Does anyone recall this statement: “If I may say so, this is not a court set up to bring to book Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom or Presidents of the United States”?
Those words are from none other than the late Former UK Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Robin Cook, live on television.
He had been asked in an interview if the UK did not fear prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its actions during and after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
How much more bluntly can it be put? With such a plain explanation from such a powerful man, no one should bother about why the US and its European buddies are not prosecuted for their massive crimes against humanity in the decade that the ICC has been in existence.
But let us side-track a little.
Do we ever pause to consider the fact that the total membership of the ICC consists of just one-third of the world’s population?
We are often told that two-thirds of the members of the United Nations have ratified the Rome Statute that set up the ICC.
But this two-thirds of the UN membership, if we look at the populations of their countries, consist just 33 percent of the world’s population.
In essence, the ICC is made up of a group of small countries.
One analysis – as reported elsewhere in this paper – represents a minority of the world’s population despite the claim to being an “international” institution.
Says one analyst, “When you start down the list of the world’s largest countries, the first four, and six of the top 10, are not members of the Court.
“In addition, very significant regions of the world — Asia, the Middle East and North Africa — are woefully underrepresented in the Court’s membership.
“How do you create a significant international institution without the involvement of strategic powers such as China, India, Russia, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, and the United States (a list that includes three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council)?”
What we have then, in the ICC, is a minority court set up for the express purpose of not touching the leaders of the UK and the US, and imposing the will of these same untouchables on the rest of the world.
And while Robin Cook’s – and by extension the UK governing establishment’s ‑ attitude to the ICC is frankly disconcerting, more alarming is that of the United States.
Throughout the 1990s, the US Congress passed several resolutions supporting the creation of an international criminal court but one which provides safeguards to protect Americans from prosecution.
In between Monica Lewinsky and other shenanigans, Bill Clinton was involved in the negotiations leading to 1998 Rome Statute, which in turn led to the ICC’s creation on July 1, 2002.
But Clinton’s participation ‑ true to form – was to try and ensure an outcome that would not result in Americans being tried in an international court.
Clinton said, “I will not and do not recommend that my successor submit the treaty to the Senate … until our fundamental concerns are satisfied.”
His successor was to be George W Bush. And Bush’s reaction to the ICC was typical of the gung-ho cowboy with a nuclear arsenal who invaded Iraq because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
He not only declined to put the Rome Statue before the US Senate, he went a step further and – together with that dyed-in-the-wool rightwing Senator called Jesse Helms ‑ initiated what is known as the American Service-members’ Protection Act.
This law is also referred to as the Hague Invasion Act, and with good cause.
The Hague Invasion Act is an amendment to the National Defence Authorisation Act and its stated purpose is “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party”.
The law gives the US President authority to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court”.
This means the US can and will bomb The Hague in Holland – where the ICC is housed – if any American is brought before that court.
So there you have it: a minority court that survives at the mercy of the US and the UK is supposed to be responsible for maintaining global law and order.
Stephen Asiimwe, writing for the New Vision newspaper of Uganda ahead of the court’s 10th anniversary on July 1, 2012 said: “ICC will continue to pick the weak people, take them to The Hague and hang them.”
And Africa, as divided and lily-livered as we are, will not do anything about it, In fact, a la Joyce Banda, we will tell fellow Africans that they are not welcome in our countries if they are indicted by this minority court.
Not surprising at all.
Geoffrey Robertson, a prominent UK lawyer and a Queen’s Counsel, said at the time of the ICC’s inception,
- AI calls on nations to back ICC (jurist.org)
UK Foreign Office agrees that imprisoning Palestinian children inside Israel violates international law – but what are they going to do?
In a letter dated 29 June 2012, the UK Foreign Office responded to concerns raised by a group of UK lawyers about the forcible transfer of Palestinian children to prisons located inside Israel. The transfer of Palestinian prisoners (adults and children) to detention facilities inside Israel violates article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for which personal criminal liability applies.
In the letter, the UK Foreign Office responded that:
“The British Government shares your concerns about the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons and we have a continual dialogue with the Israeli authorities on this question. […] The Government agrees that Israel has legal obligations as an Occupying Power with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territories under applicable international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. […] We agree with you that Israel’s policy of detaining Palestinians within Israel is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and that domestic law cannot be used as a justification for violations of international law.”
