Sunday, November 30, 2014

UN Committee Against Torture Criticizes US Policy

UN Committee Against Torture Report Criticizes US Policy

by Stephen Lendman

A new UN Committee Against Torture report criticizes serious US civil and human rights abuses.

Including secret CIA detentions. Extraordinary renditions. Interrogation practices. Systematic use of torture.

Immigration detention abuses. Criminal injustice. America's death penalty. Police brutality. Racial profiling. Brutalizing longterm solitary confinement.

Protection of prisoners against violence. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other civil society groups submitted shadow reports. Highlighting concerns about Washington failure to comply with human rights treaty obligations.

Where's the accountability, victims ask? Justice remains denied. CCR's shadow report asked:

"Does the United States have a specific plan and timetable for the closure of Guantanamo? What is that plan and timetable?"

"Does the United States expect or intend, before the end of this year, to transfer Mohammed Al Hamiri, Ghaleb Al-Bihani, Fahd Ghazy, Tariq Ba Odah, or any other Yemeni detainees currently held at Guantánamo?"

"Is the Periodic Review Board limited to making recommendations for transfer, or can it provide any concrete relief to Guantánamo detainees?"

"Will the United States address the legitimate grievances of detainees on long-term hunger strike, and does it plan to adapt its detention protocol for artificial feeding in order to comply with relevant standards under the Convention against Torture?"

"What are the measures used to ensure solitary confinement is only used as a temporary measure under exceptional circumstances, in accordance with international recommendations?"

"Does the United States intend to 'expand program content for intellectual stimulation, and provide for wider detainee access; maximize interaction between detainees, communal living and recreation interaction; approve and implement family visits; and consider inviting non-governmental organizations and appropriate international organizations to send representatives to visit Guantánamo,' as recommended by the government’s review of conditions at Guantanamo in 2009?"

CCR recommendations include:

"Exercise authority under the 2014 NDAA to effect additional transfers without further delay."

"Close Guantánamo by transferring all men whom the government does not plan to charge to their home or resettlement countries."

"Provide the anticipated date by which the Administration expects to complete Periodic Review Board hearings for all detainees slated for review."

"Disclose the number of detainees currently on hunger strike and currently being forcibly fed."

"Disclose the number of detainees currently being held in solitary confinement at Guantánamo."

"Adapt procedures for treatment of detainees on hunger strike, including medical counseling, in accordance with international recommendations for ethical procedures in protest hunger strikes and limited use of solitary confinement."

"Ensure all detainees who express a fear of being subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment after transfer to their home country or a resettlement country, have access to meaningful judicial review of this decision."

The Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) is an international bill of rights. Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Obligating signatories to protect and preserve life. Human dignity. Equality. Free expression, assembly and association.

Religious rights. Privacy. Freedom from torture and other forms of abuse. Arbitrary detention. Gender, ethnic and racial equality. The right to judicial fairness.

America is a signatory. Making it the supreme law of the land under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

It doesn't matter. Washington systematically violates core international laws. Including prohibitions against torture. At all times. Under all circumstances. With no allowed exceptions.

By the four Geneva Conventions. Common Article Three. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. European (torture) Convention. UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Bush administration officials made it official US policy. Obama continues what demands condemnation. At Guantanamo. In dozens of secret torture prisons. Operating globally. Governing like other tinpot despots.

Heading America's Murder, Inc. agenda. Appointing himself judge, jury and executioner. Deciding who'll live or die.

Targeting anyone for any reason. Including US citizens. As vulnerable as foreign nationals. Murdering them in cold blood. Doing so one Obama signature away.

Locking others up indefinitely without charge or trial. Based on his say alone.

America commits virtually every imaginable civil and human rights abuse. Its deplorable record unmatched anywhere.

Last Wednesday, the UN Committee Against Torture reviewed America's record. At Guantanamo. In US prisons. By police. In immigration facilities.

For the first time in its history, the Committee heard directly from one of Washington's victims. Murat Murnaz. Tortured at Guantanamo.

Joined in Geneva by his lawyer. Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy. Delivering a powerful indictment of ongoing Guantanamo practices.

Calling it "a prison for Muslim men and boys." Victimized by torture and arbitrary detention. Violating US and international law.

It's inexcusable for the Obama administration "to blame Congress (for) mak(ing) it difficult to transfer detainees," said Azmy.

"The problem with Guantanamo is indefinite detention, not the location of the detention, and thus, would not be solved by any proposals to transfer detainees to the US in an effort to close the prison."

