U.S. boycotts talks on Pakistan drone strike resolutionMarch 20, 2014
Pakistan is trying to push a resolution through the United Nations Human Rights Council that would trigger greater scrutiny of whether U.S. drone strikes violate international human rights law. Washington, though, doesn’t want to talk about it.
The Pakistani draft, which was obtained by Foreign Policy, urges states to “ensure transparency” in record-keeping on drone strikes and to “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.” It also calls for the convening of “an interactive panel discussion” on the use of drones.
The Geneva-based human rights council held its third round of discussions about the draft on Wednesday, but the Obama administration boycotted the talks.
The White House decision to sit out the negotiations is a departure from the collaborative approach the administration promised to take when it first announced plans to join the Human Rights Council in March 2009.
The Bush administration had refused to join the body out of concern that repressive states might exercise undue influence over the council and that it would focus disproportionate attention on Israel. The Obama administration, by contrast, argued it was better to reshape an imperfect organization from within than to complain about its failings from afar.
"Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement at the time. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system…. We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.”
Rhetoric aside, though, the Obama administration has largely refused to supply U.N. experts with details about the classified U.S. drone program, which has killed hundreds of suspected militants in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries over the past decade. Independent investigators say the strikes have also killed thousands of civilians, including large numbers of women and children, a charge the White House — without providing evidence to the contrary — denies.
Ben Emmerson, the U.N.’s current special rapporteur for the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, has urged the United States to provide more basic information on the U.S. program, including its own list of civilian casualties. “The single greatest obstacle to an evaluation of the civilian impact of drone strikes is lack of transparency, which makes it extremely difficult to assess claims of precision targeting objectively,” he said.
Those demands are nothing new. Micah Zenko, an FP columnist and expert on drones at the Council on Foreign Relations, recalled in a recentpiece that U.N. human rights investigators have been raising concerns about the U.S. targeted killing program since Nov. 15, 2002, just 12 days after the first confirmed American strike.
Asma Jahangir, then the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, asked the United States and Yemen for information the Nov. 3, 2002, missile strike, which killed Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi and five suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen. She also expressed concern that “an alarming precedent might have been set for extrajudicial execution by consent of government.” The United States declined to comment on the specific allegations, but it challenged any suggestion that “military operations against enemy combatants could be regarded as ‘extrajudicial executions by consent of governments.’”
It remains unclear what Washington will do when the Pakistani resolution is put forward for consideration next week.
Most resolutions in the Human Rights Council are adopted by consensus, but the United States has the option of forcing a vote on the resolution.But a State Department official made it clear that the United States would not support the resolution. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the United States has in the past “regularly participated in negotiations on resolutions dealing with the need to protect human rights while countering terrorism. But this particular resolution deals solely with the use of remotely piloted aircraft.”
Full article

U.S. boycotts talks on Pakistan drone strike resolution
March 20, 2014

Pakistan is trying to push a resolution through the United Nations Human Rights Council that would trigger greater scrutiny of whether U.S. drone strikes violate international human rights law. Washington, though, doesn’t want to talk about it.

The Pakistani draft, which was obtained by Foreign Policy, urges states to “ensure transparency” in record-keeping on drone strikes and to “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.” It also calls for the convening of “an interactive panel discussion” on the use of drones.

The Geneva-based human rights council held its third round of discussions about the draft on Wednesday, but the Obama administration boycotted the talks.

The White House decision to sit out the negotiations is a departure from the collaborative approach the administration promised to take when it first announced plans to join the Human Rights Council in March 2009.

The Bush administration had refused to join the body out of concern that repressive states might exercise undue influence over the council and that it would focus disproportionate attention on Israel. The Obama administration, by contrast, argued it was better to reshape an imperfect organization from within than to complain about its failings from afar.

"Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement at the time. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system…. We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.”

Rhetoric aside, though, the Obama administration has largely refused to supply U.N. experts with details about the classified U.S. drone program, which has killed hundreds of suspected militants in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries over the past decade. Independent investigators say the strikes have also killed thousands of civilians, including large numbers of women and children, a charge the White House — without providing evidence to the contrary — denies.

Ben Emmerson, the U.N.’s current special rapporteur for the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, has urged the United States to provide more basic information on the U.S. program, including its own list of civilian casualties. “The single greatest obstacle to an evaluation of the civilian impact of drone strikes is lack of transparency, which makes it extremely difficult to assess claims of precision targeting objectively,” he said.

Those demands are nothing new. Micah Zenko, an FP columnist and expert on drones at the Council on Foreign Relations, recalled in a recentpiece that U.N. human rights investigators have been raising concerns about the U.S. targeted killing program since Nov. 15, 2002, just 12 days after the first confirmed American strike.

Asma Jahangir, then the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, asked the United States and Yemen for information the Nov. 3, 2002, missile strike, which killed Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi and five suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen. She also expressed concern that “an alarming precedent might have been set for extrajudicial execution by consent of government.” The United States declined to comment on the specific allegations, but it challenged any suggestion that “military operations against enemy combatants could be regarded as ‘extrajudicial executions by consent of governments.’”

It remains unclear what Washington will do when the Pakistani resolution is put forward for consideration next week.

Most resolutions in the Human Rights Council are adopted by consensus, but the United States has the option of forcing a vote on the resolution.But a State Department official made it clear that the United States would not support the resolution. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the United States has in the past “regularly participated in negotiations on resolutions dealing with the need to protect human rights while countering terrorism. But this particular resolution deals solely with the use of remotely piloted aircraft.”

Full article

TW: Rape - Shocking UN report reveals 1 in 4 men admit to raping women for ‘fun’ & because of ‘sexual entitlement’

September 11, 2013

A disturbing new report on sexual assault released by the United Nations reveals that one in four men have admitted to raping a woman once in their lives for entertainment, punishment and revenge amongst the top reasons listed, IBT reported.

