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May 3, 2016 / 25 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

Parents of Duma Arson American Suspect Appeal for US Intervention

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) The US Consulate in Jerusalem announced that it plans to intervene in order to protect the legal rights of an American citizen who is among the suspects in the torching of the house in Duma village. Several Arab family members were killed in the July 30 arson. According to Walla, the consulate wrote the suspect’s parents: “We will contact the Israeli authorities to arrange a visit by the consul. We have noted his medical condition and his need for medication for his allergy problems, and will talk about it with the Israeli authorities.” The letter concluded with, “Thank you for updating us on the condition of the detainee.”

The suspect’s parents appealed to the US consulate in Israel as well as to US Senators, demanding their intervention in the case in light of the fact that he is an American citizen. In their letter, the parents noted that their son was prevented from seeing his lawyer, that he is being held in an unknown location, and that his medical condition—he suffers from allergies and ADHD—has deteriorated during his interrogation period. “The suspect, a US citizen, should receive protection for his rights,” the letter pleaded.

According to attorneys Hai Haber and Adi Keidar, who represent some of the suspects in the arson murder case for the Honenu legal aid society, the Shin Bet has been acting with brutal forcefulness. “There’s been a violent and brutal investigation that included disappearing people without bringing them to trial, and without allowing their families or attornies to see them, just to force confessions from the suspects,” they said. “Something alarming has happened in Israel, and once the protocols will be published the citizens of Israel will be horrified and won’t even remember the arson event in light of the conduct of this investigation.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also criticized the policy regarding the detainees. “Using these tools is unacceptable and prevents a suspect from obtaining legal advice maintaining contact with the world outside the interrogation room. The Association objects to it,” attorney Roni Pelli told Walla.

“Of course we have to solve this murder, we but have to use legal interrogation methods to prosecute the culprits. If you want to get to the truth it is certainly not through a course that leads to a false confession because of the pressure applied to the detainees and the violation of their rights,” said Pelli.

The Shin Bet said in response to the claims made by the family: “The Shin Bet is a national organization and all its activities are performed in accordance with the law. Shin Bet interrogations are conducted in accordance with the law and court rulings, and are overseen by the Attorney General, the State Attorney’s Office and the courts.”

JNi.Media

‘Stop and Frisk’ Law Wins Cabinet Approval

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

The controversial “stop and frisk” law which will allow police to conduct a physical search of someone without a court order was approved Sunday by the government.

The bill, advanced by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, enables security officials to frisk anyone and search their belongings in public without probable cause.

Five years ago, this law was recommended, but the proposal never got off the ground.  Now it’s moving with a vengeance.

The law will skip the two-week appeal period, go to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation very shortly and straight to the Knesset for its first reading.

In other words, this law is taking the express route to a vote on the plenum floor due to the current security situation. Or not. At least one civil rights NGO contends its passage has nothing to do with the wave of terror.

Up to this point, police could only search a person if there were a reasonable suspicion that person was armed (illegally) — referred to abroad as “probable cause.” That will change if the law is passed by the Knesset however.

The bill was roundly criticized by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which claimed its resurgence had nothing to do with the current wave of terror.

“The legislation is a cynical exploitation of the security situation. The Public Security Ministry has tried to push forward the legislation for the last five years, and it has nothing to do with the current security situation,” said Avner Pinchuk, head of the association’s department of information and privacy.

Erdan contends, however, the opposite is true.

“Due to recent attacks, an urgent need has emerged to grant police the ability to conduct bodily searches in order to better deal with knife wielding terrorists,” Erdan told reporters.

Pinchuk said the police already have a wide authority to search, and the proposed bill would legitimize a practice by police which has already been rejected by the courts.

“Past experience says that the law is selectively enforced against minorities including Arabs or dark skinned men,” he noted.

Hana Levi Julian

Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself ‘Muslim-Free Zone’

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The woman owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas has declared her territory a “Muslim-free zone” because of domestic terror by Muslims.

Jan Morgan posted on her website 10 reasons to support her new policy, which is certain to be challenged in the courts.

Lawyers are going to make a lot of money over this.

One of her arguments is that the United States refused to classify several murders as acts of terrorism, particularly last week’s beheading by a Muslim convert in Oklahoma, the attack by a Muslim on Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon bombing carried out two years ago by two Muslims.