"Instead, the US should transfer detainees home or resettle them in third countries rather than expend its time, energy and political capital on the fraught process of bringing detainees to the US."

Kurnaz testified about his own detention and treatment, saying:

"In 2001, while traveling in Pakistan, I was arrested by Pakistani police and sold to the US military for a $3,000 bounty."

"In Kandahar, the US military subjected me to electric shocks, stress positions, simulated drowning, and endless beatings."

"In Guantanamo, there was also psychological torture. I was stripped of my humanity, treated like an animal, isolated from the rest of the world, and did not know if I would ever be released."

"Even though my lawyers proved that the US knew of my innocence by 2002, I was not released until 2006. I lost five years of my life in Guantanamo."

"Eight years later, I cannot believe that Guantanamo is still open and that there are almost 150 men detained there indefinitely."

"My time in Guantanamo was a nightmare, but I sometimes consider myself lucky. I know that part of the reason I am free today is because I am from Germany."

"Most of the current prisoners remain in Guantanamo because they are from Yemen and the US refuses to send them home."

"Many are as innocent as I was. But they are enduring the torture of Guantanamo for over 12 years because of their nationality, not because of anything they have done."

"(W)ny has no US official been held responsible for brutal practices and torture at Guantanamo or other US prisons?

"I will never get five years of my life back, but for me and others, it is important that the Committee confronts the United States about its actions in Guantanamo and other prisons."

In response to questions about its policies, US officials admitted "cross(ing) the line" on torture, ill-treatment and related abuses.

Last August, Obama admitted torturing prisoners at CIA black sites. At the same time defending director John Brennan. Agency practices overall.

Justifying the unjustifiable. Expressing full confidence in Brennan. One day after a CIA inspector general's report exposed him as a brazen liar.

Obama almost casually said:

"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong."

"We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values."

He omitted saying he continues the same policy. At Guantanamo through force-feeding. Other abusive practices.

At dozens of secret global black sites. Out of sight and mind. Continuing the worst of odious Bush administration practices.

Suspects lawlessly abducted. Denied all rights. Secretly held. Confessions extracted through torture. Victims saying anything to stop pain.

The ACLU commented on the new UN report, saying:

Its "report took the Obama administration to task about the lack of consequences for the officials responsible for torture during the Bush administration and failing to provide redress for victims."

"It also called for the swift release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA's torture program with minimal redactions, which the White House and senators have been fighting over."

It "urged an end to unfair military commissions and indefinite detention at Guantanamo as well as a halt to the force feedings there."

ACLU's Human Rights Program Director Jamil Dakwar said:

"The Obama administration needs to match its rhetoric with actions by supporting full accountability for torture."

"As a start, that means allowing the release of the Senate's torture report summary without redactions that would defeat report's primary purpose, which is to expose the full extent of government abuse."

"It also means ensuring a top-to-bottom criminal investigation of the torture that occurred."

Holding responsible parties fully accountable. Prosecuting lawbreakers.

The UN report harshly criticized extensive use of solitary confinement. All too often longterm.

Torture by any other name. Irreparably harming victims. Turning many into zombies.

US police are unaccountable. "(F)or pervasive racial profiling and use of excessive and lethal force, especially against people of color," said the ACLU.

"Along the same lines, the report decried the growing militarization of policing, spurred by federal programs funding military equipment for local police."

"This report - along with the voices of Americans protesting around the country this week - is a wake-up call for police who think they can act with impunity," said Dakwar.

"It’s time for systemic policing reforms and effective oversight that make sure law enforcement agencies treat all citizens with equal respect and hold officers accountable when they cross the line."

The report criticized expedited deportations. Without adequate protections. Affecting immigrants and asylum seekers.

Whole families and young children. Many fled violence. Sought refuge in America. Are treated like common criminals.

"The committee is right to demand that immigrants and especially people seeking asylum must have fair hearings and access to legal representation to ensure that they are not returned to dangerous situations," said Dakwar.

"Immigration detention should be the last resort, and certainly not a method of deterrence."

The Committee report is damning. At the same time without teeth. Expect no US policy changes

Obama exceeds the worst of Bush practices. A war criminal multiple times over. A serial lawbreaker. Nothing ahead looks promising.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Insult to Injury in Egypt

Insult to Injury in Egypt

by Stephen Lendman

Egypt's military dictatorship holds absolute power. Has no legitimacy whatever. 

