Thursday, October 14, 2004

Hersh, Nablus Diaries, Bus 19, "terrorist" acquittals

1) Hersh on Iraq Massacre:

HERSH: I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's
different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers.
He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway
between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place
where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out
the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First
lieutenant, ROTC guy.

It was a call about this. He had been bivouacking
outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was
an agricultural area, and there was a granary around.
And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that
owned the granary...It was an area that the insurgency
had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not
Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream.
Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that
owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his
language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more
than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of
work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding
the granary. His troops were bivouacked, they were
stationed there, they got to know everybody...

They were a couple weeks together, they knew each
other. So orders came down from the generals in
Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in
Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon
from his company came and executed all the guards, as
his people were screaming, stop.

And he said they just shot them one by one. He went
nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical.
He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain.
He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain.
And the company captain said, "No, you don't
understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six
insurgents."

You read those stories where the Americans, we take a
city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen
insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's
shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...

You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said:
you've complained to the captain. He knows you think
they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow
soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get
through your tour and just shut up. You're going to
get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And
that's where we are with this war.


2) N.O.-Based Nablus Activist Diary Entries:

"Women in Trees"
by Rebecca
10.12.04
Salem, West Bank

Sunday, Oct. 10: After one hour in line with angry
internationals, my visa issues were taken care of.
After one hour in line with angry Israeli women, my
postal issues were taken care of. After one hour
waiting for sluggish internationals, we were on the
road to Nablus. After three hours (near record time!),
we were in Nablus. The next day, we were to take part
in Salem's olive harvest which began two days before.
Unfortunately, that day in the village, a Palestinian
man was arrested for picking his olives and the
internationals were not able to prevent his arrest.
Because I wasn't there, I won't comment on the long
story behind it, but as a group we had to prepare
ourselves for more confrontation on Monday, and the
greater threat of settlers that surround every inch of
the land that needing to be harvested.

Monday, Oct. 11: This was my first day out in the
olive groves as a "laborer." I was fascinated by the
actual primitive process and couldn't wait to jump in.
Thankfully, when I did, my childhood years of climbing
magnolia trees and later experience picking
blueberries from my parent's land paid off. The family
commented on my skill by repeating, "Shartra!
Shartra!" which literally means smart, but they were
really saying I was doing a good job. They said I'd
make a great peasant. I hoped to do a good job to
hurry up the process but also because my body was
paying for every action--I was poked, prodded, and
snagged by every branch and twig and occasionally
found myself hanging from them. The family's are
amazing and quite funny: offering us tea as we sat
perched in the tree, falling off ladders and inviting
internationals to do the same. It was great fun!

But while things went well in the olive groves, 7
people were injured in Nablus as a result of the
"return of the forces." Children and youth were being
shot at from every angle. The international group left
tried to negotiate for a cease fire, but we are all
quite familiar with the unfortunate routine that has
developed in Nablus and the camps.

I'll embellish on my pleasant experience olive picking
with Palestinians later, but for now I'll move onto
today.

Today, Oct. 12: I hoped and prayed with every ounce of
my body that the Palestinians would experience a day
like the one before. By 9:00 am I was climbing trees
again and enjoying the sound of the olives dropping on
the tarp like a soft rain. There was more laughter and
chatter today thinking that the worst was over. But
it's never over for these families that are situated
literally right next door to settlers not because of
choice but because they are gradually being forced to
give up more and more of the land and homes to the
Israelis.

But soon after beginning, we received a phone call
from one of the groups saying soldiers had stopped and
begun harassing a family on what was believed to be a
safe, "non-military zone" area. Again, a long and
unfortunate story condensed, we didn't have brilliant
direct action activists on hand which resulted in them
not preventing one Palestinian man from being arrested
because four out of five internationals were arrested.
I, "Sam", and the remaining Palestinian women--who for
lack of better words were AWESOME--managed to run down
from where we were and block the Jeep with the
arrested 50 year old man for about 30 minutes and
tried to negotiate with the DCO that showed up, but
the soldiers within in the Jeep were aggressive and
didn't listen to their own commander's orders.
Ultimately, after an hour of standing in front of the
Jeep and being pushed and kicked around, there was
nothing more the few of us women could do and the Jeep
managed to get away--driven by a settler soldier
wearing his yamaca instead of a helmet.

