New details emerge on IDF interrogation methods of prisoners

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
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Haaretzs office building
Haaretz’s office building

From Haaretz.

Het alleged that he was present at an interrogation in which Captain George inserted a baton up a suspect’s rectum. After Het spoke with Rish, Het was apparently questioned under caution by the Israel Police, meaning the police were considering criminal charges against Het. …Het said Captain George played a role in every interrogation. “He would just come in, burst into the room, grab the suspect, shake him, get him onto the floor, punch him in the chest, yell and threaten,” Het said. Het added that George would enter with a baton, hit the suspect and threaten to insert it into his rectum if he “continued to lie or not talk.” … Het also recounted an interrogation in which George allegedly stripped a suspect naked and forced him to drink tea or coffee from an ashtray full of cigarette ashes and then forced shaving cream or toothpaste into the suspect’s mouth.  

Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

VIDEO: ‘Skunk spray’ used on protesters
Israeli soldiers have broken up a demonstration by hundreds of villagers and peace protesters outside the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, a week after a protester died at a similar event.

A Palestinian youth looks on as Israeli soldiers fire tear gas during a protest against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh

2 Palestinians arrested in Nabi Saleh still in jail for resisting occupation
In a blatant demonstration of the discriminatory policies used by the Israeli authorities when it comes to deal with protesters; out of the 21 persons who were arrested during the demonstration in Nabi Saleh on 16.12.2011, all the Israeli and internationals were released while two Palestinians are still in custody and are accused with ludicrous charges such as assaulting Israeli settler or throwing stones. This is so outrageous when you see how much the Israeli army kept assaulting the unarmed protesters yesterday, showering them with tear gas canisters and sound bombs directly at heads levels. In response the protesters just kept walking, chanting and shouting slogans, waving Palestinian flags and posters with the portraits of Mustafa Tamimi; killed the week before. Stones were thrown towards the “invaders” after they attack the crowd which was marching towards the entrance of the village.

NEBI SALAH, West Bank — Uday Tamimi kept one eye on his family and the other on a line of Israeli military vehicles parked at the bottom of the Nebi Salah village road. The 20-year-old had been released from prison less than a week before, the most recent member of his family to serve time for his part in the weekly Friday protests in this Palestinian village, a cornerstone of the nonviolent Palestinian resistance movement. “This is how it goes,” he said. “We protest, they arrest us. We protest, they kill us. We protest.”
The collective punishment of Silwan

The people of Silwan deal with the collective punishment of living under Israeli occupation on a daily basis, possibly the most common example being the issue of traffic in the village. While Israeli settlers and their private guards drive with impunity and break traffic regulations without recourse, a suffocating system of police-manned flying checkpoints monitor and restrict the movement of Palestinian drivers. Checkpoints are used as a means of issuing tickets for alleged traffic violations to Palestinian drivers, as well as a site of constant harassment and provocation. This week a local youth reported being told by a police officer at a traffic checkpoint to “go to Gaza if you don’t like it here.” Despite a large body of documentation and testimonies from Palestinian citizens of Silwan attesting to the misdeeds of the Israeli forces, settlers and their guard squads, Palestinian complaints to Israeli authorities and regulation bodies are dismissed as a rule.

Israeli Regime and Settler Violence 


Palestinian man killed in IOF shelling of refugee camp
A Palestinian man was killed at a late hour on Friday night as a result of IOF shelling on the Buraij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces raided the Wadi al-Sheikh neighborhood in the town of Beit Omar, north of Hebron, raided a citizen’s house and threatened to kill him and his children. Eyad al-Halaykeh said that the Israeli forces attacked and searched his house at dawn, forced him outside of the house, and then they threatened to kill him and his children, saying that his sons were throwing stones at the Israeli vehicles that passed the street in front of Eyad’s house. Eyad’s sons are less than three years old.  Al-Halaykah told PNN the Israeli forces informed him that “he’s responsible for any activity might happen against them,” then demanded his cell phone number. Mohammed Awad, spokesman of the National Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Omar, said that the Israeli forces also arrested 20-year old Bader Hussein Bader Awad from the Khallet al-Ain neighborhood in Beit Omar after invading and searching his house.

