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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

What We Know About Hezbollah

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

To understand the complex conflicts in the Middle East was always a challenge. You need, for instance, to know how the various factions inside the world of Islam interacted. And you need to resist the exaggerated, ideology-driven simplifications of people like the former US president, Jimmy Carter (on his way back to this area this week) who pontificated in his notorious 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” that “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East.

Treating a multidimensional problem as simple is generally easier than analyzing it in all its complexity. Thus, Carter is hardly alone in boiling the turbulence of our neighbourhood down into a problem with a single cause. But reality, as always, has a way of creeping up behind and whacking us across the head. We’re at such a moment now.

Hezbollah, by most calculations, is the military force that has the largest deployment of weapons pointed at Israel today. It’s Iran’s proxy, and is funded and armed by Iran and also by Syria. In much of the Arab and Moslem world, it has long been called a resistance movement [see this Asia Times analysis from 2006]. Among Western countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and of course Israel, it’s been classified as a terrorist organization for years and remains so.

Very recent events have caused a significant review of what people think and say – even, and perhaps mainly, in the Arab and Moslem world. A good example:

Hizbollah’s naked aggression strips away resistance facade
Hussain Abdul Hussain [The National, published in the United Arab Emirates]. The writer is Washington bureau chief for a Kuwaiti newspaper
Oct 22, 2012 [Excerpts]

The praise that Hezbollah wins from its supporters for fighting Sunni groups makes it easier for the party to commit crimes like the recent assassination of General Wissam Al Hassan, Lebanon’s intelligence chief [“20-Oct-12: Do the Lebanese comprehend what they’re up against?“] Hizbollah denies any role in Friday’s car-bomb attack, but its record makes it exceedingly likely that the “Party of God” was somehow involved in this recent murder… If Gen Al Hassan was killed by Hezbollah, as many have argued, he was not their first Sunni victim. Before him, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, a bigger-than-life figure, was also assassinated, in 2005 by four Hezbollah operatives, according to the indictment issued by the UN-created Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Between the two murders, much has changed in Lebanon, and so has Hezbollah’s style. In 2005, Hezbollah took painstaking measures to hide its involvement in the crime: a cover-up video showing a purported suicide attack was produced and delivered to satellite TV stations. The party sent its most senior figures – including Hassan Nasrallah’s wife – to offer condolences to the Hariri family. The Hezbollah propaganda machine made sure that Hariri would be always described as a martyr.

Hezbollah treated [Friday's] bombing in Beirut’s historic Ashrafiyeh district with nonchalance. Hezbollah’s ally, the Christian MP Michel Aoun, went on TV to counsel Lebanese (read: Sunnis) against taking on Hizbollah’s Shiites. He argued that civil strife should be avoided in what sounded like an implicit threat

Whatever the cost, Hezbollah now calculates that an open conflict with Lebanon’s Sunnis justifies turning its arms inward and away from Israel. And if Shiites are at war with Sunnis, that would rationalise the killing of Gen Al Hassan and the Hezbollah members fighting alongside Assad forces inside Syria.

Meanwhile, wiping Israel off the map can wait. Conflict with Sunnis gives Hezbollah and its patrons in Damascus and Tehran a regional role; war with Israel is costly and unrewarding, a lesson that Hafez Al Assad learnt some 40 years ago… Hezbollah militants – hardened by the 2006 war – fight in Homs pretending it is part of their war for the “liberation of Jerusalem”

Hezbollah turning its guns away from Israel and against the predominantly Sunni Free Syrian Army… sounds about right to many Shiites. After all, that conflict goes back 14 centuries; the one with Israel is only a few decades old.

