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Home arrow Blog arrow February 2008 arrow February 28, 2008

February 28, 2008
WAWA Blog February 28, 2008: WAKE UP AMERICA INDEED! CONNECT THESE DOTS and an Update from today's Haaretz, 9AM EST
 
Something bad is happening to us
By Haaretz Editorial
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/957536.html

Three years ago, the CBS television network broadcast photos of American soldiers abusing prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The horrifying pictures led to the trials of eight soldiers, dismissals and a storm of outrage in America. At the trial of one prison guard, who was sentenced to eight years in jail, a psychologist gave his evaluation: that the man was an entirely ordinary person, without any particular violent tendencies, who served as a guard for many years in civilian life but never behaved sadistically toward American prisoners. The situation of occupier and occupied, as opposed to that of citizen versus citizen, causes ordinary people to become violent and lose restraint. At Abu Ghraib, the trial found, there was institutionalized contempt at every level. The prison guards understood that "this is the way to behave here."

Last night, the investigative television program "Fact" broadcast pictures of our own Abu Ghraib affair. It is doubtful whether a country that has grown used to 40 years of occupation, and the stories that accompany it, will be shocked. We have become accustomed to treating the Palestinians as inferior people. Generations come and go, and new soldiers abuse the residents of occupied Hebron in almost the same manner. Stories similar to those broadcast last night were exposed by the Breaking the Silence group three years ago. The saying "occupation corrupts" has become a slogan of the left instead of a warning signal to everyone.

This time, it was regular soldiers in the Kfir Brigade. They exposed their backsides and sexual organs to Palestinians, pressed an electric heater to the face of a young boy, beat young boys senseless, recorded everything on their mobile phones and sent it to their friends. One of their "mischievous acts" was to test how long a Palestinian who was being choked could survive without breathing. When he passed out, the experiment was stopped. The soldiers described activities to "break the routine" that consisted entirely of abuse. It was enough for a boy "to look at us the wrong way" for him to be beaten.
 
Earlier, at the trial of First Lieutenant Yaakov Gigi, officers spoke of burnout, of "something bad happening to the brigade," of a Wild West, of a moral crisis. The commander of the brigade, Colonel Itai Virov, said "we failed on several parameters." His words reflect a denial of the depth of the failure. This continuing routine, far from the eyes of the commanders, must lead to a series of investigations, and perhaps to dismissals as well. It is unconscionable for the head of the Hebron Brigade, the division commander, the GOC Central Command and even the chief of staff to ignore the ongoing behavior of soldiers in the brigade responsible for routine security in the West Bank. Colonel Virov admitted that there was a conspiracy of silence in the brigade - in other words, a norm of abuse and its concealment. To change norms, one has to shock and be shocked, not be satisfied with a few imprisonments and empty words about a loss of values.

Perfectly ordinary people, as the American psychologist said of the Abu Ghraib abusers, are capable of behaving like monsters when they receive a message from the top that it is permissible to abuse, beat, choke, burn, make people miserable and generally do anything that man's evil genius is capable of inventing to others who are under their control. Something bad is happening to us, they are saying in the Kfir Brigade. That "something" is the occupation.



On January 5, 2006 in the afternoon I traveled to Ramallah and to the Headquarters of ADAMEER [Arabic for conscience] and was blown away about more of the injustice inflicted upon Palestinians by the Israeli Justice system.

I met with Ala Jaradat of the organization ADAMEER [ http://www.ADDAMEER.ORG] who is a slightly built man who delivered a powerful message in a soft spoken voice:

"Since 1967, 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested and detained. That totals 20% of the total population and 80% of all adult Palestinian males have been arrested.

“Most of these arrests occur after midnight when large numbers of IDF storm into neighborhoods or refugee camps, horrifying everyone and arresting anyone 14 years or older. Sometimes they storm into business offices and arrest the breadwinners of the families without any charges.

"These arrests and detentions are based on military orders; we live under a kind of Marshall Law which rules every aspect of Palestinian life: where we live, our license plates that restrict our movement and limited voting rights. Under these military orders the Israeli government is free to hold anyone eight days without accusations or charges. They can hold anyone up to 180 days for interrogation and up to 60 days without benefit of a lawyer.

”The Israeli government never agreed to the Second Geneva Convention, the Knesset never ratified it, and when it comes to the Occupied Territories they totally ignore it. Israel is the only State that approved torture of detainees. I know there are dictators who use torture, but Israel is the only State that supported torture until 1999. That is when International, Israeli and Palestinian pressure groups forced the issue and Barack was confronted about it when he visited the United States.

