The debate that has opened up regarding the International Criminal Court as a consequence of South Africa’s decision not to arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir while he was attending the recent African Union summit in Johannesburg and Palestine’s successful application to join the court is long overdue.
The pursuit of justice, in the wake of wrong-doing and especially in the face of crimes against humanity and war crimes, is one of mankind’s most noble instincts. The International Criminal Court was embraced with understandable enthusiasm by a wide range of people, non-governmental organisations and governments when it came into being on 1 July 2002. Less than eight years later, however, the ICC-friendly Economist found itself obliged to publish an article about the court entitled “International justice: Courting disaster?” The court had already shown the behaviour that would come to irretrievably undermine it. Entering the fourteenth year of its existence, the International Criminal Court still finds itself unable to credibly respond to allegations of selectivity, racism, incompetence and impotence.
With hindsight, it can be seen that the Court clearly contained the seeds of its own destruction from the start. Good law evolves over decades. It is said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. The ICC is a court designed by non-governmental organisations. The Rome statute was driven and largely drafted by non-governmental organisations within a month on a take it or leave it basis. The chief counsel of the Israeli delegation in Rome at the time noted of the NGOs that were present that “They were in on nearly every meeting. They were in on everything.” The end result was a founding statute that that even avid fans of the ICC acknowledged was seriously flawed. The resultant ICC is a judicial Frankenstein’s monster.
Many of those who initially welcomed the establishment of the court were African. They joined an institution they were assured would be independent and which would proceed without fear or favour. The body before them today, however, bears little resemblance to what was claimed of it in 2002. Despite having received almost 9,000 formal complaints about alleged war crimes in at least 139 countries, the ICC has focused exclusively on Africa, choosing to indict 36 black Africans in eight African countries. African heads of state have perhaps understandably spoken of “race hunting” by a court largely funded by Africa’s former colonial powers. Unsurprisingly, the African Union has publicly called upon its 54 members not to co-operate with the court.
The credibility of any court is its independence. The truth is that the ICC is as independent as the United Nations Security Council, and its European funders, lets it be. Far from being an independent, impartial, international court, the ICC is inextricably tied to the UN Security Council. Articles 13(b) and 16 of the ICC’s own statute grant special “prosecutorial” rights, to refer or defer an ICC investigation or prosecution, to the Security Council, or more specifically to the five Permanent members of the Security Council. Political interference was thus made part of the Court’s founding terms of reference. There is the deeply questionable situation whereby three of the five Permanent members – the United States, China and the Russian Federation – who are not members of the Court, claim to be able to refer other non-signatories to the Rome Statute to the Court when it is politically expedient for them so to do, something they have done on two occasions. The former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has admitted that “questions of credibility will persist so long” as three of the five permanent members of the Security Council are not parties to the Statute.
The court is also inextricably tied to the European Union which provides over 60 percent of its funding. The ICC has come to be seen within Africa very much as a European-funded and directed instrument of European foreign policy. The United States has forcefully pointed out that the ICC is a kangaroo court, a travesty of justice open to political influence, and has said that no American citizen will ever come before it.
Politics aside, the sheer incompetence of the Court at a basic level has been breathtaking. The court’s proceedings thus far have often been questionable where not simply farcical. Those who brought the ICC into being appear to be more concerned with gender balance rather than competence on the bench. Its judges – some of whom have never been lawyers, let alone judges – are the result of grubbily corrupt vote-trading amongst member states. Far from securing the best legal minds in the world this produces mediocrity. There is more than a passing resemblance to FIFA in as much as at least one elected “judge” had neither law degree nor legal experience but her country had contributed handsomely to the ICC budget. The Court has produced witnesses who recanted their testimony the moment they got into the witness box, admitting that they were coached by non-governmental organisations as to what false statements to make. Dozens of other “witnesses” have similarly disavowed their “evidence”. Most recently the ICC prosecutor had to admit that one of its own star witnesses in its case against Kenyan Vice-President Ruto was “a thoroughly unreliable and incredible” witness. Much the same can be said about the ICC as a whole.
There have been numerous examples of prosecutorial misconduct, not least of which the ICC Chief Prosecutor hiding hundreds of items of exculpatory evidence, which should have ended any trial because they would have compromised the integrity of any legal process. The same Chief Prosecutor was not only seemingly unaware of the basic legal concept of presumption of innocence but also threatened to criminalise third-parties who might argue a presumption of innocence on the part of those indicted – and as yet unconvicted – by the court.
But most disturbingly of all, while claiming that preventing and ending conflict is its most important raison d’etre the ICC’s pseudo-legal blundering has derailed delicate peace processes across the continent – thereby prolonging war. One can expect more of the same from any involvement it may come to have in the Middle East.
The reality is that the International Criminal Court is a billion Euro white elephant that is simply unfit for purpose. It has been a disaster for the concept of international justice. If the answer is the International Criminal Court, it must have been a stupid question.
The writer is the author of Justice Denied: The Reality of the International Criminal Court, a 610-page study of the International Criminal Court published by the Africa Research Centre. The book is available to read or download at www.africaresearchcentre.org The author can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A senior Iranian lawmaker has called on French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to officially apologize to the Iranian nation over his role in the export of infected blood.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who serves as the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said Tuesday that Fabius must apologize over involvement in the selling of infected blood products to Iranian companies in the 1980s.
The controversial case dates back to 1984 and 1985, when Fabius served as the prime minister of France. He was, at the time, accused of having a hand in a French company’s deliberate selling of blood products contaminated with HIV to a number of countries, including Iran. The blood products were used for the treatment of haemophiliacs in the target countries. Fabius and two of his ministers were charged with manslaughter but the then French premier was later acquitted.
Boroujerdi said most of the countries that received the bloods were compensated by Paris over the years, but the French government has yet to pay redress to Iranians.
“The relevant bodies, especially the [Iranian] Foreign Ministry, should take action” to get reparations from the French government, Boroujerdi said.
Fabius is due in Tehran on Wednesday for talks with senior Iranian officials.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Saleh Jowkar, another member of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), highlighted the role of Fabius in the controversial case, saying the people of Iran cannot forget his antagonistic actions toward the Iranian nation.
