Archive for the ‘International justice’ Category

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Rationalisations of the torturers

June 13, 2009

How do ordinary people come to justify torture?  It is impressive to read something written in 2000 that so accurately predicts events in 2009.  It would be a fair guess that these ‘predictions’ also describe many other countries besides Great Britain in 1971…i.e. the Bush Thugs in 2009.  I have edited the article to emphasize the principal thrusts of justification for torture.  Read the entire article here.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

by John Conroy
University of California Press, 2000, paper
Source
… It takes no genius to see a pattern … and that pattern is repeated throughout the world: torturers are rarely punished, and when they are, the punishment rarely corresponds to the severity of the crime.

When a dictatorship is overthrown by a democratic regime, torture squads typically elude punishment because the new government is not entirely secure.

Furthermore, it is often difficult to mount an effective prosecution. Torture usually occurs in a closed room without independent witnesses. Sometimes the victims have been blindfolded or they are dead..

A prosecutor’s task is made more difficult by the fact that torturers are often decorated soldiers or policemen who have served their country in time of need, men who often represent popular belief: they were tough on crime, or they were saving the country from subversion or immorality….

Consider, for example, the British reaction to the revelations that they were torturing the Northern Irish in 197I.

The first stage of response was absolute and complete denial, accompanied by attacks on those who exposed the treatment. Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner announced that there had been “no brutality of any kind.”

The London Sunday Times was denounced for printing “the fantasies of terrorists.”

The second stage was to minimize the abuse….

A third stage is to disparage the victims. Lord Carrington judged them to be “thugs and murderers,” while Reginald Maulding proclaimed, “It was necessary to take measures to fight terrorists, the murderous enemy….
A fourth stage is to justify the treatment on the grounds that it was effective or appropriate under the circumstances. Lord Balniel, junior minister of defense, said that there was no evidence of torture, ill-treatment, or brainwashing, and that the methods employed had produced “invaluable” information about a brutal, callous, and barbaric enemy.

A fifth component of a torturing society’s defense is to charge that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state….

A sixth defense is that the torture is no longer occurring, and anyone who raises the issue is therefore “raking up the past.”…

A seventh component of a torturing bureaucracy is to put the blame on a few bad apples….

A final rationalization of a torturing nation is that the victims will get over it.
It is perhaps understandable that public officials accused of a crime as heinous as torture would react defensively and follow a predictable route of denial. What is perhaps more difficult to understand is the rampant indifference that grips most societies in the face of revelations of torture.

Does this sound uncomfortably current?

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Torture: the death of morality

May 4, 2009

Who knows whether this soldier’s death was suicide or not? If it was suicide, it is at least a piercing moral message to all of us. The most telling sign of the decay of the human race is its toleration of torture. Draw your own conclusions on the article below.


“It is not a sign of good health
to be well adjusted to a sick society.”
– J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)
U.S. Soldier Who Killed Herself-
-After Refusing to Take Part in Torture
With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo, I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson.

By Greg Mitchell
Source

(April 23, 2009) — With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo (and who, knows, probably elsewhere), I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.

Read comments on her death here.

Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the U.S. Senate committee probe and various new press reports, that the “Gitmo-izing” of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.

Alyssa Peterson was one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq. A cover-up, naturally, followed.

Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native, served with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”

A “non-hostile weapons discharge” leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials “said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson’s own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging, or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian.” And that might have ended it right there.

But in this case, a longtime radio and newspaper reporter named Kevin Elston, not satisfied with the public story, decided to probe deeper in 2005, “just on a hunch,” he told me in late 2006 (there’s a chapter about it in my book on Iraq and the media, “So Wrong for So Long”). He made “hundreds of phone calls” to the military and couldn’t get anywhere, so he filed a Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request. When the documents of the official investigation of her death arrived, they contained bombshell revelations. Here’s what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston then worked, reported:

“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed.”

According to the official report on her death released the following year, she had earlier been “reprimanded” for showing “empathy” for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of that report is: “She said that she did not know how to be two people; she … could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire.”

Peterson was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.

A notebook she had been writing was found next to her body. Its contents were redacted in the official report.

The Army talked to some of Peterson’s colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told me: “The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were.”

Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, which suggested that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.

Peterson, a devout Mormon, had graduated from Flagstaff High School and earned a psychology degree from Northern Arizona University on a military scholarship. She was trained in interrogation techniques at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, and was sent to the Middle East in 2003.

A report in The Arizona Daily Sun of Flagstaff — three years after Alyssa’s death — revealed that Spc. Peterson’s mother, Bobbi Peterson, reached at her home in northern Arizona, said that neither she nor her husband Richard had received any official documents that contained information outlined in Elston’s report.

In other words: Like the press and the public, even the parents had been kept in the dark.

