• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 10 oktober 2015

Tikkun and Uri Avnery

Israel/Palestine Update Oct. 9 from Uri Avnery

Editor’s note: Uri Avnery, the widely respected leader of Israel’s peace movement Gush Shalom, may be a bit too generous about Mahmoud Abbas. In our view, Abbas (aka Abu Mazen)  never tried to do what Gandhi did–explicitly commit himself and his movement to nonviolence and seek to teach his people the centrality of nonviolence in winning a struggle against a domineering external nation that seeks to control you while simultaneously pretending to care about democracy and human rights. Nor did he ever seriously commit to changing the perception that the Palestinian Authority and its leading supporters were beneficiaries of special economic and political advantages under the Israeli occupation.  Nevertheless, Avnery’s article should be read primarily because of its useful presentation of the present reality for Palestinians under Israeli occupation. It is a heart-breaking analysis. Yet we in the West need to stop despairing, and instead go to the next step by realizing that fundamental change in the Middle East will take a change in Western societies. Our societies have to give up our “strategy of domination” as the way to achieve homeland security, and instead model trust and generosity toward those we treat as “OTHER” if we hope to break through the cynicism, fear, unhealed hurts from the past,  and despair felt by both Israelis and Palestinians which underlies the stuckness of the situation. That’s why our “strategy of generosity” for the U.S., manifested in our campaign for a Global Marshall Plan, is the first step  not only toward undermining the haters in many countries in the world, but also a key step in unfreezing the frozen attitudes on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle. So don’t despair–but do join the Network of Spiritual Progressives atwww.spiritualprogressives.org/join and help us get your local city council, state legislators, and members of Congress to endorse our proposed Global Mashall Plan  www.tikkun.org/gmp    Rabbi Michael Lerner   rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com
Uri Avnery
October 10, 2015

                                                Leader without Glory

I FIRST met Mahmoud Abbas in Tunis at the beginning of 1983.

I knew that he was responsible for the Israel desk in the PLO leadership. Said Hamami and Issam Sartawi, the PLO delegates with whom I had been in permanent contact since 1974, told me that he was in charge. But he was not present at my first meeting with Yasser Arafat in Beirut during the siege.

I came to Tunis with General Matti Peled and Yaakov Arnon, in an official delegation of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which we had founded in 1975. Before meeting with Arafat himself, we were asked to meet with Abu Mazen (as Abbas is called) and discuss our ideas, so as to present the leader with an agreed, detailed proposal. That was also the procedure in all the many meetings that followed.

Abu Mazen was very different from Arafat. Arafat was flamboyant, spontaneous, extrovert. Abu Mazen is rather withdrawn, introverted, cautious, meticulous. My first impression was that of a schoolmaster.

When Arafat was murdered (as I believe), there were two obvious candidates to succeed him: Mahmoud Abbas and Farouk Kaddoumi, both members of the PLO founding generation. Kaddoumi was far more extreme, he did not believe that Israel would ever make peace and admired the Syrian regime of Hafez al-Assad. The PLO leadership chose Abbas.

WHEN ABBAS assumed “power” (in quotation marks) – he found himself in an almost impossible situation.

Arafat had accepted the status of the Palestinian Authority under Israeli occupation as a calculated risk.

First of all, he believed Yitzhak Rabin, as we all did (and as I advised him to). We all believed that Rabin was well on the way to accepting a Palestinian state next to Israel. Within five years, the State of Palestine would become a fact. No one could have foreseen the murder of Rabin, the cowardice of Shimon Peres and the ascent of Binyamin Netanyahu.

Even before that, Rabin had bowed to the pressure of his “security chiefs” and reneged on crucial parts of the Oslo agreement, such as the free passages between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  

Abu Mazen entered into this situation – Rabin was dead, the Oslo agreement only a shadow of its former self, the occupation and the settlement enterprise in full swing.

It was an almost hopeless task from the start: a dubious autonomy under occupation. According to the Oslo deal, which was meant to last for five years at most, the greater part of the West Bank (“area C”) was under direct and full Israeli control, and the Israeli army was free to operate in the two other areas (“A” and “B”), too. An additional Israeli withdrawal, provided for in Oslo, never materialized.

Palestinian elections held in these circumstances led to a Hamas victory, helped along by the competition among the Fatah candidates. When Israel and the US prevented Hamas from assuming power, Hamas took the Gaza strip over by force. The Israeli leadership was full of glee: the old Roman maxim Divide et Impera served its purposes well.

