Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon March 22, 2009 in a HUFF photo
THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO SANTA CRUZ MAYOR, CYNTHIA MATHEWS ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009. MIGUEL DE LEON AND ANNA RICHARDSON FACE A CIVIL INJUNCTION IN COURT #4, FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2009 FROM 10:00AM - NOON. (this is one week later than originally posted) AT 701 OCEAN ST. IN SANTA CRUZ, CA. THEY ARE BEING REPRESENTED BY PRO BONO DEFENSE ATTORNEYS JONATHAN GETTLEMAN AND MARK BRISCOE.
May 20, 2009
to: The Santa Cruz City Council and Mayor Cynthia Mathews
re: new use of civil injunctions
Dear Mayor Mathews and the Santa Cruz City Council,
City Attorney John Barisone has launched a civil suit against a homeless couple, Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon for 60 citations, 90% of them for illegal sleeping. Normally, under Santa Cruz municipal code, violators are issued infraction citations. These can be prosecuted in a criminal court. Since 2006, infraction citations which have not been adjudicated have been assigned a civil judgment rather than a criminal judgment, for which fines can be assessed, their wages can be garnished, bank accounts attached, and, for vehicular code violations, their vehicle license and registration prevented, and driver's license renewals delayed or their license revoked, and the information on non-payment reported to the credit bureaus.
Recent statements made by Mr. John Barisone and Councilmember Ryan Coonerty indicate that this civil judgment is insufficient for people who are already homeless, have ruined credit ratings already, and are forced due to their economic circumstances to illegally sleep at night out of doors. Both indicated that more punishment was needed.
I need not remind the council that the courts and jails are jammed up with thousands of infraction citations issued to homeless people for quality of life crimes such as sleeping, sitting, begging, trespassing, possession of an open container, conduct on public property, and jaywalking. Citations which they can neither pay nor even, in some cases, cease violating the law. Is sleeping at night even a voluntary act? It is ironic, at the same point in time in which this new civil violation method, along with the homeless court are finally reducing the over-population at the Santa Cruz County Jail, that Councilmember Ryan Coonerty and the council itself have retreated to making 3 infractions a misdemeanor again, with accompanying jail confinement, jury trials, and public defenders. This is both unwise policy and fiscally unwarranted.
As if that were not enough cause for concern, now we see the City taking a homeless couple to court for a civil injunction. It seems clear that this couple have run afoul of a few downtown merchants, who have the option of filing their own civil suit against the couple as their legal remedy according to law. So why is the City rushing in to do their bidding?
I have a neighbor who runs his leafblower from time to time and it bothers me. Will City Attorney Barisone now take up my civil issue with my neighbor and pay all my court costs? Why not? Don't you like me as much as the merchant whose legal bills you have decided to pay?
My point of course is that this case in particular, and other cases of this nature in recent memory ( the case of Jerry Henry in Aptos, and the Koffee Klatch Three case against Bernard Klitzner, Robert Norse, and myself) were all cases where an individual or business had a complaint against a person/persons. They had the legal option of seeking relief in the courts through the use of a civil complaint. However, when the City (or County with the Jerry Henry prosecuted by George Kovacevich) steps in and pays all legal expenses for any particular litigant. This is a slippery slope for which cronyism and selective prosecutions are the norm.
Homeless United for Friendship and Freedom (HUFF) has met and resolved to oppose this new tactic in the war on homeless people the City seems so eager to wage. We find it an abuse of process, prone to favoritism, and chosen in a calculated fashion as the homeless couple in this civil injunction are not afforded a lawyer as they would be in criminal court. The standard of proof is also weaker-- preponderance of the evidence rather than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You are looking to subject homeless people to criminal penalties without the benefit of a criminal trial.
Until the City provides adequate facilities, subjecting sleeping people to criminal penalties violates the 8th amendment as Federal courts found in Los Angeles and San Diego.
Please drop this civil injunction case ASAP.
Becky Johnson on behalf of HUFF
Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom
309 Cedar St. PMB 14B
Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060
(831) 423 - HUFF
SENTINEL ARTICLE ON VERDICT BY JUDGE BURDICK
found at: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_12483386?source=most_viewed
Judge signs order prohibiting couple from sleeping downtown
By Cathy Kelly
Posted: 05/30/2009 01:30:02 AM PDT
SANTA CRUZ -- At the city's urging, a judge on Friday ordered a homeless couple not to sleep outside in the downtown area, rendering their current lifestyle a contempt of court.
