By Scott Williams
The author is a national coordinator and organizer of FIST – Fight Imperialism, Stand Together.
October 17 - I am writing to let everyone know that the FBI visited my father today with the intention of questioning me about my trip to Syria as an international election observer for the 2014 Syrian Presidential Elections.
In June 2014, I visited Syria (link http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/06/05/syrian-people-elect-president-wide-margin-amid-insurgent-attacks/) with the objective of learning the truth about the situation there. This trip was entirely legal and well documented. I visited along with observers representing 32 countries, many of which were members of Parliament and representatives of local governments in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Uganda, and beyond. Since then, I have reported on my trip in public meetings at the United Nations, as well as in Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Albany, NY, and where I live in Philadelphia, PA.
Since 2007, I have been a committed anti-war activist with many organizations, including Students for a Democratic Society, the International Action Center and several others. The FBI mentioned me as an activist with FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), of which I am one of the national coordinators.
Why is the FBI coming after me? The FBI’s attempt to question me is not only an attack on me, it is an attack on anyone who chooses to travel the world and seek a perspective that is not represented by the corporate media. The US depends on misinformation and huge lies to perpetrate their crimes abroad. Yet the FBI has picked the wrong person, since I have strong friends and allies across the US who will stand with me in the fight against unjust government repression.
This visit is a continuation of the FBI’s attack on anti-war and international solidarity activists. The FBI has been attempting to charge 24
anti-war and international solidarity activists with “material support of terrorism.” These activist are targeted because have been targeted and face potential long term jail sentences. Please take a moment to look at the (link http://www.stopfbi.net/) site for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the organization that has fought to defend these 24, as well as Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. This is a
strong example of the political fightback that is needed to defend activists from Government repression.
These activists are not alone in their treatment. Since 2001, hundreds of Muslim men in the USA have been victims of entrapment, harassment, and false imprisonment simply for their religion.
October 20, 2011: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is brutally tortured and murdered by counter-revolutionaries and imperialists during illegal NATO airstrikes.
We do not forget! We do not forgive!
Press TV’s correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, has been killed in a suspicious car accident near the Turkey-Syria border.
Shim was killed on Sunday as she was on a working mission in Turkey to cover the ongoing war in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani.
She was going back to her hotel from a report scene in the city of Suruç in Turkey’s Urfa Province when their car collided with a heavy vehicle. The identity and whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.
Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, and Ukraine.
On Friday, she told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she has covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested.
Shim said she was among the few journalists obtaining stories of militants infiltrating into Syria through the Turkish border, adding that she had received images from militants crossing the Turkish border into Syria in World Food Organization and other NGOs’ trucks.
Shim flatly rejected accusations against her, saying she was “surprised” at this accusation “because I have nothing to hide and I have never done anything aside my job.”
Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.
Turkey has been accused of backing ISIL militants in Syria.
#NOW | Family of 5-year-old Enas Khalil bids her farewell
الان في وداع الشهيدة ايناس خليل، ٥ سنوات في بلدة سنجل، رام الله
Via Translators for Palestine
Monday, October 20 - Tuesday, October 21
26 Federal Plaza, Manhattan
New York will Rally in Solidarity with Rasmea the week of the 1 Year Anniversary of her arrest, & 1 day before her next hearing, to demand Justice!
Al-Awda-New York (Palestine Right to Return Coalition)
USPCN (US-Palestine Community Network)
CSFR (Committee to Stop FBI Repression)
CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Labor for Palestine
New York City Labor Against the War
National Lawyers Guild, NYC Chapter
National Lawyers’s Guild, Free Palestine Committee
International Action Center
(Please send a message to either host to list your organization here).
On October 22, 2013 the Department of Homeland Security arrested Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader, Rasmea Odeh in her home for alleged immigration fraud as part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them “terrorists.”
On October 21 the Federal Court in Detroit will determine the Admissibility of “Israeli Evidence” — Evidence obtained Under Torture decades ago inside the prisons of the illegal, colonial, occupying Zionist power. …this is not the first time that U.S. Federal prosecutors have used such evidence against Palestinian Americans. (See the case of Muhammad Salah)
Rasmea Odeh has served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago since 2004. For the past 10 years, Rasmea has built unprecedented community support for close to 600 Arab immigrant women on issues related to English literacy, gender violence, inter-generational cultural conflicts, racial profiling, immigrant rights, and access to social and economic resources. She has established community-wide education projects related to civil and human rights, social justice, and community economic development and workshops that allow Arab immigrant women to tell, write, and perform their immigration stories while improving their writing skills. In 2013, Rasmea received the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, which described her as a woman who has “dedicated over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women, first in her homes of Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, where she was an activist, and then the past 10 years in Chicago.”