Since then, all Israeli governments have done everything in their power to keep Abbas in “power” while reducing him to a mere underling. The Palestinian Authority, conceived in the beginning as the embryo of the Palestinian state, was shorn of any real authority. Ariel Sharon used to refer to Abu Mazen as a “plucked chicken”.

TO REALIZE the extreme danger of Abu Mazen’s situation one has only to remember the most recent historical precedent of “autonomy” under occupation: Vichy.

In the summer of 1940, when the Germans overran Northern France and occupied Paris, the French surrendered. France was divided into two parts: the North, with Paris, remained under direct German occupation, the South was granted autonomy. A venerable marshal, Henri Petain, a hero of World War I, was appointed leader of the non-occupied zone, the capital of which was set up in the provincial town of Vichy.

A lone French general resisted the surrender. Charles de Gaulle, with a small band of adherents, fled to London, where he tried by radio to arouse the French people to resist. The effect was negligible.

Against expectations, the British continued the war (“Alright then, alone!”) and the German regime in France became inevitably harsher and harsher. Hostages were executed, Jews deported, Vichy became more and more a byword for collaboration with the enemy. Slowly the “resistance” gained ground. In the end, the Allies invaded France, the Germans occupied the Vichy territory and were vanquished, de Gaulle returned as a victor. Petain was sentenced to death but not executed.

Opinions about Petain were divided, and still are. On the one hand, he saved Paris from destruction and saved the French people from many of the cruelties of the Nazis. After the war, France recovered quickly, while other countries were in ruins.

On the other hand, Petain is regarded by many as a traitor, a former hero who collaborated with the enemy in wartime and turned resistance fighters and Jews over to the Nazis.

OF COURSE, different historical situations cannot be equated. Israelis are harsh occupiers, but they are no Nazis. Abu Mazen certainly is no second Petain. But some comparisons may be in order.

One way to judge a policy is to ask: what are the alternatives?

It is no exaggeration to say that all forms of Palestinian resistance have been tried and found wanting. 

In the beginning, some Palestinians dreamt of Indian-style civil disobedience. It failed completely. Palestinians are no Indians, and the occupation army, which has no real antidote to civil disobedience, simply started to shoot, compelling the Palestinians to turn to violence.

Violence failed. The Israeli side enjoys infinite military superiority. With the help of informers and torture, Palestinian underground cells are regularly uncovered, including the last one this week.

Many Palestinians hope for international intervention. This has been prevented by successive US administrations, all of which served the occupation on request of the US Jewish establishment. Sympathizers of the Palestinian cause, such as the international boycott movement (BDS) are far too weak to make much of a difference.

The Arab countries are good at making declarations and proposing plans, but largely unwilling to help the Palestinians in any real way.

What remains? Precious little.

ABU MAZEN believes – or pretends to believe – in “international pressure”. Many Israeli peace activists, despairing of their own people, have reached the same conclusion.   

With a lot of patience, Abbas is slowly gathering points at the UN. This week, the Palestinian flag was raised at the UN headquarters among the flags of member nations. This has raised national pride (I remember a similar event in our own past), but does not really change anything.

Abbas may also hope that the growing personal antagonism between President Obama and Prime Minister Netayahu will induce the Americans to withhold their veto in the Security Council the next time a resolution against the occupation comes up. I doubt it. But if so – the Israeli government will just ignore it. The same will happen if Abbas succeeds in getting some Israeli officers indicted for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. Israelis believe only in “Facts on the Ground”.

I assume that Abu Mazen knows all this. He is playing for time. He is trying to prevent a violent uprising, which he believes will only benefit the occupation, deploying his American-trained “security forces” in cooperation with the occupation army. This is close to the abyss.

He has one consolation: the Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip has obviously come to the same conclusion and is now keeping a kind of armistice (“hudna”) with Israel.

ONE OF the main differences between Jewish Israelis and Arabs is their attitude towards time. Israelis are by nature impatient, Arabs are patient to a fault. Arabs admire the camel, an animal of infinite patience. The Arabs have a very long history, while the Israelis have almost none.

I assume that Abu Mazen believes that at this point in time there is very little Palestinians can do. So he is leading a holdnians are bound to lose, wait for the situation to change. Arabs are good at this kind of strategy, called sumud.

However, the occupation is not just staying around. It is active, taking away Arab land, relentlessly building and enlarging Israeli settlements.    

In the long run, this is a battle of wills and endurance. As has been said, a battle between an unstoppable force and an unyielding mass.

HOW WILL Abbas be judged by history?

It is much too early to say.

