15 Jan 2012

'Israel jails worse than Nazi camps'

A Palestinian official says Palestinian prisoners are subjected to the most inhumane treatment and are tortured in Israeli prisons, which are even more gruesome than Nazi concentration camps.In an interview with Iran's Fars News Agency on Sunday, Palestinian Minister for Captives Affairs Ataollah Abu Sabah said of the 44,000 Palestinian inmates currently languishing in Israeli prisons, seven are women and 23 are members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Abu Sabah described the desert prison of Naqab (Negev), where the detainees are kept in tents, as the Israeli regime's worst prison. Last year, an Israeli TV station released video footage of Palestinian detainees being tortured by Israeli troops in the notorious Naqab prison in 2008, as a result of which one Palestinian died and several others sustained injuries. The Palestinian official further confirmed reports that the relatives of the inmates and sometimes even their lawyers are forced to strip and are interrogated. In late December 2010, a human rights group called Public Committee against Torture in Israel revealed that Palestinian detainees are systematically denied the right to meet a lawyer during interrogations. Being shackled to chairs for long periods, sleep deprivation, intimidation, torture and excruciating detention conditions are some of the instances documented by the rights group in its report. Abu Sabah went on to add that stripping captives in the subzero cold in the winter is one of the most common torture methods of the Israeli regime. The ill captives, he said, are deprived of even the most basic medical treatment, adding that the inmates suffering from medical conditions are not few in number and face gradual death in the regime's prison. Israel has some secret prisons where it keeps some of the first captives of the Resistance Movement, Abu Sabah said, adding that the regime has even abducted activists from other Arab countries, whose fate is unknown. Israel Prison Service (IPS) Director Aharon Franco announced in October that there are several prisons in Israel, including Damon prison, Ramle's Neve Tirza prison, and the Ma'asiyahu prison, that are no longer fit for inmates. Franco also said the standard in the US is to allocate eight meters of space for each inmate and the standard is six meters in Europe. In Israel, however, just four meters are allocated for each inmate. Source

Russia slams US anti-terror law

Russia sees the latest US anti-terror legislation as a violation of international law in general and provisions of the 1966 International Civil and Political Liberties Pact in particular. 
On December 31, 2011 President Barack Obama signed a Congress approved law that will allow terror suspects to be held indefinitely- even raising the prospects of US citizens being sent to Guantanamo Bay. Source. An interesting comment was "Russia is now a bigger ‘democracy’ than the US, because in Russia you cant be indefinitely detained."

Surviving in Gaza: Fishing as a feat

In Gaza people fish under the guns of Israeli naval ships and the latter open fire on boats every now and then. But people living in this bombed besieged area don’t have a choice. Fishermen keep going out to the sea each night. In Gaza thousands of boats go out to the sea and line up along the horizon at dawn. From the land one can see them by their dim lights. In conflict with naval laws, the Israeli authorities prohibit going beyond three miles off shore, and there aren’t many fish there. But the fishermen’s equipment has long grown outdated and been destroyed during the arrests of their boats so they stay within sight of the shore and stay close together. A bit further away from them, Israeli naval ships also line up. One can easily see them from the shore as well. During my stay in Gaza, servicemen were shooting at boats every other day and the next morning Western media would report that an illegal border crossing or a terrorist attack had been prevented. As a rule, names weren’t given though. After a night like that, I came to the port of Gaza.
Presently it’s just a ground dam with thousands of fishing boats tied down to it. All port constructions have been destroyed in air attacks. Palestinians have decided not to rebuild it for now, as it would only last till another major shelling. Fathers with children were walking along the dam. Some were sitting with their fishing rods. It turned out nobody had been killed or arrested last night. Fishermen were unloading their catch from their boats. One fisherman put some nice crabs out on top of stones, and sorted out his catch – five boxes of itMazin abu Riala is 40. He’s been fishing since his childhood. His father taught him to go out to sea. At first Mazin didn’t want to be on camera, and there was an unexpected reason for it: “Just look at my beard! We’ve forgotten how to take care of ourselves properly. I cannot provide for my family. When do I find time to shave?” Mazin waved at his five boxes in disappointment. “We can’t really catch much this close to the shore! See, I wasn’t the only one catching these fish,” he pointed at four people untangling their nets inside the boat. “These are my brothers, and they also have to feed their families. We also have parents who are in need as well. On top of that, we have to pay 500 shekels for fuel.” There’s an opinion that Palestinians are so poor because they are lazy and don’t like working. “We put to sea at three o’ clock in the morning and now it’s already two in the afternoon. We’ve been fishing for eleven hours but look how small our catch is. We also need to sell these fish,” the fishermen said. The fish market is nearby. It’s hard to mix it up with anything because of the typical smell. The market building is big. It’s so big that all the fishermen in Gaza are unlikely to fill it in with their daily catches.