Tomorrow I will write about Kayla Williams, a woman who served with Alyssa, and talked to her about her problems shortly before she killed herself, and also took part in torture interrogations. She observed the punching of detainees and was forced to take part in one particular tactic: prisoners were stripped naked, and when they took off their blindfolds the first thing they saw was Kayla. She opted out, but survived, and is haunted years later.

Here’s what Williams told Soledad O’Brien of CNN : “I was asked to assist. And what I saw was that individuals who were doing interrogations had slipped over a line and were really doing things that were inappropriate. There were prisoners that were burned with lit cigarettes.”

All of this only gains relevance in light of the current debate over whether those who were “just following orders” in torture routines should be held accountable today.
*
Greg Mitchell’s latest book is “Why Obama Won.” His previous book on Iraq and the media was “So Wrong for So Long.” He is editor of Editor & Publisher.

Read Part II

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Irish Civil Society Calls For Boycott of Israel

February 6, 2009




By Pulse
February, 04, 2009

Source

The following letter was published in a full-page advertisement in The Irish Times on 31 January 2009:

The original ad, including signatures may be downloaded here. [PDF]

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza killed over 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children. Thousands have been wounded. Many victims had been taking refuge in clearly marked UN facilities.

This assault came in the wake of years of economic blockade by Israel. This blockade, which is illegal under international humanitarian law, has destroyed the Gaza economy and condemned its population to poverty. According to a World Bank report last September, “98 percent of Gaza’s industrial operations are now inactive.”

The most recent attack on Gaza is only the latest phase in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and appropriation of their land.

Israel has never declared its borders. Instead, it has continuously expanded at the expense of the Palestinians. In 1948, it took over 78 percent of Palestine, an area much larger than that suggested for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947. Contrary to international law, Israel expelled over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. These refugees and their descendants, who now number millions, are still dispersed throughout the region. They have the right, under international law, to return to their homes. This right has been underlined by the UN General Assembly many times, starting with Resolution 194 in 1948.

In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22 percent of Palestine: the West Bank and Gaza. Contrary to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel has built, and continues to build, settlements in these occupied territories. Today, nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the illegal settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and the number grows daily as Israel expands its settler program.

Israel has resisted pressure from the international community to abide by the human rights provisions of international law. It has refused to comply with UN Security Council demands to cease building settlements and remove those it has built (Resolutions 446, 452 and 465) and to reverse its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem (252, 267, 271, 298, 476 and 478). Since September 2000, over 5,000 Palestinians, almost 1,000 of them minors, have been killed by the Israeli military.

Eleven-thousand Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, languish in Israel jails. Hundreds are detained without trial. In addition, Israel is breaking international law by imprisoning them outside the occupied territories, thereby making it almost impossible for their families to visit them. Every year, hundreds of Palestinian homes are demolished. The Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza livesw imprisoned by walls, barriers and checkpoints that prevent or impede access to shops, schools, workplaces, hospitals and places of worship. They are subjected to restrictions of every kind and to daily ritual humiliation at the hands of occupation soldiers and checkpoint guards.

Invasion, occupation and plantation of their land is the reality that Palestinians have faced for decades and still face on a daily basis, as their country is reduced remorselessly. Unless, and until, this Israeli aggression is halted, and the democratic rights of the Palestinian people are vindicated, there will be no justice or peace in the Middle East. Israel’s 40-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza must be ended.

The occupation can end if political and economic pressure is placed on Israel by the international community. Recognizing this, the Palestinian people continually call on the international community to intervene.

We, the signatories, call for the following:

* The Irish Government to cease its purchase of Israeli military products and services and call publicly for an arms embargo against Israel.
* The Irish Government to demand publicly that Israel reverse its settlement construction, illegal occupation and annexation of land in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and to use its influence in international fora to bring this about.
* The Irish Government to demand publicly that the Euro-Med Agreement under which Israel has privileged access to the EU market be suspended until Israel complies with international law.
* The Irish Government to veto any proposed upgrade in EU relations with Israel.
* The Irish people to boycott all Israeli goods and services until Israel abides by international law.

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Will Israel be tried in the Hague?

January 26, 2009

Charges filed by international attorneys
against 15 Israeli officials

23.01.09
Source

Bethlehem / PNN – Palestinian and international efforts continue to institute legal proceedings for the prosecution of Israeli officials in the commission of war crimes.

Although Israeli forces are involved in thousands of cases, local experts such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights believe that the recent major attacks on the Gaza Strip will successfully prosecuted.

“They were well-documented, televised and the world was paying attention,” a member of the Gaza City team commented.

After the very public detection of large-scale atrocities which included the use of white phosphorus bombs in enclosed civilian areas and the liquidation of children there is little defense.

