More than 20 members of one family killed in Gaza strike

July 22nd, 2014

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem; Peter Beaumont in Gaza City; Ian Black; 21/7/14

A hospital was shelled, killing and injuring staff and patients, and up to 28 members of one family died in an air strike as Gaza endured another day of relentless bloodshed on Monday . As heavy shelling and fighting on the ground continued, the US president, Barack Obama, restated his call for an immediate ceasefire, saying: “We don’t want to see any more civilians killed.”
He said he had authorised his secretary of state, John Kerry, to do “everything he can to help facilitate a cessation of hostilities” in a sign that international diplomacy had been galvanised by the weekend carnage in Shujai’iya.
Kerry was en route to Cairo for urgent talks with key players in the region, including the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. The UN security council called for an immediate ceasefire on Sunday. Kerry pledged yesterday that the US would provide $47m (£28m) in humanitarian aid to help Palestinians. He said: “We are deeply concerned about the consequences of Israel’s appropriate and legitimate effort to defend itself.”
In Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, al-Aqsa hospital became the third to be struck in the 14-day conflict when three shells slammed into the intensive care unit, surgical and administrative areas. Five people were killed and 70 wounded, including about 30 medics, according to Gaza health officials. Ambulances tried to evacuate patients but were forced to turn back by continued shelling. Israel has claimed that Hamas hides weapons in hospitals.
Barack Obama says he is focused on a ceasefire.
Further south, in Khan Younis, an extended family was wiped out in an air strike on a house. The number of dead was put at between 24 and 28. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said another 10 people were killed in a single air strike in Rafah, including four young children and a baby.
Save the Children said that, on average, seven had been killed every day during the conflict. “For many children, this is the third war in six years that they are going through,” said the charity’s David Hassell.
Israeli troops said they killed 10 Hamas militants as they attempted a cross-border attack using two tunnels. The Israel Defence Forces said seven soldiers had been killed in the 24 hours up to early evening.
Intense rocket fire from Gaza continued, with sirens warning people in Tel Aviv and other towns in central and southern Israel to seek shelter. The IDF said it was investigating Hamas claims that it captured an Israeli soldier on Sunday. Hamas displayed a photo ID, saying the soldier’s name was Shaul Aron. Street celebrations erupted in Gaza at the news, with people chanting “Allahu Akbar” and lighting fireworks. If the capture of an Israeli is confirmed, it will complicate efforts to broker a ceasefire.
“We advise [Israel] to take their soldiers and leave before we kidnap more soldiers in addition to the scores we have already killed and wounded,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
The number of Palestinians killed in the conflict reached 530 by early evening, 72% of whom were civilians according to the UN. Twenty-seven Israelis – 25 soldiers and two civilians – have died. The UN said more than 100,000 people had fled their homes, including 85,000 people who sought shelter in schools.
Ten Israeli human rights organisations have written to the attorney-general to raise concerns about grave violations of international law in the conflict. They questioned the legality of Sunday’s operation in Shujai’iya, “in particular, the potential violation of the fundamental principles of the laws of war, specifically the principle of distinguishing between combatants and civilians”.
Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, the defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, and chief of staff, Benny Gantz – the men directing the military operation in Gaza – said in a statement it would expand and continue “as long as necessary until the completion of the task”. Israel has said the goal of the ground invasion is to locate and destroy dozens of tunnels under the border, used by militants to launch attacks.
In Cairo, Ban held talks with Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and the head of the Arab League. The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was due to meet Hamas’s leader-in-exile Khaled Mishal in Doha.
Egypt’s proximity to Gaza, its peace treaty with Israel and good relations with the western-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank have made it the focus of attempts to defuse the crisis, though its relations with Hamas – which it sees as an offshoot of the banned Muslim Brotherhood – are hostile.
Hamas rejected Cairo’s original ceasefire proposal last week, though a senior official said Egypt might be willing to amend its initiative. “Egypt does not mind adding some of Hamas’s conditions provided that all involved parties approve,” the official told Reuters. Hamas is demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza, an end to hostilities, opening the border to Egypt, the release of prisoners held by Israel and other conditions – in exchange for a truce.
Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas prime minister, claimed that Israeli forces were being beaten in Gaza. “The Palestinian resistance will meet the demands and expectations of the Palestinian people,” he said, adding that the Hamas conditions were “the minimum demands” for any truce.
“Our people’s sacrifices are heading for triumph,” he said in a pre-recorded TV broadcast. “We see the al-Qassam Brigades and the Jerusalem Brigades and all resistance factions beating the enemy and attack him again and again, under the earth and sea. The ground operation is a declaration of failure on the part of the enemy aerial war against Gaza.”
Mishal was due to speak later, fuelling speculation about a possible “victory” speech that could pave the way for acceptance of a ceasefire

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/21/gaza-hospital-shelling-air-strike-israel-idf

Israel, Palestine

The Pope and ‘paedophile cardinals’: another clue that Francis is at war with the Vatican

