Today in Palestine! ~ Headlines ~

Land theft / Ethnic cleansing / Settlers

Approval of the plan is expected to result in a wave of protest from Palestinians and Arab states, as well as international criticism of the government in Israel -- The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee at the Interior Ministry will publish in the coming weeks a new blueprint program for development in Jerusalem that will include plans to expand Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Most of the land earmarked for this expansion is privately owned by Arabs. If the plan is approved, after objections to it are heard, it will grant official approval to an urban plan for the Israeli takeover of East Jerusalem.

Four Hamas politicians facing expulsion from Jerusalem received support last week from an unexpected quarter - PA President Mahmoud Abbas -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in his Ramallah office on Wednesday and on Friday with two Islamist members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former Hamas cabinet minister. This rare meeting was not related to the reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas. It was held thanks to the Israeli Interior Ministry and the Israel Police ... Abu Tir was ordered to leave by June 19 ... On Wednesday he was notified that he must leave within two days. A few days before the June 19 deadline he had told Haaretz, in a conversation at his home: "I will not willingly leave the place my family has lived for 500 years."

The Tourism Ministry is expanding its commitment to tourist sites in the West Bank: It will invest another NIS 300,000 in a new 800-dunam (200-acre ) hotel complex in the Etzion Bloc, TheMarker has learned.

Jerusalem's district planning council was on Sunday set to rule on a controversial museum project that archaeologists claim would destroy valuable ancient structures beneath the Old City. The new museum is planned for the concourse beside the Western Wall of the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site.

NAZARETH // Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s far-right foreign minister, set out this week what he called a “blueprint for a resolution to the conflict” with the Palestinians that demands most of the country’s large Palestinian minority be stripped of citizenship and relocated outside Israel’s future borders. Mr Lieberman said that Israel faced growing diplomatic pressure for a full withdrawal to the Green Line, the pre-1967 border, and if such a partition were implemented, “the conflict will inevitably pass beyond those borders and into Israel”. 

High Court gives State 90 days to declare why it has yet to destroy West Bank purification plant built on Palestinian land. Petitioners' attorney: Criminal cooperation between State, settlers exposed

Residents said Israeli border guards and settlers fired live ammunition toward Palestinians in the Ar-Rajabi neighborhood, after tensions rose when settlers took over the Beit Al-Asal house. Director of the Wad Hilwa Information Center Jawad Siyam confirmed two Palestinian injuries and said several fainted after border guards fired tear-gas canisters. Locals said young Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails toward the recently occupied house in response.

Twenty Palestinian were wounded Sunday morning during clashes between them and Israeli policemen invading Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, Palestinian sources reported. The sources reported the dozens of Israeli soldiers and border-guard units invaded the neighborhood in addition to armed Jewish settlers, adding that they opened fire randomly at the citizens and fired gas bombs causing at least two injuries.

Fierce clashes broke out in several East Jerusalem neighborhoods Sunday afternoon, following a brief period of calm on the tail of violence that continued overnight. Israeli border police and young local residents were fighting in the Aiyn Al-Louzam, Ar-Rajabi, and Bir Ayoub quarters of the Silwan area in the middle of Silwan neighborhood at press time.
Israeli soldiers prevented a farmer from working his land by confiscating his bulldozer and driving it away, the farmer reported Sunday. Bassam Hammdan, from Wadi Al-Jalmoun in Beit Ula, north of the West Bank city of Hebron, was trying to plant olive and almond trees with a group of volunteers when the incident occurred, he said.

Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Israeli forces shut down Hebron demonstration
Israeli forces forcefully shut down a protest Saturday in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, onlookers said. Demonstrators chanting slogans in Arabic, Hebrew, and English called on Israel to reopen Shuhada Street to Palestinians.
What organizers called a peaceful rally in Beit Jala on Sunday ended with the detention of four protesters and the injury of three others.  "Soldiers used excessive force" one protester told Ma'an, firing sound bombs, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the group, which marched toward the Cremisan winery, where the path of the wall continues to snake toward the monastery vineyard. Head of the popular committee against the wall in Beit Jala, Imad Abu Nassar, said soldiers used batons against what he described as "peaceful protesters" injuring two, while a two others were injured by tear-gas canisters. 