Hamas holds Israeli gov’t responsible for spate of mosque attacks
Hamas Movement held the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the consequences of its support for the Jewish settlers’ attacks on mosques.
Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn’t cause a ripple, but one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander made all the difference.

Settler Terror: Aberration or National Vanguard?, Richard Silverstein
The level of settler violence, always high, has reached a fever pitch of late.  Usually the attacks go by the common name “price tag,” which alludes to a form of payback against the government for dismantling illegal settlements.  Though lately, the attacks seem to have taken on a life of their own and need no spark to ignite them: three mosques have been burned, two in the past week; a West Bank IDF outpost was trashed and asenior officer injured with a brick thrown through his car window; settlers occupied an abandoned monastery on the Jordanian border to warn King Abdullah not to interfere in matters concerning the Temple Mount; death threats and vandalism against Peace Now leaders.
Far-right Israeli settlers have turned on their own army, prompting some Israeli politicians to denounce them as ‘terrorist,’ while others claimed that the Shin Bet was behind the attack.
JERUSALEM – The outer stone walls of the unused 12th century Ayyubid mosque in the Israeli center of the city carried the black scars of attempted arson and hatred. “Price tag”, the signature read. ”Price tag” attacks are perpetrated by vengeful settlers against innocent Palestinians and their property. It involves not only the defacing and torching of mosques, prayer books, and cars, but also the uprooting of olive trees and the destruction of crops. Recently, settlers have also vented their rage at soldiers, military bases, and equipment.  On Monday, a dozen settlers penetrated a closed military area on the Israeli-Jordanian border, barricading themselves in vacant churches located near a Christian baptism site on the Jordan River. 
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Medical supplies required for dialysis have run out in the Gaza Strip, endangering the lives of 450 patients with kidney failure, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said on Thursday. Blood filters, which are available to the Ministry of Health in Ramallah, have not been delivered to Gaza due to “political differences” between the governments in the two territories, the rights group said in a statement.

Human rights group appeal for saving the lives of 450 patients in Gaza
PCHR appealed on Thursday to the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, to intervene to save the lives of 450 kidney patients in the Gaza Strip as their lives are endangered due to the lack of Dialysis filers.
Detainees / Prisoner Release
New details emerge on IDF interrogation methods of prisoners
Het alleged that he was present at an interrogation in which Captain George inserted a baton up a suspect’s rectum. After Het spoke with Rish, Het was apparently questioned under caution by the Israel Police, meaning the police were considering criminal charges against Het. …Het said Captain George played a role in every interrogation. “He would just come in, burst into the room, grab the suspect, shake him, get him onto the floor, punch him in the chest, yell and threaten,” Het said. Het added that George would enter with a baton, hit the suspect and threaten to insert it into his rectum if he “continued to lie or not talk.” … Het also recounted an interrogation in which George allegedly stripped a suspect naked and forced him to drink tea or coffee from an ashtray full of cigarette ashes and then forced shaving cream or toothpaste into the suspect’s mouth.

Families of political prisoners: 76 political arrests since Abbas-Mishaal meeting
The committee representing families of political prisoners revealed a list of 76 names of Palestinians who have been detained by the PA security forces since the Abbas-Mishaal meeting.
IOF troops arrest four in Silwan, including two children
IOF troops on Friday afternoon arrested Zeid Fatiha (15 years) and Muhammad al-Karaki (15 years) in the Silwan suburb to the south of the Aqsa Mosque. The two were taken to an unknown destination.

IOF troops arrest Jihad leader Khader Adnan in Jenin
IOF troops at dawn Saturday arrested Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, sheikh Khader Adnan (36 years) after raiding his home in the village of Arrabah to the south of Jenin.