Morgan also wrote that two Muslim men, speaking in broken English, came to her range recently and asked to rent and practice with semi-automatic rifles and ammunition but could not provide identification other than a California’s driver’s license.

She agreed to rent one weapon but removed all other customers from the range while the two men shot.

Morgan is preparing for lawsuits charging her with discrimination.

Following are her 10 reasons for a “Muslim-free zone,” complete with her spelling of “Muslim” with a small ”m.”

1) The Koran, which I have read and studied thoroughly and (which all muslims align themselves with), contains 109 verses commanding hate, murder and terror against all human beings who refuse to submit or convert to Islam….

2) My life has been threatened repeatedly by muslims who are angry that I have studied their koran and have, over the past two years, been exposing the vileness of the Koran and its murderous directives.

3) The barbaric act of beheading an innocent American in Oklahoma by a muslim;

* the Boston bombings(by muslims)

* the Fort Hood mass shooting (by a muslim) that killed 13 people and injured over 30 people

* and the murder of 3000 innocent people (by muslims) on 9/11

This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of muslims to substantiate my position that muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.

4) Because the nature of my business involves firearms and shooting firearms in an enclosed environment, my patrons are not comfortable being around muslims who align themselves with a religion that clearly commands hate, murder, and violence against all non muslims…..

5) My range rents and sells guns to my patrons. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?

6) * Muslims, who belong to and, or, support ISIS, are threatening to kill innocent Americans.

* Muslims, who belong to or support AL Qaeda, are threatening to kill innocent Americans.

* Muslims who belong to or support HAMAS are threatening to kill innocent Americans….

7) I not only have the right to refuse service but a RESPONSIBILITY to provide a safe environment for people to shoot and train on firearms. I can and have turned people away if I sense they are under the influence of alcohol or mind altering drugs. I have a federal firearms license…

The ATF informed us when we received the license that if we feel any reason for concern about selling someone a firearm, even sense that something is not right about an individual, or we are concerned about that persons mental state, even if they pass a background check, we do not have to sell that person a gun.

In other words, a federal agency has given us this kind of discretion for service based on the nature of the business. I can and have turned people away if I sense an issue with their mental state. So… it’s difficult to imagine how the DOJ could have issues with this when ATF gave us this discretion.

8) I have no way of looking at Islam other than as a theocracy, not a religion. Islam is undoubtedly the union of political, legal, and religious ideologies. In other words law, religion and state are forged together to form what Muslims refer to as “The Nation of Islam.” Once again it is given the sovereign qualities of a nation with clerics in the governing body and Sharia law all in one. This is a Theocracy, not a religion.

The US Constitution does not protect a theocracy. The 1st Amendment is very specific about protecting the rights of individuals from the government, as it concerns the practice of religions, not theocracies. It clearly differentiates between government and religion. Again protecting the individual’s religious beliefs and practices from (the state) government. In Islam religion and state are one.

We are a Nation governed by laws, or the law of the land the U.S. Constitution. We are not a Nation that is governed by religion, politicians or clerics.

How then, can anyone say that, the practice of Islam is protected by the U.S. Constitution?

The muslim brotherhood has a documented plan for the destruction of America from within, discovered by our own government during a raid of MB operatives in America. In addition, I am very cognizant of the civilization jihad under way in my country by American muslims. In a number of states Muslims, through our legal system, are trying to force us to accept Sharia Law over Constitutional law. I do not wish to do business with people who stand against the Constitution and are fighting to replace it.

9) Islam allows Muslims to kill their own children, (honor killing) if the behavior of those children embarrasses or dishonors the family name. ( did you know that dating outside of the faith is justification for murdering their daughters and this has already occurred on American soil?) Why would I want people (who believe it’s okay to murder their own children), be in the presence of other children? My patrons often bring their kids to the range to teach them to shoot. I am responsible for providing a safe environment for those children to learn gun safety and shooting sports.

10) In the 14 hundred year history of Islam, muslims have murdered over 270 million people. Not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists in the world right now are muslim. Since you can’t determine by visual assessment, which ones will kill you and which ones will not, I am going to go with the line of thought that ANY HUMAN BEING who would either knowingly or unknowingly support a “religion” that commands the murder of all people who refuse to submit or convert to that religion, is not someone I want to know or do business with. I hold adults accountable for the religion they align themselves with.

