Category Archives: war

Ace Hardware Admits to Profiling and Discrimination

1 December 2016

In response to either a ‘request’ or ‘order’ from Morton County Sheriff, Ace Hardware Corporate instructed stores in the vicinity to refuse to sell small propane tanks and other ‘incendiary devices’ to anyone who looks like they might be from or supporting one of the nearby Water Protector encampments. These camps are full of people enduring winter weather for the sake of protecting the regional water supply from future contamination by the Dakota Access Pipeline. A representative from Demotropolis was told as much over the phone on 30 November. In the audio which is posted here, an Ace Corporate representative not only acknowledges that Ace is agreeing to follow the wishes of Morton County Sheriff or Mandan Police, he also acknowledges committing profiling and discrimination by admitting they will still sell all items to people, unless those people look like they’re from the encampments or are getting supplies for those who are.

Beginning at 19:45 in the embedded audio recording :

Ace Corporate rep Scott : Any materials that could be used as incendiary devices
Guillermo : So … that’s propane … only to Standing Rock, people from Standing Rock. … How would you know who the customer is? … How are they determining who’s from the camp and who is not?
Ace Corporate rep Scott : That’s being done by law enforcement officials.
Guillermo : … in the Ace Hardware store … This isn’t a blanket ban. It’s not that the store has completely stopped selling that. They’ve only stopped selling this to who [sic] they believe is from the camp …
Ace Corporate rep Scott : I don’t think that’s part of the statement at all. I think law enforcement is at Ace to refrain from selling any materials to anybody. There’s nothing that specific in the statement at all.
Guillermo : So does that mean that the hardware stores are not selling to … to anybody … I mean they stopped selling propane completely?
Ace Corporate rep Scott : That’s my understanding
Guillermo : … I spoke to the hardware store at Bismark and they said that they aren’t, in fact, selling propane to anybody. So which is it?

The long recording goes on, Guillermo having conferenced in representatives from a Bismark Ace Hardware store. After awhile, one of those reps acknowledged that he agreed to refrain from restocking the small green fuel canisters because police told him one was used as a weapon and almost killed someone. Guillermo pointed out that there is no evidence of such a thing happening at all. The representative refused to hear the truth that there is video evidence that police have been firing explosives, claiming he is not interested in politics. He said, ‘I don’t care about the facts, they’re threatening my life.’ While anything is possible, it seems he interpreted calls made to pressure him as threats to his own safety. By all accounts so far, callers have threatened to boycott, not to harm him as a person. Jeff claimed he has ‘a great relationship with the tribe.’

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) has published a Statement of Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline. The Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), an initiative of the NLG, has filed suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters. The recent filing of the MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION and accompanying PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION lay out some of the abuses which have been committed by law enforcement against unarmed, non-violent, prayerful Water Protectors. An online search using the key terms #NoDAPL, Water Protectors, Dakota Access Pipeline, #ProtectOcetiSakowan, #DefendStandingRock, #WaterIsLife, #MniWiconi #IStandWithStandingRock … combined with the word ‘livestream’ or ‘video’ will bring one to plenty evidence supporting the claims made in the lawsuit. No evidence has been found which supports the claims made by law enforcement that Water Protectors have rioted or used violence or weapons of any kind.

Throughout the recorded discussion, it became clear that the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. One thing is certain : the owner of one of the Bismark stores had ‘selling the store’ on his mind. While that’s a harsh reality for him, it proves that the pressure from a boycott and making calls to the stores and to Ace Corporate offices is already having an effect. It’s also become clear that people are willing to make decisions based solely upon false information being delivered to them by police, as there is evidence and eyewitness testimony that Sophia Wilansky was injured by rubber bullets and also by an explosive device aimed directly at her by police. There is no evidence that any Water Protector has used any weapon at all, including fuel canisters.

A second call this morning to Mark Zeman, who manages the Ace Corporate customer service department, brought news which is in direct opposition to everything learned earlier today and yesterday. During a call yesterday, a representative named Cathy began reading a statement which acknowledged that Ace Corporate had agreed to follow a mandate by law enforcement to stop selling anything which ‘could be used as incendiary device’ to anyone from the #NoDAPL encampments. After passing the Demotropolis reporter to Mark Zeman, he began to read that same statement. The reporter requested that Zeman please email the statement, so as to assure that the statement would be published in full and without error. After agreeing to do so, Zeman failed to send the document. During today’s call, Zeman directed our reporter to a new web page set up by Ace Corporate, claiming that they are not refusing to sell any products to any people. He also refused to send yesterday’s statement for comparison, so there is no visible verification of that previous statement as of publication.

The updated statement reads :

Oak Brook, Ill.,December01,2016
Ace Hardware statement on North Dakota protest and product sales
Update: As of Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. local time, Ace Hardware stores in Bismarck, N. D., are in-stock and selling 1 lb. propane canisters.

At Ace, our local store owners take great pride in serving their neighbors and it is our policy to serve all customers without discrimination and to follow all laws in each respective community.

We understand the concerns that have been shared with us regarding product sales related to the recent protests in North Dakota and have been working very hard to gather all of the facts from our locally-owned Ace stores that operate in the area and local authorities. To be candid, we’ve been working feverishly to unearth all of the facts, which have been cloudy at times.

In an effort to clear any misunderstanding and/or misinformation, Ace Hardware can now confirm that there is no ban on the sale of products at our locally-owned Ace stores; customers should feel free to check with their local store for inventory availability.

On Thursday morning, 1 December 2016, Ace Corporate revised it's statement regarding the sales of propane canisters to the public, including to Water Protectors.

On Thursday morning, 1 December 2016, Ace Corporate revised it’s statement regarding the sales of propane canisters to the public, including to Water Protectors.