Special forces raid Eishel prison and assault Palestinian captives
Sources from inside the Eishel prison informed the Ministry of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners that special forces raided section 10 of the prison on Wednesday and searched room 8.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The French Foreign Minister on Thursday welcomed the inclusion of a French-Palestinian national in the second phase of prisoner releases by Israel under an exchange deal with Hamas. Alain Juppe thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for freeing Saleh Hamuri, and Jewish leader Rabbi Ovadia Yousef, who Hammuri was convicted on plotting to assassinate, and who sanctioned the release.
Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Below is a letter written by one of the organizers of the Nabi Saleh popular protests, Bassem Tamimi. Bassem has been behind Israeli bars for the past nine months on ridiculous charges, and wrote this letter to the mother of Mustafa Tamimi, the martyr who was shot from a very close distance by a tear gas canister in his face a week ago.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The mayor of Bethlehem said Thursday after his annual Christmas address that the international community should boycott Israel until it accepts Palestinian aspirations for independence.  ”We have a right to self-determination,” Victor Batarseh told reporters in Bethlehem.  ”We are peaceful people. We want peace,” he said after announcing the start of Christmas festivities. But it must be a “just and legal peace based on UN resolutions,” and the “only way Israel will agree to peace is if it is forced. 

Activists hold third annual conference on Boycott of Israel in Hebron
The Palestinian branch of an international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel held its third annual conference in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, with several hundred Palestinian and international activists gathering for the event.

Israel Bonds Lawsuit to Continue Despite Governor’s Refusal to Divest
US Campaign coalition member group Minnesota Break the Bonds (MN BBC) today distributed the media release below about its lawsuit to get the state to divest from Israel Bonds. First, here’s a TV news clip from November 29, when WCCO Channel 4 News in Minneapolis interviewed activists with MN BBC on the day their lawsuit was announced. The original article can be viewed here.

BDS: National Lawyers Guild supports Minnesota lawsuit to divest from Israel Bonds
“On behalf of the National Lawyers Guild, we write in support of the lawsuit filed on November 29, 2011, against the Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI) which seeks a judgment directing the SBI to divest from Israel Bonds. The complaint against the SBI makes pointed reference to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which both the United States and Israel are parties. Article 49 specifically prohibits an occupying power from transferring (settling) parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies. Article 49’s anti-colonization provisions are jus cogens, which means that they are mandatory norms of international law. Jus cogens violations are not political questions.”

International Days of Action Against the Wall, Vigil of Women in Black, Vienna
November 4, 2011 (Vienna) – Vigil of Women in Black held a vigil yesterday for two hours, dedicated to the Protest against the Wall and in support of the recognition of the State of Palestine. There was enormous interest from passers-by and the reaction of many people, actually many tourists, on the street was positive towards solidarity with Palestine, evidence that things are changing regarding public opinion!

Information about the Wall Released in Greek for Week Against the Apartheid Wall
Find in the link below an updated leaflet about the Apartheid Wall, in Greek, released and distributed on the occasion of the Week Against the Apartheid Wall 2011.

Occupy Olympia launches Rachel Corrie Community Center
The encampment known as Occupy Olympia has been situated in Heritage Park in downtown for Olympia, Washigton, for two months. Yesterday morning, activists at the encampment received the following eviction notice…
A photo essay by Darren Ell on Palestine solidarity rally at Occupy Montreal/Occupons Montréal denouncing Israeli military raid on Freedom Waves flotilla to Gaza.
Israeli Repression & Discrimination

Hundreds of Arabs urge State to respect freedom of religion, rally across Israel against torching of mosques, proposed ban on Muslim calls for prayer.,7340,L-4162802,00.html
Jerusalem’s popular soccer team has yet to employ an Arab player, since established in 1936, despite the fact that a third of Jerusalem’s residents are Arabs.
When the passenger refused to move to the designated back seats, even when police arrived, the bus continued on its way, despite her refusal.
Political Developments / Diplomacy & Other News

Conditional U.S. Aid To P.A To Continue Next Year
The U.S. Congress proposed to continue the American financial support to the Palestinian Authority (P.A) next year as long as it refrains from filing any other membership applications to United Nations agencies.

