Archive for August, 2012

Rachel Corrie’s family to appeal US activist’s Israeli bulldozer death verdict

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012



THE family of a US activist has vowed to appeal the verdict of a civil suit that cleared the Israeli military of any responsibility for her death.

An Israeli court has cleared the military of any responsibility for the death of Rachel Corrie who was killed by an army bulldozer in 2003, rejecting a civil suit filed by the family.

The ruling sparked an angry reaction from the Corrie family, with Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, accusing the Israeli authorities of a cover-up.

“The state has worked extremely hard to make sure that the full truth about what happened to my daughter is not exposed and that those responsible for the killing are not held accountable,” she told reporters after the hearing.

“The verdict is based upon distorted facts and could have been written by the state’s attorney,” their lawyer Hussein Abu Hussein told reporters as Corrie’s father Craig stood by stony-faced while her mother looked heartbroken and close to tears.

Cindy Corrie said the family was “deeply saddened and deeply troubled” over the verdict.

“We believe that Rachel’s death could and should have been avoided,” said the white-haired American, her voice breaking with emotion. “We knew from the beginning that a civil suit would be an uphill battle.

“This was a bad day, not only for the family, but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and for the country of Israel,” she said.

And a British peace activist who witnessed her death first hand, insisted it was “inconceivable” that the driver of the bulldozer did not see her, as found by the judge.

“I reached the conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the bulldozer driver,” said Judge Oded Gershon at the District Court in the northern city of Haifa.

Corrie’s death, he said, was the result of “an accident she brought upon herself.”

“The deceased put herself into a dangerous situation, she stood in front of a giant bulldozer in a place where the operator could not see her. She did not distance herself as a reasonable person would have done,” he said.

According to eyewitness accounts, the 23-year-old was killed by a military bulldozer in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003.

At the time, she was acting as a human shield with a group of activists from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement to prevent troops from demolishing a house.

The verdict echoed the findings of an internal investigation by the Israeli military in 2003 which was concluded just four weeks after her death and cleared troops of any responsibility, saying the bulldozer crew did not see Corrie.

Following the hearing, the family vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Tom Dale, a former ISM activist who was 10 metres away when Corrie was crushed, insisted it was not possible that the driver did not see her.

“On 16 March 2003, Rachel could not have been more visible: standing, on a clear day, in the open ground, wearing a high-visibility vest,” he said in a statement emailed to AFP.

“It is inconceivable that at some point the driver did not see her, given the distance from which he approached, while she stood, unmoving, in front of it.”

The ISM said the court’s verdict was a “travesty of justice” but “not exceptional”.

“As a rule the Israeli legal system provides Israeli soldiers impunity to commit murder,” it said.

Craig Corrie expressed similar sentiments.

“We’ve seen from the highest levels of the military that they thought they could kill people on that border with impunity,” he said.

The family first launched their civil action in 2005, for a symbolic sum of $1, plus costs, but court hearings only began in March 2010.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi denounced the verdict as “a miscarriage of justice” and said the judge had ignored “overwhelming proof that Rachel was deliberately murdered.”

“This proves that once again, the occupation has distorted the legal and judicial systems in Israel, and that the lack of accountability for its violence and violations has generated a culture of hate and impunity,” Mr Ashrawi said.

She also lashed out at Washington over its “deafening” silence, saying it made the US administration complicit in Israel’s crimes.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said she understood the family’s disappointment, but added: “It’s probably not productive to get into the middle of a legal process that may be ongoing.”

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Corrie’s death “an unnecessary tragedy,” but said the court ruled in accordance with the evidence that “the Israeli side was not responsible, and on the contrary, if there was irresponsible behaviour – it was by the activists.”

He also rejected the criticism of the Israeli legal system levelled by Corrie’s family members, saying they were “not objective” and that “there are numerous cases where the judicial branch rules against the executive branch.”