The city's unusual injunction request against Ana Richardson, 27, and Miguel DeLeon, 35, came after the street musicians failed to respond to more than 60 tickets for violating various city regulations. They have been cited for sleeping outside, washing in a public fountain, sitting on a sidewalk within 50 feet of an ATM, being in a park after hours and others.
The injunction carries greater penalties than a ticket, including up to five days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The alleged offenses occurred before a new city ordinance passed earlier this year that increases penalties for failing to pay citations and makes ignoring them a misdemeanor offense that can result in arrest. Previously, unpaid citations went to a collections agency and could be ignored with little consequence.
City Attorney Susan Barisone had sought to include several offenses in an temporary injunction, but Judge Paul Burdick chose to limit it to the city's so-called camping ban, attorneys said. It limits people from sleeping outside, from carrying bedding and from setting up tents and other sleeping gear.
Despite the paring down, Barisone said she was pleased, as the bulk of the complaints from downtown businesses were related to the pair sleeping there.
"I think it will help the downtown community quite a bit," she said.
Several businesses complained, she said, and a handful put those complaints in court documents, including the post office, Bunny's Shoes, Borders Books, Lulu Carpenter's and the Palomar Building.
The couple's attorney, Jonathan Gettleman, said he was gratified that all the behaviors were not enjoined, but said the crux of the problem remains -- there is nowhere outside for them to legally sleep. If they sleep outside of the downtown area, it is still illegal, and they are subject to citation; they just won't be violating a court order.
"The reason they stay downtown is that it's somewhat safe and patrolled," he said. "And they do their best to be as minimally impacting as possible. I just couldn't get my mind around how the court could say just go sleep illegally somewhere else.
"I could see him wrestling with it, but in the end, he took the posture that technically they violated this ordinance multiple times and that was the standard."
Barisone said she limited her argument to the municipal laws the couple violated, and steered clear of any debate about what services the city should or shouldn't provide to homeless people. And, she said, the downtown area is where their actions were "having a particularly deleterious effect on the community."
"And the fact was, these two particular defendants expressed refusal to use available services," she said.
One reason for that, DeLeon said earlier, is that they play music at night and the shelter requires those who stay there to arrive in the early evening.
Richardson, who left her Santa Cruz home at age 14 and has held various minimum-wage jobs, and DeLeon, who grew up in Elk Grove, have lived on the streets for several years. They dream of making a living and making the world a better place with their music.
Several of their supporters came to the hearing Friday, Gettleman said, and the mood turned somber after the judge's decision. The couple told him it felt like more of the same "move along" they keep getting from police.
Gettleman, who took the case pro bono, said he will represent DeLeon and Richardson at trial if a compromise cannot be found. A trial would determine whether a permanent injunction should be issued.
"If the city is going to arrest people for merely sleeping in a populated area, there is something about it that would bother me if I didn't," he said. "It's really sad. This lacks the core compassion that this community has held itself out to represent.
"It's a real problem and there has to be some solution."
Gettleman said he hopes some solution can be found, perhaps a place where the city will allow people to sleep outside without ticketing them.
He added that the "standard of civility" the city is trying to regulate is "starting to get really creepy."
The case is set for a trial management conference in September.
Monday, May 18, 2009
June 6, 2008 Sgt. LeMoss on duty in Santa Cruz photo by Bradley
by Becky Johnson
May 18, 2009
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- When Donna Deiss went to put sugar in her cup of coffee the last thing she thought was that she would be assaulted by a police officer, but that is what occurred. SCPD Lt. Christian LeMoss grabbed Donna from behind as she stepped into her RV, grabbed her arm, hurled her backwards and into a parked car, and then dropped her onto the ground hard enough to break her arm. She was initially charged with assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest. Then a charge of drug paraphernalia was added three days later. Then that was dropped. By June 28th, the assault and battery on a police officer charge had also been dropped. Today, in a plea bargain, she plead no lo contendere to an infraction littering charge and the resisting arrest charge was dropped. She has been ordered to perform community service at a non-profit organization.
