Thomas soon found out.

The rise of a legend
As a member in good standing of an activist generation, I saw myself more as an outsider in contrast to Helen’s distinctive credentials as an insider, as a White House bureau chief and later as the dean of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Yet, beneath her establishment credentials and status, she was always an outsider too - one of nine children born to a family of Lebanese immigrants in Winchester Kentucky, who despite their Middle East origins were Christians in the Greek Orthodox Church.

She became a woman who broke the glass ceiling in the clubby, mostly male, inside-the-beltway world of big egos and self-important media prima donnas.

Her origins were more modest. She grew up in an ethnic neighborhood in Detroit.

Helen received her bachelor's degree from Wayne State University in 1942, the year I was born. Earlier this year, her alma mater, of which she had taken so much pride in her achievements, canceled the award in her name.

A fall from grace
The withdrawal of her name from the prominent award was a striking gesture of cowardice and submission to an incident blown out of proportion that instantly turned Helen from a 'she-ro' to a zero.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center put her on their top ten list of anti-Semites after angry remarks she made about Israel went viral and exploded into a major story.

President Barack Obama who cheerfully brought her a birthday cake, later labeled her remarks as "reprehensible".

You would think that given all the vicious ad hominems, Godwins and putdowns directed at him, he would be more cautious tossing slurs at others.

But no, all politicians pander to deflect criticism whenever the wind of enmity blows their way.

Now it was Helen who was being compared to Hitler in the latest furor.

Snakes and Foxes
Then suddenly last June, I, like everyone in the world of media, was stunned to witness her public fall from grace, partly self-inflicted, perhaps because of the inelegant language used in response to an ambush interview by provocateur father-son Israeli advocates posing as journalists.

They were following in the footsteps of the vicious comments by Ann Coulter earlier denouncing Thomas as an "old Arab" sitting yards from the President as if she were threatening him. She refused to dignify that smear with a response.

I didn't know until she told me that she had also been hounded for years by Abe Foxman, a leader of the Anti-Defamation League who demanded she explain 25 questions she asked presidents over the decades.

"I didn’t answer," she told me, "because I don’t respond to junk mail."

Bait and switch
Helen always stuck to her guns. She was considered the marquise of journalists that presidents respected. She even went to China with Nixon.

She has, however, always been polite enough to try to answer questions from strangers without always realizing who she was dealing with in a new world of media hit jobs, where "gotcha" YouTube videos thrive on spontaneous embarrassing moments, what we used to call "bloopers."

She had been baited and fell for it. Unaware of how the video could be used, she vented and then regretted doing so. It was too late. That short media snippet triggered millions of hits.

Helen later apologized for how she said what she did without retracting the essence of her convictions.

But by then, it was too late. Her long career was instantly terminated. The perception became everything; the context nothing.

Damage control
She tried to be conciliatory, saying, "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

Her remarks were derided and dismissed, with the pundits and papers demanding her head. She had no choice but to resign after her company, agent, co-author and many "friends" started treating her like a pariah.

"You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive," she says now.

She was forced into retirement and thrown to the wolves in a media culture that relishes stories of personal destruction and misfortune. It's the old 'the media builds you up before they tear you down' routine.

As blogger Jamie Frieze wrote, "I don't think she should have been forced to resign. After all, freedom of speech doesn't come with the right to be comfortable. In other words, the fact that you're uncomfortable doesn't trump my free speech. Thomas made people uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean her speech should be punished."

But punished she was.

A lesson learned

When I called Helen Thomas to ask if she might be willing to share some of her thoughts on what happened, I found her as eloquent as ever, supportive of Wikileaks, critical of grand jury harassment in the Mid West against Palestinian supporters and angry with President Obama for his many right turns and spineless stands.

She was, she said, on a path outside the White House when a rabbi, David Nesenoff, asked to speak to her, and introduced his two sons whom he said wanted to become journalists (one of whom wasn't actually his son).

"That happens to me a lot," she said, "and I told them about my love of journalism and that they should pursue their goals. I was gracious, and told them to go for it."

Then the subject abruptly changed. "'What do you think of Israel' they asked next. It was all very pleasant and I don't blame them for asking,” she told me. But, then, she added, she didn't know the people would've "shoved a microphone in my face like a jack knife."

It wasn't just any rabbi making conversation. Nesenoff is an ardent Israel supporter who runs a website called 'Rabbi Live' and can be a flamboyant self-promoter. He says, "Even though I was born in Glen Cove and grew up in Syosset Long Island, Israel is my Jewish homeland. It is the homeland for all Jewish people."

The sin of silence

She remembered being moved by a rabbi who spoke alongside Martin Luther King Jr at the March on Washington in 1963. I was there also, and heard him speak too, and so I looked him up.

It was Joachim Prinz of the American Jewish Congress who made a speech that influenced a younger Helen Thomas. He said, "When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence."

Helen says her whole career has been about combating the sin of silence. She says she has now been liberated to speak out.

"All I would like is for people to know what I was trying to say, that Palestinians are living under tyranny and that their rights are being violated. All I want is some sympathy for Palestinians," she says.

Forgotten but not forgiven

Now it's the holiday season, allegedly a time of peace and forgiveness when presidents issue pardons to convicted criminals and reflection is theoretically permitted, a time when even a State Department hawk like Richard Holbrooke can, on his deathbed, it is said, call for an end to the Afghan war that he had dogmatically supported.

We have watched the rehabilitation of so many politicians over recent years who have stumbled, taken money or disgraced themselves in sex scandals, including senators and even presidents.


Helen Thomas is not in that category.

Yet, many of those "fallen" are back in action, tarnished perhaps, but allowed to recant, to work and then reappear in the media.

But, to this day, there has been almost no compassion, empathy or respect shown for one of our great journalists, Helen Thomas, who has been presumed guilty and sentenced to oblivion with barely a word spoken in her defense.

How can we expect Israelis and Palestinians to reconcile if our media won't set an example by reconciling with Helen Thomas?

Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. He directed Plunder The Crime of Our Time, a film on DVD about the financial crisis as a crime story. (Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com)

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.