Again, the women villagers were incredible and after a
few minutes asked if we wanted to accompany them as
they finished picking; this was after we were all
forcefully driven back into the village. We tried, but
the soldiers returned to go up the mountain where the
rest of the groups remained picking. We were told that
they were allowed to leave--at a time when they are
normally finished--but at the end of the hike, the
soldiers managed to grab three more men.

As of now the situation stands that the 4 men arrested
are supposed to be released by the end of the
night--this is what we were told by a Knesset
representative. The 4 internationals were suprisingly
released shortly after they were taken and even given
written permission to pass through the checkpoint to
collect there belongings. Most of us were incredibly
disappointed in what happened today, as we should be
but all we have to say is this--we desperately need
more international DIRECT ACTION ACTIVISTS! Where have
they all gone...that's what I and the Palestinians
want to know.

Fortunately, the women were happy with a few of our
actions and hoped we would return, but it's never a
successful action when Palestinians are arrested. We
have much work to do to improve the incoming
activists' action abilities, but until then, I'm
committed to being plastered to Palestinians until I'm
sure they are out of harms way while picking their
olives. Not only are the soldiers that arrive
disgusting in appearance, they physically treat
everyone like pigs and they have absolutely no morals.
But then again, what can I expect from 18 year old men
in uniform (sorry boys who are reading this and may
get offended, but it's certainly a truth here).

I have so much to write on behalf of the Palestinian
struggle, but there is little time tonight because we
have to regroup tomorrow. Can you send out a press
release calling for experienced activists! Ha. We
could use them!

Peace & Love,
Rebecca

--------------------------------------------
"Show Me Your Bruise and I'll Show You Mine"
10.14.04
Salem, West Bank

Apparently the want ad for direct action activists
made its way through the communities and pulled in at
least for yesterday enough level-headed individuals to
successfully complete a day's work in the olive groves
inspite of the soldier turn-up. Part of the new group
was composed of activists who returned to Nablus after
visiting other regions and the rest was a non-English
speaking group from Japan. We definitely expected to
have communication problems, but somehow we all found
suitable roles for the day spent picking with one
family right next to the settler road, and FINALLY, we
stuck to them.

Around 2:30 pm—near the end of the harvest—a Jeep
pulled onto the village road and spit out two soldiers
waving us over for a little "chat." With the
permission of the Palestinian family, I and two other
negotiators reached the peak of the mountain and
talked to the soldiers below to ask exactly what they
wanted. They insisted that we come down and speak with
them, but right as we tried to they rushed up the
mountain for a sneak attack. We managed to delay them
in reaching the family and did our best to negotiate
more time for picking and hauling off the day's
harvest. After a few minutes, they seemed to mellow
out a bit and allowed for a whopping 10 minutes to
wrap things up. Just as we were trying to get more
time with the family requesting the same next to us,
another Jeep, more aggressive of course, pulled up and
the soldiers (all the same as the previous day) ran up
the mountain and charged us.

The squatty soldier who looked no more than 17, with
the same smirk he threw at us before said hello and
began to push the internationals—mostly women—to the
ground. Something I didn't really think about prior to
the experience was how difficult it would be to block
soldiers on the side of a mountain facing a potential
devastating fall interrupted by a plethora of boulders
and thorny flora. The other taller soldier sporting a
buzz cut pushed me off to the side where I slid
partially down. But I was able to hop back up and
rapidly cut in front of him before they reached the
family who was then wrapping up their olives in the
tarps on the ground.

As always, they immediately went after the one large
man we have in our group—Dave the American—and pushed
him and I simultaneously to the ground. I was really
fed up when they pulled my hair and yanked off my
lucky charm bandana that I've had since I was a kid.
Preoccupied with trying to cover Dave's back from
getting a beating and also blocking the one
Palestinian man in the group, I was unable to regain
my treasure, but luckily my Italian friend saved it
from the rubble.

