RABEEA EID, rabeea.eid at arabs48.com
Contrary to many media reports, the student who spoke up during Obama’s speech to students in Jerusalem was not protesting the imprisonment of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Rather, Eid, who is a student from the village of Eilaboun, which is inside Israel, spoke out to question U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. Specifically, Eid asked Obama in English: “President Obama, did you come to make peace or to support Israel and the Israeli occupation? How can you be democratic and support a Jewish country? Who killed Rachel Corrie? Did you see the apartheid wall when you came from Ramallah?” Reached today by the Institute for Public Accuracy, Eid said: “President Obama talked about the violence from settlers but he didn’t say anything against settlements — they are illegally built on occupied land. He didn’t talk about the apartheid wall that devastates life for many Palestinians. He talked about democracy and justice, but Israel is stopping democracy and justice. It’s an ethnic-religious state — such a state can’t be democratic.” Eid told the New York Times: “It is important for us that the American people know what is happening here, and to know that the money from their taxes is going for weapons for Israel.” Eid also spoke to the Electronic Intifada.
JEREMY VARON, jvaron at aol.com
CHRISTOPHER KNESTRICK, cknest11 at gmail.com
The Guardian reports: “Guantanamo hunger strike much bigger than reported, rights group claims.” Varon and Knestrick are with Witness Against Torture, which is organizing solidarity hunger strikes and protests around the U.S. this week. Today the group released this statement: “Prisoners at the U.S. military prison camp in Guantanamo are entering their seventh week of a hunger strike and may die soon. Many prisoners were falsely accused and sold for a bounty to the U.S. Around half of all the prisoners of Guantanamo have been cleared to be released but are still being held indefinitely. Most of the prisoners have been held for over 11 years without charge or trial. This is illegal and morally wrong. Because they are in an indefinite or apparently never-ending imprisonment without being convicted of any crime they have little options to help themselves and no hope left. So they stopped eating at the beginning of February.”
ALEXANDER MAIN, main at cepr.net and via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net
The AP reported on Saturday in “U.S. Aids Honduran Police Despite Death Squad Fears” that: “The U.S. State Department, which spends millions of taxpayer dollars a year on the Honduran National Police, has assured Congress that money only goes to specially vetted and trained units that don’t operate under the direct supervision of a police chief once accused of extrajudicial killings and ‘social cleansing.’ But The Associated Press has found that all police units are under the control of Director General Juan Carlos Bonilla, nicknamed the ‘Tiger,’ who in 2002 was accused of three extrajudicial killings and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances. He was tried on one killing and acquitted. The rest of the cases were never fully investigated.” The revelation comes a week after another AP investigative feature detailed current death squad activity within the Honduran police.
Alexander Main is senior associate for international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is author of the recent blog post, “Fifty-eight Members of Congress ask for investigation of Honduras killings and policy review –- will Kerry and Holder act?” He said today: “For several years the U.S. administration ignored pleas from dozens of members of Congress demanding that human rights in Honduras take priority over the U.S.’s militarized security policy there. Despite the increasing number of reports of extrajudicial killings and attacks perpetrated by state security forces, the U.S. has continued to pump millions of dollars into Honduras’ corrupt police and military, claiming that no units suspected of abuses receive U.S. support. Now key members of Congress are finally taking concrete steps to force the administration to reconsider its Honduras policy, itself a cornerstone of the regional ‘war on drugs,’ which has empowered security forces and undermined civilian institutions and human rights.”