In summary, I not only have the right, but a responsibility to provide a safe environment for my customers. I do not believe my decision is religious discrimination because I do not classify islam as a religion.. It is a theocracy/terrorist organization that hides behind the mask of religion in order to achieve its mission of world domination.

People who shoot at my range come from all religious backgrounds… some are atheists… I do not care about their religious beliefs. I care about the safety of my customers who come to shoot here….

I will do whatever is necessary to provide a safe environment for my customers, even at the cost of the increased threats and legal problems this decision will likely provoke.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Religious Groups Move to Protect Prisoner Rights

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

A coalition of Orthodox Jewish groups filed friend of the court briefs in two high-profile cases involving religious practice in prisons.

On May 28 the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs  filed a brief in the Atlanta-based federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of access to kosher meals in the Florida prison system and on May 29 in the U.S. Supreme Court which in its session beginning in October will consider the case of a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas who wants to grow his beard longer than the state’s regulation one-quarter inch.

The Florida case dates to 2010 when a Jewish prisoner serving life for the 1995 murder of his parents, Bruce Rich, said the state’s refusal to provide him with a kosher meal violated his rights under federal law.

The Obama administration joined the case in support of Rich in 2012 and last December a federal court ruled that the Florida Department of Corrections had until July 1 to begin distributing kosher meals.

The state at first agreed, but then recently launched an appeal, saying it was swamped with requests for kosher meals and that acceding to the demand would be prohibitive.

Many of the prisoners requesting kosher meals are believed to be feigning adherence to observant Judaism, and assessing who is genuine and who is not is seen as constitutionally perilous for a government authority.

Prisoners prefer the meals because they are sealed and are seen as better quality. Feeding a prisoner costs $1.52 a day with regular meals and over $4 a day with kosher meals.

Prison officials said they had expected about 300 requests and instead got over 4,400 and expected the number to balloon after the meals start being distributed.

In the Commission on Law’s brief, attorney Nathan Lewin said that it would be unjust to deny truly observant prisoners kosher meals because of the fraudulent claims of others.

In the Arkansas case, the coalition was filing in support of Gregory Holt, a Muslim who says his observance requires him to grow out his beard.

In the brief, Lewin notes that 39 other jurisdictions permit beards of any length, which he says is constitutionally protected.

Lewin, a member of the Supreme Court bar, in the brief cites the precedent of observant Jews in the military who successfully sued to keep their beards.

In a release, Lewin’s office noted that his briefs “cited and discussed traditional Jewish sources such as Maimonides, the Chofetz Chaim, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe.”

Among the groups making up the coalition are Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Union, the National Council of Young Israel and the Rabbinical Council of America.

JTA

A Jewish State Can Be Democratic and Moral

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Joseph Levine is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has published an essay in (where else?) the New York Times, in which he argues that the proposition ‘Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state’ is false.

There are many things in the article to complain about, but I am going to content myself with pointing out the single massive howler by which his argument collapses.

He makes the distinction between “a people in the ethnic sense” and in the “civic sense,” which means either residents of a geographical area or citizens of a state. He generously grants that there is a Jewish people in the ethnic sense who live in Israel, but only an ‘Israeli people,’ which includes Arabs, in the civic sense. Then he tells us,

…insofar as the principle that all peoples have the right to self-determination entails the right to a state of their own, it can apply to peoples only in the civic sense…

But if the people who “own” the state in question are an ethnic sub-group of the citizenry, even if the vast majority, it constitutes a serious problem indeed, and this is precisely the situation of Israel as the Jewish state. Far from being a natural expression of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, it is in fact a violation of the right to self-determination of its non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian) citizens. It is a violation of a people’s right to self-determination to exclude them — whether by virtue of their ethnic membership, or for any other reason — from full political participation in the state under whose sovereignty they fall…

“Any state that ‘belongs’ to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group” [my emphasis].

His exposition is much more lengthy and you should read it. But I think I have extracted the gist of it.

Interestingly, while he explains what he means by ‘a people’ and draws a distinction between two senses of the expression, he does not even hint about his understanding of the concept of ‘democracy’ and especially “the core democratic principle of equality,” the violation of which he believes disqualifies Israel from continued existence as a Jewish state.

