Women and children had their hands tied behind their back and were shot in the head in house raid, which was covered up by the military
“As revealed by a State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed.”
There are three stories, here: one is about the girl I was; the second, about who that girl became; the third, about what that girl doesn’t know. They are all important to my narrative of unemployment. I am sure they are not entirely unique.
This weekend, as most of the Eastern Seaboard prepares for a watery wallop, as everyone else brawls over nonperishables in Giant, bookworms are preparing to live out a deep and soulful dream. A Laura Ingallsesque dream. A dream that involves hot chocolate and fuzzy slippers, and showcasing one’s literary dedication by self-punishing one’s eyesight.
“When kids feel connected and have a strong sense of belonging to the school community, they do better in school. They persist in school at higher rates and achieve at higher rates. … It’s pretty promising that engaging in social networking sites could help them to develop and deepen their bonds over time.”—
I was going to argue with this research, citing the use (or lack of) of social networks in lower-income areas. However, Greenhow totally had it covered. In fact, her research is based on a survey of “about 600 low-income high school students.” Good thing I read whole articles.
Professor Christine Greenhow of the University of Maryland. Greenhow’s new research has found that students build important bonds when they connect with school friends on social networking sites. Read more. (via centerforinvestigativereporting)
Video seen by Catrina Stewart reveals the brutal interrogation of young Palestinians
The boy, small and frail, is struggling to stay awake. His head lolls to the side, at one point slumping on to his chest. “Lift up your head! Lift it up!” shouts one of his interrogators, slapping him. But the boy by now is past caring, for he has been awake for at least 12 hours since he was separated at gunpoint from his parents at two that morning. “I wish you’d let me go,” the boy whimpers, “just so I can get some sleep.”.
During the nearly six-hour video, 14-year-old Palestinian Islam Tamimi, exhausted and scared, is steadily broken to the point where he starts to incriminate men from his village and weave fantastic tales that he believes his tormentors want to hear.
This rarely seen footage seen by The Independent offers a glimpse into an Israeli interrogation, almost a rite of passage that hundreds of Palestinian children accused of throwing stones undergo every year.
Israel has robustly defended its record, arguing that the treatment of minors has vastly improved with the creation of a military juvenile court two years ago. But the children who have faced the rough justice of the occupation tell a very different story.
“The problems start long before the child is brought to court, it starts with their arrest,” says Naomi Lalo, an activist with No Legal Frontiers, an Israeli group that monitors the military courts. It is during their interrogation where their “fate is doomed”, she says.
Sameer Shilu, 12, was asleep when the soldiers smashed in the front door of his house one night. He and his older brother emerged bleary-eyed from their bedroom to find six masked soldiers in their living room.
Checking the boy’s name on his father’s identity card, the officer looked “shocked” when he saw he had to arrest a boy, says Sameer’s father, Saher. “I said, ‘He’s too young; why do you want him?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he said”. Blindfolded, and his hands tied painfully behind his back with plastic cords, Sameer was bundled into a Jeep, his father calling out to him not to be afraid. “We cried, all of us,” his father says. “I know my sons; they don’t throw stones.”.
In the hours before his interrogation, Sameer was kept blindfolded and handcuffed, and prevented from sleeping. Eventually taken for interrogation without a lawyer or parent present, a man accused him of being in a demonstration, and showed him footage of a boy throwing stones, claiming it was him.
“He said, ‘This is you’, and I said it wasn’t me. Then he asked me, ‘Who are they?’ And I said that I didn’t know,” Sameer says. “At one point, the man started shouting at me, and grabbed me by the collar, and said, ‘I’ll throw you out of the window and beat you with a stick if you don’t confess’.”.
Sameer, who protested his innocence, was fortunate; he was released a few hours later. But most children are frightened into signing a confession, cowed by threats of physical violence, or threats against their families, such as the withdrawal of work permits.
When a confession is signed, lawyers usually advise children to accept a plea bargain and serve a fixed jail sentence even if not guilty. Pleading innocent is to invite lengthy court proceedings, during which the child is almost always remanded in prison. Acquittals are rare. “In a military court, you have to know that you’re not looking for justice,” says Gabi Lasky, an Israeli lawyer who has represented many children.
There are many Palestinian children in the West Bank villages in the shadow of Israel’s separation wall and Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands. Where largely non-violent protests have sprung up as a form of resistance, there are children who throw stones, and raids by Israel are common. But lawyers and human rights groups have decried Israel’s arrest policy of targeting children in villages that resist the occupation.
In most cases, children as young as 12 are hauled from their beds at night, handcuffed and blindfolded, deprived of sleep and food, subjected to lengthy interrogations, then forced to sign a confession in Hebrew, a language few of them read.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem concluded that, “the rights of minors are severely violated, that the law almost completely fails to protect their rights, and that the few rights granted by the law are not implemented”.
Israel claims to treat Palestinian minors in the spirit of its own law for juveniles but, in practice, it is rarely the case. For instance, children should not be arrested at night, lawyers and parents should be present during interrogations, and the children must be read their rights. But these are treated as guidelines, rather than a legal requirement, and are frequently flouted. And Israel regards Israeli youngsters as children until 18, while Palestinians are viewed as adults from 16.
Lawyers and activists say more than 200 Palestinian children are in Israeli jails. “You want to arrest these kids, you want to try them,” Ms Lalo says. “Fine, but do it according to Israeli law. Give them their rights.”.
In the case of Islam, the boy in the video, his lawyer, Ms Lasky, believes the video provides the first hard proof of serious irregularities in interrogation.