“Ninety-seven per cent of all fish in Gaza come from markets in Egypt rather than from our nets. How many fish can we catch near the shore?" Mazin sighed. His fish are certainly better and fresher but the catch is too small for him to live off. Just like his fellow-fishermen, Mazin sells his fish wholesale at wholesale prices.
It’s good if fishermen return home from their night duty. Indeed, they should keep their eyes open. Should they lose their vigilance slightly, their boats can be attacked and then they will be arrested together with their boats and fish.
Mazin abu Riala says the Israeli patrol has detained him three times. First, they arrested and threatened him. Then they took him to Ashdot where they threw him in prison for 11 days. A court sentenced him and his cousin to fines worth 20,000 shekels.
“We sailed the three permitted miles away from the shore. We muffled our engine and started fishing. The wind carried us off course only slightly but that was enough for patrol officers to detain us. The other fishing boats sailed one mile farther into the sea but they let them go. When I asked the officer why we had been arrested, he said, 'Can you as fisherman catch all the fish in the sea? We cannot catch everybody either.'”
Fishing restrictions in the autonomy are becoming more and more rigid every year. This is one of the reasons why the Free Gaza movement is stepping up efforts to break Gaza’s sea blockade. At least, this is how the movement’s organizers are formulating their task.
Fish and other sea creatures are considered delicacies in Gaza. There were no other visitors in the fish restaurant where I dined at the invitation of a group of UN doctors. In fact, it’s only foreigners who can afford this luxury. I didn’t see meat a single time in eight days. Most Palestinians eat meat only at holidays. Affluent and well-off people can afford to have chicken regularly.
The daily menu of most Gaza residents consists of rice and bread. They eat them and feel very happy if they manage to find any job. Five thousand local workshops were bombed and destroyed during the 2008-2009 military campaign but it’s impossible to rebuild and relaunch them under the conditions of the blockade.
This is why all fishermen in Gaza without exception put to sea every night. At least they have a job, although it can be dangerous. Source

Britain Is institutionally racist - The Agenda

Following the sentencing of two racist thugs for the murder of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago, the UK has been forced to re-examine its attitudes towards racism. In the same week a Manchester student from India was shot dead for no other reason than the colour of his skin but it was the slow approach by the police in handling the case which again forced the questions about institutional racism and the police and Britain's legacy as a former colonial superpower. Black MP Diane Abbott caused a storm of protest when she said white people found it instinctive to divide and rule and she was forced to apologize for his comments made on Twitter. But what the last week has done is to put Britain under the spotlight as individuals, as communities, institutes, establishments and as a nation over attitudes towards race, colour and culture. In this edition of the show we ask: Britain: Is it institutionally racist? Source