According to Israeli Prison Service figures released in June 2012, 85 percent of Palestinian prisoners, including children, were detained inside Israel. Given that this violation has continued for decades, questions need to be asked as to what additional steps the UK Government is considering to ensure that it complies with its own legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention, as dialogue does not appear to be working when it comes to the forcible transfer of prisoners.
- Israeli interrogators sexually harass Palestinian children in detention (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- UK Report finds Israel breaches International Law in treatment of Palestinian children (alethonews.wordpress.com)
While reading the text of Obama Statement on Shootings in Colorado, one line struck this writer as quite astounding:
“We may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason.”
The President may have realized afterward that since he has been ordering the shooting of thousands in a half-dozen countries, the words “evil, senseless, beyond reason” could easily reflect back on himself. A later Obama statement on the massacre in a Colorado movie house did not contain the words “evil,” “senseless,” “violence beyond reason.”
In any case, history books, in some future, probably not to distant, day will deplore Obama’s pathetic 9/11 excuse for increasing and extending a ten-year-old military occupation war in dirt poor Afghanistan, killing, and killing easily, young and old Afghani, who are fighting invaders of their nation as they have always done. And perhaps one day independent investigative journalism will reveal whose instructions Obama was following from within that “financial element” that FDR confided “has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson.”1
Historians will denounce his shameful exceeding of his executive powers under the Constitution, to have assassinated even American citizens without trial, and ridicule the pack of lies he offered in sick defense of his frightening Hellfire and Predator drones murdering intentionally and collaterally while menacing all citizens in some of the most poverty-stricken populations on earth. Historians will judge his character by his once infamous joking about using a drone on his daughters boyfriends — “they’ll never know what hit them.”2
Very possibly, scholars will chronicle a time when Americans were no longer kept in ignorance by a commercial media blackout of the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, when King called his country “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and condemned US wars as all meant to maintain “unjust overseas predatory investments.”3 Such a time might well arrive in the racing era of instant world-wide personal communication while Barack Obama is still alive and prosecutable for crimes against humanity, or in his own words of 2012, “for violent, evil, senseless and beyond reason, terrorizing fellow human beings.” With the recording of his words, Obama would have difficulty pleading insanity.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wikiquote.
- Obama Jokes About Killing Jonas Brothers With Predator Drones.
- Listen or read: King’s April 1967 New York sermon: Beyond Vietnam – a Time to Break Silence click here;
or see International Awareness Campaign, King Condemned US Wars.
- Is the Obama presidency the most ‘lethal’ in US history? (thegrio.com)
KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) has again dismissed the significance of protests that erupted in different part of the country over the last month describing them as “isolated”.
On Sunday night some hundreds of demonstrators took the streets in areas south of the capital Khartoum to protest a previously unannounced increase in electricity rates that were introduced yesterday which were as high as 150%.
There was no official explanation from the government regarding the rate change.
The move contradicted government assertions made in the past that electricity rates would remain unchanged following the inauguration of the multi-billion dollar Merowe dam in northern Sudan three years ago.
Police and security officers managed to disperse the protests which continued until late into the night in Buri Lamab and and Jebel Awlia areas in Khartoum State.
Abdel-Jalil al-Karoori, a member of the NCP leadership bureau, said that the protests that began in late June are “isolated” and not reflective of the general sentiments among the people.
He stressed that the government is putting significant efforts to contain the economic crisis and accused the opposition of attempting to exploit it politically.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting that Sudan’s GDP growth will shrink by 7.3% in 2012 following the secession of the oil-rich South a year ago. South Sudan now controls what used to be 75% of the formerly united Sudan’s oil production worth billions of dollars.
The government scrambled to find alternatives in the form of expanding gold exploration which is not expected to make up for the revenue shortfall any time soon. Moreover, Sudanese officials have made little progress in attempts to get financial aid from Arab and friendly nations.
China, a major ally of Sudan, has suspended funding to dozens of projects citing the lack of oil collateral after South Sudan broke away.
In a bid to redeem the state’s ailing finances, the government announced a number of measures including the lifting subsidies on fuel which increased frustration among ordinary Sudanese who are struggling to make ends meet amid rising prices.
Annual inflation hit 37.2% in June this year, double the level in June 2011.