A call to verify this new statement, and to get a copy of yesterday’s statement went unanswered. As is visible on the screenshot of the Ace revised statement 1 Dec released today, the Ace Corporate contact regarding this issue is :

Kate Kirkpatrick
Corporate Media Relations
kkirk@acehardware.com
630-990-1478

During a call to Bismark Ace Hardware this morning, the worker who first answered and subsequently a manager named Jeff first claimed that the information which has been circulating was wrong. Jeff claimed that the Bismark Ace Hardware was not refusing to sell specific items to specific people or to anyone, and that all products were being sold to any shopper. After a few minutes, he clarified that he was the manager, not the owner by the same name. When he was informed that the owner had been recorded saying the opposite, he entered into conversation. He did not have answers when asked from whom and what agency came the original mandate from law enforcement to refrain from selling fuel canisters to Water Protectors. Jeff was asked whether if he as manager, or the owner of the store, could be convinced that Water Protectors are acting in absolute non-violent fashion and are putting their health and safety and even lives on the line to protect the water supply, the Bismark store would consider actually making donations in their support. After a few minutes of listening to descriptions of the violence being used by law enforcement against Water Protectors, along with an offer to provide evidence, his answer was yes, that donating might be possible. He was provided an email address to enable the owner to contact Demotropolis.

If and when Demotropolis acquires a copy of (or statement verifying) any mandate received by the Bismark (or any) Ace Hardware from law enforcement, that will be added to this article.

If and when Demotropolis acquires a copy of the 30 November 2016 Ace Corporate statement regarding this issue, that document will also be added.

Water Protector Sophia Wilansky : Victim of State Sponsored Terrorism

22 November 2016

As Water Protectors at Standing Rock attempted to clear wreckage which had been blocking a public road for a month, they were attacked by a militarized police force which was led by Morton County Sheriff. While the sheriff and his deputies are legally public servants, they have spent the past many months working for private security firms and private business which have moved onto tribal lands (designated by treaty) for the purpose of digging up sacred sites to bury a pipeline. After years and decades of oil pipeline leaks, truck explosions, and other highly destructive ‘accidents’ caused by oil distribution methods, the people are attempting to stop the pipeline from crossing under the Missouri River. They are also claiming rights to the lands, and attempting to protect sacred sites from destruction by these corporate and police state entities.

1851 Treaty Map

1851 Treaty Map

After months of altercations in which private security, pipeline workers, and police from several states attacked Water Protectors with dogs, teargas, ‘rubber’ bullets, explosives, pepper spray, water cannons, vehicles, loaded guns, and long range acoustic devices (LRAD, also known as ‘sonic weapons’), police again attacked.

On 21 November under cover of darkness, police used many of the above mentioned weapons against Water Protectors. Police have repeatedly lied about these attacks, this time claiming they did not spray water on Water Protectors, then returning to defend the use of water as weapon. During this attack, the ambient temperature that night dipped to 18°F, well below freezing, thereby putting Water Protectors in immediate risk of death by hypothermia.

Among the injured was Sophia Wilansky, who was unarmed and, as is true of all other Water Protectors involved, presented no threat to any person. She had her arm blown apart by an explosive device fired by police. Below is the press statement made by the family of Ms. Wilansky as to her injuries and status at this time.

Sophia Wilansky was one of 300 Water Protectors injured by militarized police violence.

Sophia Wilansky was one of 300 Water Protectors injured by militarized police violence.

Sophia Wilansky's horrible injury

Sophia Wilansky’s horrible injury

Sophia Wilansky's torn arm : closeup reveals bone

Sophia Wilansky’s torn arm : closeup reveals bone

November 22nd, 2016 at 9:00am CST
For Press Conference information contact medichealercouncil@gmail.com
Prepared by Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Camps
On November 21st as a direct result of the violent police response at Standing Rock towards unarmed people opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 21 year old woman from New York City, Sophia Wilansky, was severely injured when a concussion grenade thrown by police hit her left arm and exploded. Sophia was heading to bring water to the unarmed people who were being attacked for several hours by Morton County Sheriff forces. The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has stated that she was injured by a purported propane explosion that the Sheriff’s Department claimed the unarmed people created. These statements are refuted by Sophia’s testimony, by several eye-witnesses who watched police intentionally throw concussion grenades at unarmed people, by the lack of charring of flesh at the wound site and by the grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.
Sophia was safely taken out of North Dakota for emergent surgery and is currently in stable condition. Below is her statement as conveyed by her father, lawyer Wayne Wilansky.
“At around 4:30am after the police hit the bridge with water cannons and rubber bullets and pepper spray they lobbed a number of concussion grenades which are not supposed to be thrown at people directly at protesters or protectors as they want to be called. A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away. The police did not do this by accident – it was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her. Additionally police were shooting people in face and groin intending to do the most possible damage. Sophia will have surgery again tomorrow as bit by bit they try to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. The first surgery took a vein from her leg which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand. She will be, every day for the foreseeable future, fearful of losing her arm and hand. There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife. I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.”
A fund set up by friends and verified to help with Sophia’s recovery is set up here:
https://www.gofundme.com/30aezxs
The Standing Rock Medic Healer Council deplores the ongoing use of violence by the state of North Dakota to address the concerns of the thousands of people peacefully assembled at Standing Rock to insist on the right to clean healthy drinking water.
Water is Life, Mni Wiconi
Signed,
Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Sitting Bull College
Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate, Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
Noah Morris, EMT
Amelia Massucco, RN
John Andrews, RN
Kristina Golden, EMT, herbalist
Sebastian Rodriguez, RN
Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP Candidate
Rupa Marya, MD, DoNoHarm Coalition, University of California – San Francisco
David Kingfisher, MD, JD, Wichita State University
Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care
Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD, Aha Aloha Aina
Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH, University of Illinois – Chicago
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Friedman, MD
Vanessa Bolin, ALS Paramedic
Contact: Michael Knudsen, Medic Coordinator and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe ethno-botanist Linda Black Elk, PhD – medichealercouncil@gmail.com

Ms. Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, was interviewed by Paul Blume about the incident, her surgery, current condition, and prognosis.

