Has Stop and search become too excessive


‘Stop and Frisk’ May Be Working But Is It Racist”?

Home Secretary Theresa May, unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects. Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently.

In April Theresa May said use of stop and search had become an “unacceptable affront to justice” after Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 27 per cent of searches did not contain reasonable grounds for suspicion. It meant more than 250,000 of the one million searches conducted last year could have been illegal, fuelling concerns that stop and search is used disproportionately against black and Asian people.

Mrs May said: “Nobody wins when stop and search is misused. It can be an enormous waste of police time and damage the relationship between the public and police.”
All 43 forces in England and Wales have signed up to the voluntary scheme and 24 forces will implement two key aspects immediately.

Firstly, the agreement restricts the controversial “no suspicion” powers, which allow officers to stop and search members of the public even when they do not suspect a crime has been committed.

A chief police officer must now believe it is “necessary” to authorise use of the so-called Section 60 powers because violence “will” take place.

Previously, use of the powers could be authorised by a much more junior officer when it was “expedient” to do so because they believed violence “may” occur – a much lower test.

In addition, the powers will now only be available for an initial 15 hours rather than the 24 hours allowed previously. In the second measure forces will have to record the outcome of searches in more detail.

Officers who carry out a stop and search will have to make a note of the outcome such as whether it led to an arrest, a caution or no further action.

Stop-and-searchRecently on UK social media there seemed to be a sudden influx of comments on Stop and Search people from all walks of life participated intriguingly there as always will be trolls who gives a one sided argument and never gives other a chance to answer the important question. I’m very clear of Stop and Search there are people who are discontent with being stop and search and the use of it being disproportionately used in certain communities. One was to ask themselves the question does the area has a medium, high, or low levels of crime in the area after all the police are just doing their job and in some cases acting on information that they have received and sometimes they get it wrong the police are only human and likewise are likely to make mistakes like all of us. I concur that at times that Stop and Search can be a deterrent and should be use proportionality in all communities

 A Stop and Search (either PACE s.1 or MDA s.23) is always recorded, in both the officer’s PNB and on a C12/C12a. Stop and account is also recorded in the same manner, with a copy of the record given to the person in question (you might be surprised to learn that many people refuse to accept it – we cannot force them to accept it, but in those circumstances, we annotate to that effect and keep the copy in our filing drawer accordingly). Stop and search of a vehicle is also recorded in the same manner. When a person is stopped, we are not permitted to ask then closed or certain questions relating to a specific offence; this would constitute an interview and a person would then become a suspect, at which point they are afforded additional rights. But during stop/accounts or stop/searches, we are able to ascertain the following:

What you are doing?

Where have you been?

Where you are going?

What you are carrying?

Further to the above, the carbonated C12 booklets that we carry are not serialised, so a further level of recording is required. Either using MDT (a portable laptop in the vehicle) or back at the Station we will update the incident with an additional reference number, which is obtained from our Crime Recording Office (this name is misleading; they are responsible for a whole host of criminal records responsibilities, part of which includes recording searches). The reference number (much like an incident number) has no bearing or relevance to crime; a search is not recorded as a crime, as I have said. A search may lead to a crime being recorded (i.e. stolen articles or drugs, etc. were found during the search) at which point another number relevant to the investigation would be created.

Here is an example shown how Stop and Search is worked:

All UK Forces post details online about the Stop and Search policy, including your rights during and after. This one is for South Yorkshire Police:
http://www.southyorks.police.uk/content/stop-and-search

Intriguingly in the United States A US Federal Judge found that stop-and-search tactics used by the New York Police Department have violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of citizens and are racist, and called for a federal monitor to oversee reforms to the policy.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that police officers have been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective evidence that they had been committing an offence. Cops usually searched young black and Latino men for weapons or drugs before letting them go.

The ruling follows a more-than-two-month non-jury trial. The 195 page decision found that in 88 percent of ‘stop and frisks’ the police ended up letting the person go without an arrest or a ticket.

The judge said this percentage was so high it suggested there was no credible reason to suspect someone of criminality in the first place.

She found that the stop-and-frisk-episodes had demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, and also violated the 14th Amendment, which addresses citizens’ equal rights and protection under the law, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Scheindlin also ruled that she would designate an outside lawyer, Peter L. Zimroth, a former corporate counsel and prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, to monitor the NYPD’s compliance with the Constitution.  This will leave the New York police under a degree of judicial control that will doubtless shape policing policies under the next mayor.

“Far too many people in New York city have been deprived of this basic freedom far too often. The NYPD’s practice of making stops that lack individualized reasonable suspicion has been so pervasive and persistent as to become not only part of the NYPD standard operating procedure, but a fact of daily life in some New York City neighborhoods,” she said.

She added that the plaintiffs who had instigated the case “readily established that the NYPD implements its policies regarding stop and frisk in a manner that intentionally discriminates based on race.”

The stop-and-frisk incidents are part of incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tough crime-fighting legacy, and although the number of people searched has soared over the last decade, crime has continued to fall since the 1990s.

Scheindlin heard evidence from a dozen black, Latino or biracial people who had been stopped by police as well as from statistical experts who had examined police paper work detailing some 4.43 million stops between 2004 and the middle of 2012. A number of police officers and commanders also gave evidence; typically they defended their own actions saying they only made the stops when they thought criminal activity was occurring.

The judge found that the New York police had overstepped their authority to briefly stop and investigate people who are behaving suspiciously and that in effect they were watering down the legal minimum standard required to stop someone.

Legal experts said that this was the largest and broadest-sweeping case against the US’s largest police force, and that this ruling may have an effect on how other police departments conduct street stops.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he will appeal Judge Scheindlin’s ruling

 

 

Community Leaders and MPs need to be hold to account over religious extremism


Some people identity which community they belong to and try to engage, problems arises when they question so called community leader(s) who do they really represent community vs themselves or their organisation which open can of worms for political debates. Unfortunately this is just a tip of the iceberg which community leaders and elective representatives continually fail to address on a large scale as many have forgotten to hold their elected members and community leaders to account.

Recently we have read in the press, social media and television we have also seen an ever increase of Middle East situation with no ending to it. I came across two recent articles one of a wannabe prospective candidate from one of the main political parties what the candidate trying to address Jihadist issue. And another who was born during the Taliban war and escaped. Unfortunately both have failed to address the key concerns of all communities that have a Muslim population so the issue then becomes much wider than just mentioning one sector of society. We all have our part to do in society by not pandering to some so called sound bites.

me in my heydaysAs painful as it is most Jihadist or fundamentalist groups have taken to social media to both promote and recruit their brand of brainwashing ideology which is very worrying not just to the government but to the wider communities at large as nobody wants to see or learn that their son or daughter taking up arms in the name of religion in any faith based organisation(s). Some people may now become defensive by now. I say to them it’s a reactionary action which is human nature which the Far Right would lavish by rubbing their gabby hands and say we are listening to what you are saying. I concur that extremism has to be addressed and I welcome the UN resolution to deal with ISIS but unfortunately it does not go far enough to address extremism in the wider context with all religious groups.

The questions then become how the 17 nationals’ addresses this issue which alleges 17 different nations counter the extremist group in the wider context as there are some suggestions of taking their passports away from them, stopping the funding at source, supporting the Assad regime to help stop extremism. All countries that identified their nationals’ involvement of joining the jihadist groups should be involved to help prevent terrorist and not just two countries viz USA and UK. Let not forget the problem of the Middle East by sending in troops and decides that it was time to leave as their budget could not continue to sustain the effort owing to cut back in defence budget to be frank with all this is and has always been about the short term with no plans of the long term solution but to gain a quick bucks to gain control of black gold and to sell arms to the leaders of the countries who face terrorism.