White House Won’t Back Internet Censorship in Anti-Piracy Bills

The Obama administration wont back legislation to combat online piracy if it encourages censorship, undermines cybersecurity or disrupts the structure of the Internet, three White House technology officials said.
Their statement, posted yesterday on the White House website, was a response to online petitions on legislative proposals to combat online piracy. The movie and music industries support such measures as a means of cracking down on theft.
“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” Aneesh Chopra, Victoria Espinel and Howard Schmidt wrote in a blog post.
The statement marks the administration’s most significant foray into a fight between content creators and Internet companies that has been playing out in Congress. The Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote Jan. 24 on starting debate on an anti-piracy bill.
Chopra is the U.S. chief technology officer, Espinel is the coordinator for intellectual property enforcement in the Office of Management and Budget, and Schmidt is the White House cybersecurity coordinator.
The officials called on Congress to pass legislation this year to combat online piracy. They also wrote that the White House would soon be hosting a conference call with supporters of the petitions as well as an online event.
House Chairman’s Statement
U.S. Representative Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said his Stop Online Piracy Act meets the administration’s tests. Smith announced on Jan. 13 that he would remove a provision that would require Internet service providers, when ordered by a court, to block access to non-U.S. websites offering pirated content or counterfeit goods. The bill’s opponents say this could hurt the domain-name system.
In a statement yesterday, Smith said that censorship doesn’t include enforcing laws against “foreign thieves” who steal content.
“Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while some of America’s most profitable and productive industries are under attack,” said Smith, a Texas Republican.
Internet Companies Opposed
Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and other Internet companies oppose Smith’s bill and companion legislation in the Senate. They say it will promote online censorship and threaten the growth of the U.S. technology industry.
The Motion Picture Association of America, which supports anti-piracy efforts, applauded the White House call for legislation.
“For too long in this debate, those that seek to preserve and profit from the status quo have moved to obstruct reasonable legislation,” said Michael O’Leary, the group’s senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs.
O’Leary said in the statement that “meaningful” legislation “must include measured and reasonable remedies that include ad brokers, payment processors and search engines.” Members of the Washington-based MPAA include the studio arms of The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.
Hearing Postponed
Representative Darrell Issa said yesterday that he would postpone a hearing on the bill that had been scheduled for Jan. 18. Even with the changes made by Smith, Issa said, the bill is still “fundamentally flawed.”
Issa, a California Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he has assurances from House leaders that the bill won’t go to the floor without a consensus. He has proposed an alternative approach.
“The voice of the Internet community has been heard,” Issa said in a statement. “Much more education for members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal.”
Smith’s bill is H.R. 3261. The Senate bill is S. 968. Source

Appeasement Arrives: Joint US-Israel Exercise Postponed For "Budget Reasons", US Will Not Enforce No Fly Zone Over Syria

Tyler Durden's picture
First we had news that out of the blue, the Western embargo against Iranian oil exports would be delayed by 6 months, and now, in the aftermath of last night's developments out of Iran which blamed the CIA for the murder of its nuclear scientist we get this (from Bloomberg):
And just so it doesn't look like a total cave in:
As a reminder Iran made it very clear an escalation in joint US-Israel war game cooperation would be met with yet another miliary exercise out of Iran.
And in other news, in response to the latest discovery that Russia not only was using Syrian ports to park its military ships, but to supply the locals with ammunition we get this:
So how long until the word "appeasement" makes its way into the popular jargon yet again. Source

US / UK Foreign Policy - Afshin Rattansi

This week we talk to someone who was in Tony Blair's cabinet about the Arab Spring and how Britain gets into wars around the world. Us president Obama forgives and teams up with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Qatar's royal family orders a presenter from its TV station to take over Saudi Arabia. The honorable Michael Meacher; British Member of Parliament gives us his insight into Britain's role in the world and his experience of working for Tony Blair. Source

Silver in the hands of the people, Plata en las manos de la gente

Resumen de la conferencia impartada por Hugo Salinas Price en Enero de 2011," How to monetize silver so that it can circulate permanently in parallel with paper and digital money" Cheviot. Musica, Music:world is waiting for a sunrise_ Les Paul Mary Ford ShowSilver Essay by Hugo Salinas Price, toda la informacion aqua:

Romania clashes video: Anti-cuts protests turn violent in Bucharest

There have been violent scenes in the Romanian capital Bucharest between police and protestors demonstrating over health service cuts. Nine people were injured, as officers used tear gas while some in the crowd threw petrol bombs. Thousands have been taking to the streets across the country, angry at more government austerity measures needed to get new financial help from the International Monetary Fund. Opponents say the already outdated medical system will be further worsened and living standards reduced. Source

Hungary far right demands exit from EU, burns flag at rally

Thousands protested against the EU Saturday at a rally of the far-right Jobbik party, calling for Hungary's exit from the bloc and adding pressure on the government which is seeking a funding deal with the EU and IMF to avert insolvency.

Two MPs of Jobbik, the second biggest opposition party in Hungarian parliament, set an European Union flag on fire at the protest in front of the European Commission offices in Budapest.

"This week the EU declared war on Hungary in a very harsh and open way," Csanad Szegedi, a Jobbik member of European Parliament told the crowd of around 2,000 demonstrators.