24 November 2016 UPDATE : video from interview with Wayne Wilansky by Democracy Now Wayne Wilansky Interview

Check back for updates to this situation, as links will be added for those who have not researched the back story to this most recent attack by police. With permission from the family, photos and video will also be added.

Bradley Manning’s Letter to President Obama

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy – the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps – to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Bradley Manning’s Voice

Freedom of the Press Foundation Publishes Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s Statement

March 11, 2013

Rainey Reitman

Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation is publishing the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks. In addition, we have published highlights from Manning’s statement to the court.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

Bradley Manning’s Full Statement

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See Help Spread Bradley Manning’s Words Across the Internet to embed the full audio, as well as excerpts from the audio, on your website.

He explains to the military court in his own cadence and words how and why he gave the Apache helicopter video, Afghanistan and Iraq Wars Logs, and the State Department Diplomatic Cables to WikiLeaks. Manning explains his motives, noting how he believed the documents showed deep wrongdoing by the government and how he hoped that the release would “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.” In conjunction with the statement, Private First Class Manning also pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him.

Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to supporting journalism that combats overreaching government secrecy. We have been disturbed that Manning’s pre-trial hearings have been hampered by the kind of extreme government secrecy that his releases to WikiLeaks were intended to protest. While reporters are allowed in the courtroom, no audio or visual recordings are permitted by the judge, no transcripts of the proceedings or any motions by the prosecution have been released, and lengthy court orders read on the stand by the judge have not been published for public review.

A short film by Laura Poitras

A group of journalists, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), has been engaged in a legal battle to force the court to be more open. While the government has belatedly released a small portion of documents related to the case, many of the most important orders have been withheld—such as the orders relating to the speedy trial proceedings or the order related to Manning’s prolonged solitary confinement.

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of CCR, called the government “utterly unresponsive to what is a core First Amendment principle.” Ratner noted this is a public trial, the information being presented is not classified, and that contemporaneous access to information about the trial is necessary to understanding the proceedings. Nonetheless, the lawsuit has been tied up in the appeals court for months.

Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to support and defend cutting-edge transparency journalism by supporting those organizations that publish leaks in the public interest. We often report on news surrounding government secrecy, educating the public about the important relationship between leaking and independent journalism. When we received this recording, we realized we had a unique opportunity to bring some small measure of transparency directly by allowing the world to hear for itself the voice of someone who took a controversial and important stance for government transparency.

We hope this recording will shed light on one of the most secret court trials in recent history, in which the government is putting on trial a concerned government employee whose only stated goal was to bring attention to what he viewed as serious governmental misconduct and criminal activity. We hope to prompt additional analysis of these proceedings by other journalistic institutions and the public at large. While we are not equipped (technically or as a matter of human resources) to receive leaked information nor do we plan on receiving them in the future, we are proud to publish and analyze this particular recording because it is so clearly matches our mission of supporting transparency journalism.

The information provided by Manning has uncovered stories of wrongdoing by the United States, as well as by leaders and politicians around the world. The cables were reportedly one of the catalysts that led to the Arab Spring and sped up the end of the Iraq War. To this day, more than two years after their release, the information provided by Manning is used every day by journalists and historians in major publications are the world to enlighten and inform the public, both in the United States and around the world. In a time when the extent and reach of U.S. government secrecy is unprecedented, and there are credible reports that the government has abused its secrecy and classification systems to cover up numerous illegal and unconstitutional activities, Manning’s actions should be seen as an overdue sliver of sunlight into an overly secret system rather than as a basis for a prosecution seeking decades of imprisonment.

By releasing this audio recording, we wish to make sure that the voice of this generation’s most prolific whistleblower can be heard—literally—by the world.

Regardless of whether one believes that Manning’s acts were right or wrong or a mix of both, he has taken responsibility for them by pleading guilty to ten charges, for which he faces up to twenty years in prison. The government however, is continuing to pursue all of the charges against him, including charges under the Espionage Act and “aiding the enemy” —which could have huge consequences for press freedom and the First Amendment. The ACLU has expressed concern that this “aiding the enemy” charge could criminalize speech for all sorts of active military members, noting that “In its zeal to throw the book at Manning, the government has so overreached that its ‘success’ would turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals.”

And Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler has argued that this prosecution could decimate national security journalism by outlawing whole categories of journalist-source relationships in the future: “[T]he prosecutors seem bent on using this case to push a novel and aggressive interpretation of the law that would arm the government with a much bigger stick to prosecute vaguely-defined national security leaks, a big stick that could threaten not just members of the military, but civilians too.”

Extreme secrecy in our courts, just like in our government’s policies and our politics, is an anathema to democracy. Whether military or civilian, this type of closed-door legal process impairs the public’s right-to-know and journalists’ ability to report on matters of deep public concern. The courtrooms of America should be open to the public, so they can see and hear what is being done in their name.

Please spread his words as far as you can: on your blog, in your videos, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Scroll down to listen to and share excerpts from Manning’s full statement that may be of particular public interest. Transcript courtesy Alexa O’Brien.


Excerpt 1: Motive in releasing war logs

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Transcript

During this time a blizzard bombarded the mid-atlantic, and I spent a significant period of time essentially stuck in my aunt’s house in Maryland. I began to think about what I knew and the information I still had in my possession. For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.

In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.