Jowkar also criticized Fabius for adopting an “arrogant” stance toward Iran during the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
“We will not forget his oppositions, distractions and his advocacy for the Zionist regime during the negotiations,” Jowkar said, adding that the Wednesday visit by Fabius to Tehran is in line with France’s business and economic objectives.
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Britain, Russia, China, France, and Germany – finalized the text of an agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in Vienna on July 14 after 18 days of intense talks.
Amazing insights into the Chicken Pox vaccine and the unintended consequences of that decision on the health of US citizens in particular.
Tony Bark, M.D.: When I was a resident in pediatrics I was told, “we’ll never promote this vaccine, this vaccine will never be a recommended or mandated vaccine because all vaccines come with risks and Chickenpox is so risk-free.”
Of course if your children died from Chickenpox, well yes, on average in the United States there were a hundred deaths per year from Chickenpox.
That’s not considered a problem, I hate to say it. Of course if it’s your child or your spouse who dies, or you, it’s a problem.
But if you look at it statistically, 100 deaths out of how many 100 million people we’ve got in the country, it was a really low rate.
Suzanne Humphries, M.D.: Most people know Chickenpox is a pretty benign entity, now we’re vaccinated for Chickenpox and, “hey, the vaccines working, we’re not seeing as much Chickenpox” right, so that seems like a good thing.
However what we’re seeing more of now is Shingles because those us adults who need to be exposed to ongoing Chickenpox through children, aren’t. So we’re not getting those natural boosters and so what happens is our immunity level starts to drop. This is happening both in children and adults now.
I don’t think this is an overall benefit. The UK is not using that vaccine, they have looked into the danger of Chickenpox and the cost-effectiveness of vaccinating the entire population and they have decided not to implement that in their vaccine schedule.
There are other countries as well who have decided not to use the Chickenpox vaccine. United States is one of the most heavily vaccinated countries,
South Korea comes close and our childhood chronic disease rates are actually also among the highest.
Tony Bark, M.D.: The problem with that vaccine is there are many more deaths from the vaccine then we would have seen from Chickenpox because now what we’ve done is we’ve shifted the burden of disease from Chickenpox to shingles.
What a lot of doctors don’t even understand is that Chickenpox, like pertussis, needs to be in the environment so we can be constantly exposed and the constant exposure maintains our antibodies which keeps us from getting Shingles. Which is why when I was a young kid the only people that got Shingles we’re very old people because they weren’t exposed to young children anymore.
If you’re out in the environment and you’re exposed to the population at large and young people, you are exposed to Chickenpox, or you were exposed to Chickenpox and it kept your antibodies adequate to suppress Shingles from coming out.
Gary Goldman, PH.D.: As the vaccine became more widespread and by year 2000, 50% of children, age less than 10 years old had been vaccinated. The boosting from children in the community with natural Chickenpox severely decreased because so many children had been vaccinated. So the young children that had natural Chickenpox no longer were receiving those exogenous or outside exposures.
As Chickenpox exposures declined, Shingles increased.
Tony Bark, M.D.: Shingles has a much greater morbidity and mortality rate than Chickenpox.
Gary Goldman, PH.D.: Yes, that’s a good point because the cost to treat Chickenpox are at 25 percent and Shingles is 75 percent of the cost. So if you eliminate Chickenpox but Shingles increases then you’ve offset the benefit that you tried to achieve.
We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities.
— Department of Defense, 1999, with thanks to William Blum
One quote has reverberated throughout the United States decades of decimations of the lands of others. Journalist Peter Arnett, reporting from Vietnam, in a piece published on 7 July 1968, quoted an American officer saying of the provincial capital Bến Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” He was referring to the decision to bomb and shell the town no matter what the cost of civilian lives, in order to rout the Vietcong.
The US led “coalitions” of recent years have, it seems, moved on from destroying towns, now entire sovereign nations are laid to waste to free, liberate, and democratize them. The cemeteries and ruins of much of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya are recent silent witness to this munificence, with Syria set to be the latest centre of the eye of the storm.
ISIS/ISIL/IS has replaced the Vietcong and the “town” is where ever the liberating bombs, missiles, drone strikes blast homes and humanity across the entire country and of course in neighbouring Iraq, bombed in the name of protection and salvation for 24 years — approaching a quarter of a century.
In context, prior to the illegal invasion of 2003, from 1993 onwards, wrote John Pilger (7 August 2000):
The Royal Air Force, together with the US, bombs Iraq almost every day. Since December 1998, the Ministry of Defence has admitted dropping 780 tonnes of bombs on a country with which Britain is not at war. During the same period, the United States has conducted 24,000 combat missions over southern Iraq alone, mostly in populated areas. In one five-month period, forty one per cent of casualties were civilians: farmers, fishermen, shepherds, their children and their sheep – the circumstances of their killing were documented by the United Nations Security Sector”, it was: “the longest such campaign since the Second World War.”
The Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain in a breathtaking lie, even by UK Minister’s standards told Parliament on 2 May 2000: “As I have told the House on many occasions, we are not conducting a bombing campaign against Iraq …”
On 6 July 2000, commentator Jonathan Power pointed out that: “the Pentagon says more than 280,000 sorties have been flown in the near decade since no-flight zones were imposed on Saddam in the north and south of the country.”
Turkey has now given permission for the US to use the country’s Incirlik air base “after months of negotiations”, according to the BBC. Since the US also used the base during the 1991 Iraq war and in 2001 at the start of the attack on Afghanistan, it has to be wondered what further horror is planned for Syria.
In the last forty eight hours Turkey has enjoined in bombing Syria and has also bombed northern Iraq. There are unconfirmed reports of Turkish troops in Aleppo.
In spite of the UK Parliament voting not to become militarily involved in Syria, it transpired this week that British Air Force pilots have anyway been bombarding Syria in defiance of Parliament. They simply swopped their uniforms and fighter jets for those of countries who were involved in the attacks.
Although the US has been terrorizing Iraq and Syria since 8 August 2014, they took until 15 of October to dream up another silly name for another mass slaughter and announced that “Operation Inherent Resolve” was: “officially designated as the name given to US military operations against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.” The name is intended: “to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the US and partner nations … to eliminate ISIL …” Heaven help the people of Syria and Iraq.
