Tony Greenstein | 09 February 2020 | Post Views:

Packed Brighton Labour Left Alliance Meeting Hears the Father of Julian Assange Demand his Son’s Release – Journalism isn’t a Crime

Emma Daniel, the Brighton Councillor whom voters booted out last May, chairs a meeting with Keir Starmer, the man who first began extradition proceedings against Assange

It’s been quite a week. On Thursday John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, speaking at a packed meeting at Brighton’s Rialto Theatre, described the conditions his son is experiencing in Belmarsh, Britain’s Guantanamo. Assange’s crime? He revealed, through leaking thousands of documents, the extent of the United States’s war crimes in Iraq.  The other speaker was Joseph Farrell, Wikileaks Ambassador and editor.

The man who prosecuted Assange, Sir Keir Starmer, was Director of Public Prosecution at the time. The extradition was formally to Sweden on a bogus and trumped-up charge of rape as Craig Murray has documented in detail. Indeed the original arrest warrant wasn’t even issued by a Swedish court but by the Prosecutor. When it was eventually brought before a Swedish court it was thrown out. See Why the Assange Allegation is a Stitch-up

Brighton city centre on Saturday – the Zios came later

Assange’s original objection to extradition was that this was a ruse to deport him on to the United States. Sweden denied this was true but that has since been proven to be a lie. The Obama administration had been sitting on sealed indictments for years

Assange meeting at The Rialto, Brighton’s Free Speech Centre, on Thursday

Starmer could easily have stipulated that the extradition request would only be proceeded with on condition that there was no onward extradition to the United States. Assange also asked Sweden directly to agree to this. Both Sweden and Starmer refused. Starmer wasn’t inclined to make this a condition since he was himself anxious that Assange be deported to the United States

Starmer’s whole record as DPP was one of the utmost hostility to protesters and campaigners. He conspired with Police as to how to best crack down on students protesting against the fee increases and according to Olive Eagleton the CPS during Starmer’s tenure advised undercover police officers on how to infiltrate left-wing campaign groups via a ‘domestic extremism’ specialist. When it was alleged that undercover agents had given false evidence in court and formed sexual relationships with activists in order to spy on them, the CPS launched an investigation into covert policing that was widely considered to be a whitewash

Brighton & Hove PSC’s stall at the Clocktower Saturday

There is a letter in Camden New Journal by Lisa Langstaffe of Women Against Rape. WAR have long campaigned against the Police charging women who make allegations of rape, which are not believed or upheld, with having made false allegations. Given the low level of convictions for rape and the treatment women experience from the Police such prosecutions are likely to deter more victims from going to the Police. However to Starmer this was of no concern. When Cyprus Police charged and a court convicted a British women for alleging rape against 12 Israelis even the government protested at the unfairness of the process

Assange meeting at The Rialto, Brighton’s Free Speech Centre, on Thursday

Langstaffe alleged that despite Starmer claiming to be concerned about the low level of convictions for rape, he repeatedly refused to prevent false Police prosecutions of women.

One case Lisa alleged was that of a girl of 15 who was raped. She was charged with lying when police claimed to have found no sperm on her T-shirt from her rapist. A second investigation by another police force found the sperm and the man was finally prosecuted. She was saved from prison and later sued the police for £20,000

For Emma Daniel handing out leaflets = ‘lurking’ – she is a post-modern feminist for whom truth is always relative

Emma Daniel – right-wing former Brighton Councillor, Racist, Zionist and Starmer Supporter

Earlier this week I was leafleting Starmer’s meeting for the Labour Left Alliance in support of Richard Burgon and Rebecca Long-Bailey for Deputy and Leader (the latter on the grounds that she was the least worst candidate). Who should turn up but an apoplectic Zionist and former Labour councillor, whom the electorate ejected last May, Emma Daniel.