Some countries would strongly argue that we helped to make a difference by training the countries arm forces and improved the situation and offered advice. Well I say to US & UK governments to wake up and smell the coffee as it has not improved the situation as the extremists group just went underground then gave their instructions to their foot soldiers then disappear and abide their time  until the foreign troops left  only to see them resurface again with a rebrand.

Some time ago I recall speaking to a very close friend of mine Rohullah Yakobi was born in war and escaped the Taliban. He is a political activist with a difference as we spoke of the time when I visited Afghanistan Buddhist Statues  and the Afghanistan Buddhism history whilst we were in heavy discussion over lunch he mentioned about a recurring situation which he reminded me of :

On August 8, 1998, Taliban forces, with the help of Pakistani and Arab fighters, captured the city of Mazar-i Sharif in northern Afghanistan. What happened next was described by Human Rights Watch as a “killing frenzy”.

Their main target was the Hazara community, who had fiercely resisted the Taliban’s advances. Tajiks and Uzbeks were persecuted too. Within days, thousands of dead bodies piled up in the streets. Mullah Abdul Manan Niazi, the new governor of the province, had given the people of Mazar-i Sharif a merciless ultimatum: convert to Sunni Islam, leave Afghanistan, or face death.

An old proverb says: “Koho mardumon mo ya” (mountains are our people) — thousands of Hazaras had survived taking refuge in the mountains and remote valleys. The current tragedy of Iraq’s Yazidi and Christian communities is a déjà-vu of what the Hazaras have experienced in Afghanistan.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State is similar to Mullah Omar’s Islamic Emirates. The former calls himself the Caliph; the latter Amir-ul-Moemineen (commander of the faithful). Both want to create a state based on literal interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith.

We in the West are horrified by IS’s atrocities. We are appalled by IS’s destruction of cultural, religious and historical sites in Iraq and Syria: the Taliban have been there, done it, and continue to do so. They destroyed most of what was left in Kabul’s once rich museum. When they captured the historical city of Bamiyan, they detonated the two giant statues of Buddha. They again massacred the local Hazaras.

The Taliban were the consequence of chaos and bloodshed ensued after the West abandoned Afghanistan following the defeat of the Soviets. We made a fundamental mistake with the decision to let the country rot in its own miseries; a strategic error that is haunting us until the present day.

The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, was not so much a threat to the West as an entity. However, they had turned Afghanistan into a failed and rogue state. They had given sanctuary and training facilities to Osama Bin Laden and his fellow Al-Qaeda terrorists. Al-Qaeda used Afghanistan as its home base and it was there where their deadly attacks were planned. After 9/11, the US demanded the handover of Osama Bin Laden and the deportation of his followers. Mullah Omar refused. Had he accepted, the Taliban might still be in power.

Until Al-Qaida hit the twin towers, there was not much interest in the Taliban’s affairs. Only few knew about the motives of the group, let alone the ideology behind it. We only acted when it was already too late and looked away when the Hazaras, the Tajiks and the Uzbeks were massacred.

The Islamic State’s motives are clear. They want to create a universal Islamic Caliphate and have become a cohesive, committed and efficient force. They have successfully recruited thousands from the West – Australians, Germans, Brits and many others. These foreign fighters pose a fundamental threat to our national security and have been described by the intelligence community and terrorism experts as the single greatest danger since the 9/11 attacks. Whilst the Taliban did not have the intentions of attacking the West themselves and focused on committing brutal atrocities at home, Al-Baghdadi’s men can and, if left to their own accord, will attack the West and their interests. This should alarm the policymakers and force them to action.

We have a moral obligation to protect the defenceless and innocent people being persecuted and slaughtered not just because of our liberal-humanitarian values, but because we can. We also have to act against the Islamic State, Al-Baghdadi and his mad men for the sake of our national security. The Taliban barbarism and threats were ignored and we continue to pay blood and treasure as a consequence. The Islamic State is far more dangerous. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past: they have to be confronted, defeated and completely eradicated.

After we finished lunch I left with a sense of feeling that the so called Community, faith Leaders and members of parliament of all sides of all faiths as painful as it is have to address all forms of religious extremism. Educating our children to not be radicalised is one thing but parent(s) also need to take responsibility to educate with equal balance and not to be one sided of the debate with their own agenda and prejudices that has in-breaded by their fore parents.

My Thoughts Islamic State (ISIS) threat


Whilst I welcome the decision that Britain has welcomed a UN resolution designed to weaken Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The United Nations Security Council gave unanimous approval to the document, which was drawn up by the UK.

It backed sanctions on individuals recruiting, financing, supplying weapons, or fighting for Islamic State (IS) and linked groups.

The UK Ministry of Defence has revealed that its Joint Rivet surveillance aircraft has been operating in Iraq.

The reconnaissance plane had been operating in the region for the last few weeks, a spokeswoman said, helping to “build an understanding of the humanitarian situation and the associated ISIL (also known as IS) threat”.

“The intelligence and insight it has provided has guided our humanitarian efforts giving us an accurate picture of what is going on the ground so that we could best deliver aid to the Yazidi people.

The hot potato of the day has to be for me is how will world leaders address of the increase presence of Islamic State(ISIS) in Iraq which in my opinion has more than one leader with no base or constitution and why so many young people are being attracted in joining various Jihadist Groups.

I would like some acknowledgement that “we” the West, are in some measure to blame. After all, “we” did invade, overthrow a secular dictator, ostracise the experienced Civil Servants, and ensure the candidates for Presidential Election were acceptable to the transnational corporations. Val McDermid expressing sensible concerns that when you arm people you think are the goodies, they may actually be as bad as the baddies, and that in any event you escalate the use and possession of lethal weapons. All wanted super dooper diplomatic initiatives, though these were unspecified, and a longer term strategy for the Middle East. Nobody mentioned Russia and China. It was all “The West”. On Russia in particular, I am horrified that “the West’s” focus on “Aid Convoys” from Russia to Eastern Ukraine appear to be blinding intelligent people from considering the importance of the diplomatic role Russia could play

There are so many think tanks out there with little or no solutions to address the wider issue which affects some ethnic communities which the FarRight groups are quick enough to jump on the bandwagon to spread their hatred of Muslims and Islam what their lack of understanding of the Koran from some intellectually challenged people.

Ironically the UK has banned some Islamic groups but failed to ban groups like English Defence League, (EDL) British First (BF), British National Party (BNP) and United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) no doubt some will argue that those group will go underground well folks wake up they have in some cases gone underground but only surface to spread their vile messages to their lieutenants then disappear letting their foot soldiers taking the can who are already brainwashed is the only way to describe them.

Intriguingly I read two articles which really sums it up in a nutshell for me when it began with:

The US and the UK can’t defeat ISIS  Arab states have to take the lead The destruction of this caliphate must come from a Muslim led force

On Friday last week, as he became the fourth US president in succession to authorise airstrikes in Iraq, Barack Obama effectively said the world’s most powerful terrorist group, ISIS, was an Arab problem and that regional leaders would have to deal with it.

“The nature of this [ISIL / ISIS] problem is not one that the US military can solve,” he said, offering the clearest indication of his thinking. “[W]e can then be one of many countries that deal with the broader problem that ISIL poses,” he said during the press conference, but the US was not going to take the lead.

Over the last year ISIS has captured territory that is now larger than Great Britain. It is among the fastest-growing and richest terrorist groups of all time. After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul. Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to £3m a day by selling the resource on the black market. The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.

The plight of Iraq’s minorities, especially the Yazidis, has struck a chord strong enough to raise demands that the USA and UK should intervene to help such groups and destroy ISIS. I don’t say this as a blind anti-interventionist – I supported the invasion of Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban and heavy military intervention in Syria to avoid a humanitarian crisis – but such a course of action would be foolhardy and counter-productive. On this, President Obama is absolutely right: the problem posed by ISIS cannot be solved by US military.