Next, from Asharq Al-Awsat, “the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper“, an article headlined Hezbollah firing hundreds of rockets into Syria on daily basis” which quotes a Syrian opposition leader, Mohamed al-Homsi. Hezbollah, he says, is

“intervening in the fighting alongside the Syrian regime with all of its power… firing its rockets – the same rockets that it claims are to fight Israel – into Syrian territory to kill Syrian people… Between 100 and 150 rockets and mortar shells are being fired by Hezbollah into the Syrian town of al-Qaseer and the surrounding villages on a daily basis… It has become clear that Hezbollah is taking part, with all of its strength, in this battle, which it considers itself to be a part of. Hezbollah has sent thousands of its troops, along with military equipment and arms, into Syria, deploying them throughout Homs and the surrounding areas, in addition to Hama, Aleppo, Zabadani and Damascus. They are engaging in fierce clashes with rebel forces”.

Asharq Al-Awsat extends Hezbollah a right of reply. One of its Lebanese parliamentarians, Walid Sakaria, denies Hezbollah is firing rockets into Syria with this claim:

“it would be impossible to fire such rockets without people in the surrounding area hearing or seeing this… The accusations being leveled against us clearly demonstrate that Hezbollah is being targeted simply because it is an enemy of Israel and the US project in the region, and so we are not surprised to be facing such accusations.”

As brazen as his claims are, there are others (inevitably) who toe the same Hezbollah-uber-alles line. Take for instance this item published yesterday under the heading “Hezbollah condemns Beirut bombing: Effort to destabilize Lebanon underway” by Mick Kelly [online]:

“Hezbollah, the largest anti-imperialist political party in Lebanon, condemned the Oct. 19 Beirut bombing that took the life of Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hasan and others. In a statement, Hezbollah declared, “This hideous crime is a vicious attempt to target stability and national unity,” and urged the “security and judicial apparatuses to use all efforts to control the crime, uncover its committers, and bring them to justice.” Much of the western media is implying that supporters of Syria are behind the blast. There is no evidence that this is the case… Hezbollah and other progressive political forces, including Lebanese communists, have worked hard to build a powerful national resistance project that is capable of standing up to imperialism and Zionism.”

Well done, Comrade Mick, whose passion for peace and annihilation of imperialism most likely puts him in the same tin box as the people who publish the following progressive cant:

Hezbollah and Lebanon’s Baath Party have called for the annihilation of Israel, blaming the Jewish state for spearheading a “conspiracy” against the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah axis, Daily Star reports. In a joint statement, the two sides emphasized the need “to unify ranks in the face of the big conspiracy hatched against the resistance-rejectionist axis… The main enemy in Lebanon and the region is the Zionist entity and we must exert every effort and our energy to eradicate this arrogant entity,” they said.

IDF intelligence maps show Hezbollah weapons stored near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, marking a trend of using civilian villages as militant centers. [They have] turned over 100 Southern Lebanese villages into military bases. Now back to reality. The IDF has an operational understanding of Hezbollah considerably beyond that of almost anyone else. It went public with this reminder today of what the Hezbollah hordes actually do in the villages of southern Lebanon, including a video visualization [here at YouTube] of what it means to embed your fighters and munitions behind a human shield of Lebanese villagers:

* These maps and the 3D clip show how Hezbollah stores weapons near schools, hospitals, and residential buildings in the village of al-Khiam, which had been used as a rocket launching site during the Second Lebanon War. This same tactic of storing weapons near civilian buildings is being carried out by Hezbollah in villages all across southern Lebanon, essentially using the residents as human shields, in gross violation of UN Resolution 1701.

* Aerial photos of the al-Khiam village show that Hezbollah’s weapons have been stored near schools, hospitals, and residential buildings. During the Second Lebanon war, Hezbollah generally stored its weapons in open areas, enabling the IDF to locate and destroy these stores. In the four years since, Hezbollah has pursued a tactic of moving its weapons into civilian villages, essentially institutionalizing the tactic of using human shields on a large scale.