July 22nd, 2014

18 /7/14 Damian Thompson

Today’s front-page splash in The Catholic Herald reads: ‘Vatican in a spin as Pope Francis grants an explosive new interview’.
That interview, with La Repubblica, quoted Francis as saying that his advisors had told him that two per cent of clergy were paedophiles – including ‘bishops and cardinals’. The Independent ran with the headline: ‘Pope Francis: “One in 50” Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals is a paedophile’.
What fascinates me is the reaction of the Vatican Press Office, which has gone into full L/Cpl Jones ‘Don’t Panic!’ mode. Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s hapless press officer, has been pointing out that La Repubblica’s interviewer, Eugenio Scalfari, (a) didn’t use a tape recorder, (b) didn’t take notes but relied on his memory and (c) is 90 years old.
All of which is true.
But it was also true last September, when Francis gave an earlier interview to Scalfari – an atheist, incidentally – under exactly the same conditions. That produced lurid headlines: Francis supposedly called the Vatican court ‘the leprosy of the papacy’, and poor Lombardi had to run around saying, hang on, there were no notes, Scalfari is ancient, etc.
- So why did Francis go back to Scalfari?
I reckon the uncheckability of the quotes suits him fine.
He can express his views that the Vatican is crawling with fawning backstabbers and that sexual perverts are over-represented among the clergy right up to the level of cardinal – yet leave himself diplomatic legroom by allowing for the

possibility that he’s been misquoted. He is a Jesuit, after all. So is Lombardi, but it’s obvious who is being more Jesuitical here.
The background to this is the Pope’s war on the Vatican. I think he hates the place. And it’s interesting that he’s placed enormous power in the hands of Cardinal George Pell, who is also full of contempt for its greedy placemen.
My guess is that the reforms, when they come, will be savage.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/07/the-pope-and-paedophile-cardinals-another-clue-that-francis-is-at-war-with-the-vatican/; http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/07/the-pope-and-paedophile-cardinals-another-clue-that-francis-is-at-war-with-the-vatican/;

Vatican, Pedophilia +

Soweto Gospel Choir joins Arrente women for Songs of Praise in Central Australia

July 22nd, 2014

Anthony Stewart; 21/7/14

Songs of Praise has united two of the world’s oldest cultures in a remote Central Australian community South Africa’s Grammy award winning Soweto Gospel Choir took time out of its national tour to travel to Ntaria, home of the historic Hermannsburg mission.
The Soweto singers joined the Aboriginal Women’s Choir during Sunday service in the town’s chapel, about 120 kilometres from Alice Springs. They had chosen Central Australia to have a break from their national tour, but the lure of singing with the locals was too strong.
Founding member and choir-master Shimmy Jiyane said the group had a special connection to Indigenous culture. “We bring our cultures here to share it with the Aboriginal people and also to sing to them in our languages,” he said. “The songs we sing, and then they’re going to be teaching us what they sing in their language.”
Despite not practising together the two choirs easily managed to harmonise in the local Indigenous language of Arrente, performing renditions of classic hymns such as Amazing Grace and Kumbaya. The Soweto Gospel Choir also performed a number of traditional South African songs for the 200 people who had packed in for the service. More than 50 women from Aboriginal communities scattered across the red centre gathered to sing at the event.
West Arrente woman Marion Swift said it was a privilege to share her musical heritage.
“It’s good for them to be singing in their language, and to get them to sing in our language,” she said.
“I look forward to teaching other people our language and songs.”
The Aboriginal Women’s Choir director Morris Stuart said there was a rare connection between the women singers.
“I feel the mutual respect, the connection between the women – the younger African women and older Aboriginal women,” he said. “Its kind of visceral. You can almost feel it.”
Shimmy Jiyane said it was a privilege to take part in the service.
“We get to exchange our music, because music is all about sharing,” he said. “To create new music, that is why this is a special place.” “Normally on tour on tour we don’t get to, but here we do.” “This is where people are willing to do anything just for the love of music.”

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24512333/soweto-gospel-choir-joins-arrente-women-for-songs-of-praise-in-central-australia/

Africa, Australia

Former chancellor: Twin Cities archdiocese ‘far, far from best practice’ on abuse