Fifteen specific names are now pending for prosecution in The Hague’s war crimes tribunal.

Those listed for prosecution include Israeli political and military officials, namely Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak.

Israelis are being warned internally against leaving its boundaries due to fears of arrest.

French lawyer Gilles Dovers is handling the complaint in Paris calling for the “open investigation into war crimes” committed by Israeli forces during three weeks in Gaza.

Dovers said today that 500 complaints are being submitted by Arab, European and Latin American officials. Bolivia is preparing its own case, as is Venezuela.

Argentine international prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is deciding whether to go ahead with an investigation.

The French lawyer said there is some fear of interference from the United Nations Security Council under pressure from the United States to stop the proceedings and prevent the achievement of access to trial. The founding texts of the International Criminal Court empower the Security Council to suspend its work.

Today’s invitation to try at least 15 Israeli officials is being delivered by 30 international lawyers of several nationalities.

In parallel, the intention of a group of French lawyers to file a complaint on behalf of French citizens of Palestinian origin to the French courts against Israeli officials is gaining attention in the cities of Paris and eastern France.

Coordination with other lawyers in Belgium and Spain is underway as similar complaints against the Israeli officials are being made in Brussels and Madrid. Belgium is among the countries who issued charges against Ariel Sharon in the past.

Moroccan lawyers also disclosed yesterday practical steps toward filing a lawsuit against “the perpetrators of war crimes” in Gaza. Six lawyers are working with the Minister of Justice of Morocco.

As reported by PNN throughout the week, in Tel Aviv Israeli activists published 15 names:

Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Avi Dichter, Carmi Gilon, Dan Halutz, Doron Almog, Ehud Olmert, Eliezer Shkedy, Gabi Ashkenazi, Giora Eiland, Matan Vilani, Moshe Bogi Yaalon, Shaul Mofaz and Tzipi Livni,

along with reasons they are listed and photos on:

http://www.wanted.org.il

included with the note: “Anyone who has information about the suspect when he is outside of the Israeli borders, report immediately to…” and gives contact information for The Hague.

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Ireland calls on EU to cut ties with Israel

January 24, 2009

Never underestimate the power of the Ire in Ireland.

148 Irish academics issue call
for EU to cut links with Israel

23 Jan 2009
Source

In a letter published today, Friday, 23rd January in the Irish Times(text below), over 140 Irish academics from a wide variety of disciplines called for a moratorium on EU support of Israeli academic institutions until Israel abides by UN resolutions and ends the occupation of Palestinian territories.

The letter was organised in response to the Israeli attack on Gaza and the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott. The letter demands that the EU cease funding collaborative projects with Israeli institutions and “and an end to the EU’s practice of treating Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts”.

The letter accuses Israel of destroying the Palestinians right to education as guaranteed by international law. It states: ‘we note that during its recent offensive Israel expressly targeted educational institutions including the Islamic University, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, and 3 UN schools which were destroyed with massive loss of civilian life. During the illegal sealing off of the Gaza Strip that preceded the current aggression, Israel had prevented numerous Palestinian students from leaving Gaza to avail of Fulbright scholarships to the USA”

The ongoing Israeli occupation has meant that educational establishments are closed off for many Palestinians. The checkpoints, closures and curfews Israel has imposed, as well as the ongoing harassment of academics and students, have played havoc with university life. In addition, military attacks on universities and schools and the occupation of many schools by Israeli soldiers have turned education into a life-threatening activity.

The letter is signed by 148 academics. Prominent names include author and critic Seamus Deane, poet and academic Louis de Paor, UCD academic Kathleen Lynch, cultural critics Luke Gibbons and Joe Cleary, Israeli political scientist Ephraim Nimni, and former TUI (Teachers Union of Ireland) head Paddy Healy. It follows a similar letter in September 2006 signed by 61 academics.

Text of letter with signatories
There has been widespread international condemnation of Israel’s bombardment and subsequent invasion of Gaza, which has been defined by international lawyers as a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. No civilians, Israelis or Palestinian should be subjected to attack whether from rockets from Gaza or bombs and bullets from Israel. However, while every government has both the right and responsibility to defend its civilian population, we believe that Israel’s violent actions are disproportionate and constitute collective punishment of a civilian population.

We also note that Israeli spokespersons themselves have admitted that prior to Israel’s killing of 6 Hamas members in the Nov 4 attack on Gaza, Hamas appears to have abided by its ceasefire agreement with Israel, firing no rockets and trying to prevent other groups from doing so. This begs the question: what is the real reason behind the onslaught?

In addition, we note that during its recent offensive Israel expressly targeted educational institutions including the Islamic University, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, and 3 UN schools which were destroyed with massive loss of civilian life. During the illegal sealing off of the Gaza Strip that preceded the current aggression, Israel had prevented numerous Palestinian students from leaving Gaza to avail of Fulbright scholarships to the USA.

