Malaysia | Japan | Palestine

Malaysia anti-government protesters continue sit-in (AlJazeera)

Thousands of demonstrators have continued their protests in Kuala Lumpur for a second day to demand the resignation of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak over a financial scandal.
The crowd of yellow-clad protesters, who slept on the streets near the city’s Independence Square, woke on Sunday to mass exercises and a resumption of the previous day’s peaceful demonstration.
Initial crowds appeared smaller than Saturday, when police said 29,000 had gathered, while the rally’s organisers – electoral-reform pressure group Bersih – said 200,000 had turned out.

Tens of thousands of Japanese protest against ‘war law’ (AlJazeera)

Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied outside Japan’s parliament to oppose legislation that could see troops in the officially pacifist nation engage in combat for the first time since World War II.
In one of the summer’s biggest protests ahead of the new laws anticipated passage next month, protesters on Sunday chanted “No to war legislation!” ”Scrap the bills now!” and “Abe, quit!”
Organisers said about 120,000 people took part in the rally in the government district of Tokyo, filling the street outside the front gate of the parliament, or Diet. Similar demonstrations were held across nation.

Bloomberg: Thousands rally in Tokyo rain to protest Abe’s defense-law plans (Asia Times)

The proposed bills have been welcomed by the US, which wants support from its biggest Asian ally to help balance China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Other governments in Asia are also largely supportive, apart from China and South Korea, which are at loggerheads with Japan over territorial disputes and interpretations of history.
Parliament’s lower house has already passed the bills, which are now being debated in the less powerful upper house. If the upper house fails to pass them within 60 days, the lower house can enact them by passing them a second time, with a two thirds majority.

Chaim Levinson: Torture of Palestinian Detainees by Shin Bet Investigators Rises Sharply (Haaretz; also at Khamakar Press)

The Shin Bet is required to report to the court that torture were used, so that the judges will know what weight to give evidence gathered under such means. Defense attorneys are not allowed to make copies of the reports, but only to read them. The documents themselves are kept in a safe.
Until 1999, thousands of Palestinian prisoners were tortured every year. The Public Committee against Torture in Israel estimates that most Palestinians questioned experienced at least one kind of torture.
In September 1999, following a petition to the High Court of Justice, the court prohibited the systematic use of torture, but left a small opening to interrogators: An interrogator who used violence could claim after the fact that there was an “urgent need” to violate the law. Then-High Court President Aharon Barak left it to the discretion of the attorney general whether to press charges.
“Urgent need” is something that is decided in retrospect, if a complaint is filed, but in extreme cases permits to torture are still issued. The attorney general has set rules as to when “urgent need” is present, but these rules are not made public.

The Shin Bet Must Stop Torturing Palestinian Detainees (Haaretz)

The High Court of Justice issued a historic ruling in 1999, according to which the Shin Bet security service was not authorized to use physical means in its interrogations. The court thus repudiated the conclusions of the 1987 Landau Commission of Inquiry on the matter, which permitted the Shin Bet to use “moderate physical pressure” during interrogation.
Sixteen years later, an investigation by Haaretz shows that torture is still used in interrogations in Israel, under the euphemistic term “the necessity defense,” and that recently its use has increased.
According to the Haaretz investigation, the cases in which torture is used are not rare and few, and often it is used unnecessarily, in accordance with existing protocol.

Natasha Roth: Palestinian women and children prevent arrest of minor in Nabi Saleh (+972)

An Israeli soldier attempts to detain a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a demonstration in the West Bank village. His mother and sister make sure that doesn’t happen…
The incident was captured on video by Bilal Tamimi, a local Palestinian journalist. The soldier can be seen running down a hill chasing Mohammed, who had his arm in a cast after breaking it during clashes in the village a few days earlier. He eventually catches up with Mohammed, puts him in a headlock and pins him against a rock. The soldier then sits on Mohammed, preventing him from moving.
Others can be heard yelling at the soldier that Mohammed is a child, and that his hand is broken. The soldier calls out for someone to come and help him, and turns to the activist standing next to him and mutters something about “leftists being trash.” He then drags Mohammed forward and pins him down again. At this point Mohammed’s 15-year-old sister, Ahed; his mother and his father, Nariman and Bassem; and his aunt Nawal arrive, along with other activists.
Mohammed’s family tries to pull the soldier off the boy, tugging at his arms and head. The soldier responds by flailing his arms wildly at them, trying to hit them, and putting his hand around Ahed’s throat. They continue trying to pull him away until another soldier arrives and leads him away. As he is walking off, the soldier throws a stun grenade into the middle of the crowd.

Gili Cohen: Palestinian Women, Children Stop IDF Soldier Detaining a Minor (Haaretz)
A Perfect Picture of the Occupation (Haaretz)

The video clearly shows, once again, the truth about a great deal of the IDF’s operational activities: chasing children. And an army that fights children and chases them as they flee is an army that has lost its conscience.

Palestine/Israel | Ukraine | USA

Amira Hass: How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth? (Haaretz)

As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by Mizan have been civilians. The UN team’s preliminary examination showed Wednesday that 71 percent of the fatalities — 1,434 out of 1,999 — are civilians.

