Obama: U.S. ‘Fully Supportive Of Israel’s Right To Defend Itself': WWRD (What would Romney do?) November 18, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Foreign Policy, Genocide, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Uncategorized.
Tags: children casualties, gaza, gaza massacre, genocide, israel, israel massacre, palestinian children, roger hollander
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OBAMA, THE LESSER OF EVILS; TELL IT TO THE PARENTS OF THE SLAUGHTERED PALESTINIAN CHILDREN.
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai reportedly has said that the goal of the offensive is to “send Gaza back to the middle ages.”
Tags: gaza, gaza blockade, gaza flotilla, israel, israel massacre, israel raid, israeli commandos, mavi marmara, robert booth, roger hollander
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Nine Turkish men on board Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times, autopsy results reveal
by Robert Booth
Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.
Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.
The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a “shoot to kill policy”.
He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.
The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel’s insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.
“Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry,” said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.
Israel said tonight the number of bullets found in the bodies did not alter the fact that the soldiers were acting in self defence. “The only situation when a soldier shot was when it was a clearly a life-threatening situation,” said a spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London. “Pulling the trigger quickly can result in a few bullets being in the same body, but does not change the fact they were in a life-threatening situation.”
Protesters from across the country will tomorrow march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy to call for Israel to be held to account for its actions.
Earlier this week, William Hague, the foreign secretary, said the government would call for an inquiry under international auspices if Israel refuses to establish an independent inquiry, including an international presence.
The autopsy results were released as the last of the Turkish victims was buried.
Dr Haluk Ince, the chairman of the council of forensic medicine in Istanbul, said that in only one case was there a single bullet wound, to the forehead from a distant shot, while every other victim suffered multiple wounds. “All [the bullets] were intact. This is important in a forensic context. When a bullet strikes another place it comes into the body deformed. If it directly comes into the body, the bullet is all intact.”
He added that all but one of the bullets retrieved from the bodies came from 9mm rounds. Of the other round, he said: “It was the first time we have seen this kind of material used in firearms. It was just a container including many types of pellets usually used in shotguns. It penetrated the head region in the temple and we found it intact in the brain.”
An unnamed Israeli commando, who purportedly led the raid on the Mavi Marmara, today told Israeli news website Ynet News that he shot at a protester who approached him with a knife. “I was in front of a number of people with knives and clubs,” he said. “I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below …
“We knew they were peace activists. Though they wanted to break the Gaza blockade, we thought we’d encounter passive resistance, perhaps verbal resistance – we didn’t expect this. Everyone wanted to kill us. We encountered terrorists who wanted to kill us and we did everything we could to prevent unnecessary injury.”
Tonight the Rachel Corrie, an Irish vessel crewed by supporters of the Free Gaza movement, remained on course for Gaza. Yossi Gal, director general at the Israeli foreign ministry, said Israel had “no desire for a confrontation” but asked for the ship to dock at Ashdod, not Gaza.
“If the ship decides to sail the port of Ashdod, then we will ensure its safe arrival and will not board it,” he said.
© 2010 Guardian/UK
Spain’s Judges Cross Borders in Rights Cases May 24, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Criminal Justice, Spain, Torture.
Tags: baltasar garzon, bush crimes, bush six, craig whitlock, cristina mateo-yanguas, eichmann, gaza, Guantanamo, human rights, israel massacre, israeli military, javier zaragoza, nuremberg, pinochet, roger hollander, santiago pedraz, spanish judges, spanish national court, spanish prosecutors, torture, universal jurisdiction, War Crimes, zapatero
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High-Ranking US Officials Among Targets of Inquiries
MADRID — Spanish judges are boldly declaring their authority to prosecute high-ranking government officials in the United States, China and Israel, among other places, delighting human rights activists but enraging officials in the countries they target and triggering a political backlash in a nation uncomfortable acting as the world’s conscience.
Judges at Spain’s National Court, acting on complaints filed by human rights groups, are pursuing 16 international investigations into suspected cases of torture, genocide and crimes against humanity, according to prosecutors. Among them are two probes of Bush administration officials for allegedly approving the use of torture on terrorism suspects, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The judges have opened the cases by invoking a legal principle known as universal jurisdiction, which under Spanish law gives them the right to investigate serious human rights crimes anywhere in the world, even if there is no Spanish connection.
