The Russian Investigative Committee has charged two Ukrainian military commanders, whose units shelled Russian territory in 2014, with attempted murder of military servicemen and law enforcement officers.
Svetlana Petrenko, the spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that the committee has brought charges against Andrey Grishenko, head of the “South” Operational Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Valeruy Ismailov, commander of Ukraine’s 27th Rocket Artillery Regiment. Russian investigators believe that both men were involved in organizing the repeated artillery attacks against Russian territory that took place from June to August in 2014.
Petrenko told reporters that Russian investigators had established that in these artillery raids, the Ukrainian military used heavy weapons, such as multiple-launch missile systems and self-propelled cannons, and as a result of these illegal and indiscriminate actions, many people were wounded and one elderly man was killed.
Investigators have already conducted dozens of inspections, about 140 examinations, and have spoken with about 1000 witnesses.
“In some cases, the actions of the Ukrainian military resembled terrorist tactics, such as repeated covert strikes on places with large gatherings of people. For example, when a group of Investigative Committee agents were studying the area of an artillery strike in Russia’s Rostov Region, they became targets of mortar fire. And the grouping of shots was becoming tighter, which is a sign that the mortar battery was using a spotter,” the spokesperson said. She also noted that the attack took place on Russian territory, about 1,500 meters from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
In August, the Investigative Committee launched criminal cases against the Ukrainian defense minister and several top military commanders over charges of using prohibited means of warfare in civilian areas in the conflict in Donbass. The agency stated that it had obtained sufficient proof that crimes against civilians in the self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk had been committed on the orders of top Ukrainian military commanders.
The Investigative Committee also stated that Ukraine had repeatedly violated the ceasefire agreement signed on February 15, 2015, with Ukraine’s National Guard using heavy artillery to deliberately destroy civilian infrastructure, and indiscriminately using heavy weapons in populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, including children.
In September, the Investigative Committee launched additional cases against Ukrainian military commanders over the attempted genocide of Russian-speakers in the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic.
In August 2015, the Investigative Committee presented a major report on war crimes committed by Kiev military and volunteers in Donbass, dubbed the ‘White Book.’ It was based on evidence collected by the agency during probes into cases where Ukrainian authorities and volunteers were suspected of using outlawed methods of warfare. The evidence includes testimony of eyewitnesses and participants of these events, photos and various materials presented by international organizations.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized western leaders after none appeared to condemn the shelling of a mobile Russian hospital by militants in Syria. Two Russian medics were killed after around a dozen of shells hit the facility in Aleppo.
“On December 5, a Russian military medic died as a mortar shell fired by militants directly hit the reception ward of a Russian mobile military hospital set up in Aleppo. Two medical specialists were also severely injured and one of them later died,” the ministry said.
“However, no words of condemnation can be heard from western capitals,” it added, criticizing western governments for their “politicized approach” to the assessment of the situation in Syria.
“We call on our partners to abandon the politicized approach and finally join the counter-terrorist efforts in Syria as well as the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis” instead of waging a smear campaign in the media, the ministry said in its statement.
It then went on to criticize Paris and London, saying they are waging a “propaganda campaign” – in particular over the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“Our ‘concerned’ French and British colleagues cannot but know that such aid is already rendered to the Aleppo residents … by the Russian side through the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria and the Russian Emergencies Ministry,” the foreign ministry said.
It also slammed western governments for their repeated calls to stop the government operation in Eastern Aleppo, which “increasingly resembles the last desperate attempt to shield and save the terrorists and extremists supervised by [the West], who are on the losing side in the Aleppo [battle].”
The ministry said again that armed groups that the West attempts to support “use civilians as human shields, [and] shell and mine civilian infrastructure and humanitarian corridors.”
About 11 shells landed on the territory of the Russian hospital leading to its total destruction, Vladimir Savchenko, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria told journalists earlier on Monday.
The Russian Defense Ministry urged for the international community to condemn the attack and said that the incident would be investigated and all responsible would be held to account.
The ministry also said that it attributes blame for the hospital shelling to “terrorists and their patrons in the US, the UK and France.”
“It is beyond doubt that the shelling was conducted by the ‘opposition’ militants. Moscow understands who gave the Syrian militants the coordinates of the Russian hospital right at the moment when it started working,” the Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov said.
The US State Department, which is usually quick to comment on reports of attacks on medical facilities in Syria, found it difficult to confirm and therefore specifically condemn the shelling of the Russian hospital.
“I’ve seen the reports we’ve not been able to confirm; it’s difficult to do obviously, given the fighting and given our lack of access to what’s happening on the ground,” spokesperson Mark Toner told RT’s Gayane Chichakyan. “But to answer your question – of course we condemn any attack on a hospital or healthcare facility.”
RT has requested comment on the shelling of the Russian hospital from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and Amnesty International.
In response to a request from RT, Amnesty International said it is trying to check whether it is “able to comment on this.”
“But usually if we have not documented and been able to verify details for ourselves it can be tricky for us to provide a comment on specific attacks,” the emailed response reads.
“Repeated attacks on healthcare and other civilian infrastructure throughout Aleppo” indicated that “all sides to the conflict in Syria are failing in their duties to respect and protect healthcare workers, patients and hospitals, and to distinguish between them and military objectives,” the Red Cross told RT in a comment following the shelling of the hospital.
“Healthcare infrastructure, medical personnel and the sick and wounded are protected under international humanitarian law (IHL). They must not be attacked,” the Red Cross stressed, adding that “when hospitals come under fire, countless numbers of people are deprived of life-saving healthcare.”
A White House report on efforts to target so-called extremists abroad shows a broadening use of war powers in the fight against Al-Qaeda, beyond military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The 60-page report shows deployments in over half a dozen new areas – including Somalia, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Cameroon, Central Africa, the Red Sea, Somalia and South Sudan – with troops on the ground, regular air strikes, and surveillance efforts, all in the name of counterterrorism.
In a presidential memorandum released on Monday, the White House said US military operations are grounded in the October 7, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), by which Congress approved military operations and counterterrorism combat operations against Al-Qaeda. Since August 2014, those have expanded to include operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), which was “formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
The Obama administration’s broad use of the 2001 resolution has raised concerns about how President-elect Donald Trump might use the authority.
The memo includes some new details about how the Obama administration determines which regions are “areas of active hostilities” or war zones, taking into account not only whether a war has been declared there but also the size and scope of the threat, the scope of US involvement, and threats posed to US forces in the area.
President Barack Obama has called for the report to be updated and released publicly on an annual basis.
“The United States has deployed combat-equipped forces to a number of locations in the US Central, Pacifica, European, Southern and African Command areas of operation,” said the White House. “Such operations and deployments … consistent with Public Law and the War Powers Resolution, and operations and deployments remain ongoing.”
