A US lawmaker says NATO chiefs must be held responsible under the international law for the deaths of Libyan civilians to avoid the victory of a ‘new international gangsterism.’
“If members of the Gaddafi regime are to be held accountable, NATO’s top commanders must also be held accountable through the International Criminal Court for all civilian deaths resulting from bombing,” Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich was quoted by AFP as saying on Tuesday.
Kucinich denounced NATO for exceeding the UN Security Council resolution which mandated a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians, stating that the real aim of attacks were “regime change.”
If NATO commanders do not stand justice, we will see the victory of “a new international gangsterism,” the lawmaker said.
Kucinich has expressed opposition to the involvement of NATO and the United States in the Libya conflict.
UN Security Council members including Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa have also criticized the Western military alliance, saying NATO has gone beyond the UN mandate.
Colonel Roland Lavoie, a NATO spokesman for Libya’s Operation Unified Protector said on Tuesday that the alliance will continue to carry out its bombing campaign to the end of the ongoing conflict in the North African country.
“We will take out and strike at targets if they pose a threat to the civilian population,” Lavoie said at a news conference in Naples, Italy.
Since NATO took command of airstrikes on March 31, its warplanes have carried out 19,994 sorties including 7,541 strike sorties, a Reuters report published on August 23 said.
In light of the Iraq war debacle, a salutary motto for any American policymaker would be: “Beware of pro-Israelis bearing advice.” Even more so when it’s pretty much the same people that worked so hard to get the United States into that mess who are once again dispensing unsolicited counsel.
Back in 1998, the Project for a New American Century wrote to President Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power to address the potentially “destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East” supposedly posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Thirteen years, hundreds of thousands of lives, trillions of dollars, and no weapons of mass destruction later, three of the signatories of that infamous PNAC letter — William Kristol, Robert Kagan and James Woolsey — are among a gang of Israel partisans and their lackeys who have signed another open letter to an American president urging regime change in yet another one of Israel’s Arab neighbours. This time it’s the hawkishly pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies that is urging President Obama to remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his regime from power. The letter reads in part:
Mr. President, the opportunity presented by recent developments in Syria and the broader region is momentous. As you said in May, “we cannot hesitate to stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights, knowing that their success will bring about a world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.” Supporting Syrians to rid themselves of Assad’s yoke would also have broader game-changing implications on peace and stability in the Middle East. It would deny Iran the use of its major ally as a proxy for terrorism, stem the flow of Syrian arms to Hezbollah, reduce instability in Lebanon, and lessen tensions on Israel’s northern border.
This is a significant moment where many of our allies and partners in Europe and the region are in agreement that the Assad atrocities must stop now. They are poised to act. Now is the time to continue placing the United States firmly on the side of the Syrian people. We urge you to grasp this opportunity and increase your administration’s efforts to ensure that the brave people taking to the streets in Syria are soon able to enjoy the fruits of freedom that we in the West hold so dear.
Needless to say, the best thing the United States could do now for the Syrian people would be to not repeat the mistake George W. Bush made in following similar beguiling advice from “experts” like Kristol and Kagan.
‘Politico’ features claim for Israeli sovereignty of W.B. where ‘Jews have been the majority’ since 1800s
Josh Block used to work for AIPAC. Then he started a PR shop with Clintonite Lanny Davis, and now he’s at the Progressive Policy Institute. So he considers himself a liberal Democrat. And he gets a platform at Politico to spew falsehoods about Jewish numbers and sovereignty. This is what it means to be progressive in the U.S. establishment:
the fictional Palestinian state conjured up for the United Nations doesn’t meet international law standards. Its legislature hasn’t met in nearly five years; it can’t hold elections as required under its own law, and it doesn’t have defined territory — instead claiming land once held briefly by Jordan, where Jews have been the majority population since the 1800s, and now under Israeli sovereignty.
We from the Olive Revolution (popular revolution and national humanitarian non-armed revolution against the Israeli occupation) start the campaign ‘Knocking on Jerusalem’s Doors’ Part of Jerusalem week activities as a response to all the Israeli policies of Judaizing Jerusalem. We state that Jerusalem will remain the jewel of the Arabs and capital of our future country. Jerusalem is the symbol of our pride and our national dignity that’s why we are going to knock on its doors by popular demonstrations and non-violent activities which start with the Friday prayers on the 26th of August 2011. We are planning to knock on four doors:
1. The Northern section Qalandia.
2. The Western section of the Apartheid Wall in the village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem.
3. The Eastern door in Shufat.
4. The Southern door at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.
Members of the Legislative Council, Ministers, Members of the Central Committees & offices of political parties and factions will be present at the four doors.