This document is a full translation of the proposed anti-Boycott bill.  The bill was introduced by 25 Knesset members, of both coalition and opposition parties, on 9 June 2010, and has not been yet submitted. According to the bill, individuals who initiate, encourage, or provide support or information for any boycott or divestment action can be sued for damages by the companies harmed; foreign residents who do so will be barred from entering Israel or doing business in it for at least 10 years; and foreign governmental entities will have their assets confiscated to pay the damages, and will be banned from engaging in any economic activity in Israel. The proposal puts a special burden of proof on anyone involved in such actions up to a year BEFORE the law goes into effect.
An Israeli presence at this greatest of global sporting spectacles would have been guaranteed to attract an unrelenting wave of protests, PR stunts and bad publicity.

Blockade / Restriction on movement / Humanitarian issues / Human rights
It is "shameful" that the international community allowed the Gaza siege to enter its fourth year as "750,000 innocent children are paying the toll," UNRWA director of Gaza operations John Ging said Sunday. Speaking at a news conference in Gaza City, Ging added “The political focus should be translated into action rather than discussing improvements or easing the siege. This siege must end completely and immediately.”
Each year, PCHR publishes its annual report on Occupied Palestine, this year's a detailed 250 page review of the past year, including the first days of Israel's war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, "the major issue in the record of human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the Occupied Palestinian Terrority (OPT) in 2009," the bloodiest since the 1948 Nakba that stole a nation from its people.

After three years of deadlock, Palestinian businesses are hoping for a better future. But some fear that the new Israeli trade rules could actually mean a fresh squeeze ... "If consumer items are allowed to come through the crossings, but at the same time we don't allow materials and the means of production to enter, that will have a negative effect," said Amr Hamad, Gaza director of the Palestinian Federation of Industries.

...Even if many items are no longer banned, they still have to find their way into the enclave. Israel controls the crossing points and determines how many trucks are allowed in daily. Currently, only a quarter of the number once permitted are able to deliver their cargo, and that is unlikely to change to any significant degree. Moreover, as part of the “security” blockade, the ban is expected to remain on items such as cement and steel desperately needed to build and repair the thousands of homes devastated by Israel’s attack 18 months ago. In any case, until Gaza’s borders, port and airspace are its own, its factories are rebuilt, and exports are again possible, the hobbled economy has no hope of recovering.

An emergency electricity program was implemented throughout the Gaza Strip on Saturday, after the sole power station shut down a day earlier due to a massive fuel shortage. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation said the remaining 137 megawatts the station could produce with its limited fuel reserves would be distributed across districts for six hours on Sunday, followed by 12 hours without electricity. [analysis of situation follows]

Israeli authorities temporarily opened one of Gaza's terminals on Sunday for limited deliveries of aid and fuel. Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said limited quantities of domestic gas and industrial diesel, desperately needed to run the besieged enclave's sole power station, will enter through the same terminal.

Blackout hours in Gaza up from eight to 16 a day; Hamas says cutting industrial fuel supply to Strip coordinated by Israel, PA ... The PA has blamed Hamas for not forcing tens of thousands of salaried Gazans to pay their bills and thereby share in the cost of industrial fuel for the plant. But Hamas has pointed the finger at the PA and accused it of worsening the blockade by refusing to pay Israel for the fuel. The Islamist group claims the European Union transfers the funds for the fuel directly to Israel and that cutting the supply of fuel to Gaza was coordinated by Israel and the PA.,7340,L-3911229,00.html
...The Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) in the occupied West Bank accused Hamas of manufacturing the crisis to "incite" against it, insisting that it was covering the monthly cost of industrial fuel for the plant ... The deputy head of the Hamas-run power authority denied the accusations, insisting that authorities were collecting fees and transferring them to the West Bank political capital Ramallah in order to pay for the fuel.

Activist Naila Ayesh says political and economic upheaval in the territory has forced women to give priority to more immediate needs, such as finding work and providing for their families.

TORONTO, Canada (AFP) – Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip is "not sustainable" in its current form and must be changed to allow more aid through to its Palestinian population, G8 leaders said Saturday. In a statement issued after their summit in Canada, the heads of the world's major industrialized economies also said they "deeply regret the loss of life" that happened last month when Israel stormed an activist boat off Gaza.