A wide-scale military operation spear-headed by the US or UK to defeat ISIS is doomed to failure. In fact they welcome the prospect. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones,” a spokesman for the group told Vice News. “Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, god willing,” he added. ISIS would love the United States and UK to invade with soldiers or to step up aerial bombardment across the country.

There are two key reasons why I oppose such action. Firstly, aerial bombardment won’t make much difference, and may well lead to extensive civilian casualties. ISIS are well-versed in fighting an established army – in Syria – and constantly move around equipment and people. In case of (a highly unlikely) ground war, they would bog down American and British troops in a costly and draining ground war stretching over years, if not decades.

To reiterate, ISIS aren’t a rag-tag bunch of rebels hiding in caves, as al-Qaeda is largely reduced to now. It is a well-equipped urban guerilla army fighting on several different fronts and winning in most of them. While Saddam Hussain’s army barely put up a fight against American troops, the warriors of Islamic State would relish fighting them on their holy land.

A western-led attack on ISIS would also be counter-productive because of the inevitable blowback. The establishment of a caliphate has not just made ISIS more attractive than al-Qaeda, it also puts us in a deep quandary. To put it bluntly, the US or UK cannot be seen as cheerleading the destruction of the most successful caliphate in recent times.

It doesn’t matter how many imams or Muslims across the world have distanced themselves from ISIS, the destruction of this caliphate must come from a Muslim-led force. Otherwise the symbolism is such that we would be fending off terrorist attacks forever. To offer one example of their popularity – while not one Indian Muslim has been found fighting with al-Qaeda (in a country with the world’s second largest Muslim population), ISIS has not only inspired imams but attracted four Indian Muslim fighters already. The symbolism of a caliphate cannot be underestimated, and neither can the symbolism of its destruction.

I suspect Obama knows this. This is why there is hesitation across the American and British administrations, and why he said Arab leaders had to lead the charge against ISIS instead. The airstrikes authorised by Obama last week were limited, solely to help Kurdish armed forces fighting ISIS in northern Iraq. The British government isn’t even debating the prospect of joining its ally in these airstrikes and Labour opposes any such action outright.

There’s a reason, too, why we can afford to take a step back from this conflict. In contrast to al-Qaeda, the focus of the Islamic State is inward. It wants to consolidate territory across the Middle East before it takes on the might of the United States. It’s ironic that Saudi Arabia, which sponsored Wahhabism for decades, is now threatened by a group based on its ideology. We should let it deal with the consequences.

The ISIS leader was NOT trained by the CIA or Mossad, and Snowden didn’t say it

There are three common rules when people discuss politics:

1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices
2) they don’t want to accept people of their tribe do awful things
3) they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems

A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the self-proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Stories claiming this hoax have gone viral all over the web (example 1example 2example 3). This is simply not true. In fact I asked the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has had more contact with Snowden than most people this question directly.

Furthermore, Edward Snowden’s lawyer called this claim a hoax too.

So where did ISIS money and the guns come from?
I explain this briefly in my New Statesman article:

After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul.

Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to £3m a day by selling the resource on the black market.

The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.

But America is still to blame, right?

In some ways, yes. The New York Times recently reported:

The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.

From there he joined al-Qaeda, and later split off into his own group which later became ISIS and Islamic State.

But what about all the pictures?

If you see any pictures, supposedly of al-Baghdadi meeting someone (like John McCain!), they’re also fake. These pics never reveal their source, time, date or location. Unless a pic does that, so it can be verified, it’s a fake.

Here is the history of the vile terrorist group and remember the quote:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out  Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me”.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a jihadist group, widely regarded as a terrorist organisation. In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control, beginning with territory in the Levant region, which includes JordanIsraelPalestineLebanonCyprus, and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay. The group has been officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, and has been widely described as a terrorist group by Western and Middle Eastern media sources, including Amnesty International

The group, in its original form, was composed of and supported by a variety of Sunni Arab terrorist insurgent groups, including its predecessor organizations, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) (2003–2006),Mujahideen Shura Council (2006–2006) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) (2006–2013), other insurgent groups such as Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba and Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, and a number of Iraqi tribes that profess Sunni Islam.

ISIS grew significantly as an organization owing to its participation in the Syrian Civil War and the strength of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Economic and political discrimination against Arab Iraqi Sunnis since the fall of the secular Saddam Hussein also helped it to gain support. At the height of the 2003–2011 Iraq War, its forerunners enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar,NinevehKirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of BabilDiyala andBaghdad, and claimed Baqubah as a capital city. In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, ISIS has a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-RaqqahIdlib and Aleppo.

ISIS is known for its extreme and brutally harsh interpretation of the Islamic faith and sharia law and has a record of horrifying violence, which is directed at Shia Muslims, indigenous Assyrian (Chaldo Assyrian), Syriac and Armenian Christians,YazidisDruzeShabakis and Mandeans in particular. It has at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks in Iraq[71] who, in addition to attacks on government and military targets, have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. SIS had close links with al-Qaeda until 2014, but in February of that year, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its brutality and “notorious intractability”.

ISIS’s original aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. Following its involvement in the Syrian Civil War, this expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria. A caliphate was proclaimed on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—now known as Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim was named as its caliph, and the group was renamed the Islamic State.

The group has had a number of different names since its formation in early 2004 as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, “The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad” (JTJ). These names are underscored in the following paragraphs.

In October 2004, the group’s leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the name of the group to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, “The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers“, more commonly known as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” (AQI). Although the group has never called itself “Al-Qaeda in Iraq”, this name has frequently been used to describe it through its various incarnations.

In January 2006, AQI merged with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organization called the “Mujahideen Shura Council“. This was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi’s tactical errors, notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman. Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, after which the group’s direction shifted again.

On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council joined four more insurgent factions and the representatives of a number of Iraqi Arab tribes, and together they swore the traditional Arab oath of allegiance known as Ḥilf al-Muṭayyabīn (“Oath of the Scented Ones”).[b][80][81] During the ceremony, the participants swore to free Iraq’s Sunnis from what they described as Shia and foreign oppression, and to further the name of Allah and restore Islam to glory.

On 13 October 2006, the establishment of the Dawlat al-ʻIraq al-Islāmīyah, “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI) was announced.  A cabinet was formed and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi became ISI’s figurehead emir, with the real power residing with the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The declaration was met with hostile criticism, not only from ISI’s jihadist rivals in Iraq, but from leading jihadist ideologues outside the country.[84] Al-Baghdadi and al-Masri were both killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010. The next leader of the ISI was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of ISIS.

On 9 April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”, also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”.

The name is abbreviated as ISIS or alternately ISIL. The final “S” in the acronym ISIS stems from the Arabic word Shām (or Shaam), which in the context of global jihad refers to the Levant or Greater Syria. ISIS was also known as al-Dawlah (“the State”), or al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah (“the Islamic State”). These are short-forms of the Arabic name for the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”; it is similar to calling “the United States of America” “the States”.

ISIS’s detractors, particularly in Syria, refer to the group using the Arabic acronym “DAESH” a term which it considers derogatory. ISIS reportedly uses flogging as a punishment for people who use the acronym.

On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) as the group’s primary name. The debate over which acronym should be used to designate the group, ISIL or ISIS, has been discussed by several commentators. Ishaan Tharoor from The Washington Post concluded: “In the larger battlefield of copy style controversies, the distinction between ISIS or ISIL is not so great.”

On 29 June 2014, the establishment of a new caliphate was announced, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named as its caliph, and the group formally changed its name to the “Islamic State”.

