The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel’s assault on Gaza were subjected to “torture” during their detention period.

Sounds like Gitmo to me …


Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Mini Gitmo

Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Mini Gitmo


Gaza detainees underwent ‘torture’ in Israeli custody

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Center for Human rights said Tuesday that its lawyers confirmed that at least four Palestinians who were arrested during Israel’s assault on Gaza were subjected to “torture” during their detention period.

PCHR lawyers visited four detainees in Ashkelon prison, and said they had undergone beatings or had been shackled between two chairs for long hours in a method known as “Shabeh,” a statement said.


Israeli soldiers hold Palestinians in Gaza on July 24, 2014 (Maanimages/File)

Israeli soldiers hold Palestinians in Gaza on July 24, 2014


It said Israeli forces detained dozens of Palestinian civilians during the seven-week Gaza offensive, 31 of whom were transferred to Israeli prisons.

Four of the imprisoned detainees were released while 26 remain in custody and are accused of being members of armed groups.

One of them was charged with being an “illegitimate combatant.”

According to international law, members of armed resistance groups are considered prisoners of war, and bills of indictment cannot be presented against them, the statement added.

The recently dissolved Ministry of Prisoner Affairs said in August that 200 Palestinians had been detained in Gaza while Israeli forces conducted a land invasion in Gaza, but that some of them had been released.

Crucial information was not immediately available about the prisoners, and the ministry accused Israeli authorities of withholding the prisoners’ names and whereabouts.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an at the time that the prisoners were transferred to the Shin Bet intelligence agency for questioning.

On Sept. 9, a Palestinian died in an Israeli medical center died after allegedly being tortured in Israeli jails.

Issa Qaraqe, head of the department of prisoner affairs, said 35-year-old Raed al-Jabari had died after sustaining blows to the head, adding that an autopsy showed that internal bleeding and concussion were the cause of death.

An Israeli Prison Service spokeswoman said the man had hung himself in Eshel prison.




Guantánamo Bay: The Hunger Strikes – video animation

In March 2013, reports of a hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay, the US detention camp in Cuba, began to surface. Details were sketchy and were contradicted by statements from the US military. Now, using testimony from five detainees, this animated film reveals the daily brutality of life inside Guantánamo. Today there are 17 prisoners still on hunger strike, 16 of whom are being force-fed. Two are in hospital.
 Warning: contains scenes some viewers might find disturbing
From The Guardian


A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for more than eight weeks is being kept shackled to a hospital bed by the Israeli authorities, despite warnings that he may be close to death.

Israel shackles Palestinian hunger striker

Khader Adnan, detained without charge for two months, may be close to death say human rights groups

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem
Khader Adnan protest
Khader Adnan’s face appears on posters during a protest by Palestinians outside the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza City. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for more than eight weeks is being kept shackled to a hospital bed by the Israeli authorities, despite warnings that he may be close to death.

Khader Adnan, 33, has been held without charge under “administrative detention” since mid-December. The Israeli military authorities have refused to tell his lawyer what he is accused of or disclose any evidence against him.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for Israel to either charge or release Adnan. “He may be approaching death from his hunger strike, and yet Israel is chaining him to his hospital bed without bothering to even charge him with any wrongdoing,” said Sarah Leah Watson, HRW’s Middle East director.

HRW cited a 2006 study by the British Medical Association based on a study of the Northern Ireland hunger strikes in 1980 and 1981, in which 10 republican prisoners starved themselves to death. “Death generally occurred between 55 and 75 days,” the BMA said. Bobby Sands, who was elected as a member of the British parliament during the strike, died on the 66th day.

Adnan was arrested at 3.30am on 17 December at his home near the West Bank city of Jenin. His wife, Randa, who is expecting the couple’s third child, said no reason was given for his arrest. Adnan was later given an administrative detention order for four months, and is currently being detained in an Israeli hospital in Safed.

Adnan has previously been arrested nine times and was convicted of being a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, a militant organisation banned by Israel, his wife told HRW.

According to his lawyer, after his arrest Adnan was kept in solitary confinement for four days, and was subject to physical and verbal abuse, threats and prolonged interrogation.

His family visited him last week, reporting that he appeared to have lost around a third of his body weight. The family, his lawyer and doctors from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) all said he was shackled to his bed. According to PHR, he has been transferred to five different hospitals over an eight-day period.

A protest over Adnan’s detention and in solidarity with his hunger strike at the Ofer military court and prison near Jerusalem on Saturday was met with teargas and rubber bullets fired by Israeli border police. Sixteen people were injured by rubber bullets.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli prison service said Adnan was being dealt with in accordance to his “definition as a security-administrative prisoner” and with humanitarian sensitivity. “As an exception, the IPS allowed the prisoner’s family members to visit as well as religious figures and allowed several meetings with representatives and doctors from Physicians for Human Rights. The prisoner is hospitalised in a public hospital and is co-operating with doctors.”

More than 300 Palestinians are being held by Israel under administrative detention orders, according to Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ support group.



Obama celebrated the killing of Gaddafi.  He did not talk about Gaddafi’s cozy relationship with the US and the west for the past 8 years including torturing people for the CIA.

Hypocrisy knows no limits

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Obama celebrated the killing of Gaddafi.  He did not talk about Gaddafi’s cozy relationship with the US and the west for the past 8 years including torturing people for the CIA**.  On several occasions, the US administration said that revenge should not be practiced yet no western leader said a word about lynching happening daily in Libya.  A Libyan rebel leader told Al-Jazeera that Gaddafi came out and greeted them but was shot anyway.   I spent two months in Libya (studying its fauna) and know how bad the regime was and I am certainly happy that his rule ended.  Congratulations to the Libyan people.  But we must be cautious.  The US government considers this its first victory in getting a government moved from an erratic despotic western stooge to a government that will be (at least they hope) more reliably dominated and subjugated.  My inside information tells me that they hope Syria would be next so that it will be two for two: Egypt and Tunisia changing from pro-US/Israel to perhaps a democracy (which would mean against US and Israeli interests) vs. Libya and Syria changing from unpredictable western allies to more predictable western puppets (not democracies).  Let us not forget that Bashar Assad (and before him his father) and Gaddafi were not bastions of support for Arab causes.   After all, both had close CIA ties and were more than happy to receive and torture prisoners captured by US forces (a process known as rendering which was never stopped under the Obama administration). The Syrian regime was also an ally with the US in the destruction of Iraq (including the genocide of over 1 million civilians).

By US/Israeli calculations, if the Yemeni or Bahraini dictator is toppled first then the score will be 3:1 and they want Syria’s dictator first.  In their chess game, they are also trying to turn the loss of Tunisia and Egypt into a gain. The US and Israeli governments are meddling in Egypt and Tunisia to stop them from having governments that reflect the will of the people (including the people’s will to boycott Israel and stop helping the US/Israeli designs).  I think they underestimate the Arab people.  In Libya, they believe that Abdul Jalil will stay in his self appointed seat and then open the country (like Iraq) for Western oil exploits, for the US military base (closed in 1969), and establish friendly diplomatic ties with Israel (which already met with the so called national transitional council or NTC).  The NTC is talking about elections “maybe in two years” (in other words after they consolidate power and money and can manipulate the system).  US lawmakers in congress (prostituting themselves for their AIPAC masters) are talking about Libya and Iraq paying (financially) for their “liberation” and that they expect these countries  to have friendly relation with Israel!  But there are already voices within Libya and Iraq who say “enough” BS. I think the Arab spring and Arab people will surprise the (Zionist) US foreign policy makers. Democracy is coming. Stay tuned.

PS: A note to my Kurdish friends and people with contacts in Kurdish areas of Iraq and Turkey: you do have a right to freedom and self determination but please do not (continue to) accept the recently offered support of the regimes in Damascus and Tel Aviv (both regimes have no future in the new democratic Middle East). 

** For examples on Gaddafi’s CIA ties see
(Recall Saddam Hussain’s similar CIA ties)

A Living Movement: Toward a World of Peace, Solidarity, and Justice: Joint Conference of the Peace & Justice Studies Association (PJSA) and the Gandhi King Conference. Hosted by the Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN, October 21-23, 2011

Secret CIA/FBI files of NUMEC nuclear diversions to Israel could aid $170 million toxic cleanup


Justice can only be served if those that kept him in ‘business’ stand in the docket with him in an International Court of Law. The crimes committed by him went well past the borders of Egypt as did the criminals that supported those crimes.
“If you feel sympathy for any dictator broken and standing in a cage, remember him when he was unjust on the throne.”

Mubarak enters Cairo court on stretcher as trial opens for alleged crimes against protesters

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak flown to Cairo from hospital in Sharm el-Skeikh; faces possible execution if convicted.

Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak, on trial for conspiring to kill protesters, was wheeled into a courtroom cage in a hospital bed on Wednesday – an image that sends a chilling message to other Arab autocrats facing popular uprisings.

In this image taken from Egyptian state television on August 3, 2011, Hosni Mubarak is wheeled into a holding cell in the court room in the police academy in Cairo. Photo by: AFP photo / Egyptian TV


Read the entire report HERE


He stressed that Suleiman was a CIA/Mossad agent who was willing to do anything for a price

Mamdouh Habib interview on new US/Israeli Egyptian pet Omar Suleiman

By Antony Loewenstein

Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib was captured and tortured in the years after September 11 in both Egypt and Guantanamo Bay.

For years, “war on terror” supporters defamed Habib and claimed he was lying about his allegations of mistreatment. However last year in just one case against the Australian Murdoch press, he won a small victory:

The courts have delivered another win to former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib, declaring that he was defamed by News Ltd columnist Piers Akerman, paving the way for a hefty payout.

The New South Wales Court of Appeal overturned a 2008 judgment in favour of Mr Akerman’s publisher Nationwide News and yesterday ordered them to pay Mr Habib’s legal costs in the five-year-old battle.

It was the second win for Mr Habib in a month after the full court of the Federal Court upheld an appeal in his mammoth compensation case against the federal government for allegedly aiding and abetting his torture by foreign agents.

Another hearing will now be held to determine what damages he will receive for the 2005 article in The Daily Telegraph and other News Ltd newspapers, headlined ”Mr Habib, it’s time to tell the full story”.

Today, with the Egyptian uprisings in full swing, the man tapped by the US, Israel and the West to lead the country, Omar Suleiman, was one of Habib’s torturers and there is intense scrutiny of who this man truly is.

I interviewed Habib exclusively tonight in Sydney about Suleiman, his calls for the torturer-in-chief to be charged, his knowledge about all the figures complicit in his rendition and his support for the Egyptian protests. He stressed that Suleiman was a CIA/Mossad agent who was willing to do anything for a price:

I reviewed Habib’s book, My Story, in 2008 for the Sydney Morning Herald and it tells a powerful story. The extracts below are all the references to Suleiman:


The guard quickly told me that the very big boss was coming to talk to me, and that I must be well behaved and co-operate. Everyone was nervous. I have since found out that the boss was Omar Suleiman, head of all Egyptian security. He was known for personally supervising the interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and sending reports to the CIA. In the beginning, he was often present during my interrogations. He must have thought that he had a big fish when I was sent to him by the Americans and Australians.

I was sitting in a chair, hooded, with my hands handcuffed behind my back. He came up to me. His voice was deep and rough. He spoke to me in Egyptian and English. He said, “Listen, you don’t know who I am, but I am the one who has your life in his hands. Every single person in this building has his life in my hands. I just make the decision.”

I said, “I hope your decision is that you make me die straight away.”

“No, I don’t want you to die now. I want you to die slowly.” He went on, “I can’t stay with you; my time is too valuable to stay here. You only have me to save you. I’m your saviour. You have to tell me everything, if you want to be saved. What do you say?”

“I have nothing to tell you.”

“You think I can’t destroy you just like that?” He clapped his hands together.

“I don’t know”. I was feeling confused. Everything was unreal.

“If God came down and tried to take you by the hand, I would not let him. You are under my control. Let me show you something that will convince you.”

The guard then guided me out of the room and through an area where I could see, from below the blindfold, the trunks of palm trees. We then went through another door back inside, and descended some steps. We entered a room. They sat me down.

“Now you are going to tell me that you planned a terrorist attack”, Suleiman persisted.

“I haven’t planned any attacks.”

“I give you my word that you will be a rich man if you tell me you have been planning attacks. Don’t you trust me?” he asked.

“I don’t trust anyone”, I replied.

Immediately he slapped me hard across the face and knocked off the blindfold; I clearly saw his face.

“That’s it. That’s it. I don’t want to see this man again until he co-operates and tells me he’s been planning a terrorist attack! he yelled at the others in the room, then stormed out.

The guard came up to me, upset that I hadn’t co-operated.

I said to him, “You have to let me go soon; it’s nearly 48 hours.”

He looked at me, surprised, and asked, “How long do you think you’ve been here?”

“A day”, I replied.

“Man, you’ve been here for more than a week.”

They then took me to another room, where they tortured me relentlessly, stripping me naked and applying electric shocks everywhere on my body. The next thing I remember was seeing the general again. He came into the room with a man from Turkistan; he was a big man but was stooped over, because his hands were chained to the shackles of his feet, preventing him from standing upright.