What was I doing leafleting a Labour meeting when I was expelled was the gist of Daniel’s incoherent splutterings. It is a novel argument that expulsion by a Labour Party kangaroo court should deprive you of the right to freedom of speech. But there’s little point convincing a Zionist of this since this is what they are defending in Israel

Not a happy bunny!

There was little point in persuading Daniel that it was absurd to expel Jewish anti-racists for ‘anti-Semitism’ whilst leaving people like her untouched. It’s even more absurd when non-Jews like Daniel accuse Jews of ‘anti-Semitism’ especially when they never have anything to say about genuine examples of racism, like the Windrush scandal. I’m not aware that Jews, unlike Black people, face deportation from Britain for being the wrong religion. Nor am I aware than being Jewish whilst driving is an offence whereas being Black and driving is still considered an offence by many in the police force

The boring chaired by the even more boring

Realising that I was failing to persuade someone who is not terribly bright I tried another tactic. I told her that being called an anti-Semite by a racist scumbag is a compliment. At that Daniel beetled inside since she had Starmer’s meeting to chair.

Imagine Ms Daniel’s surprise when on Saturday I was outside Brighton’s Grand Hotel with the same leaflets! Being a few sandwiches short of a picnic, Daniel found it genuinely puzzling that expelled Labour members should have any rights. I pointed out that being expelled is an honour – Nye Bevan managed it 3 times, as did Sir Stafford Cripps and Michael Foot! The names of their right-wing opponents are long forgotten. She then resorted to taking a photo of me (why? Don’t the police have enough?) so I reciprocated.

Israeli Apartheid maims a boy of 14

What Emma Daniel and her fellow losers last May are concerned about isn’t a non-existent ‘anti-Semitism’ but criticism of Israel, a ‘Jewish’ state that is in fact an Apartheid state. I won’t go through the arguments as they are here.

As Hagai el-Ad, director of Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselemposted on Twitter, the founder of Apartheid, South African Premier Henrik Verwoerd, used the same excuse for segregation, about the unalterable differences between the races, as Zionism to explain why Black Africans could not live in the same society as Whites. For Israel substitute Jew and Arab. A Jewish state means, by definition, a state with as few non-Jews and Arabs as possible.

As Dr Verwoerd, acknowledged,

“The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In this I agree with them. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state,”

No this is not a picture that you use to scare your kids into behaving – it’s Julie Cattell – right-wing Zionist and former councillor who when she was defeated had no personal vote whatsoever!

Emma Daniel was one of a trio of right-wing Zionist women, MacBeth’s ‘weird sisters’, all of whom lost their seats at the last election or were forced to stand down – the others were Julie Cattell and Caroline ‘Poison’ Penn. The latters’ behaviour was so offensive to vulnerable adults that she was forced to resign 5 months early. As their bio on the Council’s website says ‘Not currently an elected councillor.’

All 3 of the above are members of the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement. The purpose of making false ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations, often against Jewish anti-racists, is to distract attention from Israel’s war crimes

former councillor Caroline ‘poison’ Penn

The JLM is both an affiliate of the World Zionist Organisation, which funds the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank and the Israeli Labour Party, a party that once controlled the Israeli government, which perpetrated the Nakba and is today fighting for its life. It also subscribes to the Jerusalem Programme of the WZO the first of whose 6 points state that the foundations of Zionism are:

The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;

How I wonder does that fit in with the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism which defines ‘anti-Semitism’ as ‘Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel’ is anti-Semitic.’ A definition that the JLM assiduously pushes? If Israel and its theft of Jerusalem is ‘central’ to the Jewish ‘nation’ that is all Jews in the world, then how can it be anti-Semitic to blame Jews for what Israel does in their name? It’s like having your cake and eating it!

Of course I reject the argument that Jews bear any automatic responsibility for what Israel does. But I also reject the idea that Jews form a separate nation or that Israel is central to them. However the JLM does subscribe to this poisonous anti-Semitic idea.