The study which was published in the British Medical Journal The Lancet and conducted by the World Health Organization in the Asia-pacific region involved interviewing 10,178 men aged between 18 and 49 years old in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea about engaging in non-consensual sex.

Almost 75 percent of those interviewed said they committed rape because of “sexual entitlement,” or as form of punishment because the man was angry:

“They believed they had the right to have sex with the woman regardless of consent. The second most common motivation reported was to rape as a form of entertainment, so for fun or because they were bored. Perhaps surprisingly, the least common motivation was alcohol,” report author Dr. Emma Fulu said.

The study also highlighted, poverty, personal history of violence and victimization as contributing factors that led to rape crimes.  

Dr. Michelle Decker of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore said the findings should generate global outrage particularly in light of recent high profile rape cases such as the New Delhi student gang rape case in India:

“More than half of non-partner rape perpetrators first did so as adolescents, which affirms that young people are a crucial target population for prevention of rape. The challenge now is to turn evidence into action, to create a safer future for the next generation of women and girls,” she said in an interview with BBC.

The report comes amidst the news that prosecutors of the four men found guilty of the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old in New Delhi, India in December say the men should face the death penalty for the crime that shocked the “collective consciousness,” of the people, BBC News reported.

In an address to Judge Yogesh Khanna, public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said on Tuesday that the “sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death”.

In December, the female student was tricked into boarding an out-of-service bus by the men before they violently raped and tortured her.  The woman was flown to a Singapore hospital but subsequently died of her internal injuries as a result of the rape.

The incident sparked international outrage and widespread protests across the country calling upon the government to introduce harsher penalties for serious rape cases as well as increasing prison sentences. 

Source

As international support for Obama’s decision to attack Syria has collapsed, along with the credibility of government claims, the administration has fallen back on a standard pretext for war crimes when all else fails: the credibility of the threats of the self-designated policeman of the world. [T]hat aggression without UN authorization would be a war crime, a very serious one, is quite clear, despite tortured efforts to invoke other crimes as precedents.
robert-cunningham

The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication (video source)

Thank you to the Iraq War veterans who speak-out and organize against these imperialist wars.

From the Iraq Veterans Against the War website:

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Boston to give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.

From its inception, IVAW has called for:

  • Immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq;
  • Reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stopping the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and future; and
  • Full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.

Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.

— — — — —

From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

Pakistani court declares US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt illegal

May 13, 2013

A Pakistani court has declared that US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt are illegal and has directed the government to move a resolution against the attacks in the United Nations.

In what activists said was an historic decision, the Peshawar High Court issued the verdict against the strikes by CIA-operated spy planes in response to four petitions that contended the attacks killed civilians and caused “collateral damage”.

Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, who headed a two-judge bench that heard the petitions, ruled the drone strikes were illegal, inhumane and a violation of the UN charter onhuman rights. The court said the strikes must be declared a war crime as they killed innocent people.

“The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future,” the court said, according to the Press Trust of India. It asked Pakistan’s foreign ministry to table a resolution against the American attacks in the UN.

“If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US,” the judgment said.

US officials have said the drones target al-Qa’ida and Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal regions who are blamed for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and say the operations are done with the complicity of Pakistan’s military. Activists say hundreds of civilians are killed as “collateral damage” and that there is no transparency about the operation of the drones.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party is considered frontrunner in this Saturday’s election, this week vowed that he would not tolerate drone attacks on Pakistani soil.

“Drone attacks are against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country’s autonomy and independence,” he said.

The case was filed last year by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, a legal charity based in Islamabad, on behalf of the families of victims killed in a 17 March 2011 strike on a tribal jirga.

The jirga, a traditional community dispute resolution mechanism, had been called to settle a chromite mining dispute in Datta Khel, North Waziristan. This strike killed more than 50 tribal elders, including a number of government officials. There was strong condemnation of this attack by all quarters in Pakistan including the federal government and Pakistan military.

Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for victims in the case, said: “This is a landmark judgment. Drone victims in Waziristan will now get some justice after a long wait. This judgment will also prove to be a test for the new government: if drone strikes continue and the government fails to act, it will run the risk of contempt of court.”?

Clive Stafford Smith of the London-based group Reprieve, which has supported the case, said: “Today’s momentous decision by the Peshawar High Court shines the first rays of accountability onto the CIA’s secret drone war.”

He added: “For the innocent people killed by U.S. drone strikes, it marks the first time they have been officially acknowledged for who they truly are - civilian victims of American war crimes.”

Source

The US will surely veto any resolution that goes through the UN, just as it has before in the past (ahem, 41 vetoes to defend Israel)… but this case is monumental in examining the US drone war as a war crime because of the innocent civilians who have been killed, not just in Pakistan (between411-884) but in Yemen (between 99-184) & Somalia (up to 15) as well. (Note: These stats don’t include “militants,” which was redefined to include all males of military age in a strike zone, which often includes innocent civilians.) 

Nathan Blanc: Israeli teenager & conscientious objector
April 7, 2013

Nathan Blanc is an Israeli conscientious objector. He’s getting ready to serve his 8th stint in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli military. He believes in democracy. From the video:

The main reason for my refusal is the feeling our country is going towards a non democratic condition of civil inequality between us and the Palestinians. There are two people in the same land but only the Israelis can vote in the elections.

Blanc has internalized one state/ two peoples.

Israel is refusing to offer him civil service as an alternative to military service and he doesn’t want to get a mental health deferment; “I’m not going to put on an act,” he toldHaaretz last January. He thinks the army is trying to “wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists.”