We believe that it is time to renew the call made by Irish-based academics in September 2006 for a moratorium on the funding of Israeli academic institutions by national and European cultural and research institutions, and an end to the EU’s practice of treating Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. Such a moratorium should continue until Israel ends its repressive policies against Gaza, and abides by UN resolutions (which include the ending of the occupation of all Palestinian territories).

We believe that opposition to such a move based on the principle of academic freedom has lost the last semblance of validity in view of the above-mentioned violations of the right to education enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 26), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 28) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 14).

Yours sincerely

1. Dr Kieran Allen, School of Sociology, UCD
2. Professor James Anderson, Dept of Geography, Queen’s University Belfast, Co-Director, Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR)
3. Dr Iain Atack, Lecturer and Programme Coordinator, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics, (TCD)
4. Dr David Atkinson, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
5. Professor Ibrahim Banat, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster
6. Darius Bartlett, Department of Geography, University College Cork
7. Professor James Bowen, Computer Science, UCC, Cork
8. Dr. Barbara Bradby, Department of Sociology, TCD
9. Dr. Colin Breen, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
10. Dr Keith Breen, School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast
11. Dr Pat Brereton, Dublin City University.
12. Harry Browne School of Media, DIT
13. Carlos Bruen, Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine (Division of Population Health Sciences) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
14. Audrey Bryan School of Education, UCD
15. Noreen Byrne, Department of Food Business and Development, UCC
16. Dr Rachel Cassidy, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
17. Professor Joe Cleary, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
18. Dr. Steve Coleman Department of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth
19. Dr. Maeve Connolly, School of Creative Arts, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, IADT
20. Eddie Conlon, Department of Engineering Science and General Studies, DIT
21. Dr Colin Coulter, Dept of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
22. Dr. Laurence Cox, Dept of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
23. Dr Patrick Crowley, Department of French, University College Cork
24. Tony Cunningham, Department of Sociology NUI Maynooth
25. Charlie Daly, School of Computing, DCU.
26. Dr Kelly Davidson School of Business and Humanities, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, IADT
27. Cormac Deane, School of Business and Humanities, IADT Dun Laoghaire
28. Professor Seamus Deane, University of Notre Dame
29. Dr. Teresa Degenhardt, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Queens University Belfast
30. Dr Louis de Paor, NUI Galway
31. Derek Dodd, Centre for Public Culture Studies, IADT.
32. Dr Bill Dorris, Dept. Of Communications, DCU
33. Collette Doyle, School of Social Justice, UCD
34. Dr. Paul Dunlop, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster 35. Mary Eldin, University College Dublin
36. Ray English, School of Manufacturing and Design Engineering, DIT
37. Dr. Adel Farrag, Department of Electronic Engineering, ITT Dublin
38. Angela Farrell, Dept. Languages and Cultural Studies University of Limerick
39. Mike FitzGibbon, Food Business and Development Department, University College Cork 40. Richard Fitzsimons, School of Media, DIT
41. Professor Tadhg Foley Department of English & Chair of the Board, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway
42. Dr Oona Frawley, School of English, NUI Maynooth,
43. Malcolm Garland. Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, RCSI and Consultant Psychiatrist/Post-Graduate Tutor, St Ita’s Hospital.
44. Dr Mark Gardiner, Dept of Archaeology, Queen’s University Belfast
45. Professor Luke Gibbons, University of Notre Dame
46. Dr. Paula Gilligan, Dept. of Humanities, IADT Dun Laoghaire
47. Professor Robbie Gilligan, School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD
48. Dr Kathy Glavanis-Grantham, Department of Sociology, UCC
49. Liam Greenslade, National College of Art and Design
50. Fergal Goulding, Cork Institute of Technology
51. Brian Hand, Wexford Campus IT Carlow
52. Dr Brian Hanley, School of History, Queens University Belfast
53. Seán Harrington, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT,
54. Mike Haslam, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
55. Deena Haydon, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Justice, Queen’s University Belfast
56. Paddy Healy, School of Physics, DIT
57. Goretti Horgan, School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster
58. Professor Jane Horgan Dublin City University
59. Dr Kevin Hourihan, Dept of Geography, UCC
60. Dr. John Karamichas, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast
61. Dr Brian Kelly, School of History and Anthropology, Queen’s University Belfast
62. Dr. Sinéad Kennedy, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
63. Dr. Dorothy Kenny, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, DCU
64. David Landy Department of Sociology, TCD
65. Dr Fintan Lane. Historian
66. Zoe Lawlor, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
67. John J. Lauder, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
68. Dr. Ronit Lentin, Dept of Sociology, TCD
69. Martin McCabe, School of Media, DIT
70. Professor Madeleine Leonard, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast
71. Tom Lonergan, Dublin City University