Abbas: Hamas agreed to renounce terror
Palestinian leader says Hamas’ Mashaal agreed to endorse peaceful resistance, willing to accept state based on 1967 borders.,7340,L-4162912,00.html
Abu Hashish: meeting between Hamas and Fatah tomorrow in Cairo
Dr. Hasan Abu Hashish said that Hamas and Fatah will discuss details of the reconciliation agreement during their meeting in Cairo slated for Sunday.

‘Palestinians won’t stop pressing for UN seat’
During visit to Iceland, Palestinian foreign minister says PA to pursue bid for statehood ‘until we win’.,7340,L-4162642,00.html
Is the campaign for Palestinian recognition succeeding? 
Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson talks about his country recognising Palestine and Iceland’s economic recovery.

More than 100 countries recognize Palestine as a state

At least 112 countries around the world have formally recognized Palestine as a state, stretching from Africa to Asia, Europe to Latin America.
Incoming president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz tells Haaretz the euro will not collapse, calls Merkel’s conduct ‘arrogant’ and Cameron’s ‘obstructive’.

Swedish professor links Israel to Norway massacre
Ola Tunander suggests Israel behind bloody terror attacks committed by Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik in July, stirring up controversy in Oslo.,7340,L-4162450,00.html
U.S. & The Middle East

White House: We are returning to a pre-1990 military stance in the Gulf

President Barack Obama’s administration has disproved the notion that a large military footprint helps fight terrorism and, following the end of the Iraq war, is now returning the United States to a pre-1990 military level in the Persian Gulf, according to a White House official.

Panetta, in Turkey, Urges Improving Ties With Israel
Turkey has raised its profile in the region, particularly in efforts to isolate Syria, but remains at odds with Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Speaking at Conference of Presidents event, American UN envoy Rice says Obama administration committed to oppose efforts to ‘chip away at Israel’s legitimacy.’

Obama, pushing back at Republicans, vows support for Israel (Reuters)
Reuters – President Barack Obama assured Jewish voters on Friday he remains committed to Israel’s security and a two-state solution with the Palestinians as he defended himself against attacks on his policy from Republican presidential challengers.*

Obama assures Jewish Conference: US support for Israel is ‘unshakeable’
In a speech given to the Conference of Reform Jews in the US on Friday, President Barack Obama assured the audience that his administration was doing more than any previous administration in US history to serve the cause of Israel, and that US support for the Jewish state is ‘unshakeable’.

On December 16, President Barack Obama delivered a major address to the Union for Reform Judaism, the national umbrella for America’s largest liberal Jewish denomination. Obama’s speech was a naked appeal for campaign donations and re-election votes, with the standard cant about America’s “unshakeable” bond with Israel and the requisite omission of any mention of the Palestinian un-people. 

Ron Paul: Bachmann ‘hates Muslims’
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared on The Tonight Show Friday evening to express how his fellow presidential candidate and House colleague Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) doesn’t have warm feelings for followers of Islam. “She hates Muslims,” Paul said about Bachmann. “She wants to go get ‘em.” WATCH: Video from NBC, which was broadcast on December 16, 2011.

Palestinian textbooks debate reaches US campaign
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Do Palestinian school textbooks “teach terrorism,” as Newt Gingrich claimed in a recent debate among U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls? His example — that Palestinians “have text books that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?'” — is not in any of the texts, researchers say. As for Gingrich’s broader claim, the textbooks don’t directly encourage anti-Israeli violence, but they also don’t really teach peace, studies say.


Adelson Plans to Give $20 Million to Palestine-Denier, Gingrich, Richard Silverstein