That was after two months in prison, now he’s been in for over 100 days. Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian, Israel set to jail teenage conscientious objector for eighth time:

It is a routine Nathan Blanc knows well. At 9am on Tuesday morning, the 19-year-old will report, as instructed in his draft papers, to a military base near Tel Aviv. There he will state his objection to serving in the Israeli army. Following his refusal to enlist, Blanc expects to be arrested and sentenced to between 10 and 20 days in jail. He will then be taken to Military Prison Number 6 to serve his time. And then, following his release, the cycle will begin over again.

The reason why Blanc knows what to expect is that this will be the eighth time the teenage conscientious objector has been jailed in the past 19 weeks. Since the date of his original call-up for military service, Blanc has spent more than 100 days in prison; on one occasion, he was released on a Tuesday and re-imprisoned two days later on a Thursday.

Blanc began to consider the possibility of refusing the draft several years ago. “It was a very hard decision, it took me a long time to get to it,” he says.

The turning point was Operation Cast Lead, the war in Gaza that began at the end of 2008 and ended three weeks later with a Palestinian death toll of around 1,400. In a statement issued when he was first imprisoned, Blanc said: “The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal.”

The government, he said, was “not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it … We will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides … We, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game.”

In an interview with the Guardian, he says: “The war going on in this country for more than 60 years could have ended a long time ago. But both sides are giving into extremists and fundamentalists. The occupation was supposed to be temporary, but now no one speaks of it ending.”

The Israeli state, he adds, keeps people “under our control” without democratic rights. Palestinians are subject to “collective punishment” for the actions of a few.

Will our msm write about this? Probably not. Here is a facebook page with updates about Blanc, including video messages for him from other Israeli Refusniks.

War Resistors International:

Repeated imprisonment is a violation of international legal standards. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory.

Natan Blanc refuses to enlist in the Israeli Army based on beliefs and conscience. He claims his human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR.

Source

Palestinian youth shot for protesting has diedMarch 9, 2013
A Palestinian who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet during a protest which erupted after a prisoner died in Israeli custody has died of his wounds, medical officials say.
"Mohammed Asfour died this morning after being in hospital for a long time after he was injured during a demonstration," a spokesman for Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital said on Thursday.
Asfour, a 22-year-old student studying sports, was wounded in the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Abud on February 22, activists said.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem demanded that the military launch an immediate inquiry into the incident and four other cases where Palestinians were seriously injured by army fire.
"[It]must not only examine the immediate circumstances in which Asfour was killed, but also the orders that were given for use of these bullets during the event, the measures that were taken to ensure soldiers’ familiarity with the orders, and the command responsibility for the shooting," it said in a statement.
"The goal of holding the shooters accountable and preventing similar cases by deterring other soldiers must apply to cases of severe injury, as well as to cases of death," it added.
Asfour was initially taken to a Palestinian hospital but later transferred to Ichilov, they said.
The protest erupted after news leaked out that a Palestinian man had died in Israeli custody after being interrogated by the Shin Bet internal security service, sparking angry demonstrations across the territories.
Asfour was to be buried on Friday after the weekly prayers in his home village of Abud, some 20km northwest of Ramallah.
Months of hunger strikes
His death comes after weeks of heightened tensions across the West Bank over the issue of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom have been on hunger strike for months.
The strikes are to protest poor conditions inside the jails and the issue of administrative detention by Israeli forces of Palestinians.
The protests intensified on February 23 after news emerged that Arafat Jaradat, 30, had died after days of Shin Bet interrogation on suspicion of throwing stones.
Palestinian officials claim that a joint autopsy showed Jaradat died after being tortured, but Israel says further tests are needed to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club said an Israeli military court had postponed a decision on whether or not to extend the detention without charge of two prisoners on long-term hunger strike.
Spokeswoman Amani Sarahne said the judge “wanted to re-examine the evidence before deciding whether to renew the administrative detention orders” against Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Ezzedine who have been on intermittent hunger strike since November.
Both men were arrested on November 22 and handed a three-month administrative detention order which was due to expire or be renewed by a military court on February 22.
Sarahne said the judge was expected to rule on the issue “within days”.
Figures published by B’Tselem at the end of January show there are currently 4,500 Palestinians being held by Israel, of whom 159 are being held in administrative detention.
Source

Palestinian youth shot for protesting has died
March 9, 2013

A Palestinian who was hit in the head by a rubber bullet during a protest which erupted after a prisoner died in Israeli custody has died of his wounds, medical officials say.

"Mohammed Asfour died this morning after being in hospital for a long time after he was injured during a demonstration," a spokesman for Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital said on Thursday.

Asfour, a 22-year-old student studying sports, was wounded in the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by Israeli troops during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Abud on February 22, activists said.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem demanded that the military launch an immediate inquiry into the incident and four other cases where Palestinians were seriously injured by army fire.

"[It]must not only examine the immediate circumstances in which Asfour was killed, but also the orders that were given for use of these bullets during the event, the measures that were taken to ensure soldiers’ familiarity with the orders, and the command responsibility for the shooting," it said in a statement.

"The goal of holding the shooters accountable and preventing similar cases by deterring other soldiers must apply to cases of severe injury, as well as to cases of death," it added.

Asfour was initially taken to a Palestinian hospital but later transferred to Ichilov, they said.

The protest erupted after news leaked out that a Palestinian man had died in Israeli custody after being interrogated by the Shin Bet internal security service, sparking angry demonstrations across the territories.

Asfour was to be buried on Friday after the weekly prayers in his home village of Abud, some 20km northwest of Ramallah.

Months of hunger strikes

His death comes after weeks of heightened tensions across the West Bank over the issue of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, some of whom have been on hunger strike for months.