After talks with lenders were derailed last month over a set of disputed laws, a plunging forint currency and spiking bond yields forced Prime Minister Viktor Orban's conservative government to back down and try to seek a fast agreement. Orban is now reluctantly trying to make amends to lenders in order to secure a funding deal, which Hungary needs to be able to finance its debts from markets at a time when its economy is heading for a possible recession this year.The EU has piled pressure on the government to change controversial legislation on its central bank and judiciary, and even raised the prospect of suspending vital EU funds to the economy if Orban does not make budget deficit cuts sustainable. Orban also came under pressure from the United States which voiced concerns over democratic freedoms, after his Fidesz party pushed ahead to pass measures which critics say weaken public institutions such as the top court, and cement Fidesz' powers. Many supporters of nationalist Jobbik believe the government should not bow to international pressure.

"Since we joined the EU we have not seen any advantages from that, Hungary should go its own way and keep its national sovereignty," Attila Gyalog, 24, said at the rally. "Not only us, but many other countries believe now that they could be better off outside the EU," said Gyorgy Lillik, 63. Hungary will have to change course in a significant way for the Commission to give the green light to aid talks. The EU's executive is expected to announce its verdict on some key Hungarian laws next week when it finishes its legal analysis. Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi told daily Nepszabadsag on Saturday the government would examine the EU's concerns and will do its best to settle the disputed issues with an agreement. "For us the most important thing is that we should come to an agreement with the European Commission and IMF as soon as possible," Martonyi said, adding that once talks start, an agreement could be reached within one to three months.


If Orban does not secure a deal with lenders, the punishment from financial markets will be severe and he wants to avoid a full-blown market crisis even though going cap in hands to the IMF is a major political defeat, analysts said. Public support for Fidesz dropped to 16 percent in January according to a poll by Ipsos. The party has lost nearly half of its 2.7 million voters since its sweeping election victory in 2010 which gave the party a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Jobbik had 8 percent support in January, while over half of Hungarians are so disheartened with politics that they would not want to vote for any party.

"If there is no agreement and the forint plummets, then Orban will lose his own core voter base as well," said Zoltan Kiszelly, a political analyst.

Orban has favoured his core middle class voters with a flat tax and family tax breaks, but the record weak forint erases some of those financial gains and scares people, who had seen Hungary go through the 2008 crisis which forced the Socialist government to seek a bailout from the IMF and EU. The Hungarian prime minister, who had previously declared that "Brussels is not Moscow" and having disputes with the EU was acceptable, has very little if any room of maneuver now.

If he strikes a deal with lenders, the forint firms and yields on Hungary's debt fall, Orban could win time to shore up public support. The next election is expected in 2014. Source

Court-martial and life in prison for Bradley Manning?

PFC Bradley Manning is on trial for being accused for leaking classified information to the website WikiLeaks. On Thursday, Manning was recommended by the US military officer presiding over Manning's pre-trial hearing to face a US court-martial for the 22 crimes charged against him. Many critics believe that the US military is making it more difficult for Manning's defense team to get a fair trial. Zack Pesavento, press liaison for the Bradley Manning Support Network, joins us to discuss the latest in Manning's case. Source