Rules by decree. Controls the media. Ignores fundamental international laws, norms and standards. Its own constitutional law.

Prohibits dissent. Tolerates no opposition. Killed at least 3,000 Muslim Brotherhood members. Imprisoned tens of thousands more. Brutally tortures many.

Wages war on millions of working class Egyptians. Especially youths. Justifiably angry over increasing unemployment, poverty, police state rule, corruption, and injustice.

Junta rule controls the courts. Mubarak's acquittal of mass murder charges shows Egyptian-style justice. Along with his security chief, Habib el-Adly, and six top police officials.

No government, military or police convictions followed killing hundreds in Tahrir Square. During 18 revolutionary days. 

In clashes with police. From January 25 - February 11, 2011. Despite clear evidence proving guilt.

All remaining charges against Mubarak were dismissed. Adding insult to injury.

The Muslim Brotherhood's English language web site headlined "Anti-Coup Jurists: Deposed Mubarak Acquittal Null and Void," saying:

"Egypt's pro-legitimacy Independence of the Judiciary Front (IJF) rejects as totally flawed the court verdict issued Saturday acquitting ousted president Mubarak and his senior government officials."

On charges of mass murder and financial corruption. Involving gas sales to Israel at below-market prices. In return for lavish Red Sea homes given him and his two sons as kickbacks.

"…Saturday's court ruling will be challenged, especially since it was issued in violation of clear and unequivocal evidence upon which Mubarak and all his associates should be executed for murder." 

"IJF pledged to refer Mahmoud Al-Rashidi, the trial judge, to the Disciplinary Board."

"…Saturday's flawed judgment completes the plight of the judicial institution after the military coup, a natural result of the ongoing massacre of honest judges, and a strictly political decision that has an obvious relationship with the illegitimate coup, the military junta and the mobilization of armored personnel carriers and tanks throughout the streets of Egypt days before the verdict was announced."

"(T)his ruling will open the doors of popular retribution and revenge as authorities insist on trampling justice."

"(T)he People's Court, held in Tahrir Square during Mubarak's ouster, headed by Judge Mahmoud Khudairi (currently detained on trumped-up charges), with participation of some of Egypt's best and most honorable judges and lawyers, issued a ruling to hang Mubarak, his interior minister and other senior officials, and dealt with all crimes for which the ousted president has not been tried as yet."

"…IJF called on all supporters of the independence of the judiciary and the justice system to respond positively, by closing ranks in solidarity with the people's demands to execute Mubarak and his aides, before and after the military coup. IJF vows to continue its "Retribution" campaign, headed by Judge Imad Abu-Hashem, for the defense of Egypt's right to retribution, the right of the judiciary in upholding justice and independence, and the right of the families of martyrs and prisoners in holding the perpetrators accountable."

Whitewashing mass murder and corruption shows the complete military dictatorship triumph over hope for revolutionary change.

Mubarak may be freed. In May, he was sentenced to three years in prison. In a separate corruption case. 

Involving lavish government-funded home improvements he and his sons got. Detained since April 2011, he'll likely be released. His legal team wants it swiftly. Saying his detention qualifies as time served.

Egyptian-style justice affords none at all. Police murdered Sayid Abdel Latif's son. He lost hope for justice, saying:

"Is there anyone who would put himself on trial? Mubarak's regime is still in place."

"The January revolution is over. They ended it. We thought Sisi would bring us our rights, but he is one of them."

Egyptian/American journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous tweeted:

"Egyptian courts have failed to find anyone guilty of killing hundreds of protesters in 2011 or since. Chalk it up to mass suicide."

Human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat called Saturday's ruling "a very deliberate decision by the regime to continue on the path of rewriting the history that led to Mubarak's ouster and closing the file on the Jan. 25 revolution."

Junta rulers "are not afraid. They are perfectly capable of letting (Mubarak) walk free, and they feel no pressure to hold him accountable."

London-based Muslim Brotherhood member Abdullah El-Haddad said:

"The fascist putschists may continue to summon Mubarak's gang back to life but this will not change the reality on the ground."

"The next trial for Mubarak and his corrupt cronies will be a revolutionary one. Justice will prevail and the revolution will have its say."

London Telegraph's Middle East correspondent, Richard Spencer, called it "politically impossible for Mr Mubarak and his interior minister, Habib al-Adly, to pay any real judicial price for what happened on those days." 