Israel's Egyptian helpers

Egyptian security authorities on Saturday prevented the Jordanian Professional Association delegation from entering Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. The Egyptian authorities asked the Jordanian delegation to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip through the Israeli controlled Erez crossing, an option categorically rejected by the Jordanian activists ... The Professional Associations Council issued a statement Saturday charging that Egypt's banning of the Jordanian delegation from entering via Rafah "represents another episode of the Arab blockade imposed on our Palestinian people in Gaza."
TEHRAN (AFP) – The Iranian Red Crescent said on Sunday that in addition to restrictions imposed by Israel, Egypt had barred a Gaza-bound aid ship from entering the Suez Canal, leading to the trip being postponed ... The statement said the voyage to the blockaded Gaza Strip had been put off despite the vessel being ready to set sail from the southern port of Bandar Abbas for the Palestinian territory. But in Egypt, the Suez Canal Authority said it would allow the ship through.

Israeli forces detained a brother and sister from the Iktaba village in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem on Thursday, family members said. Diyaa Ali Dadu, 26, was detained at the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank with his grandmother, his father told Ma'an. The grandmother was later released. After the detention, Israeli forces raided the family home and detained Yasmin Ali Dadu, 19, his father added, and confiscated two of his computers, used for his carpet company. His daughter, a first-year student at Birzeit University, was taken to an unknown location, the father added.
A party statement said Hamas leader Anwar Umeir was detained in the Bal'a village east of Tulkarem after he was summoned by PA intelligence. An imam from Illar, north of Tulkarem, and 15 teenagers - all members of a center for memorizing the Quran - were detained while playing football in the Tulkarem district town of Shweika, the statement read. On Monday, Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil said the movement would be "obliged to reciprocate" to political arrests after Khalid Al-Hajj, a party leader, was detained in Hebron.
Palestinian Authority police and security officers detained 19 Hamas members and affiliates from five West Bank governorates, a statement from the party said Friday. Hamas officials said members were arrested for political reasons, and detained from Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya and Ramallah.
Israel indicted three Palestinians from eastern Jerusalem for a shooting attack on the Jewish residents of an Arab neighborhood. The three suspects allegedly shot at the residents of Beit Yonatan in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan as they rode through the area in a jeep protected by a government-appointed security guard, according to Haaretz. The guard was shot in the leg. The men, including two brothers, were indicted Wednesday in Jerusalem District Court for the March 1 incident. They were among several people arrested earlier this month for attacks on Israeli civilians and military personnel in the West Bank. A gag order on the arrests was lifted Monday.
This year, the International Day against Torture comes amid the escalation in Israeli violations against Palestinians detainees held in Israeli prisons. They suffer inhuman treatment that violates their human rights and violates international humanitarian law. It also comes amid the increase in acts that constitute torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment against the Gazan patients who try to gain access to hospitals in the West Bank and Israel.

Proposed prisoner swap

Shalit march in Nahariya: One of ours is worth hundreds of theirs
Thousands gather at city's mall for rally as end of first day of march for captive soldier approaches ...Head of the Gilad Shalit campaign Shimshon Liebman ... also conveyed a message to the government and the bereaved parents who object to a prisoner swap deal, in which terrorists would be released in exchange for Gilad's freedom. "Leaders, do not be afraid, this is where our strength lies. One of ours is worth hundreds of theirs.",7340,L-3911434,00.html
Hamas reiterated its accusation on Sunday that the Israeli government is obstructing the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit ... The statement came in the wake of reports in the Israeli press that the government intends to maintain a firm stance in its negotiations with Hamas.
A day before a massive rally for the release of Gilad Shalit, Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha on Saturday again blamed Israel for undermining a prisoner exchange deal that would see the Israel Defense Forces soldier freed from Hamas captivity ... "The Zionist enemy is now trying to play games with the names of the [Palestinian] prisoners [to be released in a prisoner swap.] There are several reservations regarding the names, but without these names there will be no deal," Taha told the Arab media in an interview.
Four years and two days after their son was abducted to the Gaza Strip, the family members of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit on Sunday morning embarked on a 12-day march from their home in the northern community of Mitzpe Hila to Jerusalem. Ynet is offering a live broadcast of the march throughout the day. The Shalit family was expected to be joined by thousands of Israelis throughout the journey, in an aim to pressure the government to secure Gilad's release from Hamas captivity.,7340,L-3911053,00.html