72. Professor Kathleen Lynch, Equality Studies Centre, School of Social Justice, University College Dublin
73. Piaras MacEinri, University College Cork
74. An Dr. Seosamh Mac Muirí, Grág na Fearna, Droim Dhá Thiar. Co. Liatroma.
75. Professor John Maguire Professor Emeritus, UCC
76. Dr. Hussain Mahdi, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, University of Limerick
77. Dr. Sean Marlow, School of Electronic Engineering, Dublin City University,
78. Dr. Chandana Mathur, Dept of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth
79. Dr Cillian McBride, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast
80. Dr Cathal McCall, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB
81. Dr Gerard McCann, European Studies, St Mary’s College, Queens University Belfast 82. Dr Conor McCarthy, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
83. Professor John McCloskey, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
84. Professor Terrence McDonough, Dept of Economics, NUI Galway
85. Dr. Karen McElrath, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queens University Belfast
86. Dr Des McGuinness, School of Communication, Dublin City University
87. Dr. Martina McKnight, Queens University Belfast
88. Dr Gerard McMahon, Business Faculty, DIT
89. Dr Bill McSweeney, International Peace Studies, Trinity College Dublin
90. Rosie Meade, Dept. of Applied Social Studies, UCC
91. Dr. Pat Meere, Department of Geology, UCC.
92. Professor Stephen Mennell, School of Sociology, UCD
93. Mick Monk, Department of Archaeology, UCC
94. Anna Maria Mullally, Dept. of Humanities, ITT Dublin.
95. Tony Murray, School of Media, DIT
96. Professor Patrick Murphy, Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCC
97. Dr. Suleyman S. Nalbant, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
98. Tom O’Connor, School of Media, DIT
99. Dr. Ephraim Nimni, School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast
100. Dr. Emer Nolan, Dept of English, NUI Maynooth
101. Dr. John O’Brennan, Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
102. Gerard M. O’Brien, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine
103. Dr Barra O’Donnabhain, Department of Archaeology, University College Cork
104. Dr Ruan.O’Donnell, Historian
105. Professor Liam O’Dowd, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queens University Belfast
106. Professor Patrick O’Flanagan, Dept of Geography, UCC
107. Dr Feilim O Hadhmail, Dept of Applied Social Studies, UCC
108. Professor Denis O Hearn, School of Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast
109. Dr. Theresa O’Keefe, Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
110. Dr. Des O’Rawe, School of Languages, Literatures and Arts, Queen’s University Belfast
111. Dr. Jacqui O’Riordan, Dept. Applied Social Studies, UCC
112. Dr K.C. O’Rourke, Dublin Institute of Technology
113. Eddie O’Shea Head, Department of Architecture+Urban Design, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
114. Joan O’Sullivan, Dept of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
115. John O’Sullivan, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
116. Maria Parsons, Department of Humanities, IADT
117. Dr Mark Phelan, School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, Queen’s University Belfast
118. Professor Barbara Pierscionek, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster 119. Dr Lionel Pilkington, Dept of English, NUI Galway
120. Professor John Pinkerton, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queens University Belfast
121. Professor Paschal Preston, School of Communication, DCU
122. Rory Quinn, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
123. Dr Mary Roche, Department of Geography, UCC
124. Jim Roche, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT.
125. Professor Bill Rolston, Department of Sociology, University of Ulster
126. Eilish Rooney, School of Sociology & Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
127. Sima Rouholamin, School of Architecture, Dublin Institute of Technology.
128. Pól Ruiséal, Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh
129. Brigid Ryan, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
130. Dr Colin Sage, Department of Geography, UCC
131. Dr Tam Sanger, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast
132. Professor Phil Scraton, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast
133. Liz Shannon, Dept of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
134. Professor Helena Sheehan, School of Communications, Dublin City University
135. Dr Sally Shortall, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast
136. Ailbhe Smyth, WERCC, School of Social Justice, UCD
137. Professor Mike Scott, School of Computing, DCU
138. Dr. Lisa Smyth, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast
139. Andy Storey, Centre for Development Studies, UCD
140. Karen Sugrue, Department of Humanities, Limerick Institute of Technology
141. Prof. Alan Titley Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh
142. Dr Gavan Titley, Dept of Media Studies NUI Maynooth
143. Prof. Mike Tomlinson, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queens University Belfast
144. Hilary Tovey, Dept of Sociology, TCD
145. Dr Simon Trezise, Department of Music, TCD
146. Theresa Urbainczyk, School of Classics, UCD
147. Judy Walsh, School of Social Justice, UCD
148. Dr Gillian Wylie, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics (TCD)

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News you WANT to read – Hope is free

January 23, 2009

US intel nominee promises no unlawful surveillance

Agence France-Presse
January 22, 2009
Source

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head US intelligence Thursday flatly rejected torture, promised to end special interrogation regimes and refuse the unlawful surveillance of Americans.

