Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

Police get thumbs up to turn streets into a warzone

Tuesday 20 December 2011
by Paddy McGuffin, Home Affairs Reporter

Proposals to let police use baton rounds, water cannon and even live ammunition during riots are “madness” and risk turning the streets into warzones, campaigners warned today.

A review by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) claimed firearms could be used if the “immediacy of the risk and the gravity of the consequences” justified it and baton rounds and water cannon could be used on rioters.

The Home Office commissioned the report following the August riots, and HMIC said that police need to be better prepared and trained if they’re to face such violence and looting in the future.

It called for clear rules to govern what kind of force was used and when, and which would have public support.

These rules could include making clear that armed police could use firearms with live ammunition during “arson attacks on commercial buildings with linkage to residential dwellings.”

And officials said plastic bullets could be considered if protesters put up barricades and throw missiles, during violent attacks on the public and when other emergency services are under threat.

They could also be used when petrol bombs are thrown or during arson attacks.

HMIC added that water cannon were an “effective means of dispersal and incur fewer injuries to the public” in static and slow-moving scenarios.

They are a “good option to protect vulnerable areas and premises,” but it conceded there were none on the British mainland, cost more than £1 million each and should be used in pairs.

The review flies in the face of stark warnings issued by the Commons home affairs select committee this week, which said it would have been “inappropriate as well as dangerous to have employed water cannon and baton rounds.”

Their use “could have escalated and inflamed the situation further.”

And Green Party member of the Metropolitan Police Authority Jenny Jones said the recommendations were “absolutely unbelievable.”

“Endorsing the use of live ammunition is an approval of the tactics of war on Britain’s streets and implementing such recommendations would be madness,” she said.

While Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights campaign group Liberty, said: “The police have always been able to use violent force to save lives in extreme situations. No new power or strategy is required for that to remain the case.

“But how on earth would bullets have quelled and not inflamed this summer’s riots? Didn’t the widespread disorder all begin in Tottenham with a fatal police shooting?”



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Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, took a hard line over the possibility of Iran building its own nuclear weapon, saying that all options should be open to the United States and other Western powers, including military action.

“I would have every alternative and option on the table, because Iran must never have a nuclear weapon,” Bachmann said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Because they have stated unequivocally, once they gain a nuclear weapon, they will use that weapon to wipe Israel off of the map and they will use it against the United States.”

Bachmann, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, also said that if was important for American officials to heed the words of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad has threatened the United States, Israel and other nations opposed to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“If there is anything that history has taught us in the last 100 years, it is this – when a madman speaks, we should listen,” Bachmann said. “I take this threat very seriously.”

Bachmann lashed out at GOP Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), who said during the last Republican presidential debate that fears of Iran’s nuke program are overstated.

“The problem with Ron Paul is that his statements were very dangerous,” Bachmann said.


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To recognize the message of Jewish terror, we must examine what ignites it. It is portrayed as revenge for attempts to evacuate illegal outposts. So the message is the ‘Greater Land of Israel.’


It is easy to perceive terror. It is easy to perceive a terrorist wave. It is easy to discern a breach in the Jordanian border fence. It is easy to see a brick thrown into a military jeep. It is easy to discern a mass raid on a brigade base. It is easy to discern torched mosques. It is easy to detect black letters sprayed on a wall. But is it easy to understand their meaning?

It is easy to denounce terror. Easy for the political parties to condemn it. Easy for the army to condemn it. Easy for the rabbis to condemn Jewish terror when directed against the army. Easy for cabinet ministers to roll their eyes self-righteously and talk about the rotten apples that have suddenly sprouted here. Easy for the state to wash its hands of this terror. But is it easy to disclaim responsibility for its message?

To recognize terror’s message, we must examine what ignites it. This terror is portrayed as revenge for attempts to evacuate illegal outposts. If such outposts, located in the heart of Palestinian population centers, cannot be evacuated even on orders from the High Court of Justice, then no evacuation or withdrawal at all is possible. So the message is the “Greater Land of Israel.” But is this message coming only from the hilltop youth?

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar spoke a few days ago about the dangers of establishing a Palestinian state and said the prime minister’s Bar-Ilan University speech advocating such a state should be reconsidered. After the Palestinian Authority’s unilateral bid for UN recognition as a state, its decision to join up with Hamas in Gaza and the growing strength of radical Islam in the region, the idea of two states for two peoples is no longer acceptable, the education minister claimed.

If a minister who does not belong to the radical right believes there is room for only one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, it would be interesting to hear what the more extremist ministers in Likud and the other coalition parties think. But if so, the integrity of the Land of Israel is not a message being conveyed exclusively by the hilltop youth. It’s a message originating in the government that is now spreading among the public. The idea of territorial compromise, which even rightist governments ostensibly adopted, is fading away before our eyes.

An attentive ear will also discern new and even more chilling nuances. The breach in the fence at Qasr al-Yahud in the Jordan Valley and the subsequent invasion of a Christian structure along the Jordan border are a new kind of threat, directed not only inward, but also outward. The Jordan has two banks, and both are ours, the hilltop youth cried. And we are forced to remember that according to various traditions, the Greater Land of Israel includes Trans-Jordan as well.

In the geopolitical sphere, the recent revolutions in the Arab world and the doomsday prophesies about the collapse of the peace agreements Israel has signed would appear to be good news to the Israeli right. No more peace process with the Palestinians. No more withdrawals and disengagements. Only one state, from the sea to the river.

With a bit of luck, we could even have more wars and occupy more land. The chief of staff, Benny Gantz, has already hinted at a possible reoccupation of Gaza.

At a ceremony marking the end of basic training that recently took place somewhere in Israel, the keynote speaker quoted Biblical verses. The verses he chose did not come from the prophets’ visions of peace and morality. Nor did he speak about our right to the land in the narrow sense of the term.

Instead, he cited maximalist verses from the Book of Joshua: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, to you have I given it, as I spoke unto Moses … From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Suddenly, when they speak about one state from the sea to the river, it is no longer clear which river they are talking about. If this is the message being sent by the Israel Defense Forces at this very moment, how can we complain about the hilltop youth?


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Lebanese defense minister says Israel organized firing of rockets at Israel to undermine Lebanon’s security.   Lebanon believes that Israel organized the firing of rockets from southern Lebanese territory into the Jewish state in efforts to “undermine security and stability” in Lebanon, Lebanese English newspaper the Daily Star reported Tuesday.

Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn told the Star that “The party that has launched mysterious rockets from the south is known,” allegedly insinuating Israel.

“Lebanon’s enemies, namely Israel, have no interest in the continuation of calm and stability in the south,” the Lebanese defense minister said.

On Monday, Lebanese Armed Forces found four ready-to-fire Katyusha rockets in southeast Lebanon.

The rockets were discovered by military intelligence on the outskirts of the village of Majidieh in Hasbaya.

Four Katyusha rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon earlier this month in an incident that sparked tensions between Beirut and Jerusalem. The IDF retaliated shortly after the attacks by bombing sites in southern Lebanon, and area largely in control by Hezbollah.   An organization affiliated with al Qaida claimed responsibility for the four 122-millimeter rockets that were fired from southern Lebanon, landing in the Western Galilee and causing extensive damage to a chicken coop and propane gas tank. The IDF said Hezbollah did not appear to be behind the attack.

According to Lebanese reports, only one rocket was fired at Israel in that attack.   Lebanon has filed two complaints to the United Nations in December over Israel, one concerning the IDF retaliation and the second over Israeli spy devices the Lebanese army said it found in two villages in southern Lebanon.


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Ron Paul winning in Iowa

From RT


Ron Paul (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images / AFP)

Ron Paul (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images / AFP)

TAGS: ElectionUSA


With only two weeks until the Iowa caucus begins, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is still soaring in the polls, with the latest survey putting the candidate on top as Newt Gingrich’s popularity begins to buckle.

A press release from Public Policy Polling dated December 18 reveals that given the latest quizzing of would-be Republican voters in Iowa, Congressman Paul has usurped former frontrunners from the lead in the race to the GOP nomination after going neck-and-neck with Gingrich in the previous poll. According to the latest news out of Iowa, Gingrich’s pull among Republican voters has dropped down to 14 percent, while Paul has surged to nearly a quarter of the vote with 23 percent. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney trails Paul by three percentage points in second place.

The latest news from Iowa comes after Thursday’s televised debate between the candidates, in which Paul received support for his stance against initiating a war with Iran but ridicule from his fellow Republican hopefuls. While his fellow contenders largely insist that an attack on Iran is necessary to thwart any nuclear program in the works, Paul shunned them for creating propaganda and acting on falsified reports of a nuke being built up overseas.

“You’re trying to dramatize this that we have to go and treat Iran like we’ve treated Iraq,” Paul said last week. “You cannot solve these problems with war.”

Fellow contender Michele Bachmann responded to Paul by telling the Iowa audience, “I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one we just heard from Ron Paul.” Days later, however, she is now tied with both Rick Perry and Rick Santorum with 10 percent of the vote, says the Public Policy Polling.

Not only does the latest survey suggest Paul is the most likely candidate for the presidency, but he also polls most positively among candidates when asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion on each politician vying for the GOP bid. Paul yielded a 54 percent favorable level, beating out everyone else.

While Paul has made foreign policy a major focus of his campaign, oddly enough only 5 percent of those polled said that was the most important factor weighing in on their decision-making. Those surveyed said that are most largely concerned with government spending and reducing the debt, which Paul has said he could do if elected president. Under his campaign promises, Paul says he can cut national spending by $1 trillion in his first year in office alone.

The latest survey from Public Policy Polling was conducted by nearly 600 likely Republican caucus voters between December 16 and 18.

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