We are also keen to organize a demonstration at Beit Hanoun set to take place simultaneously with ‘the people knocking on the doors’ of our beloved Jerusalem demonstrations.
Olive Revolution in coordination with the Central Committee for the right of return march declares that this event will take place within the week celebrating Jerusalem day/youm AlQuds in Palestine.
We would be honored by your participation; we welcome your ideas and suggestions for any further activities which express our appreciation and importance of the city of Jerusalem.
It’s an ongoing revolution until we achieve freedom, justice and peace for all.
US Congresswoman Kay Granger has threatened that if Egypt withdraws from its peace treaty with Israel, Washington would cut its USD 2-billion annual aid to Cairo.
“The United States aid to Egypt is predicated on the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and so the relationship between Egypt and Israel is extremely important,” Granger said in an interview with Jerusalem Post on Monday.
The remark came as tension between Cairo and Tel Aviv increased after Israeli forces killed five Egyptian border guards on Thursday at Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Minister for military Affairs Ehud Barak on Saturday said “Israel deeply regrets the deaths of the Egyptian officers” after Egypt announced it would withdraw its ambassador the Tel Aviv if no official apology was made.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but the situation has changed drastically since the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in February; and a number of Egyptian political parties have been calling for changes in the peace treaty.
The United States’ annual aid has been provided to Egypt since the Cairo-Tel Aviv peace treaty was signed.
Granger also warned that the US would cut the USD 500-million aid it provides to the Palestinian Authority if it would seek to win a UN recognition for a statehood at the UN General Assembly meeting in September.
Granger is the chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, which is the institution in charge if setting the US foreign aid bill.
I can imagine his mother dressing him that morning, making sure he would be warm enough. I wonder if she’s the one who took the picture. Someone has written on the photo “kisses.”
It’s not a formal picture. He’s outside on a sunny day. It looks like he was probably moving when the picture was snapped; his arms seem to be swinging a little. As with most almost two-year-olds, I suspect it was hard to get him to stay still long enough for a photo.
It’s a happy picture, the kind that makes you smile; perhaps it reminds you of funny, energetic little children you know or remember.
Until you see the next picture. It was taken on his second birthday. His name was Islam Quraiqe’.
Death from a drone strike is not pretty. The small body is charred, ripped apart; internal organs are pouring out.
He had been riding with his father and uncle on a motorcycle in Gaza when the missile hit them. His 29-year-old father, a member of the Palestinian resistance, and 32-year-old uncle physician were also killed. Five bystanders, including a woman, were injured.
The missile was fired remotely by an Israeli sitting in front of a video screen and operating one of the many drones that periodically fly over Gaza and shoot Palestinians like fish in a fishbowl. The operators are usually female, the preferred group for this kind of desk job.
The drones, which look like small, pilotless jets, are equipped with precision-guided missiles.
Those operating them receive real-time video feeds from sensors located on the drone: a color nose camera, a TV lens, an infrared camera for low light and night, and a synthetic radar for looking through smoke, clouds or haze. The cameras produce full motion video as well as still frame radar images.
Numerous articles extol the virtues of Israeli drones. An August 17th article by David Rodman reports: “The Israel Air Force (IAF) has a rich history of employing unmanned aerial vehicles in battle with excellent results.” Rodman crows that with the possible exception of the United States, “Israel is the country most closely identified with [drone] operations in the post-World War II period.”
Islam was the second two-year-old to be killed by Israeli forces in two days.
An article by reporter Aaron Klein proclaims that Israeli weapons are “capable of taking out stationary and moving targets with minimal collateral damage.”
Perhaps Klein is right. Two years of life is decidedly minimal. Intolerably so.
During this period (August 18-20, 2011) Israeli forces killed 14 Palestinians including at least one other child, a 13-year-old, and injured at least 50, nine of them children. Gazan resistance forces killed one Israeli and injured about 20. Gazan hospitals, hard hit by the years-long Israeli siege, report that they have run out of 150 medicines and 160 types of medical equipment.
The Israeli assaults were allegedly triggered by attacks on Thursday, August 18th, by unknown gunmen on the Egyptian border with Israel that killed eight Israelis. Israeli forces killed the attackers in Eilat, also shooting dead, according to the BBC, five Egyptian policemen. The Israeli Defense Minister told Egypt afterwards that “Israel regrets the deaths.”
There is no evidence connecting Gazan resistance groups to the attack, and they have denied responsibility for it. Hamas itself had maintained a unilateral de facto ceasefire since 2009 (some independent resistance groups, however, refused to take part in this truce and continued to launch rockets in response to Israeli actions). Groups in Egypt have periodically taken actions opposing Israel. Egyptian authorities say they have identified three of the attackers, who appear to have been based in the Sinai, there are reports that Israeli intelligence warned of the attack ahead of time, and there is mounting information suggesting that the attackers may have been Egyptian, not Gazan.