I believe that he is a true patriot, no less than Arafat. But he is in danger of sliding, against his will, into a Petain-like situation.

I definitely do not believe that he is corrupt, or that he represents a small class of “fat cats” who are getting rich under and from the occupation.

History has placed him in a situation that is well-nigh impossible. He is showing great courage in trying to lead his people in these circumstances.

It is not a glorious role. This is not a time for glory.

History may remember him as a man who did his best in disastrous circumstances.

I, for one, wish him well.

tags: Israel/Palestine   
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Gert-Jan Dennekamp van de NOS 3

Gert-Jan Dennekamp.

In reactie op mijn stukje over Gert-Jan Dennekamp van de NOS schreef een oplettende lezer van blog:

De uitspraak van Westerbeke dat het JIT geen onderzoek kan doen in Oost Oekraïne is onzin. Men is in juni 2015 op de plek geweest ten zuiden van Snizhne waar mogelijk een BUK raket is gelanceerd. Zie hier de beelden op de site van de NOS zelf. Merkwaardig dat Dennekamp geen vragen stelt http://nos.nl/artikel/2043247-video-mh17-onderzoekers-aan-het-werk-in-oost-oekraine.html 

En ja hoor, daar staat het zwart op wit met een kleurenfoto:

het werk in Oost-Oekraïne


'Technische groep helpt de Nederlandse experts'

Pro-Russische separatisten hebben beelden online gezet van Nederlandse MH17-onderzoekers die aan het werk zijn op de rampplek in Oost-Oekraïne. Te zien is hoe de experts onder begeleiding van de OVSE een gebied markeren in een akker.

De minister van Noodsituaties Aleksej Kostroebitski legt in de video uit dat zijn mensen de Nederlanders ondersteunen bij hun onderzoek. Zo hebben medewerkers van de explosievenopruimingdienst bekeken of er nog niet-ontplofte munitie op het terrein lag.

De video werd vrijdag gemaakt ten zuiden van de stad Snizjnoje. Expert van de Nationale Politie en Defensie zijn sinds vorige week maandag in het gebied om te zoeken naar bewijs voor wat er is gebeurd met vlucht MH17.

Dit is opmerkelijk aangezien 'onderzoeksjournalist' Gert-Jan Dennekamp van de NOS drieënhalf maand later, op dinsdag 6 oktober 2015, het volgende schreef:

Het team kan niet werken in het oosten van Oekraïne en is dus ook niet in staat om in die regio getuigen te horen. 'Separatisten hebben de regio in handen. Dat is een van de redenen waarom we echt nog veel moeten doen.'

Het laatste beweerde 'hoofdofficier Fred Westerbeke in Nieuwsuur.' De eerste bewering is van Dennekamp, waarbij hij suggereert dat dit te wijten is aan de 'separatisten.' Dat is dus een leugen. Waarom zou deze 'onderzoeksjournalist,' die gefinancierd wordt door belastingbetalers, zijn publiek bedriegen? Ik kan maar één plausibele reden bedenken, namelijk dat niet de 'separatisten' het horen van 'getuigen' in Oost-Oekraïne onmogelijk hebben gemaakt, maar juist het regime in Kiev. Een regime  dat de leugenachtige bron van Dennekamp, te weten generaal-majoor Vasily Vovk, een chef van de Oekraïense geheime dienst, als 'lid' aanwees 'van het internationale onderzoeksteam (JIT)' dat de ramp met de MH-17 moet ontrafelen zodat de daders juridisch kunnen worden vervolgd. Het zal een ieder met een beetje verstand duidelijk zijn dat Vovk, die inmiddels om duistere redenen op non-actief is gesteld een groot belang heeft, en gezien zijn leugens een dubbele agenda bezit. Desondanks voert Dennekamp hem op als betrouwbare bron en probeert hij tegelijkertijd de schuld van het nog steeds niet verhoren van getuigen in Oost-Oekraïne bij de 'separatisten' te leggen. Op die manier kan hij Rusland demoniseren. De journalist die in het oer-christelijke Kampen werd geschoold is niet te goeder trouw. Dit blijkt tevens uit het feit dat hij geen informatie wenst te ontvangen van journalisten zoals ik, omdat die informatie niet strookt met zijn visie dat uiteindelijk de Russen de daders zijn. Hij wil geen emails van mij ontvangen met feitelijke informatie die onbesuisde beweringen en suggesties van de westerse mainstream-pers weerleggen. Alleen anti-Russische propaganda is acceptabel voor Dennekamp. In dit verband is interessant dat de journalist Joost Niemöller op 16 mei 2015 op zijn weblog het volgende opmerkte:

Volkskrant en NOS maken van MH17 Oude Pekela affaire

Door Joost Niemöller

Op de site van de NOS wordt het vandaag voor de zoveelste keer weer ‘bewezen.’ Het was een Buk raket van de Russen die MH17 neerschoot.