“It is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of the US Armed Force necessary to counter terrorist threats to the United States,” the memo added.
Among its broadening efforts, the US identified Al-Shabaab in Somalia as Al-Qaeda for the first time, but provides no justification for the change. The administration believes it can target Al-Shabaab because it “seeks to establish a strict Islamic emirate.”
“United States advises, assists, and occasionally accompany regional forces … during counterterrorism operations … conducted airstrikes [in Somalia] on June 21, July 20, July 31, August 31, September 25 and September 28, 2016,” said the memo.
The US has deployed “a small number of military personnel in Yemen to support operations against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)” and carried out 18 airstrikes since June 13, 2016.
In Africa, the US has a base of operations in Djibouti and has conducted airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya. The US is also conducting military operations in Niger, where it has deployed approximately 575 personnel, and is sharing intelligence with French forces. There are another 285 US troops in Cameroon, conducting intelligence and surveillance operations. Washington has also deployed troops in Central Africa, conducted military operations in the Red Sea, and assigned 700 military personnel to Egypt.
Further in the memorandum, the White House said it had deployed over 2,300 military personnel to Jordan “to support counter-ISIL operations,” and to provide security to the country.
The prison camp inside the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is still holding 59 detainees.
The Obama administration said it had tried to apply “rules, practices and policies long used in traditional warfare” to a new type of conflict embodied by extremist groups who often “do not wear uniforms ore respect geographic boundaries” and show little regard for the rules of war.
“To say that a military tactic is legal, or effective, is not to say that is wise or moral in every instance,” the White House said, according to AP, which obtained a copy of the memo and report.
© Lizzie Phelan / Twitter
Syrian opposition supporters bear responsibility for the casualties from the shelling of a Russian mobile military hospital, said writer Abdel Bari Atwan. It seems the rebels have been given advanced weapons particularly for such attacks, he added.
Extremists have shelled a Russian military hospital in Aleppo, killing two paramedics and injuring several service personnel. An RT Arabic producer was also wounded in the leg in the attack.
The attack on the Russian military hospital comes as the Russian Foreign Minister disclosed some of the details of the terms for the withdrawal of militants from eastern Aleppo proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
RT: What do you think of the attack’s timing, as it came after Russia and the US agreed on the terms of withdrawal for the militants in eastern Aleppo amid huge gains by the Syrian army in the city?
Abdel Bari Atwan: I believe the Aleppo battle is nearing its end. The Syrian army is controlling more than 60 percent of the eastern quarters of Aleppo. Now the negotiation is on its way between Russia and the US to evacuate the armed men – whatever they are, Islamist or moderate, to declare the end of the war in that part of Syria. The situation is moving towards the entrance of the Syrian government and their allies, Russian allies in particular. So it is a matter of time. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole of Aleppo surrenders before the end of this year…
RT: Russia’s Defense Ministry said it knows where the so-called ‘opposition’ got the coordinates of the hospital.* Do you think it’s fair that both the militants and their backers are blamed?
ABA: … A week ago there were huge cries from the West, the US, all the Arab countries who are supporting the armed opposition about hospitals in Aleppo, or eastern Aleppo in particular, [being] bombed by Russian and by Syrians warplanes. Despite the denial, they still continue to blame the Russian and the Syrian warplanes. Now we can see that a Russian hospital that is taking care of injured people in that part of the world is bombed.
I do agree that definitely, the backers of this armed opposition bears the responsibility for these kinds of casualties…Also, it seems that the rebels received highly advanced weapons in order to carry out this kind of attack deliberately against the hospital, which is a new chapter of escalation…. The armed opposition is like a wounded tiger now, they are hitting everywhere, and they are trying to kill as many as they can, or destroy as much as they can from the Syrian side and the Russian side. It is obvious, but I believe their days are numbered in that part of Aleppo.
* “Without any doubt, the shelling was carried out by militants from the opposition. We understand where they got the exact coordinates of a specific Russian hospital from, the moment it started working. This means the responsibility for the deaths and injuries of our paramedics who were helping the children of Aleppo lies not only with the militants. The blood of our service personnel is also on the hands of those who created, fostered and armed these animals, calling them ‘opposition’ to justify this to their conscience and voters” — Igor Konashenkov, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson.
Israel Appoints Eyal Karim as the Israeli Army Chief Rabbi in Spite of His Response to Allow Soldiers Raping Palestinian Women
Brig. Gen. Eyal Karim officially took his position as chief rabbi of the IDF Thursday evening after a change of command ceremony at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv attended by Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot.
During the ceremony, the chief of staff said, “The appointment of chief rabbi of the IDF is an extremely significant event in the army. Unfortunately, the ceremony took place a week late,” added Eisenkot. “I was convinced months ago that we are choosing Rabbi Eyal Karim for the job. He is the most fitting and appropriate choice for command and rabbinic authority in the IDF. I had no doubts.”
Following his official promotion, Karim spoke at length, saying, “During this journey of thousands of years, Israel drew its strength and spirit from the Torah—all its laws, values and morality. These are the foundation stones of the Jewish people. David Ben-Gurion, who asked Rabbi Goren to be chief rabbi, understood that the army has to address a wide range of people without creating a split in the army. He understood that there had to be a way for all soldiers to have a fulfilling service in the IDF together.”
Comments Karim made in 2003 when he was a civilian resurfaced after his appointment. In a column called “Ask the Rabbi” at Kipa.co.il, a popular Hebrew-language website catering to religious Jews, Karim responded to a number of anonymous letters inquiring about specificities of Jewish religious law, including a question about rape in times of war.
“Is it allowed nowadays for an IDF [Israeli army] soldier, for example, to rape girls during battle, or is such a thing forbidden?” Karim was asked. He answered: “Even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime … the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge.”
Karim’s comments first attracted notice in 2012, when dissident Israeli journalist Yossi Gurvitz first published them in English at +972 Magazine. Gurvitz says that when he asked the military to comment on Karim’s statements, he was rebuked by an army spokesperson and told that his query “disrespects the IDF, the State of Israel and the Jewish religion.”
The Journalist, David Shenn, noted recently that “the army is hardly the only sector of Israeli society from which sexual assaults emanate. But rape culture in the military is especially disconcerting, as its soldiers have access to deadly weapons and the license to use them. And now its chief rabbi is a man who once gave Jewish soldiers sanction to rape Palestinian women until he was shamed into retracting it.”
Karim’s defenders insist that his comments on rape were misunderstood and that he couldn’t possibly have permitted sexual assaults against Palestinian women. But threats of rape have been wielded by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians.
