Ex-Dutch Prime Minister accuses Israel of terrorism


Ex-Dutch prime minister and Israel critic Andreas Van Agt (Cnaan Liphshiz)

The emotion in Andreas Van Agt’s voice as he lambastes Israel’s behavior seems puzzling for a man of his status. It is especially intriguing when one is reminded that this blue-eyed professed idealist is an astute statesman who presided as the Dutch prime minister for five years, until 1982.

“My involvement in the Middle East is certainly unusual,” Van Agt confessed in an interview with Haaretz at his home in Nijmegen, where he discussed Israel, the Palestinians, European foreign policy, the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

Currently, Van Agt is writing a book about the Israeli-Arab conflict. In December he launched an info-site (www.driesvanagt.nl) about the subject, in which he accuses Israel of brutal treatment of the Palestinians, violating international law and implementing racist policies.

Among other illustrations, the site contains one snapshot of a graffiti slogan said to have been sprayed by Jewish settlers on a Hebron wall, reading: “Arabs to the gas chambers.”

Last year, Van Agt spoke as keynote speaker at a controversial solidarity rally with the Palestinian people in Rotterdam, where he lamented the Dutch boycott of Hamas, calling it wrong “and even stupid.” He has also been outspoken in accusing the Israel Defense Forces of acting like a terrorist organization.

“In my country, people are highly surprised by my demeanor. Some even say it should be ascribed to my advanced age; that I’m not fully in my right mind anymore,” the 77-year-old says with a snicker while sitting under the outdated portrait of the Queen, which hangs on the wall of his modern-style, taupe-colored den.

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Welcome Home, Soldier: Now Shut Up


There are two kinds of courage in war – physical courage and moral courage. Physical courage is very common on the battlefield. Men and women on both sides risk their lives, place their own bodies in harm’s way. Moral courage, however, is quite rare.

According to Chris Hedges, the brilliant New York Times war correspondent who survived wars in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, “I rarely saw moral courage. Moral courage is harder. It requires the bearer to walk away from the warm embrace of comradeship and denounce the myth of war as a fraud, to name it as an enterprise of death and immorality, to condemn himself, and those around him, as killers. It requires the bearer to become an outcast. There are times when taking a moral stance, perhaps the highest form of patriotism, means facing down the community, even the nation.”

More and more U.S. soldiers and Marines, at great cost to their own careers and reputations, are speaking publicly about U.S. atrocities in Iraq, even about the cowardice of their own commanders, who send youth into atrocity-producing situations only to hide from the consequences of their own orders.

In 2007, two brilliant war memoirs – ROAD FROM AR RAMADI by Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, and THE SUTRAS OF ABU GHRAIB by Army Reservist Aidan Delgado – appeared in print. In March 2008, at the Winter Soldier investigation just outside Washington D.C., hard-core U.S. Iraqi veterans, some shaking at the podium, some in tears, unburdened their souls.

Jon Michael Turner described the horrific incident in which, on April 28, 2008, he shot an Iraqi boy in front of his father. His commanding officer congratulated him for “the kill.” To a stunned audience, Turner presented a photo of the boy’s skull, and said: “I am sorry for the hate and destruction I have inflicted on innocent people.”

The Winter Soldier investigation was followed by the publication of COLLATERAL DAMAGE: AMERICA’S WAR AGAINST IRAQI CIVILIANS, by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian. Based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews with Iraqi combat veterans, this pioneering work on the catastrophe in Iraq includes the largest number of eyewitness accounts from U.S. military personnel on record.

The Courage to Resist

We cannot understand the psychological and moral significance of military resistance unless we recognize the social forces that stifle conscience and human individuality in military life. Gwen Dyer, historian of war, writes that ordinarily, “Men will kill under compulsion. Men will do almost anything if they know it is expected of them and they are under strong social pressure to comply.” “Only exceptional people resist atrocity,” writes psychiatrist Robert Lifton.

How much easier it is to surrender to the will of superiors, to merge into the anonymity of the group. It takes uncommon courage to resist military powers of intimidation, peer pressure, and the atmosphere of racism and hate that drives all imperial wars.

Silencing the Witnesses to War

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Guantanamo detainees were tortured, medical exams show


An Afghan detainee is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002. A study of former Guantanamo detainees has unearthed evidence that they were tortured and abused.
(Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)

Medical examinations of suspected militants formerly held by the U.S. military at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba showed evidence of torture and other abuse that resulted in serious injuries and mental disorders, according to a human rights group.

The study, considered the most extensive medical check of former U.S. detainees published so far, also tracked former suspects held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, with similar findings.