“This guy is no use to us anymore. This is what is going to happen to you. We’ve had him for one hour, and this is what happens.”

Suddenly, a guy they called Hamish, which means snake, came at the poor man from behind and gave him a terrible karate kick that sent him crashing across the room. A guard went over to shake him, but he didn’t respond. Turning to the general, the guard said, “Basha, I think he’s dead.”

“Throw him away then. Let the dogs have him.”

They dragged the dead man out.

“What do you think of that?” asked the general, staring into my face.

“At least he can rest now”, I replied.

Then they brought another man in. This man, I think, was from Europe – his exclamations of pain didn’t sound like those of someone from the Middle East. He was in a terrible state. The guard came in with a machine and started to wire up the guy to it. They told the poor man that they were going to give him a full electric shock, measuring ten on the scale. Before they even turned the machine on, the man started to gasp and then slumped in the chair. I think he died of a heart attack.

The general said that there was one more person I had to see. “This person will make you see that we can keep you here for as long as we want, all of your life, if we choose.”

There was a window in the room, covered by a curtain. The general drew back a curtain, and I saw the top half of a very sick, thin man. He was sitting on a chair on the other side of the glass, facing me.

“You know this guy?” the general asked.

“No”, I replied.

“That’s strange – he’s your friend from Australia.”

I looked again, and was horrified to see that it was Mohammed Abbas, a man I had known in Australia who had worked for Telstra [Australian telecommunications company]. He had travelled to Egypt in 1999, and had never been seen again.

“He is going to be your neighbour for the rest of your life.”

It was then that I knew I was in Egypt, without a doubt. They then took Abbas away and closed the curtain.


After the first interrogation with Suleiman, I believed the Egyptians weren’t interested in where I had been; they only wanted me to confess to being a terrorist and having plotted terrorist attacks so they could sell the information to the United States and Australia. I decided then that I wouldn’t answer questions or explain anything; but, as a consequence, I was badly tortured in Egypt.


The Egyptians didn’t like Maha [Habib’s wife] at all. One day, I overheard Omar Suleiman saying to someone, “I would love to bring Maha here.” I have no idea when this was but the memory of these few words is very vivid in my mind. Fortunately, though, Suleiman could never have gotten hold of Maha, because she is Lebanese born and an Australian citizen. Suleiman, before my release from Egypt, often threatened that he would get me back if I ever said anything bad about Egypt.

After years of slamming Habib’s claims of torture, the Australian government has recently implicitly acknowledged the validity of his allegations:

Last December 17 in Sydney, officers representing the federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland signed a secret deal with former terror suspect Mamdouh Habib.

It featured an undisclosed compensation payout in return for Habib dropping his long-running civil suit claiming commonwealth complicity in his 2001 arrest, rendition, detention and torture in Pakistan, Egypt and Guantanamo Bay.

The secrecy clause preventing details of the deal being made public prolonged a decade-long cover-up of exactly what the Australian government and its officers knew about Habib’s CIA rendition to Egypt, where he was held in barbarous conditions and tortured for seven months, before being transferred to Cuba. Since Habib returned to Australia in January 2005, successive governments and the security agencies have denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, this ugly episode.

The commonwealth has used every legal device at its disposal to keep the sordid details under wraps, routinely frustrating media and legal efforts to get to the truth, in the name of national security.

In 2007 a judge in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal lashed out at ASIO’s repeated refusal to release information on Habib, asking: “Why should we take your word for it when again and again we find things that are said to be the subject of national security concerns turn out not to be? I mean it looks like an easy way out for ASIO: when in doubt, just say ‘national security’.”

The hush-hush settlement seemed set to stamp the Habib case closed for good. But with the ink on it hardly dry, startling claims have emerged about Australia’s connivance in the brutal maltreatment of one of its citizens.

The new testimony is in the form of witness statements obtained by Habib and tendered to commonwealth lawyers – but not until now made public – which apparently precipitated the December deal.

These accounts have not been tested in court but, if true, they provide damning evidence of Australia’s collusion, and expose as lies the repeated insistence that Australia had no knowledge of or involvement in Habib’s ordeal.

A decade after the event, it is now possible to piece together the sorry story of Australia’s treatment of Habib, based on court testimony, witness statements, government documents released from court files and under freedom of information, and insider accounts. It is a disturbing tale.

Habib was arrested in Pakistan days after the September 11 attacks on the US. He has always maintained he was there to look at relocating his family, while Australian investigators claim he had been in an al-Qa’ida training camp, which Habib still denies.

Either way, he was of keen interest to the authorities, particularly the CIA, because of his acquaintance with the militants who carried out the first World Trade Centre bombing in 1993.

Australian officials visited Habib, along with FBI and CIA agents, three times while he was detained in Islamabad in late October 2001.

A few days later he was handed over to the Americans, handcuffed, shackled, hooded, with his mouth and eyes taped and a bag over his head, and flown to Bagram air base in Afghanistan, before being transferred to Egypt.

For the next seven months there he was subjected to relentless interrogation, beatings, electric shocks, water torture, sexual assault, cigarette burns and more.

For years, the Australian authorities denied any knowledge of Habib’s detention in Egypt.

It was only in 2008 that the Australian Federal Police revealed that his pending transfer had been raised by US officials in Pakistan before the event, and then discussed in Canberra among officers from the AFP, ASIO, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the attorney-general’s and prime minister’s departments, who “agreed that the Australian government could not agree to the transfer of Mr Habib to Egypt”, evidence to the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee in May 2008 shows.

“Plausible deniability” was thus achieved, while Habib’s transfer went ahead anyway. US terrorism investigators have said it is inconceivable the rendition would have proceeded without Australia knowing, and intelligence insiders say those involved in Habib’s case were in no doubt as to where he was being sent. Habib has always maintained Australian officials were present during his transfer to, and detention in, Cairo.

For their part, the government and security agencies have steadfastly denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, his time in Egypt, even insisting they were never sure he was there at all.

Both ASIO and the DFAT have stated they had no contact with Habib in Egypt. But the untested witness statements obtained for Habib’s civil suit, and now reported exclusively in The Weekend Australian, tell a different story.

One statement, by a former Egyptian military intelligence officer who worked at the Cairo prison where terror suspects were held, says Australian officials were present when Habib arrived and throughout his detention.

“During Habib’s presence some of the Australian officials attended many times . . . The same official who attended the first time used to come with them,” the statement says. “Habib was tortured a lot and all the time, as the foreign intelligence wanted quick and fast information.”

The officer, whose name does not appear in the translation of his statement seen by The Weekend Australian, said he was prepared

to testify in court, if he was given protection.

Another statement was obtained from a fellow detainee of Habib’s in Egypt and later Guantanamo Bay, Pakistani-Saudi national Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni. Madni was captured by the CIA in Jakarta in January 2002 and rendered to Egypt and later Guantanamo Bay, accused of being a member of al-Qa’ida. He was finally released in August 2009 and reunited with his family in Lahore, Pakistan.

Madni describes spending three months in a 6 by 8 foot (1.8m by 2.4m) underground cell, and being tortured by similar methods to those described by Habib.

He recounts, “I could hear Mamdouh Habib screaming in pain during his interrogation”, and recalls being told by prison staff that the Australian was very sick and possibly dying.

Madni also claims Australian officials were there.

“Egyptian, Australian, Israeli (Mossad) and US intelligence agencies were involved in my interrogations . . . The Egyptian interrogator told me that the Australian intelligence organisation wanted to ask me questions about Mamdouh Habib . . . An officer . . . asked me questions like ‘How did you know or where did you meet Mamdouh Habib?”‘

These disturbing allegations will presumably be central to a fresh inquiry ordered this week by the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence, the watchdog that oversees our intelligence and security agencies.

Julia Gillard requested the inquiry, apparently after the settlement was reached, and after Habib wrote to the Prime Minister telling her he had witnesses who could confirm the presence of Australian officials in Egypt.

The Prime Minister’s office confirms Gillard has asked the Inspector-General to inquire into “the actions of relevant Australian agencies” in relation to Habib’s arrest and detention overseas. A spokesperson tells Focus: “A number of serious allegations have been made in relation to this matter and it is appropriate for the Prime Minister to request that they be properly examined. The IGIS Act requires inquiries to be conducted in private.” But the spokesperson did not say if the results will be released.

Furthermore, Canberra has now launched an investigation into Habib’s allegations that Australian officials were present during his interrogations in Egypt in Cairo in 2001 when Suleiman was abusing Habib.

Habib is a key witness able to reliably confirm the real role Suleiman plays in today’s Egypt. Barack Obama and his Western allies should strongly condemn the abuses in Mubarak’s Egypt and demand accountability for the crimes committed in his name.

As Habib told me tonight, it is impossible for Suleiman, with his bloody record, to lead Egypt into a better future. With the latest reports indicating that Suleiman and Mubarak are ramping up torture against protesters (here and here), Habib’s voice and experience should be heard loud and clear.



George Bush actually wrote a book…. sort of a confession to be used in an upcoming trial at the International Court of Law (hopefully). Everything he wrote can and will be used against him.

In the book he wrote about his legacy to America; But, it is based on lies, deceit, crimes of war and against humanity, and complicity in criminal fraud, a disgusting record deserving denunciation and prison, not shameless feting. 

Yet his new book, “Decision Points,” attempts the impossible, a brazen scheme to reinvent a war criminal, one of history’s greatest, his legacy marked by:

– neocon hellishness;

– duplicity and public betrayal;

– a disdain for human rights and civil liberties;

– lawlessness;

– racist hatemongering;

– usurping unconstitutional “Unitary Executive” authority, what Chalmers Johnson called “a ball-faced assertion of presidential supremacy….dressed up in legalistic mumbo jumbo;”

– imperial wars called liberating ones;

– mass murder;

– extrajudicially establishing coup d’etat “continuity of government” authority to abolish constitutional freedoms unilaterally;

– color revolutions against democracy;

– reveling in being a “wartime president;”

– making torture official US policy;

– establishing a global torture prison gulag;

– abolishing the 1807 Insurrection Act and 1878 Posse Comitatus protections against using US military forces for domestic law enforcement, except as constitutionally authorized or in cases of internal insurrection;

– militarizing state and local law enforcement agencies, establishing a martial law apparatus throughout all levels of government without congressional approval;

– supporting the worst of Israeli crimes;

– deposing Haiti’s Jean-Bertrand Aristide, its first democratic leader since liberation from France in 1803, turning slaves into citizens;

– staging a failed coup to depose Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez;

– failing to establish a militarized North American Union (NAU) merger of Canada and Mexico with America, headquartered in Washington;

– transferring unprecedented wealth to the rich, exceeded only by his successor;

– unabashedly favoring business over beneficial social change;

– designating everything for privatization, including public education as another commodity;

– waging war on working Americans;

– unprecedented levels of secrecy;

– endangering public welfare and safety by regulatory shredding;

– creating the grimmest economic conditions since the 1930s;

– destroying civil liberties;

– silencing dissent;

– criminalizing First Amendment activities advocating for environmental and animal rights;

– institutionalizing illegal spying and police state repression;

– turning elections into shams;

– hiring journalist as paid propagandists;

– failing to privatize Social Security and end Medicare;

– opposing Net Neutrality;

– waging war on Muslims, Latinos, and other political targets; persecuting them; denying them due process and judicial fairness; incarcerating and/or deporting them;

– fostering social decay; and

– much more, a legacy from hell, a disgusting betrayal of every norm of civilized decency, engendering global contempt and outrage. (taken FROM)


Also in the book; G.W. Bush recalls that when the CIA asked him whether they could proceed with waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged plotter of the 9/11 attacks, Bush replied “Damn right,” reported the Washington Post. 

It’s Kafkaesque to imagine this scenario in Guantanamo as they set up the waterboard to nearly drown their captives. CIA interrogators used the controversial waterboarding technique 183 times on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney has also acknowledged supporting torture. “I was a big supporter of waterboarding,” he boasted in a television interview in February. (Taken FROM)


So, it looks like we have two here who will be standing trial….

I didn’t touch on his seek and no find of WMD’s in Iraq, but forged ahead with a war just the same, not to mention execute the rulers of that nation.
Also no mention of the many unanswered questions regarding his role in 9/11….
But, he himself talks about those things.

Also not mentioned by me is his war on the civilian population of Afghanistan or his support of the genocide of the Palestinian people….. the list is endless.

The book was obviously not written by him, so this might turn into the first ‘ghostwriter’ confession in the history of the legal system. Should be an interesting trial as he claims “I didn’t say that”…. but it’s all there in his book that says it was written by him. Mamma B can be mighty proud of her youngin.

I am not in any way suggesting that you go out and buy the book…. the last thing I want to see is him make a profit from the suffering he inflicted on humanity, just thought you might find it interesting that a book written by him (sic) does exist, but then again, so does the Easter Bunny.


US and Iraqi soldiers escort detainees after a raid, in 2008 – AP Photo

Today, seven and a half years on from the order to invade, the largest leak in history has shown, far more than has been hitherto known, just what was unleashed by that declaration of war. The Iraqi security services tortured hundreds, and the US military watched, noted and emailed, but rarely intervened.