The British Labour party voted down a motion seeking to hold former UK prime minister Tony Blair accountable for misleading parliament during the run up to the 2003 Iraq War by 439 votes to 70 earlier this week. Many would have shared the disappointment expressed by Alex Salmond, former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), who put the motion forward.
Commenting on the overwhelming defeat, he said: “This vote demonstrates that those who voted against this cross-party motion have failed to learn any lessons from history and from the Chilcot report. It is like deja vu, it was the Tory and Labour front-benches that took us into the illegal war and it is the Tory and Labour front-benches again who have failed to hold the former prime minister to account.”
It has become clear, if it wasn’t already, that parliament is very unlikely to vote for any measure that would hold Blair and the British government to account for the Iraq invasion. Newly released documents revealing that the Chilcot inquiry itself was designed to “avoid blame” and reduce the risk to individuals and the government facing legal proceedings, is further proof that the British state is more interested in burying mistakes in layers of bureaucracy, and is not very troubled by accusations of war crimes.
The fact that the campaign to hold Blair to account has been fruitless, thus far, should not surprise anyone. It’s simply another reflection of powerful institutions, including nation states, avoiding scrutiny. Institutions and individuals of great power, despite commonly held notions of rule of law and transparency, operate in spaces that are beyond the rule of law. Though there is much to be said about the impunity gap that exists in the way powerful states operate, this is yet another example of a colonial hangover.
At play also is the misplaced belief that the office of the British prime minister, a standard bearer of democracy, freedom and human rights, is incorruptible. Blair may have been economical with the truth – he may have even misled parliament – but there is no way the former prime minister behaved in a manner warranting impeachment, or so the logic of the powerful goes.
Tyrants behave this way – it is a characteristic of third world countries and illiberal democracies. However, be that as it may, the Prime Minster of Great Britain has to be safeguarded from such opprobrium. Few would have failed to recognise the Orientalist undertone, whereby third world and developing economies are lectured on principles that are not applied in the liberal, democratic West.
The reality of course is that the case against Tony Blair is far more compelling than Mr Blair’s case was for bombing Iraq. Going to war, we are told, is the toughest decision an MP makes. Their decision is made on conviction not doubt, and least of all lies and plagiarised reports presented as facts. Or so we are led to believe.
And yet, when presented with facts that leave no doubt and no ambiguity that Mr Blair had indeed misled government in making his case for war, the same MPs are unmoved. One has to say they are unconcerned about righting the grave mistake which they helped bring about and the British parliament has learnt little if anything from Iraq.
MPs that voted down this motion were likely of the opinion, mentioned repeatedly during the parliamentary debate, that the Chilcot report is sufficient as an exercise in government accountability. They believe that setting new processes and tweaking institutions of government and setting up new checks and balances through the creation of a national security council will add a layer of protection and steer parliament’s decision-making to better effect.
These steps, however, will not ensure that Iraq does not happen again. Putting aside the fact that Britain also foolishly bombed Libya and ousted Colonel Gaddafi, there is a lot that could be said about this false hope, not least that it does not address the fact that another charismatic and ambitious prime minister who is hell-bent on going to war will still be able to create the conditions that could persuade MPs to vote for an illegal war. During the debate, Salmond challenged the Cabinet Secretary as to whether any of the changes that were implemented to protect against another Iraq scenario would have made a difference had they existed in the build-up to the Iraq War, his response was an emphatic “no”.
To the millions that have died as a direct result of the decision to go to war and the millions more that continue to be gravely impacted, tweaking decision-making process to avoid future injustice is less of a concern than seeking justice. They would not have failed to notice that a parliament that was so easily convinced over the most serious of all decisions – to wage war – was so readily willing to close the door to accountability. I suspect that unlike most of the MPs who voted in line with their party, they read the report by the Cambridge academic Dr Glen Rangwala.
Titled fittingly “The deliberate deception of parliament”, the report was the basis of many of the charges levelled at Mr Blair. In it, Dr Rangwala unequivocally shows that the former prime minster made statements that were untrue and deliberately misled parliament.
The academic contrasted Blair’s parliamentary statements with promises and statements he made to former US president George Bush and senior members of his cabinet. Citing numerous email exchanges between Blair and neoconservative figures in Washington, Dr Rangwala makes a robust case against Mr Blair, which one assumes even the late Robin Cook would have found more convincing than Blair’s case for war. MPs that obligingly voted for the war have a moral duty, surely, to ask what Mr Cook knew at the time to cause him to vote against the war; were they just gullible and naïve, or did Mr Cook just possess more humanity?
In any case, the evidence cited by Dr Rangwala is, to say the least, incriminating. He writes that, from late 2001 to March 2003, Mr Blair made three interrelated statements repeatedly to the House of Commons: Firstly, that no decision had been taken to use military force against Iraq; secondly, that military action could be avoided by Iraq’s disarmament of its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons (that did not exist in the first place for it to be disarmed) and; thirdly, that regime change was not the goal of UK government policy.
Citing evidence presented in the Chilcot report, he goes on to add that Mr Blair was deliberately misleading the House of Commons. Mr Blair backed up his claims about the need for Iraq’s disarmament by asserting that there was conclusive evidence of Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction,” and that these weapons were a threat to the UK’s national security. All these crucial points, the Cambridge lecturer states, contradicted the intelligence assessments that had been put to Mr Blair.
The report then goes on to debunk Mr Blair’s infamous line that “no decision has been taken” about action against Iraq when, in fact, the Chilcot report reveals that from December 2001, Mr Blair had been proposing an invasion of Iraq to the US administration and had been offering UK military support for that invasion.
The most incriminating of all the revelations is that there was a clear contradiction between what Mr Blair told parliament and what his real intentions were. Having already decided to support the neoconservative agenda for the Middle East and go to war with Iraq in order to change the regime, Mr Blair spent nearly two years manufacturing the case for war; massaging intelligence data, developing the “evidence” and argument to win over the UN, major allies and to bring the British parliament on board.
A year before the war, Mr Blair emphasised to then-President Bush and senior members in his office that “we need a strategy for regime change that builds over time… I think we need a roadmap to getting rid of Saddam… Getting rid of Saddam is the right thing to do.”
He said this while being conscious of the fact that regime change was illegal and could not be sold to the public, and so the former prime minister devised tactics of propaganda, commenting: “We must look reluctant to use force… show that we have made every effort to avoid war,” all while he fixed the evidence in pursuit of a policy that was agreed on years before the invasion in March 2003.
The fact that Mr Blair has been allowed to get away with causing mayhem and destruction on a genocidal scale should not surprise anyone. Gaps of impunity are carefully created and managed in the international system for the likes of Mr Blair to pursue agendas that would normally be blocked by a properly functioning democratic system.