Petty trolls and vipers like Daniel are, in themselves, pretty insignificant. They are the foot soldiers of the British ruling class. Mere sound and fury signifying nothing. As I told Daniel, the Labour Party expels people like me who have been arrested opposing fascists all their life and allows racists like her to point the finger at Jews and others who reject the racism of the world’s only apartheid state.

Let us give an example of the kind of thing Labour’s 3 Witches are defending because it’s always good to make the ‘anti-Semitism’ controversy, which is often abstract, concrete.

Thanks to Gideon Levy and Alex Levac in Ha’aretz earlier this week, we know the details of how the Israeli army, which describes itself as the ‘most moral occupation in the world’ shot a Palestinian child of 14 in the head, for absolutely no reason. Of course the IDF subsequently lied about a non-existent riot in the area. They always do. Bear in mind that whenever video surfaces to challenge the army’s lies, without exception, the Israeli Army’s PR proves to be a tissue of lies.

Levy and Levac described how 4 teenagers were on the way back from the village playground, when they spotted Zionist soldiers laying in ambush and took cover. When Mohammed Shatawi stood up for a moment, he was shot. Now he’s in a vegetative state.

Let us remember that Daniel, Cattle and Poison Penn are in business to defend the actions of the Israeli state. Like their friend Luke Akehurst of We Believe in Israel they will defend what Israel does in the West Bank just as Akehurst, Labour Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputiesdefended shooting unarmed demonstrators, including children and medics, in Gaza. Cattle, Daniel and Penn are despicable creatures but they are mere pawns in Israel’s war against the Palestinians. They are, if you like unwitting racists. Indeed I am reliably told that Emma Daniel considers herself an anti-racist.

The real blame for a situation where Jewish councillor Jo Bird is suspended as a result of anonymous complaints of ‘anti-Semitism’ in the middle of an election, with the pathetic Corbyn, McDonnell and Formby. They have given the racists their head. It was Corbyn and his abysmal adviser Seamus Milne, who accepted the fake anti-Semitism narrative and promised to do their best to root out non-existent anti-Semites.

It has to be admitted that the witchhunters got a good crop of anti-Semites. Besides myself there was the Black Jewish anti-racist Jackie Walker, long-time Black campaign Marc Wadsworth, Ken Livingstone who pioneered anti-racist work in local government, Chris Williamson, the sole socialist in the PLP as well of course as Electronic Intifada journalist Asa Winstanley who has just resigned from the Labour Party after having been suspended and treated in the usual outrageous fashion. Corbyn of course has said nothing about any of this. He threw his friends under the bus with increasing regularity. By accepting that ‘anti-Semitism’ was a problem Corbyn simply reinforced the attacks on him as an ‘anti-Semite’. Every apology proved his enemies were right. The more he did to try and speed up the disciplinary process the more it proved that the Zionists were right. It was both pathetic and tragic to watch. It is as if Corbyn had no advisers who could sit him down and explain that what was happening was an Establishment campaign to be rid of a subversive as they saw him.

Corbyn will go down in history, not as a Tony Benn figure who inspired people but as a limp, apologetic creature who caved in to the Right and their destabilisation project. Every time he promised ‘to do better’ he merely confirmed there was a problem.

I don’t know whether Corbyn has yet worked out why there is no interest in Boris Johnson’s genuinely anti-Semitic book 72 Virgins. McDonnell, who has travelled to the Right ever since 2015, will no doubt welcome Jo’s suspension as proof that something is being done. After all, if you are going to fight ‘anti-Semitism’ it always helps to expel and suspend Jews!

It says everything about Corbyn that his own CLP, Islington North, has voted to nominate Starmer. The Corbyn wave has ended up with the hard Right even more entrenched. Now even his own CLP has moved to the Right.