* IDF intelligence indicates that this village, with a current population of approximately 23,000 people, is one of several Hezbollah centers currently undergoing preparation for confrontation with the IDF. Today, about 90 Hezbollah militants, some of whom are part of the Special Forces prepared to confront IDF soldiers with explosive devices, mines and various types of antitank missiles, are operating in the village. According to intelligence, there are hundreds of rockets and mortar shells, with different ranges, already stored within the village.

* Four years after the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has strengthened its capabilities and resources. It currently has an arsenal of some 40,000 rockets.
Under the present condition, if war were to break out, Hezbollah could launch between 500 to 600 rockets a day towards Israel.

* Col. Ronen Marley, Commander of the Western Division on the northern border, explained that Hezbollah has been collecting information on IDF activities and events in Israel…. [He] estimated that a renewed conflagration between Israel and Hezbollah could happen anytime between today and next year.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Israeli Police Illegal Arrest and Interrogation Fail to Pin Firebombing on 13- and 12-Year-Old Jewish Boys (Video)

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Those of us who live in democratic societies have grown to see the limits placed on our naturally exuberant police forces as essential components of our civil freedoms. We know a person may not be interrogated without his or her attorney being present. We know a person must be arraigned and charged with a crime, or be set free. We know a minor may not be interrogated without his or her parent present.

Not in the wild-west territory of Judea and Samaria, where police is more likely to be brutal than not, especially to Jewish “settlers” (Hebrew for Pariah) and definitely not regarding Jewish boys of bar mitzvah age and younger.

Every week, it seems, we are treated to new evidence of Israel’s security forces in the “territories” appearing to merge with the Arab regime police forces all around us, employing brute force, intimidation, illegal incarceration and the occasional physical torture, because, frankly, they’ve run out of other ways to solve crimes.

A case in point is the recent testimony of two young teens, one 12, the other 13, who testified on video which was published by HaKol HaYehudi (The Jewish Voice).

At the end of last week, three young teens from Bat Ayin were released after spending six days in prison on suspicion of firebombing an Arab taxi, injuring six Arabs.

All three children withstood extremely difficult conditions and especially long interrogations, accompanied with threats and sophisticated tactics, utilizing relentless psychological pressure.

13-year-old M. told HaKol HaYehudi about the investigation methods employed by the Police Central Unit (Yamar) and the General Security Service (Shabak).

M. and his friends were on their way to Jerusalem Sunday morning, last week.

“At the Gush intersection (a hitchhiking post), a car stopped to give us a ride to Jerusalem. Two of us got in; the third boy wanted to get in too, but the driver said that he would only agree to take two. The driver and his wife started talking to us about ‘Price Tag’ (the clandestine retaliation movement against the left-wing and Arabs) and whether it was a good thing or not,” M. related.

“The driver turned on the radio and it was someone talking about ‘Price Tags’  and that we have to burn down mosques during the day, with the Arabs still inside, and that he tried to join the Price Tag movement and they wouldn’t agree with him. It seemed very strange, but we didn’t understand what was going on,“ M. described.

“When the radio piece was over, the driver started asking us who threw the firebomb, and that of course we knew who it is.” M. answered that he and his friend had no idea who did it.

The two children still didn’t realize that the innocent “hitch” was a actually a police trap.

“We reached Kiryat Moshe and asked to get out, but the driver said that he would pull over for us at a stop further down the road. When we got to that stop, the driver said that it’s illegal to stop at the bus stop and there’s an increased fine for it, so he would stop after the next turn. He stopped after the turn and two detectives immediately jumped on us and told us that we were under arrest for suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.”

After several days under arrest, M. was led near the interrogation room when he suddenly heard loud shouts.

“I saw the driver of the car that we hitchhiked in, handcuffed inside the interrogation room, with a detective shouting at him, ‘what did you talk about with them during the ride?  We already know everything about you!’ and stuff like that. I heard him tell the detective that he knows me only because he picked me up one day at the Gush intersection and that he has no connection to us.”