Excerpt 2: Contacting media outlets

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At my aunt’s house I debated what I should do with the SigActs—in particular whether I should hold on to them—or expose them through a press agency. At this point I decided that it made sense to try to expose the SigAct tables to an American newspaper. I first called my local news paper, The Washington Post, and spoke with a woman saying that she was a reporter. I asked her if the Washington Post would be interested in receiving information that would have enormous value to the American public.

Although we spoke for about five minutes concerning the general nature of what I possessed, I do not believe she took me seriously. She informed me that the Washington Post would possibly be interested, but that such decisions were made only after seeing the information I was referring to and after consideration by senior editors.

I then decided to contact [missed word] the most popular newspaper, The New York Times. I called the public editor number on The New York Times website. The phone rang and was answered by a machine. I went through the menu to the section for news tips. I was routed to an answering machine. I left a message stating I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I believed was very important. However, despite leaving my Skype phone number and personal email address, I never received a reply from The New York Times.

I also briefly considered dropping into the office for the Political Commentary blog, Politico, however the weather conditions during my leave hampered my efforts to travel. After these failed efforts I had ultimately decided to submit the materials to the WLO. I was not sure if the WLO would actually publish these SigAct tables [missed a few words]. I was concerned that they might not be noticed by the American media. However, based upon what I read about the WLO through my research described above, this seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information to the world within my reach.


Excerpt 3: Using Tor to submit documents to Wikileaks

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On 3 February 2010, I visited the WLO website on my computer and clicked on the submit documents link. Next I found the submit your information online link and elected to submit the SigActs via the onion router or Tor anonymizing network by special link. Tor is a system intended to provide anonymity online. The software routes internet traffic through a network of servers and other Tor clients in order to conceal the user’s location and identity.

I was familiar with Tor and had it previously installed on a computer to anonymously monitor the social media website of militia groups operating within central Iraq. I followed the prompts and attached the compressed data files of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs. I attached a text file I drafted while preparing to provide the documents to the Washington Post. It provided rough guidelines saying: “It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information. You might need to sit on this information – perhaps 90 to 100 days to figure out how best to release such a large amount of data and to protect its source. This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of twenty-first century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.”


Excerpt 4: Manning’s reaction when he found the Apache helicopter video

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Transcript

During the mid-February 2010 time frame the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division targeting analysts, then Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman discussed a video that Ms. Showman had found on the T-drive.

The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me.

As Showman and a few other analysts and officers in the T-SCIF commented on the video and debated whether the crew violated the rules of engagement or ROE in the second engagement, I shied away from this debate, instead conducting some research on the event. I wanted to learn what happened and whether there was any background to the events of the day that the event occurred, 12 July 2007.

Using Google I searched for the event by its date by its general location. I found several new accounts involving two Reuters employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story explained that Reuters had requested for a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of the video.

Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist. Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request. They still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA.

The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely “good samaritans”. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.

The dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote “dead bastards” unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew – as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.

Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle” unquote.

The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body – or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.

In Mr. Finkel book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As, I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenue as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as “payback” for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger.

The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter. Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well. To make matter worse, in the last moments of his life, he continues to express his friendly gesture – only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness. For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together. It burdens me emotionally.

I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period – as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW, the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in Summer 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.

However, after the WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I re-deployed from Iraq. On about 21 February 2010, I described above, I used the WLO submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on 5 April 2010. After the release, I was concern about the impact of the video and how it would been received by the general public.

I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public, who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled – if not more troubled that me by what they saw.


Excerpt 5: On reporting that Iraqi detainees did nothing wrong

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Transcript

On 27 February 2010, a report was received from a subordinate battalion. The report described an event in which the Federal Police or FP detained 15 individuals for printing anti-Iraqi literature. On 2 March 2010, I received instructions from an S3 section officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Tactical Operation Center or TOC to investigate the matter, and figure out who the quote “bad guys” unquote were and how significant this event was for the Federal Police.

Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several [playlist?] from the scene – from this subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on the S2 section and she forwarded them to me.

These photos included picture of the individuals, pallets of unprinted paper and seized copies of the final printed material or the printed document; and a high resolution photo of the printed material itself. I printed up one [missed word] copy of a high resolution photo – I laminated it for ease of use and transfer. I then walked to the TOC and delivered the laminated copy to our category two interpreter.

She reviewed the information and about a half and hour later delivered a rough written transcript in English to the S2 section. I read the transcript and followed up with her, asking her for her take on the content. She said it was easy for her to transcribe verbatim, since I blew up the photograph and laminated it. She said the general nature of the document was benign. The document, as I had sensed as well, was merely a scholarly critique of the then current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police’s report and the interpreter’s transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn’t need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote “drop it” unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote “anti-Iraqi literature” unquote.

I couldn’t believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.

I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts in my section or other sections within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.

I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.

Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the WLO, in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down in political opponents of al-Maliki.


Excerpt 6: Motives in releasing cables

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I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting

The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.


Excerpt 7: Assessing sensitivity diplomatic cables

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Up to this point,during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn’t harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.

In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.

The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.

The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS [missed word] caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.

The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.

The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public. I once read a and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.

I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.

I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.