The strikes are to protest poor conditions inside the jails and the issue of administrative detention by Israeli forces of Palestinians.

The protests intensified on February 23 after news emerged that Arafat Jaradat, 30, had died after days of Shin Bet interrogation on suspicion of throwing stones.

Palestinian officials claim that a joint autopsy showed Jaradat died after being tortured, but Israel says further tests are needed to determine the cause of death.

Meanwhile, the Ramallah-based Prisoners Club said an Israeli military court had postponed a decision on whether or not to extend the detention without charge of two prisoners on long-term hunger strike.

Spokeswoman Amani Sarahne said the judge “wanted to re-examine the evidence before deciding whether to renew the administrative detention orders” against Tareq Qaadan and Jafar Ezzedine who have been on intermittent hunger strike since November.

Both men were arrested on November 22 and handed a three-month administrative detention order which was due to expire or be renewed by a military court on February 22.

Sarahne said the judge was expected to rule on the issue “within days”.

Figures published by B’Tselem at the end of January show there are currently 4,500 Palestinians being held by Israel, of whom 159 are being held in administrative detention.

Source

Who are the Tuareg? Background amid conflict in Northern Mali
February 19, 2013

FOR COSMOPOLITAN music lovers, the Tuareg people burst onto the scene in 2001 when their most prominent musical group, Tinariwen, kicked off an internationally acclaimed music festival outside of Timbuktu in the Malian desert. Ten years later, after playing over 700 shows in the U.S. and Europe, Tinariwen won a Grammy for “Best Foreign Language Album.”

But Tinariwen has an important history that dates back before 2001. Its members were part of the Tuareg resistance to the Malian government up until the 1990s. Most grew up in refugee camps after theishumar generation was forced out of the traditional Tuareg lifestyle by government action.

They became critical of their ancestors’ strict social hierarchies. But as Tinariwen became an international sensation, its members donned traditional Tuareg dress and helped to recreate images of a romanticized past.

With the crisis in northern Mali and the French government’s military intervention in its former colony, the Tuareg have become a focus of attention in the West in a new way. In both the mainstream press and in United Nations resolutions, they have been wrongly conflated with Islamic jihadists, while their legitimate grievances against the Malian government have been ignored.

A court in the Malian capital of Bamako issued arrest warrants last week for Tuareg leaders from both the Mouvement National de Liberation de L’Azawad (MNLA), the most prominent political Tuareg group, and Ansar Dine, an Islamist group, imported into northern Mali from Southeast Asia, with a particularly evangelical and sectarian Salafist history. These two groups are completely different in aim, origin and strategy, but the Malian state paints them with one brush.

The UN has already ducked the pressing economic and political questions facing residents of northern Mali by denouncing the right of the Tuareg to independence. France can’t be allowed to claim that military intervention is the solution to the “problem” in Mali—while it ignores the dire economic conditions at the roots of the discontent among the Tuareg.

THE TUAREG speak Tamasheq, part of the Berber language group. They are a majority Muslim group of a million-and-a-half people living in Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso. Historically nomadic and pastoralist, the Tuareg dominated the vast desert areas of these countries.

Now, because of a series of droughts in the Sahara, forced sedentariztion, restrictive land policies of the Malian state and state repression, they have become a migrant workforce in northern Africa. Some still practice pastoralism, but many more rely on urban jobs, remittances and state aid. Before the fall of the Muammar al-Qaddafi and his regime in Libya last year, some found employment in the Libyan state machine, including its military and security services.

Since military control of the Tuareg was never feasible because of the problems of desert combat, the Tuareg maintained a great deal of autonomy. They were exempted from mandatory military service and didn’t pay taxes. The colonial masters effectively allowed the practice of slavery to continue among the Tuareg.

For this reason, sub-Saharan Malians in the South resented the privileged position that the Tuareg were afforded by the colonial state. According to the historian Baz Lecocq, most of the Tuareg view French colonialism as a better alternative to administration by the central Malian government since independence.

The Tuareg are the dominant ethnic group in the desert and in Kidal, but are a minority even in the two biggest Northern cities of Mali, Timbuktu and Gao. Although they make up less than 10 percent of the Malian population, the nomads have had a disproportionate impact on the fortunes of the Malian state since its founding in 1960. (details in full article – link @the bottom of this page)

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TO CATEGORIZE a group of nomads as a “nation” may or may not be appropriate. It is an especially complicated question in post-colonial Africa, where colonial meddling in territorial boundaries forever changed power relations between indigenous groups.

Nevertheless, the Tuareg share a language and a history, and see themselves as a coherent group. They are unquestionably oppressed by the Malian state. Between 1964 and 1967, they were subjected to a fierce campaign of forced sedentarization, away from their traditional nomadic lifestyle. In the tradition of the colonial masters, the Malian state continued to appoint Tuareg chiefs and leaders, overturning democratic choices made by Tuareg clans. The use of Tamasheq was forbidden in schools.

During the Tuareg rebellions of 1962-63 and 1990-94, the Malian army meted out brutal collective punishment. It was accused of poisoning wells and mass killings of both civilians and livestock. The Malian state declared certain desert areas “forbidden zones” and threatened to shoot anyone in those areas—a particularly damning policy against a people who depend on grazing livestock.

The Tuareg have always claimed a right to self-determination in the Azawad, the desert region of Mali, Niger, Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. If part of this right rests on the claim that they have historically dominated the area, though, then that claim is complicated by the question of slavery.