“After that, I was put into a holding cell and suddenly they put him in too. He started shouting at me: ‘What did you do? I am a married man and I don’t want to get involved in problems.’”

The investigating police officer then started to shout at M. that he and his friends must tell the detectives what they did in order to get the man released to his family.

“I didn’t really pay attention to him, so they took him out and I didn’t see him again,” said M.

Arab Poisoning of Ra’anana Family: Even the Burglars have Murder on their Mind

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

From far away, it may seem surprising that Israelis still continue to seek normal relations with the Arabs with whom we share so many aspects of life. Anyone in doubt about this needs simply to walk into any Israeli hospital.

The lifting of a gag order yesterday (Sunday) about a criminal prosecution is a fresh cause for consternation about neighbourly relations. It’s a case that started out as a burglary – not an uncommon crime here. But it has become something much more unsettling.

In suburban Ra’anana, a few minutes drive north of Tel Aviv, the apartment of the Lerner family was robbed in October 2011. The Haaretz account yesterday says police established that entry had been achieved by the use of the front door key. It soon emerged that the building contractor on the property next door had been given the key. It then somehow ended up in the hands of one of the construction workers. Police were called to the scene, and while questioning him, Eyal Lerner collapsed and eventually had to be rushed to intensive care where his life was saved. Soon afterwards, his wife and two and a half year old son as well as one of the police needed urgent hospitalization as well. Suspecting poison, the police carried out tests; these established that bottle of grapefruit juice and of water along with other food items had been tampered with, and contaminated with large, probably lethal, doses of pesticide.

The suspects are Hossam Abd El-Rahim, 37, from the Israeli Arab town of Tira; and Otman Nas’ara, 47, from the town of Beit Furik in the West Bank. The name of the third suspect remains subject to the gag order. All were charged yesterday with conspiracy to commit a crime and burglary.

The authorities who went to Nas’ara’s home in the West Bank were attacked by rock-throwing locals. Undeterred, they found poison in his home and have charged him with attempted murder. He admitted the charge, citing – as Haaretz calls them – “nationalistic motives”. Everyone in our postal code understands that’s a common euphemism for terrorism.

El-Rahim who was arrested in Tira denied the murder allegations. They had nothing more serious in mind than “a routine burglary” and Nas’ara acted alone, said the accomplice.

Israel National News says the thieves had access to the home because the Lerner’s knew the contractor next door and trusted him, and gave him the keys. Eyal Lerner told Israeli radio: “It was not difficult to realize that we were burglarized, because the television was missing. Our camera also disappeared… We lock the apartment a lot better now.”

With most construction sites in Israel employing large numbers of Arab workers, it’s likely that more people will be locking their apartments better now too.

Levi Aron Gets 40 Years to Life for Killing and Dismembering Leiby Kletzky

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Levi Aron, who killed and dismembered 8 year old Leiby Kletzky in July 2011  pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing Kletzky, in return he received 40 years to life in prison.

Leiby Kletzky had been walking home from his Brooklym camp when, after getting lost, asked Aron, a store clerk,  for directions.

Aron then kidnapped Kletzky, drugged him, smothered him, and dismembered him. Part of the boy’s body were found in Aron’s freezer and the rest in a garbage bin.

Aron gave no explanation as to why he committed such a sick crime.

 

Michigan St. Jewish Student, Police Differ on Whether Attack Was Hate Crime

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A Jewish student at Michigan State University said he was attacked at an off-campus party in what he is calling a hate crime.

But the East Lansing Police Department said Tuesday that a preliminary investigation has determined that the incident two days earlier likely was not a hate crime, The State News reported. The police reportedly spoke with two witnesses and have identified a potential suspect who does not live in the area.

Zach Tennen, 19, said that just before Sunday’s assault, his attackers asked him if he was Jewish and that he answered in the affirmative, according to reports. Tennen, a resident of suburban Detroit and a sophomore at the university, told WDIV-TV in Detroit that his attackers also “were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK.”

