Israel embraces corruption and yet the world embraces Israel  
26 Oct 2010

So Israel is racist and corrupt, that’s quite a combination. Must make so many Zionists very proud:

Israel ranks among the most corrupt countries in the Western world, according to a study released by the International Transparency Organization on Tuesday.
Out of 178 countries – 1 being least corrupt – Israel was listed at number 30. But when compared to other member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Israel fared much worse.
The least corrupt countries were listed as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.
Israel received a score of 6.1 out of 10 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector.
That score positions Israel in the 22nd place out of 33 members of the OECD.
In May 2010, the OECD unanimously voted in favor of accepting Israel as a member of the group. However, Israel is the organization’s poorest member, with the widest social gaps.
Israel’s CPI score has not significantly improved since 2007. In 1997, Israel received a relatively high score of 7.9 ranking number 15 in the world, but has deteriorated considerably since then.
However, Transparency International identified Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar as states where improvement had been made over the past year.
“As opposed to Israel, other countries are improving, and that is a problem,” said Transparency International Israel CEO Galia Sagi on Tuesday.


Wikileaks revelations? Nothing to see here, says WPost 
26 Oct 2010

The US corporate press has spent years suppressing the crimes and excesses of the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Washington Post’s former Baghdad bureau chief says that Wikileaks proves the US administration has been lying for years – and yet this Washington Post editorial says everybody should just calm down and move on. Dream on, suckers:

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claimed at a news conference over the weekend that the release by his organization of 391,000 classified documents on the war in Iraq was intended to “correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war and which has continued after the war.” In fact the mass leak, like a dump of documents on Afghanistan in the summer, mainly demonstrates that the truth about Iraq already has been told.
The news organizations granted privileged access to the documents, including the New York Times and Britain’s Guardian, have focused on reports that Iraqi security forces abused and tortured prisoners; that private security contractors often acted recklessly and violated rules of engagement; and that U.S. soldiers sometimes killed Iraqi civilians at checkpoints. All these stories are troubling. But the incidents were extensively reported by Western journalists and by the U.S. military when they occurred.
One of the most interesting of the leaks appears to show that despite the Bush administration’s statements to the contrary, U.S. officials did keep a count of the number of Iraqis killed in the war. But the figure for deaths between 2003 and 2009, 109,032, is in the ballpark of counts compiled by independent organizations such as Iraq Body Count — which raised its estimate from 107,000 to 122,000 after seeing the leaked American data. The report confirms that the vast majority of Iraqi civilian deaths were caused by other Iraqis, not by coalition forces; claims such as those published by the British journal The Lancet that American forces slaughtered hundreds of thousands are the real “attack on truth.”
War opponents dismissed as propaganda the Bush administration’s assertions that Iran was behind much of the violence. But as the Times reported, “the field reports disclosed by Wikileaks, which were never intended to be made public, underscore the seriousness with which Iran’s role has been seen by the American military.” There is evidence that Iran supplied Iraqi militias with rockets, car bombs, surface to air missiles, and roadside explosives that killed or wounded hundreds of Americans.
Mr. Assange believes his leaks, like the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers, will radically change perceptions of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which he says he is trying to end. Instead he has offered abundant evidence that there is no secret history of Iraq or Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Wikileaks appears to have put the lives of courageous Afghans at risk, by identifying them as American sources. In Iraq, it has at least temporarily complicated negotiations to form a new government.
We are all for the disclosure of important government information; but Mr. Assange’s reckless and politically motivated approach, while causing tangible harm, has shed relatively little light.


UK shows us civilised folk how to enforce nakedness  
26 Oct 2010

Iran tortures people and makes them suffer in detention. We in the West are nice and pure, believing in the rule of law.
Oh, but wait a minute:

The British military has been training interrogators in techniques that include threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness in an apparent breach of the Geneva conventions, the Guardian has discovered.
Training materials drawn up secretly in recent years tell interrogators they should aim to provoke humiliation, insecurity, disorientation, exhaustion, anxiety and fear in the prisoners they are questioning, and suggest ways in which this can be achieved.
One PowerPoint training aid created in September 2005 tells trainee military interrogators that prisoners should be stripped before they are questioned. “Get them naked,” it says. “Keep them naked if they do not follow commands.” Another manual prepared around the same time advises the use of blindfolds to put prisoners under pressure.
A manual prepared in April 2008 suggests that “Cpers” – captured personnel – be kept in conditions of physical discomfort and intimidated. Sensory deprivation is lawful, it adds, if there are “valid operational reasons”. It also urges enforced nakedness.
More recent training material says blindfolds, earmuffs and plastic handcuffs are essential equipment for military interrogators, and says that while prisoners should be allowed to sleep or rest for eight hours in each 24, they need be permitted only four hours unbroken sleep. It also suggests that interrogators tell prisoners they will be held incommunicado unless they answer questions.
The 1949 Geneva conventions prohibit any “physical or moral coercion”, in particular any coercion employed to obtain information.


