On The Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

On The Road to Gaza: The Freedom Flotilla Will Sail Again

By Ramzy Baroud – The Palestine Chronicle

What is Gaza to us but an ‘Israeli’ missile, a rudimentary rocket, a demolished home, an injured child being whisked away by his peers under a hail of bullets?

On a daily basis, Gaza is conveyed to us as a bloody image or a dramatic video, none of which can truly capture the everyday reality of the strip, its formidable steadfastness, the everyday acts of resistance and the type of suffering that can never be really understood through a customary glance at a social media post.

At long last, the chief prosecutor of the International of Criminal Court [ICC], Fatou Bensouda, has declared her “satisfaction” that “war crimes have been, or are being, committed in the West Bank, including East ‘Jerusalem’ [al-Quds], and the Gaza Strip”.

As soon as the ICC statement was made on December 20, pro-Palestinian groups felt a rare moment of relief. Finally, ‘Israel’ will stand accused, potentially paying for its recurring bloodbath in the isolated and besieged Gaza Strip, its military occupation and apartheid in the West Bank and much more.

However, it could take years for the ICC to initiate its legal proceedings and render its verdict. Moreover, there are no political guarantees that an ICC decision indicting ‘Israel’ would ever be respected, let alone implemented.

Meanwhile, the siege on Gaza persists, only to be interrupted by a massive war, like the one of 2014, or a less destructive one, similar to the latest Israeli onslaught in November. And with every war, more dismal statistics are produced, more lives shattered and more painful stories are told and retold.

For years, civil society groups across the world labored to destabilize this horrific status quo. They organized, held vigils, wrote letters to their political representatives and so on. To no avail. Frustrated by government inaction, a small group of activists sailed to Gaza in a small boat in August 2008, succeeding in doing what the United Nations has failed to do: they broke, however fleetingly, the ‘Israeli’ siege on the impoverished Strip.

This symbolic action of the Free Gaza movement had a tremendous impact. It sent a clear message to Palestinians in occupied Palestine, that their fate is not only determined by the ‘Israeli’ government and military machine; that there are other actors who are capable of challenging the dreadful silence of the international community; that not all Westerners are as complicit as their governments in the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people.

Since then, many more solidarity missions have attempted to follow suit, coming across the sea atop flotillas or in large caravans through the Sinai desert. Some have successfully reached Gaza, delivering medical aid and other supplies. The majority, however, were sent back or had their boats hijacked in international waters by the ‘Israeli’ navy.

The outcome of all of this has been the writing of a new chapter of solidarity with the Palestinian people that went beyond the occasional demonstration and the typical signing of a petition.

The second Palestinian Intifada, the uprising of 2002, had already redefined the role of the “activist” in Palestine. The formation of the International Solidarity Movement [ISM] allowed thousands of international activists from around the world to participate in “direct action” in Palestine, thus fulfilling, however symbolically, a role that is typically played by a United Nations protective force.

ISM activists, however, employed non-violent means of registering civil society’s rejection of the ‘Israeli’ occupation. Expectedly, ‘Israel’ did not honor the fact that many of these activists came from countries deemed “friendly” by Tel Aviv’s standards. The killing of US and British nationals Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 respectively, was just the precursor of ‘Israeli’ violence that was to follow.

In May 2010, the ‘Israeli’ navy attacked the Freedom Flotilla consisting of the Turkish-owned ship “MV Mavi Marmara” and others, killing ten unarmed humanitarian workers and wounding at least 50 more. As was the case with the murder of Rachel and Tom, there was no real accountability for the ‘Israeli’ attack on the solidarity boats.

It must be understood that ‘Israeli’ violence is not random nor is just a reflection of Israel’s notoriety and disregard of international and humanitarian law. With every violent episode, ‘Israel’ hopes to dissuade outside actors from getting involved in “‘Israeli’ affairs”. Yet, time and again, the solidarity movement returns with a defiant message, insisting that no country, not even ‘Israel’, has the right to commit war crimes with impunity.