Je vraagt je af waarom het toch iedere keer weer opnieuw zo hartstochtelijk bewezen moet worden, als het zo evident zou zijn. Dan hoeven we tenslotte alleen maar het officiële onderzoek af te wachten. Maar nee. De Westerse journalisten hebben er geen vertrouwen in kennelijk. Ook al is het al honderdduizend keer ‘bewezen’, het moet steeds weer opnieuw ‘bewezen’ worden.

Voor enige twijfel bij al die ‘bewijzen’ wordt nooit plaats gemaakt. Na een aanval op mij in de Volkskrant werd een door mijn ingezonden opiniestuk zonder commentaar geweigerd.
Nu goed. Vandaag kwamen de NOS en de Volkskrant dus weer opnieuw met gezamenlijke ‘bewijzen’: het was een Buk van de Russen. Laten we er eens nuchter naar kijken aan de hand van de citaten.

Justitie zoekt daarom getuigen die de lanceerinstallatie van die raket hebben gezien in de dagen voor en na de ramp. Die getuigen zijn talrijk. De dieplader met de installatie is te zien op veel foto’s en video’s en komt terug in getuigenverklaringen. 

Verslaggever Gert-Jan Dennekamp volgde samen met Volkskrantverslaggever Bert Lanting het spoor van de Buk van Donetsk naar Severnoje. 

Wanneer je getuigen wilt spreken, en je beoogt daarbij enige objectiviteit te betrachten, dan zorg je dat je getuigen spreekt in de hele omgeving. Bijvoorbeeld ook in dat deel van de crashsite waar veel getuigen straaljagers hebben gezien. Zijn deze journalisten daar ook geweest? Dit blijkt niet uit de reportage. Wat wel uit bijvoorbeeld bovenstaand citaat blijkt, is dat de journalisten er met één vraagstelling heen gingen: wie heeft een Buk gezien, en wie heeft gezien dat er vanaf zo’n Buk werd geschoten. Onder het motto: Zoekt en gij zult vinden. Ze volgen daarbij dezelfde methode als die van het OM: Men toont foto’s van een Buk en vraagt of iemand die gezien heeft. Er is geen sprake van het tonen van foto’s van straaljagers.

Zo gaat het verder bij de NOS en de Volkskrant:

Wij volgen dit spoor en vinden inderdaad getuigen die het transport van de Buk hebben gezien. Ze beschrijven het geluid van een lancering en sommigen hebben de raket gezien. Ze willen allemaal anoniem blijven. Ze zijn bang omdat ze met hun getuigenissen de rebellen aanwijzen als daders.

Hoera! Onze dappere journalisten hebben gevonden wat ze zochten! Helaas vertellen ze er niet bij hoe deze ‘getuigen’ zijn benaderd. Hoe open de vraagstelling was. En het grootste raadsel is nog wel: als die ‘getuigen’ inderdaad zo intens bang zijn om de rebellen als daders aan te wijzen, waarom spreken ze dan wel zo openlijk op straat tegen deze wildvreemde journalisten? Deze journalisten zouden ook zomaar vermomde Russische spionnen kunnen zijn tenslotte. Vreemd. Heel vreemd.

Die verhalen over die angst zijn trouwens ook niet in overeenkomst met wat ik hoorde van andere journalisten ter plekke. Ook die spraken met getuigen. Zeker, die merkten ook dat de meeste inwoners bang waren. Maar ze waren bijvoorbeeld in een groot aantal gevallen bang om met naam en toenaam te spreken over de straaljagers die ze weldegelijk gezien hadden. (In het gebied dat door de NOS en de Volkskrant gemeden werd.) De angst van bewoners valt goed te begrijpen. We hebben het over een oorlogsgebied. Niemand waant zich veilig. Iedereen kan een spion zijn.

Dat is een waarheid die veel meer voor de hand ligt. Gewone burgers willen er liever buiten gelaten worden. Je weet niet. Misschien zijn straks de Oekraïeners wel weer de baas. Of worden ze te pakken genomen door Oekraïense milities. Alles is mogelijk in oorlogstijd, en zeker als de frontlinies zo verschuiven.