ISIS is a violent extremist group that follows al-Qaeda’s hard-line ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles. Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt. ISIS follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. Concurrently, ISIS (now IS) aims to establish a Salafist-orientated Islamist state in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant.  ISIS’s ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which it believes corrupt its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman Empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam and hence has been attempting to establish its own caliphate. However, there are some Sunni commentators, Zaid Hamid, for example, and even Salafi and jihadi muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, who say that ISIS and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis at all, but Kharijite heretics serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.

Salafists such as ISIS believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting against non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, when it comes to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, since ISIS regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad, it regards fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation with Israel.

From its beginnings the establishment of a pure Islamic state has been one of the group’s main goals. According to journalist Sarah Birke, one of the “significant differences” between Al-Nusra Front and ISIS is that ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. While both groups share the ambition to build an Islamic state, ISIS is “far more ruthless … carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. ISIS finally achieved its goal on 29 June 2014, when it removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name, began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, and declared the territory which it occupied in Iraq and Syria a new caliphate.

In mid-2014, the group released a video entitled “The End of Sykes–Picot” featuring an English-speaking Chilean national named Abu Safiyya. The video announced the group’s intention to eliminate all modern borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countries; this was a reference to the borders set by the Sykes–Picot Agreement during World War I.

On 13 October 2006, the group announced the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed authority over the Iraqi governorates of BaghdadAnbarDiyalaKirkukSalah al-DinNineveh, and parts of Babil.[82] Following the 2013 expansion of the group into Syria and the announcement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the number of wilayah provinces which it claimed increased to 16. In addition to the seven Iraqi wilayah, the Syrian divisions, largely lying along existing provincial boundaries, are Al BarakahAl KheirAr-RaqqahAl BadiyaHalabIdlibHamaDamascus and the Coast.

In Syria, ISIS’s seat of power is in Ar-Raqqah Governorate. Top ISIS leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are known to have visited its provincial capital, Ar-Raqqah.

After significant setbacks for the group during the latter stages of the coalition forces‘ presence in Iraq, by late 2012 it was thought to have renewed its strength and more than doubled the number of its members to about 2,500, and since its formation in April 2013, ISIS has grown rapidly in strength and influence in Iraq and Syria. Analysts have underlined the deliberate inflammation of sectarian conflict between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis during the Iraq War by various Sunni and Shiite actors as the root cause of ISIS’s rise. The post-invasion policies of the international coalition forces have also been cited as a factor, with Fanar Haddad, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore‘s Middle East Institute, blaming the coalition forces during the Iraq War for “enshrining identity politics as the key marker of Iraqi  politics”.

ISIS’s violence is directed particularly against Shia Muslims and indigenous Syriac-ArameanAssyrian and Armenian Christians. In June 2014, The Economist reported that “ISIS may have up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000–5,000 in Syria, including perhaps 3,000 foreigners; nearly a thousand are reported to hail from Chechnya and perhaps 500 or so more from FranceBritain and elsewhere in Europe”. Chechen fighter Abu Omar al-Shishani, for example, was made commander of the northern sector of ISIS in Syria in 2013.

By 2014, ISIS was increasingly being viewed as a militia rather than a terrorist group.  As major Iraqi cities fell to al-Baghdadi’s cohorts in June, Jessica Lewis, an expert on ISIS at the Institute for the Study of War, described ISIS as “not a terrorism problem anymore”, but rather “an army on the move in Iraq and Syria, and they are taking terrain. They have shadow governments in and around Baghdad, and they have an aspirational goal to govern. I don’t know whether they want to control Baghdad, or if they want to destroy the functions of the Iraqi state, but either way the outcome will be disastrous for Iraq.” Lewis, who was a US Army intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, has called ISIS “an advanced military leadership”. She said, “They have incredible command and control and they have a sophisticated reporting mechanism from the field that can relay tactics and directives up and down the line. They are well-financed, and they have big sources of manpower, not just the foreign fighters, but also prisoner escapees.”

ISIS’s annual reports reveal a metrics-driven military command, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which is “a strong indication of a unified, coherent leadership structure that commands from the top down”.  Middle East Forum‘s Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said, “They are highly skilled in urban guerrilla warfare while the new Iraqi Army simply lacks tactical competence.” Seasoned observers point to systemic corruption within the Iraq Army, it being little more than a system of patronage, and have attributed to this its spectacular collapse as ISIS and its allies took over large swaths of Iraq in June 2014.

Hillary Clinton stated: “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

During the Iraq War, the US Armed Forces had never faced an organized militant force as effective.[citation needed] Douglas Ollivant, a former Army Cavalry officer who later handled Iraq for the White House National Security Council, said, “They were great terrorists. They made great car bombs. But they were lousy line infantry, and if you got them in a firefight, they’d die. They have now repaired that deficiency.” Like other analysts, Ollivant credits the civil war in Syria for their striking improvement in battlefield ability since the Iraq War: “You fight Hizballah for a couple of years, and you either die or you get a lot better. And these guys just got a lot better.” Another major weapon in ISIS’s tactical armoury is control of rivers, dams, and water installations.

ISIS runs a soft-power program, which includes social services, religious lectures and da’wah—proselytizing—to local populations. It also performs civil tasks such as repairing roads and maintaining the electricity supply.

The group is also known for its effective use of propaganda. In November 2006, shortly after the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq, the group established the al-Furqan Institute for Media Production, which produced CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products. ISIS’s main media outlet is the I’tisaam Media Foundation, which was formed in March 2013 and distributes through the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF). In 2014, ISIS established the Al Hayat Media Center, which targets a Western audience and produces material in English, German, Russian and French. In 2014 it also launched the Ajnad Media Foundation, which releases jihadist audio chants.

ISIS’s use of social media has been described by one expert as “probably more sophisticated than [that of] most US companies”. It regularly takes advantage of social media, particularly Twitter, to distribute its message by organizing hashtag campaigns, encouraging Tweets on popular hashtags, and utilizing software applications that enable ISIS propaganda to be distributed to its supporters’ accounts. Another comment is that “ISIS puts more emphasis on social media than other jihadi groups. They have a very coordinated social media presence.” Although ISIS’s social media feeds on Twitter are regularly shut down, it frequently recreates them, maintaining a strong online presence. The group has attempted to branch out into alternate social media sites, such as Quitter, Friendica and Diaspora; Quitter and Friendica, however, almost immediately removed ISIS’s presence from their sites.

A study of 200 documents—personal letters, expense reports and membership rosters captured from Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq was carried out by the RAND Corporation in 2014. It found that from 2005 until 2010, outside donations amounted to only 5% of the group’s operating budgets, with the rest being raised within Iraq. In the time-period studied, cells were required to send up to 20% of the income generated from kidnapping, extortion rackets and other activities to the next level of the group’s leadership. Higher-ranking commanders would then redistribute the funds to provincial or local cells that were in difficulties or needed money to conduct attacks. The records show that the Islamic State of Iraq was dependent on members from Mosul for cash, which the leadership used to provide additional funds to struggling militants in Diyala, Salahuddin and Baghdad.

In mid-2014, Iraqi intelligence extracted information from an ISIS operative which revealed that the organization had assets worth US$2 billion, making it the richest jihadist group in the world. About three quarters of this sum is said to be represented by assets seized after the group captured Mosul in June 2014; this includes possibly up to US$429 million looted from Mosul’s central bank, along with additional millions and a large quantity of gold bullion stolen from a number of other banks in Mosul. However, doubt was later cast on whether ISIS was able to retrieve anywhere near that sum from the central bank, and even on whether the bank robberies had actually occurred.