The US military is clearly not a superstitious body; 15 of October was not an auspicious day for Empire. On that day in 1793, Queen Marie Antoinette of France was condemned to death and executed the following day; Napoleon 1st began his exile on St Helena.
In 1863, following his defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War, General Robert E Lee proffered his resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The population of Syria is just 22.85 million; it is being assaulted by the US, population 318.9 million, Turkey population 74.93 million, the UK with a population of 64.1 million, plus a few other less visible and enthusiastic members of the “coalition”: Jordan, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE stopped flying in December, reportedly after a dispute over the US not providing sufficient combat air rescue. By 6 February the US had mounted 946 air strikes in Syria, with Jordan, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia completing just 79. (News, websites.)
The number of weapons rained down on Syria between August 2014 and June 30th 2015 is staggering. According to the US Department of Defence:
December: Unaccounted for
The average cost, August 8 2014 to June 18 2015 is $9.2 million a day for the 315 killing days. To 22 June this year “Targets Damaged or Destroyed” in Syria and Iraq include 98 tanks, 325 trucks, 472 staging areas (these are illustrated with a tent, so presumably could be displaced families mistaken for “terrorists”) 2,045 buildings, 1,859 “fighting positions” (again, as Iraq, how many people gathered for a wedding, funeral, waiting for transport were designated “fighters” from the safety of 35,000 ft?) 154 oil infrastructures and “other targets” 2,702. Total 7,655.
The carnage is ongoing. The most recent are on 21 July with ten airstrikes on Syria and 15 on Iraq, on 24 July eight on Syria and 19 in Iraq, and 25 July, nine air strikes on Syria and 22 on Iraq with drones also being used. The “assessments” of that destroyed is tragic and sometimes farcical. In Iraq “an ISIS excavator” for example, could it not just be some soul mending a road? Two “ISIS bridges” near mortally damaged Fallujah — Iraq is divided by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — the great soaring engineering triumphs that are the country’s bridges are the arteries of the nation’s body. Now they are designated “ISIS bridges” and destroyed – again.
As Syria’s President Assad said today (26 July) in an address to the nation: “The West calls it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, freedom, democracy and human rights’ when it hits us.’”
Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist with special knowledge of Iraq. Author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been Senior Researcher for two Award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger’s Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland.)
Last week, Retired General Wesley Clark, who was NATO commander during the US bombing of Serbia, proposed that “disloyal Americans” be sent to internment camps for the “duration of the conflict.” Discussing the recent military base shootings in Chattanooga, TN, in which five US service members were killed, Clark recalled the internment of American citizens during World War II who were merely suspected of having Nazi sympathies. He said: “back then we didn’t say ‘that was freedom of speech,’ we put him in a camp.”
He called for the government to identify people most likely to be radicalized so we can “cut this off at the beginning.” That sounds like “pre-crime”!
Gen. Clark ran for president in 2004 and it’s probably a good thing he didn’t win considering what seems to be his disregard for the Constitution. Unfortunately in the current presidential race Donald Trump even one-upped Clark, stating recently that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and should be treated like one, implying that the government should kill him.
These statements and others like them most likely reflect the frustration felt in Washington over a 15 year war on terror where there has been no victory and where we actually seem worse off than when we started. The real problem is they will argue and bicker over changing tactics but their interventionist strategy remains the same.
Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, told al-Jazeera this week that US drones create more terrorists than they kill. He said: “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”
Still Washington pursues the same strategy while expecting different results.
It is probably almost inevitable that the warhawks will turn their anger inward, toward Americans who are sick of the endless and costly wars. The US loss of the Vietnam war is still blamed by many on the protesters at home rather than on the foolishness of the war based on a lie in the first place.
Let’s hope these threats from Clark and Trump are not a trial balloon leading to a clampdown on our liberties. There are a few reasons we should be concerned. Last week the US House passed a bill that would allow the Secretary of State to unilaterally cancel an American citizen’s passport if he determines that person has “aided” or “abetted” a terrorist organization. And as of this writing, the Senate is debating a highway funding bill that would allow the Secretary of State to cancel the passport of any American who owes too much money to the IRS.
Canceling a passport means removing the right to travel, which is a kind of virtual internment camp. The person would find his movements restricted, either being prevented from leaving or entering the United States. Neither of these measures involves any due process or possibility of appeal, and the government’s evidence supporting the action can be kept secret.
We should demand an end to these foolish wars that even the experts admit are making matters worse. Of course we need a strong defense, but we should not provoke the hatred of others through drones, bombs, or pushing regime change overseas. And we must protect our civil liberties here at home from government elites who increasingly view us as the enemy.
Top 10 Hard Facts About the Holocaust hidden from the public. Put aside decades of propaganda and dogma, examine the facts!
Music: Escape from the temple (machinimasound.com)
… The war is not meant to be won – it is meant to be continuous.…” – George Orwell, 1984
David Kilcullen has a message for us over at the Guardian, and this is it:
We’re living in an era of persistent conflict…”
Which is sadly, true. You might think the next thing to be discussed on that topic would be – why? Why are we now living in an era of endless war? What forces are behind this development? Who, if anyone, is profiting from the same? But, no, David doesn’t think any of this is worthy of our attention. He simply wants us to understand that “perpetual conflict” is absolutely and inescapably the new reality.
… you can read it in the latest concept documents of half a dozen western militaries. But it doesn’t seem to have hit home, for the public or some policymakers, that the notion that this can all end, that we can get back to some pre-9/ 11 “normal,” is a fantasy.
Do we get that? Is it hitting home? Peace is now a “fantasy”. It’s official. And in case you are still harbouring some smidgen of doubt, Dave is going to say it again in different words:
This – this instability, this regional conflict surrounded by networked global violence, this convergence of war and crime, of domestic and international threats, this rise of a new aggressive totalitarian state from the rubble of the last war – is the new normal, and it’s not going to change for a very, very long time. There are no quick solutions: we need to settle in for the long haul.
That being the case, we have to figure out methods of dealing with persistent conflict.