While many reports describe the Israeli actions as retaliatory, Israeli attacks on Gaza occur regularly and were already ongoing before the Eilat attack. Two days earlier, on Tuesday, an Israeli air strike killed a 29-year-old Palestinian man in the morning, and Israeli ground soldiers killed a disabled teenager later in the day. The youth was shot more than 10 times, mostly in the head. On Wednesday night there were more Israeli air attacks throughout Gaza. (The LA Times called this a period of “relative calm.”) Some analysts suggest that the recent Israeli escalation against Gaza may have been prompted, at least in part, by a Netanyahu desire to deflect energy from the massive social protests that have been enveloping Israel recently.
The death toll among Gazans and Israelis has been notably disproportionate. In Israel’s Dec-Jan 2008-09 “Cast Lead” assault, Israeli forces killed approximately 1,387 Gazans , while resistance forces killed nine Israelis. In the preceding year Israeli forces killed 713 Gazans; Gazan resistance fighters killed eight Israelis. Since “Cast Lead” through the end of July of this year, Israeli forces killed approximately 200 Gazans; Palestinian resistance groups killed approximately five Israelis.
Most of Gaza’s residents are refugee families who were forcibly pushed out by Israel in its 1947-49 founding war, in which non-Jews, who originally made up over 70 percent of the inhabitants, were expelled.
In violation of international law, they have been prohibited from returning to their homes and have lived under crippling Israeli occupation for decades. Palestinian land is continually confiscated by Israel for Jewish-only use. A popular uprising against Israeli occupation began in the fall of 2000.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday: “Those who operate against us will be decapitated.” That night at least 100 Israeli military vehicles stormed into the West Bank city of Hebron, closing the city off for hours and rounding up more than 50 Palestinians, including several academics and members of charitable associations.
On Saturday, August 20th, Israeli Aerospace Industries proudly unveiled its latest drone, known as the “GHOST,” which the company announced, “is at the forefront of technology thanks to years of experience and knowledge acquired in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Israel partisan and author David Rodman reports that Israeli drones “played a substantial part” in Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war (in which Israeli forces killed at least 17,825 Lebanese, compared to 344 Israelis killed by the Lebanese resistance) and that their use in what he acknowledges in profound understatement were “asymmetric conflicts” – the 2006 Second Lebanon war (Israeli forces killed at least 1,125 Lebanese , almost all civilians, a third of them children; Lebanese resistance forces killed 164 Israelis, about three-quarters of them soldiers and the 2008–2009 Cast Lead operation – “sparked renewed global interest in Israeli drone operations.”
Rodman states: “In terms of the technological sophistication of its UAV force, Israel is unquestionably well ahead of the pack. Only the United States is in the same league.”
Repeatedly, Israel preemptively bombs, shells, and inflicts other forms of lawless violence on Gazans, bogusly claiming self-defense.
When they respond, Israel calls it terrorism, claiming justification for greater attacks in “self-defense,” what international law prohibits.
In fact, UN Charter Article 2(4) says:
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Only two exceptions apply. Under Chapter VII, the Security Council may authorize force to restore peace. Individual states must abide by Chapter VII, Article 51 stating:
“Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”
In addition, individual states may use defensive force against armed attacks until the Security Council acts. No other exceptions apply, including armed reprisals. Calling them unlawful, the General Assembly said all states must refrain from using them.
The right of self-defense is limited solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression, such as ending an illegal occupation.
Even then, however, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality.
Necessity permits only attacking military targets.
Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones.
Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.
Moreover, a fourth consideration requires preventing unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatant civilians.
If these objectives aren’t possible, attacks are prohibited.
Moreover, to a limited degree, anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones.
However, attackers bear burden of proof responsibility, most often failing the test as America always did post-WW II. Israel also, without exception, since its preemptive 1947-48 “war of independence.”
In fact, it was naked aggression against another country, stealing 78% of it from its citizens, the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan notwithstanding, granting 56% of historic Palestine to Jews, as well as designating Jerusalem an international city under a UN Trusteeship Council.
The UN Charter also explains under what conditions intervention, violence and coercion are justified. None [of these conditions] exist in Palestine now or ever. Claiming an “inherent right” is also bogus under international law.
In addition, Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlements of international disputes, not preemptive attacks. Article 2(4), in fact, prohibits force or its threatened use, including violent interventions of any kind.
Further, Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit instigating any unilateral or other external threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or otherwise authorized by the Security Council. Doing so is naked aggression.
America and Israel are serial offenders. In response, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Libyans, Somalis, Yemenis, and Palestinians may legally respond defensively to preemptive armed aggression.
When done, however, it’s called terrorism. Aggressors make their own rules. Targeted states are doubly victimized, suffering armed attack effects, then vilified for defending themselves. It amounts to a shocking damned if you do or don’t fate.
Lawless Israeli Aggression
Since August 18, Israel lawlessly bombed and shelled Gaza preemptively, falsely blaming Palestinians for multiple Israeli attacks. In fact, they bear classic false flag characteristics, notably because compelling reasons existed to launch them.
Ongoing for four days, mounting casualties include 19 Palestinians dead and 50 or more injured, mostly civilians in harms way or willfully targeted to inflict pain and suffering.
Besides violating UN Charter Article 51, Israel also defiled Fourth Geneva’s Article 33 stating:
“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited….Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
No matter. Israel willfully violates this and other international law provisions, committing preemptive armed aggression against Palestinian civilians, including using illegal weapons.
On August 19, The Palestine Monitor headlined, “Attacks on Gaza continue: ‘I’ve never seen shrapnel wounds like this before,” saying:
On Friday night alone, over a dozen air attacks struck multiple Gaza sites, including a civilian car, killing a family of three – a doctor, his five-year old son and others.
Media coordinator for Gaza’s medical service, Adham Abu Salmiya, said Israel is using new kinds of weapons. Doctors reported unusual injuries, resulting in increased amputations.
Maha Elbanna, a Gaza City based Palestinian/American journalist noted images of wounded victims looking especially gruesome, saying:
“There is a picture of a teenage girl with shrapnel cuts in her face that are very deep, like I’ve never seen before. I have seen shrapnel wounds before and these are very strange.”
In fact, weapons used may be high explosive Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) ones made out of a tungsten alloy. Used during Cast Lead, they have enormous explosive power, enough to cut people struck to pieces.
In 2006, they were first used in Lebanon and Gaza. They not only kill and mutilate, their toxins cause a long-term cancer threat.
Flechette munitions possibly also were used – 4cm-long darts used as anti-personnel weapons. They penetrate to the bone, causing multiple horrific injuries. Up to 8,000 can be packed into one artillery shell. After exploding, they travel at high speed in multiple directions up to around 300 meters.
DIME and flechette munitions are terror weapons, violating the letter and spirit of international law.
Albanna added that “(t)here is so much damage across Gaza – in the north, south and in Gaza City….So far, there is no evidence that anyone in Gaza is responsible for what happened.”
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestinian National Initiative Secretary-General said:
“This is a campaign that is turning into a massacre and civilian areas are targeted.”
Among other nonmilitary targets, Israelis struck a concrete factory, gravely injuring two civilians. Barghouthi and Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) doctors called on the international community to demand an immediate cease fire.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas requested a special Security Council session to stop Israel’s naked aggression.
In response, Gazans launched Qassam and Grad rockets as well as mortars, hardly an adequate defense against F-16s, Apache helicopter gunships, tanks and other high-tech weapons, ones Israel uses lawlessly against civilians.
On August 20, Haaretz said a Be’er Sheva home was struck Saturday night, causing one death and four injuries.
Another rocket slightly wounded two children. In total since Thursday evening, dozens of Qassam and Grad rockets, as well as numerous mortar rounds were fired at southern Israel, wounding about 16 Israelis. Areas in and around Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev were struck. Casualties and damage caused hardly compared to what Israel inflicted on Gaza, taking an enormous toll as always.
More was inflicted Sunday when Israel struck Beit Lahia, injuring seven Palestinians, besides causing extensive damage from four days of attacks, more perhaps to come.
On August 21, Haaretz said eight senior Israeli cabinet ministers met Saturday night to discuss escalated attacks on Gaza. Cast Lead II perhaps?
Also on August 21, opposition Kadima MKs demanded Israel “launch a (large-scale) military campaign” against Gaza.
MK Shaul Mofaz (former Defense Minister and IDF Chief of General Staff) said steps must be taken to “topple (Hamas’) infrastructures and create a system of ties with Egypt in order to prevent terrorism coming from its border.”
In other words, when in doubt, attack. Perhaps Cast Lead II indeed. Considering Israel’s horrific crimes of war and humanity last time, imagine what now may be planned.
No matter. World leaders remain silent. As usual, an August 18 White House Press statement blamed Palestinian victims the way Obama wrongfully condemned Gaddafi to justify lawless US/NATO aggression.
On August 21, Haaretz writer Yossi Sarid headlined, “Israel is isolating itself from all its Mideast allies,” saying:
Israel lashed out indiscriminately, blaming everyone but itself. “Hamas is to blame because it is responsible for everything (in) Gaza.” So is Islamic Jihad. “(I)t’s the (PA’s) fault because it agreed (to) unite with Hamas (for) a joint government. Al Qaeda is the guilty party because” it’s everywhere, “and Egypt, too, bears responsibility” because they haven’t acted against “terror.”
Israel’s capacity for making enemies may ultimately be its undoing, leaving it isolated and reviled. For its many victims, it can’t happen a moment too soon.
A Final Comment
Some good news and bad. First the bad. On August 20, Israeli forces invaded Hebron, breaking into dozens of homes, searching and damaging them, as well as arresting about 120 residents, mostly Hamas political leaders and supporters.
Now the good. On August 21, Haaretz writer Hila Raz headlined, “Israeli activists: Social protests must continue despite escalation of” violence, saying:
“Despite the escalation of violence in the south, the tent protesters are determined to keep fighting for social justice, said organizers over the weekend.”
Tel Aviv protest leader Stav Shafir said:
“We’ll need to find new and creative ways to protest. For many years, Israeli society got used to giving in due to security issues…. Because the protest is so strong, fierce, and affects all layers of society, we understand that if we don’t continue, things will be worse.”
Indeed so. As a result, staying the course is crucial to have any hope for success. National Student Union leader Itzik Shmueli said:
“The goal is to get the government to fix matters such as health care, education and housing…. There’s no reason for the protests to die out. We have a very powerful weapon on our side – the truth.”
Hopefully that spirit won’t wane despite Israel’s objective to crush it. In fact, it was present Saturday night, YNet News saying Tel Aviv “protesters march(ed) under red banners…. chanting time-honored slogans from the oeuvre of the pacifist hard Left.” They included:
“Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
“We demand social justice in both Israel and the Territories.”
“Let us live in dignity in both Gaza and Ashdod,” and
“No to another war that will bury the protest.”
Imagine that spirit inspiring all Israelis. It’s already present in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, so why not throughout all Eretz Yisrael.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
It appears that, unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been, for quite some time now, two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum. One theory claims that oil is an organic ‘fossil fuel’ deposited in finite quantities near the planet’s surface. The other theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes in the Earth’s magma. One theory is backed by a massive body of research representing fifty years of intense scientific inquiry. The other theory is an unproven relic of the eighteenth century. One theory anticipates deep oil reserves, refillable oil fields, migratory oil systems, deep sources of generation, and the spontaneous venting of gas and oil. The other theory has a difficult time explaining any such documented phenomena.
So which theory have we in the West, in our infinite wisdom, chosen to embrace? Why, the fundamentally absurd ‘Fossil Fuel’ theory, of course — the same theory that the ‘Peak Oil’ doomsday warnings are based on.
I am sorry to report here, by the way, that in doing my homework, I never did come across any of that “hard science” documenting ‘Peak Oil’ that Mr. Strahl referred to. All the ‘Peak Oil’ literature that I found, on Ruppert’s site and elsewhere, took for granted that petroleum is a non-renewable ‘fossil fuel.’ That theory is never questioned, nor is any effort made to validate it. It is simply taken to be an established scientific fact, which it quite obviously is not.
So what do Ruppert and his resident experts have to say about all of this? Dale Allen Pfeiffer, identified as the “FTW Contributing Editor for Energy,” has written: “There is some speculation that oil is abiotic in origin — generally asserting that oil is formed from magma instead of an organic origin. These ideas are really groundless.” (http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/04_04_02_oil_recession.html)
Here is a question that I have for both Mr. Ruppert and Mr. Pfeiffer: Do you consider it honest, responsible journalism to dismiss a fifty year body of multi-disciplinary scientific research, conducted by hundreds of the world’s most gifted scientists, as “some speculation”?
Another of FTW’s prognosticators, Colin Campbell, is described by Ruppert as “perhaps the world’s foremost expert on oil.” He was asked by Ruppert, in an interview, “what would you say to the people who insist that oil is created from magma …?” Before we get to Campbell’s answer, we should first take note of the tone of Ruppert’s question. It is not really meant as a question at all, but rather as a statement, as in “there is really nothing you can say that will satisfy these nutcases who insist on bringing up these loony theories.”
Campbell’s response to the question was an interesting one: “No one in the industry gives the slightest credence to these theories.” Why, one wonders, did Mr. Campbell choose to answer the question on behalf of the petroleum industry? And does it come as a surprise to anyone that the petroleum industry doesn’t want to acknowledge abiotic theories of petroleum origins? Should we have instead expected something along these lines?:
“Hey, everybody … uhhh … you know how we always talked about oil being a fossil fuel? And … uhmm … you know how the entire profit structure of our little industry here is built upon the presumption that oil is a non-renewable, and therefore very valuable, resource?
