Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 208

26/02/2009 The tribunal created to try suspects in former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri’s assassination opens near The Hague Sunday with no courtroom, no first trial date and its judges’ identities remain a secret.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon will be officially launched in a special ceremony on March 1, but it could be years before any suspect is brought before a judge.
“There is a lot of work left to turn this into a court,” registrar Robin Vincent told journalists at the seat of the tribunal, the former headquarters of the Dutch intelligence service in Leidschendam, this week. “I think it would be unlikely you would see this tribunal finish before between three and five years,” Vincent added.

The courtroom itself, to be housed in what was a gymnasium used by spies, is not expected to be completed before November, he said. As for the date of the first hearing, “that depends on the success the prosecutor (Daniel Bellemare) has in pursuing his investigation. Only the prosecutor knows how advanced his investigations are.”

Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1664 (2006), the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic negotiated an agreement on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Further to Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) of 30 May 2007, the provisions of the document annexed to it and the Statute of the Special Tribunal thereto attached, entered into force on 10 June 2007.
It was created to try those behind a series of attacks on Lebanese political and media personalities, notably Hariri’s assassination in a car bombing in February 2005 that also killed 22 other people.
Eleven judges, including four Lebanese, have been nominated to work at the tribunal. None have been identified for security reasons, and Vincent said the Lebanese judges’ names would likely be withheld until they take up their duties.

In its early stages, the UN probe passed from chief investigator to another. Perhaps the most controversial chief investigator was German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis whose findings and recommendations were criticized as blatantly politicized.
From taking office officially on Sunday, the office of the prosecutor will have 60 days to apply to the Lebanese authorities for the transfer of suspects and evidence files.
The identities of potential witnesses and suspects have also not yet been revealed. “The prosecutor has kept his cards very close to his chest,” said Vincent. “It is important that he does that for confidentiality.”

On Wednesday, just days before Sunday’s official opening,
Lebanese authorities (Investigating Judge Saqr Saqr), suddenly and without explaining its decision’s reasonable grounds, released three of seven suspects it had been holding in connection with Hariri’s murder. As was the case during their detention, the release of the brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed Abdel Aal and Syrian Ibrahim Jarjura was questioned.

The two brothers were released on a bail of L.L 500,000 (330 US dollars) each and Jarjura on a bail of just L.L. 100,000 (67 US dollars).

According to observers, if the Abdel Aal brothers and Jarjura were innocent, why were they kept in custody, without charges and without trial for more than three years? If they were guilty, on the other hand, why release them? And if they are innocent and their case, as the judiciary has been saying for four years, is closely related to the case of the four security officers currently in custody, why not release the officers who have not yet been indicted or tried. For some analysts, the answer was that the pro-March 14 authorities’ move was politically, mainly electorally motivated as the Abdel Aal brothers belong to the “Ahbash” group which has weight in Beirut and its votes could serve as a lever for the March 14 candidates in the capital’s elections.

The three could still be prosecuted in the Hariri case, although no one has been charged in the 2005 bombing, but their release now meant that they will not be moved to The Hague with other detainees.

The four “other detainees” are the former head of the Presidential Guards Mustafa Hamdan, General Security Director Jamil Sayyed, Internal Security Forces Chief Ali Hajj and Military Intelligence Chief Raymond Azar. Their lawyers insist that their detention is “illegal” and “unfounded” as there is no proof against them and that they are being held on false testimony of Mohamad Suheir Siddiq that was later retracted. It was Detlev Mehlis who recommended their arrest. Siddiq, who disappeared from his home in a Paris suburb last year, told the UN probe commission that then Lebanese President Emil Lahoud and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had ordered the killing. His testimonies were retracted.

The lawyers of the four officers will submit a new request for their release on Thursday.

The tribunal will apply the Lebanese penal code, and victims of those convicted can seek compensation from Lebanese courts.
While the courtroom may not be ready, the tribunal already has a separate wing of holding cells at the Dutch penitentiary in Scheveningen, which “is operational, staffed and ready to receive anyone we get,” Vincent said.
He added that the tribunal would have a staff of 350 in its first year, and a budget of 51.4 million dollars of which the Lebanese government would contribute 49 percent.

Vincent said that if suspects refused to come before the tribunal voluntarily, the tribunal could ask the UN Security Council to put pressure on member states to hand them over. If all else failed, “and that is something that is unusual about this tribunal, we have the provision to try people in their absence. I think that would be the last resort.”