I see no alternative to a larger, more intense, conventional war against Isis than the one currently being contemplated…
Do you see that children? That’s called “paradigm-creation.” The topic for discussion is evidently intended to be “how do we deal with persistent conflict?” The question of why the persistent conflict is happening, or who is funding these “aggressive new totalitarian states” is NOT part of the agenda, and is being excised from our collective conscious. All we need to know is:
Isis is an escalating threat that’s growing and worsening.
We do not need to worry our little heads about what this entity called “ISIS” actually is, how plausible the clownish stories of its super-villain powers are. Nor are we supposed to waste a single moment asking who is picking up its not inconsiderable tab. What matters is that Syria and Iraq are “problems” (never mind why or how) and that “greater western involvement would mitigate all these problems” (because that is what western involvement does – ask Libya). Most importantly, the US needs to get over its scruples and do more:
…US passivity and reluctance to target Assad (though his regime kills more people than Isis) makes many Syrians wary of joining the “moderate” rebels.
“US passivity and reluctance”? Really, Dave? What about the article in the Washington Times claiming the US state department lied about Syrian chemical attacks in order to fabricate a reason for attacking Assad? And what about this article at Global Research which alleges the US is actually targeting the Syrian government- not ISIS – with its current air strikes.
I’m left wondering – is Assad really any worse than the dreadful and medieval Saudis? He certainly seems to be pretty popular in Syria, where they apparently have a different take on things (but Dave doesn’t bother to tell us that). If we in the west have no problem with murderous tyrants, why do we have a problem with Assad? Is it because he isn’t our murderous tyrant?
Is the US really out there in Syria trying (but inexplicably failing) to defeat ISIS? Or is it happy to aid and abet ISIS in doing the dirty work it tried and failed to do itself? If Dave gets his way and we launch a “more intense conventional war” in Syria, will our soldiers’ lives and our taxes really be spent on defeating ISIS or is that just a shallow ruse to enable the US to finally go in and get Assad?
Is “perpetual conflict” really something we should all just accept as inevitable and leave it to people like Dave to sort out? Or is it something we should be resisting and interrogating at every level and at every opportunity?
Nah. Never mind. None of this matters. Let’s just keep it simple. The message is:
1. Persistent conflict is the new normal
2. There is no need to ask why.
Everyone got that?
John Stockwell is the author of In Search of Enemies. Gary Shaw is a director of the Assassination Archives and Research Center. Alternative Views was a public access television program broadcast from Austin, Texas. This episode was recorded in 1989.
… In an attempt to break through to the apologist crowd, we have gathered 30 stories from our archives of examples in which police hurt innocent people, who never broke the law. Tragically, some of those hurt or killed were children; some were even disabled and mentally ill.
Jonathan Sanders had broken no law before he was chased down by a Mississippi cop who threw him to the ground and strangled him to death in front of family members.
Esmeralda Rossi was getting into the shower when two Arizona cops illegally entered her home, pulled her towel off, assaulted and arrested her as she screamed in horror — completely naked. Rossi had broken no law.
Eric Wilson was on his way home from his job at Lighthouse for the Blind when he was stopped by two Little Rock Police officers alleging he “fit the description” of a suspect. The fact that Wilson is legally blind did not stop these officers from assaulting a man who could not even see them.
Dillon Taylor had just walked out of a convenience store after purchasing a drink when police mistook him for a suspect. Taylor, who had in headphones at the time, did not hear the officer’s commands clearly. Officer Bron Cruz murdered then this innocent man, in broad daylight, despite Dillon Taylor not having committed a crime.
Daniel Chong was kidnapped by police and held in a pitch black cell for five days without food or water. He had broken no law and the officers who nearly killed him simply said that he had been at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Floyd Dent, a retired grandfather, was pulled over by cops who alleged he was a drug dealer. He was pulled from his vehicle and severely beaten on the side of the road by multiple cops. Video evidence later showed him to be innocent as well as implicating an officer for planting drugs on his vehicle.
Antonio Martinez was 22-years-old when he was brutally attacked, pepper sprayed and arrested by officer Jeffrey Guy. Martinez, who has down syndrome and the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, had committed no crime. After realizing their idiocy, the Sheriff offered his family a frozen turkey as compensation.
Sureshbhai Patel was left paralyzed after officer Eric Parker brutalized this 57-year-old grandfather who was in America to visit his children. He had committed no crime. Days after this thug was seen on video attacking an innocent man, apologists set up a fundraiser for officer Eric Parker.
Parker Mansell Jr. is in a wheelchair due to health complications. When police came to his house to serve a warrant to his son, they deployed a taser into the stomach of this immobile senior citizen, on purpose.
Dustin Theoharis was asleep in his bed when two cops busted into his bedroom and began to unload their pistols on this unarmed man. It is estimated that the two officers fired over 20 rounds of which 16 landed in Mr. Theoharis. Theoharis was not the man police were looking for and had committed no crime.
Sharod Kindell was on his way home from delivering baby formula to a relative when he pulled over to answer a cell phone call. He was not committing any crime. When police saw this “suspicious activity,” they pulled Kindell out of his vehicle before he could put it in gear. Instead of telling Kindell to put the vehicle back into park, an officer opened fire. Kindell received inadequate treatment for his gunshots and was held in torturous conditions for weeks, still bleeding out.
Roger Carlos was photographing a building of what was soon to be home to his wife’s medical practice when all of the sudden he was ransacked by an undercover drug task force officer and two SAPD SWAT members. He was beaten to the point of hospitalization after cops mistook him for another suspect, who happened to already be in police custody when Carlos was beaten.
Chad Chadwick was completely innocent when he was shot, tasered, brutally beaten, and had stun grenades thrown at him by vicious and incompetent SWAT officers. Then, those same officers tried to cover up their mistake by charging him with six criminal offenses including felony assault on a police officer.
David Hooks was killed by police as he lay face down in his own home. Police mistakenly raided the home of Hooks based on a bogus tip from a car thief about methamphetamine. This beloved father and grandfather never broke the law.
Akai Gurley was walking to his apartment with his girlfriend when he startled a pair of rookie cops. Instead of saying, “hello” or “hi,” NYPD officer Peter Liang put a bullet through this young father.