Death Foretold: The inevitable outcome of bombing homes and inhabited areas in Gaza (B’Tselem)

From 8 July 2014, when the recent bout of fighting in Gaza began, through 10 August 2014, at least 1,767 residents of the Gaza Strips were killed. This according to initial figures B’Tselem collected in the course of the fighting. This number includes 431 individuals under the age of 18 (including one of whom it is known that he took part in the hostilities); 200 women under the age of 60; and 85men and women over 60.
To the best of B’Tselem’s knowledge, at least 70 residential buildings were bombed or shelled, with three or more relatives from a single family killed in each case. A total of 542 persons, mostly minors and women, were killed in these 70 homes: 242 minors; 126 women under the age of 60; and 25 men and women over 60.
Airstrikes on homes formed a major part of the policy implemented by the Israeli military from the start of this bout of fighting in Gaza…
As part of that policy, homes were bombed every day, more and more civilians were killed and entire families were obliterated. Even compared to previous bouts of fighting in Gaza, the number and frequency of incidents this time around was unusually high, with many people killed each time, mostly civilians who did not take part in the hostilities…
The grave consequences lend a hollow ring to Israel’s repeated claims that it has no intention of harming civilians. The massive bombardments of civilian locations were the rule rather than the exception in the last operation, routinely killing dozens of people a day. Whoever authorized the strikes must have known that they would result in many civilian fatalities, yet the bombardments continued day after day and even intensified. Authorizing attacks from the air, sea and artillery fire at heavily populated civilian areas and specific homes, constitutes willfully ignoring the inevitable killing of civilians – men, women and children – who did not take part on in the hostilities.

AP: UN: Gaza reconstruction 3 times more dire than after 2009 war (Haaretz)

Serry said approximately 16,800 housing units have been destroyed or severely damaged, affecting some 100,000 Palestinians. In addition, he said an estimated 108 installations belonging to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees were damaged along with the Gaza branch of his own office.

Amira Hass: Israel bars Amnesty, Human Rights Watch workers from Gaza (Haaretz)
Nir Hasson, Yaniv Kubovich: Israel Police’s war against Arab protesters (Haaretz)

Some 1,500 [anti-war] protesters were arrested between July 2 and August 6. Over 650 criminal records were opened and more than 350 people were charged … none are Jewish. Arabs are charged, Jews aren’t.

Jeff Halper: Globalizing Gaza (CounterPunch)

Operation Protective Edge was not merely a military assault on a primarily civilian population. As in its previous “operations” (Cast Lead in 2008-9 and Pillar of Defense in 2012), it was also part of an ongoing assault on international humanitarian law (IHL) by a highly coordinated team of Israeli lawyers, military officers, PR people and politicians, led by (no less) a philosopher of ethics. It is an effort not only to get Israel off the hook for massive violations of human rights and international law, but to help other governments overcome similar constraints when they embark as well on “asymmetrical warfare,” “counterinsurgency” and “counter-terrorism” against peoples resisting domination. It is a campaign that Israel calls “lawfare” and had better be taken seriously by us all.

Gidi Weitz: Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar (Haaretz)

Israel Prize laureate and renowned scholar fears the collapse of Israeli democracy, and compares the current atmosphere with that of 1940s’ France. The time we have left to reverse this frightening trend is running out, he warns…
“What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total. It’s not easy to go against the herd, you can easily be trampled. But the role of the intellectual and the journalist is not to applaud the government. Democracy crumbles when the intellectuals, the educated classes, toe the line of the thugs or look at them with a smile. People here say, ‘It’s not so terrible, it’s nothing like fascism – we have free elections and parties and a parliament.’ Yet, we reached a crisis in this war, in which, without anyone asking them to do so, all kinds of university bodies are suddenly demanding that the entire academic community roll back its criticism.”

Noam Sheizaf: בואו לא נשתמש במלים “פאשיזם” ו”דמוקרטיה” יותר לעולם (Shicha Mekomit) / Let’s stop using the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘democracy’ from now on (972mag)
Ilan Lior: Demonstrators face off outside Jewish-Arab wedding (Haaretz)

Earlier in the day, the court refused to prohibit the protest outside the wedding hall where the mixed Muslim-Jewish celebrated their recent marriage, and ordered protesters to remain at least 200 meters from the venue … The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s court issued the ruling after the couple applied for an injunction to stop the demonstration…
The protesters shouted racist and threatening slogans such as “Death to leftists,” and waved Israeli flags and blew the shofar. They carried signs saying such things as “Daughter of Israel to the people of Israel,” and “Assimilation is a Holocaust.”

Patrick Cockburn: The secret report that helps Israel hide facts (Independent)

Chris Marsden: Still no evidence of Russia’s alleged military incursion into Ukraine (World Socialist Web Site)

If reports from the Guardian and the Telegraph are to be believed, experienced journalists stood by and watched Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine without taking a photograph to record the event.

Niles Williamson: Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17? (World Socialist Web Site)

The deafening silence of the US media and government about the investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 one month ago reeks of a cover-up.

Speculation on flight MH17 picked up by Malaysian media:
Peter Haisenko: Shocking Analysis of the ‘Shooting Down’ of Malaysian MH17 (Anderwelt)
Robert Parry: Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts (Consortium News)
Haris Hussain: US analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft (New Straits Times)

Intelligence analysts in the United States had already concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it.
This corroborates an emerging theory postulated by local investigators that the Boeing 777-200 was crippled by an air-to-air missile and finished off with cannon fire from a fighter that had been shadowing it as it plummeted to earth.

‘MH17 unlikely shot by fighter jet’ (Star)

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is having none of the allegation that Flight MH17 was shot down by a fighter jet.
“In my personal capacity as Defence Minister and from what I have seen, I believe it’s impossible that an air-to-air missile was used to shoot down the plane,” he said yesterday.

Jesse Jackson: There is a Ferguson Near You (CounterPunch)

Ferguson is a suburb of St Louis that is two-thirds African American. Its 53-person police force has only three African Americans. Its mayor and five of six of its city council members are white. Its seven member all-white school board has just closed the school that Michael Brown graduated from.

Glenn Greenwald: The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson (Intercept)
Heather Digby Parton: Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster (Salon)
Rania Khalek: Israel-trained police “occupy” Missouri after killing of black youth (Electronic Intifada)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race (Time)

Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it’s about class warfare and how America’s poor are held back…