“The IDF will round up and arrest family members and use threats against their relatives to force confessions. The interrogations lead to Military Trials which is theoretically like court with three Judges presiding but only one is required to have an education and a law degree is not at all necessary. The Military Commander appoints the translators, issues all orders, assigns the judges, and has total control. One appeal is allowed, but if the judges are settlers the Palestinian is in deep shit!

“Administrative Detentions are issued by the Military Commander for a period of six months and the reason is always labeled ‘Security’ and the charges can be renewed indefinitely. One Palestinian spent eight years under Administrative detention and hundreds have endured four or more years. Today fifty are being held for the past four years. They may be released for a day or two and then they are rearrested because they are social or political activists but reasons are not given by the Israeli government.


“At any given moment 10% of those in prison are under Administrative Detention. There are currently 8,000 prisoners and 800 of them are under Administrative Detention. The government does not have to inform anyone about these arrests except the Red Cross and only if they are imprisoned over two weeks, but most arrests go unreported.

“Any Palestinian under the age of 16 is tried as an adult, but for an Israeli Jew it is 18 years of age. Under 12 years old the child can be arrested but not detained. Over 12 they can be arrested, detained, interrogated, prosecuted and sentenced for throwing stones.

“Most of the Israeli Jews that are imprisoned are in for violent crimes against society and they are mixed in with the Palestinian population. The guards encourage them to do what ever they want to do against the Palestinian population. This is an open invitation by the Israeli government to incite violence and terror in the prison system. We have sworn affidavits from Palestinians claiming it was the guards who encouraged the violence inflicted upon them.

“In August 2004 the Palestinians went on a hunger strike to raise awareness of this problem and the Minister of Health who is responsible for them stated publicly: ‘Our hospitals are off limits to them They can all starve themselves to death.’

“No human rights organizations are allowed access to the prisoners. Only lawyers and the Red Cross can visit them but have no access to the facilities where they are detained.

“The methods and photos from Abu Grahib and Guantanamo were no shock to any Palestinian who had been in prison between 1967 and the ‘80’s. All the methods used in Abu Grahib were normal procedures against Palestinians. In 1999 Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis for human rights threatened a boycott against Israel and that is what forced the Supreme Court to address the torture issue. They did not ban
torture and the General Prosecutor can choose not to prosecute those who still use it."





 
From an email from Rev. Stephen Sizer/ TLS : THE LIVING STONES: An informal network of friends of the indigenous Christian community promoting justice, peace and reconciliation in the Middle East:

Of Republicans, the End Times and Israel

For the past few weeks we've been running an article [http://www.countercurrents.org/moody201207.htm]by Christian Policy Institute's [ http://www.christianpolicyinstitute.org/] Stan Moody,  on the extremist Christian Zionist views of long-shot Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee. 

Most notable in Moody' article was the revelation that Huckabee favors a Palestinian state -- in Saudi Arabia or Egypt!  Those who are acquainted with the teachings of the extremist wing of the Christian Zionist movement headed by CUFI's, [ http://www.cufi.org/site/ ] John Hagee, will immediately recognize one of their primary contentions, which is that Palestinians have no valid claim to the land they  currently inhabit.  It makes no difference that this is the land of their or their forbearers'' birth.   According to biblical promises it all belongs to the world's Jewish community -- the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the whole shebang.  God gave it to them.  It's theirs to do with as they see fit.  For Huckabee this suggests the mass removal of Palestinians to other parts of the Arab world.   Huckabee  favors ethnic cleansing!  


What is behind this is the belief harbored by extremist Christian Zionists that the second coming of Jesus Christ is related to the Jewish re-possession of the biblical lands of Israel and re-building of the Temple in Jerusalem on the site currently occupied by two of Islam's holiest mosques.  Political expediency, of course,  dictates that people like John Hagee and Mike Huckabee deny that this End Time's theology has anything to do with their support for Israel.   But in point of fact it does, as anyone who has read Hagee's, Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World,  is well aware.

No one would accuse the current Republican presidential front-runner, John McCain, of being an extremist Christian Zionist.  He is not, like Huckabee,  a darling of the Christian right.  Many in this camp, including Focus on the Family's, James Dobson, say they will not under any circumstances give him their support.  