And remember all those times we talked about shortages so that we could gouge you at the pumps? Well … guess what, America? You’ve been Punk’d!”
For the sake of accuracy, I think we need to modify Mr. Campbell’s response, because it should probably read: no one in the petroleum industry will publicly admit giving any credence to abiotic theories. But is there really any doubt that those who own and control the oil industry are well aware of the true origins of oil? How could they not be?
Surely there must be a reason why there appears to be so little interest in understanding the nature and origins of such a valuable, and allegedly vanishing, resource. And that reason can only be that the answers are already known. The objective, of course, is to ensure that the rest of us don’t find those answers. Why else would we be encouraged, for decades, to cling tenaciously to a scientific theory that can’t begin to explain the available scientific evidence? And why else would a half-century of research never see the light of day in Western scientific and academic circles?
Maintaining the myth of scarcity, you see, is all important. Without it, the house of cards comes tumbling down. And yet, even while striving to preserve that myth, the petroleum industry will continue to provide the oil and gas needed to maintain a modern industrial infrastructure, long past the time when we should have run out of oil. And needless to say, the petroleum industry will also continue to reap the enormous profits that come with the myth of scarcity.
How will that difficult balancing act be performed? That is where, it appears, the ‘limited hangout’ concerning abiotic oil will come into play.
Perhaps the most telling quote to emerge from all of this came from Roger Sassen, identified as the deputy director of Resource Geosciences, a research group out of Texas A&M University:
“The potential that inorganic hydrocarbons, especially methane and a few other gasses, might exist at enormous depth in the crust is an idea that could use a little more discussion. However, not from people who take theories to the point of absurdity. This is an idea that needs to be looked into at some point as we start running out of energy. But no one who is objective discusses the issue at this time.”
The key point there (aside from Sassen’s malicious characterization of Kenney) is his assertion that no one is discussing abiotic oil at this time. And why is that? Because, you see, we first have to go through the charade of pretending that the world has just about run out of ‘conventional’ oil reserves, thus justifying massive price hikes, which will further pad the already obscenely high profits of the oil industry. Only then will it be fully acknowledged that there is, you know, that ‘other’ oil.
“We seem to have plum run out of that fossil fuel that y’all liked so much, but if you want us to, we could probably find you some mighty fine inorganic stuff. You probably won’t even notice the difference. The only reason that we didn’t mention it before is that – and may God strike me dead if I’m lying – it is a lot more work for us to get to it. So after we charged you up the wazoo for the ‘last’ of the ‘conventional’ oil, we’re now gonna have to charge you even more for this really ‘special’ oil. And with any luck at all, none of you will catch on that it’s really the same oil.”
And that, dear readers, is how I see this little game playing out. Will you be playing along?
Several readers have written to me, incidentally, with a variation of the following question: “How can you say that Peak Oil is being promoted to sell war when all of the websites promoting the notion of Peak Oil are stridently anti-war?”
But of course they are. That, you see, is precisely the point. What I was trying to say is that the notion of ‘Peak Oil’ is being specifically marketed to the anti-war crowd — because, as we all know, the pro-war crowd doesn’t need to be fed any additional justifications for going to war; any of the old lies will do just fine. And I never said that the necessity of war was being overtly sold. What I said, if I remember correctly, is that it is being sold with a wink and a nudge.
The point that I was trying to make is that it would be difficult to imagine a better way to implicitly sell the necessity of war, even while appearing to stake out a position against war, than through the promotion of the concept of ‘Peak Oil.’ After September 11, 2001, someone famously said that if Osama bin Laden didn’t exist, the US would have had to invent him. I think the same could be said for ‘Peak Oil.’
I also need to mention here that those who are selling ‘Peak Oil’ hysteria aren’t offering much in the way of alternatives, or solutions. Ruppert, for example, has stated flatly that “there is no effective replacement for what hydrocarbon energy provides today.” )
The message is quite clear: “we’re running out of oil soon; there is no alternative; we’re all screwed.” And this isn’t, mind you, just an energy problem; as Ruppert has correctly noted, “Almost every current human endeavor from transportation, to manufacturing, to plastics, and especially food production is inextricably intertwined with oil and natural gas supplies.” )
If we run out of oil, in other words, our entire way of life will come crashing down. One of Ruppert’s “unimpeachable sources,” Colin Campbell, describes an apocalyptic future, just around the corner, that will be characterized by “war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens.”
My question is: if Ruppert is not selling the necessity of war, then exactly what is the message that he is sending to readers with such doomsday forecasts? At the end of a recent posting, Ruppert quotes dialogue from the 1975 Sidney Pollack film, Three Days of the Condor:
Higgins: …It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In 10 or 15 years – food, Plutonium. And maybe even sooner. Now what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
Turner: Ask them.
Higgins: Not now – then. Ask them when they’re running out. Ask them when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when people who’ve never known hunger start going hungry. Do you want to know something? They won’t want us to ask them. They’ll just want us to get it for them.
The message there seems pretty clear: once the people understand what is at stake, they will support whatever is deemed necessary to secure the world’s oil supplies. And what is it that Ruppert is accomplishing with his persistent ‘Peak Oil’ postings? He is helping his readers to understand what is allegedly at stake.
Elsewhere on his site, Ruppert warns that “Different regions of the world peak in oil production at different times … the OPEC nations of the Middle East peak last. Within a few years, they — or whoever controls them — will be in effective control of the world economy, and, in essence, of human civilization as a whole.”
Within a few years, the Middle East will be in control of all of human civilization?! Try as I might, I can’t imagine any claim that would more effectively rally support for a U.S. takeover of the Middle East. The effect of such outlandish claims is to cast the present war as a war of necessity. Indeed, a BBC report posted on Ruppert’s site explicitly endorses that notion: “It’s not greed that’s driving big oil companies – it’s survival.”
A few final comments are in order here about ‘Peak Oil’ and the attacks of September 11, 2001, which Ruppert has repeatedly claimed are closely linked. In a recent posting, he bemoaned the fact that activists are willing to “Do anything but accept the obvious reality that for the US government to have facilitated and orchestrated the attacks of 9/11, something really, really bad must be going on.” That something really, really bad, of course, is ‘Peak Oil.’
To demonstrate the dubious nature of that statement, all one need do is make a couple of quick substitutions, so that it reads: “for the German government to have facilitated and orchestrated the attack on the Reichstag, something really, really bad must have been going on.” Or, if you are the type that bristles at comparisons of Bush to Hitler, try this one: “for the US government to have facilitated and orchestrated the attack on the USS Maine, something really, really bad must have been going on.”
Yet more tragic loss of life, this time in Eilat and Gaza, and yet again Israel “responds” with “full force”; the bombs dropped on overcrowded Gaza City, and the resultant deaths, are testimony to that. However, this is nothing new for the Palestinians. The violence being unleashed on them by Israel now is not a response to what happened in Eilat, nor was the attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians in Eilat “the trigger”, as the BBC has claimed, for Israel’s disproportionate “response”. It’s just Israel being even more violent than usual. Let’s face it, Israel is an aggressive, occupying (and nuclear-armed) power which doesn’t respond to violence, it foments violence.
In the week prior to the attack in Eilat, Israel killed two Palestinians, including a mentally disabled young man whose only crime was to wander too close to the border; trigger-happy Israeli soldiers shot him ten times, mainly in the head. Four Palestinians were wounded by Israel in the days pre-Eilat, including a child; a number of civilian targets were bombed and Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza were attacked by Israeli gunboats, leaving one injured. This brief summary of Israel’s violence “pre-response” doesn’t take into account the ongoing Israeli oppression of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, where the occupation authorities have approved thousands of new housing units for illegal settlers in the past few week and are threatening to deport prominent Palestinians from their own city.
The world is driven by concern for Israel’s security, which takes precedence over all other aspects of Middle East affairs. The Arab spring? How will it affect Israel? Palestinian reconciliation? How will it affect Israel? This Western fetish for Israel’s security is the reason why the Zionist state can, and does, act with impunity. Of course, any state has the right to defend its people from outside attack, but doesn’t that right also extend to Palestinians living under occupation and siege? Are they not also entitled to act in self-defence when Israeli soldiers enter Gaza at will, or shoot a mentally-unstable boy for wandering, in his own country, too close to the border with the Zionist state? Isn’t that “response” from Israeli soldiers probably not much older or wiser than the 17-year old victim the sort of thing which was condemned when East German border guards shot people who got too close to the Berlin Wall? The downfall of that wall has been commemorated in recent days; the Israel version continues to be built but nobody in Washington or European capitals cares. It’s Israel, after all, and Israeli security comes top of the list of concerns, especially for the many US Senators and Congressmen and women who take summer breaks in Israel, all expenses paid.