What in another context is morally corrupt and criminal behaviour deserving of the highest reprimand is reduced to nothing more than a technical problem that requires fixing. For Mr Blair to truly face justice in this world, it was always going to require more than a token parliamentary vote in the UK. The evidence against Blair is marked in history, and now it is only a matter of time to see whether he will ever be held to account in his lifetime.
At a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy the Defense Minister of Denmark, Anders Samuelsen, said that Denmark would not renew a six-month mission of 7 F-16 fighters of Royal Air Force, participating in the US-led coalition’ operation against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
The decision was made just a few days after the Pentagon announced that the September air strike in Deir ez-Zor, which led to serious casualties among the Syrian army soldiers had been caused by a series of human errors, inaccurate information, intelligence and problems with communication.
We can assume that, in this way, Denmark has expressed its disagreement with the fact that Washington so easily named the “human factor” as the main cause of incident, rather than to identify the real perpetrators of it.
The US Senate has passed a 10-year extension of existing sanctions against Iran, sending the measure to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.
Senators on Thursday unanimously backed the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) by a vote of 99 to 0.
The House of Representatives voted 419 to 1 last month to reauthorize ISA, which was first introduced in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry based on accusations that Tehran was pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
The Obama administration has expressed reservations about the utility of the legislation, but congressional aides said they expected Obama would sign it when it reached his desk. The act is set to expire at the end of 2016.
“If the sanctions architecture has expired, then we have no sanctions which we can snap back,” said hawkish Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who opposed the nuclear accord between Iran and six major powers.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France as well as Germany – reached a landmark nuclear agreement last year, under which Tehran agreed to limit some aspects of its nuclear program in exchange for removal of all sanctions.
The two sides began implementing the deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16. However, members of Congress said they wanted ISA to be extended for another decade to send a strong signal that any US president would have the ability to “snap back” sanctions on Iran.
“Unless Congress acts, the congressional sanctions don’t exist after December 31,” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday. “The ability to snap back wouldn’t be there on the congressional side.”
“While we do not think that an extension of ISA is necessary, we do not believe that a clean extension would be a violation of the JCPOA,” a senior Obama administration official said on Thursday, according to Reuters.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a hawkish Republican from Tennessee, said the extension of ISA ensures President-elect Donald Trump can reimpose sanctions Obama lifted under the nuclear agreement.
He said in a statement on Thursday, “Extending the Iran Sanctions Act … ensures President-elect Trump and his administration have the tools necessary to push back” against Iran’s “hostile actions.”
Iran has warned that the renewal of sanctions will be a violation of commitments under the JCPOA, and has threatened reprisal if the US extends the longstanding act.
In a public speech on Wednesday, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned the US against the renewal of the Iran sanctions, noting that the Islamic Republic would respond if the US proceeded to renew ISA which expires at the end of 2016.
“So far, the current US government has committed several violations with regard to the nuclear agreement,” Ayatollah Khamenei told members of the volunteer Basij forces in Tehran, adding, “The most recent of them is the 10-year extension of the sanctions. If these sanctions are extended, it will surely constitute a violation of the JCPOA and they (the US) should know that the Islamic Republic will definitely react to it.”
“‘Initiating sanctions’ is no different from ‘renewing them after their expiration,’ and the latter is also [an instance of imposing] sanctions and violation of the previous commitments by the opposite side,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Last week, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Tehran has made necessary preparations and is ready to respond if the US violates the deal.
In case of the final approval of ISA, it will “certainly be a violation of the JCPOA,” he added.
Salehi noted that Iran is ready to respond to any US breach of the JCPOA, saying Tehran, however, will make necessary decisions at the appropriate time and after the assessment and analysis of Washington’s moves.
These two top officials behind major US wars (Iran/Afghanistan and Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos) and regime change (against Allende, Chile) will speak at the first of a new event, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo, created by the Nobel Institute in Oslo.
The leaders of the two institutions declare that they are proud to have succeeded in getting these two diplomats to Norway – and the media, of course, will be there. The event is sponsored by the California-based company InCircl – a marketing and mobile payment company.
These two experts on warfare and interventionism will – Orwellian style – speak about “The United States and World Peace After The Presidential Election”.
This is the country that, since 1980, has intervened violently in Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kosova/Serbia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, i.e. 14 Muslim countries. It has some 630 base facilities in 130+ countries. It has its US Special Forces (SOF) in 133 countries.
It has used nuclear weapons without apology and owns the second largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The US stands for about 40% of the world’s military expenditures, is the world’s leading arms exporter and has killed more people than anybody else since 1945. It’s the master of (imprecise) drone strikes. It presently supports Saudi Arabia’s bestial war on Yemen and conducts a military build-up in Asia and the Pacific planning, as it seems, for what looks like a future confrontation with China. And not with terribly positive results in its Middle East policies since 1945.
So with all these credentials, please tell us about world peace!
The U.S. should be seen as quite incapable of peace-making – not the least thanks to Dr. Kissinger (now 93) who is associated with major “war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture” in places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Timor, and Chile as stated in the classical book about his peace-making by Christopher Hitchens “The Trial Of Henry Kissinger.”
Here is Carl Estabrook’s trustworthy account with personal references.
Brzezinski (now 88) doesn’t have as much blood on his hands but his hawkish “Realpolitk” contributions to US foreign policy – including its failures – over decades are well described here.
So, undoubtedly these voices from past militarism and imperialism – here understood as theoretical concepts, not as ideological slogans – are supposed to enlighten the participants in Oslo, young university students in particular, in the right teachings, in U.S. international political history and concepts, promote their surreal peace concept and present an interpretation of the – surely – benign US and its exceptionalist role in the future world (dis)order.
Let me be very clear: I am in favour of universities being open, of free academic debate and freedom of expression. These two cast-off ideologues are entitled to that too – in Oslo for sure.
But I do have this to ask:
Who will get the same honour while holding the different, opposite views – as should be the case in normal academic-intellectual settings?
Will the Nobel Institute and Oslo University honour intellectuals with such other values and perspectives? Would they invite victims of the policies of the US under the influence of Kissinger and Brzezinski?
And would somebody be invited to a similar high-profiled event who works with peace concepts that – in stark contrast to these two – are based on conflict analysis, anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, disarmament, nonviolence, reconciliation, forgiveness and the cultures of peace including dialogue and negotiations?
This brings me to a confession of sorts:
While I am in favour of intellectual freedom and open debate, I am not in favour of the Nobel Institute inviting people such as Kissinger and Brzezinski. The Institute as well as the Nobel Committee that decides who shall be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize has a mandate based upon the will of Alfred Nobel.