The Tuareg practiced certain forms of slavery—very different, it should be noted, than chattel slavery in the New World—until Malian independence. Noble Tuareg families kept house slaves (“iklan”) and demanded tribute from “slave” agricultural villages. Historically, they had also been involved in trafficking slaves across North Africa. One element that spurred the Tuareg to rebel in 1962 was their desire to control their social hierarchies (and slaves) without intervention by the state in Bamako—which, unlike the French, undertook a serious effort to end unfree labor.

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THERE ARE at least four forces fighting in northern Mali.

Beginning in November 2011, a series of high-profile kidnappings of Westerners took place in northern Mali. These kidnappings were either carried out by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) or by forces affiliated with the Algerian secret service. (Anthropologist and United Nations consultant Jeremy Keenan believes Algerian forces have quite likely participated in high-profile kidnappings in the Sahara since 2003.)

Then in January 2012, probably emboldened by a new flow of arms to the region after Qaddafi’s downfall, Tuareg fighers began a series of skirmishes with the Malian military. Their chief aim was seemingly to wrest economic concessions from the state.

Into the fray jumped the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). These two jihadist groups have been joined by Ansar Dine, which is made up of ethnically Tuareg people, but should not be called a “Tuareg” group—it has its origins in Southeast Asia. After recruiting the prominent Tuareg leader Iyad ag Ghaly following the decline of the political Tuareg movement, Ansar Dine gained a significant Tuareg following. But its aims aren’t about overcoming the historic oppression of the Tuareg people, but rather a larger agenda of gaining dominance for Salafist Islam.

The total number of fighters between the three Islamist groups is probably about 2,000 people. The MNLA, the largest political Tuareg group, is now staunchly in opposition to these groups.

The Tuareg, like any other “nation,” is not a uniform group. Since the first uprising in 1962, it has been divided into factions—some want to take the claim of “self-determination” to its logical conclusion of political secession by any means necessary, and others want some type of autonomy, gained through negotiations with Malian state.

The latter forces won out. The MNLA that is dominant today claims the mantle of the Mouvement Frente Unite de l’Azawad, one of the most important groups that negotiated peace with the Malian government in 1996.

In 1996, the Bourem Pact ended the second Tuareg uprising. The Malian state, with the support of the international community, both states and NGOs, devoted some $9 million for a Disarm, Demobilize, Reintegrate (DDR) program that provided cash for weapons to the rebels, credits for small businesses and increased funding in infrastructure. Schools and health care centers were built, and an additional $150 million was pledged for reconstruction. The city of Kidal got electricity for the first time in 1996.

In return for their agreement to lay down arms, Tuareg administrators gained greater powers of self-governance. In addition to the DDR program and investment in infrastructure, several thousand Tuareg fighters chose to integrate into the Malian army. In exchange for giving up the armed resistance, the Malian army took them in as soldiers and paid them a regular salary.

With this history no doubt in mind, the MNLA today is fighting, in practical terms, for more economic aid and an end to state repression. In an obscure part of its website and in French, there is a demand for “sovereignty” and “self-determination.” But in a document called “The renewal of the Armed Struggle in the Azawad,” intended for an international audience, the MNLA emphasizes more pragmatic and practical demands: dialogue with the Malian state, an end to military killings and the intervention of the “international community.”

It is this “pragmatism” which has led the MNLA to accept French military intervention in northern Mali. According to Canadian socialist Roger Annis, the MNLA “entered into talks with the Mali regime in December for autonomy in the northern region. A January 13 statement on the group’s website acquiesces to the French intervention, but says it should not allow troops of the Mali army to pass beyond the border demarcation line declared in April of last year.”

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THE TUAREG question is an international one. More Tuareg live in neighboring Niger than in Mali, and there, too, they have organized a movement against state repression—their most recent uprising ended in 2009.

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou said, “The threats in Mali constitute a domestic security problem for Niger”—and sent 500 soldiers to the international peacekeeping force in Mali, imploring the international force to disarm the MNLA. The Niger government signed a deal with the U.S. to host a base for surveillance drones.

Niger, like Mali in the period before the latest crisis, had adopted a strategy of trying to assimilate the Tuareg, integrate them into the state (a Tuareg was appointed Prime Minister in 2011) and grant limited economic concessions. Large uranium mines in Niger represent huge potential profits for French companies, as well as geopolitical power. Thus, France and Niger’s ruling elite both want stability.

Despite incredible mineral wealth, Niger’s gross domestic product per capita is around $374, according the World Bank. Mali’s is around $669, despite huge gold reserves.

So while it is right in a sense to talk about a “nationalist insurgency,” it is important to note that Tuareg poverty is, more than anything else, the driving impulse for a people who have learned that armed struggle works in wresting economic concessions from the state.

This is important to recognize because Western governments and the UN have spent a lot of time “rejecting” the Tuareg’s right to self-determination. In July 2012, UN resolution 2056 stated, “reiterating its categorical rejection of statements made by the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) regarding the so-called ‘independence’ of northern Mali, and further reiterating that it considers such announcements null and void.”

By pretending that the Tuareg are simply focused on the creation of a separate state, Western governments can ignore their more immediate demands. They can ignore the real crisis—that 400,000 northern Malians have been displaced from their homes.

Source/Full Article (parts were removed for reduced Tumblr sizing)

As if these statistics weren’t startling enough, the US has just blocked proposals to expand prisoner rights at the U.N. meeting in Buenos Aires. 

It opposed a proposal that would have allowed a prisoner facing disciplinary charges to be represented by a lawyer, even at his or her own expense. It pushed, unsuccessfully, for removal of a reference to health care being provided to prisoners free of charge – presumably because many U.S. prisons and jails charge prisoners for medical care. (The Brazilian delegation objected to the deletion, and the language remained in the Draft Report.)

The U.S. delegation was particularly hostile to any meaningful limits on solitary confinement, such as a maximum duration or the exclusion of vulnerable populations like children and persons with mental illness.