Torture, killing, children shot – and how the US tried to keep it all quiet

The largest leak in history reveals the true extent of the bloodshed unleashed by the decision to go to war in Iraq – and adds at least 15,000 to its death toll

So now we begin to know the full extent of what Tony Blair called the blood price.

A detainee tortured with live electrical wires here, children shot by US troops at a checkpoint there, insurgents using children to carry out suicide bombings somewhere else; on and on, through 391,832 documents. At the Pentagon, these messages were the day-to-day commonplaces of staff inboxes; for Iraqis, they detail, in the emotionless jargon of the US military, nothing less than the hacking open of a nation’s veins.

Today, seven and a half years on from the order to invade, the largest leak in history has shown, far more than has been hitherto known, just what was unleashed by that declaration of war. The Iraqi security services tortured hundreds, and the US military watched, noted and emailed, but rarely intervened. A US helicopter gunship crew were ordered to shoot insurgents trying to surrender. A doctor sold al-Qa’ida a list of female patients with learning difficulties so they could be duped into being suicide bombers. A private US company, which made millions of dollars from the outsourcing of security duties, killed civilians. And the Americans, who have always claimed never to count civilian deaths, were in fact secretly logging them. At a conservative estimate, the new documents add at least 15,000 to the war’s death toll.

It was yesterday morning when WikiLeaks, the crowd-funded website which achieved worldwide fame for releasing Afghanistan material earlier this year, uploaded nearly 400,000 US military documents. Covering the 2004-09 period, they consist of messages passed from low-level or medium-level operational troops to their superiors and ultimate bosses in the Pentagon. They are marked “Secret”, by no means the highest of security classifications.

The Pentagon’s response was to say that the leak put the lives of US troops and their military partners in jeopardy, and other official sources dismissed the documents as revealing little that was new. An answer to this came from Iraq Body Count, the British organisation that has monitored civilian deaths since 2003: “These Iraq logs … contain information on civilian and other casualties that has been kept from public view by the US government for more than six years…. The data on casualties is information about the public (mainly the Iraqi public) that was unjustifiably withheld from both the Iraqi and world public by the US military, apparently with the intent to do so indefinitely.”

The Iraq War Logs are US documents, and so detail only a few incidents involving British troops. Two, dated 23 June 2008, record a pair of Shia men who say they were punched and kicked by unidentified British troops. Both men had injuries that were consistent with their stories. There is no record of any formal investigation. Another log, dated 2 September 2008, records that a civilian interrogator working with the Americans claimed British soldiers had dragged him through his house and repeatedly dunked his head into a bowl of water and threatened him with a pistol. The log says his story was undermined by inconsistencies and an absence of injuries.

Here are the main areas where there is fresh, and significant, information:

Civilian death tolls

The Pentagon and the Iraqi health ministry consistently refused to publish a death toll of civilians, even denying such a record existed. “We don’t do body counts,” said US General Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq invasion. The Iraq War Logs reveal just how hollow his words were.

Since the beginning of the war, The Independent on Sunday has asserted that the true death toll of civilians in the war was far higher than military officials were suggesting. As early as 2004 the IoS reported that the Pentagon was in fact collecting classified casualty figures and that academics believed the death toll might be as much as 100,000 – or more.

The logs detail 109,032 deaths, some 66,081 of which are civilians. Iraq Body Count said yesterday that an analysis of a sample of 860 of the Iraq War Logs led it to estimate the information in all the logs would add 15,000 extra civilian deaths to its previous total of 107,000. To these should be added military deaths, and IBC’s revised total deaths in Iraq would now be around 150,000, 80 per cent of them civilians.

However, some care needs to be taken in using this data. The information in the logs is by no means a comprehensive tally of all deaths.

The death toll of civilians is in stark contrast to President Bush’s words in 2003, when he said that new technology meant troops could go out of their way to protect Iraqi civilians. “With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians,” he said.


The leaked documents provide a ground’s-eye view of abuses as reported by US military personnel to their superiors, and appear to corroborate much of the past reporting on such incidents. Beatings, burnings and lashings surface in hundreds of the documents, giving the impression that the use of cables, metal rods, wooden poles and live electrical wires to torture detainees was far from rare. Although some abuse cases were investigated by the Americans, most in the archive seem to have been ignored.

Early on, space for detainees was limited, and Iraqis would pack them into makeshift jails. In November 2005, American soldiers found 173 detainees with cigarette burns, sores and broken bones crammed into a police internment centre near Baghdad. The log states: “Many detainees are coughing…. Approx 95 were being held in one room and were sitting cross-legged with blindfolds, all facing the same direction. According to one of the detainees questioned on-site, 12 detainees have died of disease in recent weeks.”

In August 2006, a US sergeant in Ramadi heard whipping noises in a military police station and walked in on an Iraqi lieutenant using an electrical cable to slash the bottom of a detainee’s feet. He later found the same Iraqi officer whipping a detainee’s back. The American provided sworn statements and photographs of “circular whip marks [and] bleeding on back.” No investigation was initiated.

But some of the worst examples came later in the war. In one case last December, 12 Iraqi soldiers, including an intelligence officer, were caught on video in Tal Afar shooting to death a prisoner whose hands were tied. In another, US forces found a detainee with two black eyes, a bruised neck and “scabbing on his left ankle”. The detainee said he was electrocuted by Iraqi soldiers in Mosul in order to obtain a confession. Iraqi officials stated he was injured after attempting to escape.

Amnesty International condemned the revelations in the documents and questioned whether US authorities had broken international law by handing detainees to Iraqi forces known to be committing abuses “on a truly shocking scale”. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said there was a duty on the US administration to investigate whether its officials were involved in or complicit in torture.

Al-Qa’ida’s use of special needs patients as suicide bombers

A doctor allegedly “sold lists” of patients with special needs to al-Qa’ida so they could be strapped with remote-control explosives and detonated in busy markets in Baghdad. According to the Iraq War Logs, in October 2008 a GP was arrested by US forces on suspicion of passing on the names of 11 female patients to insurgents.

A file stated that the women were “likely used in the 01 February 2008 dual suicide attack on local markets”, referring to two women with Down’s syndrome who were fooled into wearing explosive vests and blown up in co-ordinated attacks on pet bazaars in central Baghdad. The explosions, which Iraqi officials said were detonated by mobile phone, killed at least 73 people and wounded more than 160.

It wasn’t an isolated incident – on 4 April 2008, a “mentally retarded” teenage boy blew himself up at a funeral in Diyala Province, north-east of Baghdad, killing six and injuring 34. He had, the log suggested, the “facial features of a person with Down’s syndrome” and was part of an “ongoing strategy” to recruit individuals with learning difficulties. And, on 28 February 2008, a mentally ill teenage boy was shot and injured by a US patrol while attempting to flee his kidnappers who were intending to use him as a suicide bomber.

An analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that, on average, 30 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were detonated every day between 2004 and 2009 – with vulnerable children handpicked as pawns for slaughter. A US soldier wrote in March 2007: “A 12- to 14-year-old boy wearing a back pack and on a bicycle rode into the intersection. The patrol passed through the intersection and the boy detonated his explosives targeting the passing vehicles.” A year later, in February 2008, the log stated: “S2 [military intelligence] assessment: recent reports indicated… AQI [al-Qa'ida in Iraq] is recruiting young local nationals and also using mentally handicapped persons to target CF [Coalition Forces] within the dragoon OE [operational environment].”

Private contractors

The documents reveal details of the largely unaccountable, and sometimes gung-ho, actions of private security firms. According to a New York Times analysis, the leaked documents “sketch, in vivid detail, a critical change in the way America wages war: the early days of the Iraq war… ushered in the era of the private contractor, wearing no uniform but fighting and dying in battle, gathering and disseminating intelligence and killing presumed insurgents.”

Among companies named in the Iraq war logs is a US firm called, of all things, Custer Battles. During the six years covered by the reports, at least 175 private security contractors were killed. Most of the dead were Iraqi drivers, guards and other staff.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism says the war logs detail 14 wrongful killings of civilians by the American security company formerly known as Blackwater. It is alleged that in one-third of the cases, Blackwater guards fired on civilians while guarding US officials. The company has earned more than $1.5bn (£950m) since the 2003 invasion. On 14 May 2005 the logs allege that Blackwater shot a civilian car, reportedly killing the driver and injuring his wife and child. The guards drove on and left the injured woman and child. A year later, on 2 May 2006, Blackwater guards opened fire on an ambulance attending the scene of an IED, killing the civilian ambulance driver.

Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services in 2009 after an incident in 2007 in Nisour Square, Baghdad, in which its security guards were involved in a shooting that killed 14 civilians. After the Nisour massacre the Iraqi government demanded that Blackwater leave the country. Xe Services is still one of the US government’s largest security contractors.

Shooting of surrendering men

A US Apache helicopter was ordered to kill two Iraqi insurgents who tried to surrender. The pilots of the helicopter were advised by a military lawyer that the men could not surrender to an aircraft, and thus were still targets.

The gunship launched a Hellfire missile at the truck, but the men fled the vehicle and ran into a nearby shack. The crew received further instructions to kill the men, and succeeded by firing 300 rounds a minute from the Apache’s 30mm cannon.

Up to 30 children killed by US soldiers at checkpoints

As many as 30 children died at the hands of US forces at military checkpoints, the Iraq war logs have revealed. Violent “escalation of force” (EOF) incidents as vehicles were slowed down and searched “often” resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, according to the classified documents.

One entry described how a six-year-old Iraqi was hit as troops fired several rounds with light machine guns. It read: “While crossing the street, patrol had an EOF where patrol fired 3 rounds of M249. One round ricocheted off the concrete hitting a 6yr old LN [local national] 250m down the road. Medical Facility reported that the 6yr old LN died of wounds upon arrival.”

Another detailed an incident in June 2005, where US soldiers fired warning shots at the grill of a car from 150m away. When the car finally stopped, seven were dead – including two children – and two were injured, because their parents had told them to lie on the floor of the car for safety. The logs detail the deaths of “significant” numbers of Iraqi civilians, including an unborn child, at checkpoints between 2004 and 2009. Of 834 people killed, 80 per cent were civilians – bringing the total dead to 681.

A photographer embedded with the First Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division in January 2005, in Tal Afar, north-west Iraq, witnessed the deaths of Camille and Hussein Hassan, who were travelling with their six children. Rakan Hassan, 11, was shot in the spine and paralysed – and his family was offered just $7,500 (£4,782) in compensation by the US Army for the loss of the two parents at $2,500 (£1,594) each, and an extra $2,500 (£1,594) for damaging the car (pictured). And on 29 September 2004, a car approaching a checkpoint was fired on by US soldiers and swerved off the road into a canal 1.5km north of Saqlawiyah, near Ramadi. It sank, drowning six people – two women, three children aged between five and eight, and a baby.

Analysis of the logs by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Channel 4′s Dispatches showed that, over the six-year period, four times as many civilians were killed in EOF incidents than those listed as insurgents.



The War Logs
A trove of nearly 400,000 secret field reports from Iraq, obtained by the group WikiLeaks, sheds new light on such issues as civilian deaths, detainee abuse and the involvement of Iran.  | Overview »

Reports Detail Iran Aid to Iraq Militias


Civilians Paid War’s Heaviest Toll


Detainees Suffered in Iraqi Hands


All of the above from the New York Times
Also see the following Reuters report that appeared in HaAretz….

Leaked Iraq documents depict abuse in Iraq

Files also detail well-known U.S. concerns about Iranian training and support for Iraqi militias.


Secret jail torturer becomes police chief in Israel

The appointment of an infamous Israeli interrogator to a high-ranking police post has sent shockwaves among human rights groups. Known among inmates as Captain George, he’s accused of numerous cases of torture and abuse of Arabs. Now that he’s in charge of Arab affairs, many Palestinians fear for their lives. RT’s Paula Slier reports from Israel.



A night in Hebron

Soldiers seized a high-school student, held burning cigarettes to his forehead and hands and cut his cheek with a penknife.

By Gideon Levy

The scars speak for themselves: a scorched hole in the middle of his forehead, like a mark of Cain, two more burn holes on his right hand and one on his left arm. The scratches on his face and arm have already healed. That’s what remains from the night on which soldiers decided to have a little fun with Salah Rajabi, a student in the 12th grade at the Tareq School in Hebron.

It’s not the first time soldiers have beaten him up. There have been no fewer than 12 previous attacks. The most serious of them occurred in 2006, when soldiers broke the boy’s shoulder and he was hospitalized. In December 2008, he was arrested with his two brothers on suspicion of stone throwing and released after 10 days. On another occasion he was arrested and released on bail of NIS 1,000. But this was the scariest attack of all, with the burning cigarettes on his flesh, the penknife that cut into his face and a mysterious pill the soldiers made him swallow by force, which frightened him more than anything else.

Another “Clockwork Orange” night in Hebron, in Israeli-controlled Area H2, which has been almost totally abandoned by the Palestinian residents for fear of the settlers and the Israel Defense Forces. Another display of wildness by soldiers, who thought that undercover of darkness they could do as they pleased. The IDF Spokesman made do this week with an appallingly laconic response: “The complaint that was filed with the police will be transmitted to the office of the military advocate general and after it is examined a decision will be made on how to proceed.” Whatever.