Maar dat is niet de versie die de journalisten van de Volkskrant en de NOS ons voorschotelen. Ook niet over het zien van ‘de Buk’:

Aan het eind van de ochtend wordt het konvooi gefotografeerd in Zoegres en daarna bijna 25 kilometer verderop bij een pompstation in Torez. Daar zegt een jongen dat hij inderdaad de Buk heeft gezien. Als zijn vrienden erbij komen staan, verandert hij zijn verhaal. “Ach, ik weet het niet, ik heb geen verstand van militair materieel.”

Kennelijk is deze jongen als de dood voor zijn vrienden, maar vertrouwt hij deze wildvreemde journalisten die even langsrijden volkomen! Ja, doei.

Wanneer getuigen iets zeggen dat niet past in het straatje van de journalisten, dan wordt dit weergegeven als dubieuze informatie. 

Morgen meer over de dubbele agenda van de NOS-'onderzoeksjournalist' Gert-Jan Dennekamp. En mocht mijn televisie-collega dit lezen en menen dat ik me vergis dan verneem ik dit graag, want Gert-Jan, een echte democratie staat en valt bij de uitwisseling van gegevens, zodat het publiek zelf kan bepalen wat waar en niet waar is, nietwaar? 

U.S. Police State


Here's What Happens When You Complain To Cops About Cops

The internal affairs division usually decides the officer did nothing wrong.

When I set foot inside a McDonald's in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 13, 2014, I had never been arrested and I'd never had a real complaint about police behavior. So when a St. Louis County officer forcefully arrested me, slammed my head against a door as he escorted me out of the restaurant (and sarcastically apologized for it), and ignored my repeated requests for his name or badge number, I honestly expected that he'd be held accountable for his actions.

My arrest, and that of The Washington Post's Wesley Lowery at the same time, dramatically increased attention on the flawed and unconstitutional tactics used by police in Ferguson following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder said journalists shouldn't be 

"harassed" while covering a story, and President Barack Obama said police "should not be bullying or arresting journalists."