Politico reports that billionaire uber-Israel gambling tycoon, Sheldon Adelson plans to give independent PACs acting on behalf of Newt Gingrich $20-million as early as this week.  This jibes nicely with the post I wrote a few days ago which predicted precisely this sort of mega donations flowing into the Palestine denier’s campaign.  I predicted this based on the huge subsidy Adelson provides for Yisrael HaYom, which Bibi himself credits for bringing him to power and keeping him there.  Though Adelson doesn’t own a U.S. newspaper or TV station that can offer that sort of support for Gingrich, for now a huge infusion of unregulated cash offers a great substitute.
Bradley Manning: Famed Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Alleged WikiLeaks Soldier’s 1st Day in Court
Alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning is scheduled to make his first court appearance today after being held for more more than a year and a half by the U.S. military. Manning is suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in the biggest leak of classified U.S. documents in history. We’re joined by perhaps the nation’s most famous whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, and go to Ft. Meade, Maryland, for a brief update on a rally in support of Manning outside the base where he’ll appear. Noting that the WikiLeaks revelations helped spark the Arab Spring and in turn the Occupy Wall Street movement, Ellsberg offers this qualified praise, if Manning indeed committed the leak of which he stands accused: “The Time magazine cover gives protester, an anonymous protester, as ‘Person of the Year,’ but it is possible to put a face and a name to that picture of ‘Person of the Year.’ And the American face I would put on that is Private Bradley Manning.”

President Barack Obama is set to sign legislation that would codify “indefinite detention without trial into US law and expand the military’s role in holding terrorism suspects.” And as a wave of predictable settler violence, this time against the Israeli army, engulfs Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced measures that would expand the use of Israeli military detention without charge and military trials. The events give new meaning to the phrase “shared values” when explaining the US and Israel relationship.

Opposition protesters clash with police for a second day outside the capital, Manama.
Protesters, police clash for third day in Bahrain
AP – Witnesses say opposition supporters in Bahrain have clashed with police for a third straight day along a main highway west of the capital.*

Bahraini police fire tear gas at protesters: witnesses (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahraini police fired tear gas and clashed with Shi’ite Muslim protesters on Friday, a day after a man was run over and killed as he fled security forces chasing protesters near Manama, the opposition and a rights group said on Friday.*

Bahrain police arrest rights activist
Zainab al-Khawaja handcuffed and dragged, as security forces clash with protesters attempting to disrupt highway.

On brisk November mornings, Abdulnabi Kadhem used to wrap a kuffiyeh around his head for warmth as he tended to his lands near A’ali village in Bahrain. According to family members, the 44-year-old farmer’s traditional Arabic scarf may have led police to think he was a demonstrator. They had pursued him in their Land Cruiser and crashed into his much smaller sedan, killing him on impact.
From our chief Bahrain correspondent:  ”Today was another horrible day in Bahrain. The protestors decided to start a new movement – occupy budaiya street. Budaiya street is the main road which links most of the villages in Bahrain. Of course the riot police responded violently as usual by shooting (not sure if its live bullets or rubber bullets) and teargassing everyone. They even went inside a cafe and teargassed the people sitting there who weren’t protesting by the way. At least one person was killed (apparently run over by security forces but I cannot confirm) and several arrested including Zainab AlKhawaja [@angryarabiya] who was dragged by the police because she refused to move. This is all happening by the way while the UN is visiting Bahrain. Now tell me, if a UN visit can’t make the regime at least pretend to respect human rights, what will?  Meanwhile this is what our delusional media is publishing:”
Bahrain update
From Angry Arab chief correspondent on Bahrain: “This heading by human rights watch is misleading. The statement is by Nigel Rodley (who along with phillip kirsh more sympathetic to the opposition) and not all the commissioners. If this is their understanding, why didn’t they say this clearly in the report and saved us all the trouble? Why didn’t they directly recommend the release of all prisoners? The fact that this is his understanding doesn’t matter now since its not in the report.  Now compare Rodley’s statements to that of King worshipping Bassiouni  (don’t bother to read the entire article – just scroll to the bottom). Also the commissioner Badriya AlAwadhi (who wrote an article defending the saudi invasion) was interviewed on TV last week. I did not bother to watch the interview and I have no idea what channel interviewed her but she apparently placed all the blame on the protestors (also ignoring whats in the report).”
Egypt’s Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri calls the latest protests in the capital Cairo a “counter-revolution”, following deadly clashes on Friday.