ISIS has routinely practised extortion, by demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses, for example. Robbing banks and gold shops has been another source of income.  The group is widely reported as receiving funding from private donors in the Gulf states, and both Iran and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS, although there is reportedly no evidence that this is the case.

The group is also believed to receive considerable funds from its operations in Eastern Syria, where it has commandeered oilfields and engages in smuggling out raw materials and archaeological artifacts. ISIS also generates revenue from producing crude oil and selling electric power in northern Syria. Some of this electricity is reportedly sold back to the Syrian government.

Since 2012, ISIS has produced annual reports giving numerical information on its operations, somewhat in the style of corporate reports, seemingly in a bid to encourage potential donors.

Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (abrreviated JTJ or shortened to Tawhid and JihadTawhid wal-Jihad, sometimes Tawhid al-Jihad,Al Tawhid or Tawhid) was started in about 2000 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and a combination of foreigners and local Islamistsympathizers. Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian Salafi who had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the Soviet-Afghan War, but he arrived after the departure of the Soviet troops and soon returned to his homeland. He eventually returned to Afghanistan, running an Islamic militant training camp near Herat.

Al-Zarqawi started the network with the intention of overthrowing the Kingdom of Jordan, which he considered to be un-Islamic according to the four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. For this purpose he developed numerous contacts and affiliates in several countries. Although it has not been verified, his network may have been involved in the late 1999 plot to bomb the Millennium celebrations in the United States and Jordan. However, al-Zarqawi’s operatives were responsible for the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan in 2002.

Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zarqawi moved westward into Iraq, where he reportedly received medical treatment in Baghdad for an injured leg. It is believed that he developed extensive ties in Iraq with Ansar al-Islam (“Partisans of Islam”), a Kurdish Islamic militant group based in the extreme northeast of the country. Ansar allegedly had ties to Iraqi Intelligence;Saddam Hussein‘s motivation would have been to use Ansar as a surrogate force to repress secular Kurds fighting for the independence of Kurdistan. In January 2003, Ansar’s founder Mullah Krekar denied any connection with Saddam’s government.

The consensus of intelligence officials has since been that there were no links whatsoever between al-Zarqawi and Saddam, and that Saddam viewed Ansar al-Islam “as a threat to the regime” and his intelligence officials were spying on the group. The 2006 Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded: “Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward al-Zarqawi.”According to Michael Weiss, Ansar entered Iraqi Kurdistan through Iran as part of Iran’s covert attempts to destabilize Saddam’s government.

Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, JTJ developed into an expanding militant network for the purpose of resisting the coalition occupation forces and their Iraqi allies. It included some of the remnants of Ansar al-Islam and a growing number of foreign fighters. Many foreign fighters arriving in Iraq were initially not associated with the group, but once they were in the country they became dependent on al-Zarqawi’s local contacts.

Goals and tactics

The stated goals of JTJ were: (i) to force a withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq; (ii) to topple the Iraqi interim government; (iii) to assassinate collaborators with the occupation regime; (iv) to remove the Shia population and defeat its militias because of its death-squad activities; and (v) to establish subsequently a pure Islamic state.

JTJ differed considerably from the other early Iraqi insurgent groups in its tactics. Rather than using only conventional weapons and guerrilla tactics in ambushes against the US and coalition forces, it relied heavily on suicide bombings, often using car bombs. It targeted a wide variety of groups, especially the Iraqi Security Forces and those facilitating the occupation. Groups of workers who have been targeted by JTJ include Iraqi interim officials, Iraqi Shia and Kurdish political and religious figures, the country’s Shia Muslim civilians, foreign civilian contractors, and United Nations and humanitarian workers. Al-Zarqawi’s militants are also known to have used a wide variety of other tactics, including targeted kidnappings, the planting of improvised explosive devices, and mortar attacks. Beginning in late June 2004, JTJ implemented urban guerrilla-style attacks using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. They also gained worldwide notoriety for beheading Iraqi and foreign hostages and distributing video recordings of these acts on the Internet.

 Activities

 JTJ claimed credit for a number of attacks that targeted Iraqi forces and infrastructure, such as the October 2004 ambush and killing of 49 armed Iraqi National Guard recruits, and for a series of attacks on humanitarian aid agencies such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It conducted numerous attacks against US military personnel throughout 2004, and audacious suicide attacks inside the high-security Green Zoneperimeter in Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi’s men reputedly succeeded in assassinating several leading Iraqi politicians of the early post-Saddam era, and their bomb attack on the United Nations Mission’s headquarters in Iraq led the UN country team to relocate to Jordan and continue their work remotely.

The group took either direct responsibility or the blame for many of the early Iraqi insurgent attacks, including the series of high-profile bombings in August 2003, which killed 17 people at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, 23 people, including the chief of the United Nations Mission to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Melloat the UN headquarters in Baghdad,  and at least 86 people, including Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, in the Imam Ali Mosque bombing in Najaf.[172] Included here is the November truck bombing, which killed 27 people, mostly Italian paramilitary policemen, at the Italian base in Nasiriyah.

The attacks connected with the group in 2004 include the series of bombings in Baghdad and Karbala which killed 178 people during the holy Day of Ashura in March; the failed plot in April to explode chemical bombs in Amman, Jordan, which was said to have been financed by al-Zarqawi’s network; a series of suicide boat bombings of the oil pumping stations in the Persian Gulf in April, for which al-Zarqawi took responsibility in a statement published by the Muntada al-Ansar Islamist website; the Maycar bomb assassination of Iraqi Governing Council president Ezzedine Salim at the entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad; the June suicide car bombing in Baghdad which killed 35 civilians; and the September car bomb which killed 47 police recruits and civilians on Haifa Street in Baghdad.

 Foreign civilian hostages abducted by the group in 2004 include: Americans Nick Berg,Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley; Turks Durmus Kumdereli, Aytullah Gezmen and Murat Yuce; South Korean Kim Sun-il; Bulgarians Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov; and BritonKenneth Bigley. Most of them were beheaded using knives. Al-Zarqawi personally beheaded Berg and Armstrong, but Yuce was shot dead by al-Masri and Gezmen was released after “repenting”.

 

 

Ceasefire Israel vs Hamas will it last the test of time


 

Many are beginning to think that the ceasefire has no chance of ending with the continuing firing on both sides of the boarders. As usual both sides pays no heed,
agreements after agreements always breaks down at the last minute all because of a stumbling block as one side wants an end of siege and the other side want Hamas to disarm their rockets both claiming they have a right to defend themselves.

So far the ceasefire between Israelis and Hamas is holding for now somehow many are wondering will it last, only time will tell if it last. It’s been alleged that UK arms licences Israel will be suspended only if there is fresh violence in Gaza. UK has identified 12 licences for components which could be used in equipment in Gaza by Israel. It’s further alleged that it will suspend them in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.

Under the current climate I think this coalition will not follow it through as they are paying lip service just to show brinkmanship and keeping both the Conservatives back, front benches, and Labour from revolting against David Cameron which may change the course of the leadership of the Conservatives as Boris Johnson tries to find a safe Conservative Parliamentary seat .

Intriguingly world leaders call Hamas a terrorist organisation and they will not recognize them because of Hamas constitution which was in place from 1987. I have to stress from the very beginning that I have no affiliations to Hamas. I do however have vested interest with Palestine from the moment I visited the country with a trade union delegation and  long to revisit the places with my children to show them what I witnessed whilst I was there and for them to take their children’s children there to see what life was like under the occupation.