Following a recent meeting in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, the International Coalition of the Freedom Flotilla, which consists of many international groups, has decided to, once more, sail to Gaza. The solidarity mission is scheduled for the summer of 2020, and, like most of the 35 previous attempts, the Flotilla is likely to be intercepted by the ‘Israeli’ navy. Yet, another attempt will likely follow, and many more, until the Gaza siege is completely lifted. It has become clear that the purpose of these humanitarian missions is not to deliver a few medical supplies to the nearly 2 million besieged Gazans, but to challenge the ‘Israeli’ narrative that has turned the occupation and isolation of Palestinians to a status quo ante, to an “‘Israeli’ affair”.

According to the United Nations Office in occupied Palestine, the poverty rate in Gaza seems to be increasing at an alarming speed of 2 per cent per year. By the end of 2017, 53 per cent of Gaza’s population lived in poverty, two-thirds of them living in “deep poverty”. This terrible number includes over 400,000 children.

An image, a video, a chart or a social media post can never convey the pain of 400,000 children, who experience real hunger every single day of their lives so that the ‘Israeli’ government may achieve its military and political designs in Gaza. Indeed, Gaza is not just an ‘Israeli’ missile, a demolished home, and an injured child. It is an entire nation that is suffering and resisting, in near-complete isolation from the rest of the world.

True solidarity should aim at forcing ‘Israel’ to end the protracted occupation and siege on the Palestinian people, sailing the high seas, if necessary. Thankfully, the good activists of the Freedom Flotilla are doing just that.

A Criminal State Under investigation

DECEMBER 22, 2019BY GILAD ATZMON

image0.jpeg

By Gilad atzmon

“If you have the law, hammer the law. If you have the facts, hammer the facts. If you have neither the law nor the facts, hammer the table”.

Anonymous legal advice

Reports from Israeli press outlets this weekend show that the Jewish State fears the ICC’s (International Criminal Court) decision to move forward with an investigation into whether Israel committed war crimes in the Palestinian territories. Such a probe may expose current and former government officials and military personnel to prosecution on the global stage.

The ICC will investigate Israel’s policy of settling its citizens in the West Bank, its actions during the 2014 war in Gaza, and its response to Palestinian protests on Gaza’s border beginning in March of last year. The ICC will examine indiscriminate shooting by Hamas and other Palestinian groups into Israeli cities as well.

Israel plans to refuse to cooperate with the ICC, although such a move may put a long list of Israeli officials, potentially including  the prime minister, defense ministers, IDF chiefs, the heads of the Shin Bet security service, and military officers as well as low-ranking soldiers, at risk of international arrest warrants if, in the absence of a state response, the ICC proceeds with the prosecution of individuals for the alleged crimes.

Israel’s reaction to the ICC’s top prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision to investigate is instructive. Instead of responding ethically and showing a willingness to defend its actions, Israel is hiding behind legalistic Talmudic arguments that seek to refute the ICC’s legitimacy and deny its jurisdiction over Israel and Israeli war criminals.

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s defense is based on ICC’s supposed ‘lack of jurisdiction.’  On Saturday,  Mandelblit said that Israel  “is a democratic state of law, obligated and committed to respecting international law and humanitarian values. This commitment has stood strong for decades, through all the challenged and tough times Israel has faced. It is rooted in the character and values of the State of Israel and guaranteed by a strong and independent justice system…there is no place for international judicial intervention in such a situation.”

Is this really an accurate description of Israel? If Israel is ‘democratic state of law’ that adheres to a universalist value system as Mandelblit insists, why is Israel so afraid of the ICC looking into its behaviour? The reality of Israel contradicts Mandelblit’s position. We are dealing with a criminal state, an institutional ethnic cleanser that explores barbarian tactics locking millions of people in the largest open-air prisons known to man.

Just to prove how ‘ethical’ the Jewish State is not, Israeli Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give the Palestinian Authority a 48-hour ultimatum to pull its petition to the ICC or see the Ramallah-based political authority “torn down.”

Blue and White Party Chairman, Benny Gantz, also attacked the ICC’s decision. Citing his decades of military service, including as the IDF’s 20th chief of staff, Gantz unequivocally stated that “the IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world.” Gantz forgot to mention that he is himself a suspected war criminal and may be charged by the ICC. In 2016 we learned that the District Court of the Hague was holding a hearing to determine whether to hear a war crimes case against Gantz relating to his command decisions during the 2014 Gaza War.

Former ‘justice’ minister, Ayelet Shaked, called the move “a political, hypocritical and predictable decision.” Shaked said the ICC “has no authority” to open the probe. She urged the government to “fight the court with all the tools at its disposal.”