The Japanese group did an amazing job at accompanying
the family safely down the mountain and while carrying
most of the olives, but Sam, Karen, Hanan, and I were
left to salvage the other two trees worth. It wasn't
an easy task. Not only did it take lots of emotional
and quick negotiating, it took lots of non-violent
resistance on our part. They tried to toss the bags
down the side of the cliff, but neither Sam nor I was
willing to let that happen. We held on for dear life.
They even tried to toss Hanan down the cliff, but
she's an experienced German hiker and managed to hold
fast with the help of both of her sisters pulling from
above.

At one point, my back was facing a pretty steep drop
and the squatty soldier was in my face trying to inch
me even farther back. I flat out told him, "If you
think I'm falling down there, you're going with me." I
suppose they all though that our struggle was funny.
In fact, I think they get a huge thrill out of seeing
women get knocked around and hearing them scream. I
kept asking, "Why are you beating unarmed women?!" And
one answered, "I don't care!" Then I finally said,
hoping I'd find some sort of moral soul inside of this
boy standing armed in front of me, "You do care,
you're just pretending you don't!" We and the other
internationals got a laugh out of that line later, but
seriously, I felt like I was in a video game fighting
ghosts in uniform. I could see straight through them
and there was nothing hopeful inside.

We demanded to take the olives safely down to the
village and did. But man, I had no idea how heavy they
would be. I tried to pull them up but fell backwards
onto my bum. Out of pure rage and aggravation, I was
able to hoist the oversized bundle onto my shoulder
and headed down the wobbly rocks praying that I
wouldn't lose my footing.

The sight of the family waiting calmly below gave me a
second wind and reinforced the need for me and the
others to end this struggle with success. At the end,
we collected all of the olives and no one was arrested
or seriously injured—well except for me and Sam. We
have quite a few welts, bruises, and cuts on our legs,
but it was well worth it. We only wish that we could
have negotiated more time to pick the few trees that
were left, but considering it was the fourth day of
picking so close to the settler road and the third day
we were approached by soldiers, we thought it highly
unlikely.

At the end of the day I just sit back and think, "For
the love of God! They're just trying to pick olives!"

Do you want to hear something "funny" that I think I
forgot to mention before. The settler security vehicle
had a sign on the side of it saying, "Donated by
American friends of Elon Moreh" or something like
that. Of course, Elon Moreh is the name of the
settlement that threatens many of the villages we are
working with. I wanted to puke when I read it, as did
Dave. He just kept repeating it in disbelief for the
rest of the day. Hey! I have an idea, why don't we
just annex Israel as the 51st state OR change our name
to the United States of Israel. I mean their flag is
practically the same as ours—nothing but stars and
stripes—and their landscape is nearly identical. Come
to think of it, their people are pretty much the same,
too. Oh, the horror and pain I feel as an American
when I see such things. I can't describe its enormity!

Well, tomorrow we're off to another village that's
having problems with settlers. I'll write more soon.
In the meantime, keep up the work from home and don't
take a day's work for granted because in Palestine,
they're not even allowed that!

Salam!
Rebecca

------------------------------------------------------


3) Israeli Travelling Bus Exhibit [the rhetoric in
this posting is quite strong, but then so is the
display]:

http://straitgateministry.org

ISRAELI BUS 19: Israeli hate-bus tours Americana
Israel's Unity Coalition generates Christian clones
Charles E. Carlson

Shame on church leaders who ENABLE the acts of terror
by Ariel Sharon! Our June 16th research paper,
Judeo-Christians' Role--Mr. Sharon's Final Solution,
documents Israel's use of Judeo-Christian college
lecturers to promote hatred against Palestinians. Now
we discover that a cloned demonstration group is
visiting American mega-churches dragging with it
a giant hate-prop, a bombed out Israeli bus.
Christians for Israel's Bus 19 claims "11 Israeli
civilians" were killed on this bus by a Palestinian
suicide bomber on January 29, 2004. This is probably
true, but it does not explain that Israel has executed
about five Palestinians for each Israeli death.