Rasmea has been demanding justice for Palestinians for most of her life. Like the experience of approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, she spent time as a political prisoner in Israeli jails in the 1970’s. There, she was violently tortured and humiliated— despite the international legal prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
Like their Israeli ally, the U.S. federal government has a history of targeting individuals who express public support for Palestine and over and over, Palestinian and Arab American activists are disproportionately targeted in such cases. According to the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, their organization, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLC) in collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations, “has documented over 75 cases of intimidation and legal bullying in 2013 alone. These include perceived surveillance, FBI contacts, and discriminatory enforcement of laws against advocates for Palestinian rights.” Now decades in the making, this U.S. government strategy targets Palestinian immigrants, Palestinian Americans, and their supporters in order to quell any and all support for Palestinian rights in the U.S. and globally. According to CCR and PSLC, it is no coincidence that federal prosecutors are now targeting Rasmea, who is a pillar in the same community where 23 anti-war and Palestinian rights activists, many who’s homes were raided by the FBI, were subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury in 2010. There have been no indictments against the 23 activists subpoenaed presumably because of a lack of evidence.
The U.S. government’s portrayal of Palestinians as violent and inhuman fuels the case against Rasmea and as a result, the U.S. mainstream betrays Palestinians like Rasmea, leaving them with little support. The corporate media makes matters worse. By telling the story of Rasmea’s past as though she was a possible terrorist legitimately and legally arrested by the Israeli government, the media covers up the truth that Israel occupies Palestinian land and arrests and tortures Palestinians systematically and illegally. The sensationalized media portrayal of Rasmea’s “terrorist past” dehumanizes Rasmea and justifies the ongoing state violence committed against her and the larger Arab American and Arab immigrant communities.
The following summary of the operation of October 17, 2001 was prepared by the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades. We republish it here on the 11th anniversary of that operation in tribute to the valiant fighters and heroes of our people:
Following the assassination of General Secretary Comrade Abu Ali Mustafa on August 29, 2001, the fighters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine sought an effective and daring response. The response decided upon was difficult and full of danger, but the fighters had a strong will in their hearts and a dedication and willingness to sacrifice for Abu Ali Mustafa and the Palestinian revolution.
On Monday afternoon, October 15, Comrades Hamdi Qur’an and Basel Al-Asmar came to the Hyatt Regency hotel in East Jerusalem, carrying with them a small bag containing two guns with silencers.
They went to the reception desk, where Basel al-Asmar gave the desk clerk an Israeli blue identity card in the name of Samer Shehada, one of the group assisting the operation. They paid their room bill and obtained the keys for their hotel room, located on the third floor. Once they arrived, they toured the hotel completely in order to learn its security systems, emergency doors, elevators, and the patterns of customer traffic in the sitting room and other public areas. They went to the eighth floor, where they knew the notorious racist extremist minister Rehavam Ze’evi was staying, Room 816, in order to fully understand the surrounding area and prepare for the operation.
On Tuesday, October 16, they left the hotel in the morning and returned in the afternoon, moving to the fifth floor, three floors away from Ze’evi’s room.
Outside the hotel, the group assisting the operation continued their work on logistics: they rented two cars from Vet Vonto auto rental, including one Kia automobile, hired in the name of Mustafa al-Rimawi from Beit Rima, a small and simple car for rescue and guard, and one Fiat truck. Comrade Mohammad Rimawi hid a Scorpion machine gun inside the Kia. Later in the afternoon, they traveled in the car, practicing their escape route, and scouting other potential withdrawal routes to be used if necessary. The rest of the team working on the operation prepared the apartment at which the fighters would hide following the operation, at the house of Saleh Elwy in Al-Ezareia.
Other comrades hid guns, bombs, explosives and other military weapons, in order to use them in case of an emergency, the failure of the operation or any other unforeseen difficulties. They prepared for open confrontation in east Jerusalem if necessary.
On Wednesday morning, October 17, comrades Hamdi and Basel awakened early and re-checked their weapons before heading to the hotel dining room, where they watched Ze’evi and his family eating breakfast. Hamdi and Basel went to the eighth floor to wait for Ze’evi’s return to his hotel room. After 7 a.m., Ze’evi left the dining room and headed to his hotel room to retrieve his bag. Hamdi called out to him with his nickname, “Ghandi!”
This was the last word he heard, from the mouth of this great fighter of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Ze’eviturned his back on Hamdi, who shot three bullets from his gun, bullets full of the anger and pain of the entire Palestinian people.
This was the first time a Zionist minister had been killed by the forces of the Palestinian revolution, at the hand of the PFLP. After being certain of Ze’evi’s death, Hamdi and Basel took the elevator to the ground floor and quickly left the hotel in the Fiat. Coincidentally, on the elevator, they met Ozi Dayan, who later held a high position of responsibility in the ranks of Israeli security, but they deceived him successfuly and avoided any suspicion. Mohammed al-Rimawi and Saleh Karan traveled in the other car, the Kia, but unfortunately the car broke down in the hotel parking lot. They left the car there, still containing the gun, and took a taxi near the apartment they had prepared at a hideout. Basel and Hamdi also returned securely to their safe houses to deliver their statements of the victory of the operation and the avenging of the assassination of Abu Ali Mustafa.