Rajabi, 19, is trying to complete his matriculation exams. He comes from a poor family of 19 children, from two mothers. Every day after school he goes to his sweets stand, peddling cheap baklava in front of his house. He was there on June 14, too. There was no school that day, because of the exams. In the afternoon he went to his stand and by 10 P.M. he had sold all his wares. He then set out to visit his sister, who, like her husband, is deaf and mute.

Salah Rajabi Salah Rajabi
Photo by: Miki Kratsman

He is a hefty young man, muscular but shy, his voice soft. His older brother, Kaad, sits next to him, to support him. His sister’s home isn’t far from where he lives. As he walked up the street, which is partially lit and partially dark, an IDF Jeep, coming from the direction of the stonemasons’ industrial zone, suddenly pulled up next to him. The soldier sitting next to the driver opened the door and asked to see his ID card.

The driver recognized him immediately. “Is it you?” he asked. Maybe he’s considered a troublemaker, though he has never been convicted of anything. Two other soldiers, who were sitting in the back seat, got out of the Jeep and moved toward him. They pushed him forcefully into the vehicle. Rajabi says he did not resist. He was frightened. They made him sit on the floor of the Jeep, in the back, but did not tie his hands or blindfold him, which is standard procedure in making an arrest.

The soldiers lit cigarettes: four soldiers and four cigarettes in one military Jeep with a Palestinian detainee on the floor, driving through the streets of Hebron, which overnight turned into Marlboro country. The Jeep kept moving, when suddenly one of the soldiers sitting in the back placed the burning cigarette against Rajabi’s forehead. While Rajabi was trying to recover from the pain and shock, the soldier sitting next to the driver pulled Rajabi’s arm forward and stuck his cigarette twice into the palm of the youth’s right hand. Here are the holes. The soldiers cursed him; he’s ashamed to repeat what they said. Then the other soldier in the back seat grabbed his left arm and jabbed his burning cigarette deep into it. Here is the hole. Only the driver puffed away tranquilly and did nothing.

Like all games, it’s not over till it’s over. Now the soldier in the back who was the first to brand Rajabi with a cigarette took out a penknife, one of those with which soldiers pierce the plastic handcuffs of their prisoners, and held it against Rajabi’s right cheek. Rajabi was deathly afraid. The soldier cut his cheek across its whole length and then worked on his left arm as well. Not a very deep cut, but blood flowed from his face. He wiped it away with his shirt.

Throughout, the Jeep kept going. They reached a dark, empty lot in the Jebel Juhar area. The driver stopped and turned off the engine. The four soldiers got out and ordered their victim to kneel on the ground. He did as they commanded. They grabbed his head and forced his mouth open, Rajabi relates. One soldier took out a pill and stuffed it into Rajabi’s mouth. They held his mouth open until they were certain he had swallowed the bitter pill. Then they threw him to the ground, got into the Jeep and sped off.

Rajabi lay there in the dark, exhausted and in a panic, blood on his face and arm. In a few minutes he pulled himself together, got up and made his way to the home of relatives about 300 meters from the empty lot. It was midnight. He knocked on the door. His shirt was dirty from the ground and stained with his blood. Opening the door in his pajamas, Ahmed Rajabi was appalled to see his distraught relative. He later testified that this was what happened to Musa Abu Hashhash, a fieldworker of B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

“What happened to you?” Ahmed asked Salah Rajabi, and he told him how the soldiers had stopped him, burned him with cigarettes, cut him with a knife and forced him to swallow a pill. The two called Kaad, Salah’s brother, who lives close by.

At this stage, Rajabi felt himself losing consciousness. He was certain it was because of the pill. Kaad arrived immediately and took his brother to Aliya Hospital in the city. On the way, he relates, his brother passed out. In the hospital his stomach was flushed, but the physicians told Kaad they did not have the equipment to determine what the pill was. When his brother woke up in the morning, Kaad relates, he began to attack everyone in sight in a fit of rage or fear.

Rajabi was injected with a tranquilizer and sent home. Since then he has not taken any more exams or returned to his baklava stand. Last week he filed a complaint with the Hebron police, complaint no. 230003/2010. The IDF, as we saw, is looking into it.



Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Amnesty International has condemned the Brazilian Supreme Court’s
blocking of a reinterpretation of a 1979 Amnesty Law that protects
members of the former military government from being put on trial for
extrajudicial killings, torture and rape.

Amnesty International report


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
Yesterday, after 6 days of kidnapping and beating our friend Omar Mousa
Ala'eddin from the village of Al-Ma'sara, the Israeli occupation authorities
released him broken and battered.  We spend much of the day with him.  Omar
is an English student at Hebron University and was returning with other
students and two of his professors from a field trip to Ramallah where they
watched a play. On the way back, a soldier at the checkpoint entered into a
verbal exchange with Omar when Omar tried to explain to him about a fellow
female student who did not have her ID card with her since Omar spoke
Hebrew.  The soldier ordered him out of the bus and the first blows were
delivered to Omar in front of his friends and teachers.  After they took him
to a back room and have received information about him (perhaps that he had
been in jail or that he participated in the weekly nonviolent protests), the
beatings became more regular. The initial beating of Omar on the face and
head made his mouth bleed and his head hurt and he was not able to speak to
the soldiers and this only made them beat him more for not answering their
questions. Omar told our friend Sevtap that one of the soldiers told him "do
you think the international solidarity will protect you". Omar was
transferred during those 6 days from the container checkpoint to  a police
station in the settlement of Maale Adumim, then to a military doctor at an
unknown location (but the doctor only looked briefly at him and basically
told him to shut up, then to the Russian compound prison in Jerusalem, then
to Ramle prison, then to Ofer prison, and finally to Ramleh prison again. On
the last day, he was brought before a judge and assigned a state lawyer who
made a deal for him to be released on bail.  Many hours passed because the
prison authorities refused to let him make a call to get someone to come pay
the bail.  After the bail was paid, Omar was not released but finally, the
military brought him to the South of Ramallah and dumped him on the side of
the road.  Omar was initially treated at Al-Hussain hospital in Beit Jala
and released but his condition deteriorated and his family decided to take
him to a hospital in Hebron where he spent last night.  He might be released
at noon today. Video of Omar at Hospital at

Photos of injuries before his situation deteriorated is at

Fatenah animation is now on You Tube! Summary: Fatenah is a 27 year old
woman living in the Gaza Strip. Her life is similar to the lives of many
other women in Gaza. Her life changes the day she discovers to have breast
cancer.  This animation, the first produced in Palestine, shows with great
accuracy the scenarios of Gaza city. The 27 minutes long story is a
breath-taking journey into Fatenah's daily struggles. It uncovers the human
drama of her fight to survive. This journey into the heart of the Gaza Strip
will touch and move you. 
Part 1/3  

Part 2/3  
Part 3/3  

Directed by Ahmad Habash, Screenplay Saed Andoni, Ahmad Habash, Ambrogio
Manenti, Produced by Saed Andoni, Music Said Murad, Editing Saed Andoni,
Animation Ahmad Habash, Director of Photography Ahmad Habash, Sound Designer
Zaher Rashmawi, Voices - Actors: Buthaina Sumairi (Fatenah), Ahmad Abu
Saloom (Abu Rasheed), Shaden Saleem (Amal), Imad Ahmad (Mualem), Mesbah Deeb
(Ayman), Waleed Aqel (Dr. Salah / AMB. Driver), Nibal Thawabteh (Lutfieh),
Hanan El Hilu (Dafna), Amira Habash (IDF soldier), Ahmad Habash (Palestinian
Dr. / IDF soldier), Saed Andoni (IDF sergeant), Gabriel Lambert (Israeli
Dr.), Chiara Stefanini (Israeli nurse)..

Quote from US Secretary Hilalry Clinton at the powerful AIPAC lobby: "Under
President Obama's leadership, we have reinvigorated defense consultations,
redoubled our efforts to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge, and
provided nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance. (Applause). The
United States . did lead the boycott of the Durban Conference and we
repeatedly voted against the deeply flawed Goldstone Report. (Applause.)
This Administration will always stand up for Israel's right to defend
itself. (Applause.) And for Israel, there is no greater strategic threat
than the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. (Applause.)"


Unlike the US, photos of missing children do not appear on milk cartons in Occupied Palestine…. their parents know where they are…. kidnapped by Israeli soldiers, or worse.
Amir, ten years old, abducted by Israeli soldiers from his bed
Nora Barrows-Friedman writing from Hebron, occupied West Bank,
Amir and his mother just hours before he was abducted by Israeli soldiers. (Nora Barrows-Friedman)
Amir al-Mohtaseb smiled tenderly when I asked him to tell me his favorite color. Sitting in his family’s living room last Thursday afternoon, 4 March, in the Old City of Hebron, the ten-year-old boy with freckles and long eyelashes softly replied, “green.” He then went on to describe in painful detail his arrest and detention — and the jailing of his 12-year-old brother Hasan by Israeli occupation soldiers on Sunday, 28 February.

Hours after our interview, at 2am, Israeli soldiers would break into the house, snatch Amir from his bed, threaten his parents with death by gunfire if they tried to protect him, and take him downstairs under the stairwell. They would beat him so badly that he would bleed internally into his abdomen, necessitating overnight hospitalization. In complete shock and distress, Amir would not open his mouth to speak for another day and a half.

In our interview that afternoon before the brutal assault, Amir said that on the 28th, he was playing in the street near the Ibrahimi Mosque, on his way with Hasan to see their aunt.

“Two of the soldiers stopped us and handcuffed us,” Amir said. “They brought us to two separate jeeps. They took me to the settlement and put me in a corner. I still had handcuffs on. They put a dog next to me. I said that I wanted to go home. They said no, and told me I would stay here forever. They refused to let me use the bathroom. They wouldn’t let me call my mother. They blindfolded me and I stayed there like that until my father was able to come and get me late at night.”

Amir’s detention inside the settlement lasted nearly ten hours. “The only thing that I thought about was how afraid I was, especially with the dog beside me. I wanted to run away and go back to my house,” he said.

Amir and Hasan’s mother, Mukarrem, told me that Amir immediately displayed signs of trauma when he returned home. “He was trying to tell me a joke, and trying to laugh. But it was not normal laughter. He was happy and terrified at the same time,” she said. “He wet himself at some point during the detention. He was extremely afraid.”

Amir revealed that he hadn’t been able to sleep in the nights following his detention, worried sick about his brother in jail and extremely afraid that the soldiers would come back (which, eventually, they did). Today, approximately 350 children are languishing inside Israeli prisons and detention camps, enduring interrogation, torture and indefinite sentences, sometimes without charge. The number fluctuates constantly, but thousands of Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 16 have moved through the Israeli military judicial system over the past decade since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada. Israel designates 18 as the age of adulthood for its own citizens, but through a military order, and against international law, Israel mandates 16 as the age of adulthood for Palestinians. Additionally, Israel has special military orders (#1644 and #132) to be able to arrest and judge Palestinian children — termed “juvenile delinquents” — as young as 12 years old.

“This way, they have a ‘legal’ cover for what they are doing, even though this is against international laws,” said Abed Jamal, a researcher at Defence for Children International-Palestine Section’s (DCI-PS) Hebron office. “However, in Amir’s case, they broke even their own laws by arresting and detaining him as a ten-year-old boy. These laws are obviously changeable according to Israel’s whim. We have yet to see a prosecution for crimes such as these.”

I asked Amir and Hasan’s father, Fadel, to describe how one is able to parent effectively under this kind of constant siege.

“It’s not safe for the children to go outside because we’ve faced constant attacks by the settlers and the soldiers,” he explained. “This by itself is unimaginable for us. And now, we have one son in jail and another traumatized … they’re so young.”

On Sunday, 7 March, exactly a week after Hasan’s arrest and Amir’s detention, the family and members of the local media made an early-morning journey to Ofer prison where Hasan had been held since his initial arrest. After a lengthy process in which the Israeli military judge admitted that the boy was too young to stay in prison, Hasan was released on the condition that he would come back to the court to finish the trial at a later date. This trial followed the initial hearing last Wednesday at Ofer, where Maan News Agency reported that the judge insisted that Fadel pay the court 2,000 shekels ($530) for Hasan’s bail. According to Maan, Fadel then publicly asked the court, “What law allows a child to be tried in court and then asks his father to pay a fine? I will not pay the fine, and you have to release my child … This is the law of Israel’s occupation.”

Consumed by their sons’ situations, Mukarrem and Fadel say they are trying to do the best for their family under attack. “What can we do?” asked Fadel. “We lock the doors. We lock the windows. We have nothing with which to protect our family and our neighbors from the soldiers or the settlers. If a Palestinian kidnapped and beat and jailed an Israeli child, the whole world would be up in arms about it. It would be all over the media. But the Israelis, they come into our communities with jeeps and tanks and bulldozers, they take our children and throw them into prison, and no one cares.”

DCI-PS’s Jamal reiterates the point that international laws made to protect children under military occupation have been ignored by Israel since the occupation began in 1967. “Most of the time, we try to do our best to use the law, the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child as weapons against this brutality,” said Jamal. “All of these laws exist, but Israel uses their own military laws as excuses to defy international law. As Palestinians, we have to work together to create solidarity against this brutality. Through our work, we try to tell the international community what’s going on with Palestinian children to create a wide berth of support against this situation. We believe that the only way this will stop is through the support of the international community.”