Corrie was killed at the height of the second intifada or uprising (2000-2005) and quickly became a symbol of foreign support for the Palestinian cause. She was the subject of a 2005 play based on her emails and diary.





Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012


The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) is a unique grant opportunity for organizations engaged in providing humanitarian assistance through the use of new technologies, products and processes.

The fund was set up as a partnership between ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance) and ALNAP (The Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action); and is hosted by Save the Children UK.

It has received contributions from the UK Department of International Development (DFID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a total amount of over £1.8 Million.

There are two types of grants offered by HIF:

  • Large Grant
  • Small Grant

The large grant is a limited opportunity where proposals are invited only during certain time of the year. The small grant facility is permanently open for proposals and organizations can request up to £20,000 of funding support. These grants are available for a period of 6 months.

HIF strongly encourages consortia applications that bring together a range of actors and draw on a relevant diversity of knowledge, experience and expertise.

The purpose of the fund is to support organizations and individuals to identify, nurture and share innovative and scalable solutions to the challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance.

We have done some quick research on how organizations can apply and benefit from this fund. Click on the links below to know more: Link


Monday, August 20th, 2012


Railways on terror target as govt sits pretty



Railways faces a grave security threat from Maoists and terrorists, according to intelligenceofficials, but little is being done to upgrade the security apparatus for the network spanning 8,000 stations.

ImageThe Intelligence Bureau(IB) has been sending constant inputs on threat perception to the railways. According to a recent input, Maoist-linked sabotages are a major concern. Maoist threat on the eve of Independence Day disrupted train services in Mughalsarai division.

Officials blame the obsolete security apparatus and shortage of manpower for the situation. The Railway Protection Force(RPF), responsible for providing security in trains and stations, is heavily understaffed.

In the last six years, railways has been the target of at least four major terrorist/Maoist attacks.

The Mumbai train bombings in July 2006 killed 209 people; Samjhauta Express blasts killed 68 people in February 2007; the attack on Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus during the 26/11 carnage killed 58; and the Jnaneswari Express derailment in May 2010 in West Bengal, which was allegedly the handiwork of Maoists, killed 148 people.

According to sources in the intelligence agencies, train accidents attributed to sabotage have been rising over the last few years. This year alone, there have been four to five accidents due to suspected sabotage.

An internal assessment by the RPF says the force strength should be around three lakh, but as of now the sanctioned strength stands at only 75,000. Even this requirement is not met as there are more than 14,000 vacancies.

Shockingly, a force given the mandate to provide security for railways across India has less manpower than even the Delhi Police that has 80,000 personnel. “The figure of three lakh is a conservative one.

This is the manpower needed to provide the most basic security in trains and railway stations,” an RPF officer said.

The RPF’s assessment takes into account security for all the 14,000 passenger trains, access control at 100 important stations, security of goods trains and protection of railway property.

In a shocking admission, the official said, “Out of 14,000 passenger trains, armed RPF personnel are present in only about 2,000. As far as the stations are concerned, there are only about 50 across the country with proper access control.”

This lack of manpower in the force has also been bothering the intelligence agencies. “The threat perception to railways is very high. High profile trains and important stations are always on the terrorists’ radar. The lack of manpower makes them even more vulnerable,” an intelligence official said.

Although the railways has already introduced the integrated security system(ISS) at some stations which is expected to cover nearly 200 stations by next year, the apprehension is that the manpower shortage will prove to be a hindrance in the functioning of the system.

The system comprises automatic vehicle scanners, CCTV surveillance, door frame metal detectors and X-ray machines. “Even for this to work smoothly, we need more manpower. Unless the strength of RPF increases drastically, all this cannot work,” a railway board member said.