Recently a friend informed me about an article to which I recalled reading but did not connect the dots together by Alaa Tartir, program director Al-Shab
aka the Palestinian policy Network it begins with:

I came across the post-war recovery experts, their international consultancy firms, an international aid industry, and the donor community are ramping up for another Gaza reconstruction exercise. Another war, and another salvage effort for the besieged coastal strip. An international donors’ conference, a carbon copy of the 2009 Sharm El-Sheikh donor conference, is due to take place in Norway this September. There seems little doubt that conference participants will pledge another $5 billion (which may or may not be paid), in an effort that seems destined only to cover up the failure of the international community to stop the destruction before it started.

The donor conference does present an opportunity, however, to forge a new paradigm of aid politics. As a first step, Hamas must be invited to attend this round. Exclusion would only lead to repeated mistakes. It is time to re-evaluate the decision to exclude the party.

In the aftermath of the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, international donors rejected a democratically elected Hamas. By doing so they undermined the very governance reforms that they had paid to implement. Worse, they entrenched the intra-Palestinian divide between Fatah and Hamas. And they contributed to the years-long impasse in the peace process and to the deteriorating living conditions of Palestinians. Reconstructing Gaza has the potential to be a bold political move that would enable donors to reverse the mistakes they made in the past.

There are four strong reasons to include Hamas in the reconstruction process. First, it is time to acknowledge the major transformations that the party has undergone over the past decades. The Hamas of 2014 is dramatically different from the party of 1987 that penned a charter calling for the de facto rejection of Israel. In 2006, Hamas acknowledged the Oslo Peace Accords by participating in parliamentary elections. Hamas Chairman Khaled Mash’al has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 boarders. The charter is obsolete. It is about time that the US media starts focusing on the Hamas of today, an organization with reasonable demands, such as lifting the siege on Gaza.

Second, before entrusting reconstruction funds to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, donors need to be reminded of its eroding legitimacy, including the fact that it is un-elected. Donors must work with the local government as well as secure a long-term impact by lifting the siege on Gaza. This does not entail recognizing Hamas as a legitimate government, but is rather a recognition that Hamas’s popularity and public legitimacy has increased in the aftermath of the war on Gaza. Yes Hamas has, like Fatah, committed human rights violations and practised corruption; it is equally responsible, alongside Fatah, for the intra-Palestinian divide. Parallel demands must be made for public accountability. But this should be dealt with as a separate matter from the reconstruction of Gaza. Given Hamas’ political standing, is it not about time to ask donors, and the US in particular, when they will engage directly?

slientdemoThird, the donor community must engage with the right actors. It is not enough to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor as Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinsonargued. Rather, it is time “to do business” with Hamas, and to focus efforts on the interests of Palestinians. Hamas, more than anyone else, knows what Gaza needs today, and has the infrastructure to make sure the needs of Gazans are met.

Fourth, it is more than time to end the donors’ traditional preference for including Israel in reconstruction planning and discussions. Israel pockets a large portion of funds bound for Palestinians, and clearly targets Palestinian infrastructure and capacity for development, not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank. It is more than time to pay attention to the findings of a recent Independent Commission for Human Rights report that unless donors “hold Israel accountable, [Israeli] actions will continue and your funds will go to repair the damages. Ironically, Israel will end up receiving over 30% of all funds that you bring for recovery and humanitarian assistance” because of their control over goods and services.

If donors don’t want to keep pouring their aid dollars into a bottomless pit while letting Israel get away with repeated assaults, they must hold Israel accountable. It is beyond ludicrous to invite the besieger that has repeatedly destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure beyond any conceivable notion of “self-defense” to the planning table with the besieged.

The explicit and direct inclusion of Hamas in the international donors’ conference in Norway next month is key to an effective reconstruction process. Next month donors must choose between sustaining the status quo or taking bold and necessary steps for change. Respect for the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza and beyond dictates bold change over the status quo.

here are some of my  suggested actions that people may wise to do by signing various petitions:

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-rt-hon-philip-hammond-mp-send-rfa-argus-hospital-ship-to-gaza

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/demand-a-total-uk-embargo-on-arms-to-israel?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1407712384

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/murder_made_in_britain_loc/?bpeNWbb&v=43825

 

 

 

Passions continues to run very high on both sides of confliect


“I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand”.

At the UN the father of Palestine was a Guest Speaker who invited to highlight the concerns of Palestine. Israelis and US Governments walked out in protest over the presence of Yasser Arafat quoting that they will not be present whilst a terrorist is there yet during then the Israelis broken all the UN resolutions that the UN upheld.

Year after year resolutions have been presented from all the trade unions and the three main political parties on both issues of Palestine and Israel from the various pressure groups in support or against and you have guessed it there have been heated passions on both sides for and against the motion(s) from 1967 to the present time.

Lets not forget some history here:

In 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour signed the infamous ‘Balfour declaration’ which gave away the land of the Palestinians to establish a ‘Jewish homeland’.

At the time of the Balfour Declaration, the area of historic Palestine had a 90% Palestinian Arab population.

The Balfour Declaration states “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, however this has clearly not been upheld.

In the run up to the Israeli declaration of independence, Arabs were forced out of their villages upon threat of death. 531 villages were completely cleansed of their Arab populations.

Deir Yassin, a small village near Jerusalem was ethnically cleansed in April 1948 when 250 of its inhabitants were massacred by members of the Irgun and Lehi terrorist gang militias.

The Irgun was also involved in the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 Jewish, Arab and British civilians. The Irgun then became part of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF)and its commander, Menachem Begin, would later become an Israeli Prime Minister.

Four Israeli Prime Ministers are confirmed to have taken part in terror attacks, massacres or ethnic cleansing; Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin.

The early Zionist movement was known to be hostile towards religious Jews. Theodor Herzl, the founding father of Zionism, had initially supported a mass-conversion of Jews from Judaism.

This indicates that Zionism is a political rather than religious ideology and criticism of Israel and the Zionist movement is not criticism of the Jewish faith and therefore claims of ‘antisemitism’ are unjustified.

War/Politics:

In 1967, Israel pre-emptively attacked Egyptian forces, leading to a full-scale war. It was following this war, that Israel began its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East to have a nuclear arsenal, with up to 400 nuclear warheads. This is enough to destroy every major population centre in the Middle East.

The Israeli attack on Gaza, known as ‘Operation Cast Lead” from December 2008-January 2009 was one of the harshest seen by this tiny defenceless strip of land. Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed.

After the Gaza War, a number of Israeli soldiers said that they witnessed or heard accounts of human rights abuses against the Palestinian population, such as, the shooting of unarmed women, children and elderly people.

During the War on Gaza,Israel used the banned chemical agent, White Phosphorous, on a civilian population – a weapon that causes deep burns and inhalation of which can be fatal.

Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem, which followed the 1967 War, was universally condemned and is illegal under international law. The UN has issued numerous Resolutions against Israel’s annexation of the city, however, Israel continues to ‘Judaize’ the city. Palestinian families in Jerusalem live under harsh restrictions, and are being cut them off from their families in the West Bank.

Abuse of Rights:

unnamedIsrael’s Separation Wall not only restricts Palestinian freedom of movement but also captures huge stretches of Palestinian land. Businesses and homes have been demolished to make way for the wall and villages have lost access to wells and farmlands that they relied on.

The West Bank is littered with checkpoints. The UN reported in 2011 that there were 522 road blocks and checkpoints in the West Bank. Israel continues to place severe restrictions on freedom of movement for Palestinians and the treatment received at checkpoints is humiliating. The result has been a decrease in the number of Palestinians using West Bank roads, effectively causing them to be used exclusively by settlers.

Palestinians in need of medical attention, including pregnant women, often suffer from Israeli restrictions on freedom of movement. The ongoing blockade of Gaza means that pregnant women are forced to spend days at crossings, even when in need of urgent attention.

Palestinian children who throw stones are imprisoned by Israel for approximately one year, in adult prisons, breaching provisions of UN Conventions. IDF (Israeli military) soldiers have on numerous occasions, shot and killed children for throwing stones.