Tony Greenstein

The IDF Troops Weren’t at Risk, but They Shot a Palestinian Boy in the Head Anyway

Four teens were on the way back from the village playground, when they spotted the soldiers laying in ambush, and took cover. When Mohammed Shatawi stood up for a moment, he was shot. Now he’s in a vegetative state

Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Feb 07, 2020

The family meeting area can be found next to the neuro-intensive care unit on the 12th floor of the modern tower at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, Jerusalem. It is a vast space with a high ceiling, stone-faced walls and picture windows overlooking a wooded Jerusalem landscape; bronze sculptures, the gift of donors from America, adorn the space. A metal plaque proclaims the hall as being dedicated to “children who lead the way to a kinder path.”

Sitting at the far end of the room – deserted on an afternoon this week – on a wooden bench donated by the Pittsburgh Jewish community, with a Muslim prayer rug at his feet, is a man in a gray sweat suit, his face crestfallen, his heart broken. Mohand Shatawi sits alone here. Not far away, behind the automatic doors leading to the ward, in one of the spacious and well-equipped rooms, physicians are fighting to save the life of his 14-year-old son, Mohammed. The youth’s head is bandaged, his chest rises and falls at the pace of the mechanical ventilator; he’s hooked up to numberless tubes and a sea of monitors report on his condition. Mohammed is a vegetable. He’s been like this ever since an Israel Defense Forces soldier fired a bullet into his head, last week.

Despair, pain, agony are etched on Mohand’s face, whose aloneness is heightened by the cavernous space around him. No one else from his village of Qaddum, west of Nablus, has a permit that will allow them to join him here in his time of anguish. He’s been here a week now, sleeping on the floor and praying for his son’s life. Actually, he hardly sleeps. He buys whatever meager food he can afford. Once every so often, he enters the ward to look at his son. It’s a brutal sight. For our part, we’ve never seen so many tubes and monitors hooked up to a boy.

Mohand, 48, is a taxi driver. Each day at 3 A.M., he leaves his house in Qaddum to drive local workers to the Eyal checkpoint, on their way to jobs in Israel. For the rest of the day, until the evening, he plies the Ramallah-Qalqilyah route. Day in and day out, he provides this way for his wife, their four sons and two daughters. Now Mohammed is hovering between life and death. In a split second last Thursday, after the lively boy who got back from school and went outside to play with his friends, according to their testimony, had a shot fired at his head, and became a patient lying in a vegetative state in the neuro-intensive care unit of Hadassah.

Qaddum is one of the last villages of struggle and resistance that haven’t yet backed down. The struggle here is over the main access road to the village, which has for years been completely blocked because of the settlement of Kedumim that was built at its edge. Every weekend, a group of villagers, together with an ever-dwindling number of Israeli and foreign activists, position themselves on the forbidden road, which is littered with stones, shell casings and scorched tires, after years of protest. The soldiers lie in wait for them between the olive trees, fire tear-gas canisters at them and chase them into the village. Occasionally they shoot. Sometimes with live ammunition. There are frequent injuries and fatalities.

We were in Qaddum last July, after soldiers shot Abd el-Rahman Shatawi in the head with live ammunition during the weekly demonstration there. A 10-year-old boy who looks even smaller than his age now, he was standing innocently at the entrance to the home of a friend in the village, when soldiers took aim from a distance and shot him in the head. From Qaddum we drove to Safra Children’s Hospital, at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and entered room 9 of the children’s intensive care unit. The unit’s director, Prof. Gidi Paret, told us at the time that there was hope for the boy. His father, Yasser, didn’t leave his son’s bedside for weeks. Abd el-Rahman too is in a vegetative state today, in a rehabilitative hospital in Beit Jala, adjacent to Bethlehem, completely paralyzed and unable to speak. Every Thursday, his father comes to take him home in the car, placing him on the back seat, bringing him back on Sunday. A weekend at home.

Abd el-Rahman is from Mohammed’s family, they’re both from the same village, in the words of the iconic Hebrew song.

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This week we went to Qaddum again, and from there to the IC ward, this time in Hadassah. The circumstances are horrifyingly similar: In each case a child was shot in the head, with appalling results. Last summer it was a live round, this winter it was a rubber-coated metal bullet that slammed into a boy’s head and wrought devastation. That’s what happens when no soldier is ever punished.

