Fundamental Human Rights

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Archive for July, 2009

Five rabbis arrested on money laundering

Posted by terres on July 24, 2009

40 people, including five ‘highly-placed’ rabbis, politicians and officials have been arrested on racketeering offenses and other charges

The five rabbis arrested on racketeering charges including international money laundering

  • Rabbi Eliahu Ben Haim, Deal, NJ
  • Rabbi Saul Kassin, Brooklyn, NY
  • Rabbi Edmund Nahum, Deal, NJ
  • Rabbi Mordechai Fish, Brooklyn, NY


Agents led suspects from F.B.I. headquarters in Newark on Thursday. The inquiry began with questions on money laundering. Photo:  Louis Lanzano/Associated Press. Image may be subject to copyright.


An unidentified rabbi is taken into custody Thursday, July 23, 2009, in Newark, N.J., outside FBI offices. (AP Photo/Mel Evans). Image may be subject to copyright.

NEWARK, N.J. (CBS/AP) Federal prosecutors now say 44 people have been arrested including three New Jersey mayors, two state legislators and five rabbis as part of a two-track federal investigation of public corruption and a high-volume, international money laundering conspiracy that used synagogues to clean up dirty money for fees, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr.
http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/07/23/crimesider/entry5182910.shtml

Rabbis and Mayors Arrested on Corruption Charges


Levi Izhak Rosenbaum, who is accused of attempting to broker a $160,000 deal for a kidney donation, is taken into the back of the federal courthouse in Newark on corruption charges. Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star-Ledger. Image may be subject to copyright.

Three mayors from the state of New Jersey and two members of the NJ state legislature were also among those arrested.

“Three hundred FBI agents raided dozens of locations in New Jersey and New York as part of a 10-year probe into corruption and money laundering.” BBC reported.

“Among the 15 are five rabbis, including the national leader of the Syrian Jewish community. They are alleged to have laundered more than $3 million in a “high-volume, international money-laundering conspiracy,” Marra said. Their alleged dealings stretched to Israel and Switzerland.” CNN reported (!)

“These complaints paint a disgraceful picture of religious leaders heading money-laundering crews, acting as crime bosses. They used purported charities … as vehicles for laundering millions of dollars in illicit funds,” Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Ralph Mara said.

The Axis of Corruption

Israel-New York-New Jersey- Switzerland!

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Posted in AIPAC lobby, corruption, money laundering, official corruption, Ralph J. Marra Jr. | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking Silence on Israeli War Crimes

Posted by terres on July 15, 2009

25 Israeli soldiers speak on Israeli war crimes in Gaza

GAZA WAR CRIMES
Source: BBC UK

Israeli soldiers denouncing Gaza war crimes, describe “the use of ‘permissive’ rules of engagement that cost civilian lives during the recent military campaign in Gaza.

israeli war crimes
Image Source

Following excerpts are from the same BBC report :

Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza

The troops said they had been urged to fire on any building or person that seemed suspicious and said civilians were sometimes used as human shields.

Breaking the Silence, a campaign group made up of Israeli soldiers, gathered the anonymous accounts.

Israel denies breaking the laws of war and dismissed the report as hearsay.

Breaking the Silence described most of the testimonies of soldiers who took part in Operation Cast Lead as “sober, regretful and shocked”.

Many of the testimonies are in line with claims made by human-rights organisations that Israeli military action in Gaza was indiscriminate and disproportionate.

According to testimonies from the 14 conscripts and 12 reserve soldiers:

  • Rules of engagement were either unclear or encouraged soldiers to do their utmost to protect their own lives whether or not Palestinian civilians were harmed.
  • Civilians were used as human shields, entering buildings ahead of soldiers
  • Large swathes of homes and buildings were demolished. Accounts say that this was often done because the houses might be booby-trapped, or cover tunnels. Testimony mentioned a policy referred to as “the day after”, whereby areas near the border where razed to make future military operations easier

According to various reports the overwhelming majority of Israeli troops are aggressive and poorly-disciplined, a fact that was confirmed in the latest “confessions.”

  • There was widespread vandalism of property of Palestinians
  • Soldiers firing at water tanks because they were bored, at a time of severe water shortages for Gazans
  • White phosphorus was used in civilian areas gratuitously and recklessly
  • Many of the soldiers said there had been very little direct engagement with Palestinian militants

The report says Israeli troops and the people who justify their actions are “slid[ing] together down the moral slippery slope.”

The report obviously assumes many of the readers are ignorant of the crimes of genocide and all other diabolical crimes against humanity committed by Israelis against Palestinians ever since the military occupation of Palestine began in 1947. This begs the question: since when did the Israelis occupy a high place above the “moral slippery slope?”

“This is an urgent call to Israeli society and its leaders to sober up and investigate anew the results of our actions,” Breaking the Silence says.

Israeli officials insist troops went to great lengths to protect civilians, that Hamas endangered non-combatants by firing from civilian areas and that homes and buildings were destroyed only when there was a specific military need to do so.

Israel said the purpose of the 22-day operation that ended on 18 January 2009 had been to end rocket fire from Gaza aimed at its southern towns.

Palestinian rights groups say about 1,400 Palestinians died during the operation. Thirteen Israelis died in the conflict, including 10 soldiers serving in Gaza.

According to the UN, the campaign damaged or destroyed more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties, 200 schools, 39 mosques and two churches.

How did the Israeli military react to the report?

Israeli military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich said: “The IDF regrets the fact that another human rights organisation has come out with a report based on anonymous and general testimony – without investigating their credibility.”

Dismissed the document as “hearsay and word of mouth,” she added:

“The IDF expects every soldier to turn to the appropriate authorities with any allegation,” Lt Col Leibovich added. “This is even more important where the harm is to non-combatants. The IDF has uncompromising ethical values which continue to guide us in every mission.”