You can donate to aggressive journalism outlets dedicated to transparency and accountability on our homepage. You can learn more about Bradley Manning’s case by visiting the Bradley Manning Support Network.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington released a statement to POLITICO:

“The U.S. Army Military District of Washington has notified the military judge presiding over the United States vs. Pfc. Bradley Manning court martial that there was a violation of the rules for court. The U.S. Army is currently reviewing the procedures set in place to safeguard the security and integrity of the legal proceedings, and ensure Pfc. Manning receives a fair and impartial trial.”

all thanks to freedom of the press foundation for this work

Manning

GRAND MARSHAL not COURT MARTIAL

Lisa Williams, President of SF Pride’s Board of Director’s, statement on Friday regarding Manning was so shockingly pro-military and devastatingly false with regards to Manning’s actions, I feel terrified about the sway conservative military organizations can have on “liberal” folks. Williams stated that “Even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform – and countless others, military and civilian alike – will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride”. Our servicemembers were certainly placed in harm’s way, but not by Manning’s truth-telling. They were placed in harm’s way by our country’s presidents and their jingoistic foreign policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After three years, Manning is facing Court Martial – and SF Pride’s decision to publicly vilify and condemn Manning before trial has even occurred holds the potential to have broad and terrible effects. This Court Martial will be a political battle, and the outcome will have VERY broad implications for the future of truth-telling and First Amendment rights for servicemembers across the board – which, of course, will mean the limiting of the US population’s ability to be informed on the true actions of our nation.

Shame SF Pride. Shame for buckling under pressure. But, further shame for choosing to go beyond that to take a pro-military stance, condemn Manning before trial and completely ignore the potential fallout of your stance.

I, for one, have written to the SF Pride Committee a very simple email asking for the reinstatement of Manning and the retraction of Friday’s statement. Feel free to email info@sfpride.org with this suggested text:

Dear SF Pride Committee:

I strongly oppose the SF Pride Committee’s decision to rescind the naming of Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal in this year’s SF Pride. I demand that the Committee reinstate Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal and retract its April 26, 2013 statement regarding Manning and Manning’s actions.

Sincerely,
whoever you are….

daily corporate contusion on the body of the people

we are subsidizing terrorism by paying taxes

u.s. military is terrorizing people all over the world . bankers and ‘investors’ are terrorizing us here at home . bankers purchase protection . militarized police aka private security of the chamber of commerce aka pscc respond to the call of duty

we are subsidizing terrorism by allowing our dollars to be consumed by a for profit prison and war machine to antagonize, assault, and assassinate … brutalize and bury people at home and abroad

we are subsidizing terrorism by paying for a war on people (ourselves) thinly veiled as a war on drugs . for job security d.e. agents lobby congress for the cycle to repeat in which people are incarcerated for smoking nature’s herbs while the rights of pharmaceutical companies to bribe doctors to overprescribe unneeded ‘medicine’ is heartily defended by storm trooper skirmish lines

we are subsidizing terrorism by giving free reign to corporate government corruption, collusion in the quest for more at anyone’s and anything’s expense, including the air we breath and water we all drink

daily corporate contusion on the body of the people

terrorize . subsidize . terrorize . subsidize . terrorize

we are subsidizing terrorism, drop by drop, as thick, oozing or gushing tar sands or suboceanic gluttons’ glory oil suffocates the life force from every living cell

hell brought on by cellular suffocation
slow strangulation

purpleme

wiseoldsnail

Former Gitmo Guard Recalls Abuse, Climate of Fear

Associated Press
by Mike Melia
February 14, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo’s first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement — the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business.

Neely has now come forward in this final year of the detention center’s existence, saying he wants to publicly air his feelings of guilt and shame about how some soldiers behaved as the military scrambled to handle the first alleged al-Qaida and Taliban members arriving at the
isolated U.S. Navy base.

His account, one of the first by a former guard describing abuses at Guantanamo, describes a chaotic time when soldiers lacked clear rules for dealing with detainees who were denied many basic comforts. He says the circumstances changed quickly once monitors from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived.

The military says it has gone to great lengths in the seven years since then to ensure the prisoners’ safe treatment. “Our policy is to treat detainees humanely,” said Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.

After the Sept. 11 attacks and the swift U.S. military response in Afghanistan, the Bush administration had little time to prepare for the hundreds of prisoners being swept up on the battlefield. The U.S. Southern Command was given only a few weeks notice before they began arriving at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba — a locale thought to be beyond the reach of U.S. and Cuban law. The first arrivals were housed in cages that had been used for Haitian
migrants almost a decade earlier.

Now President Barack Obama is committed to closing the prison and finding new ways of handling the remaining 245 detainees as well as any future terror suspects. Human rights groups say his pledge to adhere to long established laws and treaties governing prisoner treatment is essential if the United States hopes to prevent abuses in the future.

“If Guantanamo has taught us anything, it’s the importance of abiding by the rule of law,” said
Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel for Human Rights Watch.

Or as Neely put it in an interview with The Associated Press this week, “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong.”

Neely, a burly Texan who served for a year in Iraq after his six months at Guantanamo, received an honorable discharge last year, with the rank of specialist, and now works as a law enforcement officer in the Houston area. He is also president of the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

An urge to tell his story led him to the University of California at Davis’ Guantanamo Testimonials Project, an effort to document accounts of prisoner abuse. It includes public statements from three other former guards, but Neely was the first to grant researchers an interview. He also spoke extensively with the AP.

Testimony from the other guards echoes some of Neely’s concerns. One of the other guards, Sean Baker, described in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” how he was beaten and hospitalized by fellow soldiers in a January 2003 training drill in which he wore an orange jumpsuit to play the role of a detainee.

Terry C. Holdbrooks Jr. told the Web site cageprisoners.com in an interview this month that he saw several abuses during his service at Guantanamo in 2003, including detainees subjected to cold temperatures and loud music, and he later converted to Islam.

Neely, 28, describes a litany of cruel treatment by his fellow soldiers, including beatings and humiliations he said were intended only to deliver physical or psychological pain.

A spokeswoman for the detention center, Navy Cmdr. Pauline Storum, said she could not comment on “what one individual may recall” from seven years ago. “Thousands of service members have honorably carried out their duties here in what is an arduous and scrutinized environment,” she said.

Neely’s account sheds new light on the early days of Guantanamo, where guards were hastily deployed in January 2002 and were soon confronted by men stumbling out of planes, shackled and wearing blackout goggles. They were held in chain-link cages and moved to more permanent structures three months later.