On the second floor of one of the first houses in the village, a group of men is sitting idly. They are relatives of the father and his wounded son, who are now far from here. After a short time, Qusay Shatawi, who’s 13 and was an eyewitness to the event, arrives. A year younger than Mohammed, in the eighth grade, he was with Mohammed last Thursday when the soldier shot him. The boy is still clearly traumatized: His legs move ceaselessly from side to side in agitation, his face is pale, he speaks in a whisper, he looks frightened as he tries to reconstruct what happened.

School ended around noon, and they went home. They’d arranged to go at about 2 o’clock to a building at the edge of the village that belongs to the local council and is used as a kind of community center, where the children play in the yard. The kids go there every Thursday afternoon. Muayad Shatawi, an older man, and our escort through the streets of the village, stops a few children and asks where they go on Thursdays. To the muntazah, they reply – to the playground. It was a sunny day, Qusay says, and they wanted to get a tan. After hanging around in the yard for a time they decided to go home. There were just four of them, aged 13 and 14. The area was quiet, Qusay recalls.

One has to question his account, however. The IDF Spokesperson says that some 40 youths showed up, and that they were burning tires. These were the days immediately following the publication of President Trump’s “deal of the century.”

As they made their way up toward the village, they noticed soldiers standing on the ridge of the hill that overlooks the road. This is not the battleground road, which is below, in the valley, but it, too, is covered with stones and rocks, also shell casings, including live rounds, attesting to the demonstrations that are held here as well. We walked on the road with Qusay. It was his first time here since Thursday.

Below in the valley is the building with the yard where they’d been, and here, above us, is where the soldiers were waiting. With a slope this steep, the soldiers on top of the hill and the children below them, there is no way the children could have posed any sort of threat to the troops. It’s impossible to throw stones upward, to such a steep height. So here, in the shade of the boulder by the roadside, next to the village’s water reservoir, says Qusay, the children thought they were sheltered.

It was after three o’clock. A few minutes later, Mohammed stood up to check whether the soldiers were still on the hilltop. The moment he raised his head, Qusay heard two shots. One missed, but the second struck Mohammed on the right side of the head. He fell to the ground, bleeding. The three other boys picked him up and ran with him toward the village down the road. In the meantime, village residents who heard the shots began arriving.

Muayad Shatiwi, who has grandchildren Mohammed’s age, was first on the scene. He relates that he saw the boys carrying their wounded friend, took him from them and placed him in his car, which was brought to the site. They tried to get him to a hospital in Nablus, but the road was blocked because of an accident. They had to turn around and go back, all the while with the boy lying on the back seat. Now their plan was to get to the hospital in Qalqilyah, to the east of the village. Next to the Karnei Shomron settlement they were stopped by a police car. They showed the police officers the bleeding boy, but they delayed them, Muayad says. By his reckoning, they lost about half an hour. In the meantime, a Palestinian ambulance they’d called arrived. Mohammed was transferred to the ambulance and taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

At the same time, Mohammed’s grandfather called the boy’s father, who was in Ramallah with his taxi, and told him his son had been lightly injured. Mohand hurried to the hospital in Nablus, where he learned that his son’s condition was serious to critical. At 9 P.M., it was decided to transfer him to Hadassah. Mohand was allowed to accompany his son in the ambulance.

In response to a request for comment, the IDF Spokesperson Unit’s made this statement to Haaretz:

“Several days ago, a violent disturbance developed in which about 40 Palestinians took part in Kafr Qaddum, which is in the area of the Shomron territorial brigade. In the course of the disturbance, tires were burned and stones were thrown at IDF forces at the site. IDF fighters responded with crowd control means. A claim about a Palestinian who was wounded by a rubber bullet is known about.”

And in the family hall, dedicated to the children who will lead us to a kinder path, sits Mohand Shatawi, praying for his son’s life.

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Tony Greenstein

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