Image of Egyptian army men stripping, kicking veiled female protester creates social media buzz
A picture of a female Egyptian protester who was stripped from her black abaya and allegedly abused by army men has met with angry tweets criticizing the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Saturday.
Egypt Protest: Troops Use Brutal Force Against Women
CAIRO — Troops pulled women across the pavement by their hair, knocking off their Muslim headscarves. Young activists were kicked in the head until they lay motionless in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Unfazed by TV cameras catching every move, Egypt’s military took a dramatically heavier hand Saturday to crush protests against its rule in nearly 48 hours of continuous fighting in Egypt’s capital that has left more than 300 injured and nine dead, many of them shot to death.
Video posted online by independent journalists and Egyptian activists showed soldiers attacking protesters, even as the country’s prime minister denied that the military used any force.


Egypt clashes continue for second day 
At least nine people have been killed in Egypt and more than 350 injured in the past two days of clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo. Soldiers have cleared Tahrir Square of protesters. And footage showed troops beating demonstrators and burning their tents. Protesters are calling for the country’s military rulers to step down. But the military blamed the protesters for the violence, and the country’s prime minister denied that excessive force was used. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo.

Egypt’s army steps up campaign against protesters 
At least nine people have been killed in Egypt and more than 350 injured in the past two days of clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo. Soldiers have cleared Tahrir Square of protesters. And footage showed troops beating demonstrators and burning their tents. Al Jazeera has filmed exclusive video of what appears to be a member of the military shooting into a crowd of fleeing protesters. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo.

Students Bid Farewell to Fallen Colleague; Army Intercepts March
Army prevents demonstrators from reaching defence ministry to protest the death of medical student and colleague Alaa Abdel-Hady. Around 2000 university students marched from Ayn Shams University to commemorate the death of their fellow student Alaa Abd El-Hady who was killed during the military attack on the Occupy Cabinet protest on Friday. Abd El-Hady, a fifth-year medical student at the Cairo-based university, was amongst the several people killed during a military attack on a Cabinet sit-in on Friday.;-army-in
Egypt Witnesses Day of Military Violence as Funerals Turn into Anti-SCAF Rallies
Tensions between demonstrators and the military escalate as martyrs’ funerals march from different areas of Cairo while Tahrir is again evacuated by force; politicians condemn SCAF. Clashes that have been ongoing since Friday ended with a violent military police attack on Tahrir Square Saturday morning. At least nine have been confirmed killed and more than 344 reported injured in the past two days. A building belonging to the Ministry of Transport that caught fire during the clashes continued to burn as military police launched a fierce attack on Tahrir Square. Tents in the iconic square’s central island and near the Mugamaa state complex were burnt down and demonstrators were severely beaten.
Senior diplomatic official tells Haaretz, ambassador must talk to ‘anyone who wants to and agrees to talk to him, even if those contacts are not made public.’

Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer

In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran.

Officials: Downed US drone was on CIA mission
Top US officials confirmed to CNN that RQ-170 Sentinel drone that crashed in Iran was performing nuclear site surveillance.,7340,L-4162605,00.html
Police issue arrest warrant against Iraqi vice president for the recent parliament blast
An arrest warrant has been issued against the Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi late Saturday for being the mastermind behind the recent bombing targeting the parliament, spokesman of Baghdad police operations said.
Only a couple days after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta declared the Iraq War over and turned the last US base in Iraq over to the Iraqi military, Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has struck against a Sunni Arab vice President, Tariq al-Hashimi. Iraqi police have issued an arrest warrant for Hashimi, a member of the now Sunni-dominated Iraqiya Party. The Ministry of the Interior, which al-Maliki controls, confirmed the warrant.

Hezbollah prisoner held by Iraq faces minor charge (AP)
AP – A Lebanese Hezbollah commander allegedly responsible for killing four U.S. soldiers in Iraq will be prosecuted for a lesser charge of illegal entry with a forged passport, Iraqi officials said Saturday.*

U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq: “In Terms of Destroying Iraq, It’s ‘Mission Accomplished'”
The U.S. military may be leaving Iraq, but the U.S. government is not. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad is the largest in the world, and thousands of private contractors will fill the role of the departing U.S. troops. We begin our coverage of the U.S. withdrawal with Sami Rasouli, the founder and director of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq, who joins us from the city of Najaf. Invoking George W. Bush’s infamous declaration after the fall of Baghdad, Rasouli says, “In terms of destroying Iraq, it’s really ‘mission accomplished.'”