For the study, Physicians for Human Rights had doctors and mental health professionals examine 11 former prisoners of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S-based human rights organization says it found evidence of U.S. torture and war crimes, and it accuses U.S. military health professionals of allowing the abuse of detainees, denying detainees medical care and providing confidential medical information to interrogators that was then exploited.

Physicians for Human Rights did not identify the 11 former prisoners to protect their privacy. Seven were held in Abu Ghraib between late 2003 and summer of 2004, a period that coincides with the known torture of prisoners at the hands of some of their U.S. jailers. Four of the prisoners were held at Guantanamo beginning in 2002 for one to almost five years. All 11 were released without charges being laid.

Those examined reported being tortured or abused, including sexually, and described being shocked with electrodes, beaten, shackled, stripped of their clothes, deprived of food and sleep, and spit and urinated on.

Prisoner subjected to electrical shocks 3 times a day

The Associated Press has obtained a report outlining the treatment of two Iraqi prisoners. One, identified only as Yasser, reported being subjected to electric shocks three times and being sodomized with a stick. His thumbs bore round scars consistent with shocking. He would not allow a full rectal exam.

Another Iraqi, identified only as Rahman, reported he was humiliated by being forced to wear women’s underwear, was stripped naked and paraded in front of female guards, and was shown pictures of other naked detainees. The psychological exam found that Rahman suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had sexual problems related to his humiliation.

The Physicians for Human Rights report came as the U.S. Senate’s armed services committee revealed documents showing military lawyers warned the Pentagon that methods it was using following the Sept. 11, 2001, airplane hijackings violated military, U.S. and international law. Those objections were overruled by a top Pentagon lawyer.

U.S. President George W. Bush said in 2004, when the prison torture was revealed, that it was the work of “a few American troops who dishonoured our country and disregarded our values.” Bush and other U.S. officials have consistently denied that the U.S. tortures its detainees.

The degradation of some prisoners by their U.S. captors is well documented by the government’s own reports. Once-secret documents show that the Pentagon and Justice Department allowed, at least for a time, forced nakedness, isolation, sleep deprivation and humiliation at its military prisons in Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib.

Health of detainees prior to detention not known

Physicians for Human Rights’ medical examiners did not have access to the 11 patients’ medical histories prior to their imprisonment, so it was not possible to know whether any of the prisoners’ ailments, disabilities and scars pre-dated their confinement. The U.S. military says an al-Qaeda training manual instructs members, if captured, to assert they were tortured during interrogation.

However, doctors and mental health professionals stated they could link the prisoners’ claims of torture while in U.S. detention to injuries documented by X-rays, medical exams and psychological tests.

“The level of the time, thoroughness and rigour of the exams left me personally without question about the credibility of the individuals,” said Dr. Allen Keller, one of the doctors who conducted the exams, in an interview with the Associated Press.

“The findings on the physical and psychological exams were consistent with what they reported.”

All 11 former detainees reported being subjected to:

  • Stress positions, including being suspended for hours by the arms or tightly shackled for days.
  • Prolonged isolation and hooding or blindfolding, a form of sensory deprivation.
  • Threats against themselves, their families or friends from interrogators or guards.
  • Ten said they were forced to be naked, some for days or weeks.
  • Nine said they were subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation.
  • At least six said they were threatened with military working dogs, often while naked.
  • Four reported being sodomized, subjected to anal probing, or threatened with rape.

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Britain and US ‘complicit in war crimes by Ethiopian military’

The British and US governments are complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Ethiopian army in the Ogaden region of the Horn of Africa, a human rights group has claimed.

A report by Human Rights Watch details allegations of rape, torture and public execution carried out by Ethiopian soldiers against civilians in the predominantly Somali Ogaden area, where Ethiopia is fighting a fierce counter-insurgency campaign. The battles intensified last year after an attack by rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on a Chinese-run oil plant in the town of Obole. The ONLF killed more than 70 civilians, including nine Chinese.

In response, Ethiopia stepped up its military crackdown in the eastern province, referred to by some ethnic Somali Muslims as Western Somalia. Witnesses say Ethiopian forces have burnt dozens of villages to the ground – a claim apparently confirmed by satellite images released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

According to Human Rights Watch, people accused of aiding the ONLF have executed, often in public, while hundreds more have been detained in military barracks and tortured.

“The Ethiopian army’s response to the rebels has been to viciously attack civilians in Ogaden,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Georgette Gagnon. “These atrocities amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, was once held up as a poster boy for African governance, taking a prominent role in Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa. But since 2005, he has claimed victory in a flawed election and clamped down on political opposition. Up to 200 people protesting against the result were killed by security forces and 100 were charged with treason.

Despite claims of authoritarianism and war crimes in both Ogaden and neighbouring Somalia, British aid for Ethiopia has more than doubled since 2005 to £130m. The US has also increased its support for the army, which it sees as a strong regional ally in the “war on terror”.

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Amnesty International: Ethiopian troops commit atrocities in Somalia

Amnesty Internationall: Ethiopian troops in Somalia slit throats of civilians, gouged eyes, gang raped

A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused Ethiopian troops in Somalia of killing civilians and committing atrocities, including slitting people’s throats, gouging out eyes and gang-raping women.

In a new report, Amnesty International detailed chilling witness accounts of indiscriminate killings in the Horn of Africa country and called on the international community to stop the bloodshed.

Ethiopia’s government said the report was unbalanced and “categorically wrong.”

The London-based rights group said testimony it received suggested all parties to Somalia’s conflict have committed war crimes. But it singled out Ethiopian troops, who are in the country to back Somalia’s U.N.-sponsored government, for some of the worst violations.

Somalia’s shaky transitional government invited Ethiopian forces into the country to help it battle Islamic insurgents. Somalia has been torn apart by years of violence between the militias of rival clan warlords.

The rights group said it obtained scores of reports of killings by Ethiopian troops that Somalis have described as “slaughtering like goats.” In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother,” the report says.

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Bush Given Authority To Sexually Torture American Children

The “horror of the shrieking boys” gets a rubber stamp from the boot-licking U.S. Congress & Senate as America officially becomes a dictatorship

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | September 29 2006

Slamming the final nail in the coffin of everything America used to stand for, the boot-licking U.S. Senate last night gave President Bush the legal authority to abduct and sexually mutilate American citizens and American children in the name of the war on terror.

There is nothing in the “detainee” legislation that protects American citizens from being kidnapped by their own government and tortured.

Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman states in the L.A. Times, “The compromise legislation….authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.”

Similarly, law Professor Marty Lederman explains: “this [subsection (ii) of the definition of ‘unlawful enemy combatant’] means that if the Pentagon says you’re an unlawful enemy combatant — using whatever criteria they wish — then as far as Congress, and U.S. law, is concerned, you are one, whether or not you have had any connection to ‘hostilities’ at all.”

We have established that the bill allows the President to define American citizens as enemy combatants. Now let’s take it one step further.

Before this article is dismissed as another extremist hyperbolic rant, please take a few minutes out of your day to check for yourself the claim that Bush now has not only the legal authority but the active blessings of his own advisors to torture American children.

The backdrop of the Bush administration’s push to obliterate the Geneva Conventions was encapsulated by John “torture” Yoo, professor of law at Berkeley, co-author of the PATRIOT Act, author of torture memos and White House advisor.

During a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel, John Yoo gave the green light for the scope of torture to legally include sexual torture of infants.

Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

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Yoo Memos Prove That The Fourth Reich Is Here

Recent news on the White House torture and spy memos has amazingly received very little coverage in the corporate controlled media. For instance, Barack Obama’s low bowling score has received more coverage than these memos. The media some how thinks Obama’s horrible bowling skills are more important than evidence that could be used to prosecute members of the Bush administration for all sorts of criminality including war crimes. That makes no sense, but of course when you consider that the corporate controlled media creates reality for people it makes perfect sense. Both of these memos were written by former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and prove that the Bush administration sought to justify torture and ignore the Fourth Amendment under the guise of the phony war on terror. In the memos, Yoo concludes that Bush can torture and spy without a warrant if he is doing these things to protect the country from terrorists. Of course, the majority of the so called terrorists that the media and the government claims we are fighting are actually trained and funded by western governments so the whole thing is a big fraud. That of course is a whole other story. In these memos, it is clear that Yoo shows a blatant disregard for both U.S. and international law. Yoo and other members of the Bush administration should really be put on trial for war crimes but since the corporate controlled media thinks that Obama’s low bowling score is more important than smoking gun proof of war crimes, that’s probably not going to happen.

First let’s tackle the spying memo. Below is taken from an excerpt of an Associated Press report on the 37-page secret Justice Department memo in which Yoo concludes that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military operations.

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Blackwater ‘Blood Money’ Angers Iraqis

At least two Iraqi families of victims killed by Blackwater security guards in September tell ABC News they have refused compensation offered by the company.

blackwater_ali_excl_080207_ms.jpgThe father of a 9-year-old boy, who says his son was one of the 17 civilians killed when Blackwater guards, escorting a diplomatic convoy, opened fire at Baghdad’s Nisour Square on Sept. 16, says he is trying to file a lawsuit against the company. He told ABCNews.com that Blackwater offered him $20,000 through an Iraqi prosecutor, but he refused the money.

Another Iraqi who lost both his wife and son in the incident says he too has refused the company’s offer of compensation of $20,000 for each victim.

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