"I'm so relieved," Donna stated outside the courtroom as she met with her two attorneys, Ben Rice,Greg Coben and another supporter. "This whole case has been a nightmare." Rice defended Donna in her criminal trial. Coben is her attorney for her civil suit against the City.
LeMoss remains on duty.
A full panel of potential jurors waited in the trailer while Santa Cruz City Attorney, Delgadillo pitched the charge reduction. This could easily have been done at Friday's hearing on May 15th, but in a practice that has now become quite familiar, in cases where the City is likely to lose, they wait until the last possible minute to either drop charges or, as in this case, cut a deal.
"Ben spent all weekend preparing for trial," said one woman supporter. No doubt, most of those jurors would have preferred to go to their jobs, schools, or be at home with their families.
So what did Sgt. Christian LeMoss do at the Three Trees parking lot on W. Cliff Dr. last May?
Shortly after the incident,Zach Friend, the Santa Cruz Police Department spokesperson told reporters that “Deiss was with a group using drugs,” “Sergeant LeMoss asked her to stop moving, he identified himself as a police officer several times, and when he grabbed her arm to detain her she threw hot coffee into his face.”
The Santa Cruz Police Department press release, issued three days after the incident claimed "When the officer attempted to detain Ms. Deiss she threw a cup of hot liquid onto his face. Despite being burned, the officer was able to control and eventually take Ms. Deiss into custody ."
Deiss claims the officer never properly detained her, was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer, and was driving an unmarked car. He had no reason to detain her, much less violently spin her onto a parked car, cuff her, then throw her on the ground so hard that he broke her arm. The cup of coffee she had been holding in her left hand spilled everywhere including on Ms. Deiss.
"It was lukewarm," she told HUFF. "I was not burned. I am surprised that the officer claims he was burned." Donna's shirt was stained with the spilled coffee.
No marijuana was found on Ms. Deiss at the time of her arrest. Another woman, known as White Dove was also arrested. She didn't have any marijuana either but two empty pipes were found in a garbage can near her.
The SCPD repeatedly identifies the lot by its street address. This raises the question of whether they even had jurisdiction to patrol that particular parking lot since it belongs to the State. A nearby City parking lot is repeatedly mentioned leading to some confusion as to where the incident occurred. The parking lot, locally known as "Three Trees" has been a gathering place for homeless and poor people, and at least one drum circle.
Today, one year and nine days after Deiss was brutally assaulted, injured, charged, and threatened, she has been convicted of littering. The evidence? A defense exhibit photo showing the coffee cup on the sidewalk where it lay after Sgt. LeMoss had broken Donna's arm and arrested her.
Attorneys continue to prepare for Donna's federal lawsuit against the City of Santa Cruz.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Trial Friday May 15 1:30 PM
by Robert Norse
Thursday May 14th, 2009
originally published at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/14/18594788.php
Photo by Becky Johnson taken at the Free Radio Santa Cruz studio in November 2008
Over 6 months ago on Sunday 11-2-08, I was approached by a Metro Security guard at the Metro Transit Center in downtown Santa Cruz. I was interviewing two homeless men for Free Radio Santa Cruz. The guard insisted I leave. I declined to do so. He called the police. He insisted I be given a citation for "Refusal to Leave a Business When Asked"--a charge with an apparent fine of $200+ Police did so and demanded under threat of custodial arrest that I leave the property. I was forced to do so. A week or two later I returned with a group of protesters and we reasserted the right to be in that public space.
HOW IT BEGAN
Two homeless men, Les and Jack, approached me after my Sunday radio show as I walked along Pacific Avenue and complained that religious sermons were coming out of the speakers at the Pacific Ave. entrance to the Metro Transit Center. They said they'd complained and were told to leave with the sermonizing continuing.
I then went to the Metro, found they were correct, and began recording what the Metro speakers were broadcasting. I then approached a security guard who refused to identify himself or his superior and declined to help me. In subsequent public records act requests, the guard involved still remained anonymous.
I then approached a Metro Supervisor who arrived on the property--Mr. Ed Nelson--who had the religious sermonizing turned off, explaining that classical music was customarily used to "discourage" assemblies of young people on the adjacent public sidewalk and in front of the Metro Center. All this is documented on audio tape available on line on this website (see below).