And he wrote there that he wanted his Prize to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
It goes without saying and without further discussion that the two visitors have done nothing – nothing – for that.
To award prizes – and honour by invitations – alleged, non-convicted war criminals should, by simple logics, be unthinkable. Impossible.
The link between the prize committee and the institute is clear; that link is embodied in professor Olav Njölstad, a historian, who both heads the Nobel Institute and is a member (secretary) of the Nobel Committee.
The Kissinger-Brzezinski event is nothing less than a slap in the face of everyone working for peace and of Alfred Nobel’s will.
It’s a crystal clear violation of that will and legal authorities as well as the Swedish Nobel Foundation ought to secure that anything like this can never happen again. I know from experience that none will take action. Peace is war and war is peace – and why should they care about a will and legal issues when they honour people who have systematically broken international law or advocated the breaking of it?
Or, in other words, anybody who feels they need to be enlightened by two of the oldest and worst representatives of the most militant and war-fighting nation on earth about the world’s future and about peace signals only one thing: The intellectual and moral decay of a small Western country totally submissive to the US – which itself is in utterly clear moral, intellectual, political and economic decay – and Empire fast approaching its end thanks to its own policies.
One way to go: Boycott the event and let Kissinger, Brzezinski, Njölstad and Ottersen be the only ones who turn up in that huge hall on December 11th.
Or, go there – students, media and civil society – and raise all the questions any independent, decent academic must. And anyone must who takes the word peace seriously.
While there has been recent criticism of those taking the position that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion. Prominent scholars of the international law crime of genocide and human rights authorities take the position that Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian people could constitute a form of genocide. Those policies range from the 1948 mass killing and displacement of Palestinians to a half-century of military occupation and, correspondingly, the discriminatory legal regime governing Palestinians, repeated military assaults on Gaza, and official Israeli statements expressly favoring the elimination of Palestinians.
Genocide is a term that has both sociological and legal meaning. The term genocide was coined in 1944 by a Jewish Polish legal scholar, Raphael Lemkin. For Lemkin, “the term does not necessarily signify mass killings.” He explained:
More often [genocide] refers to a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort. Genocide is directed against a national group as an entity and the attack on individuals is only secondary to the annihilation of the national group to which they belong.
Since Lemkin’s first invocation of the term, it has gained political, social, and legal meaning. For political scientists, historians, and sociologists, genocide is “understood as a major type of collective violence, with a distinctive place in the spectrum of political violence, armed conflict, and war, of which it is usually seen as a part.”
From a legal perspective, genocide, like the crime against humanity of persecution, is an international crime distinguished by the specific intent to discriminate against a group on recognized grounds through a series of acts or omissions often reflected in and achieved through State policies. While different in degree, both genocide and persecution “[reduce] a person to their identification with or membership in a group,” but also “[attack] the group itself.” Persecution criminalizes the denial of fundamental rights for members of the group, and genocide criminalizes the most extreme stage of discrimination: efforts to actually destroy the group.
According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide includes various acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” as such, including:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
This definition is reflected in Article 6 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has jurisdiction over crimes occurring on the territory of the State of Palestine since June 13, 2014.
The Genocide Convention was written in the aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, especially to deter and prevent such horrors in the future and, failing that, to punish those responsible. The Convention thus provided a legal framework that clearly identifies the essence of the crime of genocide, regardless of the political, social, or cultural permutations in which the crime may be attempted or carried out and regardless of the specific qualities, stage, or scale of the genocidal process. The Holocaust set the terms by which a form of general or pervasive violence against a group might be legitimately termed “genocide” as a general sociological concept as it need not “imply a comparison to any other specific case.”
Scholars of genocide have distinguished it as a crime different from other forms of war, killing, violence, discrimination, and repression. “Genocidal action aims not just to contain, control, or subordinate a population, but to shatter and break up its social existence. Thus genocide is defined, not by a particular form of violence, but by general and pervasive violence.” They note that settler colonial regimes are structurally prone to genocide, and may indulge in “genocidal moments” when they become frustrated by the resistance of a colonized or occupied people.
The term “genocide” has been used to describe the mass murder of Armenians by the Ottomans, Stalin’s expulsion of Chechens, Ingush Tartars, and Jews from the U.S.S.R., the removal of Jews and Hungarians from Romania, and Italy’s efforts to clear Slovenes and Croats from the Dalmatian coast. There have been successful prosecutions of individuals for genocide arising out of efforts to destroy the Tutsi population in Rwanda in 1994 and Srebrenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995.
Numerous prominent human rights authorities, advocates, and scholars have claimed that Israel’s policies and actions with respect to the Palestinian people have amounted to a form of genocide.
Expulsion and Killing of Palestinians in 1948
With respect to the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, there has been a robust scholarly debate about whether the settlement of Jews and the expulsion of Palestinians in Mandate Palestine could be described as genocide. Sociologist Martin Shaw, one of the most distinguished modern scholars of genocide, has written, “We can conclude that pre-war Zionism included the development of an incipiently genocidal mentality towards Arab society.” “Israel entered without an overarching plan, so that its specific genocidal thrusts developed situationally and incrementally, through local as well as national decisions. On this account, this was a partly decentred, networked genocide, developing in interaction with the Palestinian and Arab enemy, in the context of war.”
In 2010, the Journal of Genocide Studies hosted a conversation between Martin Shaw and another prominent scholar of genocide, Omer Bartov, on whether the term “genocide” could be reasonably applied to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, particularly the expulsion and killing of Arabs in 1948. The two scholars took very different positions on the question, but the journal rejected complaints from some quarters that it was an illegitimate, or worse, a bigoted question to pose and debate at all.
Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, testified in 2013 that “The Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” He argued that:
For over the past six and one-half decades, the Israeli government and its predecessors in law – the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs – have ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, religious, economic, and cultural campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious group (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) constituting the Palestinian people.
Long-Term Military Occupation of Palestinian People
When the international community ratified legal rules that would regulate the actions of occupying powers while also protecting the rights of occupied peoples and nations/states, it was understood that military occupation would be a short-lived necessity attendant to armed conflict, and that occupying forces would be withdrawn at the end of the conflict. Israel’s prolonged belligerent occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza for 50 years far exceeds the kind of occupation that animated the creation of legal rules of occupation contained in international law. Given the seemingly permanent nature of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, some human rights experts, including Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, have warned of an “incremental genocide” of Palestinians and the ultimate destruction of Palestinians as a national group. This “incremental genocide” through the policies and practices that have both sustained and served as the hallmarks of Israel’s occupation is accomplished, they argue, by a normalization of the Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory and the exile or absorption of the national group of people who identify as Palestinian. International law is clear that an occupying power may not annex the people or territory it occupies.