Furthermore, the government partially devalued the currency in a bid to further align it with the black market exchange rate and encourage those with US dollars to sell them in the official market. The move meant that Sudan will pay more for imports considering that much of its needs, including many basic food products come from abroad.
The government has also slashed ministries on the federal and local levels to cut expenses but economists say that the step is largely symbolic and would have a negligible impact on the budget.
Despite widespread anger among Sudanese citizens with the measures, only small protests broke out, which saw the participation of few hundred. Khartoum insists that the demonstrations do not amount to an “Arab Spring” as activists have hoped.
In Khartoum, a senior NCP official further downplayed its significance.
“Of more than 5,000 mosques in Khartoum only two protested [after Friday prayers]. That can give you the size of the whole thing,” NCP’s external relations secretary Ibrahim Ghandour told Reuters.
Ghandour revealed that the government would keep in place some fuel subsidies until the end of 2013 to minimise social pressures.
“I don’t think the government will go and fully lift subsidies to oil. That would be a very unwise political and economic decision,” he said.
The NCP official said the austerity measures would generate savings of 7 billion pounds, enough to close a finance gap of around 6.5 billion pounds, stated by Finance Minister Ali Mahmoud Abdel-Rasool, due to the loss of oil revenues.
“The goodies… of those economic arrangements are expected to start coming out at the end of the year provided that the Bank of Sudan [central bank] was able to support the pound,” Ghandour said.
He acknowledged that the central bank has been unable to stop a slide of the pound against the dollar, despite the partial devaluation.
“Until now they managed [to stabilise] to a degree but now the dollar is coming up in the equivalent [black] market,” the NCP official said.
“The Bank of Sudan [central bank] cannot in my opinion continue to support the pound against the dollar. They need new measures,” Ghandour added.
To stop the slide Ghandour said the central bank should license more foreign currency exchange bureaus to attract more dollars from Sudanese who are using the black market.
“Why don’t we open exchange offices for whoever wishes to sell and buy?” he said. “There are few very exchange offices.”
However, he ruled out a total liberalisation of the exchange rate, saying this would be a “disastrous” move.
- Sudanese poor not part of ‘uprising’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Israel’s Defense Ministry has ordered eight Palestinian villages in the West Bank to be razed, claiming the land is needed for military training. Hundreds of Palestinians are to be displaced despite evidence that the villages have existed since 1830.
The residents of the villages, located in the southern region of Hebron, are accused of “illegal dwelling in a fire zone.” The government said in a memo to the Supreme Court on Sunday that the 1,500-plus residents will be moved to the nearby city of Yatta, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The Defense Ministry has obtained evidence the Palestinians have permanent homes there.
The IDF will allow the displaced Palestinians to continue farming the abandoned land and tending cattle on weekends and holidays, when there is no military training. There will also be two month long periods allotted to the residents for farming, the memo says.
Despite the evidence the villages existed well before 1976, the Israeli military views the Hebron Hills as theirs, since the land – like most of the West Bank – is classified Area C, which is under Israel’s complete control.
The Israeli Defense Ministry intends to use the land to train its soldiers, which would include firing exercises. This is strictly forbidden in areas where people live nearby, though not on humanitarian grounds. Haaretz says this is not because civilians may get hurt or killed, but because they may spy on the exercises or steal weapons to use for “terror purposes.”
The villages of Majaz, Tabban, Sfaye, Fahit, Halawa, Al Marqaz, Jinba and Kharuba – together with four other locations in the Hebron Hills – have been under threat of demolition since 1999, according to the Association for Human Rights in Israel. An evacuation was halted in 2000 by a court decision after 700 people were evicted. Many Palestinians living there in traditional “fellaheen” communities still reside in caves and tents. They fear they haven fallen prey to an intimidation campaign as Israel seeks new lands on which to build settlements.
- Report: Israel issued 13,000 demolition orders against Palestinian real estate (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israel Plans Demolition of Entire Palestinian Village (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Susiya: Another Casualty of Israeli Occupation? (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli kills 2 Palestinians near Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- French activist injured as Israeli troops attack Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The Silent Ethnic Cleansing: A Glimpse Into the Plight of an “Invented” People (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Aqaba: Family of 12 receives home demolition order (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces order Hebron village demolished after settler case (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On 11 July 2012, The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe reported on US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s visit ‘to the scene of one of the darkest episodes of US foreign policy’ – Laos, where she ‘saw first-hand the aftermath of America’s “secret war” in which about two million tons of bombs were dropped on the country’. ‘For its population’, Buncombe explained, ‘it is the most heavily bombed place on earth’ where ‘about 30 per cent of the ordnance remains unexploded’. Such a ratio is undoubtedly alarming, and should raise questions which as yet go unanswered.