An hour later I returned and began interviewing Jack and Les near the sidewalk at the broad entrance way to the Metro Center next to Pacific Avenue. When a security guard directed two Latino men to "move on", I advised them that they had the right to be there. A second security guard, whom I later learned was named D. Delgadillo, then approached me and demanded I move. When I insisted he identify himself, he demanded I leave the property.
BUSTED FOR CHATTING AT THE METRO
The SCPD instead of defending my right to be there and advising the Metro Security guards to stop bothering me, forced me to leave the property on threat of arrest.
A Metro supervisor subsequently humiliated me further and banned for the day because I was visibly tape recording the complaint I made to her and her response.
More of the story can be found at:
"Ticketing for Standing and Talking at the Metro Bus Stop Sunday"
TRIAL ON MAY 15, 2009 -- FRIDAY AFTERNOON
The charge is refusing to leave a "business" when asked to do so.
Attorney David Beauvais of Berkeley will be defending me in the case. Attorney Kate Wells will be filing the subsequent federal law suit for damages. The trial will be before Judge Ariadne Symons without a jury. City attorney Barisone or one of his attorneys will presumably be appearing for the city.
I returned to the Metro Transit Center a week or two after the police incident with a group of people, distributed fliers, and tried unsuccessfully to get Metro management to clarify what the rules were for the public and what the powers of their security guards were (i.e. could they simply ban people whose attitude they didn't like). I got no answer. However on this occasion, with video cameras rolling and lots of witnesses, the same guard did not harass or attempt to arrest us.
The story of the protest is told at in a subsequent posting on indybay.org/santacruz in the story--" Rotkin Claims: No Flyering Allowed at the Metro Center--Protest 11-26 11:30 AM"
ROTKIN'S ROLE PROTECTING THE POLICE
Vice-Mayor Mike Rotkin (who has been on the Transit Board for some years) initially advised me there was no "flyering" allowed. I wasn't flyering when I was cited on November 2nd (simply standing and talking to two homeless guys). When I heard Rotkin's outrageous rule, I and others organized a peaceful protest that specific included distributing a flyer that described what happened on November 2nd.
We spoke to members of the public and distributed literature for about an hour. Rotkin subsequently called me and advised me that he was mistaken--that it was okay to flyer the public at the Metro Transit Center.
As long as it didn't "disrupt business."
Somewhat later in a subsequent interview, when I brought it up again, Rotkin apologized for the misunderstanding, but took no action to look into the bogus ticket.
He was also not helpful in securing documents for my trial, clarifying the rights of passengers, or advising the Metro and City Attorney to drop the case. He could have spared the city, county, and Metro Transit District money in these lean times by acting promptly and fairly to quash this groundless prosecution.
Instead we're going to trial Friday.
POLICE MISUSING THE LAW TO DRIVE AWAY THE POOR
The trial will also highlight the collusion between security guards and the Santa Cruz Police Department in accepting an unlawful arrest.
Members of the public at the Metro are supposedly protected by a law that requires they be given written notice, a specified period of time, and an opportunity to have a hearing--as well as the right to use the facilities unless actual disruption is occurring (MC 9.60.0101 - TRESPASS ON PUBLIC TRANSIT FACILITIES)
Police and Metro Security Guards have colluded instead in using an inapplicable broader law that allows private businesses to order people off their property. Obviously, the Metro is not a private business, but a public facility. Even if it were, MC 9.60.010 REMAINING ON BUSINESS PROPERTY AFTER A REQUEST TO LEAVE. provides exceptions for "prohibited discrimination", "duties relating to common carriers", and "inhibition of...freedom of speech or assembly."--all of which were involved.
It took six months worth of Public Records Act requests and discovery demands to get the SCPD to cough up some statistics: Not just me but five other people have been apparently wrongly charged under this broader law instead of the more appropriate MC.9.60.0101). It's a nice way of sweeping people away from an area without any due process.
Of course, that's what happens to homeless people all around Santa Cruz.
AUDIO OF THE ENTIRE INCIDENT AVAILABLE
Those who want to hear what happened on November 2nd can go directly to the audio file included in the first story. I recorded virtually everything that I and the various guards, supervisors, and police said--as well as the original complaint I received that the Metro was broadcasting religious sermons over its loudspeakers.
It may have been management resentment at my raising this issue with the security guards that motivated the subsequent harassment.