Source

These delegations really show why the U.N. is so problematic & how it lacks any promise of progress, especially at the hands of the US on the Security Council. Of course, mass incarceration disproportionately affects people of color & the poor, so racial justice must be intertwined with the struggle for prisoner’s rights. Thanks to climateadaptation for the heads up about this story.

Beaten and sodomized: European human rights court finds CIA guilty of tortureDecember 18, 2012
The European Court of Human Rights found the CIA guilty of torturing a terror suspect for the first time ever. A German citizen was illegally detained, tortured and sodomized by a CIA “rendition team’ after being mistaken for an al-Qaeda member.
The Strasbourg-based court has unanimously ruled that German citizen Khalid el-Masri was tortured by a CIA ‘rendition team’.
The court also found the state of Macedonia guilty of secretly imprisoning, abusing and torturing Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese origin, and ordered €60,000 in compensation to be paid to the former detainee. The Macedonian government denied any involvement in the kidnapping.
James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, told the Guardian that the ruling of the Grand Chamber of ECtHR should become a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts. For the US Congress to continue avoiding serious scrutiny of CIA activities is going to be “simply unacceptable”, Goldston said.
Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, believes the ECtHR ruling is “a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush adminsitration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture”.
Emmerson suggested that the US government must issue an apology for its “central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA” and pay voluntary compensation to Khalid el-Masri. In turn, Germany should seek the US officials involved in this case to be brought to trial.
The milestone decision of the European court has come into spotlight together with the final approval on Thursday of a behemoth 6,000 page report on harsh interrogation techniques prepared by the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence.
Source +finish the article

Beaten and sodomized: European human rights court finds CIA guilty of torture
December 18, 2012

The European Court of Human Rights found the CIA guilty of torturing a terror suspect for the first time ever. A German citizen was illegally detained, tortured and sodomized by a CIA “rendition team’ after being mistaken for an al-Qaeda member.

The Strasbourg-based court has unanimously ruled that German citizen Khalid el-Masri was tortured by a CIA ‘rendition team’.

The court also found the state of Macedonia guilty of secretly imprisoning, abusing and torturing Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese origin, and ordered €60,000 in compensation to be paid to the former detainee. The Macedonian government denied any involvement in the kidnapping.

James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, told the Guardian that the ruling of the Grand Chamber of ECtHR should become a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts. For the US Congress to continue avoiding serious scrutiny of CIA activities is going to be “simply unacceptable”, Goldston said.

Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, believes the ECtHR ruling is “a key milestone in the long struggle to secure accountability of public officials implicated in human rights violations committed by the Bush adminsitration CIA in its policy of secret detention, rendition and torture”.

Emmerson suggested that the US government must issue an apology for its “central role in a web of systematic crimes and human rights violations by the Bush-era CIA” and pay voluntary compensation to Khalid el-Masri. In turn, Germany should seek the US officials involved in this case to be brought to trial.

The milestone decision of the European court has come into spotlight together with the final approval on Thursday of a behemoth 6,000 page report on harsh interrogation techniques prepared by the US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence.

Source +finish the article

US detained hundreds of Afghan teenagers December 10, 2012
The US military said it has captured more than 200 Afghan juveniles, whose average age is 16, and held them prisoner for about one year without charging them for any crimes.
A report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that more than 200 detainees under the age of 18 were held at a military prison at the Detention Facility in Parwan for being characterized as “enemy combatants”.
The teens had not been charged with any crimes, but were each held for an average of one year for the sole purpose of preventing “a combatant from returning to the battlefield”, the report said. Since they were not charged for any crimes, the detainees were not provided any legal assistance and could only defend themselves at open hearings.
Most of the teens were captured while they were not in uniform – and many were seized from their homes.
“We’re not talking about battlefield captures, we’re talking about people who are living at home, and four or five brothers might be taken together,” Tina M. Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, told the Associated Press. “It might take them a year or more to figure out that one of them was younger than 18, to determine the identities of these kids.”
The average age of the captured teens was 16 – but this age is not usually determined until after their capture and it could take over a year to figure out, the report said.
But if the average age is 16, there is a high chance that some children were captured as young as 13 or 14 years old, according to Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Foster said she has even represented children imprisoned at Bagram that were as young as 11 or 12.
Foster believes the total number of captured juveniles in Afghanistan is greater than 200, since the State Department may not count the children who were under 18 when they were captured, but were considered adults when the report was drawn up.
“There are other children whose parents have said these children are under 18 at the time of their capture, and the US doesn’t allow the detainees or their families to contest their age,” she said.
The US government in the report justified its actions by citing a 2004 Supreme Court case, Hamdi vs. Rumsfield, which ruled that detaining enemy combatants for the duration of the conflict “is a fundamental incident of waging war” and is consistent with the Geneva Conventions.
“The law of armed conflict permits the United States to detain belligerents until the end of hostilities without charging such individuals with crimes, because they are not being held as criminals facing future criminal trial,” the court case established.
Most of these juveniles have been released or transferred to the Afghan government, the report states, without citing any figures. The US government has already handed over about 3,000 inmates to Afghan control over a six-month period ending September 10. About 600 detainees have not yet been transferred.
The report will be presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January, alongside a delegation in Geneva that will answer any questions by the UN committee.
Source

US detained hundreds of Afghan teenagers 
December 10, 2012

The US military said it has captured more than 200 Afghan juveniles, whose average age is 16, and held them prisoner for about one year without charging them for any crimes.

A report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said that more than 200 detainees under the age of 18 were held at a military prison at the Detention Facility in Parwan for being characterized as “enemy combatants”.