It seems that the longer Israel delays Shalit's release, the greater the damage to the state and its people -- ...The negotiations with Hamas have been going on for four years, a brutal blockade has been imposed on a population of 1.5 million people for three years, and none of this, and not even Operation Cast Lead, have driven Hamas to change its conditions substantially. There is no evidence that continuing the negotiations for another four years will bring about different results. On the contrary, the events surrounding the Gaza-bound flotillas and the opening of the civilian blockade of the Gaza Strip only show that Israel is not really in control of events.
Gaza-based website quotes senior Palestinian collaborator as saying he tried to reveal kidnapped soldier's location to his Israeli operator, but 'officer was busy',7340,L-3911323,00.html

Political developments / Diplomacy
Diplomats say Oren described relations between the two countries in bleak terms; Oren, however, denies making such statements.

Press reports have quoted a senior US official as saying that a high levelled American envoy will arrive in an Arab country this week to hold meetings with the leaders of Hamas and to deliver a message from the US administration. Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper said that on Thursday, a senior political source in Hamas confirmed that both US official and non-official representatives had asked the group not to make any statements to the press about these meetings as a measure of caution toward the Jewish lobby and other pressure groups in the United States, who would take every step to stop all US contacts with the movement.

During visit by Syrian President Assad, Venezuela's president says Jewish state acting as 'assassin arm' for US. 'It is a threat to all of us,' he adds,7340,L-3911050,00.html

..."Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively," Berlusconi told reporters following talks with other Group of Eight leaders north of Toronto.

Turkey bans entry of IDF aircraft
Delegation of officers headed to Auschwitz forced to use alternative route after Ankara prevents plane from flying in its airspace,7340,L-3911174,00.html

(AP) The United States on Saturday warned Turkey that it was alienating U.S. supporters and needed to demonstrate its commitment to partnership with the West ... Gordon cited Turkey's vote against a U.S.-backed United Nations Security Council resolution on new sanctions against Iran and noted Turkish rhetoric after Israel's deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla last month ... Turkey has opposed sanctions as ineffective and damaging to its interests with an important neighbor. It has said that it hopes to maintain channels with Tehran to continue looking for a solution to the standoff over Iran's alleged nuclear arms ambitions.

Khalida Jarrar, representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said the PA's decision to stay elections and to create consensus lists were "against the principles of democracy and integrity." The PFLP official's comments were made during a panel session organized by Palestinian leftist factions in Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank, where she called on Palestinians to hold rallies on the day elections were scheduled to take place, 17 July.

Other news

PARIS: A Gaza-based television station, accused of inciting hatred of Jews and Israel, has had its broadcasts to Europe shut off, Eutelsat satellite firm said on Friday. Paris-based Eutelsat said its client Noorsat, the operator which handles the broadcasting of Al-Aqsa TV to parts of Europe and throughout the Middle East, cut the satellite signal on Thursday. Reacting to the move, Al-Aqsa director Hazem al-Charawi said: “The legal battle has just started and we are determined to pursue it.”

 (AFP) – Hamas police raided a Gaza bank and seized 16,000 dollars on Sunday after the lenderrefused to obey a court order to release the funds, a bank official said. The operation was part of a growing feud between the territory's Hamas rulers and monetary authorities in the West Bank who refuse to deal with the Islamist movement, which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by the West.

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Saturday unveiled a new law to combat corruption, part of plans to create the institutions of a future state.  The law will establish a new commission headed by Rafiq al-Natsheh, a widely respected former minister from Abbas's Fatah party, who will have the authority to question officials from Abbas on down.

Opinion / Analysis

...We are so preoccupied with the struggle over what the city would look like following a permanent status agreement that we are ignoring the fact that present-day Jerusalem is declining before our eyes, becoming a city in which life would be difficult even when peace finally arrives ... Chaos in the material aspects of life is sorely evident in east Jerusalem, where things like dense construction around roads which preempt any future expansion and collapsing sewage systems are creating an irreversible reality on the ground. The poverty and neglect in east Jerusalem will not only cause hardship for the Palestinians living there but will also affect the Jews in west Jerusalem whether the city remains united or divided ... In west Jerusalem, the nonharedi Jewish population is dwindling.