A report published by Amnesty International states that Israel has “entirely appropriated the Palestinians’ share of the Jordan river”. The average Israeli uses four times more water than the average Palestinian.

Israel’s recognition:

But then, in 1967, after another war, Israel occupied these Palestinian areas and Israeli troops stayed there for years. Israelis hoped they might exchange the land they won for Arab countries recognising Israel’s right to exist and an end to the fighting.

Israel finally left Gaza in 2005 but soon after, Hamas won elections and took control there. Much of the world calls Hamas a terrorist organisation. It refuses to recognise Israel as a country and wants Palestinians to be able to return to their old home and will use violence to achieve its aims.

Since then, Israel has held Gaza under a blockade, which means it controls its borders and limits who can get in and out.

Life in Gaza:

Life for the many of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip is difficult.

Israel controls its coastline and all the entry and exit crossings into Israel. There is another crossing point into Egypt. There is no working airport. Because access is so restricted, not many goods get into or out of Gaza. Food is allowed in, but aid agencies say families are not eating as much meat or fresh vegetables and fruit as they used to. There are often power cuts.

Large numbers of people are unemployed because businesses can get very few of their products out of Gaza to sell, and people don’t have much money to buy things.

Palestinian refugees:

During the 1948 and 1967 wars hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left, or were forced out of, their homes and moved to neighbouring countries to become refugees.

More than 4.6 million Palestinians are refugees and their descendants, many living in camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. They get help from the United Nations.

Violence in Gaza:

Though the Palestinians don’t have an army, rockets are regularly fired from Gaza into Israel. Israelis living in border towns are used to having to take shelter and adapting their lives to deal with the rockets.

In the years since Israel withdrew its troops in 2005, Gaza has seen several Israeli offensives. Israel says these were aimed at putting a stop to rocket fire. In 2008, Israel sent soldiers into Gaza. An estimated 1,300 people, many of them civilians, were killed in Gaza before a ceasefire was declared; 13 Israeli soldiers also died.

In 2012, at least 167 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed during an Israeli operation. After eight days a ceasefire was declared with both sides promising to stop attacks.

Most recently in July 2014, Palestinian authorities said over 200 people were killed by Israeli air strikes and many more injured. Israel says more than 1,100 rockets were fired from Gaza, seriously injuring at least four Israelis, with one Israeli man killed.

Peace Process:

Other countries, particularly America, have worked hard to settle the fighting between the Arabs and Israelis but so far nothing has worked. Many people want Gaza and the West Bank to be turned into a new country – Palestine. Israel won’t agree to this unless it feels safe – and Hamas accepts its right to exist. The other sticking points are what will happen to Israelis who’ve settled in the West Bank, who will run Jerusalem and what will happen to the Palestinian refugees.

Hell, both trade unions and the three main political parties have been invited to see the situation on both sides of the boarders by the friends of Israel and Palestine that is a fact and cannot be deleted from history but people can choose to ignore it by putting it at the back of their minds and get on with their little bubbles. Whilst most that went on the March have been consistent to say it is not just about the indiscriminate firing of both sides of the conflict there is more to it that meets the eye like the return of Palestinian and compensate for the lands that was stolen from them over the years of conflict and to rebuild Palestine and that the coalition should do more to enforce an embargo Israel arms.

Many will be aware that the Pro-Zionist movement recently took to all forms of social media outlets to justify their stance by resorting to use emotional blackmail by saying to the many  demonstrators who went on the march they are supporting  terrorists Hamas when in actual fact the marchers from all walks of life were marching against the indiscriminate killings of innocent children who were trying to flee from bullets being fired by the Israeli forces with unfortunate consequences the children ends up the hospitals with serious wounds and ending up dying of their own wounds because of lack of medication which is in short supplies and the Israeli Government where not allowing innocent children to cross the boarders to seek much-needed treatment. Most will say for us the final straw was when Israelis bombed a UN school which brought more angry people out to the streets.

I would all to continue to lobby your Member of Parliament to end the fighting and stop arming Israel currently there is 31 different companies exports arms to Israel. if you are not sure how to find your MP click on http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/find-your-mp-help/

Please donate what you can to help provide aid to the Palestinians by clicking on http://www.dec.org.uk/?utm_source=Disaster+Emergency+Committee&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4543672_Gaza+Crisis+Appeal+2+-+All&utm_content=donatenow&dm_i=1FZE,2PDX4

Sign the petition by clicking on: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/

Boycott Israeli Goods does it really serve its purpose?


 

 

http://youtu.be/xIFNNdV4IVY

Recently a formal and informal request was put to Birmingham City Council to raise the Palestinian flag at half mass in respect of innocent children who died in the cross fire between Israel and Palestine unfortunately this request was turn down by Birmingham City Council and the following statement was given:

Birmingham City has a long-standing protocol for the flying of flag from Council House.

Ordinarily, the council flag flies and the only exception to this are visits by the monarch (when Royal Standard flies) and birthdays for the Royal family (when the union flag is raised). Flags fly on national days such as St. George’s for England Scottish for St Andrew’s and Welsh for St David’s. City council flag is lowered if a serving or past member of the council passes away.

Yet whilst I may or may not concur with the statement of Birmingham City Council statement some Councillors with and members of the public came up with a brilliant  idea of holding a silent vigil during lunch time and another on the same day for workers who could not attend during the lunch time which in my opinion effective.

I salute all councils which hold managed to raise the Palestinian flag at half mass in respect of the death of innocent children who are our children of the future as they are not at fault of the conflict.

Many of us hopes to see that both children live, and stand shoulder together one day. Some may say that this may never happen in our life time but our children’s life time is one possibility and as long there is a way there is a will for this to happen.

I long to revisit Palestine one day to show my son and his children to the Palestine where many trade union delegations who met Yasser Arafat and he invited us his compound to take a look at the damages that was done under Arial Sharon army then the delegation proceeded to visit Jennin, Ramallah, Rafar and the list is too long to comment which will have my followers in tears.

Endless excuses from Israel and not one can justify their actions. This image sums up why Israel is so wrong. How can Israel keep bombing and shelling peoples homes. These buildings are not military buildings or army barracks because Hamas have none. The buildings we see being destroyed are were people live or where they work. And yet just look at this image, even when the killing stops how can Palatine recover?

Israel should pay for the destruction but above all Benjamin Netanyahu should be brought to justice by the Hague.

Some groups have called for the boycott of Israeli goods there seems to be many companies and supermarkets who supports and stock Israeli goods see below:

The peaceful way.
________________________
LISTS TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL PRODUCTS
______________
Shops & Clothing:
______________
– Starbucks
– Tesco
– M&S
– Disney Shop
– McDonalds
– Hugo Boss
– Sunglass Hut
– GAP
– Giorgio Armani
– Calvin Klein
– Ralph Lauren – Playtex
– Banana Republic
– River Island
– Timberland
______________
Drinks:
______________
– Coca Cola
– Fruitopia
– Fanta
– Kia Ora
– Lilt
– Sprite
– Sunkist
– Evian
– Volvic
– Nescafé
– Nesquik – Perrier
– Vittel
______________
Foods & Chocolates:
______________
– Nestle
– Maggi (Noodles)
– Buitoni
– Crosse & Blackwell
– KitKat
– MilkyBar
– Quality Street
– Smarties – After Eight – Aero
– Lion
– Polo
– Felix (Cat Food)
______________
Makeup/Perfumes & Health:
______________
– L’Oreal
– Clinique – DKNY
– Prescriptives – Origins – La Mer
– Bobbi Brown
– Tommy (Perfume)
– Bumble & Bumble
– Kate (Cream)
– Johnson & Johnson (Baby Oil)
– Huggies
– Garnier
______________
Others:
______________
– Arsenal Football Club
– AOL
– Time Warner Time Life Magazine
– CNN
– Barbie
– Intel – Motorola
– Kotex
– The Sun
– The Times
– Australian Newspapers
– National Geographic
– Star Channels (Indian)
– Sky
– Fox
– Nokia
– Standard Newspapers
– New York Post
– The Telegraph
– Independent