PM Netanyahu called the ICC’s announcement  “a dark day for truth and justice.” What, one may wonder, would Netanyahu consider a shining moment for truth and justice?

As we now see and could have anticipated, the official Israeli response in opposition to the ICC’s  probe is legalistic as opposed to ethical. Israeli officials made public a legal opinion by Mandelblit arguing that the court does not have jurisdiction to conduct  an investigation. Instead of attempting to refute the substance of the complaint, Israel and its officials invest in a wall-to-wall attempt to deny the court’s jurisdiction.

The rationale for Israel’s defiance is pretty obvious. Israeli decision makers are clever enough to grasp the prospective outcome of such an investigation. It would drain whatever is left of the Israeli military’s will to fight. Israeli combatants – platoons, pilots, drone operators, commanders- would know that their actions have legal consequences and as a result might be reluctant to execute military orders. The ICC may have closed the door on Israel’s military options and strategy. For a country that survives by the sword and invests in the ‘War between the Wars,’ the ICC investigation is understood as a lethal threat.

I am not holding my breath for the ICC to accomplish its job. I anticipate intensive Lobby efforts to interfere with the court’s work. However, by now  we know that an attempt by Jewish power to silence opposition to Jewish power, can only be realised through the manifestation of such power. In Britain, for instance, the Israel Lobby and its stooges within politics and media exposed itself through its relentless war against Corbyn and his party. By the time Corbyn and his party were literally wiped out, every Brit knew who runs this country for real.

The Lobby is more than welcome to expose its sharp teeth and interfere with the ICC’s work. It may destroy the ICC, but Israel won’t be vindicated of its crimes against Palestinians, as these crimes are committed in the open for everyone to see.

Sovereignists of all countries – unite!

The Saker

Sovereignists of all countries – unite!

June 07, 2019

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

We all know that the Neocons are by far the largest and most influential group of sponsors of US wars of aggression. They are the ones who lobbied the hardest for the invasion of Iraq, and they are the ones which for decades have tried every possible dirty trick to lure the US into acts of aggression against Iran. In fact, in terms of international law, the Neocons could be seen as a gang of international war criminals. Why? Because, as I have already pointed out several times, according to the fundamental positions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, the worst crime possible is not genocide or any other crime against humanity. The worst possible crime is the crime of *aggression* because, according to the experts who set up the Nuremberg Tribunal, the crime of aggression “contains” all the other crimes (by the way, the International Criminal Court takes the same position). In the words of the chief American prosecutor at Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, “to initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” By that definition, every single US President would be a war criminal (at least as far as I know; if you can think of a US President who did not commit the crime of aggression – including against Native Americans! – please let me know). As for the Neocons, they could be fairly characterized as a “criminal conspiracy to commit the crime of aggression.” In a sane world, that would make them international pariahs on par with the al-Qaeda crazies (who, whether they realize it or not, were federated by the US Neocons and are still their hired guns not so much against the West but mostly against all the other (non-Takfiri) forms of Islam, primarily Hezbollah and Iran). In fact, while most are still afraid to say so publicly, I believe that there is a growing realization amongst political analysts that the Neocons are a dangerous international gang of warmongering thugs.

What is, however, less known is that inside the US, the Neocons and their allies have been a prime force to dismantle the Bill of Rights, especially the First and Second Amendments.

Today, I want to give a simple yet telling example of how this kind of stuff is quietly happening with very little opposition. And for that example, I will use the US state in which I am currently living, Florida.

Check out this stunning sequence of events:

On April 11th the FL House unanimously (114-0) passed a House Bill 741 which would define anti-Semitism as:

  • “A certain perception of the Jewish people, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people.”
  • “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward Jewish community institutions or religious facilities.”

The bill also provides many examples of “anti-Semitism,” including:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews, often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Accusing Jews as a people or the State of Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.

The bill also provides that examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include:

  • Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, or focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel.
  • Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

On April 29th Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet met in Jerusalem (not a joke!) to proclaim their support for “the Jewish state” (sic) and declare that DeSantis will be the most pro-Israel governor in “America” (sic). The fact that holding that meeting abroad is a violation of Florida law did not bother anybody (except The Florida First Amendment Foundation which filed a lawsuit against this outrage). Neither did the fact that Israel is the last openly and officially racist state on our planet. Sadly, Florida is hardly an exception, two dozen other states (including Texas) have passed similar laws.