July 22nd, 2014

Brian Roewe 15/7/14

After weeks of depositions from top officials exposing how they handled abusive priests and allegations that arose in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, sworn written testimony from a former chancellor pulled back the curtain further to reveal a system “far, far from best practice.”
In a 107-page affidavit made public Tuesday, Jennifer Haselberger — the canon lawyer whose leaking of documents and files promulgated the region’s current abuse scandal — disputed the accounts of her former coworkers and described in compelling detail the mistakes, oversights and omissions she witnessed during her tenure as chancellor of canonical affairs. At one point, Haselberger characterized the archdiocese as having a “cavalier attitude towards the safety of other children.”
The affidavit, released by attorney Jeff Anderson, was taken in relation to the John Doe 1 lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese, the Winona, Minn., diocese and former priest Thomas Adamson. The next hearing is set for Monday. Anderson, pursuing a public nuisance charge against the archdiocese, told NCR the sworn statement is “a powerful recitation of whistleblowing and truth telling.”
Among Haselberger’s revelations:
• A perceived pattern of incomplete investigations of sexual misconduct by Setter and Associates, a private firm frequently hired by the archdiocese, including in the Fr. Jonathan Shelley pornographic images case;
• A lax application of policies outlined by the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by former vicar general and safe environment delegate Fr. Kevin McDonough: “While he occasionally gave lip-service to these principles, he never accepted them and often failed to apply them”;
• As of April 2013, the archdiocese had not secured the “essential three” forms required by the charter (background check, VIRTUS training, signed Code of Conduct) for all diocesan priests, and struggled to renew background checks;
• Charter auditors have never been allowed to access clergy records “to determine if the data matched what we reported. Had they done so, they would have found out that it did not”;
• A records management system that had files spread out in different locations;
• An outdated and under-funded monitoring program for offending priests;
• Church officials impeding her investigations of priests and telling her to “stop looking under rocks.”
In a statement on the archdiocese’s website, Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens said Haselberger’s “recollections are not always shared by others within the archdiocese. However, Ms. Haselberger’s experience highlights the importance of ongoing constructive dialogue and reform aimed at insuring the safety of children.” Cozzens said efforts to implement recommendations from an independent task force are addressing some of her concerns.
Haselberger served as chancellor from August 2008 until her resignation in April 2013. She previously worked for the archdiocese from 2004 until 2006 as a victim’s advocate and judge on its metropolitan tribunal.
In contrast to the depositions of church officials who consistently used phrases like “I don’t recall,” Haselberger recounts events around more than a dozen priests, recalling at times the locations of various files, the name under which it was saved, and who placed what where.
The affidavit weaves a story of Haselberger continually persisting that the archdiocese take some action in regard to a number of priests — review their files, place them on a monitoring program, follow-up on their monitoring, remove them from a parish — but was just as regularly rebuffed. With one exception, she said: “I cannot recall a single time in which the concerns I raised resulted in action. … I became accustomed to having my advice disregarded.”
One suggestion addressed revamping the monitoring system employed by the archdiocese. While McDonough believed it “state of the art,” Haselberger’s experience attending seminars and developing systems for other dioceses led to her to conclude it inadequate. She criticized it for employing a “probationary model” that required quarterly or less check-ins, relied on self-reports from offending priests and had little mechanisms to verify information.
The lack of verification arose in spring 2013 when the monitoring director had concerns about Fr. Stan Maslowski — a sex addict who used church funds to pay for strippers — and his recent travels but had no way of proving the priest traveled where he said he did. The priest said he traveled to Branson, Mo., but didn’t disclose trips to Nevada, which he mentioned in a Christmas card to Archbishop John Nienstedt.
Haselberger called that case “the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine,’ which should have caused us to question whether we could expect to maintain any type of reasonable supervision over clergy offenders over the long term.”
The failures of the system were further exposed by Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, she said, of whom she began issuing concerns as early as 2009. The affidavit reiterated her claims that the archdiocese in June 2012 failed to report Wehmeyer within the required 24-hour window after it first learned of the allegations — sexually abusing two boys and showing them pornography — that eventually led to his conviction. Following Wehmeyer’s arrest, Haselberger said no attempt was made to assess the archdiocese’s response nor an admission of fault.
“No one was willing to take responsibility for the situation … or to engage in a discussion about what our moral responsibility was to the victims,” she wrote. From that point forward, she said her objections went unheard and her position became “tenuous.”
Fr. Peter Laird, the vicar general who himself resigned in October, began to isolate her from certain meetings and attempted to intimidate and punish her, she said. That included a December 2012 suspension, which Haselberger challenged “had everything to do with my criticism of the Archdiocese’s handling of sexual abuse and my refusal to go along with policies and practices that were putting people at risk.”
Haselberger spent nearly half of the affidavit responding to deposition testimony from Laird, whom she described as a careerist more focused on remodeling the chancery and expanding the communications office than safe environment problems. In early 2013, Laird formed a safe environment working group to review sexual misconduct policies. She described the working group as “a way of appearing to be open to change, without the risk of having to implement any changes that may be unpalatable.”
The group addressed issues such as graduating priests out of the monitoring program, or the lack of a list of monitored priests. But the format prevented real discussion, Haselberger wrote, in that it restricted the use of specific names or cases, an arrangement that frustrated her. “I had absolutely no confidence that its work would result in any improvement in the Archdiocese’s handling of sexual misconduct by clergy,” she said.
At one point, Joe Kueppers, the current civil chancellor, suggested the problem was not with the terms but her voice, and “that if I could speak in a more masculine octave, it might be easier for the other (male) group members to accept my arguments.”
As for Nienstedt, Haselberger said she previously disagreed that the archbishop should resign, but that the recent investigation into sexual misconduct and his comments since last October have changed her mind. Specifically, she recalled Nienstedt’s statement in December that he believed the issue of clergy sexual abuse was taken care of by the time he became archbishop in 2008 — what Haselberger called a blatant lie. “That was really when I abandoned hope that this situation could be resolved by the present administration, by which I mean not only the Archbishop, but everyone else who has been involved in this ongoing debacle,” she wrote.
http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/former-chancellor-twin-cities-archdiocese-far-far-best-practice-abuse [Brian Roewe is an NCR staff writer. His email address is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @BrianRoewe.]
Pedophilia, USA

***

Reef ‘in worst state since records began’
Cleo Fraser; 21/7/14

The Great Barrier Reef is in the worst state it’s been in since records began and it will be “pretty ugly” within 40 years, Australian scientists say.
A Senate committee is investigating how the Australian and Queensland governments have managed the reef, ahead of a UNESCO decision next year about whether to list it as a World Heritage site in danger. Scientists have told the committee the reef is facing threats from coastal development, such as a massive port-related dredging project at Abbot Point, farm run-off and poor water quality.
The Australian Coral Reef Society – the oldest organisation in the world that studies reefs – says coral cover has halved since the 1980s when the reef was listed as a World Heritage site.
By 2050, there will be fewer fish and large swathes of seaweed where complex coral structures once thrived, society president Professor Peter Mumby said. “It will be really pretty ugly,” Professor Mumby told the committee. “The reef is in the worse state it’s ever been in since records began. There is so much scope to improve governance.”
Queensland government representatives told the committee progress was being made towards ticking off recommendations made by the World Heritage Committee, including establishing a long-term management plan for the ecosystem.
“[This] is intended to bring all of the pieces of reef management together into easily digestible forms,” Department of Environment deputy secretary Dr Kimberley Dripps said. “This is so the community can see what is being done across all of the different programs, policies and investments.”
Programs had led to improvements in water quality, Dr Dripps said, citing the federal government’s $40 million reef trust established to help improve the health of the reef. Three million cubic metres of sand and soil will be dredged for the Abbot Point port expansion. It will be dumped offshore, inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Area but about 40km from the nearest reef.
Ports Australia chief executive David Anderson said offshore dumping was cheaper and better for the environment than onshore dumping. He told the hearing the effects were misunderstood and overstated. “The process, in many respects, is placed in information that is not totally correct,” he said.
Felicity Wishart from the Australian Marine Conservation Society led a small protest outside parliament before giving evidence at the hearing. She wants state and federal governments to ban the dumping of dredge spoil offshore and dramatically curb its use.
“We’re very unhappy at the moment,” she told AAP. “We’ve seen approval of massive port expansions, we’ve sen dredging and dumping in the reef’s waters. “We don’t think that is the best way to be treating a world heritage icon.”
The committee will also hold public hearings in Mackay and Townsville this week