The soldiers, many of them still in their teens, had no detailed standard operating procedures and were taught hardly anything about the Geneva Conventions, which provide guidelines for humane treatment of prisoners of war, Neely said, though some learned about them on their own initiative.

“Most of us who had everyday contact with the detainees were really young,” he said in the AP telephone interview.

Army Col. Bill Costello acknowledged that Guantanamo-specific procedures developed over time, but insisted that the guards had strict direction from the start. “This was a professional guard force,” said Costello, who served as a Guantanamo spokesman during its first months and now speaks for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees the base.

Only months had passed since the Sept. 11 attacks, and Neely said many of the guards wanted revenge. Especially before the first Red Cross visit, he said guards were seizing on any apparent infractions to “get some” by hurting the detainees. The soldiers’ behavior seemed justified at the time, he said, because they were told “these are the worst terrorists in the world.”

He said one medic punched a handcuffed prisoner in the face for refusing to swallow a liquid nutritional supplement, and another bragged about cruelly stretching a prisoner’s torn muscles during what was supposed to be physical therapy treatments.

He said detainees were forced to submit to take showers and defecate into buckets in full view of female soldiers, against Islamic customs. When a detainee yelled an expletive at a female guard, he said a crew of soldiers beat the man up and held him down so that the woman could
repeatedly strike him in the face.

Neely says he feels personally ashamed for how he treated that elderly detainee the first day. As he recalls it, the man made a movement to resist on his way to his cage, and he responded by shoving the shackled man headfirst to the ground, bruising and scraping his face. Other soldiers hog-tied him and left him in the sun for hours.

Only later did Neely learn — from another detainee — that the man had jerked away thinking he was about to be executed.

“I just felt horrible,” Neely recalled.

Neely grew up in a military family in Huntsville, Texas, and said he initially saw the Army as a career. He says his experiences led him to see the treatment of detainees and the Iraq invasion as “morally wrong.” He refused to return to active duty when called up from the Inactive Ready Reserves in 2007 and ignored repeated letters threatening penalties.

Neely acknowledged that by talking about his experiences, he also has broken the nondisclosure pledge he signed before leaving Guantanamo. He also says a lawyer told him the document he signed could not be enforced.

Storum said guards receive “operational security debriefings” on their way out of Guantanamo “so that personnel are mindful of their responsibilities and are made aware of what can be openly discussed in a public forum.”

Interviews with former guards are rare. The military allows journalists visiting Guantanamo to interview active-duty guards at the base, but they are hand-picked by the military and speak in the presence of public affairs officers.

Neely said discussing his experience now has helped put it behind him. “Speaking out is a good way to deal with this,” he said.

The Guantanamo Testimonials Project

Copied from Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas in order to preserve the work. The original publication has disappeared.

ethnic-cleansing-600x375

Israel Was Created on the Ruins of Palestine

The title of this article is a direct quote from Miko Peled, author of “The General’s Son” and a peace activist. His father ‘was a war hero turned peacemaker.’

Explanation by Miko Peled regarding the creation of the State of Israel at the expense of Palestinian Arabs in the region refers to many myths perpetrated by Zionist Jews of Israel and the United States. He shines a light on the world’s unwillingness to accept Palestinian claims, though those claims are supported by historians. Peled describes the rich life of Palestinians, but explains they had no militia to stand up to military attack and invasion. When describing Israel’s invasion and occupation of Gaza and other longstanding Arab regions, and the fact of the involuntary departure of so many Palestinian Arabs from those regions of Palestine, which the new Jewish State chose to usurp, Peled includes this statement :

ethnic-cleansing

‘…it had been an unprovoked, systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Jewish militia involving massacres, terrorism, and the wholesale looting of an entire nation.’

After the pre-emptive strikes by the Israeli army had wrought destruction to Egypt (15,000 Arab casualties, while only 600 Israeli casualties, with Israel having nearly tripled it’s territory … all in six days), the generals of Israel were looking to use their enormous stockpiles of Russian made arms to further their expansion. Reading from his book, Miko Peled quotes his father’s statements made after this June, 1967 attack and crushing defeat against Egypt. General Matti Peled spoke against continued aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza :

‘At the first weekly meeting of the General Staff after the Six Day War … when the meeting was nearing its end, my father raised his hand. He was called on, and he spoke of the unique chance the victory offered – to solve the Palestinian problem once and for all… they had a chance to offer them (Palestinians) a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza. He claimed with certainty that holding onto the West Bank and the people who lived in it was contrary to Israel’s long-term strategy. Popular resistance to the occupation was sure to arise, and Israel’s army would be used to quell that resistance, with disastrous and demoralizing results. It would turn the Jewish state into an increasingly brutal occupying power and eventually into a bi-national state.’

Peled connects the dots of the Zionist takeover with current circumstances :

‘And this is precisely the reality in which we live today, nearly four and a half decades after that… Can we really expect that five million Palestinians will keep living under a regime that is democratic for Jews, but is brutally oppressive towards Palestinians? With about six million Jews and about five or five and a half million Palestinians living under the same rules, the same government, but with different laws… My father, who was a military expert, spent the remainder of his life, after he retired, from the military, fighting for justice for the Palestinian cause… … My father’s predictions have all come true.’