To begin, we should ask if such bombing constitutes a war crime. That the ’580,000 bombing raids over Laos’ carried out by the US military between 1964 and 1975 – each bomb of which ‘contain[s] up to 600 smaller bomblets’, and from which ‘an estimated 50,000 people’ have been killed ‘since the end of the war’ (‘many of them children’) – were ‘part of a secret mission to cut off supply routes for North Vietnamese forces’ during the Vietnam war, surely fails to justify the destruction. In his report, Buncombe does not mention, for example, that most of those killed during the raids were innocent and defenceless peasants. T D Allman reported the Plain of Jars in 1971 as ‘empty and ravaged’ by saturation bombing which was ‘used in an attempt to extinguish all human life’1. At the very least, the methods employed in the ‘secret mission’ should raise questions about the motives behind the war as a whole. Of course, no such thoughts are expressed. Needless to say, the notion that the merciless destruction wrought by the United States against Laos and/or Vietnam, may be tantamount to a war crime, does not arise.
Regardless, all of this is forgivable, it seems, because Secretary of State Clinton ‘vowed that Washington would do more to help those still suffering from the legacy of America’s Cold War actions’. Indeed, ‘Reports say the US has already spent around £43m to help Laos clear unexploded bombs and will spend another £9m this year’. The intention in citing these figures appears to be to imply that the US has already made a substantial, perhaps charitable, effort. Certainly, £52m from a superpower which happens to be one of the richest nations in the world is undoubtedly more than enough compensation for nine years of bombing, and anyone who thinks otherwise is obviously ungrateful or insane; most likely both. After all, how much did the two million tons of bombs cost? Reports such as Allman’s (cited above) beg the question as to why vows of ‘help’ by US administration officials are taken at face value. Clearly, the most basic review of US foreign policy indicates that such actions are not necessarily of primary concern.
It is conceded that Clinton ‘is seeking to counter growing Chinese influence in the region . . . [and that she] also discussed . . . investment opportunities’. The ‘four-hour visit to Laos, en route to Cambodia’ was, then, not entirely selfless. Still, it was ‘the first US Secretary of State visit to the South-east Asian nation since 1955’ – a fact which must bring significant comfort to the 50,000 killed and ‘maimed by decades-old ordnance’. Indeed, the visit was not the easiest for Clinton, who described it as a ‘painful reminder of the legacy of the Vietnam war era’. A 20 year old Laotian who lost his sight and both his hands on his 16th birthday, after picking up a cluster bomb which subsequently ‘blew up in his face’, spoke ‘in faltering English’, of ‘So many survivors without help’, adding that ‘Their life is very, very hard’. Is it this difficulty of life for innocent victims of ‘America’s Cold War actions’ which determines the past in Laos to ‘always [be] with us’, as Clinton herself exclaimed? Perhaps it is this same past that discouraged high-ranking US officials from visiting the country over the past 57 years. Maybe they simply could not afford the trip, given the £43m they were to spend up until today? Perhaps it was the 30 per cent of unexploded ordnance which was such a turn off?
We may ask what other ‘secret mission[s]’ were conducted during the Vietnam war by the United States; who else is still ‘suffering from the legacy of America’s Cold War actions’? Let us take Cambodia, another stop on Clinton’s tour. It too was bombed covertly – illegally, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, slaughtering hundreds of thousands. It has subsequently been argued that the bombing campaign was in a large part responsible for the mass recruitment to the Khmer Rouge. In a study of US Air Force files released some years ago, Ben Kiernan and Taylor Owen write:
Civilian casualties in Cambodia drove an enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the bombing began, setting in motion the expansion of the Vietnam War deeper into Cambodia, a coup d’état in 1970, the rapid rise of the Khmer Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide.