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24508929/reef-in-worst-state-since-records-began/

Australia, Environment

U.S. to Send 6 Guantánamo Prisoners to Uruguay (1)

July 22nd, 2014

The Pentagon has secretly told Congress it is preparing to send six Guantánamo prisoners to Uruguay, after they were all approved for transfer more than four years ago.
Uruguayan President José Mujica has opposed the U.S. treatment of Guantánamo prisoners and offered to receive the six men.
The New York Times reports the group includes four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian man.
One of the prisoners, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, has filed a lawsuit against the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike over their indefinite detention.
Report: Prisoners of U.S. in Afghanistan Staging Hunger Strikes (2)
A new report says prisoners held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan have staged periodic hunger strikes similar to those at Guantánamo Bay.
According to The Guardian, non-Afghan prisoners in U.S. captivity at the Detention Facility in Parwan have refused meals to protest their conditions.
Their grievances include unsafe drinking water, prison segregation and inadequate access to the Red Cross. The United States no longer imprisons Afghans at Bagram, but around 40 nationals from other countries are still in custody.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/18/headlines#7185,

USA, Human Rights, Guantanamo Bay

***

Response to IPCA report on GCSB investigation (4)

July 22nd, 2014

17/7/14; New Zealand Police

Response to IPCA report on GCSB investigation;
Statement: Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess:
Police note today’s IPCA report, which dismisses all three aspects of the complaint made by Dr Russell Norman in September 2013 regarding the Police investigation into the interception of private communications by GCSB staff.
The IPCA report finds no evidence of any misconduct or neglect of duty by Police regarding its investigation.
The report confirms that Police were entitled to rely on legal advice provided by the Solicitor General in reaching a decision that there had been no criminal intent on the part of GCSB staff in intercepting the communications and that there was no conflict of interest in Police appointing Kristy McDonald QC to oversee the matter.
It also finds that because the law was unclear relating to the interception of metadata, Police were justified in not investigating the additional interceptions.
We now consider this matter closed.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1407/S00273/response-to-ipca-report-on-gcsb-investigation.htm

NZ Spying

New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga (3)

July 22nd, 2014

17/714; Green Party

New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga
New Zealander’s who were illegally spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will probably never get their justice, said the Green Party today.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today released its findings on whether the Police were negligent in their duty to not prosecute anyone in the GCSB over the spying saga. The IPCA concluded the Police were not wrong.
“The IPCA did not look at the issue which formed the crux of the complaint, which is, did the Police rely on the wrong interpretation of the law when deciding not to prosecute?” said Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman.
“The IPCA, in part of their report, concluded the matter was not for the Police but for the Courts.
- “How can someone go to Court on the issue when a person doesn’t even know if they have been spied on or not?
The whole process is a catch-22.
“The report gives a green light for illegal spying because the system has set itself up to be impenetrable to inquiries for justice.
“Our Government and intelligence agencies are just dodging a bullet on what has been shown to be a major mess up.
“There is no justice for at least 88 New Zealanders who were spied on. No one has been, and no one will be, held to account.
“The message that is being sent is: if a citizen acts illegally you get in trouble, but if the Government acts illegally, they get off scot free.
“The Green Party reiterates its call that there needs to be an open and independent inquiry into the matter and an overhaul of our intelligence agencies,” said Mr Norman today.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1407/S00316/new-zealanders-will-never-get-justice-over-spying-saga.html;

NZ, Spying

Gordon Campbell on the failure to prosecute the GCSB (2)

July 22nd, 2014

18/7/14; Column: Gordon Campbell

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean.
Case closed.
- Does anyone feel re-assured by this exercise in familial self-exoneration?
- Has anyone’s respect for the rule of law been enhanced?
Yesterday, the IPCA reported back that yes, it has determined there was nothing wrong with the Police decision not to prosecute the security agencies that had broken the existing law when they carried out illegal surveillance on Kim Dotcom and as many as 88 other New Zealand citizens.
It would not be in the public interest to prosecute those responsible, the IPCA agreed with the Police, in that the security agents involved didn’t know they were breaking the law, and thus lacked the necessary element of criminal intent.
Incredible.
These are defences not commonly available to ordinary citizens. To willfully ignore the meaning of the law – and the law and the intent of Parliament were crystal clear in that New Zealand citizens and permanent residents were not to be spied on by the GCSB – is bad enough.
To then treat carelessness or reckless disregard of the law’s express meaning as being a valid defence against prosecution is also outrageous.
It’s a Spiderman situation: the GCSB is vested with great power on the basis that it will exercise it with great responsibility. When such agencies then fail to act responsibly, the law should be more willing to prosecute those at fault, not less willing.
In this context, the lack of conscious intent is a joke.
Try that argument with the IRD next time when it tries to invoke the tax laws : sorry, I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, and anyway in my personal opinion the law’s a bit unclear, so I can’t be held liable for my actions. Anyone who tried to offer that sort of justification would be usually out of luck. Ignorance of the law being no defence etc etc.
As many have already pointed out, the reluctance by the Police to prosecute the GCSB agents involved is in stark contrast to the zeal with which the Police went after Bradley Ambrose, the hapless photographer who inadvertently recorded the Epsom “cup of tea” conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Epsom MOP John Banks.
Clearly, the cosy relationship that the Police and GCSB/SIS enjoy – whereby they carry put joint operations, yet are supposed to monitor each other as to the legality of these joint actions – is intolerable.
In addition, we have an IPCA that has just proven itself incapable of acting independently, and thus has to be treated as part of the same club.
Plus, in John Key, we have a Minister of the Security Services who claims to have had no knowledge of what the agencies under his oversight were doing, even when they launched illegal operations in his very own electorate, in conjunction with the agents of a foreign power.
Some oversight, when the Minister concerned seems to be permanently AWOL.
In the short term, it seems that Dotcom will have to launch a private prosecution to redress the wrong committed against him, and against the other 88 victims of the GCSB. At the very least, the people who have been subjected to illegal surveillance need to be told who they are, thus giving them the option of joining Dotcom in a class action suit.
Ultimately, the failure to identify the victims should be regarded as an obstruction of justice.
In the longer term, the oversight mechanisms for our security service are clearly inadequate to non-existent. The call by Internet Party leader Laila Harre for a Royal Commission into the security services is timely. This would not be a witch-hunt. In the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden and others, New Zealand needs to comprehensively re-set the boundaries of what the state can – and cannot – legitimately do, and what privacy protections and democratic oversight mechanisms need to be put in place to protect ordinary citizens.
Otherwise we will increasingly be at the mercy of what others have called the “deep state.”
This has been defined by the security analyst William Akin as “a parallel top secret government whose parts have mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe visible only to a carefully vetted cadre and – in its entirety – visible only to God.”
The security services that comprise the Deep State collaborate with their brother agencies overseas in ways and by means that bypass the public’s elected representatives.
The subsurface part of the Deep State sets its own compass, regardless of which political party is nominally in control of it. It needs to be brought under meaningful and credible control by the public, via a Royal Commission.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1308/S00237/gordon-campbell-on-the-police-refusal-to-prosecute-the-gcsb.htm