The tiny little fig-leaf covering the real anti-civil-rights nature of such laws is the cop-out that such laws do not technically violate the First Amendment since they “only” apply to schools (FL) or that they do not ban free speech as such, but “only” allow for disinvestment from corporations and individuals who dare to profess the “wrong” point of view about Israel (TX).

This is, of course, utter nonsense.

Since the Neocons cannot openly come out and declare “let’s abolish the First Amendment”, they use what I would call a “legislative death by a thousand cuts” meaning that rather than openly repealing the First Amendment, they simply neuter it by imposing innumerable small limitations, regulations, interpretations, restrictions, etc. etc. etc (by the way, that is how the US elites are currently also trying to dismantle the Second Amendment).

As somebody who studied in the USA and obtained two diplomas here (1986-1991), I can attest that before 9/11 US schools and campuses were a wonderful Petri dish for all sorts of opinions and ideas, including very controversial ones. The freedom of speech on US colleges was total, and it was understood and expected that all opinions and ideas were to compete on their intrinsic merits and not carefully parsed for any sign of crimethink. This has now totally changed: with a few exceptions, most US schools (including many colleges!) have now become ideologically monolithic, and the only possible opinion is total hatred for Trump and unconditional support for the Clinton gang.

The most toxic aspect of these freedom-crushing laws is that they are deliberately directed at the young because the ruling plutocracy fully appreciates the fact that young people are far easier to mold ideologically, to indoctrinate. Add to this that the bulk of the US “educational” system (along with the US corporate media) is designed to actually stupidify students and make them compliant (the exact opposite of what “education” is supposed to achieve) since all that is required from 90+% of the US population are just the basic skill-sets needed to serve their overlords and ruling elites (the remaining top 10% of schools are mostly reserved for the children of the ruling US nomenklatura such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.).

There is another aspect of this slo-mo deconstruction of civil rights in the USA which I think is extremely important to point out: I believe that the absolutely outrageous nature of such laws is not only a side-effect of the infinite arrogance of the Neocons but also a deliberate mind-manipulation technique. By being so “in your face” with their ideological arrogance, the Neocons are forcing everybody observing the laws into one of two camps: first, those who meekly accept whatever the Neocons want, and those who dare to resist. The first group then becomes an accomplice, a bystander, who by silence acquiesces, while the second group becomes a target to be silenced, by whatever means necessary. The similarities in other circumstances are apparent: 9/11, MH-17, Skripal, fictional gas attacks in Syria, etc. The rulers of the Empire demand that everybody endorse a narrative which is self-evidently false thereby creating a very accurate tool to measure the degree of political subservience of every person asked whether the official version is true or not.

In this context, it is quite amazing to see that very few people dare to openly question why and how a foreign power acquired such total control over a supposed superpower. There are, of course, many courageous individuals who dare to question all this (the names of Cynthia McKinney, Ron Unz, Philip Giraldi, Paul Craig Roberts, Catherine Austin-Fitts, Bonnie Faulkner and many others come to mind), but their courageous voices are drowned by an CAT5 hurricane of pro-Zionist propaganda. And, of course, when all else fails, the vapid and nonsensical accusation of “anti-Semitism” is used to discredit anybody whose arguments cannot be simply dismissed. Finally, the US deep-state has been very successful in its covert support for all kinds of genuinely racist movements, personalities and media outlets as a means to discredit (by supposed association) anybody critical of Israel or of Zionism. The exact same technique was used to discredit the 9/11 Truth movement which has been negatively affected on a grass-roots level by all sorts of plain stupid theories (nukes, Russian missiles, directed energy weapons, etc.) which helped to “dissolve” the serious and rigorously scientific studies of what really happened on 9/11.

One of the most devastating consequences of this Zio-compatible political orthodoxy in the USA has been that no US politician has successfully challenged the total control of the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG – a much-discredited term, yet a totally accurate one, in my opinion). Cynthia McKinney tried, and we all know what happened to her. Even more chilling is the fact that even people like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader or Tulsi Gabbard clearly decided to stay away from this issue, lest they be demonized and removed from any position of power like Cynthia McKinney was.