The late human rights lawyer and Center for Constitutional Rights Board President Michael Ratner also charged Israel with committing “incremental genocide” against the Palestinian people: “There’s no doubt again here this is ‘incremental genocide,’ as Ilan Pappé says. It’s been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life, the expulsions that have gone on from Lydda in 1947 and ‘48, when 700 or more villages in Palestine were destroyed, and in the expulsions that continued from that time until today. It’s correct and important to label it for what it is.” He argued further, “I want to emphasize today [that] these killings are part of a broader set of inhuman acts by Israel constituting international crimes, carried out by Israel over many years, going back to at least 1947 and 1948. They include crimes that aren’t talked about that much in the media or the press, the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and apartheid. These crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court and are defined there.”
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a nongovernmental “people’s body” made up of prominent international human rights experts and advocates, convened between November 2010 and September 2014 to investigate the question of human rights violations in the context of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. It took testimony and deliberated specifically on the question of whether Israel may have committed genocide in relation to the Palestinian people. The jury concluded that some Israeli citizens and leaders may have been guilty in several instances of the separate crime of incitement to genocide, which is specified in Article 3(c) of the Genocide Convention. “The cumulative effect of the long-standing regime of collective punishment in Gaza appears to inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group in Gaza. The Tribunal emphasises the potential for a regime of persecution to become genocidal in effect.”
Military Assaults on Gazan Population
With respect to Israel’s most recent military offensive, the so-called “Operation Protective Edge” launched against Gaza in the summer of 2014, prominent human rights authorities expressed concern that the campaign constituted a violation of international humanitarian law as contained in the Geneva Conventions:
- Amnesty International issued a statement proclaiming “an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation is essential to break the culture of impunity which perpetuates the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The case for such action is made all the more compelling in the light of the ongoing serious violations of international humanitarian law being committed by all parties to the current hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel.”
- The ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, and the U.N. Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide issued a statement two weeks into the 2014 offensive that they were “disturbed by the flagrant use of hate speech in the social media, particularly against the Palestinian population,” finding that “individuals have disseminated messages that could be dehumanising to the Palestinians and have called for the killing of members of this group,” while “remind[ing] all that incitement to commit atrocity crimes is prohibited under international law.”
- Al-Haq, the oldest Palestinian Human Rights organization, found that serious violations of international law were committed in the course of the 2014 Israeli offensive against Gaza. Al-Haq, along with other Palestinian human rights organizations the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Al-Mezan, and Aldameer, submitted a legal file to the International Criminal Court urging it to open an investigation and prosecution into the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the course of Israel’s 2014 Gaza offensive. The crimes suggested for prosecution by these human rights organizations include genocide.
- Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza during the 2014 Israeli military offensive against Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”. 
- Others who have charged that Israel committed genocide during Operation Cast Lead include Bolivian President Evo Morales, who recalled that country’s ambassador from Israel. He stated, “What is happening in Palestine is genocide.”
- Author and activist Naomi Wolf wrote, “I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it.”
Israeli Government Statements Targeting Palestinians
Finally, prominent Israeli politicians have publicly called for action against the Palestinian people that unequivocally meets the definition of genocide under the 1948 Convention. For instance, in February 2008, Matan Vilnai, Israel’s deputy defense minister, declared that increasing tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip could bring on themselves what he called a shoah, or holocaust, “The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.”
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked posted a statement on Facebook in June 2014 claiming that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for the destruction of Palestine, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” Her post also called for the killing of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.”
In August 2014, Moshe Feiglin, then-deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, called for the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza and offered a detailed plan for shipping Palestinians living in Gaza across the world. Specifically, he envisioned a scenario where the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would find areas on the Sinai border to establish “tent encampments… until relevant emigration destinations are determined.” He further suggested that the IDF would then “exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.” He subsequently wrote in an op-ed, “After the IDF completes the ‘softening’ of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.” He continued, “Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.”
Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights law, genocide being among them.
 Raphael Lemkin, Genocide – A Modern Crime, 4 Free World 39 (1945), available at: http://www.preventgenocide.org/lemkin/freeworld1945.htm (emphasis added).
 Martin Shaw, Genocide, Oxford Bibliography, September 30, 2013, available at: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756384/obo-9780199756384-0029.xml.
 Helen Brady and Ryan Liss. Historical Origins of International Law Vol. 3, “The Evolution of Persecution as a Crime Against Humanity,”FICHL Publication Series No. 22 (2015) p. 554, available at https://www.fichl.org/fileadmin/fichl/FICHL_PS_22_web.pdf. Notably, “some scholars suggest[ ] that any distinction [between genocide and persecution] has effectively disappeared,” with the two crimes “offer[ing] two different but related visions of the same harm: in short, a crime against the individual as a member of a group (persecution) or a crime against the group itself (genocide).” Id. at 491.
 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260, and entered into force on 12 January 1951, available at: https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf. The Genocide Convention has 147 signatories, including the United States, Israel and Palestine.
 Genocide Convention, Article II.
 Declaration Accepting the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Dec. 31, 2014, available at http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/PIDS/press/Palestine_A_12-3.pdf. On January 6, 2015, the United Nations Secretary General, acting in his capacity as depository for the Rome Statute, accepted Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute. United Nations, Depository Notification, Ref: C.N.13.2015.TREATIES-XVIII.10, 6 Jan. 2015, available at https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2015/CN.13.2015-Eng.pdf. On January 16, 2015, the Prosecutor of the ICC, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, opened a preliminary examination into the situation of Palestine.
 Martin Shaw in Martin Shaw & Omer Bartov, The Question Of Genocide In Palestine, 1948: An Exchange Between Martin Shaw And Omer Bartov, 12 Journal of Genocide Research 243, 244 (2010).
 Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 5 (2010).
 A. Dirk Moses, An Antipodean Genocide? The Origins Of The Genocidal Moment In The Colonization Of Australia, 2 J. of Genocide Research 89, 90 (2010).
 Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 9 (2010).
 See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, ICTR, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/tjug/en/160324_judgement.pdf.
 See, e.g., Prosecutor v. Radovan Karadžić, ICTY, http://www.icty.org/x/cases/karadzic/tjug/en/160324_judgement.pdf.
 Martin Shaw, Palestine In An International Historical Perspective On Genocide, 9 Holy Land Studies 1, 13 (2010), noting the comments of the President of the Zionist Organization Chaim Weizmann’s comment in 1941 “if half a million Arabs could be transferred, two million Jews could be put in their place.”
 Id. at 19.