"The horror that unfolded during the afternoon and night of January 28 has been matched or outdone by events since, in Egypt and elsewhere."

"Most importantly, Egypt's new strongman, President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, owes his own position to the tough line he took with protests subsequent to the military coup that brought him to power." 

"A thousand more protesters died in August last year, and the line of command for those shootings is on record. (T)hose who kill for the state…remain unpunished."

After usurping power, junta generals reinvented history. Justifying state violence. Blaming ordinary Egyptians for demanding rights everyone deserves.

Mubarak et al's acquittal was inevitable. Fascists don't punish their own. Status quo remains. Nothing in prospect suggests otherwise.

Saturday's ruling came a day after security forces killed four peaceful protesters.

Mubarak scoffed at an initial guilty ruling against him, saying:

"I laughed when I heard the first verdict." After Saturday's ruling he said: "I did not do anything at all."

His lawyer, Farid al-Deeb, called the verdict a "good ruling that proved the integrity of Mubarak's era."

Protests followed Saturday's farcical ruling. Thousands turned out. The largest anti-regime demonstration so far. Some carried photos of loved ones Mubarak killed in 2011.

Police used tear gas, water cannons, birdshot and live fire. Two deaths were reported. Numerous other injuries. Dozens of arrests were made. Including at least four journalists.

Police justified force it earlier vowed to avoid. Saying Muslim Brotherhood members infiltrated demonstrator ranks.

Witnesses said police violence was unprovoked. RT International correspondent, Bel Tru, said security forces arrested nonviolent demonstrators. "(S)ome Egyptian journalists apparently among those detained," she explained. 

"On the streets of downtown Cairo we're seeing clouds of choking tear gas, and still the sporadic sound of gunfire is being heard, as the police are looking for anyone who could have participated in the protest."

Demonstrators confirmed "sweeps of arrests, with dozens taken. People have been picked up in the streets, sometimes in cafes, beaten in the back of police trucks. It's completely chaotic."

Armored vehicles were involved. Protesters shouted "Down with the military regime." "Freedom." 

"The people want to topple the regime." Condemning Mubarak, ruling General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and other junta officials.

Security forces blocked Tahrir Square. Using concrete blocks, barbed wire and armored vehicles.

Junta power rules Egypt. Tyranny by any standard. Brute force reflects it.

People feel betrayed. Revolutionary hope faded. Things are back to square one. Business as usual continues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Ukraine: Waging War During Economic Crisis Conditions

Ukraine: Waging War During Economic Crisis Conditions

by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine is an economic basket case and then some. Illegitimate US installed putschists wage naked aggression while effectively bankrupt. More on this below.

On November 28, Russia's OSCE representative Andrei Kelin stressed resolving Ukrainian crisis conditions diplomatically.

Observing Geneva and Minsk terms. Noting Ukraine's national security and defense council spokesman Andriy Lysenko calling ceasefire one of the most important Minsk protocol requirements.

While Kiev wages war without mercy on Donbas. Violating what it swore to uphold.

Ukrainian security forces are concentrating in conflict zone areas. "(M)ilitary forces are ungently being called back from their leave," said Kelin.

Egregious Ukrainian human rights abuses go unnoticed. Kelin stressed "devastation in Donbass…" 

"(D)estruction of the manufacturing industry and vital infrastructure. These were not accidental hits, but premeditated destruction of facilities that are key to the survival of the region." 

"We've seen elements of such tactics carried out by NATO in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya."

"We consider this a violation of the Minsk agreements and the humanitarian legal norms in general."

War crimes by any standard. Kiev lay siege to Donbas. Stopped paying employees of government-run enterprises.

Seized pensions. Suspended social benefits for war veterans, retirees, disabled people. As well as allowances for children.

"People have been working and paying taxes to the Ukrainian state all their lives, and they are now left with nothing," said Kelin. 

"This is nothing short of plundering. Kiev imposed a ban on supplying medicines there and is not allowing food lorries in Donbass." 

"The president ordered public institutions to be closed. Banks are closed." 

"The right to social security, regardless of race, nationality, gender, language, place of residence, or type of activity is part of our common international obligations."

"How does Kiev's proclaimed interest in preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine stack up to the actual expulsion of Donbass from its political, economic and cultural space?"

"The central authorities are deliberately exacerbating the already disastrous situation of Donbass residents." 

Illegitimate prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk calls them "subhumans." Kiev destroyed their homes. Their electric power, water and heating. 