Amir slowly began speaking again 36 hours after the beating by Israeli soldiers. Zahira Meshaal, a Bethlehem-based social worker specializing in the effects of trauma in children, said that Amir’s “elective mutism,” a symptom of extreme psychological shock caused by his beating and detention, is a common response, but that it is a good sign that he began talking again. “This is a reaction of fear on many levels. Amir’s house and his family are his only source of security,” said Meshaal. “This was taken away from him the moment the soldiers invaded his home. It’s easy to attend to the immediate trauma, but the long-term effects will undoubtedly be difficult to address. He’ll need a lot of mental health services from now on.”

Meshaal comments on the nature of this attack in the context of the unraveling situation inside Hebron. “We are talking about a place that is on the front lines of trauma,” she said. “This is an ongoing and growing injury to the entire community. Parents have to be a center of security for their children, but that’s being taken away from them. Especially in Hebron, the Israeli settlers and soldiers know this, and use this tactic to force people to leave the area. It’s a war of psychology. This is a deliberate act to make the children afraid and force people to leave so that their children can feel safer.”

At the end of our interview last Thursday, Amir sent a message to American children. “We are kids, just like you. We have the right to play, to move freely. I want to tell the world that there are so many kids inside the Israeli jails. We just want to have freedom of movement, the freedom to play.” Amir said that he wants to be a heart surgeon when he grows up. His mother and father told me that they hope Amir’s own heart — and theirs — heals from last week’s repetitive and cumulative trauma at the hands of the interminable Israeli occupation.

Nora Barrows-Friedman is the co-host and Senior Producer of Flashpoints, a daily investigative newsmagazine on Pacifica Radio. She is also a correspondent for Inter Press Service. She regularly reports from Palestine, where she also runs media workshops for youth in the Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.



Image by Bendib
click on image to enlarge

You can read about John Yoo HERE


Israeli Use Of Painful Shackling As A Form of Torture
Stephen Lendman


Founded in 1990 to highlight a growing problem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PACTI – `believes that torture and ill treatment of any kind and under all circumstances is incompatible with the moral values of democracy and the rule of law. (It) advocates for all persons – Israelis, Palestinians, labor immigrants and other foreigners in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) – in order to protect them from torture and ill treatment by the Israeli interrogation and law enforcement authorities.`

They include the Israeli Police, the General Security Service (GSS), the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). In June 2009, PACTI published a report titled, `Shackling As A Form of Torture and Abuse.` Its findings are discussed below.

PACTI reviews the `serious phenomenon` of shackling Palestinian detainees `in a systematic manner and throughout all stages of detention and interrogation.` Its purpose is to dehumanize and inflict pain, suffering, punishment, intimidation, and discrimination as a way of lawlessly extracting information even though experts acknowledge that torture is ineffective, counterproductive, and, of course, illegal under all circumstances at all times with no exceptions allowed ever.

Israel`s use of shackling `has snowballed almost out of control….even when it serves no real` purpose, and it begins at the time of arrest. Plastic handcuffs are used `that can be tightened but cannot be released or halted.` They inflict pain, especially when hands are cuffed from behind, the most common way.

Shackling continues during interrogation, `where diverse and creative forms of cuffing are intended to apply pain and pressure….` Then in cells, detainees are painfully shackled to beds for extended periods. Even when they`re transfered for urgent hospital treatment, cuffing stays in place throughout.

In his `Torture Ruling,` (HCJ 5100/94 Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. Prime Minister of Israel), former President of the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ), Aaron Barak (1995 – 2006), addressed cuffing as follows:

`A reasonable interrogation is an interrogation without torture, without cruel or inhuman treatment of the interrogee, and without a humiliating attitude thereto. It is forbidden to use brutal and inhuman measures during the course of the interrogation….Painful cuffing is a prohibited action. Moreover: other means exist to prevent escape from lawful custody or to protect the interrogators which do not involve causing pain and suffering to the interrogee.`

Interrogators ignored the ruling and keep using procedures prohibited by the High Court as a way to gratuitously inflict pain, suffering, and at times permanent injury and disability.

PACTI cites specific cases and offers a medical opinion on the pain and neurological damage it causes. In response to its demands, interrogators began using new type handcuffs with longer chains, supposedly to limit physical harm. However, they`re as harsh as before.

Cuffing During Arrest and Transfer to Interrogation

Painful cuffing begins, even for minors, the sick and women at the moment of arrest to begin breaking detainees` spirit and soften them up for GSS interrogations. Each month, PACTI gets dozens of complaints, and over the past year documented hundreds representing `the tip of the iceberg` about a universally administered procedure. For example:

Alaa Nasser Dib Salem was arrested on October 2, 2008. In his affidavit, he said soldiers cuffed his hands behind his back so tightly that any hand movement tightened his restraint more, causing pain and producing paresthesia (an abnormal tingling or pricking feeling the result of pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves).

Mahmud Faruq Hamed el-Bubali lost feeling in both hands after 30 minutes and made him feel like `my palms were going to disconnect, to be cut off.` The cuffing turned his hands blue, and he suffered intense pain, especially in his right hand.

When Yazan Sawalha complained of pain, he was denigrated, laughed at, cursed, and told to shut up even though his hands turned bright blue and red, were very swollen, and he had trouble lifting them.

Rami Mufid Jum`ah`s complaint led to further abuse. In transit with soldiers, he was kicked and struck with rifle butts on his shoulder.

A.G, a minor, told of being tightly handcuffed with his hands behind his back and blindfolded. When his restraint was temporarily removed, his left hand was blue and swollen, and his wrist swollen and red. At the Petah Tikva detention center, a doctor discovered white pus on both his hands.

Each time PACTI submitted a complaint to the Central Command Attorney for Operational Affairs, `no substantive reply` was gotten.

During Operation Cast Lead, Amar Fuad Mahmud al-Helu was arrested, painfully cuffed and held that way for three days. As a result, his shoulder was sprained and dislocated. When he shouted about the intense pain, soldiers tightened his restraint further.

In statements gotten by the Breaking the Silence organization, soldiers corroborated detainee testimonies. For example, Staff Sergeant A. said:

`….handcuff (detainees) and put a cloth over their eyes. Just take them away at night….put the handcuffs on them real tight. It stopped their blood circulation a bit.` They were left in a school `for hours, blindfolded and handcuffed, and they had no idea what they`d done…It went on through the day` lasting for hours.

Staff Sergeant B said:

`some soldiers know what the purpose of the handcuffs is and some….think (it`s) to stop the flow of blood from the wrist and fingertips….some guys think that you should squeeze the handcuffs as far as possible so that no blood can flow from one side to the other.` That`s different from just restraining them.

The Medical Aspect

At PACTI`s request, Dr. Bettina Steiner-Birmanns said:

`Tight handcuffs – such as narrow and rigid plastic handcuffs with no space between the cuffs and the detainee`s hands – press forcefully on the wrists. The detainee is liable to remain (in restraint) for protracted periods. In these conditions, the handcuffs may cause injuries to soft tissue and abrasions, skin wounds, and even fractures. The handcuffs also press on the nerves in the palms, thereby causing paralyses and a loss of sensation in (them). These neurological injuries may be transient but they may also be permanent….From the neurologist`s viewpoint….tight handcuffs can cause transient or irreversible damage….`

Correspondence with Army Authorities

All detainees are subjected to the same abuse with slight variations. PACTI asked authorities to provide regulations, procedures, or orders regarding the use of plastic (or other type) handcuffs. In response, Major Zohar Halevy, the IDF Spokesperson`s Division Human Rights and Public Relations head, issued a statement saying:

`In principle, force is not to be exercised against another person in order to execute a function or perform a duty unless the function cannot be executed or the duty performed without the exercising of force.`

Regarding forceful handcuffing, Major Halevy added that military police orders establish that:

`the use of force shall be in such measure as is necessary and logical while adapting given the circumstances. This shall be reasonably proportional to the desired goal. (Furthermore), the shackling of detainees outside the detention center shall be effected solely by the use of handcuffs, in such manner that the accompanying MP is shackled by the hand to the detainee, or when two detainees are shackled together and the MP accompanies them….it must be ensured that the accompaniers have cutters in order to cut the handcuffs when necessary.`

In response to a further PACTI inquiry, Human Rights Officer, Captain Gon Erez, said that handcuffing is in accordance with military police commander Instruction No. 9810 concerning `Shackling with Handcuffs – Security Detainees.` It states that they`re used to:

–prevent self-injury;

– injury to another person or property; and

– prevent escape from lawful custody.

Per the military police commander`s instruction, ordering handcuffing, including the type, is to be made in writing by the authorizing person, `and this decision shall be examined on an individual basis.` Further, `handcuffing shall be in such a manner as is essential in order to secure these goals and as an only and last means to do so. Once the goal is reached, the handcuffing of the security detainee is to be halted.` The facility military police commander and medical officer must approve maintaining it for over 72 hours, and handcuffs `shall be removed every three hours for a period of fifteen minutes.`

The provisions of commander Instruction No. 9803, `The Transfer and Removal of Detainees from a Detention Facility,` must also be followed. It states that:

`force is not to be exercised against a detainee for the purpose of the transfer or removal of the detainee from the incarceration facility unless it is impossible to execute the mission without` it. It`s further established that `the use of force shall be in a degree that is reasonable and essential for the execution of the task and shall be adapted to the circumstances….reasonable proportionality is to be maintained between the desired goal and the extent of the force that is exercised` that at all times `shall serve as a last resort.`

However, this instruction is vague on details during transfer and removal of detainees from incarceration facilities, thus granting soldiers a margin of leeway to exercise their own judgment and let them be harsher than necessary.

Nonetheless, the official reply acknowledges no legal basis for painful shackling, yet the procedure `is actually the case in the army` with no justification. As a result of 574 documented abuse cases, PACTI wrote to the West Bank judge advocate general and military police commander on May 13, 2009 demanding that soldiers henceforth be prohibited from using plastic handcuffs as the first and only means of controlling detainees from the time of arrest through their transfer to interrogation facilities. All painful restraint methods were also asked to be eliminated, especially shackling detainees` hands behind their back, and that procedures be established concerning the method and length of detainees` held in restraint. PACTI learned that plastic handcuffs can only be tightened, not loosened or removed unless cut off.

Handcuffing During GSS Interrogations

During interrogations, detainees are isolated and prevented from meeting with an attorney, family members, or ICRC representatives. As a result, they`re `subjected entirely to the interrogators` control at all times during the period of interrogation.`

They`re kept painfully handcuffed in various ways, including `regular` protracted cuffing of hands behind their back as well as their arms and forearms in positions causing severe pain, suffering, and at times permanent harm. PACTI calls `high cuffing` the most extreme form.

GSS interrogators claim the procedure is to protect detainees` well being and prevent their escape. However, they`re kept in a secured, closed, carefully guarded facility, making that likelihood nearly impossible.

Detainees are placed on an unupholstered wood, metal, or rigid plastic chair of standard office size. Both hands are shackled behind their back with metal cuffs connected by a short chain to the chair`s seat. Most often legs are also restrained, and the chair always is fixed to the floor.

Detainees are held that way throughout interrogation lasting many hours or days, except for short meal breaks and even shorter bathroom ones. Protracted sitting alone with no possibility of shifting positions, standing, or stretching is itself extremely uncomfortable. Being painfully shackled makes it much worse, and any attempt to slightly adjust the hands results in further tightening of the cuffs.

As explained above, paresthesia often results that includes loss of feeling, weakness, and pain in the back, arms, wrists, shoulders and neck – the entire upper body. Chest muscles are also strained, breathing impeded, and long-term neurological damage is common.

The Scale of Cuffing Detainees with Their Hands Behind Their Back

PACTI affidavits show it`s widespread during all interrogations, usually throughout the procedure. A few testimonies describe the practice:

A.B, aged 16 and a half, said his hands were cuffed behind his back and attached to the chair`s seat. His testimony shows that even minors are subjected to the same harsh treatment as adults. At one point during the process, A.B. broke down and cried.

Samar Hasan Sus said:

`When the interrogation began, I was cuffed with my hands behind the back of the chair I was sitting on. The handcuffs were attached to the bottom of the seat of the chair and I could not move my hands. The handcuffs were made of metal.` He complained to an attorney about forearm, leg and back pain. PACTI submitted a complaint on his behalf to no avail.

Dr. Ghasan Sharif Muhammed Khaled said he was cuffed and not allowed to change position. He said he was subjected to intensive interrogation for eight days, up to 22 hours a day, excluding Saturday and Sunday. Throughout, he was painfully shackled with only rare breaks of about 10 minutes. As a result, he experienced severe pain in his tailbone, back, neck, palms, and knees. He also sustained internal bruising and his knees swelled. PACTI again complained, was told the case was closed, and no corroboration was found for Dr. Khaled`s complaints.

Numerous other cases were much the same, and PACTI got no substantive responses to its complaints. They also learned that the only time interrogators unfastened the restraints was when detainees said they wanted to confess. Otherwise, painful shackling continued, causing permanent damage and humiliation as well.