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The Jewish Year 6000

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The Jews believe that human life will only last for 6,000 years. Christian Zionists want to destroy the world, and believe that they will be raptured as the rest of the human race dies. These apocalyptic views are addressed, analyzed and criticized.

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Tribute to Sincere Journalism

SourceBy Guest Post • Feb 26th, 2009 at 17:41 • Category: Internet and Communication, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Resistance

WRITTEN BY Kourosh Ziabari

“Journalism” is the profession of informing people; feeding them with the accurate and reliable information, making the world a better place for life and spreading the messages of peace, stability and friendship by all of the technical and professional means at one’s disposal.

The above sentences are not the captivating and mesmerizing slogans of hawkish leaders who accumulate nuclear weapons in their arsenals, enjoying the UNSC immunity and meanwhile chanting clumsily the call of peace and friendship. These are the obscured and muddled objectives of journalism which were once the ambitious aims of our ancestors.

“The duty of the journalist is to further [those] ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.” Isn’t it inspirational and dreamlike? It isn’t a part of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the Preamble of Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics Statement.

The very concept of journalism was once interlaced with trustworthiness, candor and sincerity. However, it was revolutionized gradually to some level that you cannot any longer separate it from black propaganda, fabrication and slander.

Last week and for the first time, I paid a memorable visit that will be recorded in the annals of my personal chronicle evermore. Although I am myself based in the northern city of Rasht and do not commute over Tehran so regularly, I made a trip to the mega-capital in order to have a meeting with the people of Tehran Times newspaper, the most prominent English language paper in Iran which is being published for 30 years ceaselessly.

Upon my arrival and after a couple of hours dashing to find the correct address of the headquarters, I finally landed up with the bureau which was located on the end of a calm and narrow alley, somewhere close to the Pakistan Embassy and the Kuwaiti Airlines Representative office in a northern district.

The newsroom was almost silent and you could not find the people scampering from this room to that corner with turmoil and noise. A monitoring agent, putting a massive earphone on his head, was responsible for taking care of the mainstreams and what they say about Iran. He was regularly switching between CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC and CBS, sitting before an aged Pentium III desktop and pursuing the live shows and commentaries through a TV Broadcast software and his headset.

Each of the editors and reviewers possessed his/her own PC and I could behold near to 20 computer desks in a single room.

There was for the first time when I meet some people whom I can never forget; the people to whom I should pay an immense tribute and a timeless homage.

I first met a distinguished Pakistani journalist to whom I had just chatted online and talked via phone earlier. I met Mr. Gul Jammas Hussain, a esteemed editor at the Tehran Times and one of the most committed, dedicated journalists that I’ve ever seen.

His tranquil, modest demeanor was exemplary for me. His voice tone would not exceed a certain amount and his warm welcomes I can by no means forget. Seeming abundantly taciturn and reserved in speech and appearance, you should have struggled hard to elicit the flashes of his treasures of knowledge and cognition.

He was the first one who punished me overtly, and made me face the obscured realities which the compromising society was long withholding from me. Although I had made his acquaintance just a few weeks previous to our reunion, I can name him the only one who genuinely unveiled the price of humility and meekness for me, and helped me encounter the reality of unassumingness.

Aside from being a successful journalist whose articles are published in the most prestigious newspapers of Pakistan and Iran, he is now to me, an exalted mentor, educative trainer and dependable brother. It’s my duty, and will be forever, to thank him for the opportunities which he offered me.

The next figure, which I conferred with, was indescribable and unprecedented. Mr. Hamid Golpira, a senior editor at the Times and an internationally accomplished journalist. The symbolic scarf which he always ties around his neck in the sign of solidarity with the oppressed nation of Palestine would not be detached from him.

Talking to me in a charismatic and unique manner, he uttered vigorously: “Even this scarf is older than you.” And he was right; the American-Iranian Hamid was living with that historic scarf for years, shared a series of memories and anecdotes with “him”.

In Hamid, I’ll remain loyal and faithful perpetually. He knows whatever he says, and you can compile an encyclopedia of general information from the overflowing, excessive amount of data which he releases while working and speaking.

I don’t know how to describe my feelings about this respected and cherished man, who is a “human”, rather than an old-hand journalist. The image of his pale, wheaten hairs, sparse beard and matchless way of walking is incorporated in my mind and I wish I could expose myself, for endless hours, to the ocean of his knowledge and conscience.

I should not overlook Mr. Mohammad Ali Saki, another expert journalist and editor, to whom I owe the honor of becoming a contributor of Tehran Times. He gave a leg up to me, and helped me pull the string and climb. He prized his confidence and trust to me, and I hope I can respond his trust with merit and hard-work.