Their livelihoods. "Clearly, this state of affairs requires urgent humanitarian intervention," said Kelin.

Russia alone supplies aid. "Kiev sends nothing. We cannot allow another military blockade of the population of Donbass."

Evidence shows systematic Ukrainian security force torture. Affecting mostly noncombatants. "(A)rrested on absurd charges," said Kelin.

"The scope and the systemic nature of the torture indicate that this a deliberate policy sanctioned by the Ukrainian leadership."

"The Prosecutor General of Ukraine is talking about 3,000 cases opened against the Ukrainian security forces, including on charges of murder, robbery and theft."

Mariupol atrocities include robbery, kidnappings and rape.

"We are deeply concerned about the increase in the displays of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine," said Kelin. 

"With tolerance and occasionally support from authorities, monuments to the Nazis are being open." 

"Those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition or collaborated with the Nazis are raised to the rank of national heroes or national liberation movement heroes."

Some OSCE member states support "revisionist" extremism.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Western-imposed sanctions have nothing to do with deescalating Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Everything to do with weakening Russia economically. Instigating public protests. Undermining global stability. Threatening world peace.

Challenging Russia is foolhardy, he said. Otto von Bismark believed it, he added. Vladimir Putin stressed it.

Saying no one in history subjugated Russia. Or its influence. "This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact," said Lavrov.

"Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War."

US-led Western nations "unequivocally…seek…not merely (to subvert) Russian policy…but…to change the regime."

"(A)nd practically nobody denies this." Washington pressures other nations to "follow its line in connection with anti-Russian sanctions and principles."

"(W)e have ample proof…that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences." 

All countries are pressured. Obey or face reprisals. "The world is changing," Lavrov stressed. At some point hegemonic influence peaks. Then declines an fades.

"The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7," Lavrov explained.

"One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one's own grandeur."

Washington and EU partners elevated Kiev fascists to power. "(T)hereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change."

"What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first." 

"As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can't find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine."

Launching conflict was misguiided. Challenging Russia is a huge mistake. 

So is attempting subjugation. It bears repeating. Putin stressed no one in history achieved it. According to Lavrov, it's "a statement of fact."

Ukraine putschists partnered with Washington at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. When their economy is in disarray. Cratering. Collapsing. Effectively bankrupt. 

Especially after accepting an IMF two-year $17.1 billion standby loan. Demanding economically destructive restructuring. Typical IMF poison.

Prioritizing servicing Western banker debts. Selling off state enterprises at fire sale prices. Mass layoffs. Lower wages. Gutted social programs. Cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

Some funds used to prop up Ukraine's failing currency. Finance trade. 
Replenish fast disappearing foreign reserves. 

At the same time, Ukraine's faltering economy worsens. Steps to stimulate growth ignored. Create jobs. Alleviate human suffering. Obeying IMF diktats matters most.

In 2014 Q I and II, industrial production fell 5.8%. Another 12.1% and 20.1% in July and August respectively. Other key economic indicators are dismal. With no signs of relief.

From January through August, business investment down 25.6%. Construction down 15.6%. Trade down 13.8%. Exports down 14.4%. Imports down 21.2%.

Inflation up 20%. Ukraine's currency (the hryvnia) down 36%. Central bank foreign currency reserves down to around $12 billion. A nine-year low. And falling.

Collapsing. Exacerbated by capital flight. Expect worse Q III and Q IV numbers. Ukraine's sole growth industry is military spending. 

Helped by US and other foreign infusions. For war. Not defense or peace. Economic crisis conditions are dire. The worst appears yet to come.

Not enough to stop Kiev's war machine. Madness in Europe's heartland. At a time its economy is in free-fall. 

Perhaps headed for collapse without greater financial aid than already received. The fullness of time will tell.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Israel Attacks Gaza Border Areas

Israel Attacks Gaza Border Areas

by Stephen Lendman

Doing so breaches August ceasefire terms. Not Israel's first violation. Nor its last.

It egregiously flouted all agreed on terms straightaway. Complicit PA officials remain silent. Dismissive of horrendous Gazan suffering. 

Diverting half or more of October's so-called donor conference raised $5.4 billion. For unspecified budget purposes. Rife with corruption.

Giving Israel total authority over Gaza reconstruction. Controlling what enters or leaves. Palestinians have no say. Over virtually everything affecting their lives and welfare.

At a time of extreme deprivation and hardship. Compounded by days of flooding. UN refugee agency (UNRWA) declaring a state of emergency.