This is all entirely deliberate. Just check the language used by HB 741 which clearly and repetitively conflates any rejection or condemnation of Zionism (which is an ideology) with the hatred of Jews (as a religion, ethnicity or race; FWIW, I personally think of Jews as a tribe, not a race or ethnicity). This conflation is the cornerstone of Zionist power in the West, and this is why any discussion of it is considered as an impeachable evidence of racist crimethink).

Still, those who, like myself, live in the USA are comparatively better off than any European dissidents since in most EU countries (and in Russia, by the way) there are already plenty of laws banning specific forms of free speech including even the so-called “Holocaust denial” and the (vaguely worded) ban on “hate speech”: there is no First Amendment in Europe and the ban on some forms of free speech has always been present in Europe (the French philosopher Alain Soral is now risking a year in jail for various “thought-crimes”. I will write about his plight in the near future).

Conclusion: in so many ways, Russians and Americans have the same problem!

Once we make the decision to call things by their proper names, it becomes evident what the problem is, of the USA: the USA is not a genuinely free or sovereign country, but an “occupied territory” ruled by a transnational gang of thugs whose ideology is as racist, messianic and as hateful as it gets (Zionism); I would, therefore, suggest that a perfect US “liberation slogan” might be “restore full sovereignty to the people”. Russia, I believe, has the same problem, albeit to a lesser degree (the most significant difference is that there are still many patriots in Russia who are willing to speak up against this state of affairs, but without falling into the trap of endorsing racist views). Fundamentally, I think that it would be fair to say that both Russia and the USA are struggling to free themselves from the yoke of a trans-national gang of thugs whose goal is world domination, literally (if you are naïve enough to believe that Zionism is “just” the advocacy of a Jewish homeland and a relocation of any threatened Jews to “Eretz Yisrael” you are totally mistaken, see why here).

Furthermore, both Russia and the USA also suffer from the internal oppression of a ruling class, which is corrupt to the core and profoundly contemptuous of everybody else. And while these people are not united under one leader or organization, and while they don’t have to have secret coordinating meetings, they have such a commonality of interests that they will always and instinctively act in concert. I know that this is not a cool thing to say in 2019, but for all his other mistakes, Karl Marx was quite correct in his realization that class struggles are what defines the structure of most societies and that class consciousness often determines how those in power act.

So, whatever we choose to call them (Neocons, Zionists, Atlantic Integrationists, 5th columnists, etc.), these labels are all situational, and we all know who we are dealing with here and how these people operate. And to those who would (inevitably) accuse us of some kind of crypto-racism we would simply reply with the words of a very famous Jew, Saint Paul, who said: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). Besides, blaming Jews for Zionism is about as logical as blaming Russians for Bolshevism, Germans for National Socialism or blaming US Americans for imperialism: this is both counter-factual and profoundly immoral. But, not to worry, the Pope has already declared that Christians have to ask for pardon for “19 centuries of Christian anti-Judaism”! I suppose that soon the Latins will declare Saint Paul an “optional saint” (like they did with Saint Nicholas). In fact, judging by the Pope’s obsession with denouncing anti-Semitism, we can safely assume that soon such notorious “anti-Semites” like Saint Paul, Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Saint Ambrose of Milan, Saint Justin Martyr and many others will soon be made “optional”. At the end of the day, I fully expect these folks to make Christ Himself “optional,” again for His anti-Semitism (especially in the Gospels of Saint Matthew and Saint John which will surely be “corrected” in the near future).

Russians and US Americans live in very different societies with very different histories. Yet I believe that rather than futilely hoping that Russia will one day become a backer of the (deep-state sponsored and therefore truly racist) Alt-Right, it would be far more realistic and productive to hope that all the people of Russia and the USA, irrespective of their race, ethnicity or religion, join forces to struggle to recover their sovereignty over their country. It does not matter what ideology the trans-national plutocracy happens to advocate as long as the rest of us realize that true sovereignty is the counter-poison which will restore our freedoms and stop wars of aggression (which only the ruling elites benefit from). Today the Neocons are enemy #1 for the US. The Russian 5th columnists are the enemy #1 for Russia. Showing how they work towards the same goals is, I believe, one of the first things which those who resist these thugs must achieve. Paraphrasing Marx, I would suggest this slogan: “sovereignists of all countries – unite!”.