Levine explains how Israel violates these principles:

The distinctive position of [a favored ethnic people] would be manifested in a number of ways, from the largely symbolic to the more substantive: for example, it would be reflected in the name of the state, the nature of its flag and other symbols, its national holidays, its education system, its immigration rules, the extent to which membership in the people in question is a factor in official planning, how resources are distributed, etc.

Actually, concerning the “more substantive” things, Arab citizens of Israel are doing quite well: they have the right to vote, to hold political office, and a large degree of control of their educational system; there are rules against discrimination in housing and employment (with exceptions related to national security), etc. In other words, they have full civil rights.

Naturally there are differences in the treatment of Jews and Arabs. Some are due to cultural differences — Arab towns are governed by Arabs and distribute resources differently — some are related to security, and some to anti-Arab prejudice. But the degree of prejudice in Israeli society is not particularly great compared to other advanced nations like the U.S., and nobody is suggesting that the U.S. does not have a “right to exist” unless all discrimination can be eliminated.

In any event, discrimination in what he calls “substantive” ways are not essential to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, and there is a general consensus that such discrimination is wrong and should be eliminated.

Israel’s immigration rules are certainly unequal. But immigration rules by definition do not apply to citizens; and few — if any — of the world’s nations permit free immigration.

Levine also does not consider security issues at all. If Israel ignored them it would cease to exist without philosophical arguments. This would be bad both for the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel (just ask any of them if they would prefer to be citizens of Israel or the Palestinian Authority).

Vic Rosenthal

The Dreaded Drone

Monday, March 11th, 2013

At the end of last week we were consumed by the question of whether the President of the United States can order a drone strike on an American in the United States.

But why ask that question only about a drone?

Suppose that Obama decides that he wants Rush Limbaugh gone once and for all. He gives the order and B-52s from the 11th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are dispatched to put an end to the talk show host once and for all.

The B-52s arrive over Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach compound in under two hours and begin to pound away at his 2 acre estate dropping 2,000 pound bombs until absolutely nothing is left standing. Every building has been destroyed, the staff is dead, the golf courses are wrecked and there is no sign of life.

The 11th returns to base and receives a congratulatory call from Obama on a job well done.

Why can’t this happen?

For one thing it doesn’t make much sense. If Obama ever gets that determined to take down Rush, Team O will put together some ex-Feds turned private investigators to plant evidence of a Federal offense and then bring in the FBI. It’s a lot cheaper and less likely to make even Obama’s most loyal lapdogs balk at wrecking Palm Beach.

Federal prosecutors have nearly as good a track record at getting their man, innocent or guilty, as drones do. And they raise a lot fewer questions. Even mad dictators in totalitarian states aren’t known for sending air strikes to take out individual critics. Not unless they have no control over the territory that they are in.

So why not send in the B-52s to get rid of Rush Limbaugh? Because despite last week’s filibuster, military operations in the United States are far more restricted than law enforcement operations. The odds of a member of the United States Air Force killing you outside of a bar fight is very slim, but the odds of a member of a local or state police force killing you are far higher.

When it comes to the Federal government killing Americans, the civilian law enforcement side is far more likely to kill you than a USAF Staff Sergeant taking out Taliban across the border in Pakistan.

Every Federal agency has its own SWAT Team which is why every Federal agency is also buying up huge amounts of ammunition.

That means that you are far more likely to be shot by a SWAT team from the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General than by a drone operator from the 3d Special Operations Squadron in New Mexico (Motto: Pro Patria, Pro Liberis – For Country, for Freedom.)

The DOE’s private police force has the authority to use lethal force, conduct undercover operations, including electronic surveillance, and may not have drones, but does have 12 gauge shotguns and far more authority to use them on you than the Staff Sergeant in New Mexico does.

The Department of Energy has two SWAT Teams. The National Parks Service has four. And if any of them do shoot you, it will not result in congressional hearings or collateral damage. Law enforcement officers kill hundreds of Americans every year. One more won’t be a big deal. And the militarization of the police and the proliferation of Special Response Units in the Federal government are a far more serious concern than being taken out by a drone while sitting in a Starbucks.

Military operations in the United States are fairly tightly constrained and while that line has blurred at times, it’s still a much more difficult and controversial process. Today’s military is far less likely to be deployed against civilians than in 1932 when General Douglas MacArthur and Major George Patton led a fixed bayonet charge across Pennsylvania Avenue to dislodge unemployed protesters to protect President Hoover. And that is because Federal law enforcement has been militarized to such a degree that it can cope with just about anything short of a full-fledged civil war. And whatever it doesn’t have now, it will soon enough.