Retired admiral Dennis Blair indicated major changes are in store for US intelligence agencies, which have been embroiled in controversy over secret prisons, interrogation practics, and warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

“Torture is not moral, is not legal, is not effective,” Blair said at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee he would welcome independent monitoring of the intelligence community “to prevent abuses and protect privacy and civil liberties of Americans.”

However, he refused to say waterboarding, a form of simulating drowning, is torture, because he did not want to put in legal jeopardy intelligence officers who engaged in practices authorized at the highest levels.

“I don’t intend to reopen those cases of those officers,” he said.

Senator Carl Levin said he was “troubled” by Blair’s answer.

For the most part, however, Democratic lawmakers praised Blair’s candor while some Republicans expressed skepticism about abandoning the more hardline approach of the previous administration.

Blair sketched out a heavy workload for the US intelligence community — three ongoing wars, concerns about developments in North Korea, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and newer issues like global warming and energy security.

“President Obama has made it clear, made it clear to me, made it clear to the American people, that he expects independent analysis,” he said.

“He wants the facts. He wants all points of view. And if confirmed, I will strive to meet his expectations.”

The Senate hearing came as Obama signed a flurry of executive orders directing the closure of the US detention center at Guantanamo within a year, shutting secret CIA prisons, and placing restrictions on interrogations and the treatment of detainees.

Blair acknowledged that striking the right balance between protecting Americans and safeguarding US values and international reputation will be difficult.

The United States, he said, has not yet found “the correct way to treat this new type of campaign that we are engaged in.”

“On the one hand, we have to fight it like a war and detain people and get information from them and protect our citizens.

“On the other hand, we have to maintain our stature as the country that is governed by our values and governed by ideals. We’ve gone back and forth in many different ways.

“These executive orders are going to give this administration a chance to look at those tough issues and come up with creative solutions for them,” he said.

He said he supported uniform rules of interrogation for the military and intelligence services, but he said the rules themselves should be developed as part of a comprehensive policy review.

Official: UN may prosecute Bush administration,
regardless of US action

David Edwards
Thursday January 22, 2009
Source

The UN’s special torture rapporteur called on the US Tuesday to pursue former president George W. Bush and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak said, in remarks to be broadcast on Germany’s ZDF television Tuesday evening.

He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it.

“We have all these documents that are now publicly available that prove that these methods of interrogation were intentionally ordered by Rumsfeld,” against detainees at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nowak said.

“But obviously the highest authorities in the United States were aware of this,” added Nowak, who authored a UN investigation report on the Guantanamo prison.

Bush stepped down from power Tuesday, with Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States.

Asked about chances to bring legal action against Bush and Rumsfeld, Nowak said: “In principle yes. I think the evidence is on the table.”

At issue, however, is whether “American law will recognise these forms of torture.”

A bipartisan Senate report released last month found Rumsfeld and other top administration officials responsible for abuse of Guantanamo detainees in US custody.

It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the Guantanamo prison, although he ruled them out a month later.

The coercive measures were based on a document signed by Bush in February, 2002.

French, German and US rights groups have previously said they wanted to bring legal action against Rumsfeld.

Go to source for video from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Jan. 21, 2009.

Obama Revokes Bush
Executive Order on Presidential Archives

Forces release of Bush Records!

By Hal Turner
January 21, 2009
Source

“Hal Turner Show” — Washington, DC — Barack Obama today revoked President George W. Bush’s Executive Order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office!

This would be the first logical step for his Administration to take if they were/are considering going after Bush for criminal prosecution over. . . . . the fraud he perpetrated against the nation by lying to take us to war in Iraq.

The very last section of Obama’s Executive Order issued today (Here) states “Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked.” This puts up for public consumption, most of the records from the Bush administration and I suspect those records will provide the legal basis for criminal prosecution of Bush and Cheney.

George W. may want to jump on a plane and head to his family’s 100,000 acre refuge in Paraguay so he can be safe from extradition!

Personally, I would LOVE to see Bush criminally prosecuted and, if found guilty, hung by his neck just like Saddam Hussein.
Executive Order 13233
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents. It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001. Section 13 of Order 13233 revoked Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989. The Order was partially struck down in October 2007, and President Barack Obama completely revoked it by executive order on January 21, 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13233

Related here

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Gilad Atzmon – Interview

January 22, 2009


Conversation with Gilad Atzmon, world-renowned Jazzist: Bring justice to the Israeli criminals, today!