The teens had not been charged with any crimes, but were each held for an average of one year for the sole purpose of preventing “a combatant from returning to the battlefield”, the report said. Since they were not charged for any crimes, the detainees were not provided any legal assistance and could only defend themselves at open hearings.

Most of the teens were captured while they were not in uniform – and many were seized from their homes.

“We’re not talking about battlefield captures, we’re talking about people who are living at home, and four or five brothers might be taken together,” Tina M. Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network, told the Associated Press. “It might take them a year or more to figure out that one of them was younger than 18, to determine the identities of these kids.”

The average age of the captured teens was 16 – but this age is not usually determined until after their capture and it could take over a year to figure out, the report said.

But if the average age is 16, there is a high chance that some children were captured as young as 13 or 14 years old, according to Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Foster said she has even represented children imprisoned at Bagram that were as young as 11 or 12.

Foster believes the total number of captured juveniles in Afghanistan is greater than 200, since the State Department may not count the children who were under 18 when they were captured, but were considered adults when the report was drawn up.

“There are other children whose parents have said these children are under 18 at the time of their capture, and the US doesn’t allow the detainees or their families to contest their age,” she said.

The US government in the report justified its actions by citing a 2004 Supreme Court case, Hamdi vs. Rumsfield, which ruled that detaining enemy combatants for the duration of the conflict “is a fundamental incident of waging war” and is consistent with the Geneva Conventions.

“The law of armed conflict permits the United States to detain belligerents until the end of hostilities without charging such individuals with crimes, because they are not being held as criminals facing future criminal trial,” the court case established.

Most of these juveniles have been released or transferred to the Afghan government, the report states, without citing any figures. The US government has already handed over about 3,000 inmates to Afghan control over a six-month period ending September 10. About 600 detainees have not yet been transferred.

The report will be presented to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in January, alongside a delegation in Geneva that will answer any questions by the UN committee.

Source

The UN asks for control over the world’s InternetDecember 6, 2012
Members of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have agreed to work towards implementing a standard for the Internet that would allow for eavesdropping on a worldwide scale.
At a conference in Dubai this week, the ITU members decided to adopt the Y.2770 standard for deep packet inspection, a top-secret proposal by way of China that will allow telecom companies across the world to more easily dig through data passed across the Web.
According to the UN, implementing deep-packet inspection, or DPI, on such a global scale will allow authorities to more easily detect the transferring and sharing of copyrighted materials and other protected files by finding a way for administrators to analyze the payload of online transmissions, not just the header data that is normally identified and interpreted.
“It is standard procedure to route packets based on their headers, after all it is the part of the packet that contains information on the packet’s intended destination,” writes The Inquirer’s Lawrence Lati, “but by inspecting the contents of each packet ISPs, governments and anyone else can look at sensitive data. While users can mitigate risks by encrypting data, given enough resources encryption can be foiled.”
Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Internet,’ spoke out against proposed DPI implementation on such a grandiose scale during an address earlier this year at the World Wide Web Consortium.
"Somebody clamps a deep packet inspection thing on your cable which reads every packet and reassembles the web pages, cataloguing them against your name, address and telephone number either to be given to the government when they ask for it or to be sold to the highest bidder – that’s a really serious breach of privacy,” he said.
Blogger Arthur Herman writes this week for Fox News online that the goal of the delegates at the ITU “is to grab control of the World Wide Web away from the United States, and hand it to a UN body of bureaucrats.”
“It’ll be the biggest power grab in the UN’s history, as well as a perversion of its power,” he warns.
The ITU’s secretary general, Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, has dismissed critics who have called the proposed DPI model invasive, penning an op-ed this week where he insists his organization’s meeting in Dubai poses “no threat to free speech.”
“It is our chance to chart a globally-agreed roadmap to connect the unconnected, while ensuring there is investment to create the infrastructure needed for the exponential growth in voice, video and data traffic,” Dr. Toure claims of the conference, adding that it presents the UN with “a golden opportunity to provide affordable connectivity for all, including the billions of people worldwide who cannot yet go online.”
Despite his explanation, though, some nation-states and big-name businesses remain opposed to the proposal. The ITU’s conference this week has been held behind closed doors, and representatives with online service providers Google, Facebook and Twitter have been barred from attending.
In a report published this week by CNet, tech journalist Declan McCullagh cites a Korean document that describes the confidential Y.2770 standard as being able to identify "embedded digital watermarks in MP3 data," discover "copyright protected audio content," find “Jabber messages with Spanish text,” or "identify uploading BitTorrent users."
Source

The UN asks for control over the world’s Internet
December 6, 2012

Members of the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have agreed to work towards implementing a standard for the Internet that would allow for eavesdropping on a worldwide scale.

At a conference in Dubai this week, the ITU members decided to adopt the Y.2770 standard for deep packet inspection, a top-secret proposal by way of China that will allow telecom companies across the world to more easily dig through data passed across the Web.

According to the UN, implementing deep-packet inspection, or DPI, on such a global scale will allow authorities to more easily detect the transferring and sharing of copyrighted materials and other protected files by finding a way for administrators to analyze the payload of online transmissions, not just the header data that is normally identified and interpreted.

“It is standard procedure to route packets based on their headers, after all it is the part of the packet that contains information on the packet’s intended destination,” writes The Inquirer’s Lawrence Lati, “but by inspecting the contents of each packet ISPs, governments and anyone else can look at sensitive data. While users can mitigate risks by encrypting data, given enough resources encryption can be foiled.”

Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Internet,’ spoke out against proposed DPI implementation on such a grandiose scale during an address earlier this year at the World Wide Web Consortium.