`High Handcuffing` in the Interrogation Room

PACTI describes it as `any type of handcuffing in which the detainees` hands are above the level of their wrists, including cuffing of the forearms or arms.` It`s extremely painful, can cause physical injury, and if maintained for extended periods very often permanent disability.

Detainee Jalal Khaled Momammed Sawafta describes it in his affidavit:

He was cuffed with a large metal bracelet. `They cuffed my hands in the middle of the forearm (between the wrist and the elbow). Each of two interrogators pressed on the bracelet of the handcuff on my arm – they both pressed together. It was terribly painful. Of course, these handcuffs were in addition to the regular handcuffs that were on my hands all the time, so I had two pairs of handcuffs fastened behind my back. (They) pressed on my arms hard. I cried out but it didn`t do any good.`

Sawafta`s hands are still numb. He can`t move his palms well, and they still feel cold all the time even on hot days. He still has marks on his right hand and wrist and `all kinds of bruises on both hands.` Also, his back hurts when sitting for a long time. He`s unable to write or hold a cigarette between his fingers, and his hands are swollen and red.

On his behalf, PACTI complained to Attorney General Meni Mazuz. Even after a follow-up memo, no substantive reply was gotten. Other detainees described the same treatment. Some referred to `indescribable` pain, and subsequent medical examination confirmed neurological damage.

After repeated attempts on behalf of detainees, Attorney Naomi Granot, Inspector of Interrogee Complaints, closed the issue `on the grounds that the findings of the mechanism for examining complaints by interrogees did not warrant legal, disciplinary, or other action against any of the GSS interrogators.`

From the clear evidence it got, PACTI concluded that detainee rights were `gravely` violated and that no redress would be forthcoming. Nonetheless, an appeal to the prime minister was made, including demands to prohibit painfully shackling, restrict the method and frequency of less or non-painful restraints, and assure future procedures only prevent detainees from harming interrogators or escaping. PACTI wants new rules, guidelines, and criteria in writing that comply with international and Israeli law.

Response from the Prime Minister`s Office

In January 2008, the Office of the Military Secretary to the Prime Minister head, Major Shalom Ginzburg, replied:

`It has been decided to alleviate the condition of interrogators by lengthening the chain in such a manner that the interrogee will be able to place his hands by the side of his body in a more comfortable manner, without this impairing the security of the interrogators or increasing the risk that the detainee will escape from custody.`

The `high handcuffing` issue wasn`t addressed, nor was PACTI`s demand for clear cuffing procedures. Nothing fundamentally changed as repeated detainee complaints were received. In response, PACTI contacted the internal security minister `to ensure immediate compliance with the decision of the Prime Minister`s Office on this matter.`

In May 2008, Col. (Ret.) Yuval Rivlin from the Office of the Comptroller of the Ministry of Internal Security (Public Complaints Office) replied stating:

`our examination with the Israel Police has shown that interrogees are not handcuffed during their interrogation. The Israel Prison Service informs us that the interrogation facilities are not under the responsibility of the IPS.`

In December 2008, PACTI again wrote the prime minister asking him to immediately prohibit painful cuffing, including `high handcuffing` and to establish firm procedures to be followed during interrogations.

In February 2009, Ayelet Moshe from the Public Affairs Department in the Prime Minister`s Office stonewalled by repeating earlier responses that produced no substantive changes.

Painful Handcuffing Continues

Detainee testimonies reveal it:

Mu`ataz Suleiman Mohammed Qawasmeh described how his hands were painfully cuffed behind his back with metal cuffs connected by a 40 centimeter long chain fixed to the back of the chair. While in this position, he was intensively interrogated from 10 – 22 hours a day. As a result, he suffers spinal and shoulder pain.

For about 12 hours a day, Ahmad Samir Hassan Isma`il was cuffed the same way for nearly five days. As a result, he has lower back pain and paresthesia in both palms. Others now experience various upper body pain in their shoulders, neck, hands, arms, and elbows. They also suffer from swollen red hands, paresthesia, and leg pain for those whose legs were shackled.

Alaa Nasser Dib Salem revealed more – painful hands and feet shackling to a concrete bed in solitary confinement for two days without interrogation. After six hours, he experienced paresthesia throughout his body. He was also denied access to the bathroom and forced to urinate in his clothes. When he complained, two men in civilian clothes tortured him by painfully pressing on his cuffs, cursing him, and threatening to torture his family. Salem was later beaten on all parts of his body with a nightstick and lost consciousness. When revived, he was shaking.

PACTI concluded that `The behavior of the interrogators in these cases and in other similar cases….indicates the use of handcuffing as a form of torture in order to extract information unlawfully` with interrogators often told anything to stop the pain.

Non-Handcuffing of Detainees During Police Interrogations

After GSS interrogations, detainees are questioned by police, or at times interrogations are done alternately for different purposes. GSS wants information to protect state security while police need it for subsequent prosecutions. During their interrogations, cuffing isn`t used, a clear sign that GSS does it solely to inflict pain.

PACTI concludes that GSS interrogators use `systematic handcuffing (for) extraneous motives….far removed from the need to `protect the safety of the interrogators` or to `prevent escape from custody.` ` Painful cuffing is used solely to torture, abuse, and inflict permanent impairment. `This behavior is inconsistent with the declared objectives and those set in (international and Israeli) law….`

Shackling Sick Detainees and Prisoners During Medical Treatment

One case involved a shackled young man who was unconscious after Israelis lynched him. Police refused to unfasten his handcuffs in the hospital even though they impeded treatment. Another case involved a hospitalized woman shackled on her way for major surgery, then again painfully after completion.

After being shot, Mohammed Ashkar was hospitalized unconscious and placed in intensive care with a ventilator attached to his mouth. Yet his hands were cuffed to the bed, and his legs cuffed together. At all times, four guards watched him. Ashkar subsequently died from his wounds, still painfully shackled. PACTI called his case `an appalling example of inhumanity` and a shocking breach of medical ethics for hospital staff to permit this.

The December 1982 UN Declaration on the Principles of Medical Ethics clearly states that:

– `Health personnel, particularly physicians, charged with the medical care of prisoners and detainees have a duty to provide them with protection of their physical and mental health and treatment of disease of the same quality and standard as is afforded to those who are not imprisoned or detained.`

The Declaration also prohibits actively or passively participating in `torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatement or punishment (and) assist(ing) in the interrogation of prisoners or detainees in a manner that may adversely affect (their) physical or mental health or condition….`

In response to PACTI`s complaint about Ashkar`s treatment, IPS Attorney Tal Argaman on prisoners` affairs said his shackling properly complied with `confidential` procedures he wasn`t at liberty to disclose. PACTI nonetheless submitted a request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Law, 5758-1998, but was denied on grounds of confidentiality.

At a subsequent meeting (attended by Physicians for Human Rights representatives) with police, the IPS, Deputy Attorney general (Criminal), Ministry of Internal Security and Ministry of Health, PACTI learned that `IPS security prisoners are considered dangerous and are automatically shackled` while hospitalized, even if on life support. The meeting ended inconclusively.

On July 31, 2008, another meeting was held with the same attendees as earlier. As a result, the IPS published IPS Commission Order No. 04.15.01 concerning `the shackling of a prisoner in a public place.` For the first time, it distinguished between levels of danger for prisoners and detainees as follows:

– those classified `level A` include all held for security reasons to be shackled as authorities see fit;

– `level B` detainees may not be shackled, `subject to individual examination;`

– for minors, the handicapped, disabled, or sick, shackling should be avoided, but isn`t prohibited if grounds are documented in writing;

– during court proceedings, cuffing should be avoided, `subject to individual examination;`

– for hospitalized detainees, authorities should refrain from shackling unless sufficient grounds are presented; however, this doesn`t apply to `level A` detainees who`ll be shackled at all times; this means that anyone may be so classified and painfully restrained.

PACTI concluded that the new order didn`t alter `the default practice of shackling.` It continues unabated.

Shackling from the Perspective of International Law

International law is clear and unequivocal. Torture amounting to cruel, inhuman, and/or humiliating treatment is prohibited at all times, under all circumstances, with no exceptions ever allowed, including in times of war or imminent danger. This prohibition is a rare example of a legal principle, accepted as customary law that`s binding on all countries worldwide. Neither Israel or any other nation may violate it no matter what conditions exist.

In addition, accepted principles for detainees and prisoners were established in a non-binding July 1, 1957 UN resolution concerning Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. They were adopted in 1955 by the First UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders and were approved in 1957.

They reflect accepted norms and standards concerning prisoner treatment, including the prohibition of shackling to inflict punishment under Section 33, but allow it, with restrictions, to prevent escape during transfer, provided:

– cuffs are removed before detainees appear before a judicial or administrative authority;

– for medical reasons on instruction of a medical staff member; and

– on order of the incarceration facility`s general manger.

Even when applied, doing it in a painful manner is prohibited, and the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) several times affirmed the standard under the 1988 Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment that states:

`All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.`

Yet the HCJ also legitimized coercive interrogations in three 1996 cases involving plaintiffs Bilbeisi, Hamdan and Mubarak seeking interim injunctions prohibiting abusive GSS treatment, including painful shackling, violent shaking, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music, sleep deprivation, and lengthy detentions. After further deliberation, the HCJ ruled painful shackling illegal, but allowed the other practices, even though Section 277 of Israel`s 1977 Penal Law prohibits torture and provides criminal sanctions against its use. It specifically states:

`A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment for three years:

– uses or directs the use of force or violence against a person for the purpose of extorting from him or from anyone in whom he is interested a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense; or

– threatens any person, or directs any person to be threatened, with injury to his person or property or to the person or property in whom he is interested for the purpose of extorting from him a confession of an offense or any information relating to an offense.`

In fact, this law applies solely to Jews, so Palestinians are subjected to systematic torture and abuse, including extended periods of injurious painful shackling. In addition, the Penal Law has a giant loophole `necessary defense` provision allowing `psychological and moderate physical pressure` to obtain evidence in criminal proceedings. It also permits coercive interrogations against `hostile (threats or acts of) terrorist activity` and all expressions of Palestinian nationalism.

Then in 1999, the HCJ ruled that coercive force may be used in `ticking time bomb` cases that can be applied to anyone designated a security threat or terrorist. According to Israeli authorities, all expressions of Palestinian nationalism, activism and resistance against lawless oppression is `terrorism,` opening the way for Palestinian detainees to be tortured – defined by international law as war crimes that impose criminal liability on perpetrators, their authorizing superiors, and the state itself.

Israel is a serial violator, so far unaccountable for its grave breaches, yet potentially liable for its actions as well as individuals at all security and political levels engaged in state-sponsored policies that willfully disregard binding international laws.

Under the well-established principle of `universal jurisdiction,` any nation may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals for crimes against humanity and war, including torture, cruel and abusive treatment of detainees. In April 1961, Israel applied it against Adolph Eichmann, and so has America against figures like Panama`s Manuel Noriega and Liberia`s Charles (Chuckie) Taylor. It may only be a matter of time until the `law of averages` catches up with Israeli war criminals. For their victims, it can`t come a moment too soon.

Written FOR


On December 9th at 14:00 PM, two rural activists of Liga dos
Camponeses Pobres in Rondonia, North Brazil, were kidnapped by hitmen
in the road between Rio Alto camp and the city of Buritis. Elcio
Machado (alias Sabia) and Gilson Goncalves were both tortured,having
finger nails and parts of skin pulled out, and then executed.

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

On October I met Sabia, his wife and children in Buritis, during my
trip to countryside Rondonia. He can be seen in this photo, holding a
Palestinian flag.

May he rest in peace. Struggle goes on.


a human-rights story by Khalid Amayreh
kanaan mustafa said shatatDespite repeated assurances from the Palestinian Authority (PA) that torture has been outlawed in PA interrogation and incarceration facilities, stories of physical and psychological abuse continue to surface in the West Bank. This raises serious questions about the credibility of undertakings made by the PA to local and international human rights organisations operating in the occupied territories.

The following is an accurate translation of a written testimony by Kanaan Mustafa Said Shatat from the village of Bidya in the Salfit District.

Shatat spoke personally to this writer on Tuesday 8 December, recounting the horrible ill-treatment he had been meted out by members of the Palestinian General Intelligence or Mukhabarat last month.

His graphic account underscores the rampant lawlessness still permeating through the PA security apparatus. It also shows that the PA government is quite slack in enforcing its own laws on the various security agencies operating under the PA rubric in the West Bank.

Bidya man recounts nightmarish experience in PA custody“My name is Kanaan Mustafa Said Shatat from the village of Bidya in the Salfit District. On Monday, 9 November, while I was inside the al-Noor pharmacy at around 7:30 pm, to buy medicine, two officers from the General Intelligence in the Salfit Governorate stormed the pharmacy.

The two officers are Mahmoud Mustafa Mahmoud Kanaan from Bidya, who is forty years of age and married; and Sofyan Abdul Rahman Kamel al Dalew, also from Bidya, and is 30 years’ old and single.