All of these people that I named have their own stories and anecdotes. You can figure out the most interesting and exceptional legends and tales from their lives, and the most common thing which they all share is that they are doing every kind of sacrifice to fulfill the dreams of their ancestors.

With their unpretentious yet brilliant and outstanding endeavors, Tehran Times is now standing on the pinnacle of independent media in Iran, and a wide range of international audiences count on it as their number-one source of undistorted, unbiased and impartial news not only about Iran, but on the whole international affairs.

Although I’m not a regular contributor to Tehran Times, I honor to have friends in a media outlet where sincerity, authenticity and “humanity” is still enshrined and preserved.

"..Operational cooperation between Iran, Syria & Hezbollah increasing.."

Iran assuming Mughniyeh role inside Hezbollah

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Iran has been increasing its involvement and control over Hezbollah’s operations since terror operations head Imad Mughniyeh was killed a year ago.

Hezbollah has not yet found someone of similar stature to replace Mughniyeh. Therefore, the Iranians have taken some responsibility for Hezbollah operations, using a large number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard and intelligence officers in Lebanon.

This means operational cooperation between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah has increased regarding all potential actions against Israel. Iranian officers, most of whom prefer to be based in Syria, often visit Lebanon and tour the Israeli border.

The Iranians are directly involved in running Hezbollah operations in southern Lebanon, and in addition, hundreds of Hezbollah militants head for Iran every month for training and exercises.

Senior Israeli defense officials told Haaretz that Mughniyeh’s assassination, which Hezbollah blames on Israel, left a large hole in the organization. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is now stuck dealing with operational matters he never handled in the past, say the Israeli officials.

Nasrallah has much less knowledge and experience on these matters than Mughniyeh, who was very careful about secrecy and compartmentalization of information. His death caused quite a bit of fear and anxiety among senior Hezbollah officials, the officials said.

The Katyusha rockets that struck northern Israel during Operation Cast Lead last month seem to have been fired by a Palestinian organization, Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. The organization is believed to have acted with Hezbollah’s approval, even though Hezbollah itself fired only a limited, symbolic number of rockets and prevented Palestinian attempts for more widespread attacks.

The rocket that struck a western Galilee village last Saturday was most likely fired by the extremist Sunni organization Usbat al-Ansar, a splinter group that identifies itself with the Islamic Jihad movement and is influenced by Al-Qaida. The organization considers the Shi’ite Hezbollah a major rival, and Saturday’s rockets were fired without Hezbollah approval.

Three members of a Christian Arab family were slightly injured. The Israel Defense Forces responded to the Katyushas with eight artillery rounds. No one was injured.

After the incident, Israel sent the Lebanese a severe warning via UNIFIL and foreign diplomats, saying the Lebanese government must take responsibility for preventing terror attacks on Israel launched from its territory. Israel told Lebanon that it expects the Lebanese government and the army take action against Usbat al-Ansar, a Palestinian splinter group in the southern Lebanon Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, with the same determination it used against similar groups in the Nahar el-Barad camp in northern Lebanon over a year ago. The army destroyed large sections of the camp, and dozens were killed in the battles between the extremist groups and the Lebanese Army.

UNIFIL has recently uncovered about 60 Katyushas, though Israeli defense officials are divided over whether UNIFIL and the Lebanese army can – or want to – take action in southern Lebanon. UNIFIL operates effectively and with determination in open areas, say the officials, but avoids built-up areas in the Shi’ite villages, saying it is not included in their mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

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You must read the Shaking BUTTS BOMBSHELL on Mughniyeh Assasination.

ZIO WEB ATTACKS ~~~ ARE YOU A ‘VICTIM’?

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February 26, 2009 at 11:58 am (Blogging, DesertPeace Editorial, Internet, Internet Security, Israel, Palestine, zionist harassment)

Do you write articles giving the truth about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Do you have a Blog known for its anti zionist viewpoints? Have you been getting extra ‘visitors’ to your Blog who leave negative comments or participate in polls?

If yes to any of the above, there is a good reason for all of this….it’s a project called Megaphone Israel. It is a new desktop tool that alerts its subscribers to any entries that might be anti Israel or anti zionist.

After notification, the ‘warriors’ jump into action and attack the source of the article. Are we to quiver in our seats because of this? Are we to stop posting because of this? I THINK NOT!