NZ Spying

Gordon Campbell on the Police refusal to prosecute the GCSB (1)

July 22nd, 2014

30/8/13

The last gift from David Shearer to the National Party was his resignation, which has happily diverted the media into weeks of speculation about his successor. In the process, this has taken the heat off Prime Minister John Key over the GCSB.
` Yesterday though, the rogue behaviour of the GCSB returned to haunt National, as the Police declined to act on a complaint laid by Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman. Ultimately, the Police have refused to press charges against anyone at the agency over their unlawful monitoring of Kim Dotcom and of the 85 New Zealanders whose illegal surveillance was cited in the Kitteridge report.
It has now been conceded on every side of this debate that the GCSB systematically broke the law, time and again.
You would think that the political debate over the GCSB might have heightened the need for effective oversight of the SIS and GCSB – given that reliable oversight is the reassurance that the public expects in return for the extraordinary powers that we bestow on our security services.
You might also think that a prosecution would have been a useful lesson for the GCSB to be ever mindful of the boundaries that the law imposes on their activities. A prosecution might also have gone some way to restoring public confidence that the Key government truly believes in the principle that no-one is above the law – and that the agencies entrusted with the power to violate privacy in defence of national security can, and will be held accountable for their lapses. No such luck.
The Police decision could hardly be less reassuring. Their rationale for declining to prosecute was that the GCSB lacked criminal intent:
Detective Superintendent Peter Read said today that while there was one occasion of illegal activity under the Crimes Act, there was not the element of criminal intent needed to show the GCSB was were criminally liable.
Fascinating. You would have thought that this would be the very last agency that would want to hide behind a defence based on ignorance of the law. For most of us, ignorance of the law is not a defence.
Yet for the GCSB, the Police have decided that because the agency honestly thought they were in the clear, they are. Keep that in mind if the GCSB should raid and read your emails in future – because hand on heart, they will say they really thought that they could, honest.
The Police did slap the GCSB on the wrist with a bus ticket: …Police did identify “a number of shortcomings” in the handling of the interception requests, including the GCSB had an incorrect understanding of the Immigration Act 2009 and how it related to the GCSB Act.
“GCSB staff also did not follow their own internal processes in actioning the Ofcanz requests.”
O-kay…So, evidently, the GCSB were ignorant of the Immigration Act. Ignorant of such basic stuff as their capacity to put someone with New Zealand residency under surveillance. In addition, they did not follow their own internal rules for this sort of work. But hey, no reason to prosecute anyone….because these little lambs didn’t know what they doing.
On that point too, Norman happens to disagree.
In his view, the relevant section of the Crimes Act requires only intent, and not criminal intent: “I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me they intended to make the interception, they did make the interception, it was illegal.”
- But surely in reaching this decision not to prosecute, the Police would have availed themselves of the best and most fiercely independent legal advice?
Well, not really. It seems the Police relied on an opinion sought from and provided by Kristy McDonald QC. She is the same QC who has been acting on the Crown’s behalf during the Dotcom hearings – and you would think that fact alone should have caused the Police to look elsewhere for advice, given the conflict of interest issues. But there’s more. Here’s how McDonald was described last year in NZ Police publications: Seventy six new constables will graduate from The Royal New Zealand Police College in Wing 273 on Thursday 26 July.
Their wing patron is Kristy McDonald QC…. Kristy is a member of the Crown prosecution panel in Wellington and the Serious Fraud Office prosecution panel. She has prosecuted a number of significant criminal trials and has acted for the Police in a wide range of civil matters including representing Police in the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct in 2007.
I’m talking about perception here, not ability. McDonald has been the Crown – and Police – ‘go to’ person whenever trouble rears its head. In terms of public perception, this hardly passes the sniff test of independent advice. Moreover, the Police were actively at work alongside the GCSB on the Dotcom surveillance, and will almost certainly be the GCSB’s main client under its new legislation.
- How likely was it that they would want to prosecute any of their GCSB pals?
Not so much. Surprise surprise, the Police decided not to proceed – readily accepting the ignorance of the law defence, and a legal opinion provided by the same QC who has defended the Police in misconduct hearings in the past.
Frankly, the appearance of these sort of “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationships is a perfect example of the shonky oversight mechanisms that John Key has been offering all along as re-assurance over both the GCSB Act and its evil twin, the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Act.
If we need these security agencies at all
– surely if terrorists plan or commit criminal acts, shouldn’t the Police be the agency that detects and prosecutes them? – what we need is independent oversight of their activities. Just in case once again, the GCSB doesn’t know (or conveniently happens to forget) what it is allowed to do under the law.