"Somebody clamps a deep packet inspection thing on your cable which reads every packet and reassembles the web pages, cataloguing them against your name, address and telephone number either to be given to the government when they ask for it or to be sold to the highest bidder – that’s a really serious breach of privacy,” he said.

Blogger Arthur Herman writes this week for Fox News online that the goal of the delegates at the ITU “is to grab control of the World Wide Web away from the United States, and hand it to a UN body of bureaucrats.”

“It’ll be the biggest power grab in the UN’s history, as well as a perversion of its power,” he warns.

The ITU’s secretary general, Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure, has dismissed critics who have called the proposed DPI model invasive, penning an op-ed this week where he insists his organization’s meeting in Dubai poses “no threat to free speech.”

“It is our chance to chart a globally-agreed roadmap to connect the unconnected, while ensuring there is investment to create the infrastructure needed for the exponential growth in voice, video and data traffic,” Dr. Toure claims of the conference, adding that it presents the UN with “a golden opportunity to provide affordable connectivity for all, including the billions of people worldwide who cannot yet go online.”

Despite his explanation, though, some nation-states and big-name businesses remain opposed to the proposal. The ITU’s conference this week has been held behind closed doors, and representatives with online service providers Google, Facebook and Twitter have been barred from attending.

In a report published this week by CNet, tech journalist Declan McCullagh cites a Korean document that describes the confidential Y.2770 standard as being able to identify "embedded digital watermarks in MP3 data," discover "copyright protected audio content," find “Jabber messages with Spanish text,” or "identify uploading BitTorrent users."

Source

Palestinian statehood vote: Palestinians certain to win UN recognitionNovember 29, 2012
The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state Thursday but success could exact a high price: Israel and the United States warn it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, mounted an aggressive campaign to head off the General Assembly vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly declared Thursday that the Palestinians would have to back down from long-held positions if they ever hope to gain independence.
In a last-ditch move Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood. The Palestinian leader refused, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions celebrated in the streets of the West Bank. Although the initiative will not immediately bring about independence, the Palestinians view it as a historic step in their quest for global recognition.
In a statement Thursday, Abbas appealed to all nations to vote in favor of the Palestinians “as an investment in peace.”
"We remain committed to the two-state solution and our hand remains extended in peace," Abbas said in a statement read by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki after the start of the General Assembly session. Abbas is expected to address the assembly in the afternoon.
With most of the 193 General Assembly member states sympathetic to the Palestinians, the vote is certain to succeed. Several key countries, including France, have recently announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state. However, a country’s vote in favor of the status change does not automatically imply its individual recognition of a Palestine state, something that must be done bilaterally.
The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel. They say global recognition of the 1967 lines as the borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel claims.
The non-member observer state status could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.
Netanyahu warned the Palestinians Thursday that they would not win their hoped-for state until they recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, declare an end to their conflict with the Jewish state and agree to security arrangements that protect Israel.
"The resolution in the U.N. today won’t change anything on the ground," Netanyahu declared. "It won’t advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather, put it further off."
Source
The UN vote will only go so far, but it is a step toward an independent Palestine & recognizing it will be a state under occupation.
France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, UAE, China, India, South Africa, Denmark and Japan will vote for Palestine statehood. US, Canada, Czech and Guatemala will vote against the Palestinian bid. Australia, England, Italy and Germany are going to abstain from voting.
"If we are a country, then it will be recognized that we are occupied." - Ibrahim Khamis in a Ramallah refugee camp. 

Palestinian statehood vote: Palestinians certain to win UN recognition
November 29, 2012

The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state Thursday but success could exact a high price: Israel and the United States warn it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, mounted an aggressive campaign to head off the General Assembly vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly declared Thursday that the Palestinians would have to back down from long-held positions if they ever hope to gain independence.

In a last-ditch move Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood. The Palestinian leader refused, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.

Ahead of Thursday’s vote, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions celebrated in the streets of the West Bank. Although the initiative will not immediately bring about independence, the Palestinians view it as a historic step in their quest for global recognition.

In a statement Thursday, Abbas appealed to all nations to vote in favor of the Palestinians “as an investment in peace.”

"We remain committed to the two-state solution and our hand remains extended in peace," Abbas said in a statement read by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki after the start of the General Assembly session. Abbas is expected to address the assembly in the afternoon.

With most of the 193 General Assembly member states sympathetic to the Palestinians, the vote is certain to succeed. Several key countries, including France, have recently announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state. However, a country’s vote in favor of the status change does not automatically imply its individual recognition of a Palestine state, something that must be done bilaterally.

The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel. They say global recognition of the 1967 lines as the borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel claims.

The non-member observer state status could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.

Netanyahu warned the Palestinians Thursday that they would not win their hoped-for state until they recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, declare an end to their conflict with the Jewish state and agree to security arrangements that protect Israel.

"The resolution in the U.N. today won’t change anything on the ground," Netanyahu declared. "It won’t advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather, put it further off."

Source

The UN vote will only go so far, but it is a step toward an independent Palestine & recognizing it will be a state under occupation.

France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, UAE, China, India, South Africa, Denmark and Japan will vote for Palestine statehood. US, Canada, Czech and Guatemala will vote against the Palestinian bid. Australia, England, Italy and Germany are going to abstain from voting.

"If we are a country, then it will be recognized that we are occupied." - Ibrahim Khamis in a Ramallah refugee camp. 

The People’s Record Daily News Update - Whose news? Our news!

November 22, 2012 

Here are some stories you may not otherwise read about today:

Follow us on Tumblr or by RSS feed for more daily updates. You can also like our Facebook page for related content. 

Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change
"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!
"We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in…
"We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
"There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.
"We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.
"ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?"

Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change

"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!

"We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in…

"We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

"There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.

"We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.

"ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?"