Israeli activist heavily injured, probably brain damaged

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video of shooting of Israeli activist

Israeli activist heavily injured, probably brain damaged
Author – oren ziv original article
12 Aug 2006

In an international demonstration against the occupation of Palestine and the war in Lebanon, an Israeli activist has been seriously injured, apparently brain damaged, by Israeli police. He is presently undergoing emergency surgery in a Tel Aviv hospital.

On 11 August 2006 a demonstration took place in the Palestinian
village of Bil’in (’in), carried out
by Palestinian and Israeli activists together with about 100
international activists from the International Solidarity Movement and
from the Queeruption festival. The aim of the demonstration was to oppose
the occupation of Palestine and the war in Lebanon.

Police declared the village to be a closed war zone and immediately
attacked the demonstration with rubber bullets and sound
grenades. There was a confrontation when police tried to remove people
from the village. After some time they succeded.

During the police attack, an Israeli activist was heavily wounded in
the head and neck. According to doctors, he has suffered permanent
brain damage. At the moment he’s in a hospital in Tel Aviv, where a
complicated operation is taking place.

Lebanon approves UN resolution

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Daily Star article

Hezbollah gives green light to Lebanon resolution backing

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

by Nayla Razzouk

BEIRUT, Aug 12, 2006 (AFP) – The Lebanese government on Saturday approved a UN resolution calling for an end to Israel’s month-old onslaught, after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his ministers would not stand in the way of the approval.

“The government approved unanimously the UN resolution, despite some reservations,” Finance Minister Jihad Azour told AFP, adding that another cabinet meeting would be held on Sunday to discuss its implementation.

An official source said the “unanimous reservations … came because the resolution did not condemn large-scale Israeli destruction in Lebanon.” “It was also vague about the issues” of the Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails and the Israeli-occupied Shebaa farms, a border area seized by Israel from Syria and now claimed by Lebanon with Damascus’ approval, he said.

The announcement came after Nasrallah said that his guerrilla group would abide by any ceasefire brokered by the United Nations and would not block the approval of the resolution by the government.

“We will not be an obstacle to any decision taken by the Lebanese government. Our government ministers will register reservations on the resolution and some of its terms.” “The resolution is unjust and unfair because it held Hezbollah responsible for starting the aggression,” he said in a televised address on the group’s Al-Manar television channel.

Speaking ahead of the cabinet decision, Nasrallah vowed that his guerrillas will continue to fight as long as Israel occupied Lebanese territory.

But he said “if there is an agreement over a ceasefire through UN chief Kofi Annan, in coordination with Lebanon and the enemy government (of Israel) … the resistance will abide by it by halting hostilities without hesitation.” “When the decision to deploy the army will be taken, the resistance will cooperate and facilitate” the process, he said.

He was referring to the Lebanese government’s decision to deploy the army in the south, once the Israelis pull out of the region, as requested by UN Security Council resolutions.

Prime Minister Fuad Siniora earlier told reporters that “the resolution is in Lebanon’s interest.” “If this resolution proves anything, it shows that the entire world stood by Lebanon,” Siniora said, vowing that “just like Lebanon waged a diplomatic battle during the war, it will continue it in the same rhythm after the war.” He also said Lebanon scored a diplomatic triumph in the adoption of the resolution.

Despite the UN Security Council vote on the resolution Friday, Israel launched an expanded ground offensive deep into southern Lebanon aimed at rooting out Hezbollah militants which it said could last weeks.

But hopes for a more imminent end to hostilities rose as UN officials said they expected an immediate ceasefire once the Lebanese and Israeli governments approve over the weekend the UN resolution calling for a halt to fighting.

The resolution called on Israel and Hezbollah to cease hostilities following a month of fighting that has left more than 1,000 Lebanese and over 120 Israelis dead.

It also called for Israeli forces to withdraw from positions they have occupied in southern Lebanon in parallel with the deployment of Lebanese army units and a robust international military force in the region.

Minister of Communication Marwan Hamadeh told AFP that the Beirut government was “inclined to accept” the UN resolution, warning the measure should not be used as a pretext for continued attacks.

Lebanon succeeded in persuading the council to add a demand for an Israeli troop pullout from the country, once strengthened UN forces and the Lebanese army begin to deploy in the south.