Few journalists, and even fewer politicians, seem willing to look at the situation in the Holy Land objectively so that the general public have a more balanced understanding of events. Instead, we always hear about “Israel’s response” to this Palestinian rocket or that attempted incursion by terrorists. Few delve deeper behind the headlines to ask why Palestinians fire rockets into Israel, or why the resistance groups try to live up to their name and resist. Few point out that Palestinians are resisting the Israeli occupation of their land, and are entitled by international law to do so with whatever means are at their disposal. It is telling that they have been labelled as “terrorists” by the people running Israel who are adept at flouting international law, to the extent that many Israeli politicians and military officers will not travel abroad for fear of being arrested on war crimes charges.
Who are the real “terrorists”, the occupiers or the occupied? This is an important question, so important in fact, that politicians and the media are afraid to answer it. But when my wife’s friend and her mother email us to say that they were “hiding under the bed trying to shut out the terrifying noise of the bombs”, it is a question to which we are entitled to expect an honest answer.
The laws of cause and effect are really quite simple in this situation, despite attempts in the media and Israeli propaganda to convince us otherwise: Israel was founded in 1948 on Palestinian land following a UN Partition Plan passed by the General Assembly as Resolution 181 (virtually the only UN resolution Israelis have ever stood by, even though it was not mandatory). The people who drafted that plan did not consult the Palestinians on what they thought about giving up more than half of their country to provide a home for Jewish immigrants from Europe. It was thus the Palestinians who paid the price for European anti-Semitism and were the victims of a campaign of brutal ethnic cleansing at the hands of Jewish militias which saw the nascent Israeli state establish itself on more land than the UN ever envisaged or sanctioned. Likewise, in June 1967 Israel kicked-off a war and took even more of historic Palestine, occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip which, since 1948, had been administered by Jordan and Egypt respectively. The Zionist state has been colonising the West Bank in defiance of international law ever since. Ergo, Palestinians resist the theft and occupation of their land. Which European or American citizen, supporter of Israel or not, could say with hand on heart that they would not resist the occupation of their own country if that ever took place? End the occupation and the need for resistance will also end. It’s not rocket science.
But Zionist Israel is different, quite probably due in part to the American politicians who holiday at the state’s expense. They’ve been bought, and have been for many years, by the powerful Israel Lobby in Washington. That Lobby is now very influential in Britain and the rest of Europe.
What do the Lobbyists make, though, of the claim made by journalist Harriet Sherwood that “an Israeli official told the Guardian: ‘We knew they were out there’, suggesting intelligence had picked up the possibility of an attack” on Eilat? If Israel’s intelligence was so certain, to the degree that Prime Minister Netanyahu could tell the world just hours later that “the people who gave the order” for the attack “are no longer amongst the living”, it also suggests that the Israelis could have prevented it. The Gaza Strip is more than 200 kilometres away from Eilat; if the Israelis “knew they were out there”, why didn’t they intercept the people who carried out the attack on Eilat before it could take place? Since when has Israel been shy of pre-emptive strikes and why was it decided not to make one on this occasion?
I am thinking the unthinkable. Did the Israeli government decide to allow the attack, despite the potential cost in Israeli lives, to go ahead in order to have an excuse – as if it ever needs an excuse – to launch another assault on Gaza and divert attention from its domestic problems in the process? The cancellation of large-scale protests in Israel over the weekend seems to tick at least one of those boxes. Politics is a dirty business, especially in the Middle East, so I wouldn’t rule anything out. Perhaps the families of those Israelis killed in Eilat could ask their government for an answer.
I was brought up by my parents on Tyneside to be honest and stand up for what is just and right. Those core British values of my youth have stayed with me to this day. That’s why I don’t understand why our Prime Minister and senior politicians, backed by an all too compliant media, abandon those core values, which they otherwise espouse so passionately, when the issue in question is the Israel-Palestine conflict. They dance to the Israel Lobby’s tune ever so willingly and call for “restraint” from both parties, as if there is some degree of parity between the military capabilities of Israelis and Palestinians. This is a conflict between a heavily-armed occupier and an almost 100% civilian population under occupation, not a clash of equals, but that simple fact appears to have passed them by.
South Africa’s Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Silence is not an option when faced with Israeli injustice in occupied Palestine. When will we have politicians and a media who understand this and side with the oppressed for a change?
GAZA — Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike in central Gaza city Tuesday morning a day after Israel and the government in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire.
In the attack, a single missile was fired at vacant land near a gas station in the city’s Daraj district.
Although no injuries were reported, the impact smashed windows of nearby homes, and a state of fear prevailed among locals preparing for the next day’s fast.
It was the first rocket Israel launched after a truce was declared Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Deputy Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmed Bahar called on Palestinian factions to maintain national consensus, preserve the calm, and not to allow Israel drag the Palestinians into an escalation.