As long as Israel continues its existing genocidal policies and actions against the people of Palestine, Blogs such as this one will continue to expose their crimes. Where the media fails to, we will present the facts.

So Megaphone Israel should be kept busy for the next (hopefully) short while.

Do any of my readers have suggestions as to how we might also be alerted….. to racist or zionist postings on the Web? We too should be posting OUR comments on their sites, just to let them know we are aware of their ‘games’.

Thanks to Mary Rizzo for the alert on this situation…..

GAZA: DEATH’S LABORATORY

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February 26, 2009 at 7:31 am (Ethnic Cleansing, Gaza, Israel, Palestine, War Crimes)

By Conn Hallinan

It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wound. Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before.
—Dr. Erik Fosse, Norwegian cardiologist who

worked in Gaza hospitals during the recent war.

What Dr. Fosse was describing was the effects of a U.S. “focused lethality” weapon that minimalizes explosive damage to structures while inflicting catastrophic wounds on its victims. While the weapon has been used in Iraq, Gaza was the first test of the bomb in a densely populated environment.

The specific weapon—the GBU-39—is a Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) and was developed by the U.S. Air Force, Boeing Corporation, and University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2000. The weapon wraps the high explosives HMX or RDX with a tungsten alloy and other metals like cobalt, nickel or iron, in a carbon fiber/epoxy container. When the bomb explodes, the container evaporates and the tungsten turns into micro-shrapnel that is extremely lethal up to about 60 feet.

Tungsten is inert, so it does not react chemically with the explosive. While a non-inert metal like aluminum would increase the blast, tungsten actually limits the explosion.

Within the weapon’s range, however, it is inordinately lethal. According to Norwegian doctor Mad Gilbert, the blast results in multiple amputations and “very severe fractures. The muscles are sort of split from the bones, hanging loose, and you also have quite severe burns.”

Those who survive the initial blast quickly succumb to septicemia and organ collapse. “Initially, everything seems in order … but it turns out on operation that dozens of miniature particles can be found in all their organs,” says Dr. Jam Brommundt, a German doctor working in Kham Younis, a city in southern Gaza. “It seems to be some sort of explosive or shell that disperses tiny particles … that penetrate all organs, these miniature injuries, you are not able to attack them surgically.” According to Brommundt, the particles cause multiple organ failures.

If, by some miracle, victims do survive, they are almost to certain develop rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a particularly deadly cancer that deeply embeds itself into tissue and is almost impossible to treat. A 2005 U.S. Department of health study found that tungsten stimulated RMS cancers even in very low doses. Out of 92 rats tested, 92 developed the cancer.

While DIMEs were originally designed to avoid “collateral” damage generated by standard high explosive bombs, the weapon’s lethality and profound long-term toxicity hardly seems like an improvement. And in Gaza, the ordinance was widely used. Al-Shifta alone has seen 100 to 150 such patients.

Was Gaza a test of DIME in urban conditions?

Dr. Gilbert told the Oslo Gardermoen,“There is a strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons.”

The characteristics of the GBU-39 are likely to make it a go-to weapon in the future. The bomb is small and light—less than six feet long and only 285 pounds—that means an aircraft can carry four times as many weapons. It can also be dropped 60 miles from its target. Internal wings allow the bomb to navigate to its target. It can penetrate three feet of reinforced concrete. It can also be mounted on drones, like the Predator and the Reaper, and compared to other weapons systems, is a bargain.”

Marc Garlasco, Human Rights Watch’s senior military advisor, says “It remains to be seen how Israel has acquired the technology, whether they purchased weapons from the United States under some agreement, or if they in fact licensed or developed their own type of munitions.”

In fact, Congress approved the $77 million sale of 1.000 GBU-39s to Israel in September, 2008, and the weapons were delivered in December. Israel was the first foreign sales of the DIMES.

DIME weapons are not banned under the Geneva Conventions because they have never been officially tested. However, any weapon capable of inflicting such horrendous damage is normally barred from use, particularly in one of the most densely populated regions in the world.

For one thing, no one is sure about how long the tungsten remains in the environment or how it could affect people who return to homes attacked by a DIME. University of Arizona cancer researcher Dr. Mark Witten, who investigates links between tungsten and leukemia, says that in his opinion “there needs to be much more research on the health effects of tungsten before the military increases its usage.”

DIMEs were not the only controversial weapons used in Gaza. The Israeli Self-Defense Forces (IDF) also made generous use of white phosphorus, a chemical that burns with intense heat and inflicts terrible burns on victims. In its vapor form it also damages breathing passages
International law prohibits the weapon’s use near population areas and requires that “all reasonable precautions” be taken to avoid civilians.