The study demonstrated, not only that the bombing of Cambodia began in 1965 under the Johnson administration, as opposed to 1969, under Nixon, as originally believed, but that the country was subjected to more bombs than the total tonnage of ordnance dropped by the Allies in the Second World War, including the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Indeed, it was relentless and indiscriminate. Reporting on the release of transcripts of Henry Kissinger’s telephone conversations during his time in office, the New York Times described how, in one conversation in 1970, whilst Kissinger was National Security Advisor, then-President Richard Nixon ‘became especially angry . . . with what he considered the lackluster bombing campaign . . . in Cambodia’, labeling it, the Washington Post noted ‘a disgraceful performance’ in which the US Air Force was ‘farting around doing nothing’, and ordered an escalation in the campaign. ‘Mr. Kissinger’, explained the NYT, ‘immediately relayed the order: “A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”‘2 In their study, Kiernan and Owen in fact quote a US official who stated at the time that ‘We [US officials] had been told, as had everybody…that those carpet-bombing attacks by B-52s were totally devastating, that nothing could survive’.
It should be noted that despite the horrifying consequences which continue to devastate Laotian life, ‘the US has not signed an international convention against using such munitions as were used. Recall that these are bombs which ‘contain up to 600 smaller bomblets’, and whose use has killed some 50,000 people, ‘many’ of whom have been children. When, in the 1970s, the US Air Force radio station in Laos was closed, it signed off with the following message: ‘Good-by [sic] and see you next war’.3 It should be noted, also, that the CIA dropped into Laos millions of dollars of forged Pathet Lao currency, whilst the US Information Agency launched a propaganda campaign including radio programs, films, wall newspapers, leaflet drops and a magazine whose circulation was 43,000 – the circulation of the largest newspaper was 3,300.4 The Guardian reported in 1971 that:
ample evidence exists to confirm charges that the Meo villages that do try to find their own way out of the war-even if it is simply by staying neutral and refusing to send their 13-year olds to fight in the CIA army-are immediately denied American rice and transport, and ultimately are bombed by the US Air Force.5
Buncombe’s Independent report ignores not only details of the United States’ ‘secret war’ against Laos, but also the wider historical context – that is, the fate of other countries against which it waged similar destruction. No mention is made, for example, of the extensive drug trafficking networks established during these years – for which Air America served as a front – that provided the CIA with mercenary armies, as well as covert finance, with which to conduct these ‘secret war[s]’; more often than not at the expense of the native societies, who were subsequently left in the hands of enriched, heavily-armed gangsters, drug kingpins, tribal warlords and the like.6 By ignoring facts such as those outlined above, the report effectively rewrites the history of the countries at hand, erasing both the complicity, and responsibility, of the United States in the turbulent and catastrophic events that have left the countries in the state they are now found by officials – decades later, it should be stressed. It is telling that the dramatic and violent crimes mentioned can be so easily sidelined. That such horror can be written off as ‘America’s Cold War actions’, while its actual implications are seemingly unworthy of even cursory comment, should give us pause.
1. Cited in Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, c.1988 (London: Vintage, 1994), p. 258.
2. Citations in:
i) Elizabeth Becker, ‘Kissinger Tapes Describe Crises, War and Stark Photos of Abuse’, New York Times, 2004,
ii) Michael Dobbs, ‘Haig Said Nixon Joked of Nuking Hill: Transcripts of Phone Talks Are Released by Archives, Washington Post, 2004,
3. Cited in William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military & CIA Interventions since World War II (London: Zed Books, 2003), p. 145.
4. Blum, Killing Hope, 2003, pp. 144, 142.
5. Cited in Blum, Killing Hope, 2003, p. 144.
6. See Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Colombia (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003, revision of 1972 edition).
Immediately after the terror bombing of a busload of Israeli youth in Burgas, Bulgaria, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a “senior U.S. official” expressed certainty about Iran’s responsibility. Since then, the White House has backed away from that position, after Bulgarian investigators warned against that assumption before the investigation is complete.
Similary, it is generally assumed that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible for the terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, because US and Israeli officials, journalists and commentators have repeated that conclusion so often. It was the first reference made by those who were most eager to blame the Burgas bombing on Iran, such as Matthew Levitt and Jeffrey Goldberg.
But that terrorist bombing 18 years ago was not what it has come to appear by the constant drip of unsubstantiated journalistic and political references to it. The identification of that bombing as an Iranian operation should be regarded as a cautionary tale about the consequences of politics determining the results of a terrorist investigation.