Saturday, August 18th, 2012


The Siliwangi Division or KODAM VI/Siliwangi (later re-numbered KODAM III/Siliwangi) is the name of a formation of the Indonesian Army. The Division was formed during the Indonesian National Revolution by what was then known as the People’s Security Army (TKR). It was stationed in West Java where much of its membership was recruited, and bore the name of a 15th Century kingdom located in this area and of that kingdom’s King Siliwangi. it became a Territorial Division (Tentara & Territorium) on 24 July 1950,[1] and a military regional command, or KODAM, in 1959.

Since May 1946 the division was commanded by then-colonel Abdul Haris Nasution and his adjutant was Umar Wirahadikusumah, and slightly later Amirmachmud was the Division Commander’s Chief of Staff. Kemal Idris was also among the division’s officers. All of these would play a significant role in Indonesia’s military and political life during the coming decades.

Under the terms of the cease-fire agreement of January 1948 known as the Renville Agreement, the Siliwangi Division was obliged to evacuate West Java and hand it over to the Dutch, and to move over to Central Java. During this lull in fighting the colonial troops, the Division was involved in the bloody crackdown on the Communists at Madiun, in the course of which thousands were killed.

In December 1948 the Dutch army launched the surprise attack known as Operation Kraai, swiftly capturing the Indonesian provisional capital at Yogyakarta and most Indonesian territory. The Siliwangi Division at that time conducted a fighting retreat back to its original position in West Java, where its men had their social milieu and were familiar with the terrain, and which was therefore the best suited for this unit to conduct guerrilla warfare in. Despite the division’s recent anti-Communist record, this action came to be known as the Long March Siliwangi, for the famed Long March of Mao Zedong‘s Chinese Communist Party. On arrival in West Java the division fought both the Dutch and the rebellious DI/TII.

In 1953 Nasution wrote a book called the Fundamentals of Guerrilla Warfare, based on his own experience of fighting and organizing guerrilla warfare, which would become one of the most studied books on guerrilla warfare along with Mao’s works on the same subject matter.

Poncke Princen, a former Dutch colonial soldier who went over to the Indonesian rebels, took part in that “Long March” and was appointed a staff officer in the Division.

On January 23, 1950, a rebel group called Angkatan Perang Ratu Adil (APRA) led by Captain Raymond Westerling attempted to seize Bandung during the APRA Coup d’état.[2] Lt. Col. Lembong and 93 other Indonesian soldiers and officers were killed. On January 24, 1950, the rebels tried to attack Jakarta, but the rebellion was quashed in a fierce battle in Pacet, near Jakarta. Sultan Hamid II was arrested, but Capt. Westerling managed to escape to Singapore (then still a British colony).[3]

In late 1951 the Division was described as being ‘a loose umbrella for five infantry brigades (each of which had up to four infantry battalions) strung across the western third of Java.’ The post of commander of Tentara & Territorium III, the territorial military command encompassing west Java, was in effect synonymous with control of the division.[4]

Battalion 530 of the Siliwangi Division was involved in the 30 September Movement events in 1965. Following the later overthrow of Sukarno and the installation of the Indonesian “New Order” under Suharto, the Siliwangi Division’s then commander, HR Dharsono, belonged to a faction dubbed by scholars as “New Order Radicals”.[5] Together with Kemal Idris and with Sarwo Edhie Wibowo of KODAM II/Bukit Barisan (Sumatra), this group wanted political parties to be dismantled and replaced with non-ideological groups which emphasized development and modernization.

“Factionalism within the army leadership, once a severe problem, no longer disrupted operations in the early 1990s. Traditional divisional identification continued to have some significance, however, especially in regard to that developed in the former Siliwangi, Diponegoro, and Brawijaya divisions, which covered western, central, and eastern Java, respectively, during the war of independence and the years immediately thereafter. The detachment of the Jakarta area from the control of the Siliwangi division and the restructuring of the army from a divisional basis to the territorial Kodam system diffused the powers of the divisions and eliminated warlordism.” [6]

INDONESIA 67 Independence

Friday, August 17th, 2012


Independence can only be obtained and secured by a nation that has raged with the spirit of determination: freedom or death!
On this Independence Day, we are determined to improve the economy of Indonesia and the higher the level of infrastructure! Join us.