I wasn't naive. I knew police officers are rarely punished. And what happened to me hardly compared to the abuses I witnessed inflicted upon people who didn't have the benefit of a national media platform. But surely, I thought, the St. Louis County Police Department would take such high-profile misconduct seriously.
With that in mind, and at the suggestion of a St. Louis County Police Department spokesman, I filed a complaint with the department's internal affairs office about a week after my arrest.
Going to internal affairs, otherwise known as the Bureau of Professional Standards, seemed like the logical step. I was most interested in the name of the officer who arrested me and an apology, both of which I anticipated receiving within 90 days, the time frame in which St. Louis County aims to process citizen complaints.
Today, more than a year later, Wesley and I are facing charges. Like other Americans who file complaints with internal affairs departments, I found there are no national or state standards governing the internal affairs process, little transparency about what happens when a citizen files a complaint, and lots of uncertainty about the outcome. Complaint procedures can seem -- and often explicitly are -- designed to protect cops rather than fairly adjudicate citizen complaints. Most people who go through the process don't get an apology, let alone accountability. And in some places -- including St. Louis County, where I was arrested -- citizens' faith in police is so damaged that many don't bother filing complaints in the first place.
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 13, 2014.</span> A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 13, 2014.
The roughly 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies operating across the United States employ more than 1.1 million people, the vast majority of whom are sworn officers. Most of those agencies have some process allowing citizens to file complaints against those officers.
But "there’s really no good research on internal affairs units, which is amazing," said Samuel Walker, a nationally recognized expert on policing who has worked with departments across the country. "Do they report directly to the chief? How are they selected? How many investigators do they have, given the size of the department? There's a really critical void in our understanding of what they do, what kinds of training they get."
The country is in a "total fog of ignorance" when it comes to how internal affairs divisions work, Walker said, and that adds to the "deep distrust" that some people have in the police. "They see officers they know have engaged in excessive force and so on, and they see them still on the force and not disciplined," Walker said.
There's a lot of variation in how departments around the U.S. handle complaints. "From the agencies I've worked with, I've never seen any two that look very much alike," said George Fachner, a research scientist at the CNA Corporation who has studied police policies on use of force and misconduct. "There's really no general practice, other than the fact that agencies tend to have an internal affairs unit and they tend to investigate officers for misconduct. Once you get past that, you're going in a lot of different directions."
The country is in a "total fog of ignorance" when it comes to how internal affairs departments work.
In New York City, which has some 34,500 uniformed officers, the independent Civilian Complaint Review Board issues monthly reports on how many complaints it receives, how long the investigations take, and what percentage are found credible. In small police departments with only a handful of officers, police chiefs investigate and decide whether punishment is appropriate.
Some police departments have internal affairs divisions that work alongside civilian review boards, others have civilian review boards that serve as a check on the activity of the internal affairs division, and still others have oversight groups that operate independently of the police. Some civilian review systems use civilian volunteers; others have full-time professionals.
Even basic statistics on the number of complaints against police are hard to come by. A federal survey found that just 8 percent of the use-of-force complaints received by large state and local law enforcement agencies in 2002 were deemed credible -- they were "sustained," in cop lingo. Most experts who have studied internal affairs think that rate is much lower than it would be if the process weren't in many ways designed to protect officers.
 "It's a horrible, horrible situation we've got ourselves in, where it's always the police officer who is telling the truth -- because we know that isn't true," said Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor who co-wrote a book on police accountability systems with Jeff Noble, a former deputy police chief. "So many of these things we've seen on video lately ... you read the report and that's not what the video shows."
"It's a horrible, horrible situation we've got ourselves in, where it's always the police officer who is telling the truth -- because we know that isn't true." Geoffrey Alpert
Even basic assumptions about police disciplinary systems -- that citizen oversight results in more accountability, for example -- arise more out of anecdotal evidence and conventional wisdom than any type of formal study. Federal investigations into police departments suggest that when a law enforcement agency has problems, failures in the internal affairs process usually play a role.
The Ferguson Police Department, for example, lacked "any meaningful system for holding officers accountable when they violate law or policy," actively discouraged citizens from filing complaints, and assumed officers were telling the truth and complainants were not "even where objective evidence indicates that the reverse is true," according to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. In Cleveland, where just 51 officers from a force of 1,500 were disciplined "in any fashion in connection with a use of force incident" over 3.5 years, those investigating the use of force admitted to DOJ that they conducted their inquiries with the "goal of casting the accused officer in the most positive light possible." The Albuquerque Police Department failed to "implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system," according to a DOJ report. In New Orleans, just 5.5 percent of civilian complaints were sustained by a team that had no special training in internal affairs, another federal investigation found. In Newark, New Jerseybarely 5 percent of civilian complaints were sustained between 2010 and 2012, according to a DOJ report. Investigators in Newark "routinely failed to probe officers' accounts or assess officer credibility." They gave weight to the criminal history of complainants but discounted the disciplinary history of officers, including one officer with 40 use-of-force incidents over six years, the federal investigators found.