“Lebanon wins battle in Security Council: Complete withdrawal,” said the Al-Liwaa daily, referring to Beirut’s success in including a call for Israel’s troop pullout from Lebanon in the final draft of the resolution.

“Security Council halts hostilities … to pave the way for an end to the war,” read the headline of the leftist As-Safir newspaper.

As-Safir said Israel and its top ally Washington “did not achieve victory in the Security Council” which adopted a number of Lebanese demands in the final version of the resolution.

“The resolution, although it did not meet complete Lebanese demands, … showed a transformation in the region,” it said.-AFP

Protesters in DC denounce violence

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Protesters in D.C. denounce violence

By NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Thousands of people gathered across from the White House on Saturday, even though the president was out of town, to condemn U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Speakers in Lafayette Park energized the most mostly Muslim crowd with chants and speeches condemning Israeli involvement in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, U.S. support for Israel and U.S. involvement in Iraq .

“We all stand united against the violence and the killing in the holy land,” said Esam Omesh, president of the Muslim American Society, a co-sponsor of the demonstration, along with the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee and the National Council of Arab Americans.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark drew cheers when he called for President Bush ‘s impeachment.

“We‘ve made more enemies during the presidency of George Bush than in the rest of our history combined,” Clark said.

Hassan Rida, 26, traveled from Farmington Hills, Mich., with his 15-year-old cousin, Hassan Mokbel, who was vacationing in southern Lebanon when the current crisis started and had to escape through Syria . He and friends Nehme Mhanna, 24, and Mona Alaouie, 24, from Dearborn, Mich., said they wanted to show support for the Lebanese and educate Americans about the situation.

Habib Ghanim, 55, of Silver Spring, Md., said he voted for Bush, but would probably vote democratic in the next election, because he is disappointed and wants to “stop the fighting on all sides.”

A law enforcement official on the scene estimated that there were about 5,000 people attending the rally and subsequent march through the streets of Washington, which was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation and the National Council of Arab Americans.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

August 12 mass protest on Middle East in DC

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After the Aug. 5 – 6 weekend of international protests, let’s keep the pressure on this Saturday, Aug. 12, with the national protest in Washington, D.C.. For information about transportation from Massachusetts to DC, phone the Boston International Action Center at 617 522-6626.

U.S./Israel Out of Lebanon & Palestine Now!

– Stop U.S. Aid to Israel
– Support the Palestinian & Lebanese Peoples? Right to Resist
– End the Occupation of Iraq, Palestine & Lebanon
– Support the Palestinian People?s Right to Return
– No More Fighting & Dying for Oil Profits

The obstacles to peace in the Middle East aren’t Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria or Iran. The real obstacles are the U.S. government and its client, the Israeli settler state. The problems of the Middle East are not rooted in a struggle between religions. These wars are driven by greedy imperialist policymakers in the U.S., like Bush and his super rich friends, to dominate, colonize and exploit the people of the Middle East and the natural resources (especially oil) of their lands.

Washington has given Tel Aviv the green light to wage all-out war against Lebanon and Palestine, with full diplomatic, political and military support. Republicans and Democrats alike have united to back this expansionist Israeli war, which is really an extension of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq. Israeli soldiers and bomber pilots may be doing the killing in Lebanon, but this is fundamentally a U.S. war, and the Israeli forces are acting as surrogates for the Pentagon.

The Bush administration is also laying the basis for a wider war against Syria and Iran. The U.S. is ready to crush the legitimate aspirations for self-determination of the masses of the Middle East.

Together, we must intensify the struggle to get U.S. imperialism out of the Middle East and to free the thousands of Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi prisoners held in U.S. and Israeli jails. This would serve the cause of peace and justice in that region and worldwide. We join with all the peace-loving people and organizations that are mobilizing locally, nationally and internationally around this struggle.

Many protests during the August 5 – 6 weekend focused on the theme ?No Justice, No Peace: U.S. Out of the Middle East.? [SCROLL TO THE END OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR A SUMMARY of some Aug. 5 – 6 actions.] But, with the situation worsening in Lebanon [*] and Palestine, we must stay in the streets. As the next step we urge full support of this Saturday’s (August 12) Washington, D.C. protest, initiated by ANSWER, National Council of Arab Americans (NCA), and Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.