International-law advocates have cheered the developments and called the judges heroes for daring to hold the world’s superpowers accountable. But the proliferation of investigations has also prompted a backlash in Spain, where legislators and even some law enforcement officials have criticized the powerful judges for overreaching, as well as souring diplomatic relations with allies.
“How can a Spanish judge with limited resources determine what really happened in Tiananmen or Tibet, or in massacres in Guatemala or God knows where else?” said Gustavo de Arístegui, a legislator and foreign-policy spokesman for the opposition Popular Party. “We have our own problems and our own bad guys to take care of.”
On Tuesday, the lower house of the Spanish parliament easily passed a resolution calling for a new law that would limit judges to pursuing cases with ties to Spanish citizens or a link to Spanish territory. Cases could be brought only if the targeted country failed to take action on its own.
The vote was prompted, in part, by two National Court judges who decided separately last month to investigate Bush administration officials on allegations that they encouraged a policy of torture. The judges have moved forward despite the opposition of Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, who said the cases risked turning the National Court into “a plaything” for politically motivated prosecutions.
Another judge announced Thursday that he would charge three U.S. soldiers with crimes against humanity, holding them accountable for the April 2003 deaths of a Spanish television cameraman and a Ukrainian journalist. The men were killed when a U.S. tank crew shelled their Baghdad hotel. Judge Santiago Pedraz said he would pursue the case even though a National Court panel, as well as a U.S. Army investigation, recommended that no action be taken against the soldiers.
The controversy over universal jurisdiction has left the government of Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in a bind. Many members of his Socialist Party have supported the judges in the past. But the probes are causing diplomatic headaches for Zapatero, who has sought to improve his standing in Washington after years of frosty relations with the Bush White House.
Israel and China have complained strenuously about the investigations of their countries, making clear that Spain will pay a political price if they continue. Spanish judges have opened two probes into Israeli military airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, dating to 2002. They are also conducting two investigations into alleged abuses committed by Chinese officials in Tibet, and a third regarding repression of the Falun Gong movement.
Julio Villarubia, a Socialist member of parliament, said it was unclear exactly how or when the Spanish government would amend its universal-jurisdiction law. But he said limits are necessary.
“We have not adopted the resolution because of pressures by the U.S., China, and Israel, though that pressure is known; the disagreements are there,” he said.
It is unclear whether changes to the law would apply retroactively to pending cases. In interviews, a Justice Ministry official said they would not, but a senior prosecutor in the National Court suggested otherwise.
Regardless, most of the probes underway do have at least a tangential Spanish connection. The Guantanamo cases, for example, are partly based on testimony by a Spanish citizen who spent three years at the U.S. naval prison in Cuba.
A Global PortfolioSpain’s embrace of universal jurisdiction dates back more than a decade. In 1996, a crusading judge on the National Court, Baltasar Garzón, opened a criminal investigation into human rights abuses in Chile and Argentina.
When Chile’s aging dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, traveled to London for medical treatment in 1998, Garzón issued a warrant for his arrest. British officials complied and held him under house arrest. But they later allowed Pinochet to return to Chile, citing his ill health as a reason for not extraditing him to Spain.
Garzón had asserted jurisdiction because some of the victims of the Chilean dictatorship were Spanish citizens. But that legal condition was pronounced unnecessary in 2005, when Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled that judges can pursue grave human rights crimes anywhere, even if there is no Spanish connection.
Since then, rights groups have made a beeline for Madrid, where they have enlisted local lawyers to file complaints with the National Court. Spanish judges are obligated to examine each case and investigate whether it meets certain thresholds.
Under Spain’s legal system, judges such as Garzón serve as investigating magistrates and hold enormous power. They oversee police work, collect evidence and can compel witnesses to testify. If they conclude that charges are warranted, they hand the case to another judge for trial.
The National Court judges originally concentrated on countries with colonial ties to Spain, such as Guatemala, Argentina and El Salvador. But the judges have recently branched out to other places, such as Rwanda, Morocco, China and Israel.
Alan Cantos, president of the Tibet Support Committee, a Spanish advocacy group that requested the probes, said he is worried the Spanish government will succumb to outside political pressure.