In particular, the interrogator failed to inform Islam of his right to remain silent, even as his lawyer begged to no avail to see him. Instead, the interrogator urged Islam to tell him and his colleagues everything, hinting that if he did so, he would be released. One interrogator suggestively smacked a balled fist into the palm of his hand.
By the end of the interrogation Islam, breaking down in sobs, has succumbed to his interrogators, appearing to give them what they want to hear. Shown a page of photographs, his hand moves dully over it, identifying men from his village, all of whom will be arrested for protesting.
Ms Lasky hopes this footage will change the way children are treated in the occupied territories, in particular, getting them to incriminate others, which lawyers claim is the primary aim of interrogations. The video helped gain Islam’s release from jail into house arrest, and may even lead to a full acquittal of charges of throwing stones. But right now, a hunched and silent Islam doesn’t feel lucky. Yards from his house in Nabi Saleh is the home of his cousin, whose husband is in jail awaiting trial along with a dozen others on the strength of Islam’s confession.
The cousin is magnanimous. “He is a victim, he is just a child,” says Nariman Tamimi, 35, whose husband, Bassem, 45, is in jail. “We shouldn’t blame him for what happened. He was under enormous pressure.”.
Israel’s policy has been successful in one sense, sowing fear among children and deterring them from future demonstrations. But the children are left traumatised, prone to nightmares and bed-wetting. Most have to miss a year of school, or even drop out.
Israel’s critics say its policy is creating a generation of new activists with hearts filled with hatred against Israel. Others say it is staining the country’s character. “Israel has no business arresting these children, trying them, oppressing them,” Ms Lalo says, her eyes glistening. “They’re not our children. My country is doing so many wrongs and justifying them. We should be an example, but we have become an oppressive state.”.
Child detention figures:
7,000[Figure corrected, with apologies for earlier production error.] The estimated number of Palestinian children detained and prosecuted in Israeli military courts since 2000, shows a report by Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP).
87 The percentage of children subjected to some form of physical violence while in custody. About 91 per cent are also believed to be blindfolded at some point during their detention.
12 The minimum age of criminal responsibility, as stipulated in the Military Order 1651.
62 The percentage of children arrested between 12am and 5am.
“The hospitals that I’ve visited since the clashes started are often quite chaotic scenes with many doctors and nurses unable to reach the hospital because either they live in areas that are still not secure or they can’t travel through the city from one side to another. There’s a shortage of health workers inside the facilities, but there is a huge number of people who are responding as volunteers and who are going to the hospitals to try and support and assist where they can. But this is creating quite a chaotic environment.”—Speaking from Tripoli, Jonathan Whittall, MSF head of mission, describes the situation on the ground. More here. (via doctorswithoutborders)
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”—
This is what I’m talking about. I may not have the design genius of Steve Jobs, but I have a heart. And I have the dreams and desires to do what I’m passionate about. My own parents may think I’m foolish, but I’m a 20-year-old college grad. I’m playing it one day at a time and, though I might fail, I’m “already naked.” I can only go up from here.
Here’s to Steve Jobs. And his genius. He’ll be missed over at Apple and around the world.
“More than any of the region’s autocratic leaders, perhaps, Gaddafi was a man of contrasts. He was a sponsor of terrorism who condemned the Sept. 11 attacks. He was a brutal dictator who bulldozed a jail wall to free political prisoners. He was an Arab nationalist who derided the Arab League. And in the crowning paradox, he preached people power, only to have his people take to the streets and take up arms in rebellion.”—
The Associated Press • In a lengthy piece glancing over the long rule of Muammar Gaddafi. It’s a good read that goes a long way to explain the often-confusing nature behind a man who gave North Africa fits for decades, and even occasionally showed up in the West to offer up a little bit of fresh weirdness. No place was that more obvious than when he went to the United Nations to speak in 2009. It was a weird, rambling speech that left more that a few world officials bewildered. In some ways, though, it proved the leader’s last big gasp. Less than two years later, it appears that his regime has been all but taken away. source (via • follow)
“We are expecting to capture Gaddafi in the next few hours and maybe to catch his high officials. This is the end of the regime and with the fall of Tripoli I think all the other cities will follow and all his supporters will give up.”—Libyan ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi - who has defected from the regime - to the BBC. Hopes are running very high surrounding this push right now. (via thepoliticalnotebook)
And so, to return to the question about Libya and Syria: This may sound awfully cold, but we’re bombing Libya because we can and because it might have good effects; and we’re not bombing Syria because we can’t, and it almost certainly won’t.
Libya is, in fact, the most straightforward case for “R2P” action that’s come along in years, maybe decades. (The widespread claim, repeated in n+1, that Samantha Power, now a member of the National Security Council, persuaded President Obama to intervene is overstated.) Muammar Qaddafi was crushing a popular resistance; he said publicly that he would soon send his hired thugs door-to-door to exterminate the protesters, tens of thousands of them, like “rats.” He had the power, and seemingly the will, to make good on his promise. So the Arab League unanimously passed a resolution (a nearly unprecedented event in itself), pleading for the international community to take action. The U.N. Security Council followed with a similar resolution, which neither Russia nor China vetoed. If the Western leaders hadn’t responded under these circumstances, they may as well have announced that “humanitarian intervention” as a concept was dead.
Taking action was also a good idea from a realpolitik angle. The controversy unfolded in the wake of the Arab Spring; it was in our interest for the United States and NATO to appear on the side of a popular uprising against a quasi-allied dictator (and Libya’s was about as quasi an ally as could be imagined).