The Costs of War: Tens of Thousands Dead, Billions Spent, and a Country Torn Apart
Over the past nine years, the U.S. invasion and occupation has left a bloody toll on Iraqi civilians and foreign troops. Nearly 4,500 U.S. troops died, and another 32,000 were wounded. An accurate toll of Iraqis killed may never be known. Iraq Body Count says at least 104,000 Iraqi civilians have died, while some studies put have put the death toll at over one million. We speak to Catherine Lutz, Brown University professor and co-director of the “Costs of War” research project at the Watson Institute for International Studies. “The costs have really been staggering,” Lutz says. “We know that Congress appropriated $800 billion over the years for the Iraq War. But the true costs, of course, go much farther than that, starting with the people of Iraq, who have lost lives in the hundreds of thousands.”
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, joins us to discuss the impact of the nearly nine-year U.S. occupation, particularly on Iraqi women. “The Iraqi cities are now much more destroyed than they were, I would say, like five years ago,” Mohammed says. “In the same time, we have turned to a society of 99 percent poor and 1 percent rich, due to the policies that were imposed in Iraq.” Mohammed decries the repression of Iraqi protesters that joined the Arab Spring in a February 25th action. “The women are the biggest loser in all of this. We went to the Iraqi squares. We demonstrated. The Arab Spring was there very strongly but got oppressed in ways that were new to Iraqi people. Anti-riot police of the American style was something that we witnessed there… This is not a democratic country.”

ICC prosecutor: Concerns over Gaddafi’s death
Moreno-Ocampo seeks answers over former Libyan leader’s death, saying circumstances “create suspicions of war crimes”.
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia: King urged to commute ‘cross amputation’ sentences
Six men facing amputation of their right hands and left feet for “highway robbery” must have their sentences commuted by the King, Amnesty International said today.  The sentence of “cross amputation” is currently before the Supreme Court for approval and could take place in the coming days if also ratified by the King. “ ‘Cross amputation’ is a strikingly cruel form of punishment that amounts to torture and should have no place in a criminal justice system,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa interim Director.
Demonstrations drawing hundreds, if not thousands, of people took place in Syrian cities across the country on Friday. Over 200,000 people turned out to demonstrate in the Syrian city of Homs, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. If accurate, the Homs demonstration would be the biggest since a rally of 500,000 in Hama in July, according to the rights group. Qatar’s Al Jazeera broadcasted live feeds of demonstrations in the cities of Rastan, Homs, Deir Ezzor, and Qamishle. Demonstrators called for the downfall of the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Syrians hold rallies to demand Arab action
At least 17 people are believed to have been killed as protests are held against League’s perceived foot dragging.
Tunisian town marks anniversary of revolution

Thousands pack Sidi Bouzid where a giant statue of Mohamed Bouazizi, credited for sparking the uprising, was unveiled.

Analysis / Op-ed
Someone referred me to this article in the Economist on Israel’s relationships with the Islamist movements that have taken power in Tunisia, that will take power in Egypt, and that are currently supporting an adventurist and ill-fated armed uprising against the state in Syria

Shocking headline in the New York Times’ story by Helene Cooper on Obama’s speech to the Reform Jews yesterday: “In Obama Speech on Israel, No Mention of Palestinians”

5 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    December 18, 2011, 11:29 am

    Captain George, who has never been questioned, now works as Arab affairs adviser to the head of the Jerusalem district police.


    • seafoid
      December 18, 2011, 5:43 pm

      Wait until the shoe is on the other foot. They’ll be screaming for the rule of law.
      Police work for apartheid is the worst work in any apartheid system. Those income differentials come down to people like George.

  2. Bumblebye
    December 18, 2011, 11:32 am

    Reporter squarely lays blame for violence at Nabi Saleh on Israel in the second link to bbc.

  3. Memphis
    December 18, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Captain george should be gelded with a rusty knife.

    This made me think of Abner Louima – google the name if you have not heard of him

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