“When powerful countries start getting touched, there is a backlash,” he said. “You mix U.S., Israeli and Chinese propaganda and complaints, and all of a sudden, the Spanish government starts shaking at the knees. Quite frankly, I find it pathetic.”
The Spanish universal-jurisdiction investigations have resulted in a single conviction. Adolfo Scilingo, a former Argentine naval captain, was found guilty of crimes against humanity in 2005 for pushing 30 drugged and bound prisoners out of government airplanes in the 1970s. He was sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison by a Spanish court.
Carlos Slepoy, a Spanish-Argentine lawyer who helped pursue Scilingo, said the universal-jurisdiction cases have valuable secondary effects. Officials targeted by Spanish judges need to be careful about where they travel; Spanish arrest warrants are generally enforced throughout Europe but also sometimes in Mexico and other countries.
“Any country should be able to bring these cases, as long as they are democracies that belong to the United Nations,” Slepoy said.
‘An Inflation of Cases’Critics say the cases are influenced by politics. They note that the National Court has been quick to accept complaints about human rights abuses in Israel and the United States but has ignored problems in Syria, North Korea and Cuba.
“These guys are not proper judges from a professional point of view,” said Florentino Portero, a contemporary history professor at Madrid’s National Open University. “They are following a trend from the left wing of the Spanish political arena.”
Spanish prosecutors have also expressed concern. They recommended that the National Court not pursue many of the 16 pending cases but were overruled by judges, who have the final say.
Javier Zaragoza, chief prosecutor at the National Court, said universal-jurisdiction cases are legitimate in principle. But he said Spain should not try to intervene in the affairs of democratic countries that are equipped to police themselves.
Even some human rights advocates said the explosion of cases has made them uneasy.
Gregorio Dionis, president of Equipo Nizkor, a Brussels-based group that has urged the National Court to prosecute accused former Nazi death camp guards living in the United States, said it has become too easy to have a complaint acted upon.
“There’s been an inflation of cases filed under universal jurisdiction,” he said. “Not all of them have been well grounded from a legal point of view.”
Other advocates, however, point out that Israel and the United States have embraced the principle of universal jurisdiction when it suits them.
In 1960, Israeli agents kidnapped Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and tried him in Israel; he was convicted and executed.
More recently, the U.S. Department of Justice has supported efforts to have Spain pursue investigations against two alleged Nazi concentration camp guards living in the United States. The Justice Department lacks the jurisdiction to prosecute the men for crimes committed decades ago in Europe but would like to deport them to Spain to stand trial there.
Special correspondent Cristina Mateo-Yanguas contributed to this report.
End the Siege of Gaza! March on Washington, D.C., June 6 April 29, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Uncategorized.
Tags: crime against humanity, gaza, gaza march, gaza massacre, gaza rally, gaza rubble, gaza siege, israel bombing, israel massacre, israeli occupation, Palestine, roger hollander, solidarity palestine, War Crimes
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Solidarity Day on the 42nd Anniversary of Israel’s seizure of Gaza
RALLY & MARCH
Saturday, June 6
(14th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW)
Saturday, June 6 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Israeli seizure of Gaza. Organizations and individuals in solidarity with the people of Palestine will be taking to the streets once again to demand: End the Siege of Gaza!
The world looked on in horror this past winter as Israel mercilessly starved and bombed the people of Gaza, killing around 1,200 Palestinians (at least a third of whom were children). The Arab world now refers to the dark days from the end of December to mid-January “The Gaza Massacre.” Although the mainstream media no longer focuses on Gaza, the suffering continues there nonetheless. Using the pretext of combating terrorism, Israel has refused to allow in even one truckload of cement into Gaza. In other words, the city that was reduced to rubble still lies in rubble today.All these months later, people are still living in tents and are scarcely able to secure the necessities of life.
People of conscience around the world continue to raise their voices in outrage at this crime against humanity, and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza. We will also stand for all Palestinian people’s inalienable right to return to their homes from which they were evicted. Let your voice be heard — join us Saturday, June 6, at 12 noon at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC (14th St. and Pennsylvania NW).
Sponsoring organizations include ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism), Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) and more!
Contact us at (202) 544-3389 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!