As the two stormed the drug store, they attacked me savagely, beating me with their fists all over my body before they dragged me outside in a violent and savage manner. Then the two resumed beating me in the face and head.. Outside the drug store, there was a police patrol whose members helped the two officers force me into a blue vehicle belonging to the Mukhabarat. The pair took me to the police station at Bidya.

There, the police frisked me, took my Identity card and placed me in one room alone. At that time I heard my father’s voice, enquiring about me. The police chief told my father that I was not there, which forced me to scream at my dad to tell him that they were lying to him. Then, the police opened the door, with one officer telling me not to speak a word, and that I was a trouble-maker. I told him I was not a trouble maker and that I really didn’t know why I was being detained, especially since no arrest warrant had been issued against me.

Bidya man recounts nightmarish experience in PA custodyThe police chief told me that a Mukhabarat car would come to pick me up soon and that the Police were going to hand me over to the Mukhabarat based on their request. I asked him why they were going to hand me over to the Mukhabarat. He said because the Mukhabarat wanted to question me on certain charges.

About half an hour later, I was taken by a group of Mukhabarat officers to their local center where I was ordered into a small room on the entrance to the building.

Soon afterward, as many as ten intelligence officers stormed the small chamber, ganged up on me and started beating me ferociously. The assault lasted for ten minutes and caused deep cuts in my skull, another one behind my right ear as well as bleeding from my head, lips and teeth. The beating was so harsh that I barely could stand on my feet. Then I was taken to the interrogation office while I was still bleeding. They started questioning me on charges alleging that I had threatened two intelligence officers (Mahmoud Mustafa Kanaan and Hasan al Akraa). When I denied the charges they asked me to wash the blood away.

Bidya man recounts nightmarish experience in PA custodyThey actually led me to the washbasin as I was too frail to walk on my feet on my own. Then they took me to another interrogation room. However, as they failed to prove the charges against me, the Mukhabarat’s local chief, Muhammed Abdul Hamid, Abu al Abed, entered the room, accompanied by several officers. He asked me about the charges and I answered that I was innocent. Then the chief himself started beating me as I was bleeding and had nothing with which to stop the blood except a small pillow which was soaked in blood.

An hour later, they took me to the local clinic in Bidya where my cuts were stitched up. Taking me back to the Mukhabarat center, the chief told me that I would stay in their custody indefinitely. On the sixth day of my incarceration, (November 15, 2009), they asked me to fill in a form stating my name, whether I was married or single, my political affiliation and which political party I voted for in the past elections. They also asked me why the Israelis arrested me in 2005. I signed the affidavit, which also included my denial of the charges.

Then I was taken to the office of the military prosecutor in Salfit, Yafi Marayta. There I was asked to state my name, political affiliation, and the charges levelled against me. Marayta warned me that if he found out that the charges were genuine, he would show me what he would do to me!

Then he extended my detention for 15 more days. As I was being led to the military prosecutor’s office, I heard an intelligence officer, named Zayd, tell the military prosecutor the following: “I’ve brought you a Hamas detainee in our custody. He is stubborn, teach him good manners!! Then Marayta said “don’t worry.”

Afterwards, I was taken to the Salfit police center where I remained incarcerated for 11 more days until I was released on bail on 26 November.

I am civilian citizen and totally innocent of the charges levelled against me. In fact, the Mukhabarat apparatus didn’t content itself with beating, humiliating and torturing me, but also contacted my employer, the Palestinian Telecommunication Company, demanding that they fire me from my job, apparently in order to impoverish me and my family. Fortunately, the company didn’t succumb to their blackmailing tactic. I really don’t know what will happen to me next with regard to the charges against me and also with regard to my job.

Signature: Kanaan Shatat,

Final note: “From the first moment of my abduction from the Noor pharmacy on 9 November, 2009, until I was transferred to the police headquarters in Salfit, the Mukhabarat officers accompanying me never stopped abusing and cursing me every day and every time. It seemed that for those people, bad-mouthing, cursing God and religion and indulging in all sorts of blasphemes were like breathing oxygen.”

Written for


Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer

The ACLU and Pen American Center co-sponsored a meeting at Cooper Union in N.Y.C earlier in the week. The subject, “Reckoning With Torture: Memos and Testimonies from the ‘War on Terror’”, attracted hundreds – more than enough people to fill the Great Hall where issues of major importance have been discussed and debated for about 150 years. Over the past 5 years the American Civil Liberties Union has been struggling to find documents that would shed light on the origins and extent or torture, first seen with the 2004 release of the photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Before that the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for documents concerning the treatment of prisoners outside the U.S. “The FOIA request was meant to determine whether the government’s interrogation policies were consistent with domestic and international law”. Nothing happened. Stonewalling. But after the photographs were released the ACLU filed a lawsuit to enforce the request. The court ordered the Bush Administration to respond to the request. Since that ruling more than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released.

“Collectively the documents show that the administration’s lawyers invented a new legal framework – what President Bush once called a ‘new paradigm’ – meant to permit barbaric interrogation practices and to insulate interrogators and officials from prosecution for war crimes. Relying on this new legal framework, interrogators subjected prisoners to abuse and even torture. The documents show that the abuse of prisoners was systemic, not limited to Abu Ghraib, and indeed that hundreds of prisoners have died in the custody of the U.S. military and that many others have disappeared into the CIA’s
secret detention system”.

In the course of the evening writers, lawyers, artists, a former military interrogator, and a former CIA agent read from the pages that brought these abuses to light. There were also videos of former Guantanamo prisoners, Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Rual Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, describing the nightmare of their arrest and treatment.

K. Anthony Appiah, President of PEN American Center, opened the meeting. He said that he was shamed by the record of U.S. torture and that we, our people, created Guantanamo. But voices against torture are American too. Tonight we will read the record of torture – the place we must start.

Jameel Jaffer, the Director of the ACLU National Security Project, then spoke. He said that although the documents we will be hearing about tonight have been declassified by the government, there are thousands more that are still being withheld. Also, very little is being done about those that have been released. There has been no congressional investigation and, in fact, congress is considering a bill that would allow the remaining torture documents to remain hidden.

20 people then read from 20 documents. The accounts of victims were remarkably similar, making it clear that there was a well thought out sadistic protocol. Don Delillo read from a CIA background paper sent to the Justice Department’s office of Legal Counsel, 12/30/04. It states that the purpose of the interrogation is to get information, therefore, psychological and physical pressures have to escalate. A state of “learned helplessness and dependence” has to be created. The capture leads to shock, then rendition to a black site in shackles while deprived of light and sound. There is to be no interaction with the prisoner. When he arrives at the black site the hood or blindfold is removed and he sees that he is surrounded by Americans – they are in complete control. Apprehension is created. His head and face are shaved. Nude photos are taken. Then there is a medical and psychological examination.

David Cole continued, he read from a legal memo signed by Jay Bybee (now a federal judge), Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s office of Legal Counsel, 8/1/02, relating to the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. It said that he was a high level prisoner and they should “dislocate his expectations” to grasp his attention. Then there is an escalating list of punishments, all very specific, that begins with a slap in the fleshy part of the cheek using fingers only, moves on to being smashed into a wall that made a loud sound and caused the prisoner to bounce back towards the interrogator, and finally ends with waterboarding. There is a lot of instruction regarding the waterboarding process: the angle of the board, the perception of drowning, how long it should take (20 minutes), and that it should be done repeatedly. Bybee writes that there is no pain or severe suffering in waterboarding – it is a “controlled acute episode”.

Art Spiegelman read excerpts from Abu Zubaydah’s first hand account of his interrogation in a secret CIA prison – part of a Red Cross Report, 2/14/07. He tells how he was beaten, smashed into walls, put into confinement in a small dark container, and repeatedly waterboarded causing him to vomit and lose consciousness.

George Saunders read a statement by a German citizen, Khaled El-Masri, 12/18/05, a father of 5 children and a victim of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition program” (kidnapping with the intent to torture). He gave an account of being seized, hooded, dealing with the horror of sensory deprivation, beatings, injections that caused blackouts, interrogations, and a 27 day hunger strike which led to painful tube feedings. One day he was put on a plane and dumped in Albania. From there he made his way back to Germany. He never received an explanation or an apology.

Jonathan Ames read a selection of emails written by FBI personnel describing abusive interrogations at Guantanamo, 6/2003 – 7/2004. There were reports of very loud music, lights flashing, he saw a detainee wrapped in an Israeli flag, and aggressive and improper techniques used by the military and contractors. Some Department of Defense interrogators were claiming to work for the FBI. They also said that no information was being collected. Instructions to the FBI personnel from the FBI were for them to stay within FBI policy guidelines and use the proven methods.

Paul Auster read a series of autopsy and death reports of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, 12/02 – 11/04. One after another, they were ruled to be homicides resulting from blunt force injuries, asphyxia, and strangulation.

The final report was read by Ishmael Beah. It was the declaration by Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, former lead prosecutor in the military commission case of Mohammed Jawad, a 16 year old. He said that the attacker in the crime which Jawad was being held for was never seen. Other people had confessed to the crime. The prisoner was mistreated, put through sleep deprivation, he made several suicide attempts by banging his head against walls,and he could not have written the confession the government was presenting because he was illiterate. There was no justification for keeping him prisoner for 6 years. Lt. Col. Vandeveld asked JAG to be relieved of his position and they did as he requested.

It has been said that torture is not about getting information, It is about the suppression, domination and terrorizing of the enemy. Listening to the sickening descriptions of the victims, descriptions of extreme light and sound, sensory deprivation,nudity to humiliate and make people feel more vulnerable, beatings, extreme sleep deprivation, extremes of temperature, being enclosed in a tight dark place in a stress position with insects, waterboarding, and murder, and then hearing the cold, “scientific” equally sickening instructions written by bureaucrats who are devoid of any sense that they are dealing with human beings that will die or never recover, it is hard to believe that we are now openly discussing torture as a policy to be considered. How did we, as a nation, reach this point of moral depravity?

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, once said that he has covered wars all over the world and he has seen torture in very many places. It is a weapon of war, part of the us vs. them culture of war, and an inevitable part of the dehumanization, the need to enhance death. Building an empire, he said, destroys democracy.

The ACLU and PEN believe that, “We can’t sweep the abuses of the last 8 years under the rug. Accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative. To restore the rule of law, we must condemn these violations of our Constitution, domestic and international law, and seek to hold accountable those who authorized the abuse and torture of prisoners in America’s name.”


Israeli ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children – a report

Defense For Children International (DCI-Palestine) released a report which documents the widespread ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children at the hands of the Israeli army and police force – Palestinian Child Prisoners: The systematic and institutionalized ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.

The release of the report came just days after an article was published in The Independent newspaper reporting the testimonies of two Israeli soldiers which detail the deliberate abuse of Palestinian children. One soldier is reported as saying that in an incident that occurred in a Palestinian village in March, he saw a lot of soldiers ‘just knee (Palestinians) because it’s boring, because you stand there for 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up.’

The report published contains the testimonies of 33 children, one as young as 10 years old, who bear witness to the abuse they received at the hands of soldiers from the moment of arrest through to an often violent interrogation.

Most of these children were arrested from villages near the Wall and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. There is evidence that many children are painfully shackled for hours on end, kicked, beaten and threatened, some with death, until they provide confessions, some written in Hebrew, a language they do not speak or understand.

Following are some excerpts from this chill-shocking report. It is a must-read report and worth saving for your reference in the future. It can be downloaded from here and here (both PDF format):

Executive summary

The Israeli military court system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has operated for over 42 years almost devoid of international scrutiny. Each year an average of 9,000 Palestinians are prosecuted in two Israeli military courts operating in the West Bank, including 700 children.

From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture, at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and interrogators. Children are commonly arrested from the family home in the hours before dawn by heavily armed soldiers. The child is painfully bound, blindfolded and bundled into the back of a military vehicle without any indication as to why or where the child is being taken. [...] Most children confess and some are forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not comprehend. These interrogations are not video recorded as is required under Israeli domestic law.

Children as young as 12 years are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts and are treated as adults as soon as they turn 16 [...] In 91% of all cases involving Palestinian children, bail was denied. [...] With no faith in the system and the potential for harsh sentences, approximately 95% of cases end in the child pleading guilty, whether the ofence was committed or not. [...] Many children receive no family visits whilst in prison and limited education [...]

Some examples of torture

What amounts to torture or ill-treatment will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. However, it is useful to list some of the types of circumstances that have been held to amount to torture and ill-treatment by the Committee as a general guidance:

- Restraining in very painful conditions;
- Hooding under special conditions;
- Playing loud music for prolonged periods of time;
- Threats, including death threats;
- Violent shaking;
- Kicking, punching and beating with implements;
- Using cold air to chill;
- Excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel and the military;
- Incommunicado detention (detention without access to a lawyer, doctor or the ability to communicate with family members);
- Solitary confnement;
- Sensorial deprivation and almost total prohibition of communication;
- Poor conditions of detention, including failure to provide food, water, heating in winter, proper washing facilities, overcrowding, lack of amenities, poor hygiene facilities, limited clothing and medical care.

The above list is by no means exhaustive and in every case, the particular vulnerability of the victim, such as his or her young age or medical condition should be taken into consideration.