Thanks Turkey

Friday, August 17th, 2012


Turns Out Mullah Omar Was Never on the FBI’s Top Terrorists List

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


Update 12:56 p.m.: Since posting this story, we’ve gotten a few reader emails suggesting that the FBI never had Mullah Omar on its most wanted terrorist list in the first place A post from Storify suggests that the story originated in the Pakistani media with reports like the one from Pakistan-based (and The New York Times-owned) The Express Tribune, where we first heard the news. We phoned the FBI’s press office, and FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson confirmed that Omar was never initially on the list (though he is on a State Department list offering a cash reward for his capture, Bresson noted). Meanwhile, The Express Tribune has unceremoniously pulled its story from its website to leave only a 404 page. Also with egg of its face: the fake Twitter account for Mullah Omar, which played off of the fake news by tweeting “Hellooo my dears. What? I’m free? Now I can FINALLY visit Las Vegas? #nomoreFBI” And we too apologize for passing along the not-real news (and for using a poorly chosen photo originally).

Original post: Wow, how far we’ve come from October 2001. Back then the U.S. was bombing the Taliban out of power for supporting terrorism, while today we’ve pulled its top leader from our terrorist list. The FBI today has taken Mullah Muhammad Omar, head of the Taliban in Afghanistan, off of its ‘Most Wanted Terrorists” listreports The Express Tribune. It’s unclear whether the U.S. no longer thinks Omar is a terrorist or if he’s just not wanted anymore. In any case, the Obama administration is trying ploy after ploy to get the Taliban to negotiate a peace in Afghanistan and put that war to bed like the one in Iraq. Already thrown on the table: The 20 something Gitmo prisoners part of the Taliban and control of southern Afghanistan, according to The Tribune. But so far the Taliban doesn’t want much to do with us after, you know, declaring war on them a decade ago and all.

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments or send an email to the author at You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.

Volunteers guard Syirian

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


Volunteers guard the independence of Indonesia to open registration to defend the Syrian regime is Shi’ite Nushairiyah


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012


Clinton, Turkish Official Discuss Syrian Coordination

Sunday, August 12th, 2012


ISTANBUL—U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the Syrian crisis with her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul on Saturday, amid a worsening conflict between regime and opposition forces inside Syria.

Mrs. Clinton’s visit was seen in Turkey as a reaffirmation of U.S. support for Turkey’s policy on Syria. Turkey has fiercely criticized the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and is hosting Syrian opposition groups, which are actively working to overthrow the regime, especially along the long border between the two countries.

Mrs. Clinton said in a joint press conference in Istanbul that the two countries’ foreign ministries were coordinating closely on Syria to support the opposition—in ways which said she did not want to describe in detail—as well as to aid democratic transition in Syria and end the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict.

Mrs. Clinton said that the two allies are seeking to speed up the transition of power in Syria in a more concrete way.

“Our intelligence services, our military have very important responsibilities and roles to play, so we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton said that any use of chemical weapons, which the Syrian regime is known to possess, would be “the red line for the world.”

“We have planned for many contingencies, including the very horrible scenario of the use of chemical weapons,” she said.

The secretary of state also addressed Turkey’s fears over the grown influence and activities of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, in the predominantly Kurdish northeastern region of Syria. Turkey has fought the PKK since 1984 in a bloody war which had claimed some 40,000 lives.

“Syria must not become the haven for PKK terrorists,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Before the meeting of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Davutoglu, Mrs. Clinton also met Syrian opposition members in Istanbul.

“I was very impressed by these young activists,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.

Together with the latest influx of refugees to Turkey from Syria, the number of Syrians in Turkish camps has exceeded 55,000, according to Turkey’s foreign ministry figures. In recent days, a couple of thousand Syrians have crossed the border to Turkey on a daily basis.