Monday, November 08, 2021

041 The Erickson Report, Page 5: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

041 The Erickson Report, Page 5: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]
Moving on the the Outrages, here are six civil society organizations in the West Bank:

- Addameer offers legal aid to prisoners, collects data on incarcerations, including so-called administrative detentions – i.e., there's no trial – and acts to end torture.
- Al-Haq documents violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories.
- The Palestine branch of Defense for Children International monitors the killing of children and the wellbeing of children imprisoned in Israel.
- The Union of Agricultural Work Committees aids Palestinian farmers, mainly in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control.
- The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
- The Bisan Center for Research & Development, which describes itself as seeking to "enhance Palestinian’s resilience" and "contribute in building an effective democratic civil society."

Beyond that they work in the occupied territories, they have one other thing in common: On October 19, the Israeli Defense Ministry labeled all of them terrorist organizations based on an unsubstantiated claim that they are secretly controlled by the militant Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Under Israel’s 2016 counter-terrorism law, these human rights organizations now face possible mass arrest and being shut down by the Israeli government, and anyone identifying with the groups can also be subject to imprisonment.

Reaction was swift:

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement calling it "appalling and unjust" and "an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement," a government that "for decades" has "systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians."

Twenty-one Israel-based civil organizations joined in a statement calling the move a "draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work" and "an act of cowardice characteristic of repressive authoritarian regimes."

United Nations Human Rights Office in Ramallah called it "the latest development in a long stigmatizing campaign against these and other organizations."

The US-based Jewish Voice for Peace said it was "an attack on all Palestinian rights and an obvious attempt to evade accountability" and called on its supporters to "flood Congress with outrage."

The editors of the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz labeled it a "destructive folly" and "a stain upon Israel," adding that "the outlawing of human rights groups and persecution of humanitarian activists are quintessential characteristics of military regimes, in which democracy in its deepest sense is a dead letter." There is, the editors said, "a straight line from defining the nonviolent struggle against the occupation as 'diplomatic terror'" - which Israel has done in the past - "and designating human rights groups as terrorist organizations."

A coalition of nearly 300 U.S.-based social justice groups urged the Blahden administration to "immediately and unequivocally" condemn this "shameful" "attack on human rights," noting that calling your opponents "terrorists" is "a dangerous, well-worn tactic of authoritarian regimes."

There was more, but that should make the point that the international civil and human rights community has had enough, more than enough. Several of the statements said that one of the reasons Israel thinks it can get away with this is precisely because it has gotten away with so much for so long.
Which is painfully true, just as painful as the undeniable fact that the US has been Israel's prime enabler.

Yes, most definitely an Outrage.


And then there was this: On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Joseph Rosenbaum is dead. Anthony Huber is dead. Gaige Grosskreutz is still recovering from a severe wound.

But according to Judge Bruce Schroeder, presiding over the trial of Rittenhouse, none of those three people are victims or at least none of them can be called “victims” during the trial.

“The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word,” said Schroeder. “‘Alleged victim’ is a cousin to it.” That is, the terms are too inflammatory, too prejudicial, to be allowed.

There are ways around this and people have already suggested some and you can, to be totally fair, make an argument that "victim" should be avoided since the question is not if Rittenhouse pulled the trigger but under what circumstances. But what moves this beyond an ordinary silly legalistic argument over language is what Schroeder said those vic- um, those men who were gunned down could be called by the defense.

He told defense counsel that in closing arguments the three can be called “looters,” “rioters,” and “arsonists” even though none of them have been charged, much less convicted, or any such crime or indeed any other related to the events surrounding the shooting.

That is, in Schroeder's court, "victim" is out of bounds even in reference to the people Rittenhouse is on trial for shooting, but “looters,” “rioters,” and “arsonists” are entirely reasonable descriptions of men who have been charged with nothing. I will be blunt: I find it beyond hard to accept the idea that having a baby-faced pro-cop white boy on one side the three young protesters against police violence on the other is not a major factor in operation here.

But even if I'm wrong about that, this is still a case of the judge openly endorsing, even inviting, inflammatory, prejudicial language being directed toward the people Rittenhouse shot - hell, I'm not in the court, his victims. Openly inviting, that is, putting the victims on trial. And that is still an Outrage.

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