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Truth still not told in killing of Rachel Corrie


Truth still not told in killing of Rachel Corrie

1) CAT CEO refuses to meet with delegation _ TAKE ACTION 2) Truth still not told in killing of Rachel Corrie 3) Palestine photojournal online

1) EMERGENCY RESPONSE – CAT CEO Refuses to meet with delegation

The "Stop CAT" Coalition planning the April 23 "International Day of Action Against Caterpillar" has received a letter from James Owens (CEO) refusing to meet with our delegation. Please go to www.stopcat.org to read the letter and our response. Bus transportation to Peoria is now free! We need all the people we can gather to join us in Peoria on Friday, April 23.

2) http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040419/OPINION01/404190301/1035/OPINION

Iowa View: Truth still not told in killing of Rachel Corrie Peace activist was run over by Israeli bulldozer By SANGINA PATNAIK 04/19/2004

This past month, Colin Powell submitted the State Department's 2003 "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" to Congress. Its findings document human-rights violations around the world and, according to Powell's introduction, informs U.S. policy changes in regard to those violations. The report includes a paragraph documenting the killing of my cousin, Rachel Corrie, by an Israeli military bulldozer. Dressed in a neon-orange jacket, Rachel stood before a Palestinian home in an attempt to protect it from demolition by the Israeli Defense Forces - a horrifyingly common practice that has displaced more than 12,000 people in little more than three years.

Along with other international peace activists, Rachel had arrived in the Occupied Palestinian Territories after Israel and the United States vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for international human-rights monitors in the area. According to multiple eyewitness accounts, on March 16, 2003, the operator of a Caterpillar D-9 armored bulldozer ran over Rachel, and then reversed to drag the bulldozer blade back across her body. In a press conference marking the report's release, Powell assured the audience of its importance to the Bush administration: "President Bush regards the defense and advancement of human rights as America's special calling, and he has made the promotion of human rights an integral and active part of his foreign-policy agenda."

Assume Powell and Bush meant what they said. In Bush's words, "It's essential that this nation not be a nation of empty words, but a nation that is determined to do our duty." One year after Rachel's killing, it seems reasonable to ask why, as a nation committed to upholding human rights, we are not doing our duty in the case of an American peace activist killed by a foreign army. The 2003 report on human-rights practices for Israel and the occupied territories states that in the case of Rachel, Israel Defense Forces "conducted two investigations into the case . . . and found . . . no negligence on the part of the operator."

A cursory reading of the report would appear to satisfy our collective conscience. The truth, however, is far more troubling. The first of two "investigations" into Rachel's death circulated through Congress days after she was killed. It ultimately concluded that "Ms. Corrie was not run over by a bulldozer, but sustained injuries caused by earth and debris which fell on her during bulldozer operation." This assertion contradicts photos and numerous eyewitness accounts, which the Israeli military did not include in its investigation.

Months later, the IDF compiled a second and, in its view, final report. According to Richard Le- Baron, the U.S. Embassy's deputy chief of mission in Tel Aviv, its findings contain "several inconsistencies worthy of note." Unfortunately, Israel refuses to publicly release this report. Furthermore, no one in the U.S. government has had access to any of the direct evidence from which the report was drawn. Although a House resolution calls on the U.S. government to undertake a full, fair and expeditious investigation into Rachel's death, no steps toward an investigation have been taken.

In contrast, the British government is conducting inquests into the deaths of Tom Hurndall and James Miller, British nationals who also were killed in Gaza in spring 2003. In an unusual move, the London Metropolitan Police recently transferred jurisdiction of both investigations to one coroner, reasoning that a series of similar deaths in a relatively short time could be indicative of "a more complex systematic problem" within the Israeli military.

The United States reacted decisively to the deaths of three Americans in Gaza bombings last October. Denouncing Palestinian military trials of suspects linked to the bombings as inadequate, the State Department hinged economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority upon, among other things, a "full investigation and proper trial" in the case. Why is it that Israel, which receives $3 billion to $4 billion in U.S. aid each year, has not been asked to comply with similar requirements in Rachel's case?

The State Department mandates the "Country Reports" to "identify and close gaps between principles and practices, between internationally agreed human-rights standards and the actual enjoyment of such rights by a country's citizens." If we value freedom as an inalienable right, not just as convenient rhetoric, then we must examine the gaps between practices and principles in our government's policies. Such a gap exists in the U.S. government's lack of response to Rachel's killing. Contradicting their stated values and established policies, Bush and Powell continue to ignore a basic fact: When an unarmed American citizen is killed at the hands of a foreign army, her family and her country have a right to learn the truth. In Rachel's case, this will be possible only through an independent investigation.

SANGINA PATNAIK of Denison is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa.

3) Palestine photojournal online

For a beautiful photojournal put together by Eldar, a former volunteer with the ISM in Palestine, please see: http://www.ide03.student.mm.edu/eldast/palmyndir/

contact: Eldar - virkni@hotmail.com

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy

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