Yet according to John Hagee, McCain is firmly in the Christian Zionist camp. He has, in fact, apparently endorsed not only Hagee's insistence on unconditional support for Israel, but also  his more extremist views on the End Times.  At the very least he has done nothing to repudiate them.


 Here is an excerpt from a piece done by Bruce Wilson a year ago (Feb. 23, 2007) that appeared on the blogsite, AlterNet, raising the right questions about McCain's ties to the extremist Christian Zionist, John Hagee.  It makes for chilling reading.

John Hubers

http://www.christianzionism.org

McCain Courts "Apocalypse Pastor" Hagee

Posted by Bruce Wilson (on Alternet.org) at 7:19 AM on February 23, 2007.

    TIM RUSSERT: So we could have two wars at once?

    SEN. McCAIN: I think we could have Armageddon.

    - John McCain, on the Iran crisis. April 2nd 2006, on Meet The Press.

A few weeks ago, to little notice, Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, founder of the new "apocalypse now!" national lobbying group CUFI met with Presidential candidate and US Senator John McCain and, over breakfast, discussed Israel and "other matters" Pastor Hagee declined to detail in the email he sent out to members of the CUFI mailing list because "This newsflash goes to the ends of the earth and I don't want to read it in the media tomorrow". At July 19th, 2006 Washington DC inaugural event for CUFI, after recorded greeting from George W. Bush, with four US Senators and the Israeli ambassador to the US in attendance, Pastor John Hagee stated : "the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."

So, what were the "secret matters" John Hagee and John McCain discussed last January 29th ? And, why is Senator McCain seeking political support from an advocate for apocalyptic war ?

Pastor Hagee's email to members of CUFI :

    "CHRISTIANS UNITED FOR ISRAEL

    Membership Update

    January 29, 2007



    This morning I had an extended breakfast with Senator John McCain of Arizona.  Our topic of discussion was Israel and his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States of America.

    Senator McCain's comments concerning Israel are on target!  He gets it!  While I do not want to put the specifics of our conversation in this update I am glad to report to our leadership and supporters that John McCain is solidly pro-Israel.

    We discussed his positions on other matters that I will share with you when I speak with you in person.  This newsflash goes to the ends of the earth and I don't want to read it in the media tomorrow."

UPDATE:

http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/959110.html


 U.S. pro-Israel evangelical leader Hagee endorses McCain
By Reuters


Republican presidential candidate John McCain won the endorsement of pro-Israel evangelical leader John Hagee on Wednesday, which could boost his standing among religious conservatives who have been reluctant to embrace the likely nominee.

Hagee, who heads a 19,000-member church in San Antonio, Texas, is best known for his outspoken support of Israel and writings on the Middle East, where he envisions a blood-soaked clash between East and West leading to the return of Jesus Christ.

"I'm very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement today," McCain said at a news conference. "He has been the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement in many areas, but especially, most especially, his close ties and advocacy for the freedom and independence of the state of Israel."
 
Hagee, standing beside the candidate, said he admired McCain's pro-Israel stance, commitment to nominate conservative judges and opposition to abortion.

"Victory is within our grasp because John McCain knows it's never wrong to do the right thing," Hagee said.

Christian conservatives are an important part of the Republican base, but many have so far been reluctant to support the Arizona senator.

Coast-to-coast primary victories on Feb. 5 made McCain the all-but-certain Republican nominee, but many evangelicals continue to support rival Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor. Several conservative Christian leaders have said they will not vote for McCain in November if he is the nominee.

McCain's support for the Iraq war and fierce criticism of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won praise from Hagee, who has brought thousands of evangelical Christians to Washington to lobby on Israel's behalf.

Hagee has written that events in the Middle East point to an imminent apocalypse Christians should welcome.

In his book "Jerusalem Countdown: A Warning to the World," Hagee predicts Russian and Arab armies will invade Israel and be destroyed by God. Israel will then be the site of a battle between China and the West, which will be led by the anti-Christ in his role as head of the European Union. Jesus Christ will return to Earth in the final battle, he writes.

The book also claims Adolph Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church joined in a conspiracy to destroy the Jews.

"Our support of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with an end times prophetic scenario," Hagee told reporters. "They are a democracy in the Middle East that deserves the support of America and the Christian people of America."

McCain said on his campaign plane that he was not familiar with Hagee's writings. "I think he's a fine leader and I appreciate his commitment to Israel," McCain said.


   
 
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