 The federal study of citizen complaints pointed to the influence of police unions as one factor: Complaints were sustained 15 percent of the time at law enforcement agencies that had to collectively bargain with employees, more than twice the 7 percent rate at agencies that didn't collectively bargain.
Ultimately, the strength of an internal affairs process depends on the person in charge, experts say.
"It really comes down to whether a police chief wants to do the right thing. In some jurisdictions, not so much. In other jurisdictions, people are real standouts," said Jeff Noble, the former deputy chief of the Irvine Police Department in California who has written extensively on police misconduct, including the book with Alpert.
"It really comes down to whether a police chief wants to do the right thing." Jeff Noble
One major hurdle for police accountability is that citizens often don't bother to file complaints because they don't think their concerns would be taken seriously. There is little motivation for police departments to encourage civilians to complain, experts say, and many internal affairs officers either implicitly or explicitly make it difficult for citizens to air their grievances.
In 2013, the year before the unrest in Ferguson, the St. Louis County Police Bureau of Professional Standards received 69 citizen complaints, about the same number it had received in prior years. Officials reported that number as an accomplishment, citing the gap between the number of complaints and the numbers of arrests (more than 26,000) and citizen contacts (more than 1.6 million) as proof that police personnel "continue serving the community in a very professional manner" and the agency "has continued to take positive measures to reduce and eliminate citizen complaints."
By that logic, 2014 -- the year that St. Louis County Police led the initial law enforcement response to the unrest in Ferguson -- was a fantastic success for the agency: Only 26 citizens filed complaints, a stunning 62 percent drop from the previous year. Given the extraordinarily controversial -- and unconstitutional -- tactics deployed by police officers during the Ferguson protests, it's unlikely those figures mean anything at all.
St. Louis County Police reported receiving just a single formal complaint about officer behavior during the protests of August 2014. An after-action report pointed to two factors for that: It was "difficult or impossible to lodge complaints," and there was "a lack of confidence" in the complaint process. But even the low number of citizen complaints received in the years before the Ferguson protests -- 64 in 2012 and 69 in 2013 -- is nothing to brag about, experts say.
"I would be suspicious of those numbers," Noble said. "That's just too many officers, 800 officers -- you're only getting 60 complaints? The first thing I would want to look at is their complaint policy. What are they required to accept as a complaint? Who is required to accept it?"
Noble said he once worked with a city police department that had close to 2,000 officers. That agency claimed it received only 30 complaints over the course of a year, less than half the number of complaints typically received in a year by his former department in Irvine, which had a force of just 200.
"I mean, that's just laughable. It's absurd. What it tells me is that they're not classifying everything as a complaint, they're not accepting, they're discouraging," Noble said.
One federal survey found that among individuals who reported having force used against them or being threatened with force in 2008, 84 percent felt that police had acted improperly, but only 14 percent of that group actually filed a complaint.
"If you don't get many complaints at a department, that might mean that, yes, the department is very good, officers are performing well," said Walker, the policing expert. "But it could also mean that trust in the complaint process is so deep that nobody bothers to complain."
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar wrote that the department lacked "conclusive facts" to take action in this reporter's case.</span> St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar wrote that the department lacked "conclusive facts" to take action in this reporter's case.
The first sign that my complaint to the St. Louis County Police Department might not be taken seriously came just after I'd finished filling out the complaint form. I told the official who accepted my complaint at the Office of Professional Standards that while the officer in question had refused to identify himself, I had photos of him on my iPhone. I had already tweeted the photos, but I assumed they would want to pull the images from my device or have me send the original files via email. But the office wasn't going to make it easy. Instead, I was told I'd have to turn in printed copies. So I pulled out my phone, mapped the route to the nearest copy center, walked there to print out the photos and then walked back to drop them off.
An initial letter acknowledging my complaint was followed by months of silence. The department failed to meet its goal of responding within 90 days. Six months passed, then eight, then 10. In the meantime, several public records requests failed to unearth the name of the officer who arrested me.
A few months ago, I confirmed his name -- Michael McCann -- after it came up in a lawsuit filed against the police by other people he'd arrested. With a bit of digging, I learned that McCann had previously been suspended without pay by the St. Louis County Police after he allegedly crashed his patrol car through a fence in a residential neighborhood and fled the scene.
In June, more than 10 months after my arrest, I received a letter from St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. In the letter, which was carefully vetted by St. Louis County lawyers, Belmar wrote that a "very thorough investigation" had produced "conflicting versions of what occurred."
McCann had denied slamming my head against the door, and Belmar's internal affairs team claimed that the McDonald's security footage did not definitively show what had happened. So Belmar -- "based on the absence of conclusive facts" -- had ordered the investigation closed.
"I would, however, like to thank you for bringing this matter to my attention," he wrote. A recent independent assessment of Belmar's department found a "pattern of light discipline in investigations involving ethical failings and untruthfulness."
In August, a few weeks after I was charged, the St. Louis County Police Department promoted Michael McCann to sergeant.
Based upon the recommendation of the St. Louis County Police Department, the St. Louis County Counselor's Office filed charges against Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly in August 2015 for allegedly "trespassing" and "interfering" with police officers nearly a year earlier. Lowery and Reilly have said they were wrongfully arrested since the day they were taken into custody, and are fighting the charges.