Torrential rains besieged Gaza City. Filing streets with sewage. Causing greater misery. Compounding an ongoing humanitarian disaster.

Especially for tens of thousands remaining homeless. Thousands more in emergency shelters. According to UNWRA:

"The flooding is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by blockade and the unprecedented destruction from the latest Israeli offensive."

Israeli forces along Gaza's southern border fired on area Palestinian homes and property. Without just cause.

At the same time, targeting Palestinian fishermen. One of numerous post-Operation Protective Edge (OPE) attacks. 

Violating ceasefire terms. Meaningless given how Israel operates. Pledging one thing. Doing another.

Witnesses to Israel's latest attacks reported one after midnight. Another in daylight hours.

Willfully targeting civilian homes. In gross violation of international law. The incident followed Israeli cross-border tank fire.

Since both sides agreed on August ceasefire terms in, Hamas and other resistance groups scrupulously observed them.

Israel violated them straightaway. Unaccountably. Continues doing so. Media scoundrels ignore their crimes. So do Western leaders.

PA officials conspire against their own people. Aiming to profit from Gazan destruction. Mindless of horrendous humanitarian conditions.

Commenting disingenuously on Israel's draft nation-state legislation.

"(D)efining the identity of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and to anchor the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the spirit of the principles of the Declaration of the Independence."

Saying it destroys what's no longer possible. A two-state solution. Possible years ago. Not now.

Israel controls about 60% of West Bank land. Much of East Jerusalem. More stolen daily. 

When completed, its Separation Wall will control over 10% of Palestine. PLO officials do nothing to intervene against it. Or act against illegal settlement construction.

Abbas was disturbingly silent through most of OPE. Now diverting billions of reconstruction dollars for unspecified budget purposes.

PLO rhetoric condemning Israeli racist laws rings hollow. Oslo terms agreed to reflected unilateral surrender. A Palestinian Versailles.

Getting nothing for renouncing armed struggle. Agreeing to enforce Israeli authority. Recognizing its right to exist. 

Leaving major unresolved issues for final status talks. Twenty-one years later, they're still waiting. 

The PA functions as a wholly-owned Israeli subsidiary. At the expense of millions of Palestinians.

PLO officials claiming "dozens of laws enacted since 1948 and (draft nation-state) legislation… blatantly discriminate against the Palestinians and defy all the basic principles of democracy and human rights" comes dozens of years too late.

Especially post-Oslo. Surrendering to Israeli authority. Calling on all international community members disingenuously. 

The UN. EU. United States "to hold Israel to account immediately…(T)o curb (its) violations and deliberate acts of racial discrimination and violence against the Palestinian people…"

"(T)o support Palestinian efforts to seek justice and protection in all international legal venues…"

"(I)ncluding (a) Security Council…timeframe for ending the occupation…" 

"(E)stablishing (an) independent Palestinian state (within) 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital." 

These statements and similar rhetoric ring hollow. Given how little PA officials work toward goals they ask world authorities to accomplish for them.

Suggesting disinterest. Preferring status quo conditions. For special benefits they derive. 

At the expense of their own people. Exposing their phony high-minded rhetoric. Disingenuous and then some.

Gazans face slow suffocation. PA officials remain dismissive. Months after conflict ended, virtually no reconstruction began.

Exacerbated by flooding. PA officials conspiring with Israel and the UN against 1.8 million Gazans.

Agreeing to unreasonable demands no responsible government would accept. Letting Israel control virtually everything.

Including access to private Palestinian family information. Collected by UN authorities. Used to decide who's helped. Who's not.

Israel committed genocidal high crimes against peace. Mass destruction. Slaughter like shooting fish in a barrel. Including hundreds of children. Many too young to understand. 

Yet not assessed a dime for its crimes. For reconstructing lawlessly destroyed property.  

Murdering dozens of entire families. Leaving large parts of Gaza in rubble. One of history's great crimes. Demanding accountability not gotten.

Profiting from mass destruction. Studies showing half the $5.4 billion pledged directly benefits Israel.

At the expense of beleaguered Gazans. Disaster capitalism writ large. Profiting from human misery.

Enforcing Israel's blockade. Despite pledges to end it. Exacerbating intolerable conditions.

UN officials estimate around 100,000 residences damaged or destroyed. During 51 days of premeditated Israeli aggression.

Affecting one-third of 1.8 million people. EU representative John Gatt-Rutter saying "(a) long time has gone by without enough cement or enough materials coming in that will allow people to rebuild their houses."

UNWRA Commissioner-General calling Gaza's reconstruction mechanism "far too slow…(L)argely ineffective."

Accomplishing virtually nothing. Western governments able to intervene responsibly refuse to hold Israel accountable.

PA officials conspire with Israel and UN authorities against their own people. Not giving a damn about beleaguered Gazans. 

Doing nothing for over eight years to ease siege conditions. Or dire ones following OPE.

UNWRA spokesman Chris Gunness said Gaza remains "submerged in despair."

Lives in disarray. Flooding compounding other horrific problems. With no end of human suffering in sight.

Little hope for improvement. On Monday, the Palestinian National Committee (BNC) issued an action alert.

Against UN complicity with Israel. Partnering with its crimes. Compounding Palestinian suffering. 

Collectively punishing 1.8 million Gazans. A genocidal war crime by any standard.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Egyptian-Style Justice

Egyptian-Style Justice

by Stephen Lendman

On Saturday, Egyptian Judge Mahmud Kamel al-Rashidi acquitted Hosni Mubarak and seven top security commanders of murdering hundreds of 2011 Taahrir Square protesters. 

Sowing chaos. Creating a security vacuum. During 18 revolutionary days. In clashes with police. From January 25 - February 11, 2011.

Despite clear evidence proving guilt. Because of what he called a technicality. A lack of jurisdiction. Mubarak's lengthy public service. His "constitutional legitimacy."

"To rule for or against him after he has become old will be left to history and the Judge of Judges, the Righteous and the Justice (God), who will question him about his rule."

Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, were declared innocent of unrelated corruption charges. Involving gas exports to Israel at below-market prices. More on today's ruling below.

Illegitimate junta power rules Egypt. Justice is pure fantasy. None whatever exists. Not now. Not earlier under decades of military rule.

Including 30 years under Mubarak. Brutal by any standard. Ruling through police state emergency powers. Permitting 1958 Emergency Law authority.

Granting Egyptian despots the right to arrest individuals without charge. Detain them indefinitely. Deny them due process. Declare them guilty by accusation.

According to the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), Egypt's emergency law extremism grants "broad power to impose restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, movement or residence.." 

(T)he power to arrest and detain suspects or those deemed dangerous, and the power to search individuals and places without the need to follow the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code."

In other words, Egyptian authorities empowered to do whatever they wish extrajudicially.

Violating international law. Fundamental democratic rights. Inviolability of private homes. Free movement and assembly. 

Institutionalizing despotic rule. Continuing under General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

A brutal dictator. A Washington favorite. A mass-murderer. An anti-junta Independence of the Judiciary Front (IJF) report saying:

"The truth has become clearer today, more than ever…about the systematic killings and fascist crimes committed by coup commanders and collaborators after July 3, 2013.

"…Mubarak and senior officials in his regime were guilty of murder and corruption" during years of their despotic rule. Irrefutable evidence proves it.

Since Gamal Abdel Nasser's 1956 - 1970 rule, Egypt shifted from defying Western imperialism to becoming a reliable strategic partner. 

Anwar Sadat hastened a trend called "infitah." An open-door policy. To attract foreign capital.

By loosening currency controls. Creating tax-free investment zones. Privatizing state enterprises. Exploiting workers ruthlessly.

His October 1981 assassination elevated former air force commander/deputy defense minister/air chief marshall/vice president Hosni Mubarak to power.

A reliable US puppet. Through most of his tenure. Profiting handsomely. Including from out-of-control corruption.

Brutally enforcing hardline rule. Targeting activists. Dissidents. Islamists. Opposition forces. Anyone perceived challenging entrenched power.

A 1996 press law criminalized defamatory insults against state officials. Suppressing media freedom and speech. 

Including against bloggers, academics and others. Emergency law powers permit anything goes. 

Especially against regime critics. Vulnerable for revealing hard truths.

Washington engineered Mubarak's ouster. He fell from grace. Became more liability than asset. 

For years, State Department and Pentagon officials wanted him out. He opposed Bush's 2003 Iraq war and other US policies. He had to go.

Washington engineered Egyptian uprisings. Spontaneity was created and manipulated. Arab Spring is Western terminology. It's yet to bloom.

First used in March 2005. Suggesting a beneficial Iraq war spinoff. Washington deplores emerging democracies. Prioritizes unchallenged control.