Where Is Ron Paul’s Gold?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve visited Congressman Ron Paul’s investment portfolio more than once.
According to his 2010 financial-disclosure form, the most recent one available, the Republican presidential candidate has most of his investments in the stock of gold-mining companies—in addition to other holdings in real estate, cash and “short” funds that rise in value as stock prices fall.
But the most peculiar thing might be what we didn’t find listed: holdings of gold bullion or coins. That would seem to contrast with Rep. Paul’s public statements on his investment strategy.
Rep. Paul’s advocacy of holding gold is well-documented, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he held a significant investment in the physical stuff.
If he does have gold, he’s not listing it on his financial-disclosure forms, which members of congress must file annually. It could be a simple oversight, or Rep. Paul might have indeed unloaded his entire bullion holding just in time to miss a huge runup in gold. Or, he might just think that he doesn’t have to disclose it. A spokeswoman for Rep. Paul didn’t respond to several requests seeking comment.
Rep. Paul has disclosed coin holdings in the past. His 2002 disclosure listed “Coins – Semi-numismatic” as one of his assets, though it didn’t specify their value. “Semi-numismatic” is generally parlance for coins whose value is derived partially from their collectible value but mostly from their bullion content.
The coins disappeared from his form the next year. An earlier look at Rep. Paul’s portfolio by Barron’s found that he reported he held semi-numismatic coins worth between $100,001 and $250,000 on his forms between 1994 and 2002.
Could he have sold them all? Sure. But even though Rep. Paul stopped reporting coin holdings in 2002, he continued to say he owned them in interviews. In an interview with Fox Business Network in 2010, for example, he had this exchange at about the 1:35 mark:
Host: Congressman, do you buy the coins or do you invest in gold-mining shares or do you put your money into a gold mutual fund? How do you do it?
Paul: I over the years have bought coins because I like to, you know, have possession, but no, I’ll buy some gold shares too. Now that’s closer to an investment, because you’re dealing with management and, you know, dealing with…maybe they hit a strike. So that’s an investment and you have to evaluate it. But coins and buying gold … I see it as not so much buying gold and betting on the price of gold going up but betting on our government ruining the value of our money.
That interview would seem to suggest that he still owned and bought coins in 2010.
Experts we spoke to said that it was their understanding that members of congress have to disclose gold and coin holdings.
“If someone just asked me that question, ‘Do I have to disclose gold bullion or something of numismatic value?’, I would say that they have to go on [the form],” says Kenneth Gross, who leads the political law practice at law firm Skadden Arps. He notes that it’s conceivable  Rep. Paul was advised otherwise by a lawyer or ethics committee, but adds, “It seems to me that it’s an investment.”
Another attorney whose practice includes ethics issues in the House of Representatives said that he would similarly expect a gold holding to appear on the form.
Incidentally, if Rep. Paul had had gold holdings worth $100,000 at the end of 2002, when gold traded at around $350 per ounce, it’d be worth around $476,000 now. An investment toward the upper end of the reporting range ($250,000) would be worth almost $1.2 million. Source

CIA Chief Endorses Ron Paul 2012

Dissecting Occupy Wall Street-On the Edge with Max Keiser

Max interviews Danny Schechter; media activist, author and filmmaker. The program starts with a precedent of Danny Schechter's book, "In Debt We Trust" which is about economic meltdown in America. Another book discussed by Schechter was "plunder" which was about Lemon Brothers' collapse. He said the financial story in America is not a business story, it's rather a crime story. Source

UK uses drones, mulls police states

Britain has spent considerable amounts of tax payers' money in the development and purchase of drone aircrafts. It has also entered into an agreement with France to jointly produce a drone in order to cut the costs. It is common knowledge that there is also a very high fail rate in drone accidents and despite the enormous costs involved they will remain in the forefront of military aircraft.......the British Government is now seriously considering the use of drones in the sky over the United Kingdom.......a clear indication of future police states. Source/full story

Everything You Need to Know About Wall Street, in One Brief Tale

Newspapers in Colorado today are reporting that the elegant Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado,  will be closed to the public from today through Monday at noon.
If there was ever a news story that crystalized the moral dementia of modern Wall Street in one little vignette, this is it.

The hotel’s general manager, Tony DiLucia, would say only that the party was being thrown by a "nice family," but newspapers are now reporting that the Daddy of the lucky little gal is one Jeffrey Verschleiser, currently an executive with Goldman, Sachs.

At first,  I couldn't remember how I knew that name. But then I looked it up and saw an explosive Atlantic magazine story, published last year, called, "E-mails Suggest Bear Stearns Cheated Clients Out Of Millions." And then I remembered that piece, and it hit me: Jeffrey Verschleiser is one of the biggest assholes in the entire world!
Source/full story/Matt Taibbi
The story begins at Bear Stearns, where Verschleiser used to work, up until the company exploded, in large part because of him personally.

Copyright gone too far! Richard O'Dwyer: No More Extraditions to USA

Cameron and Clegg should be ashamed of their disgusting betrayal of the British people. UK citizens should not be extradited to the US just because our lickspittle government wants to curry favour with the US. British people who reside in this country should be subject only to the laws of this country. Source

Eric Sprott calls for a silver cartel? SilverFuturist and JackieO

Eric Sprott on cartels: "OPEC... was right that the price of oil was ridiculously cheap. Coming together to control supply was probably one of the more responsible things oil producers did... I think that's what the silver industry should do" http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page32?oid=142113&sn=Detail