 Martin Shaw in Martin Shaw & Omer Bartov, The Question Of Genocide In Palestine, 1948: An Exchange Between Martin Shaw And Omer Bartov, 12 Journal of Genocide Research 243, 244 (2010).
 See Gal Beckerman, Top Genocide Scholars Battle Over How To Characterize Israel’s Actions, Forward, February 16, 2011, available at: http://forward.com/news/135484/top-genocide-scholars-battle-over-how-to-character/.
 Professor Francis A. Boyle, The Palestinian Genocide by Israel Before
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, August 21-24, 2013, available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2339254.
 Id. at 3.
 See Geneva Convention III: Articles 1-4; Geneva Convention IV 1907: Section Three – Occupied Territories – Articles 47-56; Geneva Convention IV 1949: Section Three – Occupied Territories – Articles 47-78; Additional Protocols I and II.
 Ilan Pappé, A Brief History of Israel’s Incremental Genocide, in ON PALESTINE (Noam Chompsky and Ilan Pappé ed.; Haymarket 2015) pp. 147-154. See also, Steve Lendman, Israel’s Slow-Motion Genocide in Occupied Palestine, in THE PLIGHT OF THE PALESTINIANS (William A. Cook ed., Palgrave 2010)
 Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” See also: Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949 Section III, Art. 47, “Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.”
 Michael Ratner, UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide, The Real News, July 27, 2013, available at: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12155.
 Id. See also Saree Makdisi, Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton 2010) for the notion of a “slow motion” extension and consolidation of the genocidal aspects of 1948.
 Russell Tribunal On Palestine, “About,” http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com/en/about-rtop.
 Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories: The International Criminal Court must investigate war crimes, August 1, 2014 http://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE15/019/2014/en/.
 UN, Department of Public Information, Statement by the Special Advisers of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, and on the Responsibility to Protect, Ms. Jennifer Welsh, on the Situation in Israel and in the Palestinian Occupied Territory of Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014, available at
 See, Divide and Conquer: A Legal Analysis of Israel’s 2014 Military Offensive Against the Gaza Strip, 2015, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/publications/publications-index/item/divide-and-conquer.
 Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Deliver Submission to the International Criminal Court on Alleged Israeli War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity during 2014 Gaza offensive, Nov. 23, 2015, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/targets/international-criminal-court-icc/998-palestinian-human-rights-organisations-deliver-submission-to-the-international-criminal-court-on-alleged-israeli-war-crimes-and-crimes-against-humanity-during-2014-gaza-offensive.
 Zachary Davies Boren, Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’, The Independent, August 24, 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/holocaust-survivors-and-their-descendants-accuse-israel-of-genocide-9687994.html.
 Bolivian president: Israel air strikes on Gaza is ‘genocide’, July 16, 2014, http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-07-16/bolivian-president-israel-air-strikes-of-gaza-is-genocide.
 Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre, July 22, 2014, http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/synagogue-nothing-massacre.html.
 Israeli minister warns of Palestinian ‘holocaust’, The Guardian, February 29, 2008, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/29/israelandthepalestinians1.
 Text of Shaked’s Facebook post (in Hebrew), since deleted, is available here: https://electronicintifada.net/sites/default/files/styles/original_800w/public/2014-07/ayelet-shaked-facebook-post-30-june-2014-genocide.jpg?itok=k5yvVqQp×tamp=1448949295.
 Jill Reilly, Israeli official calls for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’, Daily Mail, August 4, 2014, available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715466/Israeli-official-calls-concentration-camps-Gaza-conquest-entire-Gaza-Strip-annihilation-fighting-forces-supporters.html.
 Moshe Feiglin, My Outline for a Solution in Gaza, Arutz Sheve, August 15, 2014, available here: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15326#.VCLljPldXTo.
The father of the Cuban Revolution remains unbeaten by his foes even in death. We look over the most dramatic assassination plots on El Comandante – from character-assassinations by way of LSD, to Italian mobsters, tuberculosis wetsuit, and exploding cigar.
“If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal,” Castro is famously quoted as saying. Cuba’s ex-intelligence chief Fabian Escalante – the person tasked with guarding Fidel’s life – puts the number of attempts at 638. The man also claimed to Reuters in a 2010 interview that the John F. Kennedy assassination could well have been an attempt to expedite the process of removing Castro from power: the American president, some said, was not doing enough. Of course, by the time of Kennedy’s 1963 shooting death in Dallas, Texas, there had already been numerous attempts on Castro’s life – intended to bolster Kennedy’s own reputation back home as a strong president, with his administration exerting great pressure on the CIA to take care of it. It is fitting then to start at the beginning.
1) Getting the Mafia to do it
When a sizable cache of classified CIA documents, amicably called ‘Family Jewels,’ was finally released in 2007, Cuban communists felt a sense of vindication, finally gaining the ability to publicly accuse the United States government of what they claimed was already common knowledge.
In the summer of 1960, the CIA recruited former FBI agent Robert Maheu. He became the go-between from the agency to two prominent Italian gangsters on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List – Santo Trafficante of the Miami Syndicate, and Salvatore Giancana – Al Capone’s successor in Chicago. They were gotten hold of by way of Las Vegas mobster Johnny Roselli. A payment of $150,000 was on the table. According to the declassified documents, Giancana suggested using poisoned pills – six of them. But despite gaining access to officials inside the Cuban government, the plan had been unsuccessful, and was later scrapped in the run-up to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. It is said the agency was able to retrieve all the poison pills.
The closest the Americans got to killing Castro was with a poisoned chocolate milkshake, Escalante claimed to Reuters. According to the 2007 documents, another batch of poison was delivered through the Mafia in 1963 in a bottle of Bayer aspirin pills. An opposition group, it was believed, had a good chance. But the plot failed when a disguised waiter did not manage to lace Castro’s milkshake in the cafeteria of the then-Hilton Hotel (now Havana Libre), as the pill got stuck in the freezer – where it was hidden – and broke apart when the assassin attempted to dislodge it from the wall.
2) Contaminating an entire broadcast studio with LSD with the intention of eroding public trust
This was not just about spiking drinks or cigars. The CIA went all-out. After a failed attempt to embarrass El Comandante by having his beard fall out due to boots spiked with chemicals, the agency had opted for a box of cigars spiked with LSD. The plan was to have Castro burst into laughter during a televised interview, thus subjecting him to ridicule in the public eye. But it was not just cigars. The CIA planned to lace the entire studio. This plot was not implemented, but was high in the running for ways to spark a national uprising against Castro.