The Saker

The Middle East Agenda: Oil, Dollar Hegemony & Islam in Imperialism

By Professor Francis A Boyle

May 11, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Assalamu’alaikum. Dr. Mahathir, Mrs. Mahathir, distinguished Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. Little has changed in the imperialist tendencies of American foreign policy since the founding of the United States of America in seventeen eighty-nine. The fledgling United States opened the nineteenth century by stealing the continent of North America from the Indians, while in the process ethnically cleansing them and then finally deporting the pitiful few survivors by means of death marches (à la Bataan) to Bantustans, which in America we call reservations, as in instance of America’s “Manifest Destiny” to rule the world.

Then, the imperial government of the United States opened the twentieth century by stealing a colonial empire from Spain — in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, then inflicting a near-genocidal war against the Filipino people. While at the same time, purporting to annex, the kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the native Hawaiian people to near-genocidal conditions from which they still suffer today. All in the name of securing America’s so-called place in the sun.

And today at the dawn of the twenty first century, the world witnesses the effort by the imperial government of the United States of America to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Moslem states and peoples, surrounding central Asia and the Persian Gulf under the pretext of fighting a war against international terrorism or eliminating weapons of mass destruction or promoting democracy, which is total nonsense.

For the past two hundred and sixteen years, the imperialist foreign policy of the United States of America since its foundation, has been predicated upon racism, aggression, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes and outright genocide. At the dawn of the third millennium of humankind’s parlous existence, nothing has changed about the operational dynamics of American imperial policy. And we see this today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and what appears to be an illegal attack upon Iran.

Now the assigned topic today is The Middle East Agenda : Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam. So, I’m only going to limit my comments to that subject. We have to begin the story with the Arab oil embargo in 1973. As you know in 1967, Israel launched an illegal war of aggression against the surrounding Arab states, stole their land and ethnically cleansed their people. But eventually Egypt offered a Peace Treaty to Israel, which Israel rejected and the Egyptians and the Arab states decided then to use force to recover their lands.

Israel almost collapsed, the United States and Europe came to their support by providing weapons and in reaction the Arab states imposed an oil embargo on the United States and Europe, and brought their economies to their knees. Whereupon, the then U.S Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger threatened them and said: This will never happen again, and if you do, we will prevent it. And it was not just a threat. The United States government then at that time, planned, prepared and conspired, to steal the oil of the Persian Gulf. They did not have the military capability to do this at that time, to carry out the Kissinger threat, which was also then repeated by the Ford administration, and the Carter administration under Harold Brown and Zbigniew Brzezinski.

So they put into planning an interventionary force, designed expressly for the purpose of stealing Arab oil fields, and that was called the Rapid Deployment Force. And it took ten years of training, planning, positioning, and supply to build that interventionary force of that capability and eventually it was called the U.S. Central Command. The purpose of the U.S. Central Command is to steal and control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. And that’s exactly what the U.S. Central Command proceeded to do in the Bush Sr. war against Iraq, their first military expedition.

And as we know, that war exterminated probably two hundred thousand Iraqis. Half of them innocent civilians. Simply wiped out in a bombing campaign and a military expedition of unprecedented dimensions. But remember, it took fifteen years for the Pentagon and three different administrations both Republicans and Democrats to get the capability to do this. And then, when that genocide or conflict was over, what happened? The United States carved Iraq up into three pieces with their air force, the so-called no-fly zones, a zone for the Kurds in the North, a zone for the Shi’ah in the South, and the Sunni in the middle. Why? To destroy Iraq as an effectively viable state.

In his book, Clash of Civilizations, Huntington from Harvard who advised the Pentagon and advised the State Department pointed out that the only Arab state with the capability to lead the Arab world and challenge the United States and Israel was Iraq. And so Iraq had to be destroyed, to maintain the domination of the United States and its proxy, Israel. And remember after 1973, whatever it was before then, Israel is nothing more than a catspaw of the United States. They do what America tells them to do! Otherwise Israel is nothing more than a failed state.