The members of a bizarre coalition of pro-settlement right-wingers (for example, the late Yosef Ben-Shlomo, and Israel Harel, long may he live) and the anti-Zionist left (recently, Yehouda Shenhav) are united in one claim. They hold that the Zionist left's support for the pre-1967 borders, and its sharp opposition to the settlements since, are hypocritical and inconsistent. The inconsistency, they say, is that Zionism has been settling at the Arab's expense since it began - not only since 1967. In addition, they claim that even if the post-'67 settlements are the basis of unjust acts, Zionism committed many more injustices in 1948 and the following decade. At that time it not only settled on private land belonging to Palestinians, it also uprooted masses of people from their homes and refused to allow them to return.

The Palestinian Authority and Egypt watch as the ripples from the 'freedom flotilla' could dissipate into a minor PR success for the Gaza leadership and prove to be a trap ... After it was announced the blockade would be eased, Hamas stated: "We think these steps to lift the siege on land are merely throwing sand in the eyes of the world." Hamas is demanding the full lifting of the blockade and especially the opening of the Rafah crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

...What do we need to make peace between Israel and Palestine? A leader on each side who is mad enough and patriotic enough to be willing to be a martyr to the future. Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan, and was on his way to making peace with the Palestinians, when we killed him. Anwar Sadat was Israel's most lethal enemy, when he took the step that in one stroke made a landmark peace and regained every square centimeter of captured Egyptian territory. Just after Israel made its final large withdrawal, one of Sadat's junior army officers gunned him down. What do we need from our leaders? Only peace, and their life's blood. What kind of person could possibly be willing to take on that kind of challenge, in exchange for nothing more than a place in history and a future for millions of children on both sides? Precisely the kind we seem to lack at the moment. A genuine hero.

Israel must recognize that by insisting on these patterns - Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara, Sheikh Jarrah, the fence route, Route 443 - it is ignoring the values of the world to which it wants to belong.
(photos, audio files) has been a huge privilege to go to the places and meet the people who cram onto this small and turbulent land. What follows is a selection of some of the photos I took and encounters I had over three years: some for this diary, some for radio, and some for my own private pleasure.


BEIRUT // Several thousand Palestinians and Lebanese civil activists converged on central Beirut today, demanding more rights for Palestinians, many of whom live in in squalid and over-crowded refugee camps.
Story of Palestinian doctor Omar Khalili not permitted to practice in Lebanon, interview with Walid Jumblatt, etc.
BEIRUT (AFP) – Thousands of Palestinian refugees gathered on Sunday outside UN headquarters in Beirut to demand basic civil rights in Lebanon, such as a choice of jobs and ownership of property.

The two faces of Lebanon / Lamis Andoni
While the plight of Palestinians in Lebanon has similarities with that of migrants elsewhere, there are also unique political dimensions to the debate over Palestinian rights

Palestinian rights law 'will reduce militancy'
(Reuters) A proposed law to grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon basic civil rights will promote their sense of dignity and well-being, reducing militancy in refugee camps across the country, a UN official said yesterday. Salvatore Lombardo, the director of Unrwa in Lebanon, also said the legislation was only about granting Palestinians human rights, not promoting their naturalisation—an explosive issue which raises fears of upsetting a delicate sectarian balance.

Lebanese security authorities have arrested a senior executive at state-owned mobile telecom firm Alfa on suspicion of spying for Israel, security sources said on Sunday. "Army intelligence officials are questioning him. They have also arrested another 'valuable catch'," one of the sources told Reuters, without elaborating.


At least six Iraqis were killed and 11 more were wounded in attacks across the country. A series of brazen jewelry heists troubled Fallujah, where robbers may have been seeking funds to continue miltant efforts.Also, the United Nations has asked Iraq to ratify a convention against torture. President Barack Obama nominated James Jeffrey, who currently serves as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, to replace Christopher Hill as Iraq ambassador. Also, some Iraqi officials fear that their needs will be set aside as Gen. Petraeus focuses his efforts on Afghanistan.