Aussie Zionist leader is mates with radical settler and peace is never on their minds
 26 Oct 2010

Major Australian Zionist lobbyist Albert Dadon likes to move in the halls of power, romancing the political and media elite. It’s not hard to impress when junkets are arranged to enjoy the wonders of occupying Israel.
And now this:

The Palestinians are saying one thing in English while contradicting themselves in Arabic, according to Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus.
Speaking to a small gathering hosted by Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia-Israel Leadership Forum on Tuesday, the Israel-based activist broadcast numerous media clips, which he said showed the Palestinian people are not ready for peace.
While the US Government and the Middle East Quartet (the UN, US, EU and Russia) have made recognition of the Jewish State a prerequisite for peace talks, state-sanctioned Palestinian television stations continue to ignore the Jewish State.
Marcus showed footage from a recent documentary, which speaks of the Palestinian state spreading along the Mediterranean from Gaza and Ashkelon to Haifa. He also displayed pages from schoolbooks with the Palestinian flag covering all the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“There is a constant message to see a world in which Israel does not exist,” Marcus explained. “This is a basic problem of recognition. There is no message to perceive a world where Israel is a reality.”
Just last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the world he believes an Israeli state and a Palestinian state can live side-by-side. However, the message from Fatah-run TV is very different.
“There is no comparison to what is being said in English, it is a whole other category,” Marcus explained, saying he had addressed the issue with the US and Israeli Administrations, which are both taking it very seriously.
A second major concern, according to the Palestinian Media Watch founder, is that glorification of  violence continues in the territories.

Unfortunately for Dadon, there is something called the internet. Itamar Marcus is connected with the most radical and violent of West Bank settlers. Here’s Hanan Ashrawi writing about him recently:

At a press conference [in the US] last week, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon appeared alongside Itamar Marcus, a right-wing settler and director of an Israeli NGO called Palestinian Media Watch, to receive a report produced by PMW. Later in the week, Marcus appeared on Capitol Hill to present his report to Congress. In the U.S., PMW has been running ads on major television networks of late echoing the accusations of incitement against President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad.
What Ayalon and Marcus failed to mention is that PMW is closely connected to the New York-based Central Fund of Israel, which gives money to some of the most extreme elements in Israel’s settler movement, including a yeshiva in a West Bank settlement that is home to Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, who published a book last year justifying the killing of gentile babies on the grounds they might grow up to pose a threat to the state.
Ironically, if PMW’s television ads were produced by Palestinians and aimed at Israelis, they would no doubt constitute incitement according Israel’s definition. Indeed, that definition seems to include any action or statement critical of Israeli policy. Thus, the encouragement of non-violent protest against Israel’s 43-year-old military occupation, the banning of goods produced in settlements by the PA, and attempts to make Israel respect Palestinian rights at international forums like the United Nations all qualify. 

Nice friends Dadon is making here and somebody that people should now about. He is introducing Zionist purveyors of hate to talk about Palestinian violence?

Finding Serco staff involved in unaccountable abuse; all in a day’s work  
26 Oct 2010

The reach of private company Serco is global and its human rights record remains abysmal. Yet it continues receiving lucrative contracts. That should stop:

Prison campaigners last night called for a review of a North-East secure unit after revelations that 21 children had suffered injuries while being restrained.
The injuries were sustained by children at the privatelyrun Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Consett, County Durham, between June last year and May.
Officials defended the centre’s record last night, insisting the use of force was a last resort.
The unit has been at the centre of controversy since a 14-year-old died in its custody six years ago.
Adam Rickwood, from Burnley, Lancashire, hanged himself hours after being restrained by staff who used a controversial technique that involved striking him in the face. The “nose distraction”
method was authorised at the time but has since been banned.
Youth Justice Board statistics show that between April 2008 and March last year restraint was used 543 times on children in Hassockfield – an average of 45 times a month.
The Howard League for Penal Reform last night accused the educational watchdog Ofsted, which oversees secure training centres, of failing children in Hassockfield’s care.
In a letter, it said: “Children held in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre (STC) have been subject to violence, danger, fear and, possibly, abuse, yet Ofsted has failed to acknowledge this and prevent it.
“The inspection regime for STCs has failed to provide assurance that children in these institutions are being cared for safely.
“Two children have died while being held in an STC and, in both instances, restraint was a key factor.”
The group has a long standing opposition to privatelyrun prisons for children.
Director Frances Crook said: “It is time that we ended the obscene experiment with locking up children… and closed down these prisons.”
It has written to North-West Durham MP Pat Glass, calling for an overhaul of those responsible for the inspection of Hassockfield and similar units for children.
Mrs Glass said she would be seeking a meeting with staff to discuss their resources and training.
The MP, who has a background in the education of people with behavioural and special needs, said: “This is about the level of training and resources that staff are receiving.”
An Ofsted spokesman said: “The Howard League has a long-established view that secure training centres should be closed. Ofsted respects this.
“Our responsibility is to inspect and report on the evidence.
“The use of restraint is something that we scrutinise rigorously. We extensively review records of restraint, including the viewing of CCTV footage.
“We meet with both the Youth Justice Board and the local authority who are responsible for monitoring the use of restraint, and the advocates who visit the young people weekly. Most importantly, we talk to young people themselves, without staff present.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Restraint is only ever used as a last resort when young people’s behaviour puts themselves or others at serious risk.
“In response to recommendations made in 2007, the National Offender Management Service has developed conflict resolution training designed to provide staff with measures reducing the need for force.
“Staff will apply restraint techniques as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
“Even where a young person is restrained, the emphasis will continue to be on using de-escalation techniques to minimise the use of force.”
The Government awarded a 15-year contract for running Hassockfield to private operator Serco in 1999.
The unit houses up to 58 young people aged 12 to 17, who are described by Serco as “some of the most damaged and difficult young people in the country”.
A spokesman said: “Our staff operate to a high standard of professionalism. Physical control is only used as a last resort. They do a good job, often in difficult circumstances, working with a demanding and challenging group of young people.”


Almost funny hearing how the Pentagon does damage control 
25 Oct 2010

Danny Schechter adds some intriguing details behind the Wikileaks story:

The Pentagon had been bracing for the release for months. Fearing more compromises of national security and more embarrassment for practices they wanted hidden, they had set up a WikiLeaks war room staffed with 120 operatives in anticipation.
A special intelligence unit called the Red Cell was involved. The task has been to prod the American spy networks to operate in a cleverer and more intelligent manner. (Ironically, WikiLeaks had leaked some of their internal reports earlier.)
One report dealt with perceptions abroad that the US supported terrorists. Another was oriented toward how to sell support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Western Europe, counseling that “counting on apathy is not enough.”
I can testify to their savvy. I met members of the unit at a University of Westminister conference on war and terrorism in London in September.  There were three of them. Two stood out because of their crew cuts and military demeanor. A third was a Muslim woman. They were clearly on a reconnaissance mission probably linked to WikiLeaks detection since it had been reported that English students were helping the covert citizen agency target covert government activities.
I spoke at some length with their leader, an active-duty army major, who told me that his unit in Iraq handled high-value prisoners, including Saddam Hussein. (They escorted him to the hangman, he revealed.) He was very friendly and made no secret of his affiliation but clearly was not at a leftist academic conference to collect footnotes. 
As we know now, the Pentagon was unable to stop the release, but may have pressured WikiLeaks not to name names. We may never know what happened until WikiLeaks finds some document about their anti-WikiLeaks operations.

Let’s hope that Australia’s war aims are negatively affected by Wikileaks  
25 Oct 2010

So after all the bluster and threats against Wikileaks, the group’s greatest crime was revealing the sordid nature of the Afghan quagmire:

A defence taskforce has concluded that leaked US military documents on Afghanistan said nothing about Australian forces that hadn’t already been disclosed.
The investigation, launched in July after the whistleblower organisation Wikileaks released some 77,000 US military documents on the Afghanistan conflict, found there had been no direct significant adverse impact on Australia’s national interests.
Defence said operational areas of the department had confirmed that necessary measures were taken to mitigate against risks to operational security. 
As well, no local sources were clearly identified and steps had been taken to mitigate the risk of that occurring.
“The taskforce found that significant operational issues relating to Australia referred to in the leaked materials had already been publicly reported by Defence and, in most cases, reported in greater detail than in the leaked materials,” it said in a statement.
The documents leaked were predominantly US military field and intelligence reports, which featured occasional mentions of coalition nations.


Why can’t the US just kill Assange (asks caring Fox man)
25 Oct 2010

Welcome to the world of Rupert Murdoch, a man of principle who runs a global organisation of the highest ethical code:

Leading the attack on whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, Fox News editorialist and former Bush-era US State Department official Christian Whiton said on Monday that the US should classify the proprietors of WikiLeaks as “enemy combatants,” opening up the possibility of “non-judicial actions” against them.