Comrades Mohammed and Saleh were arrested after pursuit by the Zionist intelligence, and the other comrades involved in the operation hid and protected themselves from the Zionist military, which was, at the time, attacking all of the cities, towns, and villages in the West Bank. The comrades involved in the operation continued to hide successfully from the Zionist intelligence but were seized by the Palestinian Authority “Security forces” under Tawfiq Tirawi in Nablus and Ramallah in February 2002 – Ahed Ghoulmeh, member of the Central Committee who the Zionists described as the leader of the PFLP fighters in the West Bank; Majdi Rimawi, the planner of the operation, and Hamdi Qur’an and Basel al-Asmar, who carried out the operation.
These four men were held by the PA, alongside the General Secretary of the PFLP, Ahmad Sa’adat, in the Muqata’, where they were convicted by a hastily called military court under Israeli threat, and contrary to all Palestinian law. Comrade Hamdi was sentenced to 18 years, Basil to 12 years, Majdi to 8 years, and Ahed to 1 year in PA prison. Under an agreement with Israel, the United States and Britain, the comrades were sent to Jericho prison, alongside Comrade Leader Sa’adat (who had never been tried or convicted), where they were held by the PA under US and British guard until the Zionist military siege of Jericho prison on March 14, 2006.
The comrades were then tried once more in the illegitimate military courts of the occupier; Hamdi was sentenced to two life sentences plus 100 years; Basel to one life sentence plus 20 years; Majdi to one life sentence plus 80 years; and Ahed to a life sentence plus five years. They stand alongside their fellow Palestinian prisoners as brave and proud fighters, heroes of the PFLP and the entire Palestinian people, whose acts of heroism and courage inspire us all to continue to struggle and fight on the path of liberation.
By Vladimir Suchan
The civilian toll of the “Minsk truce” is massive—yesterday, around 30 people died in Donetsk. The rate of civilians casualties is steady and continuous. At the same time, the terms of the “truce” imposed on Novorossiya by Moscow mean that the Army of Novorossiya is not only more split than before, but also that it cannot carry out any notable countermeasures.
October 17 Global Day of Action: Justice for Jennifer Laude
On October 17, Friday, we urge you to join us in calling the Philippine government to ensure justice, assert sovereignty and demand custody of Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton of the United States Marine Corps, the main suspect in the October 12 murder of Jennifer Laude, a 26-year old transgender woman. Pvt. Pemberton is in the country, together with 3,500 more US marines and navy, for a two-week military exercise under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the US and Philippines.
Like Nicole and many more before her, Jennifer is another victim of the United States’ unending quest for military power in the country and the entire Asia Pacific and the Philippine government’s puppetry to imperialist power.
Hold actions, light candles in front of Philippine embassies and consulates in your country, take photos of yourselves with the calls below and post so the world will know.
Justice for Jennifer!
End US militarism and violence!
Junk VFA and EDCA!
US Out of the Philippines and Asia Pacific!
International Relations Officer
A rainy New York rush hour didn’t deter over 50 Filipino-American activists, transgender people and supporters who rallied outside the Philippines Consulate October 15, chanting “We say no to the VFA! Fight transphobia every day for Jennifer Laude!”
Laude, a transgender Filipina woman, was found strangled in a hotel room in Olongapo City, the Philippines, on October 11. A U.S. Marine suspected of her murder is being held by Pentagon authorities aboard a Navy ship.
“We are outraged that another innocent life has been taken away because of the ongoing infestation of U.S. troops who have no right to be in the Philippines in the first place,” said BAYAN-USA Chair Bernadette Ellorin.
“We are equally incensed that the U.S. whisked the suspect Marine away and is holding him aboard an American ship, rather than turning him over to Philippine authorities. This shows how the U.S. has no respect for Philippine sovereignty or our country’s legal system.”
Some 660 U.S. military personnel are permanently stationed in the Philippines under the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and other 1,500 are there now participating in war games. As with other places where U.S. military personnel are stationed around the world, crimes against women are commonplace.
“This insult to Philippine sovereignty is no surprise, given the history of U.S. militarization in the Philippines, said Ellorin. “It also exemplifies exactly why Filipinos are opposed to the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Instead of rushing to implement the EDCA, [President] Aquino should stand up for Philippine sovereignty for once by ensuring that the Philippines asserts complete jurisdiction over Jennifer’s case.”
The October 15 action was called by the BAYAN Queer Caucus, GABRIELA New York, and Barangay New York- LGBTQ Pin@ys, and supported by Trans-Justice of The Audre Lorde Project, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the International Action Center and others.
Photos and report by redguard