Archive | Human Rights

US Judge Sentences US Citizen Based on Israeli Military Documents

Published on Truthout, 16 March 2015.

In September 2014, Truthout reported on 67-year-old Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian woman who sought refuge in the United States more than 20 years ago after having been tortured horrifically by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel.

The story, titled “Tortured and Raped by Israel, Persecuted by the United States,” outlined how Odeh, who has now been a US citizen for more than a decade, was essentially framed by the Israelis when she was a victim of a mass detention exercise that took place in the wake of a supermarket bombing.

After testifying to the UN at Geneva, Switzerland, about her treatment at the hands of the Israelis, detailing how she was beaten with metal rods, sexually assaulted, kicked, threatened and abused in other ways, Odeh eventually managed to join her father in the United States, where she has lived in Chicago, working as a productive community member and activist for Palestinian rights.

In 2013, Odeh was indicted by the US government and charged with immigration fraud, a charge stemming from other charges pulled from her then 35-year-old IDF file. The first judge in her case had to step down, due to an overt and strong pro-Israel bias.

On March 12, stunningly, Odeh was sentenced to 18 months in prison, fined $1,000 and had her US citizenship revoked.

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Domestic Military Expansion Spreads Through the US, Ignites Dissent

Published on Truthout, 9 March 2015.

What if you lived in a country that allowed its Navy to fly the loudest aircraft in the world over your home day and night, generating sonic booms that rattled the windows of people living in a neighboring country, and test new weapons in areas that would knowingly harm, or possibly kill, humans and wildlife?

Welcome to the United States, which has a military with an increasing domestic expansion that may soon be coming to your town, city or national forest.

That the US military knowingly tested new weapons on US citizens (possibly in the thousands), wildlife or even its own soldiers is nothing new. Publicly available documents reveal how the US military has even released nerve gas in public areas, as well as farms, to see the effects on civilians and animals. This occurred during the 1960s, when the United States secretly tested both chemical and biological weapons on US soil, including releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii.

Hence, the fact that in recent years the US Navy moved ahead with increasing its sonar testing (which is presently ongoing, off the coasts of California, Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico), despite reams of evidence showing its extremely harmful impact on whales and dolphins, is but one example of the military’s tendency to expand in any way it pleases, damn the consequences.

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Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide”

Published on Truthout, 14 October 2014.

Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.

Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.

The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases.

“Cancer statistics are hard to come by, since only 50 percent of the health care in Iraq is public,” Dr. Salah Haddad of the Iraqi Society for Health Administration and Promotion told Truthout. “The other half of our health care is provided by the private sector, and that sector is deficient in their reporting of statistics. Hence, all of our statistics in Iraq must be multiplied by two. Any official numbers are likely only half of the real number.”

“Genocide”

“The world should know that Iraqi people were the victims of the aggression inflicted by the use of DU munitions by the American and British troops during these wars, and this is genocide,” Dr. Jawad al-Ali, a consultant physician and oncologist, told Truthout.

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