http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/08/30/2917/

NZ Spying

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New Ormas Law used to back police repression in Papua

July 22nd, 2014

17/7/14; Papuans Behind Bars
At the end of June 2014, there were at least 76 political prisoners in Papuan jails.
The West Papua National Committee (Komite Nasional Papua Barat, KNPB), a Papuan pro-independence activist organisation, was heavily targeted by Indonesian security forces this month. There were at least 24 arrests of KNPB members across Papua in Boven Digoel, Timika and Merauke.
Police performed a mass arrest of 20 KNPB members in Boven Digoel under the auspices of the Social Organisations Law (RUU Organisasi Kemasyarakatan, RUU Ormas), claiming that the KNPB was an illegal organisation as it was not registered with the Department of National Unity and Politics (Kesatuan Bangsa dan Politik, Kesbangpol). The police also stated that any KNPB attributes such as flags and symbols were thus also considered illegal.
The use of the Ormas Law to de-legitimise and control indigenous civil society groups, especially ahead of planned demonstrations or commemorative events, continues to place unacceptable limitations on freedom of assembly and expression in Papua.
The timing of crackdowns on KNPB members this month suggests that Indonesian authorities used arrests and raids to prevent activists holding events commemorating 1 July, a date Papuans consider to be their national day. There was also an election-related political arrest, following a common pattern during election periods in Papua, where pro-independence activists call for election boycotts, and are subsequently arrested.
This month in Merauke, police arrested one activist and surrounded the KNPB Secretariat, claiming that the activists planned a socialisation event to boycott the 2014 Indonesian Presidential elections on 9 July 2014. Papuans Behind Bars has documented similar arrests in Bokondini in 2004 and in Nabire in 2009.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, Iskandar Bwefar, a Dutch Papuan, was arrested in the Hague for peacefully waving a Morning Star flag during a procession celebrating Dutch Veterans Day. Dutch civil society groups
reported that the flag, a symbol of Papuan identity, was banned from the parade procession by the Dutch House of Representatives following pressure from the Indonesian authorities.
This arrest echoes that of three Papua New Guinea nationals in December 2013 when the Morning Star flag was
raised during an event in Port Moresby.
The willingness of foreign governments to legitimise the criminalisation of the Morning Star symbol,in contravention of international law and reports and opinions issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, is of particular concern.
At a broad level, this development indicates that Indonesia is becoming increasingly pro-active in its efforts to quash support for Papuan independence among exile communities.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1407/S00174/new-ormas-law-used-to-back-police-repression-in-papua.htm

West Papua, Indonesia

Ban urges all parties: End bloodshed, obtain ceasefire (8)

July 22nd, 2014

22/7/14: UN News

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all parties to rally around collective international efforts to obtain an end to two weeks of bloodshed in Gaza and Israel and reach a ceasefire, as he continued his visit to the region with a stop in Cairo. “Palestinians and Israelis deserve freedom – freedom from siege, rockets, missiles, artillery and airstrikes. They deserve a future of hope, peace and justice,” Mr. Ban said during a press encounter with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shokry Selim.
Mr. Ban is on the third leg of a regional visit aimed at expressing solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians and to help them end the violence. The trip, which began on Sunday, has already taken the United Nations chief to Qatar and Kuwait and will also include stops in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman as part of efforts to encourage a durable ceasefire.
“This is a time of profound challenge in the region,” said the Secretary-General. “Yet again, too many civilians, including so many children, are paying the price for the latest escalation. The images we see sear the soul.”
The violence has already claimed the lives of several hundred Palestinians and around 25 Israelis. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that the number of people seeking refuge with the Agency, which has opened nearly 70 shelters, has now exceeded 100,000.
“This is a watershed moment for UNRWA, now that the number of people seeking refuge with us is more than double the figure we saw in the 2009 Gaza conflict. We are seeing a huge wave of accelerated displacement because of the Israeli ground offensive,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness.
The Secretary-General stressed today that the violence must stop, and it must stop now. “All sides must provide the necessary space to aid the victims, assist the wounded, and extend the relief to trapped civilians. These immediate steps should open the door to a more permanent ceasefire,” he stated.
Also, it is not enough to simply return to where things stood before the latest round of bloodshed. “Going back to the status quo ante won’t solve the problem, it will only defer it for another day. It will not stop the bloodshed, it will make it even worse the next time the cycle rolls over the people of Gaza and plagues the people of Israel,” said Mr. Ban. “Gaza is an open wound and Band-Aids won’t help,” he added. “There must be a plan after the aftermath that allows Gaza to breathe and heal.”
In addition to the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ban met in Cairo with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, as well as with United States Secretary of State John Kerry. Tomorrow morning, before leaving Egypt, the Secretary-General is expected to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
Speaking before his meeting with Mr. Kerry, the Secretary-General said he hoped their joint efforts will make a great contribution to ongoing mediation efforts by the parties in the region to end the violence. “Our joint efforts are rooted in three mutually reinforcing efforts,” said Mr. Ban. These are finding a way to stop the violence; urging the parties to return to dialogue; and addressing the root causes of the crisis.
During his stop in Kuwait earlier today, Mr. Ban held discussions with the Amir, Sheikh Sabah al-Hamad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and thanked him for his leadership role in the Arab League. He also stressed that a ceasefire was not enough and that the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had to be addressed.
Mr. Ban added that efforts should be made to strengthen the Palestinian government of national unity, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, by encouraging an internal Palestinian dialogue. The Amir updated the Secretary-General on his recent meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, who had been in Kuwait the previous day.
The two also discussed the political and humanitarian situation in Iraq, with the Secretary-General thanking the Amir for Kuwait’s $10 million donation towards the UN’s humanitarian work in Iraq. While in Kuwait, the Secretary-General also met the Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. In addition to discussing the situation in Gaza and Iraq, they also reviewed the current crisis in Libya.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1407/S00212/ban-urges-all-parties-end-bloodshed-obtain-ceasefire.htm

Israel, Palestine, Iraq

Another Israeli attack on a hospital, another Israeli war crime (7)

July 22nd, 2014

21/7/14 Julie Webb-Pullman

Israeli tanks attacked Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah at 2:50 pm this afternoon, killing five patients and doctors, and injuring more than 70.
The third and fourth floors, housing the emergency department, orthopaedic department, surgical department, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) were destroyed. Operating theatres had to cease work because of the lack of oxygen.
Patients are being evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and the European Gaza Hospital between Rafah and Khan Younes.
This is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on hospitals in Gaza, in clear breach of the Geneva Convention.
The Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital was struck by rockets several times, eventually forcing the evacuation of 17 high-dependency patients amid fire and smoke.
The European Gaza Hospital has been struck once, injuring a nurse. Beit Hanoun hospital was hit two days in a row, the first targeting an area containing a children’s ward, a reception area, and doctors’ offices. The next day ten shells were fired around it, injuring many and causing extensive damage in the area.
There has been no condemnation from the United Nations or the international community at this time.

http://gaza.scoop.ps/2014/07/another-israeli-attack-on-a-hospital-another-israeli-war-crime/

Israel, Palestine

Norwegian professor: Gaza needs you! (6)

July 22nd, 2014

Mads Gilbert; 20/7/14 Mads Gilbert MD PhD, Professor and Clinical Head Clinic of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital of North Norway N-9038 Tromsø, Norway. Mobile: +4790878740

Dearest friends
The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.
The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24hrs shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS! Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).
My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.
Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away…to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.
More then 100 cases came to Shifa last 24 hrs. enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterdays hospitals.But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormous resolute.
And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening! An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches.
So much made and paid in and by US.
- Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?
I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe. I am convinced, 100%, it would change history. Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.
The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death. Please. Do what you can. This, this cannot continue.
http://gaza.scoop.ps/2014/07/norwegian-professor-gaza-needs-you/ Mads, Gaza, Occupied Palestine
Israel, Palestine

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Gaza streets awash with blood (5)

July 22nd, 2014

Julie Webb-Pullman; 20/7/14
The early morning massacre of civilians in the Shajai’a neighbourhoood of Gaza City killed at least 40 and left at least 200 injured. An unknown number of dead and injured still lie in the streets, unable to be retrieved because of continuing Israeli fire.
Hundreds of houses have been destroyed.
This atrocity is a blatant war crime.
The international community, and particularly the United Nations, are stained with the blood of the dead.
Their inaction in two weeks of escalating crimes against humanity, their failure to take decisive action to bring the rogue state of Israel under control, make them not only complicit, but active partners in the genocide of the people of Shajai’a, and of Palestine.
And all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten their little hands.

http://gaza.scoop.ps/2014/07/gaza-streets-awash-with-blood/

Israel, Palestine
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Cease-fire gives Gaza civilians chance to assess damage, seek aid (4)

July 22nd, 2014

17/7/14, Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

Civilians in Gaza used a brief cease-fire to spill onto the streets and replenish scarce supplies, some church representatives said. The temporary end of hostilities Thursday was to facilitate moving desperately needed aid into the area as well as give those who could leave a chance to escape, said the Vatican’s Fides missionary news agency.
Three foreign Sisters of the Institute of the Incarnate Word were to leave Gaza after Israeli missiles destroyed a home very close to Holy Family Church, the territory’s only Catholic parish, the agency said Thursday.
However, the parish priest, Fr. Jorge Hernandez, was staying as well as sisters of the Missionaries of Charity and the 28 disabled children and nine elderly women in their care, it said. The Argentine priest and sisters had carried the children from their facility to his parish after bombing threats in their area.
Hernandez said crime was on the rise and that “young children are beginning to get sick because of fear, stress, shock waves and for the continuous noise” from the airstrikes. Fides reported that people had used the lull in the bombings Thursday to leave their homes to get money from the banks and buy basic necessities.
The five-hour “humanitarian truce” between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group came after the Israeli Defense Forces launched an air offensive into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in early July in response to Hamas militants lobbing missiles into Israel. Media reported Thursday that more than 220 Palestinians, mostly civilians, had been killed and more than 1,500 injured in the 10 days of bombings.
Fr. Raed Abusahlia, a priest in Ramallah, West Bank, and general director of Caritas Jerusalem, told the radio that more than 400 homes in the densely populated Gaza Strip had been completely destroyed and 1,000 more damaged. Even though Israel warned Palestinian residents in northern Gaza to evacuate the area if they wanted to avoid the airstrikes, Abusahlia said many people did not leave, over fears “their houses will be completely destroyed.”
Hamas asked people to stay, he said, because if residents leave, “they will give the green light to the Israelis to invade these areas, and they will destroy everything they see in front of them.” “We saw this in previous wars, unfortunately, and this is happening [again]. For this reason, they prefer to remain in their homes and, sometimes unfortunately, risk their lives,” Abusahlia said.
The priest called for a permanent end to all aggression by both sides, saying the constant conflict and blockade have left so many people, especially women and children, suffering. “We just finished one month ago the emergency (response to) the war of 2012,” he said, and now, “unfortunately, we have to start again, again and again.” The priest called on all Christians around the world to dedicate July 20 to prayers for peace.
Msgr. David Jaeger, an Israeli-born Franciscan, told Vatican Radio on Thursday that Christians around the world must pressure their governments to promote a peaceful resolution to the Middle East conflicts. “We know that the church, a minuscule minority, can have no influence in the Holy Land,” he said.
But Catholics and Christians who do have some clout in their own nations “can and must exercise significant influence on their own governments, to keep them strongly engaged,” said the priest, who now works at the Vatican’s top court of the Roman Rota.

http://ncronline.org/news/global/cease-fire-gives-gaza-civilians-chance-assess-damage-seek-aid

Israel, Palestine

We Single Israel Out Because We in the West Are Shamefully Complicit in Its Crimes (3)

July 22nd, 2014

17/7/14 The New Statesman; Mehdi Hasa
n
Seventeen members of a single family wiped out in a missile strike.
A centre for disabled people bombed.
Schools and mosques attacked. Operation Protective Edge has been a humanitarian disaster for the residents of Gaza.
This, apparently, is how Israel defines “self-defence”.
The experts disagree. The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, has said the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza raises “serious doubt . . . whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law”.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have gone further, urging the hapless president, Mahmoud Abbas, to make the Palestinian Authority join the International Criminal Court and bring war crimes charges against Israel.
For its many supporters in the west, Israel is being unfairly singled out for criticism. As the country’s former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami angrily said to me in an interview for al-Jazeera English in 2013: “You are trying to turn Israel into a special case.”
According to the likes of Ben-Ami, there are much more vile regimes, and more violent groups, elsewhere in the world.
- Why pick on plucky Israel?
- What about the Chinas, Russias, Syrias, Saudi Arabias, Irans, Sudans and Burmas?
- Where are the protests against Isis, Boko Haram or the Pakistani Taliban?
There are various possible responses to such attempts at deflection.
- First, does Israel really want to be held to the standards of the world’s worst countries?
- Doesn’t Israel claim to be a liberal democracy, the “only” one in the Middle East?
- Second, isn’t this “whataboutery” of the worst sort?
David Cameron told those of us who opposed the Nato intervention in Libya in 2011: “The fact that you cannot do the right thing everywhere does not mean that you should not do the right thing somewhere.” Well, quite.
And the same surely applies to criticism of Israel – that we cannot, or do not, denounce every other human-rights-abusing regime on earth doesn’t automatically mean we are therefore prohibited from speaking out against Israel’s abuses in Gaza and the West Bank. (Nor, for that matter, does the presence of a small minority among the Jewish state’s critics who are undoubtedly card-carrying anti-Semites.)
Trying to hide Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians behind, say, Syria’s barrel bombs, China’s forced labour camps or Russia’s persecution of gays won’t wash.
- After all, on what grounds did we “single out” apartheid – South Africa in the 1980s for condemnation and boycott?
- Weren’t there other, more dictatorial regimes in Africa at the time, those run by black Africans such as Mengistu in Ethiopia or Mobutu in Zaire? Did we dare excuse the crimes of white Afrikaners on this basis?
Taking a moral stand inevitably requires us to be selective, specific and, yes, even inconsistent. “Some forms of injustice bother [people] more than others,” wrote Peter Beinart, the author of The Crisis of Zionism, in December 2013. “The roots of this inconsistency may be irrational, even disturbing, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t act against the abuses they care about most.”
Third, Israel is “singled out” today, but by its friends and not just by its enemies. It has been singled out for unparalleled support – financial, military, diplomatic – by the western powers. It is indeed, to quote Ben-Ami, a “special case”.
Which other country is in receipt of $3bn a year in US aid, despite maintaining a 47-year military occupation in violation of international law? Which other country has been allowed to develop and stockpile nuclear weapons in secret?
Which other country’s prime minister could “humiliate” – to quote the newspaper Ma’ariv – a sitting US vice-president on his visit to Israel in March 2010, yet still receive 29 standing ovations from Congress on his own visit to the US a year later? And which other country is the beneficiary of comically one-sided resolutions on Capitol Hill, in which members of Congress fall over each other to declare their undying love and support for Israel – by 410 to eight, or 352 to 21, or 390 to five?
Indeed, which other country has been protected from UN Security Council censure by the US deployment of an astonishing 42 vetoes? For the record, the number of US vetoes exercised at the UN on behalf of Israel is greater than the number of vetoes exercised by all other UN member states on all other issues put together. Singling out, anyone?
Fourth, the inconvenient truth is that we in the west can happily decry the likes of, say, Assad or Ayatollah Khamenei yet we can do little to influence their actual behaviour. Have sanctions stopped Assad’s killing machine? Or Iran’s nuclear programme? In contrast, we have plenty of leverage over Israel – from trade deals to arms sales to votes at the UN. Israel is our special friend, our close ally.
Yet when Israel started bombing Gaza this month, claiming it was acting in response to incoming rocket fire and was trying to kill Hamas operatives, Cameron merely “reiterated the UK’s staunch support for Israel” and “underlined Israel’s right to defend itself”.
- And the hundreds of Palestinian dead?
- Didn’t they have a right to self- defence?
There was not a word from our PM. This, ultimately, is the fundamental difference when it comes to comparing Israel’s abuses with those of other “rogue” nations.
We single out Israel because, shamefully, we are complicit in its crimes.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/17-3

Gaza Redux: Déjà vu in Occupied Palestinian Territory; by Salena Tramel; http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/17
Selling Israel’s War on Gaza; by Danny Schechter; http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/17-9
Witness to an International Crime: Israeli State Terrorism in Gaza; Ajamu Baraka; 16/7/14; http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/16-7

Israel, Palestine