CHRISTIANS FOR ISRAEL'S BUS 19 hauls this bloody prop
from city to city. According to www.bus19.org website,
its next scheduled stop is the Baltimore Zionist
Center, July 20-27. The bus was brought all the way
from Israel to The Hague and eventually to Washington
for a May 6 demonstration at the Capitol, then to the
Family Christian Center in Munster Indiana, then to
Denver, Boston and, now, Baltimore, and from there we
do not know where to.

What possible purpose can such an ugly display have
but to help convince conditioned Judeo-Christian
church attendees that Palestinians are brutal and
sub-human murders?

We Hold These Truths has repeatedly proved by careful
research that Israeli Defense Forces and its public
relations arm purposely distorts reports of bus
bombings, invariably failing to disclose that almost
every bus in Israel serves as both military transport
and at the same time as public bus. Egged Bus 19 was
no exception. It is almost certain that it was
carrying armed IDF soldiers when it was hit. No list
of the 50 wounded has been made available. Usually
military personnel are among the deaths on bus
bombings. There have been very few exceptions. No
doubt that bus 19 was picked to tour the USA because
the 11 dead were not military, though some may well
have been reservists.

The IDF conveniently juggles the death information to
hide military deaths from the foreign press. This
author has documented many examples of Israeli
distortion in our series of articles on the
"intelligent bombs." Civilians are usually collateral
damage due to clearly planned attacks against
vulnerable concentrations of military personnel on
board busses.

Christians for Israel is associated with Unity
Coalition for Israel (UCI). Christians for Israel
describes itself as: "Stand(ing) with the Jewish
people in support of the State of Israel as the
national, ancestral and covenantal homeland of the
Jewish people. We are Christian Zionists."

The ghoulish bus idea of this costly demonstration has
the earmarks and the thread of Israeli government
sponsorship, paid for with American aid.

On Sunday, June 13th, "BUS19" was the guest of Faith
Bible Chapel and Christian school at its large campus
in suburban Denver. Two of Project Strait Gate's
Advisors witnessed the grotesque display parked on
Church property, with Israeli and American flags
interspersed around the grounds. Curiously, Faith
Bible Chapel seems to have yanked its Webpage
displaying photos of its Bus 19 display and describing
the event. Please look at the website of Faith Bible
Chapel's "Israel Outreach" page.

It should be no surprise that the Unity Coalition for
Israel's (UCI) speakers bureau is entwined with the
Christians for Israel. Dr. James Hutchens is listed
as a speaker for UCI and Christians for Israel.
Comparing the speaker list we find they are not
identical but are close. As stated in the mission
statement quote above one can reasonably assume
Hutchens means he favors transfer, a synonym for
ethnic cleansing, or genocide.

Who provided the money for the traveling disabled Bus?
UCI is probably financed by most radical elements in
all of Israel, judging from its agenda. Israel is said
to have given Jerry Falwell a Jet plane in the 1980s;
Dr. Hutchens has a bombed out bus. This should tell
us Judeo-Christians are becoming more affordable in
terms of Israeli Shekels.

I would guess it would be beyond Project Strait Gate's
financial capabilities to bring a Palestinian family's
bulldozed house to the USA. If we did so, I doubt if
Faith Chapel would allow it on their parking lot. And
would they allow the Israeli bulldozer that crushed
Rachael Corrie to be parked on their Christian School
yard? Not, of course, unless someone hopes to educate
those who want to follow Christ instead of Zionism.