Maria Fernada Godinez was having a night out at an Orlando club when a cop fired his weapon at someone outside the club, instantly killing Godinez inside. The police charged the man who never fired a shot with her murder.
Henry Davis was mistaken by incompetent police for another man. He was then brutally beaten by Ferguson cops. Despite being completely innocent, the Ferguson PD charged him with property damage for getting his blood on their uniforms.
Jody Kozma is a 25-year-old woman who is mentally impaired. Police accused this innocent woman of shoplifting before assaulting her and throwing her to the ground. After they had reviewed the tapes, they discovered that Kozma hadn’t stolen anything.
Jerry Waller was asleep in his bed when incompetent police mistakenly burst into his home. Thinking he was being robbed, Waller went for his gun. This senior citizen was gunned down in his own bed and the officers responsible for his death were never disciplined.
Spencer Koptis was a toddler, who was suffering from inoperable brain cancer. A selfless medicinal marijuana grower was dialing in a strand of cannabis that was actually improving Koptis’ condition and giving it to him for free. However, police raided the medicinal grow farm and arrested the owner. Koptis, unable to get the medicine he needed, died months later.
Juan Ortiz, who is a 4′ 11″ Hispanic teen with down syndrome, was mistaken by two veteran cops for a 5′ 8″ white man. In front of his parents, police violently assaulted this young man in his front yard. He had harmed no one.
Najee Rivera was run over by two criminal officers after they pulled him over, leaving him severely injured. Police lied and said Rivera attempted to run away from them and that he “went for their batons.” However, months later, a surveillance tape from a nearby store showed that everything the officers said was a lie.
Robert Saylor was a young man with down syndrome who threw a bit of a tantrum after watching a movie and refused to leave the theater. Three off-duty cops, moonlighting as security, killed him. Saylor had not committed a crime, and the officers were never charged with one.
Gilberto Powell is another down syndrome man who was beaten within an inch of his life after cops saw a “bulge in his pants.” Incompetent cops mistook his colostomy bag for an erection and severely beat him.
Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic homeless man whose case became widely known. He was detained by several officers who then beat him to death, on camera. Thomas had not committed a crime.
Luis Rodriguez was an innocent man who was killed by multiple officers after leaving a movie theater with his wife and daughter. The heart-wrenching murder was captured on video.
Douglas Zerby was finishing up watering his lawn when neighbors, completely brainwashed by the police state, called the cops because they saw Zerby holding what they thought was a gun. It was actually a water hose nozzle. Officers approached the position of Doug Zerby and without any warning whatsoever, fired upon Zerby, fatally wounding him with 12 rounds that entered his chest arms and lower legs.
Tamir Rice is another famous case of a child being gunned down by police. Rice was playing with a BB gun at a park when officer Timothy Loehmann pulled up and immediately shot the boy, without ever giving him a chance.
John Crawford was looking to purchase a BB gun at an Ohio Walmart when multiple officers rushed in and shot him on sight. He committed no crime and harmed no one.
Lastly is the innocent Baby Bou, whose face was blown apart after officers threw a stun grenade into his crib as he slept.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, acting like the coach of a football team, instructed congressional Republicans to “leave everything on the field” in the fight to defeat the international agreement with Iran over its nuclear energy program, a sign of how openly Israel now feels it controls the GOP.
Israel wants the Iran deal killed so it can keep open options for bombing Iran and imposing “regime change.” And, immediately after Dermer’s locker-room-style pep talk, Republican members of Congress began falling into line, lashing out at Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials who negotiated the agreement reached earlier this month between six world powers and Iran.
John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)
House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would “do everything possible to stop” the deal. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Kerry that he’d been “fleeced.” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for president, said the next president – presumably meaning himself if he’s successful – could overturn the deal because it’s not a binding treaty.
All this was remarkable even to The New York Times, which usually looks the other way when Israel flexes its muscles in Official Washington. A Times article by Jonathan Weisman noted the extraordinary image of the Israeli ambassador using sports analogies to rile up Republican congressmen to overturn a key foreign policy initiative of the U.S. president.
“Mr. Dermer’s plea — which is widely expected to be followed by a mail, television and radio assault in Democratic districts during the August recess — demonstrates the power that the Israeli government and supportive interest groups in Washington maintain over congressional Republicans,” Weisman wrote.
Obviously, some of this Republican opposition is driven by a deep-seated animus toward President Barack Obama, but the confidence that Dermer, a onetime aide to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, showed in rallying Republicans to Israel’s foreign policy priority of hostility toward Iran reveals the degree to which the GOP as a party now ties its agenda in the Mideast to Israel.
Connections between Republicans and right-wing Israelis have grown tighter since the presidency of George W. Bush who began implementing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of “regime change” against countries on his enemies list, starting with Iraq in 2003. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]
Since then, wealthy Israeli backers, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, have funneled huge sums of money into Republican campaigns. In 2012, Netanyahu virtually endorsed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And, on March 3, House Speaker Boehner invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress that was remarkable in its overt appeal to American lawmakers to embrace Israel’s foreign policy regarding Iran – over the head of the sitting U.S. president.
Clearing the Bench
In its current pull-out-all-the-stops to show who controls the U.S. political/media process, Israel also is throwing other key assets into this high-stakes fight. For instance, Steven Emerson, who has long posed as a professional journalist and then as a terrorism expert, was a featured speaker at a Times Square rally urging not only death to the nuclear deal but death to Iran.
“So now we have the situation that unless Congress acts, I believe ultimately, it’s going to be left up to a military strike to take out the Iranian capabilities to take out the world,” Emerson told a cheering crowd of a couple of thousand. “If we don’t take out Iran, they will take out us. … Because if you don’t your children will never forgive you – never forgive you for not protecting this country from a holocaust. For not protecting the state of Israel from a holocaust that will occur assuredly just as it did 70 years ago.
“Rarely in our lives do we have an opportunity to change history. Now is the time to do it, and it’s your responsibility all of ours, to go do it.”
Earlier this year, Emerson, who has longstanding close ties to right-wing Israeli officials, was caught in a blatant falsehood – and slur – about British Muslims. Appearing on Fox News as a “terrorism expert,” claimed that Birmingham, England, is now a “Muslim-only city” and that in parts of London “Muslim religious police … beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”
Emerson asserted that Muslim areas have become “no-go zones” for non-Muslims and cited as an example “actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” Yet, Birmingham, Great Britain’s second-largest city of more than one million people, is nearly half Christian, with the Muslim population less than one-quarter and with significant numbers of Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and non-religious.
As Emerson’s Muslim-bashing remarks drew criticism from the media watchdog group FAIR and ridicule across the United Kingdom, he acknowledged that his “comments about Birmingham were totally in error” and vowed not to blame someone else for his slander.
“I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful,” Emerson said in an apparent attempt to do exactly that, shift the blame to some unnamed source for supposedly misleading him. [For more on Emerson’s history of distortion, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sorry Record of a Muslim Basher.”]
The heated debate over the Iran nuclear deal is bringing out of the woodwork other longstanding alarmists about Iran’s nuclear program, which has not produced a single bomb, even as some of these same “experts” have studiously ignored the reality of Israel’s rogue nuclear arsenal.
For instance, David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security (with the now unfortunate acronym ISIS), is back in the pages of the mainstream media warning about possible gaps in the Iranian nuclear deal.
Albright was sought out for comment by the Times’ neocon national security writer Michael R. Gordon, who co-authored the infamous “aluminum tube” story in 2002 that was used to frighten Americans about “mushroom clouds” if they didn’t support an invasion of Iraq. On Thursday, Gordon’s latest story quoting Albright was entitled, online, “Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts.”
An Iraq War Reunion
At times, this Israeli-driven battle to stop the Iran deal almost seems like a reunion of discredited journalists and “experts” who helped guide the United States into the disastrous Iraq War. In 2002, around the same time Gordon, along with Judith Miller, was penning his “aluminum tube” story, Albright and his ISIS were key figures in stoking the hysteria for invading Iraq around other false allegations of its WMD program.
At the end of summer 2002, as Bush was beginning his advertising roll-out for the Iraq invasion and dispatching his top aides to the Sunday talk shows to cite Gordon’s “aluminum tube” article and warn about “smoking guns” and “mushroom clouds,” Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared:
“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility … This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. … This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”
Albright’s alarming allegations fit neatly with Bush’s propaganda barrage, although as the months wore on – with Bush’s warnings about aluminum tubes and yellowcake from Africa growing more outlandish – Albright did display more skepticism about the existence of a revived Iraqi nuclear program. Still, he remained a “go-to” expert on other Iraqi purported WMD, such as chemical and biological weapons. In a typical quote on Oct. 5, 2002, Albright told CNN: “In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now.”
After Bush launched the Iraq invasion in March 2003 and Iraq’s secret WMD caches didn’t materialize, Albright admitted that he had been conned, explaining to the Los Angeles Times : “If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.” [See FAIR’s “The Great WMD Hunt,”]
Albright may have been “mad as hell” for being “taken” but he suffered little, especially compared to the nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers who died in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of slain Iraqis, not to mention the millions of others who have suffered from the chaos that the likes of Emerson, Gordon and Albright helped unleash across the Middle East.
In recent years, Albright and his institute have adopted a similarly alarmist role regarding Iran and its purported pursuit of a nuclear weapon, even though U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran terminated that weapons project in 2003.
Nevertheless, Albright transformed his organization into a sparkplug for a new confrontation with Iran. Though Albright insists that he is an objective professional, his ISIS has published hundreds of articles about Iran, which has not produced a single nuclear bomb, while barely mentioning Israel’s hundreds of bombs.
An examination of the ISIS Web site reveals only a few technical articles relating to Israel’s nukes while Albright’s ISIS expanded its coverage of Iran’s nuclear program so much that it was moved onto a separate Web site. The articles have not only hyped developments in Iran but also have attacked U.S. media critics who questioned the fear-mongering about Iran.
A few years ago when a non-mainstream journalist confronted Albright about the disparity between his institute’s concentration on Iran and de minimis coverage of Israel, he angrily responded that he was working on a report about Israel’s nuclear program. But there is still no substantive assessment of Israel’s large nuclear arsenal on the ISIS Web site, which goes back to 1993.
Despite this evidence of bias, mainstream U.S. news outlets typically present Albright as a neutral analyst. They also ignore his checkered past, for instance, his prominent role in promoting President Bush’s pre-invasion case that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.
However, since Albright and these other propagandists/operatives were never held accountable for the Iraq catastrophe, they are now rushing back into the game to try to block the Iran nuclear deal – and potentially turn the ball over in pursuit of another Mideast war. Netanyahu and his team appear to be clearing the bench for a goal-line stand.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
After Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush declared the Philippines a second front in the war on terror (“Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines”). The Philippine government used this as an opportunity to escalate its war against Muslim separatists and other individuals and organizations opposing the policies of the government. The egregious human rights violations committed by the Philippine military and paramilitary forces are some of the most underreported atrocities in the media today.
The International Peoples’ Tribunal on Crimes Against the Filipino People, held July 16-18 in Washington, D.C., drew upward of 300 people. An international panel of seven jurors heard two days of testimony from 32 witnesses, many of whom had been tortured, arbitrarily detained and forcibly evicted from their land.
Some testified to being present when their loved ones, including children, were gunned down by the Philippine military or paramilitary. I testified as an expert witness on international human rights violations in the Philippines, many of which were aided and abetted by the U.S. government.
Thirty-one-year-old Melissa Roxas was a community health adviser who went to the Philippines in 2009 to conduct health surveys in central Luzon, where people were dying from cholera and diarrhea. In May of that year, 15 men in civilian clothes with high-powered rifles and wearing bonnets and ski masks forced her into a van and handcuffed and blindfolded her. They beat her, suffocated her and used other forms of torture on her until releasing her six days later. Roxas was continually interrogated and even threatened with death during her horrific torture. She was likely released because she is a U.S. citizen (she has dual citizenship).
But WikiLeaks revealed that although the U.S. Embassy was aware of Roxas’s torture and abduction, it did nothing to secure her release. Roxas convinced the Philippines Court of Appeals to grant her petition for writ of amparo, which confirmed she had been abducted and tortured. Nevertheless, the Philippine government refuses to mount an investigation into her ordeal. And although she lives in the United States, Roxas remains under surveillance.
“Whenever you work with communities,” Roxas testified, “[the Philippine government] vilifies you as a member of the New Peoples Army [NPA].” Ironically, the Philippine military claimed it was the NPA, the armed wing of the Philippine Communist Party, that abducted Roxas. Her physical and emotional scars remain. But, Roxas told the tribunal, “I have the privilege of being in the United States,” unlike many other Filipino victims of human rights violations.
People and groups have been labeled “terrorists” by the Philippine government, the U.S. government and other countries at the behest of the U.S. government. The Philippine government engages in “red tagging” — political vilification. Targets are frequently human rights activists and advocates, political opponents, community organizers or groups struggling for national liberation. Those targeted for assassination are placed on the “order of battle” list.
The tribunal documented 262 cases of extrajudicial killings, 27 cases of forced disappearances, 125 cases of torture, 1,016 cases of illegal arrest, and 60,155 incidents of forced evacuation — many to make way for extraction by mining companies — from July 2010 to June 30 of this year by Philippine police, military, paramilitary or other state agents operating within the chain of command.
As part of the U.S. “war on terror,” in 2002 the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government created the Oplan Bantay Laya, a counterinsurgency program modeled on U.S. strategies, ostensibly to fight communist guerrillas. After 9/11, the Bush administration gave Arroyo $100 million to fund the campaign in the Philippines.
The government of Benigno Aquino III continued the program in 2011 under the name Oplan Bayanihan. It does not distinguish between civilians and combatants, which is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions.
Oplan Bayanihan has led to tremendous repression, including large numbers of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and cruel treatment. Many civilians, including children, have been killed. Hundreds of members of progressive organizations were murdered by Philippine military and paramilitary death squads. Communities and leaders opposed to large-scale and invasive mining have been targeted. Even ordinary people with no political affiliation have not escaped the government’s campaign of terror.
One witness testified that although the counterinsurgency program was presented in the guise of “peace and development,” it was really an “operational guide to crush any resistance by those who work for social justice and support the poor and oppressed.”
Philippine military and paramilitary forces apparently rationalize their harsh treatment as necessary to maintain national security against people and organizations that seek to challenge, or even overthrow, the government.
However, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) says, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as justification for torture.” Both the Philippines and the United States are parties to the convention on torture.
A 14-year-old boy testified that as he was walking with family members to harvest their crops, “We were fired upon” by soldiers. “We said, ‘We are children, sir.’ ” But the soldiers killed his 8-year-old brother. “I embraced him. The soldier said we were enemies. He was bleeding, the bullet exited in the back. He was dead when my mother saw him. We made an affidavit against the soldiers but it was dismissed by the prosecutor.”
Raymond Manalo was an eyewitness to kidnapping, torture, rape and forced disappearances. He testified that he saw civilians burned alive by soldiers and paramilitary forces. Two women were hit with wooden sticks and burned with a cigarette. Sticks were inserted into their genitals. The two women disappeared and have not been seen since. Although a case was filed, there has been no resolution.
Cynthia Jaramillo testified that her husband, Arnold, was one of nine unarmed men killed in a massive military operation that lasted almost a month. Although Arnold was a member of the NPA, “They were not killed during a legitimate running battle,” she said. “The state of their bodies when recovered clearly indicated the torture, willful killing and desecration of the remains.”
Arnold was taken alive and killed at close range by multiple gunshot wounds, his internal organs lacerated, his jaws and teeth shattered. This violates the Geneva Conventions and constitutes illegal extrajudicial killing off the battlefield.
Continuing the Bush policy of the pivot to Asia-Pacific, as a counterweight to China, President Barack Obama enlisted the Aquino government last year to negotiate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. While paying lip service to the Philippines’ maintaining sovereignty over the military bases in their country, it actually grants tremendous powers to U.S. forces.
The United States also wants to return to its two former military bases at Subic Bay and Clark, which it left in 1992. Those bases were critical to the U.S. imperial war in Vietnam. A U.S. return would violate the well-established right of peoples to self-determination enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes a prohibition on aiding and abetting liability for war crimes. An individual can be convicted of a war crime in the ICC if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime. This includes “providing the means for its commission.”
Between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. government furnished more than $507 million in military aid to the Philippine government, enabling it to commit war crimes. U.S. political and military leaders could be liable in the ICC for war crimes as aiders and abettors.
The United States planned and helped carry out the botched Mamasapano raid on Jan. 25, 2015. Dozens died when commandos from the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police entered Mamasapano, where the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front had a stronghold.
The Obama administration had put a $5 million bounty on terror suspect Marwan’s head. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, U.S. drones identified Marwan’s hiding place, led the commandos to it, and provided real-time management capacity for the operation off the battlefield. Marwan was killed but his finger was severed and disappeared. It then appeared at an FBI lab in the United States a few days later. DNA tests on the finger confirmed it was Marwan who had been killed.
Murder, torture and cruel treatment constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions. Both the United States and the Philippines are parties to the Geneva Conventions. But although the Philippines is a party to the Rome Statute, the United States is not. In fact, the U.S. government offered the Philippine government $30 million in additional military aid to secure an agreement that U.S. soldiers in the Philippines would not be turned over to the ICC.
The jury in the tribunal found defendant Aquino and defendant Government of the United States of America, represented by Obama, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Indeed,” the panel wrote, “the Prosecution has satisfied the burden of proving satisfactorily that the Defendants, in concert with each other, willfully and feloniously committed gross and systematic violations of Filipino people’s basic human rights.”
The jurors decided, “The killings and disappearances follow a pattern. The victims are vilified as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and subjected to red tagging … after vilification, the victims are subjected to surveillance and then later killed or abducted.”
The panel noted, “These are not random violations.” They are “not isolated, but state-sponsored, part of a policy deliberately adopted to silence the critics of the government.” The jurors called it “state terror,” drawing an analogy with the military and authoritarian regimes in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, which were also supported by the United States.
“Terrorist tagging,” according to the jurors, is not just intended to define military targets but also to “sabotage the peace process between the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Philippine government.”