Whist I may or may not agree with boycotting Israeli goods some people put on my Facebook the following:

You are fools with no brains do,you realise who the main employees in Israeli factories or other companies located in Judea and Samaria actually are? It is true that the management is usually Jewish, but the people working on the floor are mainly Palestinians. So by boycotting Israeli companies with factories in Judea and Samaria, you will actually cause more harm to Palestinians. In a lot of cases if they don’t have work for their Jewish bosses, they would be unemployed, which means no income for their (Palestinian) family. By boycotting these factories you are really not helping the Palestinians, but rather hurting them, more than the Jewish management. A company can always change location, but it is harder for the Palestinian families to move. So please, European politicians, academics and other “smart people” who feel sorry for the Palestinians, start to think about them and let them keep their jobs

Here is one solution that all Muslims should start to perform

Here in the UK we should bring down groups organisations bodies that represent these so called rulers

If the Muslim world just for one year did not perform Umrah or Hajj & donated that money to Palestine

Saudi Arabia’s rulers would change in their attitude

If the People of Pakistan and Turkey really voiced their concerns

And the same in Egypt and North Africa and Middle East

These leaders would with one phone call bring Israel to it knees

And the beauty is no one needs to resort to violence

Maybe it’s time for the billions to become United

We call for peace in Palestine and Israel conflict


I recall during my time as a very active trade unionist which I’m proud to been part of trade union delegation who was invited to visit Palestine organised by the Friends Of Palestine even then  it was a desperate situation. Waiting for the next wave of attacks is no way to live and, like many other onlookers, we feared where this was going to end.  Almost all the casualties so far have been Palestinian civilians. They were bearing the brunt of this bloody escalation.  At the time we sincerely hoped that  all sides would stop firing its rockets and that the Israeli Government can be persuaded to stand down. The Israeli bombardments are indiscriminate and lethal. The tragic loss of civilian life in Gaza and Jenin at the time. Former Member of Parliament Lynne Jones, Birmingham Selly Oak, 1992–2010 and other trade unions lobbied The British Government to do all it can to bring about a ceasefire and prevent further loss of life.

Benjamin-Netanyahu-Israel-Ban-Ki-MoonI could still recall the United Nations, Security Councils, and European Parliament passing resolutions after resolution to end the ceasefires but did Israel heed as usual they stuck two fingers to the world that called for a ceasefire it was during the time of the leaderships of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat  unfortunately it was to continue until the death of  Yasser Arafat then after the burial Hamas and Israel continued unto the present still with no solutions from both-sides.

 

demoThe UN has called for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire”, allowing for the delivery of “urgently needed” humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.

At an emergency session in New York, the security council adopted a presidential statement – one step below a legally-binding resolution – urging Israel and Hamas “to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond”, the BBC reports.

However, the Israeli and Palestinian envoys to the UN both criticised the presidential statement.

The Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor said: “Miraculously, it doesn’t mention Hamas. It doesn’t mention the firing of rockets. You don’t have to have the IQ of a rocket scientist to understand that if rockets are falling on you, you are allowed to defend yourself.”

We stand together and we call on World Leaders to unite to call for the immediate ceasefire on both-sides of the conflict

We stand together and we call on World Leaders to unite to call for the immediate ceasefire on both-sides of the conflict

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative, said he was “disappointed” a formal resolution demanding Israel withdraw its forces from Gaza has not been agreed. “They should have adopted a resolution a long time ago to condemn this aggression and to call for this aggression to be stopped immediately,” he said.

The UN’s statement emphasised that “civilian and humanitarian facilities, including those of the UN, must be respected and protected”. It also stressed an urgent need for “immediate provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip”.


Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama called for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire during a phone call to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday.

More than 1,030 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have been killed in the fighting.

UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon has called for an urgent “humanitarian pause” to the fighting. “On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel”, he said. “This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period”.

Meanwhile, there are reports that John Kerry had presented both sides with a new ceasefire proposal today and is awaiting a response before he flies back to Washington tonight.

This follows yesterday’s mass protest where Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) clashed with Palestinians in the volatile area around a checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.Over 10,000 people took to the streets to protest against the bloodshed in Gaza. Protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and blocked a road with burning tyres, while IDF says it used “riot dispersal means”, a term used to cover weapons such as rubber bullets and tear gas.

More than 15 women, children and United Nations staff were killed and 200 injured yesterday when a school used as a UN shelter was shelled in Gaza, the fourth time in as many days that a UN facility has been hit.

The UN has rejected IDF claims that it gave occupants time to leave before the attack. The UN says it made repeated attempts to negotiate a period of time during which people could safely leave the area but none was granted.

According to the UN, more than 118,000 people are now sheltering in UN schools and people are running out of food. More than 800 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have died since the Israel-Hamas conflict began on 8 July.

Hamas has said it would consider a ceasefire if Israel agrees to lift its blockade of Gaza, but the organisation wants the terms to be agreed before it lays down its arms.

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza following the bloodiest day of the two-week conflict.

More than 500 people have been killed and more than 3,100 injured in Gaza since Israel launched its operation against Hamas militants, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

At least 100 Palestinians were killed yesterday alone as Israel escalated its military onslaught. The bodies of women and children were said to be strewn in the streets of Shejaiya as people fled their homes.

Following an emergency closed-door meeting, held at the request of Jordan, the UN Security Council expressed “serious concern at the escalation of violence”. It backed efforts by Egypt and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to broker a ceasefire deal, including the “withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the Gaza Strip”.

But Riyad Mansour, the Palestinians’ UN representative, said he was disappointed that the council had not adopted a resolution to “stop the aggression against our people”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the Israeli attacks as “crimes against humanity” and called for urgent talks. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue operations “as much as we need to” despite the death toll of Israeli soldiers rising to 18 at the weekend.

Twenty Israelis, including two civilians, have died in total, including two Americans fighting with the Israel Defence Force. The Guardian says the rise in casualties on Israel’s side could “increase pressure inside Israel for an end to the fighting or harden determination to inflict a decisive blow on Hamas”.

But Hamas has already cast doubt on the agreement, denying that a deal has been reached but saying talks are continuing in Egypt.

According to the Israelis the truce will begin on Friday at 6am local time (4am GMT), and if honoured will build on the temporary “humanitarian pause” both sides undertook today. But fears remain that one or both sides could renege on the agreement.

Israeli security forces say that Palestinian militants fired three mortars at Israel today, despite both sides committing to a five-hour cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds after four boys were killed playing football on the beach yesterday.

According to reports from Palestinian medical officials and journalists who witnessed the attack, the four teenagers were killed by shells fired by an Israeli naval gunboat.

“Children and adults scattered as the first shell struck, with a second and third hitting as they ran, setting fire to the palm-thatched shack
UN  figures cited in a Human Rights Watch report yesterday, suggest that more than three quarters of the Palestinians killed have been civilians, including 36 children, and that approximately 7,500 people had been displaced in the bombing campaign.

“Israel’s rhetoric is all about precision attacks, but attacks with no military target and many civilian deaths can hardly be considered precise,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director of Human Rights Watch.

Well hopefully we all live in the hope that both Palestinian and Israelis will live in peace one day and hopefully a two state solution will be possible which may or may-not happen during our live time but may be possible through the eyes if our grand children.