Regional uprisings achieved nothing. Daily life reflects poverty, unemployment, human misery and despotism. Tens of oppressed millions suffer. 

Conditions now worse than earlier. People want jobs, decent pay, better services, ending corruption and repression. They want liberating democratic change. 

In February 2011, Mubarak was ousted. At the time, an earlier article said hold the celebration. Egypt's struggle just began. 

Everything changed but stayed the same. Then worsened. Perhaps more than ever now.

Junta power rules Egypt. Fascist extremism writ large. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a brutal strongman.

Washington's man in Cairo. An Egyptian Military Academy graduate. Trained in America. A US War College graduate.

Maintaining close Pentagon ties. Deploring democracy. Tolerating none whatever. Elections when held are farcical.

Illegitimate by any standard. Junta power rules Egypt. Brute force standard practice. Ousting President Mohamed Morsi began reign of terror harshness.

Martial law. Constitutional suspension. Tanks patrolling streets. Peaceful demonstrators murdered in cold blood.

Mass arrests, imprisonments, torture and other forms of abuse standard practice. Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members are prime targets. 

El-Sisi wants them entirely eliminated. Going all-out to do it. 
Ordering the most outrageous mass-murder in modern Egyptian history. 

Kangaroo court injustice prevails. Sentencing hundreds MB members to death. Summarily. 

Without due process. Or judicial fairness. Or innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Automatic guilt by accusation. Case closed.

A London-based MB press release denouncing mass death sentences. Calling them "a clear violation of all norms of humane and legal justice."

A "clear indication (of a) corrupt judiciary…" Supporting regime brutality. "(S)urpass(ing) decades long oppression and tyranny."

Reflecting police state rule and then some. Worse than under Mubarak. Obama turning a blind eye to its ruthlessness.

In June 2012, Mubarak was convicted of conspiring to kill hundreds of 2011 Tahrir Square protesters. Along with his interior minister, Haviv el-Adly.

Sentenced to life in prison. It didn't matter. In January 2013, an Egyptian court overturned his conviction and sentence.

Ordered a new trial. Returning things to square one. Postponing justice. Denying it as things turned out.

Including for dozens of unjustly acquitted police and Interior Ministry officials.

Hours earlier, Egyptian Judge Mahmud Kamel al-Rashidi dropped all criminal charges against Mubarak. Ignoring his complicity in mass murder.

Allowing him perhaps to be freed for the first time since spring 2011. He's 86 years old. Reportedly ill. Held in a military hospital.

Appeared in court on a stretcher. Remained stone-faced as Judge al-Rashidi absolved him. Without elaboration.

Dismissing charges of complicity with murder and corruption. Other allegations alleging he and his sons got vacation homes as kickbacks.

In May, Mubarak was sentenced to three years in prison. In a separate corruption case. Involving lavish government-funded home improvements he and his sons got.

Detained since April 2011, he may be freed. Having served his requisite three years. Judge al-Rashidi ludicrously claimed his ruling had "nothing to do with politics."

"It was not suitable to try him of crimes according to the penal code," he added.

US funded (now banned) April 6 Youth Movement member Ahmad Abd Allah called Judge al-Rashidi's ruling "very depressing." 

Saying he "saw the blood of the people who died in January 2011, and…carried some of them (himself). What a shame for the judicial system. What a shame for Egypt as a state."

"But this wasn't unexpected. The Mubarak era still hasn't fallen. It hasn't stopped killing. So why would they say Mubarak is guilty when they're doing the same thing."

Ahmed Khaleefa was one of Mubarak's victims. Killed at age 19. His father called al-Rashidi's ruling "political."

"The judiciary has been procrastinating for four years so they could clear him after hope had been lost," he said.

"The verdict hit us like bullets," he added. "I consider that my son Ahmed died today."

Lawyer Othman al-Hefnawy represented some protester families. Saturday's ruling begs the question, he said. 

If Mubarak et al didn't murder hundreds of Tahrir Square protesters, who did, he asked?

During nationally televised August court testimony, Mubarak ludicrously declared his innocence. Saying he'd go to his grave with a clear conscience. History will vindicate him, he added.

Judge al-Rashidi's ruling can be appealed. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. It leaves Mubarak convicted of one crime  during 30 years of despotic rule. 

Charged with misusing public funds. Around $18 million for presidential palace renovations. Carrying a three-year sentence already served. 

Justice remains denied. The worst of draconian harshness continues.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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