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Archive for March 25th, 2009

Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List (Part 1)

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List (Part 1)

The following list (also see Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4) is the culmination of a three-year project to record the stories of all the prisoners held at the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The first fruit of this research was my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, published by Pluto Press in November 2007, and available from Amazon (US and UK), in which I related the story of Guantánamo, established a chronology explaining where and when the prisoners were seized, told the stories of around 450 of these prisoners, and provided a context for the circumstances in which the remainder of the prisoners were captured.

In the last 15 months, I have also published 12 online chapters telling the stories of over 250 prisoners that I was unable to include in the book (either because they were not available at the time of writing, or to keep the book at a manageable length), and have written over 300 articles about Guantánamo, for a variety of publications, expanding on and updating the stories of all 779 prisoners. In particular, I have covered the stories of the 143 prisoners released from Guantánamo since June 2007 in unprecedented depth, and have also covered the stories of the 27 prisoners charged in Guantánamo’s Military Commission trial system in more detail than is available from most, if not all other sources.

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RIGHTS-US: Detainee Offered Freedom for Silence on Torture

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

RIGHTS-US: Detainee Offered Freedom for Silence on Torture

By William Fisher


NEW YORK, Mar 24 (IPS) – A British court ruled Monday that U.S. authorities had asked a Guantanamo Bay detainee to drop allegations of torture in exchange for his freedom.

A ruling by two British High Court judges said the U.S. offered Binyam Mohamed a plea bargain deal in October. Mohamed refused the deal and the U.S. dropped all charges against him later last year.

Mohamed is an Ethiopian who moved to Britain when he was a teenager. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and claims he was tortured both there and in Morocco. He was transferred to Guantanamo in 2004. He was finally returned to Britain in late February 2009, with no charges against him.

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The Guard Who Found Islam

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

The Guard Who Found Islam

Terry Holdbrooks stood watch over prisoners at Gitmo. What he saw made him adopt their faith.

Dan Ephron

NEWSWEEK

From the magazine issue dated Mar 30, 2009

Army specialist Terry Holdbrooks had been a guard at Guantánamo for about six months the night he had his life-altering conversation with detainee 590, a Moroccan also known as “the General.” This was early 2004, about halfway through Holdbrooks’s stint at Guantánamo with the 463rd Military Police Company. Until then, he’d spent most of his day shifts just doing his duty. He’d escort prisoners to interrogations or walk up and down the cellblock making sure they weren’t passing notes. But the midnight shifts were slow. “The only thing you really had to do was mop the center floor,” he says. So Holdbrooks began spending part of the night sitting cross-legged on the ground, talking to detainees through the metal mesh of their cell doors.

He developed a strong relationship with the General, whose real name is Ahmed Errachidi. Their late-night conversations led Holdbrooks to be more skeptical about the prison, he says, and made him think harder about his own life. Soon, Holdbrooks was ordering books on Arabic and Islam. During an evening talk with Errachidi in early 2004, the conversation turned to the shahada, the one-line statement of faith that marks the single requirement for converting to Islam (“There is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet”). Holdbrooks pushed a pen and an index card through the mesh, and asked Errachidi to write out the shahada in English and transliterated Arabic. He then uttered the words aloud and, there on the floor of Guantánamo’s Camp Delta, became a Muslim.

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Time to believe Gaza war crimes allegations

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Gaza homes hit during Operation Cast Lead.
(AP)

Last update – 12:39 24/03/2009

Time to believe Gaza war crimes allegations

By Amira Hass

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has difficulty believing the soldiers’ testimonies that they intentionally harmed Palestinian civilians, because the Israel Defense Forces is a moral army, he said on Sunday.

On the other hand, he believes the soldiers because they “have no reason to lie.” Then again, Ashkenazi is convinced that if what they said is true, these are isolated incidents.

Ashkenazi reacted like most Israelis – as though the reports, including those in Haaretz and Maariv, were the first about the Gaza offensive that were issued by someone other than the military spokesman or the military reporters, who rely on him for their information.

But ample information was available from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports, based on statements collected from hundreds of people in the Gaza Strip in January and February.

Ashkenazi, like other Israelis, could have read the Red Cross’ protest during the offensive, that the IDF prevented medical teams from reaching wounded Palestinians by shooting at them. He or his aides could have gone to the Web site set up by Israeli human rights organizations, which was full of reports and testimonies.

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Gaza attacks possibly a war crime: UN expert

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Gaza attacks possibly a war crime: UN expert

The UN expert on the Palestinian territories said in a report released yesterday in Geneva that there was “reason” to conclude that Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip was a war crime.


Richard Falk said in order to determine if the war was legal, it was necessary to assess if the Israeli forces could differentiate between civilian and military targets in Gaza.


“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful, and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” Falk wrote in the report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council.


“On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion,” he added, pointing out that attacks were targeted at densely populated areas. Furthermore, as the borders of Gaza were sealed, civilians were unable to flee from the attacks, Falk noted.



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‘IDF troops used 11-year-old boy as human shield in Gaza’

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Last update – 23:23 23/03/2009

‘IDF troops used 11-year-old boy as human shield in Gaza’

By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies

Israel Defense Forces soldiers used an 11-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a group of UN human rights experts said Monday.

IDF troops ordered the boy to walk in front of soldiers being fired on in the Gaza neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa and enter buildings before them, said the UN secretary-general’s envoy for protecting children in armed conflict.

Radhika Coomaraswamy said the incident on Jan. 15, after Israeli tanks had rolled into the neighborhood, was a violation of Israeli and international law.

It was included in a 43-page report published Monday, and was just one of many verified human rights atrocities during the three-week war between Israel and Hamas that ended Jan. 18, she said.

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IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Last update – 08:45 22/03/2009

IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says

By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent


GAZA STRIP – “Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounded and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.

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U.N. reports say Israel targeted civilians in Gaza

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

U.N. reports say Israel targeted civilians in Gaza

* Reports say child used as human shield

* Right to food, health violated, report says

* Report also cites Hamas violations

By Robert Evans

Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:37pm EDT

GENEVA, March 23 (Reuters) – United Nations investigators said on Monday Israel violated a range of human rights during its invasion of Gaza, including targeting civilians and using a child as a human shield.

The accusations came in reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council which also called for an urgent end to Israeli restrictions on humanitarian supplies to Gaza and a full international investigation into the conflict.

“Civilian targets, particularly homes and their occupants, appear to have taken the brunt of the attacks, but schools and medical facilities have also been hit,” said one report by Radhika Coomaraswamy, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

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UN: Israel broke six-month truce in Gaza

Posted by musliminsuffer on March 25, 2009

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

UN: Israel broke six-month truce in Gaza

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 07:46:57 GMT

The UN report confirms Israel was the party that broke the truce.

A new UN report exposes a bit of misinformation peddled by the US and Israel and shatters the Zionist illusion that the Gaza war was legal.

The report, prepared by human rights investigator Richard Falk, confirms that Tel Aviv was indeed the party that violated the Egyptian-brokered six-month truce in Gaza.

Israel and the democratically elected Palestinian government confined to the Gaza Strip agreed in mid June 2008 to a six-month truce.

While reports indicated that Tel Aviv had initially broken the truce with its tanks and bulldozers crossing the southern border of the Gaza Strip on November 4 and 5, echelons in the United States and Israel insisted otherwise.

A widespread campaign in support of the alleged Israeli right to enter the Palestinian territory was then launched by US and Israeli media outlets.

“Records show that, during the ceasefire, it was predominantly Israel that resorted to conduct inconsistent with the undertaking, and Hamas that retaliated,” Falk responded in a report presented Monday at the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

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