London – National Ceasefire Now Demonstration – August 5

NEWSLETTER No. 2006/32
4 August 2006
Telephone 020 7278 6694

(Nearest tube Marble Arch. Note some tube lines restricted this weekend)

The call to join the Stop the War CEASEFIRE NOW demonstration in London on Saturday 5 August has been spread across the the country with unnprecedented speed. From Glasgow to Portsmouth, from Cardiff to Norwich, coaches and trains will bring our outrage at Israel’s barbarism onto the streets of London. Amnesty International will be there. The British Muslim Council will be there. CND will be there. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be there. London’s Lebanese community will be there. Everyone who hears about the demonstration wants to be on it.

The World says stop. Bush and Blair back Israel’s barbarism without limit. 1000 dead, half of them children. A million flee their homes. Hizbollah says it will stop if Israel ends its total destruction of Lenbanon. Israel tells Beirut civilians to flee and starts “shock and awe” bombing (see

How many more Qana massacres before the voice of sanity brings this carnage to an end? What you do on Saturday can make a difference. JOIN THE CEASEFIRE DEMONSTRATION. BRING YOUR FAMILY. BRING YOUR FRIENDS. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW THEY SHOULD BE THERE. TELL THEM ALL TO BRING CHILDREN’S SHOES TO LAY AT TONY BLAIR’S DOORSTEP.

Full details of the demonstration, the march route, coaches coming from around the country etc are available on the Stop the War website:

CAN YOU HELP STEWARD THE MARCH? Phone 020 7278 6694.

(Nearest tube Marble Arch. Note some tube lines restricted this weekend)

Telephone 020 7278 6694

White House trying to squash fair trial rights

original Washington Post article

White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts
By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Page A04

A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such “commissions” to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court’s jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

An early draft of the new measure prepared by civilian political appointees and leaked to the media last week has been modified in response to criticism from uniformed military lawyers. But the provisions allowing a future expansion of the courts to cover new crimes and more prisoners were retained, according to government officials familiar with the deliberations.

The military lawyers received the draft after the rest of the government had agreed on it. They have argued in recent days for retaining some routine protections for defendants that the political appointees sought to jettison, an administration official said.

They objected in particular to the provision allowing defendants to be tried in absentia, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to describe the deliberations. Another source in contact with top military lawyers said, “Their initial impression is that the draft was unacceptable and sloppy.” The source added that “it did not have enough due-process rights” and could further tarnish America’s image.

The military lawyers nonetheless supported extending the jurisdiction of the commissions to cover those accused of joining or associating with terrorist groups engaged in anti-U.S. hostilities, and of committing or aiding hostile acts by such groups, whether or not they are part of al-Qaeda, two U.S. officials said.

That language gives the commissions broader reach than anticipated in a November 2001 executive order from President Bush that focused only on members of al-Qaeda, those who commit international terrorist acts and those who harbor such individuals.

Some independent experts say the new procedures diverge inappropriately from existing criminal procedures and provide no more protections than the ones struck down by the Supreme Court as inadequate. John D. Hutson, the Navy’s top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000, said the rules would evidently allow the government to tell a prisoner: “We know you’re guilty. We can’t tell you why, but there’s a guy, we can’t tell you who, who told us something. We can’t tell you what, but you’re guilty.”

Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration, said after reviewing the leaked draft that “the theme of the government seems to be ‘They are guilty anyway, and therefore due process can be slighted.’ ” With these procedures, Fein said, “there is a real danger of getting a wrong verdict” that would let a lower-echelon detainee “rot for 30 years” at Guantanamo Bay because of evidence contrived by personal enemies.

But Kris Kobach, a senior Justice Department lawyer in Bush’s first term who now teaches at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, said he believes that the draft strikes an appropriate balance between “a fundamentally fair trial” and “the ability to protect the effectiveness of U.S. military and intelligence assets.”

Administration officials have said that the exceptional trial procedures are warranted because the fight against terrorism requires heavy reliance on classified information or on evidence obtained from a defendant’s collaborators, which cannot be shared with the accused. The draft legislation cites the goal of ensuring fair treatment without unduly diverting military personnel from wartime assignments to present evidence in trials.