We must challenge Christian enablers of continued
Palestinian oppression. Challenge them as they
promenade in front of the grand but apostate
cathedrals that claim to be Jesus Christ's churches.
Liars often start by saying, "in truth" just before
they commence lying. If you doubt this please read
this recent editorial: "Face Reality or Face
Annihilation" by Beth Goodtree who concludes:

"In truth, terror is merely a tactic of the real
enemy, Islamism, which seeks to dominate and subjugate
the entire planet just as Nazi Germany once did"

The Zionist State that officially sanctified both
abortion and torture is now conditioning the
Judeo-christian churches to accept annihilation of
Palestinians to solve Israel's self-induced problems.
UCI is using professing Judeo-christian front groups,
including James Hutchens' Christians for Israel, to
try to persuade church-goers that Palestinians may be
treated as animal and that God does not really care.
It will fail. God loves Palestinians too: "Love does
not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth." (I
Cor. 13:6)

Followers of Christ must take the lead in confronting
self-professing Christian-Zionists icons in the
presence of their respective supporters.
Christian-Zionists violated many principles set out by
Jesus Christ. Project Strait Gate is to expose this
heresy both in the street and over the Internet.
Persons of all faith who believe that the right to
life is a gift from God may wish to examine Project
Strait Gate.

RELATED STORIES BY THIS AUTHOR all at Pharisee Watch:
http://straitgateministry.org


4) Defendant Is Released in Detroit Terror Case:
The New York Times
By: Danny Hakim
Detroit, Oct. 12

A federal judge on Tuesday released an immigrant whose
terrorism conviction had been thrown out and sent him
to a halfway house, the latest chapter in the
dissolution of the government's prosecution of what it
once called a ''sleeper operational combat cell''
based here.

''I am innocent,'' said the immigrant, Karim Koubriti,
a 26-year-old Moroccan, in an interview shortly after
the judge, Gerald A. Rosen, said he would not have to
return to prison. ''I always say I was innocent. Three
years ago I said I was innocent and nobody believed me
except these guys,'' he said, referring to his
lawyers. Mr. Koubriti was one of four Arab immigrants
accused by the government of forming a terrorism cell
based in Detroit. He and another defendant were
convicted last year of material support of terrorism
and document fraud charges. A third man was convicted
of document fraud and a fourth was acquitted. Last
month, however, Judge Rosen threw out the convictions
after an extraordinary request by the government to do
so.

The government has repudiated the terrorism case and
is now investigating the former lead prosecutor,
though documents obtained by The New York Times
indicate that top Justice Department officials long
had doubts about the strength of the case but pushed
to bring terrorism charges anyway.

Mr. Koubriti's lawyers would not permit him to discuss
specifics of the case on Tuesday. Asked about his
release, he said, ''I'd feel better if it was 3, 6 or
30 months ago.''

Mr. Koubriti said he had been kept in an isolation
cell 23 hours a day for much of his incarceration with
a television but no reading material. ''All my time in
Wayne County they didn't even let me out to smell
air,'' he said, referring to the jail at Wayne County,
which encompasses Detroit. He also said he was often
verbally abused in prison for being a terrorism
suspect, especially in 2001.

''It was horrible, especially from some of the
deputies -- not all, to be honest with you,'' he said.
''I heard all sorts of stuff -- devil worshiper,
monster, go pray to your terrorist god.''

He was first detained Sept. 17, 2001, when seven
federal agents raided an apartment where he and two of
the other suspects lived. The apartment had once been
the home of a man on the terrorism watch list, but he
no longer lived there. The agents found false
identification papers, crude sketches they came to
believe were outlines of possible locations to attack,
religious audiotapes and a videotape they said
contained surveillance footage.

The government's recent rebuke of the case raised
questions about much of the evidence.

''I thought it was a mistake or something and they
would find out the truth,'' Mr. Koubriti said. ''It
took them too long to find out the truth.'' .

Under the terms of his bond, he will have to wear an
electronic tether equipped with a global positioning
device. Judge Rosen said Tuesday that Mr. Koubriti
might also eventually be allowed to look for work. The
government did not object to the terms of his release.


Two of the other original defendants -- Abdel-Ilah
Elmardoudi and Ahmed Hannan-- remain in custody. A
third, Farouk Ali Haimoud, was acquitted of all
charges last year.

Mr. Koubriti still faces a new trial on document fraud
and possible deportation, but said he would prefer to
remain in the United States.

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