The case made by the Argentine prosecutors that Iran and Hezbollah committed that 1994 terrorist bombing has long been cited as evidence that Iran is the world’s premier terrorist state.
But the Argentine case was fraudulent in its origins and produced a trail of false evidence in service of a frame-up. There is every reason to believe that the entire Argentine investigation was essentially a cover-up that protected the real perpetrators.
That is what I learned from my ten-month investigation in 2006-07 of the case, the results of which were published in early 2008.
William Brencick, who was then chief of the political section at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires and the primary Embassy contact for the investigation of the AMIA bombing, told me in an interview in June 2007 that the US conviction about Iranian culpability was based on what he called a “wall of assumptions” — a wall that obstructed an objective analysis of the case. The first assumption was that it was a suicide bombing, and that such an operation pointed to Hezbollah, and therefore Iran.
But the evidence produced to support that assumption was highly suspect. Of 200 initial eyewitnesses to the bombing, only one claimed to have seen the white Renault van that was supposed to have been the suicide car. And the testimony of that lone witness was contradicted by her sister, who said that she had seen only a black and yellow taxicab.
That is only the first of many indications that the official version of how the bombing went down was a tissue of lies. For example:
- The US explosives expert sent soon after the bombing to analyze the crime scene found evidence suggesting that at least some of the explosives had been placed inside the community center, not in a car outside.
- The engine block of the alleged suicide car which Police said led them to the arrest of the Shi’a used car salesman and chop shop owner who sold the car, was supposedly found in the rubble with its identification number clearly visible — something any serious bombing team, including Hezbollah, would have erased, unless it was intentionally left to lead to the desired result.
- Representatives of the Menem government twice offered large bribes to the used car dealer in custody to get him to finger others, including three police officials linked to a political rival of Menem. The judge whose bribe was videotaped and shown on Argentine television was eventually impeached.
Apart from an Argentine investigation that led down a false trail, there were serious problems with the motives attributed to Iran and Hezbollah for killing large numbers of Jewish citizens of Argentina. The official explanation was that Iran was taking revenge on the Menem government for having reneged, under pressure from the Clinton administration, on its agreements with Iran on nuclear cooperation.
But in fact, Argentina had only halted two of the three agreements reached in 1987 and 1988, as was revealed, ironically, in documents cited by the Argentine prosecutor’s report on the arrest warrant for Iranian officials dated October 2006 (unfortunately never made available in electronic form). The documents showed that the Menem government was continuing to send 20 percent enriched uranium to Iran under the third agreement, and there were negotiations continuing both before and after the bombing to resume full nuclear cooperation.
As for Hezbollah, it was generally assumed that it wanted to avenge the Israeli killing of its “ally” Mustafa Dirani in May 1994. But when Hezbollah really wanted to take revenge against Israel, as it did after the Israeli massacre in Qana in 1996, it did not target civilians in a distant country with no relationship to the conflict with Israel; it openly attacked Israel with Katyusha rockets.
It is not clear yet who committed the latest terrorist bombing against Jewish civilians in Burgas, Bulgaria. But the sorry history of that Buenos Aires investigation should not be used to draw a premature conclusion about this matter or any other terrorist action.
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.
UK daily the Guardian, is reporting on Monday that relations between the European Union and the State of Israel are to be upgraded. The EU is to offer improvements on both trade and diplomatic relations, including upgrades on migration, energy and agriculture.
The move follows Israel’s inclusion to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in late 2010 and is a revival of plans to upgrade relations between Israel and the supra-national body that were suspended following Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 – January 2009.
The Guardian reports that the details of the agreement are not as significant of an upgrade as the previous initiative, and that Catherine Ashton has delegated attendance at Tuesday’s meeting to Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Foreign Minister of Cyprus.
Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has been a vocal critic of Israel’s suppression of non-violent activism, settlement construction and Israel’s general policies towards Palestinians.
Despite this, Ashton recently received criticism for refusing to speak out against, and clearly state the illegality of, Israel’s policy of Administrative Detention, whereby Palestinian’s maybe detained without charge or trial indefinitely.
Administrative Detention orders are renewed every three months by the Israeli military, who are not required to present evidence as to the reasons for the order. Any justification is held in a sealed file which neither the detained or their legal representation may have access to.
- Popular Commitee Leader Bassem Tamimi Sentenced (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Open letter to Europan Commission President José Manuel Barroso (bdsmovement.net)