Tennen, whose jaw was broken in the attack near MSU’s East Lansing campus, was knocked unconscious. The assailants stapled his mouth shut through his gums.

Others at the party watched as Tennen called a taxi to take him to the hospital. His mouth was surgically wired shut.

His family has called the Anti-Defamation League regarding the assault. Tennen plans to return to classes in a week.

The university in an email statement referred all questions about the police investigation to East Lansing Police, as the incident occurred off campus.

“Michigan State University’s Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student who said he was assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs,” the statement also said.

France’s ‘No-Go’ Zones: Where Non-Muslims Dare Not Tread

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The French government has announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called “no-go” zones: Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims.

These crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has officially designated “Priority Security Zones” (zones de sécurité prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens, where Muslim youths recently went on a two-day arson rampage that caused extensive property damage and injured more than a dozen police officers.

The crackdown on lawlessness in the no-go zones is set to begin in September, when French Interior Minister Manuel Valls plans to deploy riot police, detectives and intelligence agents into the selected areas. The hope is that a “North American-style” war on crime can prevent France’s impoverished suburbs from descending into turmoil.

As of now, 15 initial Priority Security Zones have been designated. If the new policy results in a drop in crime, Valls is expected to name up to 40 more Priority Security Zones before the summer of 2013.

Many of these new Priority Security Zones coincide with Muslim neighborhoods that previous French governments have considered to be Sensitive Urban Zones. (Zones Urbaine Sensibles, or ZUS) – which were also “no-go” zones for French police.

At last count, there were a total of 751 Sensitive Urban Zones, a comprehensive list of which can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated five million Muslims live in these “Sensitive Urban Zones” — parts of France over which the French state has essentially lost control.

Consider Seine-Saint-Denis, a notorious northern suburb of Paris, and home to an estimated 500,000 Muslims. Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes, 36 of the 40 districts are on the French government’s official list of “no-go” zones.

Seine-Saint-Denis, also known locally as “Department 93″ for the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb, witnessed fierce rioting by Muslim youths in 2005, when they torched more than 9,000 cars.

The suburb, which has one of the highest rates of violent crime inFrance, is now among the initial 15 ZSPs because of widespread drug dealing and a rampant black market. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates inFrance– 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless — and it therefore remains unlikely that a government crackdown will succeed in bringing down the crime rate in any permanent way.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE of an official Priority Security Zone is department of La Somme, which includes the northern French city of Amiens. On August 12 and 13, around 100 Muslim youths in the impoverished Fafet-Brossolette district of Amiens went on a rampage after police arrested a man for driving without a license.

Muslims viewed that arrest as “insensitive” because it came as many residents of the neighborhood were attending a funeral for Nadir Hadji, a 20-year-old Algerian youth who had died in a motorcycle accident on August 9. The reality was that police were called to the scene because of reports that youths were loading fireworks into a car. When the police arrived, they also discovered the ingredients for petrol bombs, including empty bottles and a canister of gasoline.

When the riots of August 12-13 broke out, in response, about 150 policemen and anti-riot police were deployed to the Fafet neighborhood where the youths were rioting and used tear gas, rubber bullets and even a helicopter after the youths shot at them with buckshot, fireworks and other projectiles from nine in the evening until four in the morning.

At least 16 police officers were injured in the melee, one seriously. Youths also torched and destroyed a junior high school canteen, an anti-juvenile delinquency sports room, a leisure center, and a kindergarten, as well as 20 automobiles and 50 trash bins. The cost of repair and rebuilding could run up to $7.4 million (€6 million). (Click here for photos from the French publication, L’Express.)

Gilles Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, said the violence reflected a descent into lawlessness orchestrated by ever younger troublemakers: “There have been regular incidents here but it has been years since we’ve known a night as violent as this with so much damage done. The confrontations were very, very violent.”