In fact, Jose Maria Sison, the NDF’s chief political consultant, has been classified by the United States as a “person supporting terrorism.” Sison’s assets have been frozen and he is forbidden to travel, in violation of the ICCPR. The European Union’s second-highest court ruled to delist Sison as a “person supporting terrorism” and reversed a decision by member governments to freeze assets. Yet he remains on the U.S. terrorism list.
Moreover, the jury determined, “the failure of the Philippine government through Defendant Aquino to identify, investigate and/or prosecute the perpetrators of these violations is among the contributing factors to the prevailing impunity in the Philippines.”
The jury urged the defendants to undertake “proper remedial measures to prevent the commission or continuance of such illegal and criminal acts, to repair the damages done to the Filipino people and their environment, compensate the victims and their families for their atrocities, and to rehabilitate the communities, especially indigenous communities that have been destroyed by the criminal acts of the Defendants.”
The panel concluded, “We also encourage the peoples of the world to seek redress, to pursue justice [under universal jurisdiction], and to transform this oppressive, exploitative and repressive global state of affairs exemplified by the experience and plight of the Filipino people, to challenge the international ‘rule of law,’ and to construct a global order founded on full respect for the rights of all peoples, everywhere.”
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.
Occasionally, this writer will read an article from an Israel publication. Often, there is a survey which pops up when he clicks on the article, and the question often is this: ‘Do you believe Israel has the right to defend itself?’
The question is not a valid one. Any nation, one supposes, has such a right, but Israel has not had to defend itself for decades, if ever. Responding to ineffective ‘rocket’ fire from the Gaza Strip is not defense. An occupied nation has the internationally-recognized right to resist with violence the occupation. The occupier is not ‘defending’ itself; it is merely enforcing the occupation.
So why ask the question? Let’s look at the two possible answers that may shed light upon that reason.
A ‘yes’ response indicates that Israel is justified in its periodic carpet-bombing of the Palestinians. The publication issuing the survey can proclaim, therefore, that X% of its survey respondents support Israel.
A ‘no’ response, on the other hand, will be seen as anti-Semitic, denying Israel its basic right of existence. Why, the publication can ask, do Y% of respondents deny Israel its right to self-defense? People would only respond in this way if they hate Jews.
The question, in many ways, is reminiscent of the old political question, ‘Do you still beat your wife?’ ‘Yes,’ is wrong for obvious reasons. ‘No’, however, is still wrong, since it would indicate that spousal abuse was, at one time in the past, something the responder did, but no longer does. So a man who never beat his wife would have no right answer for that question.
So in answering the question about Israel’s right to defend itself, the thoughtful respondent has no right answer. ‘Yes’, gives Israel more ammunition to say that the world supports it, and ‘no’ is dismissed as the response of an anti-Semitic bigot, showing again, in Israel’s view, the great existential threat that it faces.
Israel and the people and publications that support it must resort to such deceitful tactics, since they are without a moral leg to stand on. Reviewing a few facts of international law relating to occupation, and Israel’s blatant and constant violations of them, may be helpful:
Law: An occupying power must not move its own citizens permanently onto the occupied nation’s land. Temporarily housing soldiers on a short-term basis there to maintain peace and the safety of the occupied people is allowed.
Israeli violations: Israel has moved over half a million Israelis into the West Bank, and Israeli Prime Murderer Benjamin Netanyahu has stated categorically that not one of them will be removed.
Law: The people of the occupied lands must not be displaced permanently.
Israeli violations: Millions of Palestinians have been forced from their homes to make room for illegal Israeli settlers.
Law: The culture of the occupied land must be respected.
Israeli violations: Israel has done much to destroy and obliterate the culture of Palestine. The destruction of entire towns and villages, mosques and historical sites is ongoing. In one particularly egregious example, Israel bulldozed the ancient Ma’man Allah cemetery, dating at least to the 12th century and possibly earlier, and constructed a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ on the site.
Law: The occupying power must ensure the safety of the occupied peoples.
Israeli violations: Bombing the Gaza Strip, breaking into the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank at all hours of the day and night, arresting men, women and children without charge, shooting peaceful protesters in the back, cannot be seen as ensuring their safety, and protesting these atrocious crimes does not make one anti-Semitic.
The list is long; a short, representative sample is all that has been given here.
In addition to this, Israel refuses to cooperate with any investigation into its ‘alleged’ war crimes. If, as Israel continually proclaims, it has the most moral army in the world, why would it not welcome such investigations, to prove the falsehood of such allegations? Why not assist the United Nations, and the International Criminal Court, in thoroughly examining each charge, if Israel is confident that each is false?
Of course, Israel knows it is guilty of war crimes, and labors under the mistaken belief that it can continue to commit them, because the United States will always protect it.
Although it can’t be said that anyone has neglected to advise Israel that the rules of the game have changed, for some reason, the information has not been received. Transmission, obviously, does not equate to reception. Today, Israel continues to destroy entire Palestinian villages to make room for illegal settlements; IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists continue to shoot and kill innocent men, women and children in the West Bank, and arrest without charge men, women and children. None of this is new; what is new is that the world is now aware of it. The news media, which now actually gets paid by organizations and individuals to run ‘news’ stories that are written by lobbyists, corporations, and other major advertisers, has not seen fit to report this information. Massive demonstrations in support of Palestinians in major cities in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East are not seen on the evening news, but that is no longer the only venue for information. Social media gives everyone with a camera and an internet connection a worldwide audience, and that audience is seeing atrocities it never knew existed. As a result, the ostracization of the rogue state of Israel is ever growing, as more churches and businesses divest from Israeli companies, and performers and academics refuse to appear in that apartheid nation.
This writer always ignores the question, ‘Does Israel have a right to defend itself’, and will continue to do so. A ‘yes’ only gives Israeli atrocities a false veneer of legitimacy which is untenable.
Apartheid Israel is a world power in decline, and therefore very dangerous. Yet despite the mad behaviors it may still indulge it, its decline is snowballing, and cannot be stopped by anything but justice for the Palestinians, and the Arabs, Africans and other people living within its much-disputed borders. That day cannot come soon enough.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).