I was also critical of the guards for harassing poor and possibly homeless people hanging out there who were doing nothing wrong. And refusing to identify themselves or their superiors when asked to do so.
The public is welcome to attend the trial. I shall move to have it audio recorded for public broadcast, but judges have become increasingly secretive in the past few years, so I may be banned from making a recording.
If you can't make it on Friday, I'll be discussing the case on my Sunday show at 11 AM on Free Radio Santa Cruz at 101.1 FM (http://www.freakradio.org).
Sunday, May 3, 2009
by Becky Johnson
May 3, 2009
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- We were a couple of months in the City Hall Sleepers Protest in 1996 when Happy arrived. He was a very enthusiastic addition to our rag-tag protest. I don't know if Happy was institutionalized then or just homeless. One or the other. He was always either institutionalized or homeless. His only living relative was his mother who was conserved in a nursing home over the hill.
"Have a happy, happy Day!" he said. He looked like he had just left the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park in 1968. He wore blue jeans and a hippie head band, love beads, peace signs, and he loved to smoke pot. He was "Happy" to us.
The SENTINEL reported that he had failed a more secure locked facility due to "assaultive behavior" and then been placed in the less secure, Juan Pablo Group Home. Commented local attorney, Kate Wells " That makes no sense at all. If he failed due to violence, why would they place him in a less secure facility?"
On November 12, 1997 Happy John Dine was shot to death by SCPD Officer Conor Carey on the sidewalk on Front St. in front of the Coast Commercial Bank as he waited for a bus. He was transferred by ambulance to Dominican Hospital where he died.
SMEARING THE VICTIM BEGINS
In the SENTINEL, after he was killed we learned he was "John Dine aged 41" who had "a dark side" with a "history of violent behavior." SENTINEL writers Robert Gammon and Karen Clark painted a scenario that justified police shooting him to death as he peacefully waited for his bus. Anything to villify the man after his death was allowed. Cross-checking information was not necessary.
The Sentinel reported "witnesses said that even before the shooting, Dine was acting strangely. 'Flipping off' cars and yelling at no one in particular."
This statement is so disingenuous. There WAS a witness who reported that months prior he had seen Dine "flipping off" cars and yelling at no one in particular. But THAT DAY, other than Catalyst bouncer, Ben Newman, no one had a problem with John Dine. The article is written so readers believe Dine was acting out in that fashion just prior to being shot. He wasn't.
When I read the reports which documented Dine's "history of violence" at the Juan Pablo group home in which he lived, they said that Dine had hit his own head against a wall. That almost sounds like a cover-up in itself for violence committed against Dine by staff or other patients. He had no history of committing violence against anyone. But for SENTINEL readers, Dine had " a dark side", a "history of violence," and was "flipping off cars and yelling " just prior to being shot.
Here is what the eyewitnesses actually said.
"the man didn't put his arms up or shout anything. I didn't see him display any type of weapon.Why would the cops shoot this guy if he didn't do anything?"
--Aloni Balawedger New Leaf Market worker who witnessed the shooting from the roof of the New Leaf Market--quoted in the San Jose Mercury Nov 14, 1997,
They just walked up and blasted the guy! He told them to "fuck off" and they just blasted the guy...cold-blooded murder! Point blank at five feet! He had his hands down. There was no weapon in his hands." ---eyewitness Tom Murphy who was interviewed by the police and then left town for his own safety
"Happy was holding nothing that I saw." --eyewitness Stacey Buckalew who was in the front seat of the car directly behind Carey's police car. The car had stopped because the police car obstructed its forward movement. Stacey and boyfriend, Mike Schultz both called the shooting of Happy John Dine "murder."
Compiled by Becky Johnson
May 3 2009
Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports 1,417 Palestinians dead, including 926 civilians, 255 police officers, and 236 fighters.. 13 Israelis were killed (IDF claims many were from "friendly fire")Over the course of the 22 day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, a total of 1,417 Palestinians were killed. Of these, 236 were combatants. The vast majority of the dead, however, were civilians and non-combatants: protected persons according to the principles of IHL. PCHR investigations confirm that, in total, 926 civilians lost their lives, including 313 children and 116 women. 255 police officers were also killed; the majority (240) in air strikes carried out on the first day of the attacks. The Ministry of Health have also confirmed that a total of 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828 women.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office claimed their figures contained the names of 1,166 Palestinians killed in the conflict, called "Operation Cast Lead."