3) Tuberculosis-laced scuba gear that followed the exploding sea shell
Fidel Castro © Alberto Korda
The CIA had back-paddled on another of its ingenious plans to kill Castro, leading to the poisoned scuba gear idea. The agency knew the revolutionary was an avid diver. The plan had been to attract El Comandante with a sea shell practically impossible to miss, having been painted in colors bright enough to attract him. Castro would swim closer to inspect it, whereupon a lethal amount of explosives would detonate. But the idea was aborted due to impracticality, the declassified documents claimed. So the spies went the more practical way: lacing Castro’s scuba gear with tuberculosis to trigger a deadly skin disease. The man who was supposed to give Castro the suit had opted to give him an ordinary one, it turned out.
4) Evolution of the poison cigar – the exploding cigar
According to a Saturday Evening Post report on November 4, 1967, a CIA agent had approached a New York cop with the idea of handing Castro an exploding cigar during a UN meeting. That was reportedly after the plan to poison the cigar had been abandoned. This was despite the poison having already been injected into the cigar, with the CIA dismissing the person tasked with carrying the plan out in the final stages.
However, the exploding-cigar plan also failed due to the double agent changing his mind at the last instant.
5) Femme fatale
One of Castro’s many lovers – CIA informant Marita Lorenz, was also tasked with poisoning Castro in a daring operation involving a secret unit tasked with the assassination – Operation 40. According to the FBI, Lorenz had become a “contract agent” for the CIA, and willingly accepted the task of assassinating him following a miscarriage or an abortion – a story she told in 1959. Castro’s reaction to her not having the child had reportedly enraged her so much, she had eagerly taken up the task. And so she met with CIA double agent Frank Sturgis in 1960, who had handed her a bottle of poison pills.
Lorenz was to drop one into her lover’s drink, containing enough poison to kill him within 30 seconds. But as with the countless other attempts, it did not succeed because Lorenz herself could not go through with it. The mission was wrought with pitfalls. According to Ann Louise Bardoch’s ‘Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana,’ Lorenz recalled that “They said, ‘we want you to take him out.’” But, “I knew the minute I saw the outline of Havana I couldn’t do it.”
Even then, she had made the mistake of stashing the pills in her pot of cold cream, in fear of being discovered by customs. The substance had stuck to the pills, and Lorenz couldn’t unmix the two. As she attempted to flush the pills down the toilet, Castro –who had got wind of the plot – walked in with a cigar. He removed his handgun from the holster, and handed it to Lorenz with the words: “Did you come to kill me?” According to Lorenz, he handed her the gun and puffed on his cigar with his eyes closed.
“He made himself vulnerable because he knew I couldn’t do it. He still loved me and I still loved him.”
She feared the CIA would kill her for being with Castro after the foiled assassination attempt. Upon her return to Miami, Lorenz never again met with Castro. Later, however, she had a daughter with another Latin American military leader, Venezuela’s Marcos Perez Jimenez.
According to Escalante, it was the Cuban revolutionary’s vigilance and the efforts of his security apparatus that kept him alive all those years. Numerous books have been written on the matter.
Do European lives matter? Not to Obama. But does anything or did anything matter to him? His America is down the toilet. And his Europe too. For different reasons of course. He didn’t mean to divide America. It just kinda happened. Wall Street was the priority and the Mexican Wall kinda built itself. The new Berlin Wall however is his baby. That was intentional. He built it with malice. And last week he came to Europe to kiss it goodbye. It felt like the kiss of death.
Trump wants to keep the Mexicans out of America. And he is ridiculed. Obama on the other hand wants to keep the Russians out of Europe. And he is applauded. Especially in Europe! Trump is all mouth. While Obama is all war. Yet the Europeans fear Trump. Maybe Europe’s Obama fetish is a peculiar death wish. Or more likely its a super colony obeying the orders of the super power. Even if the order is death. Whatever it is Obama’s departing gift to Europe is a time bomb. And Europe says thanks!
Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the book. And Europe fell for it. Not once but twice. The first time as they say was a tragedy. This time around (the second coming) is just a farce. The first Cold War was believable (even if it was a hoax). The New Cold War though is a joke. But no one is laughing. Except Obama. He’s smirking. While his European pawns are deadly serious. And for that reason – if they – the Europeans -don’t stop – they’ll soon be dead. And Obama will still be smirking.
Obama’s time bomb comes in two parts. One is called the Ukraine. And the other is called the Baltic states. And the spare part is called Poland. Under Obama they all became highly irrational overnight. Obama activated them. And now they’re ready to trigger World War III at any moment. It’ll probably be the shortest War in history. For Europe that is, because it’ll be dust within seconds. But does Obama care? No. Does Europe even care? No. It loves Obama’s shit. The more he gives – the more it smokes it. The subsequent hallucinations and paranoia are weird.
Nothing Trump says or does comes close. Trump wants to arrest, deport and hate the Mexicans. In contrast Obama and his European clowns want to exterminate the Russians. And Trump is supposed to be the mad one! In Europe, Obama’s hate makes Trump’s hate look cute. Obama’s version is structural (its policy), whereas Trump’s version is emotional (its nonsense). No wonder Obama’s candidate (Clinton) got the full support of the US warmongering establishment. The weird thing is that Europe – the target of Obama’s hate – also supported his candidate.
The Europe that obeys Obama however is a dead man walking. Its the lie called the European Union – a racket that financially bleeds ordinary “deplorable” Europeans. Like Obama’s candidate, the EU has lost touch with reality. And no longer is credible – if it ever was. As the EU loses the support of Europe’s “deplorables” it shamelessly clings onto Obama. Merkel, Hollande, Renzi and Tsipras kowtowed last week and didn’t complain about the bomb on their backs. Like true fundamentalists they believe in Obama’s hate. And are ready to be his suicide bombers. It’s a case of après moi, rien!
Europe is expendable – that’s the Obama doctrine. And one of Obama’s key representatives in Europe, Victoria Nuland, said it best in February 2014 when the time bomb was being planted in Ukraine: “Fuck [Europe].” The fact that the EU elite itself obeys this doctrine doesn’t justify it. On the contrary, it justifies the opposite: resistance. In any shape or form. The only thing that can defuse Obama’s time bomb is the rejection not only of Obama but also of the EU. The US electorate has just given us the first part of this double rejection. Now it is up to the EU electorate. And the signs are good.
In the coming year France, Germany, Holland and maybe even Italy get to vote. And in each country “the deplorables” are the majority. European lives may not matter to the North Atlantic elite, but they do matter to ordinary Europeans. And despite what the elites say – it isn’t a case of “racism”. Its common sense. The point is that Lives Matter – Everywhere. Especially the lives of the weak. The ones that are sacrificed in war. The ones that Obama has been sacrificing in his wars. Europe doesn’t want to be another statistic. Neither does Russia. Adios Obama! And take the EU and your time bomb with you.