Palestine Think Tank
Wed, 21 Jan 2009
Source

Interview by: Kourosh Ziabari, MMN

Gilad Atzmon is unique in his stance, unprecedented in his voice and unequivocal in his statements. As an Israel-born jazz musician and anti-Zionist activist, he propagates and chants his anti-Israeli contemplations explicitly and once he finds the opportunity.

As a musician who plays soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, clarinet, sol, zurna and flute, Atzmon has won several international awards so far, including the BBC Jazz Award 2003, and is considered as one of the most prosperous artists of his rank.

In the position of an anti-Zionist activist, despite being Israeli originally, Gilad Atzmon incessantly denounces his belonging to the Jewish state and proclaims that he merely was born there and no more, which was perceptibly out of his knack and election, and that he feels no sympathy, compassion or nostalgia toward the occupying state of Israel.

During the past years, he has written a stack of articles and given a batch of lectures, performs regularly to condemn the historical belligerence of Israel in the occupied territories of Palestine and currently is lobbying dynamically by traveling to different countries so as to augment the cognition of public opinions about the massacre of Gaza and the butchery of innocent civilians, children and women in the strip.

In his recent trip to Greece, which he departed for a few days ago, Atzmon conducted quite a lot of interviews and appeared on a number of TV, Radio programs so as to express his sharp censure of Israeli genocides in Gaza. He believes that the people of Greece are hopefully much more knowledgeable, well-informed and that’s why they have made great efforts to convey their sympathy and patronage to the people in Gaza.

Following is the full text of an exclusive interview with Gilad Atzmon in which a variety of topics related to the ongoing slaughter of Gaza, Israeli crimes against humanity and the necessity of holding a trial for the Israeli officials in a just and objective international court is discussed:

Kourosh Ziabari: First, I would like to ask your opinion about the ongoing conflict of Gaza which some named “the most catastrophic battle” in the last decade. What’s your idea about the carnage of civilians, children, women and infants in Gaza?

Gilad Atzmon: What we see in Gaza is holocaust denial in its making. The Jewish state exercises hardcore barbarism. Yet, the world keeps silent. Once again we are confronted with the realization that giving a mandate for a national home for the Jewish people has been demonstrated to be a grave lethal mistake. The only question is how to dismantle this monstrous suicidal hawkish creature without turning our planet into a fireball.

Kourosh Ziabari: You criticize the Israeli state so sharply; nevertheless, you may have noted that the Israeli media and statesmen simply stick a label of “traitor” to each of the Israeli citizens, journalists, professors or rhetoricians who uses to blame the Jewish state for its butcheries and onslaughts. How do you solve this?

Gilad Atzmon: To start with, it is not such a bad thing to be a ‘traitor’ in a murderous state. However, I do not regard myself as an Israeli. I was born there but I haven’t lived or visited there for many years. Once I realized that I was residing on stolen land as an oppressor I packed my saxes and left. To a certain extent, I can be regarded as a ‘proud self hating Jew’. I am full of shame of myself and those who were my co-nationals. I talk about my shame; I write about it and compose music trying to deal with it.

Kourosh Ziabari: Israeli officials claim that they are just seeking retaliation by attacking the bases of Hamas, merely killing the individuals of army and military. In the other side, they disallow the entrance of journalists and media correspondents into the occupied Gaza Strip and ban them from broadcasting the reality. How can they justify this contradiction? Why they don’t allow the journalists into Gaza if they are righteous about their pretensions?

Gilad Atzmon: I do not think that Israelis are concerned at all with contradictions or logical discrepancies. Israelis are not concerned at all with their image either.

I will try to elaborate. Israel is now the largest Jewish Ghetto ever. The Jewish Ghetto is basically a place where Jews can celebrate their symptoms collectively among themselves, without being shy about what they say, think or feel. Israel has already surrounded itself with gigantic walls just to give segregation a real significant meaning. And yet, the Israeli Jewish Ghetto is very different from the East European one. While in the European Ghetto the Jews were intimidated by their surrounding reality, in the Israeli Ghetto the Jews intimidate others. They insist that the entire Middle East must be kept in a state of constant anxiety.

The Ghetto mentality is a very helpful analytic tool. It helps us, for instance, to grasp why Prime Minister Olmert allowed himself to brag in public about humiliating President Bush and Secretary of State Rice. In the Ghetto Jews feel safe, they can speak their mind while being pretty sure that nothing would leak out to the Goyim. In the Ghetto only one logic applies, the Jewish logic.

However, in the 1950’s PM Ben Gurion adopted the Jewish Ghetto framework into an Israeli political mantra which he eloquently articulated as follows: “It doesn’t matter what the Goyim say, the only thing that matters is what the Jews do”. Seemingly, the Jewish Ghetto mantra à la Ben Gurion succeeded in separating the Israelis from the rest of humanity. But it goes further, as we see in Gaza and in any Israeli conflict; it detaches the Hebraic paradigm from any notion of humanist ethics.