The Israeli military said 709 of them were "identified as Hamas terror operatives, among them several from various other terror organizations."
The remaining, the statement claims, were comprised of 162 names who "have not yet been attributed to any organization."
"Furthermore, it has come to our understanding that 295 uninvolved Palestinians were killed during the operation, 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them were women."
found at: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/03/26/israel.gaza.death.toll/index.html
Saturday, May 2, 2009
by Becky Johnson
May 2, 2009
Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA) couldn't wait to go to Gaza. She had to see "the destruction and the trauma" for herself. As soon as she possibly could, she rushed to the Gaza border and was eventually able to enter Gaza. She started to send her written and telephoned reports back as soon as she could.
Now MECA is issuing disclaimers for those reports.
Lubin wrote on January 24, 2009:
"Out of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her ten children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” As she screamed in horror they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then these soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her. The concept of “Jewish morality” is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else."
Lubin also repeated this report in several radio interviews, one of which was played on Free Radio Santa Cruz several times.
Listen here: http://flashpoints.net/index.html#2009-01-22
She even expanded it by saying that it was the same as the plot in the movie "Sophie's Choice" where Sophie is asked by the Nazi's which child she loves the most so that they kill the other child. "This was just like Sophie's Choice," she told the interviewer. But was it true? What was the name of the woman? Where did it happen? How were they killed? Who are the witnesses? Which group of IDF soldiers are blamed? Lubin had no details.
Here, her story was featured in The Progressive:
MECA DISCLAIMER ISSUED:
Unconfirmed: Gaza Children Murdered by Israeli Soldier in Front of Mother
Barbara Lubin and all of us at the Middle East Children’s Alliance believe that we should have confirmed the story about the Gaza woman who was told by an Israeli soldier to choose which five of her ten children should die, and then witnessed their murder. We are doing everything we can now to verify the story, but have been unable to do so. We ask that you do not publish or post this story on the Internet. If you have already done so, please post this statement, as well.
Barbara Lubin went to Gaza to deliver four tons of medicine and other aid to the people there. When she arrived in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli assault the scene she encountered was chaotic and the people traumatized. She heard and retold many horrifying accounts, and saw for herself the devastation to homes, schools, businesses, land and lives.
In these catastrophic circumstances, it’s not difficult to see how Barbara would find this story credible. Unfortunately, we sent it out before taking the time to verify it."
BLOGGER THOM WRITES ON FEB 23 2009: "Barbara Lubin has now confessed to outright lying about the atrocity story. She lied when she said she heard it first hand. She heard a third hand story about a mother and her five children who died in a rocket attack on a house. The "pick five", the deliberate killing, those were lies, though it is unknown whether Barbara Lubin made up those lies or just spread them without checking. What's more, Barbara Lubin explicitly refused to apologize for lying about an atrocity. Since she thinks there is nothing wrong with falsely accusing Israelis of atrocities, no story she tells about atrocities or anything else can be trusted."
HERE IS MECA'S report which clarifies that the family was warned to leave (but for some reason didn't) and that no "Sophie's Choice" drama ensued:
TALAL ABUSHAWISH WRITES:
....the story happened in Bourij Camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The Israelis called the woman, Manal Albatran, and told her that they wouldn't kill her or her husband Hussein Albatran, instead they would make them die of sadness because they would kill her children. The next day they shot her house with a rocket killing her and 5 of her children.
Manal Albatran 30 years old
Walaa Albatran 12 years old
Islam Albatran 11 years old
Belal Albatran 10 years old
Ezz Albatran 8 years old
Ehsan Albatran 7 years old
The father who is an employee at an UNRWA school and the youngest child were saved."