Miko Peled goes on to describe the Israeli attacks on Gaza during Jewish religious celebrations in 2008. He explains that, while Israeli had warned Palestinians of impending attacks by flying over Gaza dropping thousands of leaflets, the people had no chance of surviving these attacks :

‘I can only imagine the mother, seeing these warnings, knowing that this horror was impending but also knowing that there’s nowhere to go. There’s nowhere to run, there’s nowhere to hide, there’s nowhere to save her children from the bombs, and from the fire, from the smoke and from the chemicals, and from the phosphorus that consumes the flesh and won’t be extinguished, because Gaza is locked down. Gaza is under siege, a siege that was imposed by Israel, on the people of Gaza. So, for these young Israeli pilots … this was really nothing but shooting fish in a barrel, as they began the merciless onslaught that began at exactly 11:25 in the morning’ on 27 December 2008. And that date … will be forever etched in our memories as the darkest, and most shameful day in the long history of the Jewish people.’

Now a new date, 14 November 2012, and the days since, are vying for this title of the most shameful days in the history of the Jewish people.

While Peled doesn’t deny the truth of rockets being fired into southern Israel from Gaza, his comparisons come from personal experience and are stark. Hamas rockets create a ground crater about the size of a large soccer ball, and come usually in response to Israeli military actions against Palestinians near the border at Gaza. Children present may be scratched up from broken glass and may be in shock. The one-ton bombs dropped on civilians in Gaza can level a city block.

‘Children aren’t scratched, and they’re not in shock by that … they’re decimated. They are burned. They choke from the fumes and they are buried in the rubble.’

Later on, after telling the story of meeting with Palestinians in San Diego, California after the death, by Palestinian suicide bomber, of his niece, Peled returned home, wondering how to continue on. He makes this statement about meeting with the Palestinians :

‘It was comforting to know that we’re all very similar, and it was liberating to know that we don’t have to be enemies. But it was heart wrenchingly difficult to realize … that I did not have full possession of the truth. And that is what I think Israeli supporters, mostly Jews .. that’s where I think most of them are. And I think it’s time for Israeli Jews and American Jews to join what was very eloquently described by Clovis Maksoud as ‘the constituency of conscience.’

In a comparison many are making today, Peled recalls South Africa and The South of the United States :

‘…Y’know, one can only imagine what white South Africans went through when they saw that apartheid was coming to an end.
Clearly they wanted to hold on to their way of life, corrupt as it may’ve been. The whites in the southern states were probably trying to hold on as much as they could when they saw the end of legalized segregation and discrimination and racism come to an end in this country. … Zionists in Israel are now doing the same : trying to hold on. We see brutal tyrants everywhere these days doing the same thing : holding on, even as they fall one by one.’

He calls Zionist Israel a ‘racist regime’ and warns that we are nearing the end :

‘The Zionist dream of an ethnically homogenous state was shattered by the zionists themselves with their insatiable hunger for land. In their own hands, they created a bi-national state where almost half of the population are not Jewish or Israeli, but are Palestinian Arabs.

He goes on to predict victory by the non-violent struggle for freedom by the Palestinian people.

‘It seems surprising that Israeli soldiers, young men and women who are raised in what is seemingly a democratic society, are willing to enforce this brutal occupation… they do it very willingly, and they do it very brutally… the Zionist education system taught these young men and women that Palestinian life is worthless… For those people who do want to associate themselves with Israel and with Zionism, and drape themselves in the Zionist flag, the flag that has come to symbolize intolerance, hate, racism and brutality, they can feel free to do so. But they need to know this : that when the trials begin, and the tribunals take their place … ‘

He continues warning that the people now choosing to support the brutal Israeli Zionist agenda will, in the end, be forced to ask forgiveness, while those supporting freedom for Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and a truly democratic Israel will carry on. Peled finishes his comments :

‘The rest of us will move on and, along with the rest of the Middle East, we will follow the example of the people of Egypt to create something that will surely be a tremendous accomplishment : a democratic secular state in our shared homeland : a state where Muslims, Christians and Jews live as equals, and educate their children to love their diverse homeland with its multitude of cultures, it’s rich history, and it’s promising future.’

≈≈≈

From the description of the video :::

Uploaded by AlternateFocus on May 21, 2011
Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. Born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family, his grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His Father, Matti Peled, was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and Sinai.
Miko’s unlikely opinions reflect his father’s legacy. General Peled was a war hero turned peacemaker.
Miko grew up in Jerusalem, a multi-ethnic city, but had to leave Israel before he made his first Palestinian friend, the result of his participation in a dialogue group in California. He was 39.
On September 4, 1997 the beloved Smadar, 13, the daughter of Miko’s sister Nurit and her husband Rami Elhanan was killed in a suicide attack.
Peled insists that Israel/Palestine is one state—the separation wall notwithstanding, massive investment in infrastructure, towns and highways that bisect and connect settlements on the West Bank, have destroyed the possibility for a viable Palestinian state. The result, Peled says is that Israelis and Palestinians are governed by the same government but live under different sets of laws.
At the heart of Peled’s conclusion lies the realization that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace as equals in their shared homeland.

≈≈≈

While Israel finishes a fifth day of relentless bombings of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, all financed and supported by the United States government, many Americans continue to believe the propaganda coming out of Washington and Israel. This article will eventually be followed up with more information explaining the historical relationships among the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza and the Jews of Israel and America, and the relationship of Israel to the rest of the world, since the inception of the imperialist State of Israel. History shows the undeniable connection of the imperialist United States of America to the creation and ongoing military support of the state of Israel. The truth of the differences of opinion regarding Israeli official aggression against Palestinians, especially in Gaza, will be shown. Generally, as with the people of the United States in relation to U.S. military imperialist conquests, many Jewish people of Israel and the United States do not support these aggressive, murderous attacks on Gaza by the State of Israel.

screenshot by wiseoldsnail

gaza20

Harry Fear Reporting from Central Gaza City in Palestine : Pillar of Cloud

Since 14 November 2012, after decades of struggle including routine intermittent attacks against individuals, Israel, using funds provided by the United States of America, has begun an all-out war against the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. These attacks are being excused by much of the world as retaliation for attacks on Israel. History shows us that any attacks by Hamas or anyone in Gaza or Palestine against Israel were defensive maneuvers and were in response to ongoing destructive and murderous attacks by Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

We are receiving reports directly from Gaza about many civilian casualties. Over three hundred people have been injured. Updates are being reported via every social media tool, including twitter.