Excerpt: At least five Iraqis were killed and seven more were wounded in light violence. Also, a U.S. soldier was killed and two more were wounded during a vehicular accident in Diwaniya. Meanwhile, Iraqi journalists continue to suffer harassment from Iraqi officials who see nothing amiss in the arrest of elderly reporters on charges that lack evidence. In Baghdad, a sticky bomb left on a car on Haifa St. killed the driver and wounded a bystander. Another sticky bomb, this one in Furat, wounded a married couple. A third sticky bomb wounded a driver in Khadraa....

More than 10 Iraqi asylum seekers deported from the UK more than a week ago are still in detention in Baghdad. The men were part of a group of more than 40 Iraqis forcibly removed on 16 June after their claims for political asylum were turned down ... One of the deportees told the BBC by telephone that they were being held in a single room at Baghdad International Airport.

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Saturday that Iraq is seeking around 20 billion dollars to build four newrefineries as it seeks to become a net exporter of petroleum products ... "The investment will not be constrained -- we are looking for real partners and in any ratio," Shahristani said.

DHAHIR, Iraq — The looting of Iraq’s ancient ruins is thriving again. This time it is not a result of the "stuff happens" chaos that followed the American invasion in 2003, but rather the bureaucratic indifference of Iraq’s newly sovereign government.

Other Mideast

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Mohammed Ghobari, Reuters. Security forces in Yemen's port of Aden have arrested 30 people during a two day hunt for suspected al-Qa`ida operatives behind an attack on an intelligence building, a security official and the Defence Ministry said ... Yemen has accused al-Qa`ida of the attack last Saturday in which militants in military uniform raided the police intelligence building, killing seven security officers, three women and a 7-year-old boy, and freeing several detainees.
*Majority of youth see political activism as useless  *90 percent of unemployed are young people *U.N. report coincides with mounting anti-gov't protests -- CAIRO, June 27 (Reuters) - Young Egyptians do not trust the electoral system and shun politics because of the security services' intolerance of public activity, a U.N. report said on Sunday.
Reuters has doubled the amount of original Arabic-language news it produces and plans to recruit “dozens” of reporters to bolster its coverage further, especially in business news.

U.S. and other world news
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said Sunday emphasized that the relationship between his army and the Israel Defense Forces, adding: "I always try to see the threats and the challenges from an Israeli perspective."
The parents of a New Jersey man accused of trying to join a terrorist group say they believe the FBI fueled the behavior that led to his arrest. Mahmood and Nadia Alessa told The Record newspaper their 20-year-old son, Mohamed, had been monitored by the FBI since age 16 and was encouraged by an undercover agent to act like a terrorist.
Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses the nearly 75% success rate of Guantanamo detainee habeas hearings, why Gitmo inmate Mohammed Hassan Odaini – despite winning his habeas case and being cleared for release by the Bush and Obama administrations – remains in custody, the government’s incredibly flimsy evidence against the so called “worst of the worst” and how Washington political games and moral cowardice prevents justice from being served.
...In a 29-page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council presented early June, the official, Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions, called on the United States to exercise greater restraint in its use of drones in places like Pakistan and Yemen, outside the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. "I’m particularly concerned that the United States seems oblivious to this fact when it asserts an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe," Mr. Alston said in an accompanying statement.
[I] was fascinated by Restrepo, a long documentary for which two brave journalists, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, spent 13 months with the US Second Platoon of Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Korangal Valley, perhaps the deadliest piece of real estate in Afghanistan.
For example, cases of traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as a result of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are excluded from the official list of casualties. "Under this scheme, chronic injuries and many acute internal injuries such as hearing impairment, back injuries, mild traumatic brain injuries, mental health problems and a host of diseases suffered by personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan are usually not counted as being war-related regardless of how debilitating they are," writes Matthew Nasuti in an article published on the Afghan news site and media organization Kabul Press. "They are either generally lumped into the category of 'non-hostile wounded' or simply not counted at all."
MEDEA BENJAMIN: Yesterday my colleague Tighe Barry from CODEPINK and I had an hour and a half free, and we thought, let’s go over to Canada and have lunch. We went there and were detained. They searched our car. They held me for questioning for about four hours and asked me everything about the Social Forum and what I was doing and what conferences I was taking part in. They asked if I was coming for the G20 summit. They even asked me who I voted for for president. After four hours, they allowed me to return to the United States, but my colleague, Tighe Barry, was kept. He was held overnight, and he is still there for a second night in a row.
For further information contact Shadi Fadda

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