HERE IS A NEWS REPORT:
MOTHER, FIVE CHILDREN, KILLED IN GAZA SHELLING
Submitted by Mohit Joshi on Fri, 01/16/2009
found at: http://www.topnews.in/mother-five-children-killed-gaza-shelling-2111125
Gaza - A mother and five of her children were killed by an Israeli tank shell in the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip Friday evening, witnesses and medics said.The children were aged 7 to 12 and the mother was 30 years old, the witnesses said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
In another incident in the southern part of the strip, a militant was killed in an airstrike while riding on a motorcycle. (dpa)
JON BURACK wrote on January 26, 2009:
"Let's be real. It is HAMAS that glorifies the sacrifice of children for jihad and celebrates them as martyrs. It is HAMAS that puts children in the line of fire and hides behind them (on the very sound expectation, by the way, that Israel will be deterred to some degree by that barbaric behavior). Moreover, it ought to raise a red flag regarding this story that it fits like a hand in a glove into the ages old blood libel against the Jews that they sacrifice the children of gentiles. It is ugly in the extreme that Lubin has lent credence to this example of the libel with totally naive acceptance of a story told her within the context of a totalitarian setting in which she would have no possible way of knowing." ---Jan 26, 2009
BECKY JOHNSON: Note in the "corrected" report that the whole "Sophie's Choice" scenario is gone. This note also documents that the IDF called the home prior to bombing it. Does Hamas call first before firing a rocket or sending a suicide bomber out? And if this family was warned, why didn't they heed the warning and leave? Did they CHOOSE martyrdom or were they coerced into becoming martyrs? These things have happened before and we should be alert to the possibility.
And where is Lubin's report of Fatah Palestinians summarily executed during the offensive? Or the nearly 100 Fatah members who were knee-capped or shot in the knees? No where. She claims that Israel had shut down the Rafah crossing into Egypt and simultaneously reports that thousands have gone to Egypt for treatment.
This was necessary for even as dire reports were issued by Palestinian health professionals during the height of the bombings, a reporter in Gaza reported empty wards in the hospitals.
FROM THE JERUSALEM POST:
'Maximum 600 Palestinians died in Gaza'
Jan. 22, 2009
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
The number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead did not exceed five or six hundred, Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Italy's Corriere della sera reported on Thursday. Cremonesi based his report on tours of hospitals in the Gaza Strip and on interviews with families of casualties. He also assessed the number of wounded to be far lower than 5,000, the number quoted by Hamas and repeated by the UN and the Red Cross in Gaza.
"It is sufficient to visit several hospitals [in the Gaza Strip] to understand that the numbers don't add up," he wrote.
In the European hospital in Rafah, one of the facilities which would presumably be filled with wounded from the "war of the tunnels," many beds were empty, according to Cremonesi. A similar situation was noted in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, and in the privately-run Amal Hospital Cremonesi reported that only five out 150 beds were occupied.
Cremonesi interviewed Gazans who echoed Israel's insistence of how Hamas gunmen used civilians as human shields. One Gazan recalled civilians in Gaza shouting at Hamas and Islamic Jihad men, "Go away, go away from here! Do you want the Israelis to kill us all? Do you want our children to die under their bombs? Take your guns and missiles with you."
"Traitors, collaborators with Israel, spies of Fatah, cowards! The soldiers of the holy war will punish you. And in any case you will all die, like us. Fighting the Zionist Jews we are all destined for paradise. Do you not wish to die with us?" the religious fanatics of Hamas reportedly responded.
Other Palestinians told Cremonesi of Hamas operatives donning paramedic uniforms and commandeering ambulances. A woman identified as Um Abdullah, 48, spoke of Hamas using UN buildings as launch pads for rockets. Cremonesi reported that he had difficultly gathering evidence as the local population was terrified of Hamas.
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292938156&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
So it appears that Lubin and MECA are willing to manipulate the emotions of Americans so as to cause hatred against the Israeli military and the State of Israel either recklessly or by design. Since MECA does not fund any Israeli children who are victims of the conflict, nor condemn HAMAS for using children in combat zones as human shields, it's obvious to anyone who investigates that MECA is primarily a propagandist organization rather than a humanitarian one on behalf of children.
Friday, May 1, 2009
by Becky Johnson
May 1 2009
Santa Cruz, Ca. - Metro Santa Cruz has published their 15th Anniversary issue and two HUFF members, Robert Norse and myself among those pictured. Now the choice of who feature belonged entirely to the editorial board of Metro Santa Cruz. In the past they called Robert and me "Gadfly #2 and Gadfly #3 respectively). Robert Norse has made or held the gold for Number One Villain for every year in which the magazine conducted its poll. What can I say? They love to hate us!
Here is the link to the Faces of Santa Cruz, and Happy Anniversary to Metro Santa Cruz!!