Case Study No. 15

Name: Islam M.
Date of arrest: 31 December 2008
Age at arrest: 12
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 31 December 2008, 12-year-old Islam from a village near the West Bank city of Nablus, was out hunting birds in an olive grove when he and his friends were arrested by Israeli soldiers and accused of throwing stones. The olive grove was located about 500 metres from an Israeli settler bypass road.

At around 4:00pm we decided to go home. We collected the nets. Our houses are about one kilometre away. After walking 20 metres we heard a gun shot from the bypass road. We began walking faster towards our houses in the opposite direction to the bypass road. When we reached the edge of the village, we were surprised to see Israeli soldiers, about 10 to 20 metres behind us, with their guns pointed at us. They were shouting at us to stop in Hebrew. We stopped where we were. [...] One of them approached me and grabbed my hand. Another soldier grabbed Hasan’s hand. They then tied our hands together with the same plastic cord. They tied my right hand to Hasan’s left hand. The soldiers then pushed us and forced us to walk towards our house. The soldiers did not tell me why they were arresting me [...] When we reached the jeep, the soldiers blindfolded me and Hasan with a piece of cloth that the soldiers had. They pushed me inside the jeep. I fell on the ground. I was seated on the floor of the jeep. I lifted the blindfold using my untied left hand and looked around. I saw six soldiers inside the jeep, sitting on seats. Hasan and I were seated between their legs.

Twelve-year-old Islam was arrested by Israeli soldiers while out hunting birds. He was transferred to an Israeli military base for interrogation. Ten minutes later a soldier asked me [...] whether I threw stones at the soldiers. Three minutes later a captain called Hasan, wearing a military uniform, came to us … He took me to a pine tree and made me sit on the ground. ‘Have you seen kids throwing stones at the soldiers?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘Do you know them?’ He asked. ‘No,’ I said. He threatened to pour hot water on my face. ‘I don’t know who threw stones,’ I said. Five minutes later he took me to a place full of thorny bushes. He ordered me to sit in the bushes. I refused. He pushed me and I fell in the bushes. That really hurt me. They placed me inside a jeep [...] Captain Hasan approached me and asked me to confess to throwing stones. I refused. ‘We’ll put you in jail, patriotic boy’ he said. [...] A policeman in blue uniform came and took me to interrogation. I was still tied and blindfolded, but managed to see things from beneath the blindfold. In the interrogation room, there was one policeman with a solider sitting next to him. ‘You threw stones. You were photographed while throwing stones’ the policeman said. I denied it [...] I asked the soldiers for food. They brought me an apple, one half rotten. I ate the good half and gave the rotten half back to the soldier [...] They seated me on a chair for about five hours without asking me anything.

A policeman in blue uniform came and took me to an office. He allowed me to watch a DVD that had children throwing stones at soldiers. ‘See yourself throwing stones?’ He said. I did not see myself because I had not thrown stones. He then took me out of the room. I was kept alone, tied and blindfolded, sitting on the ground for three hours. (2 February 2009)

Islam was charged with throwing stones and fned NIS 1,000 (US$ 250) by a military court after entering into a plea bargain. He spent three days in detention in Ofer.

Case Study No. 22

Name: Afaf B.
Date of arrest: 5 February 2008
Age at arrest: 16
Accusation: Contact with a wanted person and the intention to carry out a suicide bombing

On 5 February 2008, Afaf and her father voluntarily went to the Israeli intelligence headquarters at Ras al-Amoud, Jerusalem, after being ordered to attend. Afaf was immediately taken for interrogation where she was accused of having contact with a wanted person and intending to carry out a suicide bombing. Afaf’s father was not permitted to remain with her during interrogation. Afaf was then interrogated for 59 consecutive days and then sentenced to 16 months imprisonment inside Israel.

The interrogator began asking me general questions about myself and how I was doing. I asked him to stop asking such questions and get straight to the reason why they brought me here. He said that I had committed some security ofences [...] he then asked me about a young man called Murad … I agreed that I had never seen Murad but I used to talk to him on the phone [...] The interrogator did not charge me directly with any wrongdoing, and he did not accuse me of a specifc accusation. He only said that I had committed some security ofences without giving any further details [...] An hour later, the interrogator came back to the room and told me I was under arrest and that they would transfer me to Al Mascobiyya Interrogation and Detention Centre in Jerusalem. [...]

Two interrogators named Arsan and David were already in the room. They had a typed paper written in Hebrew. They told me that this paper was sent via fax from the same interrogator who interrogated me earlier in Ras al-Amoud, and that I had confessed to doing many things. I told them that what was in the paper was a lie and that I did not confess to anything and no specifc accusation was made against me. They said that the paper says that I knew a young man named Murad and I knew that he was wanted by the intelligence … This interrogation lasted until midnight. [...] In the morning of 6 February 2008, they came and took me to Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court. My hands and feet were tied. A lawyer hired by the State was waiting for me, but none of my family was there [...] In the court, the prosecution asked for my detention to be extended for 10 days, relying on a secret file submitted to the judge. My lawyer objected and asked for my immediate release. However, the judge decided to extend my detention [...]

Israeli Military CourtIsraeli Military Court

My interrogation lasted for several hours for 59 consecutive days. In one of the interrogation rounds, a tall interrogator told me that I should confess that I had asked Murad to help me carry out a suicide bombing. I denied that of course, and he slapped me so hard that I fell over to the ground and my mouth began bleeding.

On the seventh day of my arrest [...] the interrogator told me that Murad had been arrested, and he had interrogated him. He added that Murad confessed that I asked him to help me to carry out a suicide bombing. [...] After 10 days of interrogation [...] I came back from the court and I was put in a room inside the Centre with another detainee named Nisreen Z. She was detained on a theft case. On the same day I had a stomach ache. Nisreen handed me a white pill, which turned out later to be a narcotic pill. I fainted for some time. When I woke up, Nisreen told me that I had said many things and confessed to many things and that it was recorded. I was then removed from the room and taken to the interrogation room. The tall interrogator asked me to confess to everything but I refused [...] the interrogator played the recording. I heard myself speaking with Nisreen who was asking me many questions about Murad and carrying out a suicide bombing, and I would answer her ‘yes’ without giving further details [...] I did not sign any confession papers. (23 December 2008)

Afaf was charged with contact with a wanted person and the intention to carry out a suicide bombing. She was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment by a military court after entering into a plea bargain. She is currently detained in Telmond Prison inside Israel. Afaf was released on 7 May 2009.

Case Study No. 33

Name: Ezzat H.
Date of arrest: 11 June 2008
Age at arrest: 10
Accusation: None

On 11 June 2008, Israeli soldiers stormed Ezzat’s family’s shop in a village near the West Bank town of Qalqiliya, situated near the Wall. The soldiers said that they were looking for a hand gun.

At around 10:30am, I was sitting in my father’s shop selling animal feed and eggs. I was wearing a red T-shirt and blue jeans. My brother Makkawi (7) and sister Lara (8) were sitting with me [...] I was surprised by the arrival of two Israeli soldiers to the shop. One of them had dark skin, wearing khaki jeans and a black T-shirt with a blue vest on top. The other one was in green clothes. Both of them were wearing helmets and carrying black weapons. The soldier with the black T-shirt was carrying a pistol around his chest in addition to the assault rife.

They suddenly walked into the shop. Once they entered the shop, the soldier with the black T-shirt began shouting at me, telling me: ‘your father has sent us to you and we want the pistol your father has.’ I became terrifed and said: ‘my father has nothing. He doesn’t own such things.’ He slapped me hard across my right cheek and he slapped my brother on the face too. He then asked my siblings to get out of the shop. He asked me all over again and I told him we had nothing. He asked me to get out the pistol from the animal feed sacks. I answered him we had no pistol. He slapped me again and this time it was on my left cheek. [...]

A group of locals gathered around the store and some of them tried to enter and help me, but the soldier standing by the door prevented them from doing so. When the other soldier did not find anything, he asked me again to tell him where the pistol was. When I answered him back saying: ‘we don’t have anything’ he punched me hard in my stomach and I fell over onto the empty egg boxes. I was crying and screaming because I could not stand the pain and I was terrified too.

The soldier with the black T-shirt made fun of me and imitated my crying. He spoke very fluent Arabic. He kept me inside the shop for 15 minutes. He then grabbed me by my T-shirt and dragged me out of the shop. I asked him to let me close the shop but he said leave it open so that it would be robbed. Some of my friends who were at the scene closed the shop.

When he dragged me out of the shop, he ordered me to walk in the street in front of him. He and the other soldier, who was pointing his weapon at me, walked behind me, and some people gathered around. While walking, the soldier in the black T-shirt would slap me hard on my neck now and then … I was slapped three to four times on my nape while walking towards the house. When we reached the house, 100 meters away, I saw many soldiers around the house and a number of dark green military vehicles. The word ‘Police’ was written on an olive coloured jeep. When I entered the house [...] the soldier with the black T-shirt made me stand in the yard and asked me to get the pistol out of the flower basin. When I was about to answer him and say we had no pistol, he slapped me so hard that I fell down on my face in the fower basin. [...]

My father was standing by the door of the guest room, where my family was held. The soldier slapped me on my nape in front of my father and I fell to the ground. He slapped me again on my nape and I fell to the ground after I stood up. All of this was in front of my father. He then lifted me in the air after he grabbed my T-shirt. He told my father that he was going to take me to prison [...] He threatened to arrest my older sister who was 19 years old [...] he then pushed me into the guest room where my mother and siblings were held. My mother was crying. When she saw me crying, she asked me why and I told her that I had been hit. She asked them to leave me alone and hit her instead. They told her that they would take me to prison. [...] The soldier with the black T-shirt took me to the bedroom and slapped me at the door. He then brought my older sister to search and interrogate her while forcing me to stand by the kitchen door. They then moved me to another bedroom.

Torturing Ezzat HTorturing Ezzat H

While passing me, the soldier with the black T-shirt slapped me so hard on my face that I fell on the ground. He asked me to stay there in the room. He would go for five minutes and then come back to slap me on the face, and punch me several times in my stomach. I would shout and burst into tears. He would imitate me and make fun of me. He continued coming to the room around six times where he would hit me and slap me. [...] I spent about one hour in the room all alone with the soldiers. During this hour, the soldier with the black T-shirt ordered me to stand on one foot and lift my hands up in the air with my back against the wall. This lasted for about half an hour. I was exhausted but I did not dare to put my foot on the ground because he ordered me not to. [...] The soldier with the black T-shirt [...] then brought my older sister and asked me whether I cared about her or not. I said: ‘yes I do.’ He then asked me to tell him where the pistol was and he would not tell my father. I said we did not have a pistol, so he took my sister out, and then came back and hit me all over my body. He left the room and after a while he came back and ofered me 10 Shekels if I would tell him where the pistol was. I told him I did not care about money. He really became so angry that he took of his helmet and hit me with it from two metres away. He asked me to bring him the helmet and when I did, he threw it again at me, but this time he missed. He again asked me to bring him the helmet but this time he did not hit me with it. Instead, he left the room for five minutes and came back and slapped me on the face and stomach without asking me anything. Once again he left the room and was gone for a while, and I was all alone in the room. He then came back and asked me about the pistol and I answered that we did not have any pistol. He slapped me twice on my face and pushed me back. He then left the room for a while and came back to repeat it all over again. [...]

Afterwards, a soldier wearing black sunglasses came into the room where I was held and pointed his rife at me. The rife barrel was a few centimeters away from my face. I was so terrified that I started to shiver. He made fun of me and said: ‘shivering? Tell me where the pistol is before I shoot you.’ I replied by saying that we had nothing. He lowered his rife and took out the bullets [...] (21 June 2008)

After initially wishing to file a complaint against the soldiers involved, Ezzat’s father changed his mind for fear of retaliation.

Since DCI-Palestine last published a report on Palestinian child detainees (April 2008), the practice of ill-treatment and torture has continued unabated. During the course of the reporting period DCI-Palestine continued to receive numerous testimonies from Palestinian children speaking of their ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and security operatives. This abuse occurs from the moment of arrest, and continues during transfer, interrogation and detention. The ill-treatment documented by DCI-Palestine appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised, suggesting complicity at all levels of the political and military chain of command. This abusive system operates with the knowledge and assistance of some doctors, and is overseen by a military court system that ignores basic principles of juvenile justice and fair trial rights, whilst willfully turning a blind eye to the presentation in court of one coerced confession after another. This system imposed by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory operates beyond international legal norms and within a general culture of impunity.DCI-Palestine continues in its eforts to bring this situation to the attention of the international community which is itself bound by a number of legal obligations to ensure that these violations are fully investigated, and where appropriate, prosecuted and that such conduct is not rewarded.

Without some measure of accountability, it is unlikely that the situation endured by Palestinian children described in the pages above, will improve.

* Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) is a national section of the international non-governmental child rights organisation and movement, Defence for Children International (DCI), established in 1979, with consultative status with ECOSOC. DCI-Palestine was established in 1992, and is dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), as well as other international, regional and local standards. As part of its ongoing work to uphold the rights of Palestinian children, DCI-Palestine provides free legal assistance, collects evidence, researches and drafts reports and conducts general advocacy targeting various duty bearers.

Thanks to Sabbah for this

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