vrijdag 9 oktober 2015

Zionist Terror and Amsterdam 2

Watch Israel, the zionists take their chance, Jewish terrorism in the holy land. In the meantime the mayor and deputy-mayor of Amsterdam try to push through a tight relationship and cooperation with Tel Aviv.
Kajsa Ollongren and Eberhard van der Laan in Israel working on a close relationship with the zionist regime in Tel Aviv. When Amsterdam decides to go on, foreigners should boycott the town.

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Intifada: The Writing Was On The Wall

By Gideon Levy

October 08, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "MEE" - Only rarely does a cliche as well-worn as this one hit the mark so precisely: The writing is on the wall, indeed. My readers will pardon me; no response, explanation or analysis seems more pertinent, at this juncture, when the danger of a third Palestinian Intifada breaking out seems greater than at any time in the last decade. Anyone claiming to be surprised has not been living in the Middle East over the last 10 years. Anyone who claims to be surprised has, along with most Israelis, been burying his head in the sand for a decade. The only surprising thing is that a renewed uprising has taken a decade to occur.
Israeli security figures are still trying to minimise the obvious, insisting that this is only a “wave of terror,” not an Intifada. They said exactly the same thing when the two previous Intifadas erupted. When the first Intifada began, I met members of the entourage of the then Minister of Defence Yitzhak Rabin, visiting the United States at the time, in a large New York department store. There was no reason to hurry home to Israel, they said; everything was under control. Nor was the second Intifada exactly anticipated. Yet both erupted, intensely, the second worse than the first. The dimensions of the third will be greater still.
Not yet clear is whether the events occurring right now will develop into a full-blown Intifada or not, but meantime there will be no period of quiet between the Jordan River and the sea any time soon. It’s true that there have been various factors preventing, thus far, the outbreak of a third Intifada: the heavy price paid by the Palestinians for the second Intifada that failed to achieve anything whatever for them; the absence of a leadership moving the people toward another broad uprising; internal Palestinian divisions, greatly intensified in recent years, between Fatah and Hamas; the international isolation of the Palestinians amid growing international indifference; and the slightly improved economic situation on the West Bank.
But all these factors, most of them still in play, cannot over time prevent a third Intifada from erupting. Even if Israeli security forces somehow manage to stuff this reawakening genie back in its bottle, it won’t stay there for long. And they are unlikely to succeed in any case. At this writing, a day after two Jews were murdered in Jerusalem’s Old City, some 100 Palestinians have already been wounded by the Israeli Army and Israeli police in disturbances throughout the West Bank: an ominous portent.
The writing has been on the wall because Israel’s conduct, in all its insufferable arrogance and imperviousness, cannot fail to lead to another terrible explosion. The West Bank has been quiescent for nearly 10 years, during which time Israel has consistently proven to the Palestinians that quiet will be met only with an intensification of the occupation, settlement expansion, more home demolitions and more mass arrests – including thousands of so-called administrative detainees who are incarcerated without trial, continuing confiscation of land, wholly useless incursions and arrests, and an itchy finger on the trigger resulting in dozens of needless human deaths and countless provocations inflaming Muslim sensibilities regarding al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount.
Are Palestinians to assent to all of this in silence? To show restraint when the Dawabsheh family is burnt alive in Duma and no one is arrested or brought to trial by Israel, while Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon boasts that Israel knows who perpetrated that shocking crime but, to safeguard its intelligence network, will not arrest them?
What people could maintain restraint in the face of such a sequence of events, with the entire might of the occupation in the background, without hope, without prospects, with no end in sight. No negotiations are underway, even in secret, the two-state solution is apparently permanently dead and Israel has no alternative to offer – and the Palestinians are to accept all of that and sit still? Nothing like that has ever happened anywhere, nor will it ever.
While quiet has been sustained on the other side of the Wall for nearly 10 years, Israel has proven that there is no chance it will act as a partner for serious negotiations about the status of the West Bank, and that it has no intention of ending the occupation, with or without terrorism. A government that has the president of the United States wound around its little finger, incurring no punishment in return, has become drunk with power toward the Palestinians too. That’s what happens when the world permits Israel to run rampant in Gaza and the West Bank, inflating Israel’s arrogance and intoxication of power beyond all boundaries.
Now the bill is coming due. Those who imagined that Israel could go on this way forever, and that the Palestinians would continue to acquiesce, to submit, indefinitely – has simply never read a history book. No people anywhere has ever acquiesced in its own conquest without resistance, and certainly not in modern times. Resistance is its right, incidentally, enshrined in international law.
Now the bill is coming due: Intifada, the wave of an uprising that has been temporarily forgotten but will now come again, and soon. The truth is, these distinctions don’t matter anymore. The third Intifada is already here or, in the best case, is just around the corner. Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s current government, historically right-wing, nationalist and religious, have no intention of doing anything to prevent the pending eruption, and there will only be more bloodshed, more checkpoints, more arrests, more detentions, more destruction and more killing. This is the only language spoken by the current government of Israel; it has no other. There is no chance that this government will tread a different path.
Given this state of affairs, the current crisis sits squarely at the doorstep of the international community. Absent a responsible entity in Israel, responsibility is devolved there. The international community has long behaved fawningly toward Israel but this method, over half a century, has proven itself a resounding failure.
The time has now arrived to change the rules of the game for the international community as well, first and foremost the United States: whoever now continues enabling Israel to run amok while taking no real steps to end the occupation, will also bear responsibility for the next round of violence in the region. And the bloodshed will not be confined between the Jordan River and the sea; in the history of this conflict, its crises have always reached further than that, exacerbating the bloodshed occurring elsewhere in the world. Let the indifferent world bestir itself now and take notice.

Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper's editorial board. Levy joined Haaretz in 1982, and spent four years as the newspaper's deputy editor. He was the recipient of the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996. His new book, The Punishment of Gaza, has just been published by Verso.