≈≈≈

UPDATE Sunday 18 November 08:47 U.S. Pacific time :

Late yesterday afternoon (nighttime in Gaza), we listened to many explosions over the microphone Harry Fear left on as he slept. Drones circled nearby continuously for hours. Some of the explosions were heard as we listened to Gazans singing in prayer.

Many Palestinian children in Gaza have been killed by Israeli bombs in the past five days. The total death toll at this point is 69, 24 of whom were children. It has consistently been reported as 80% of the dead are civilians.

The resistance group al Qassam has downed an Israeli helicopter in the last hour, and resistance forces are firing on Israeli warships, which have been firing indiscriminately on the people of Gaza. Explosions have now been heard in Tel Aviv, reinforcing the reports that resistance fighters are firing back at Israel.

A nearly full term fetus was killed inside the womb of a Palestinian woman by shrapnel from an Israeli bomb.

Meanwhile, anonymous is on the job and Israel is targeting journalists.

≈≈≈

UPDATE Sunday 18 November 11:27 U.S. Pacific time :

In Gaza, at the hands of Israel in the past five days : 71 people have been killed, 25 of whom were children. More than 600 people have been injured 250 of whom are children.

≈≈≈

UPDATE Monday 19 November 15:13 U.S. Pacific time :

The death toll in Gaza is now 108, including journalists who were intentionally targeted.

this video is part of today’s update, a reading of the names of the dead :

≈≈≈

UPDATE for the sake of this graphic :::

This tally illustrates the situation in Gaza from Wednesday evening to 19/11/2012 18:00 GMT.

This tally illustrates the situation in Gaza from Wednesday evening to 19/11/2012 18:00 GMT.


This tally illustrates the situation in Gaza from Wednesday evening to 19/11/2012 18:00 GMT.

≈≈≈

UPDATE 21 November 2012 5:22pm in Gaza :::

tweet one hour ago via Harry Fear ‏@harryfear :
Recent update from Gazan Ministry of Health: 147+ killed (11+ today); 2000+ injured #GazaUnderAttack

≈≈≈

UPDATE 21 November 2012 9:44pm in Gaza :::

Word just in of a ceasefire, which seems to have occurred and been reported just afternoon EST by Reuters via Huffington Post :::

Irael-Gaza Truce Deal Agreed To, Israel Will Not Lift Gaza Blockade
Reuters | Posted: 11/21/2012 12:25 pm EST Updated: 11/21/2012 2:05 pm EST

Unfortunately, there is not yet an agreement to tear down the fence and stop the blockade : ‘Israeli sources said Israel had agreed to a truce, but would not lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory.’

Also unfortunately, Reuters is not shy about repeatedly blaming Hamas for firing rockets, while paying no attention to the apartheid being foisted on the region by Israel. The firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas would likely be eliminated by a dismantling of the apartheid system.

≈≈≈

Harry Fear, a reporter and documentary producer, has been keeping the world up to date in a minute by minute narrative of realtime attacks in Gaza.

This photo shows the beauty of the region from which Harry Fear is continuing to provide updates of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

beach-central-gaza-city-harryfear

‎”The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder. When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.” Noam Chomsky

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a child sleeps in the arms of a drawing of mother, who has been killed

a child sleeps in the arms of a drawing of mother, who has been killed

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Egyptians gather near Rafah in support of Palestinians in Gaza

Egyptians gather near Rafah in support of Palestinians in Gaza

war crimes by Israel end in death to many children in Gaza

war crimes by Israel end in death to many children in Gaza

these are not terrorists

these are not terrorists

more photos documenting the true history of Israeli attacks against Palestinians in Gaza

this report will be updated

screenshots (from various online video reports) by wiseoldsnail

disruptive-excellence

disruptive excellence

this video is all there is to this story : it’s all you’ll need

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink disrupted this charade to call attention to the murders of innocent people with drone warfare.

00:00:00 MORE BROADLY, AL QAEDA’S KILLING OF INNOCENTS, MOSTLY MEN, WOM — MOSTLY MUSLIM MEN, AND CHILDREN HAS — TARNISHED ITS IMAGE AROUND WORLD ARE YOU WILLING TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST — WHAT ABOUT THE HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE WE ARE KILLING WITH DRONES IN PAKISTAN AND YEMEN AND SOMALIA?
00:00:29 I SPEAK OUT ON BEHALF OF THOSE INNOCENT VICTIMS.
00:00:32 THEY DESERVE AN APOLOGY FROM YOU, MR. BRENNAN.
00:00:33 MA’AM — HOW MANY ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?
00:00:38 AMERICAN PEOPLE — WHY ARE YOU LYING TO THE EXPRESSING YOUR VIEWS.
00:00:45 THANK YOU, MA’AM, FOR THERE WILL BE TIME FOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS AFTER THE PRESENTATION.
00:00:53 IN PAKISTAN, WHO WAS KILLED BECAUSE WE WANTED TO DOCUMENT THE DRONE STRIKES.
00:00:57 I SPEAK ON BEHALF OF ABDUL AWLAKI, WHO WAS KILLED IN DAMAGES BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS SOMEONE WE DON’T LIKE.
00:01:04 — IN YEMEN BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS SOMEONE WOULD ALL LIKE TO I SPEAK ON BEHALF OF THE CONSTITUTION, THE RULE OF LAW.
00:01:05 <strong>I LOVE THE RULE OF LAW SHAME ON YOU!</strong>

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