[And if you don’t believe the Israeli Occupation Forces, ask the tens of thousands of slain Palestinians who would, no doubt, verify the Israeli claims.]

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Posted in human rights, human shields, Lt Col Leibovich, Operation Cast Lead, the day after | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Illegal Occupation, Illegal Wall

Posted by terres on July 9, 2009

Rights without remedy: The impact of Israel’s illegal Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory on the human rights of the Palestinian people, five years after the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice

Posted in collective punishment, freedom of expression, humanitarian law, Palestinian people, UNRoD | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Israel inflicted “wanton destruction”

Posted by terres on July 2, 2009

Perhaps “Slow Genocide” would have been a more appropriate term!

The following is a Reuters’ report concerning the latest Amnesty finding on some of Israeli crimes that are being committed in Gaza. Unfortunately, the report makes no mention of the atrocities committed by Israel before or after their 22-day bombardment of Gaza. Meanwhile, the slow genocide in Gaza continues …


A woman and a child made homeless after the destruction of their home, Gaza, January 2009 – © Amnesty International


The Abu ‘Aisha family home in Gaza City, bombed, 5 January 2009. ‘Amer Abu ‘Aisha, wife Naheel and three of four children died – © Amnesty International

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Amnesty says Israel “wantonly” destroyed Gaza

Thu Jul 2, 2009 5:58am EDT

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE56118I20090702

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Amnesty International said on Thursday Israel inflicted “wanton destruction” in the Gaza Strip in attacks that often targeted Palestinian civilians during an offensive in December and January in the Hamas-run enclave.

The London-based rights group, in a 117-page report on the 22 days of fighting, also criticized the Islamist movement Hamas for rocket attacks on Israel, which it called “war crimes.”

Among other conclusions, Amnesty said it found no evidence to support Israeli claims that Gaza guerrillas deliberately used civilians as “human shields,” but it did, however, cite evidence that Israeli troops put children and other civilians in harm’s way by forcing them to remain in homes taken over by soldiers.

Amnesty International said some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, including 300 children and hundreds of innocent civilians, a figure broadly in line with those from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza and the independent Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The Israeli military put the Palestinian death toll at 1,166 of whom 295 were civilians. Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians, during the offensive Israel launched with the declared aim of curtailing cross-border rocket attacks.

Accusing Israel of “breaching laws of war,” Amnesty said: “Much of the destruction was wanton and deliberate, and was carried out in a manner and circumstances which indicated that it could not be justified on grounds of military necessity.”

Commenting on Amnesty’s allegations, the Israeli military said it operated in accordance with international law. It said the report ignored “efforts made by the Israel Defense Forces to minimize, as much as possible, harm to non-combatants.”

“In many cases, the Israel Defense Forces exercised measures of caution, including warning the civilian population before an attack,” the military said. “The Israel Defense Forces directed its attack only against military targets.”

A Hamas spokesman said the Amnesty report did not place enough emphasis on “crimes committed by Israel.”

“This report equates between the aggressor and the victim and ignores international laws that guarantee resistance against occupation,” the spokesman said.

U.N. INQUIRY

Israel and Hamas have both rejected accusations of war crimes during the Gaza fighting. Israel has refused to cooperate with a United Nations inquiry that is now gathering evidence, accusing the investigators of prejudice against it.

Amnesty said although rockets fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip rarely cause casualties, their use was “indiscriminate and hence unlawful under international law.” The rockets often sow fear and panic.

It also accused Hamas and other armed groups of endangering the lives of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza by firing rockets and locating military equipment near homes.

The report however dismissed Israeli claims that Hamas had used Palestinian civilians as “human shields.”

Amnesty said it found no evidence that “Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters, or that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which had been commandeered by militants.”

But the report said in several cases Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians, including children, as “human shields, endangering their lives by forcing them to remain in or near houses which they took over and used as military positions.”

(Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Dominic Evans)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Posted in crimes against humanity, Gaza Strip, human shields, Israel's Operation Cast Lead, Occupied Palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gaza Masacres: An Unacceptable Image of 2009

Posted by terres on July 1, 2009

1.5 million Palestinians trapped in abject poverty and massacred a few dozens each time


A Palestinian girl stands in front of a destroyed house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip June 29, 2009. Six months after Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, 1.5 million Palestinians remain trapped in rising poverty, unable to rebuild their lives, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa. Image may be subject to copyright.

Israeli drones killed civilians in Gaza

Israeli attacks with guided missiles fired from aerial drones killed civilians during the recent Gaza fighting in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The attacks with one of the most precise weapons in Israel’s arsenal killed civilians who were not taking part in hostilities and were far from any fighting.

“The 39-page report, “Precisely Wrong: Gaza Civilians Killed by Israeli Drone-Launched Missiles,” details six incidents resulting in 29 civilian deaths, among them eight children. Human Rights Watch found that Israeli forces failed to take all feasible precautions to verify that these targets were combatants, as required by the laws of war, or that they failed to distinguish between combatants and civilians. Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups have reported a total of 42 drone attacks that killed civilians, 87 in all, during the fighting in December 2008 and January 2009.

“Drone operators can clearly see their targets on the ground and also divert their missiles after launch,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “Given these capabilities, Israel needs to explain why these civilian deaths took place.” More …

“On December 29, the Israeli military struck a truck that it said was transporting Grad rockets, killing nine civilians. The military released video footage of the attack to support its case, but the video raises serious doubts that the target constituted a military objective – doubts that should have guided the drone operator to hold fire. The alleged rockets, the military later admitted, proved to be oxygen canisters.” More …

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Posted in Drone-Launched Missiles, Gaza massacres, Israeli Occupation Forces, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Operation Cast Lead | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »