Re: Censorship of photographic exhibition exposing Israeli brutality angers Scots

When Israeli soldier-medic Elor Azaria shot dead a badly injured Palestinian youth in a street in Hebron last year he had no idea that his war crime had been captured on camera. Once the shocking images were released they resulted in a trial and prison sentence which attracted international attention because of the cold-blooded nature of this very public execution.

It proved to be a hugely embarrassing moment for Israel and its supporters who, until then, had always vigorously denied accusations that Zionist occupation forces carried out street executions of injured Palestinians. Such denials were hard to maintain in the light of video evidence, and now last year’s controversy has been revived by Zionists who’ve tried to get a photographic exhibition depicting Abdul Fatah Al-Sharif’s execution closed down.

Whenever they are confronted with irrefutable evidence of Israeli brutality it seems that the only options for supporters of the Zionist State are censorship, abuse and intimidation. The pro-Israel lobby appears to have gone to astonishing lengths to get the exhibition outside an Edinburgh church banned. A barrage of intimidation, including abusive phone calls, vandalism and angry confrontations, has been endured by church staff since the photographs and explanatory captions went on display.

Now Police Scotland has opened itself to accusations of being used as a Zionist stooge after officers tried to shut down the hard-hitting photographic exhibition at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe festival. It seems that photographic evidence of Azaria’s street execution of the young Palestinian is still too much to stomach for supporters of the Tel Aviv regime.

Settlers look on as Israeli forces evacuate the body of Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, killed by Israeli army medic Elor Azaria in Hebron , Israel on March 24 2016 [file photo]Settlers look on as Israeli forces evacuate the body of Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, killed by Israeli army medic Elor Azaria in Hebron , Israel on March 24 2016 [file photo]

Settlers look on as Israeli forces evacuate the body of Abdel Fattah Al-Sharif, killed by Israeli army medic Elor Azaria in Hebron , Israel on March 24 2016 [file photo]

“This morning… Palestinians Ramzi Al-Qasrawi and ‘Abd al-Fatah Al-Sharif were shot after stabbing a soldier in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. The soldier sustained medium-level injuries. While Al-Qasrawi died on the spot, Al-Sharif was injured and fell to the ground. In video footage captured by Hebron resident ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, (Al-Sharif) is seen lying on the road injured, with none of the soldiers or medics present giving him first aid or paying him any attention at all. At a certain point, a soldier is seen aiming his weapon at Al-Sharif and shoots him in the head from close range, killing him. Although this occurs in the plain view of other soldiers and officers, they do not seem to take any notice.”

(Source- 24 Mar 2016 B’TSelem)

“The Legacy of Balfour” is a documentary exhibition created by the Network of Photographers for Palestine (NPP) on show outside St. John’s Church in the Scottish capital’s Princes Street to highlight international human rights abuses. Since it opened, it has been targeted by vandals suspected to be from pro-Israeli lobby groups. This weekend, after a complaint to local police officers, an attempt was made to close it for good.

Police in Edinburgh were called after a member of the public entered the church and became verbally abusive towards the staff inside. A female complainant, whose identity is being withheld by the police, demanded that the exhibition be shut down. The police officers agreed until church staff intervened and a compromise was reached. Ironically, all of the pictures in the exhibition depicting Israeli atrocities towards the Palestinians were removed, whereas equally graphic images of British atrocities remained on view.

The aim of the exhibition is to depict the impact of the Balfour Declaration on the lives of millions of Palestinians. In 1917, the then British Foreign Secretary, Arthur J. Balfour – whose stately home is in Whittingehame, just 25 miles or so from Edinburgh – promised a “national home” for Jewish people at the expense of the Palestinians who were living and working on the land which they rightly regarded, and still do to this day, as home. The subsequent brutalities carried out by Zionist Jewish terror gangs followed by the Israel Defence Forces on the Palestinian population were caught on camera over the following hundred years; some are part of the exhibition which examines the continuity between Britain’s rule in Palestine during the Mandate Period (1921-48) and current Israeli policies in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Viewers at the exhibition which was organised by the Network of Photographers for Palestine (NPP) Viewers at the exhibition which was organised by the Network of Photographers for Palestine (NPP)

Viewers at the exhibition which was organised by the Network of Photographers for Palestine (NPP)

While no one was available from Police Scotland on Sunday to comment on the action of local officers in Edinburgh, MEMO understands that official complaints by members of the public and the Network of Photographers for Palestine have been lodged. NPP members say that they are outraged by the attempt to shut down their exhibition.

The curator of the exhibition and secretary of the NPP is Phil Chetwynd. “Bizarrely, the woman who was complaining objected solely to the pictures and not the written explanation beneath the images which were probably more damning of the Zionist regime,” he explained. “It seems that Zionist supporters find it easier to dismiss words as ‘lies’ but when confronted by images of the work that the [Israeli] regime carries out it’s not so easy to dismiss.”

He pointed out that the exhibition has been targeted by vandals since it opened. “We have simply replaced the damaged images but this woman – and we have no idea who she is – called the local police who tried to shut it down. Our enquiries indicate that the complaint was made against just one picture depicting the murder of a Palestinian man by an Israeli soldier, and yet all the pictures of Israeli actions against Palestinians had to be taken down.”

This happened, said Chetwynd, despite protests from members of the general public present at the time. “They insisted that the story contained in the exhibition should definitely be told in full.”

What puzzled NPP members was that the same police officers decided that the pictures of British atrocities in Palestine should not be censored and should be allowed to remain on view.

It is understood that the NPP and members of the public are now lodging complaints to the Scottish Police Investigations and Review Commissioner about the action taken by the capital’s police force. Officers, they believe, have been “manipulated into colluding with this clear infringement of freedom of expression in Scotland.”

The censored pictures have been replaced by the NPP which has published the full version of the exhibition on social media, so that it can be seen in its entirety should any further vandalism take place.

Far from being intimidated by the hostile reaction, NPP members say they are now open to offers from around Scotland and beyond from anyone who wants to display “The Legacy of Balfour” exhibition at their church, community centre, library, workplace or gallery. The full exhibition can be seen on the group’s Facebook page which is also the best point of contact for Phil Chetwynd.

The NPP has a second Fringe exhibition this year on Palestinian refugees and it is entitled “Displaced”. It will go on show in Inverness next weekend and on to Lochinver before it heads to Ramallah and Gaza City in October.

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Man Awarded $70k In Seattle Police Brutality Case

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A Seattle man reached a settlement with the city’s police department after a group of cops were caught using excessive force during an unlawful arrest.

According to the Seattle P-I, Isaac Ocak was brutally beaten by four cops in 2010. Ocak was driving his girlfriend’s car at the time when police pulled him over in West Seattle’s Westwood Village shopping mall. After police demanded the then 23-year-old to call his girlfriend to solidify his story, he was was choked and punched in the face several times by the officers. At the time of the arrest, the officers claimed Ocak tried to harm them and was charged with “contempt of cop” and fourth-degree assault.

Dashcam footage proved the SPD wrong and the city dropped the charges. Ocak was awarded $70,000 last month and the men remained on the force. The Seattle native believes the officers aren’t aware or might not even care that they did anything wrong.

“I do not believe the officers involved regret their actions,” Ocak said. “They may feel bad for the consequences they caused the city and how their image looks but they do not regret specifically what they did to me.”

He also remarks how troubling it is to be reminded every day by people in his community about the incident.

“Since this event I have tried to move and put it all behind me however it is sometimes difficult when I get called out in my community as ‘the guy that got beat up by the police,” he said. “It’s also difficult to see the same four officers still patrolling my neighborhood and not knowing what could happen if one of them ever detains me and they choose to leave video off.”

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Protests Against Police Brutality Continue In US


Protests continue against police brutality in the United States, two days after a white police officer was acquitted of killing an African-American man in Saint Paul, Minnesota, last year.

Hundreds of people gathered in New York City on Saturday to demand justice for Philando Castile who was killed by Officer Jeronimo Yanez inside his car as he tried to reach for his driver’s license during a traffic stop near St. Paul in July 2016.

The protest rally started in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan and continued to Trump Tower. The protesters condemned police brutality against African-Americans and other minorities and chanted “Black Lives Matter.”

On Friday, a jury said after five days of deliberation that Yanez had acted reasonably and was not guilty. He was also cleared of two lesser charges regarding the case.

Prosecutors argued that the cop had overreacted and was guilty of second-degree manslaughter, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Yanez defended his actions, arguing that he shot Castile because he had a gun and that he only reacted after the suspect reached for his gun in his pocket despite being warned not to do so. He also accused Castile of being influenced by drugs.

Yanez was cleared of all charges relating to the death of the 32-year-old Castile on Friday.

A similar rally was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday, for a second consecutive day to protest against the court verdict. Police clashed with the peaceful protesters and arrested several of them.

US Senator Al Franken of Minnesota on Saturday said Castile did not deserve to die.

“Whatever one’s opinion of the outcome of this case, we must come together and take concrete action to reckon with and dismantle the systemic racial inequalities that lead to far too many of these deaths,” Franken wrote on Facebook.

Protesters shut down highway 94 on June 16, 2017 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by AFP)
US police have been under harsh criticism over fatal shootings of and brutality against several African Americans in recent years.

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Protesters Rally In Dallas To End Police Brutality


Hundreds of people joined a march to end police brutality on Saturday.

The protest was called “A March for Jordan,” inspired by Jordan Edwards, an unarmed teenager killed by a Balch Springs police officer earlier in April. Mothers Against Police Brutality, Texas Organizing Project, and other groups hosted the march that started at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas and ended at Pike Park.

The group called on members of the audience to get involved in their communities and to register to vote. City and faith leaders spoke at a rally that followed. Among them was an emotional Odelle Edwards, the father of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

“Every day I look at my kids and my family, and I see the hurt in their eyes, and I try to be strong for them,” Edwards told the crowd, “It is so hard. I’m going to miss Jordan. I’m going to miss him a lot.” His family hopes the officer who killed his son will be indicted for the shooting.

The officer who shot and killed Jordan has since been fired. The Balch Springs Police Department turned over its investigation into the incident to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.

The march and rally lasted for several hours. Relatives of other people killed at the hands of police took to the stage to speak. Before the event wrapped up, a sign dedicating the park to Santos Rodriguez was unveiled. The 12-year-old was murdered by a Dallas police officer in 1973.

People in Saturday’s group also marched against SB4, known as the “sanctuary city” bill.

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How Police Brutality Keeps America Poor and Uneducated


What if there were a way that cities could put millions of dollars into the school systems without raising taxes? What if your county could fix the roads and invest hundreds of millions into education without going into debt? What if there were a way states could inject funds into jobs and community programs without subtracting money from other items in their budgets?

Right now, conservatives are reading this, rolling their eyes and grabbing their wallets, knowing that this will end in something about helping the poor, underprivileged or—even worse—the coloreds by closing loopholes, or doing something that will make them have to consider a smaller boat for the lake at their second vacation home.

Calm down, Brad. Tell Jennifer not to write that sternly worded letter to your senator yet (you know the Caucasian answer to everything is always some form of “Let me speak to your supervisor”).

There is a simple way to do this, and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a single dime. The theory is not based on voodoo economics or speculative conjecture; it is based on a centuries-old hypothesis that Republicans often eschew, but we call it “math.” All it would take to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal is change one single practice that is incredibly simple on the surface:

Stop the killing of unarmed people by police.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee’s Common Council approved a $2.3 million settlement to pay to the son of Dontre Hamilton, a black man killed by a Milwaukee police officer in 2014. While this sum may be an insignificant blip in the city’s total budget, it highlights an oft-forgotten fact in the police brutality debate:

Cops don’t pay for police brutality—you do.

There is often a large public outcry when law-enforcement officers don’t face charges or are acquitted after killing unarmed citizens. Likewise, media outlets hop on the outrage bandwagon and trumpet the statistics about brutality, illegal searches and police misconduct. But even when there are no criminal charges or prosecution, juries often find police departments liable in civil cases, resulting in large settlements to victims and their families.

When this happens, cities, counties and states don’t go to the offending police departments and pass the hat until officers come up with the compensation money. Oftentimes, the officer keeps his or her job, the department doesn’t lose funding, and the taxpayers end up paying the salary of a cop who killed an innocent victim and millions in court settlements. in 2015 the Wall Street Journal reported that the 10 largest police departments spent over $1 billion on police brutality cases.

Take Chicago, for instance. Between 2004 and March 2016, the city paid over $662 million in legal fees, settlements and court costs for police misconduct, according to CBS News. After spending $147 million settling lawsuits in 2016, Los Angeles needs to borrow money to cover this year’s projected legal costs. The New York City Police Department paid $482 million in false arrest and civil rights settlements between 2009 and 2014—and that doesn’t include the $228 million it paid in 2016 alone. That’s right: New York City has paid almost three-quarters of a billion dollars because of police misconduct in less than 10 years.

Many are likely to read these numbers and think of the number of people who must have been abused or killed wrongfully, but instead of an emotional argument, consider the conservative argument (no, you don’t have to put on a red tie and say “All lives matter”).

This past year, Chicago Public Schools had 20,973 teachers. With the settlement money for police misconduct, the city could have paid every teacher an extra $3,146.90 per year. With teachers being paid an average salary of $76,000, CPS could have funded 868 more teachers for the city’s schools. Apparently, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would rather cover up for the cop who killed Laquan McDonald than fix the city’s schools.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles was 4 percent last month, which is one of the lowest in the country. But if the city hadn’t had to pay that $147 million last year, it could have paid a full-time minimum wage salary to 6,370 more workers. That’s not giving away money. That could be paying citizens to build roads and clean neighborhoods, which eases traffic and raises property values.

How could a real Republican not love that idea? Conservatives always have some shit that traffic has them running late for, and hate when anyone other than a blond family with porcelain skin moves into their neighborhoods, because—no, it’s not racism—they’re worried about the “property value.”

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