We have seen the Iraq war and America is to blame
 25 Oct 2010

Hold the laughter. Washington is super serious about Iraq lives. America would never allow prisoners to be abused and tortured. Thankfully nobody actually believes a word the US says about the Iraq war; Wikileaks documents a world of chaos, torture, murder and violence.

The US has defended its record of probing civilian deaths and abuse in Iraq after graphic revelations in leaked secret documents triggered worldwide condemnation.
The whistle-blower WikiLeaks website on Friday released nearly 400,000 classified files on the Iraq war, the biggest leak of its kind in US military history, detailing the deaths of 15,000 more Iraqi civilians than the Pentagon had reported.
Colonel Dave Lapan, Pentagon spokesman, said on Monday the US military never claimed to have an exact count of the number of civilians killed in Iraq.
He noted that estimates made by private organisations of civilian deaths in Iraq also varied.
“Over the years, it has been impossible for the various organisations … to come to agreement on a specific figure,” Lapan said.
But Lapan said WikiLeaks and the Pentagon were working from the same database to collect civilian death toll figures and was sceptical that the group had made any new discovery.
US forces went into morgues to count bodies, said General George Casey, the army chief of staff, who served as the top US military commander in Iraq from 2004-2007.
“I don’t recall downplaying civilian casualties,” Casey told reporters.
Still, the US military routinely gave lower casualty figures during the war than Iraqi police or hospital

Some of the documents released on Friday contain accounts of Iraqi forces abusing Iraqi prisoners and the US military not investigating those instances.
But US officials on Monday said the military had not systematically ignored cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi forces.
“That’s just not the case,” Casey told reporters. “Our policy all along was that where American soldiers encountered prisoner abuse (they were) to stop it and then report it immediately up the US chain of command and the Iraqi chain of command.”
Thousands of Iraqi officials have been removed from Iraq’s interior ministry after revelations that mainly Sunni prisoners were being held in secret prisons near the 2006-2007 height of the sectarian conflict pitting Iraq’s majority Shia Muslims against minority Sunni Muslims.
The US military, having drawn international condemnation in 2004 over the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail outside Baghdad, lost the right to detain Iraqis under a bilateral security pact that went into effect in 2009.
Barack Obama, the US president, who opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq launched by his predecessor President George W Bush, formally ended the US combat mission in Iraq in August and has promised to withdraw the last 48,000 US troops from Iraq by the end of next year.
Obama signed three executive orders shortly after taking office, vowing to return America to the “moral high ground” in the so-called war on terrorism.
The implication was that the United States would do more to make sure terror suspects were not tortured or abused – either at the hands of US forces or by governing authorities to whom the detainees were handed over for detention or interrogation.
Yet, in one leaked document from a US military intelligence report filed February 9, 2009 – just weeks after Obama ordered US personnel to comply with the Geneva Conventions – an Iraqi said he was detained by coalition forces at his Baghdad home and was told he would be sent to the Iraqi army if he did not co-operate.
According to the document, the detainee was then handed over to Iraqis where he said he was beaten and given electric shocks.
US interrogators also cleared detainees for questioning, despite signs that they had suffered abuse from Iraqi security forces, the documents show.
One report by a US interrogation detention team based in Baghdad on April 2, 2009, summarises claims made by a prisoner who said he was hog-tied and beaten with a shovel as part of days-long torture ordeal at the hands of the Iraqi army.
The report noted he had a catalogue of “minor injuries,” including “rope burns on the back of his legs and a possible busted ear drum.”
“We have not turned a blind eye,” PJ Crowley, the US state department spokesman, said on Monday, noting that one of the reasons why US troops were still in Iraq was to carry out human rights training with Iraqi security forces.
“Our troops were obligated to report abuses to appropriate authorities and to follow up, and they did so in Iraq,” Crowley said. “If there needs to be an accounting, first and foremost there needs to be an accounting by the Iraqi government itself, and how it has treated its own citizens.”
Daniel Ellsberg, who is credited for leaking the 1971 Pentagon Papers that exposed secrets about the
Vietnam War, said he was not sure the
recently leaked documents would have much of an impact – either in Iraq or in the United States.

“This is official evidence that there was a cover-up of crimes, either by turning suspects over or torturing them directly,” Ellsberg told The Associated Press on Monday night.
“I don’t have confidence that even a massive change of public opinion will have an effect, but even if there is a small chance it could change policy, it is worth it.”


How is life at Villawood detention centre?  
25 Oct 2010

The effect of Australia’s immigration detention centres on human lives is often ignored. Villawood in outer Sydney has seen years of privatised prison time. Here are two moving stories
The Stories Project: Villawood Mums from CuriousWorks on Vimeo.


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