Bacon Hate Crimes and Islamophobia Witch-Hunts

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The NYPD is taking a break from investigating multiple shootings in four of New York City’s boroughs, including the attempted murder of an NYPD Sergeant, to head down to the city’s much overlooked fifth borough, Staten Island, to investigate a case of littering.

Muslims arriving at the New Dorp football field, a few blocks away from the New Dorp High School, discovered some bacon lying on the ground. The field is usually home to the New Dorp Central Cougars and the Staten Island Tech Seagulls, but that day instead of boys and girls running around joyfully in the sun, robed men had come to attend a Ramadan event. The media and police were quickly summoned and now the NYPD is investigating the bacon as a hate crime.

The Ramadan event had been organized by a local chapter of the Muslim American Society. The Muslim American Society is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, and some of its chapters have called for the murder of Jews. Calling for the murder of Jews however falls under freedom of speech. Unlike bacon which is a hate crime.

Staten Island had 226 robberies, 342 felonious assaults, 380 burglaries and 1,129 misdemeanor assaults last year. The figures are probably even worse this year and the NYPD has better things to do than train bacon-sniffing dogs to track down litterers. But the case of the lost bacon is not New York’s most absurd Islamophobia witch-hunt to date.

Last year Osman Daramy, an 11-year-old boy, was charged with a hate crime for trying to pull off a girl’s hijab in school. Osman had a long history of violent misbehavior but no real disciplinary action was taken against him until he went too far and pulled off a hijab. Newspapers, which generally avoid printing photos of children being arrested unless they murdered someone, gleefully ran pictures of him being led away in handcuffs and leg irons.

Somewhere in the middle of all the madness, Osman’s stepfather explained to the press that the Daramy family is Muslim and that Osman participates in Muslim prayers. “How could a Muslim have (committed) another hate crime against a Muslim?” he asked.

The year before that, New York City was treated to an even more horrifying Islamophobic hate crime. On a hot August day, the wire services reported that a man had invaded a mosque, accused the worshipers of being terrorists and then urinated on their prayer rugs. “Start of a bigger trend?” MSNBC asked. “Without a significant response by mainstream political leaders, this disturbing trend will only continue to grow,” a CAIR spokesman warned.

But the disturbing trend of mosque carpet urinators did not take off. The perpetrator, Omar Rivera, had been drinking for five straight days after the death of his sister and had never mentioned terrorists. His only crime was accidentally soiling some prayer rugs lying outside the mosque. The only hate came from inside the mosque which had an article on its website accusing the Jews of being responsible for homosexuality and AIDS.

Omar Rivera and Osman Daramy were swept up in the Islamophobia witch-hunt. But they weren’t the only ones. Innocent New Yorkers, like Eddie Crespo, an off-duty MTA officer who tried to break up a fight involving a Muslim Imam, have also been caught up in the Islamophobia hysteria. And now the NYPD is hunting for bacon-lovers while prosecutors wonder how to convince a jury that littering is a form of intimidation, just like a swastika or a burning cross.

The Islamophobia witch-hunt is not the NYPD’s fault. The NYPD is under severe political pressure to fight Islamophobia and it has to make the requisite number of arrests to show that it is serious about it. The Islamophobia establishment and its media allies are the ones responsible for unleashing the witch-hunt that led to a Latino MTA officer nearly losing his career and a grieving Latino man nearly being locked up for a minor offense. And even Muslim children, such as Osman Daramy, can be caught up in the hysteria of the Islamophobia witch-hunt when there aren’t any actual bias crimes against Muslims to be found.

In the last five years there have been multiple Muslim plots to bomb synagogues. The NYPD is investigating bombs in synagogues, not bacon, because there really is a disturbing trend of anti-Semitic hate crimes. The best evidence that there is no similarly disturbing trend of Islamophobic attacks is that the NYPD is bagging and tagging bacon at a Staten Island football field.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/bacon-hate-crimes-and-islamophobia-witch-hunts/2012/08/22/

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