The provisions are closely modeled on earlier plans for military commissions, which the Supreme Court ruled illegal two months ago in a case brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni imprisoned in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “It is not evident why the danger posed by international terrorism, considerable though it is, should require, in the case of Hamdan, any variance from the courts-martial rules,” the court’s majority decision held.

No one at Guantanamo has been tried to date, though some prisoners have been there since early 2002.

John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who helped draft the earlier plan, said Bush administration officials essentially “took DOD regulations” for the trials “and turned them into a statute for Congress to pass.” He said the drafters were obviously “trying to return the law to where it was before Hamdan ” by writing language into the draft that challenges key aspects of the court’s decision.

“Basically, this is trying to overrule the Hamdan case,” said Neal K. Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who was Hamdan’s lead attorney.

The plan calls for commissions of five military officers appointed by the defense secretary to try defendants for any of 25 listed crimes. It gives the secretary the unilateral right to “specify other violations of the laws of war that may be tried by military commission.” The secretary would be empowered to prescribe detailed procedures for carrying out the trials, including “modes of proof” and the use of hearsay evidence.

Unlike the international war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the commissions could rely on hearsay as the basis for a conviction. Unlike routine military courts-martial, in which prosecutors must overcome several hurdles to use such evidence, the draft legislation would put the burden on the defense team to block its use.

The admission of hearsay is a serious problem, said Tom Malinowski, director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, because defendants might not know if it was gained through torture and would have difficulty challenging it on that basis. Nothing in the draft law prohibits using evidence obtained through cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that falls short of torture, Malinowski said.

The U.S. official countered that a military judge “would look hard” at the origins of such evidence and that defendants would have to count on “the trustworthiness of the system.”

To secure a death penalty under the draft legislation, at least five jurors must agree, two fewer than under the administration’s earlier plan. Courts-martial and federal civilian trials require that 12 jurors agree.

Muslim World Rages at Israel and US

see photos and download audio mp3’s from emergency WMass forum on Middle East war

BBC article in Turkish Weekly

Muslims protest over Qana deaths

Tuesday , 01 August 2006

Protests have flared across the Muslim world against Israel’s air strike on Qana, Lebanon, which killed at least 54 people – including many children.
Angry crowds filled streets and squares in countries including Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

There were many women among the crowds, some of whom referred to the images of dead children carried from the rubble.

Correspondents say crowds in several countries shouted pro-Hezbollah slogans and condemned Israel, the US and UN.

The BBC’s Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, says the images from Qana will resonate throughout a region boiling with rage.

Support for Hezbollah

The right to demonstrate is severely restricted in many Arab countries, but thousands took to the streets on Monday.

In Iran about 1,000 people protested outside the UN office in Tehran.

They shouted support for Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and burned US and Israeli flags.

Children took part in the demonstration, displaying paintings of Israeli aircraft bombing Lebanese civilians and carrying banners calling for an end to the violence.

Shia Muslim women led protests in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighbourhood, marching through the streets dressed in the traditional black Islamic chador.

Some carried coffins, while many flew the yellow flag of Hezbollah, or carried Lebanese flags.

“Today’s demonstration is done by women and children only, because those murdered in Qana were women and children,” Abu Mustafa, an organiser of the march, told the AFP news agency.

‘International complicity’

As well as rage against Israel for the killings at Qana, there was widespread anger at the US for what many saw as an act of complicity in allowing the conflict in Lebanon to continue.

In Syria, thousands gathered in the capital, Damascus, for a march organised by a women’s union.

Protesters spoke of their anger at shock at the deaths in Qana, but also of a growing discontent with the international community and the UN.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Damascus says the attack has unified Arabs about Hezbollah, even Sunni and Christian Arabs.

Some protesters turned their anger on Arab governments, accusing their leaders of failing to stand up to Israel’s military strength.

In the Jordanian capital Amman reports said up to 1,000 people gathered at one of the city’s universities.

“This is a cry against Arab and international complicity and silence over the massacres,” Razan Zuaytar told the Jordan Times newspaper.

“This is a cry for governments, whose silence is the same as taking part in these crimes.”

There were also reports of smaller protests in Kuwait, Indonesia and India.

BBC News
July 31, 2006