Israel initially denied it was using the chemical. “The IDF acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus,” said Israel’s Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Jan. 13.

But eyewitness accounts in Gaza and Israel soon forced the IDF to admit that they were, indeed, using the substance. On Jan 20, the IDF confessed to using phosphorus artillery shells as smoke screens, as well as 200 U.S.-made M825A1 phosphorus mortar shells on “Hamas fighters and rocket launching crews in northern Gaza.”

Three of those shells hit the UN Works and Relief Agency compound Jan. 15, igniting a fire that destroyed hundreds of tons of humanitarian supplies. Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City was also hit by a phosphorus shell. The Israelis say there were Hamas fighters near the two targets, a charge that witnesses adamantly deny.

Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International said, “Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza’s densely-populated residential neighborhoods … and its toll on civilians, is a war crime.”

Israel is also accused of using depleted uranium ammunition (DUA), which in a UN sub-commission in 2002 found in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the International Convention Against Torture, the Conventional Weapons Convention, and the Hague Conventions against the use of poison weapons.

DUA is not highly radioactive, but after exploding some of it turns into a gas that can easily be inhaled. The dense shrapnel that survives also tends to bury itself deeply, leaching low-level radioactivity into water tables.

Other human rights groups, including B’Tselem, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights, charge that the IDF intentionally targeted medical personal, killing over a dozen, including paramedics and ambulance drivers.

The International Federation for Human Rights called upon the UN Security Council to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes.

While the Israelis dismiss the war crimes charges, the fact that the Israeli cabinet held a special meeting on Jan 25 to discuss the issue suggests they are concerned they could be charged with “disproportionate” use of force. The Geneva Conventions require belligerents to at “all times” distinguish between combatants and civilians and to avoid “disproportionate force” in seeking military gains.

Hamas’ use of unguided missiles fired at Israel would also be a war crime under the Conventions.

“The one-sidedness of casualty figures is one measure of disproportion,” says Richard Falk, the UN’s human rights envoy for the occupied territories. A total of 14 Israelis have been killed in the fighting, three of them civilians killed by rockets, 11 of them soldiers, four of the latter by “friendly fire.” Some 50 IDF soldiers were also wounded.

In contrast, 1330 Palestinians have died and 5450 were injured, the overwhelming number of them civilians.

“This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare, which we ask to be investigated by the Commission of War Crimes,” a coalition of Israeli human rights groups and Amnesty International said in a joint statement. “The responsibility of the state of Israel is beyond doubt.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann would coordinate the defense of any soldier or commander charged with a war crime. In any case, the U.S. would veto any effort by the UN Security Council to refer Israelis to the International Court at The Hague.

But, as the Financial Times points out, “all countries have an obligation to search out those accused of ‘grave’ breaches of the rules of war and to put them on trial or extradite them to a country that will.”

That was the basis under which Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in Britain in 1998.

“We’re in a seismic shift in international law,” Amnesty International legal advisor Christopher Hall told the Financial Times, who says that Israel’s foreign ministry is already examining the risk to Israelis who travel abroad.

“It’s like walking across the street against a red light,” he says. “The risk may be low, but you’re going to think twice before committing a crime or traveling if you have committed one.”

We are already dead



“What does it matter? We are already dead.”

Eight words, two short sentences. Spoken by a boy in Gaza this week, when he was warned against picking up a fragment of phosphorous, which burns through flesh tissues, right down to the bone (a memento courtesy of the Israeli Air Force).
Many Gazans feel that it is only a matter of time before Israel resumes its full-scale attack on their tiny, defenceless territory. And they could be right, particularly if Binyamin Netanyahu comes to power, with his stated intention of finishing the job.

And will our world leaders watch on, indifferent – as they watched the recent round of massacres -as the Final Solution unfolds?

Posted by Bob Birch at 5:04 PM

Palestinian child hit with IOF bullets
Turkish delegation: The destruction in Gaza is beyond description

GRITtv Interview: Professor Joel Kovel (fired for his views on Zionism)

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GRITtv Interview: Joel Kovel:

Joel Kovel, a long-time professor at BardCollege and the author of Overcoming Zionism was recently terminated from his post, he says, for his views on Zionism. Bard has denied the accusation and says that Kovel was not fired but relieved for financial reasons. You can learn more about the case here.

Palestine Video – A Palestine Vlog

Posted by …壣€¥ç↙ at 4:39 AM
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