This very philosophy is translated easily into Israeli lethal military pragmatism. ‘It obviously doesn’t really matter what the UN or world’s media thinks, all that matters is what the IDF does’.

Now, I will try to address the foreign Journalist topic. Israeli military leaders knew in advance that Gaza was about to become a bloodbath for Palestinian civilians. They obviously knew in advance the weaponry they were about to employ. The last thing they needed was foreign journalists reporting to their media outlets about a massacre in Gaza. World media and the ‘right to know’ is not an Israeli interest. In the Jewish Ghetto state, all that matters is what the IDF is doing.

The Israelis wanted to finish their job first, to kill many Palestinians, to destroy Gaza and to dismantle its infrastructure so they retrieve their power of deterrence which they have lost many years ago. Journalists reporting from Gaza could simply stand in the way.

Kourosh Ziabari: given such an intricate description, what’s the main reason, in your view, for Israel blocking the humanitarian aid ships heading to Gaza? Is there something wrong with the admittance of foods, medicine and first aid to a multitude of people who do not have the least access to the outside world?

Gilad Atzmon: The answer is almost etymological. Talking about ‘Humanitarian effort’ presumes a deep familiarity with the notion of humanism. Since Israelis have zero commitment to ethics or universal humanism, we cannot expect them to succumb to any humanitarian effort or humanist issue. In the last few days, Israel bombarded hospitals, schools, refugee centers and UN aid distribution centers. We better admit it: the Jewish state is a boiling criminal setting with no comparison. We cannot and should not expect them to follow a humanist call. We should instead anticipate Israel to perform as embodiment of the ultimate evil, and sadly, I must say, they indeed never disappoint here.

Kourosh Ziabari: The employment of white phosphorus in the bombs that the Israeli army unleashes on the heads of civilians and their houses in Gaza seems to be an evident violation of international regulations and the Geneva Convention, significantly. Is there any way of recompensing these war crimes?

Gilad Atzmon: I am not a legal expert so cannot address this question properly. However, it is very interesting to note that in spite of large worldwide condemnation of Israel for using white phosphorus bombs, the Israeli army didn’t stop employing this tactic, and it’s not the first time they’ve used unconventional weapons against civilians in the face of international outrage. Every day we see those lethal bombs bursting over civilian targets. Once again we see that it doesn’t matter at all what the Goyim say, all that matters is what the Jews do, i.e., kill Palestinian civilians. I would further add that the Israelis lament in continuation about “potential” weapons of mass destruction that other nations might have, it seems to be pathetic while possessing an obscene arsenal of nuclear warheads themselves. If they have no regard for international law, why would they care what world opinion is?

Kourosh Ziabari: Provisionally, even if the war ends now and Israel withdraws from the occupied territories, the result of fatal conflict is more than 1300 dead people and 70% of the infrastructure, buildings, public places has been destroyed. How the real justice could be administered about Israel and its crimes against humanity?

Gilad Atzmon: Again, I am not a legal expert. Yet I do not hold my breath. However, my subject of study is Jewish and Israeli identity. I am interested in the metaphysics of the Israeli genocidal inclination. I am elaborating on the Identity that can inflict so much pain and carnage on innocent civilians. I am interested in the banality of evil as exposed by Israel’s ultimate barbarism and the Jewish institutional support of that evil around the world. I believe that once we start to realize what we are up against, we may know how to fight it. I honestly do not believe in international tribunals.A general widely accepted acknowledgment that the Jewish state is nothing but crude barbarism seems to me far more effective.

Kourosh Ziabari: For the last question, what’s your message, as an Israeli artist, to the people of Palestine; those mothers who have lost their children or those traumatized children who undergo the aftershocks of losing their parents?

Gilad Atzmon: My Dearest brothers and sisters. It is heartbreaking to watch the death and carnage inflicted on you by the Jewish state. We all see what you are going through and we all know that justice is on your side. I beg you not to lose hope. Evil always comes to an end and Israeli evil is no different. Israel will come to an end though we may have to do something to bring this end about.

However, one thing is rather clear. The so called ‘liberal’ west failed to save you, sadly enough; the Arab states failed to join your struggle yet. As sad as it may be, as much as justice is on your side, you are alone here confronted with the ultimate evil.

Israel has many bombs in its arsenal. But you Palestinian brothers and sisters have a few things they do not have: Justice is in your side, humanity is in your streets, you have the spirit and you have the ultimate bomb, namely the demographic one.

Palestine is the land, Israel is a state;
States come and go, land stays forever.
Long live Palestine.