But let’s get back to the B-52s bombing Rush Limbaugh’s mansion. We all know that’s not likely to happen. But the idea of flesh and blood pilots climbing into planes and dropping bombs across Palm Beach has too much reality to it. The power of the drone is that it appears to be inhuman. It’s a new technology and it can do anything.

Daniel Greenfield

Are Drone Strikes Analogous to the Civil War?

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Pundits have for weeks been erroneously comparing the issue of “killing Americans” with drone strikes abroad to the brother-against-brother character of the U.S. Civil War of 1861-1865.  It’s time to point out that the Civil War is a false analogy to the drone-execution issue.  This false analogy muddies the waters, and the public debate over executive privilege and the people’s rights needs to proceed without it.

There are two basic aspects of the Civil War that make it different from the War on Terror, in the ways that matter to the drone issue.  One is an obvious feature of the Civil War:  the South formally seceded from the Union and called itself a separate nation, the Confederate States of America.  The Confederacy thus severed its citizens’ compact with the U.S. Constitution.  Plotting acts of terrorism doesn’t sever a U.S. citizen’s constitutional rights; it makes him prosecutable under U.S. law, in accordance with the protections afforded him by the Constitution.

An American citizen’s constitutional rights do not, in my view, apply to foreigners who plot or commit terrorist acts against America.  My point is not that all terrorists “deserve” constitutional protection in our justice system, if American citizens do.  But in terms of where executive privilege stops, in the matter of executing terrorists or in other ways denying them due process under the U.S. justice system, the bright line is American citizenship.  Even if the citizen is Anwar al-Awlaki.

The other relevant aspect of the Civil War is less discussed, however.  That aspect is its military character.  The Civil War was, for the South, about holding territory by force of arms, and administering it as a separate nation.  For the North, it was about retaking territory by force of arms.  The mode of the conflict was therefore the form in which pitched battle was met in the mid-19th century.  The Civil War was about moving armies over territory and fighting for ground.

It was thus inherently about orchestrated opportunities for killing soldiers in pitched-battle combat.  Given the objectives on each side, it could not have been about anything else.  Lincoln had no intention of merely bottling up the South, absorbing long-term costs – political and military – and letting time be his main ally.  The South had no intention of merely accepting “occupation” and fighting a debilitating guerrilla campaign over decades to wear the Union down.  Both sides sought to establish sovereignty over the Southern states’ territory as soon as possible, envisioning a future of pacification and peace, according to their separate political concepts.

Given these factors, the necessity for killing Confederate soldiers had asignificance to the objective that it does not have in the War on Terror.  The only way to win pitched battles on land is to kill the enemy soldiers.  That makes them eventually stop fighting, in a given battle.  Over time, it reduces their ranks and their scope of action, until their leaders either accept defeat or set themselves up for annihilation.  The end-state of this process is the winning side controlling the territory in question and dictating terms to the survivors.

The War on Terror does not have this character.  Although it is, ultimately, about whose view of political morality will prevail on territory, the mode of the conflict is not pitched land battle.  Therefore, the mere killing of enemy combatants is not inherently significant to America’s objective.  It is important to have that clear.  We are not advancing our own security, merely by killing terrorists.  Read that again, please, and understand it.  In the Civil War, it was inherently significant to the military and political objectives to kill combatants.  In the War on Terror, it is not.

In Afghanistan, where the American objective has been to put territory under the control of a friendly, moderate local government, it is significant to the objective to kill the terrorists who attack friendly troops and civilians.  Those terrorists are acting as guerrillas, seeking to deny us the territory that will fulfill our objective.  Their relation to our objective in space and time is what makes it essential to kill them.

But that’s not what Anwar al-Awlaki – a U.S. citizen – was doing when he was executed by a drone strike in Yemen.  He wasn’t involved in a tactical campaign to deny us territory (as the Taliban are, for example).  He wasn’t facing American troops, armed and recalcitrant and posing an immediate threat to their lives.  At the time of his execution, there was no tactical, operational, or strategic necessity to kill him to advance the U.S. objective in the War on Terror.

J. E. Dyer

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/are-drone-strikes-analogous-to-the-civil-war/2013/02/11/

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