In addition then, to destroying Iraq as a state, carving it up into three pieces, was the decision to debilitate and destroy the Iraqi people. And so they continued the genocidal economic sanctions on the people of Iraq, that my colleagues, Denis Halliday, Hans Von Sponeck, so courageously resisted and finally resigned from the United Nations as a matter of principle, calling them by what they really were: genocide. The United States and Britain maliciously and criminally imposed genocidal sanctions on the people of Iraq, that killed approximately 1.5 million Iraqis, all of whom were innocent civilians.

And when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and later Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked about the five hundred thousand dead children, she said that she thought the price was worth it. Now, I could have taken that statement to the International Court of Justice, and filed it against the United States as evidence of genocidal intent against the people of Iraq in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. And indeed I offered to do so to the then President of Iraq, but for whatever reasons he decided not to take these claims to the International Court of Justice.

And now, as you see, he is on trial in a total kangaroo court proceeding in Baghdad that is completely controlled and dominated by the United States government. So, 1.5 million Iraqis died as the result of these genocidal sanctions. And then came September 11. And we know for a fact that the Bush Jr. administration knew that a major terrorist attack was going to be launched on the United States. And they let it happen anyway deliberately and on purpose. Why? They wanted a pretext for war. And not just one war but for a long war which they are talking about today.

Indeed, from my research the war plans drawn up by the Pentagon for the war against Afghanistan were formulated as early as 1997.Enormous military forces fielded by that same U.S. Central Command, were already in and around and surrounding the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean before September 11. This war had been long-planned against Afghanistan. And armed, equipped, supplied, trained and war-gamed and ready to go. They just needed the pretext and that was September 11. Why? The United States wanted access to the oil and natural gas of Central Asia.

That had been a Pentagon objective since at least before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. And the 9/11 attack gave them the pretext to make this major grab for the oil and gas of Central Asia. And they are there today with their bases, with their troops, in the surrounding countries in Central Asia. And of course in the process, obliterated, we don’t even have an estimate of the Muslims in Afghanistan who were killed in the air bombardment, twenty, twenty five thousand, maybe more, and tens of thousands of others starved to death and still suffering today.

But that, as we know from all the records was only the first step in the process. They wanted to finish the job in Iraq. And so immediately after September 11, Bush ordered Rumsfeld to update and operationalize the plans for attacking and invading Iraq. It had nothing at all to do with weapons of mass destruction. We in the peace movement in America had been saying that all along. The United Nations had determined there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These were lies designed to scaremonger the American people and Congress into supporting an illegal war of aggression, a Nuremberg crime against peace, against Iraq. And they told whatever lies and broke what international laws they had to break in order to attack Iraq.

And today the estimate, again we don’t know. Perhaps two hundred thousand people in Iraq had been killed outright by the United States, Britain, their allies, in Iraq. And again, most of them civilians. Clearly if you add up what United States government has done to Iraq from August of 1990, when it imposed the genocidal economic embargo until today. The United States and Britain have inflicted outright genocide on the Muslim and Christian people of Iraq and they are predominately Muslim as we know.

Now comes the third step in the Pentagon’s pre-existing plan, to control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. It sounds a bit like the plan that Hitler and the Nazis had in the 1930s. Does it not? First go into Austria, then go into Czechoslovakia, then go into Poland. So first Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Iran. Iran is going to be the next victim of these outright criminals unless you and I can stop them.

Right now there are three aircraft carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf. And whenever they had put three aircraft carrier task forces over there, it’s always to prepare for an attack. And according to Seymour Hersch, the award winning journalist, it will probably be an aerial bombardment, along the lines of what they did to Yugoslavia in 1999. As you remember there, seventy eight days of aerial bombardment by the United States and NATO with no authorization from the Security Council. Clearly illegal. Killing again, we don’t know the exact number outright, four to five thousand innocent civilians. And targeting civilian infrastructure, all up and down, from which the people still suffer today. The use of depleted uranium ammunitions, with consequent outbreaks of cancer are documented today.

So this is what, is being planned right now as we speak; an attack upon Iran. Using jet fighter aircraft, fighter bombers, on these three aircraft carrier task forces, using cruise missiles on submarines. Of course Israel will be involved and have a role to play, doing exactly what the Americans tell them to do. In addition, it appears that if they attack Iran, they will also attack Syria. Yesterday, if you heard President Bush’s press conference in Vienna, he threatened Syria, right? There’s no other word for it. He threatened Syria.

These Neo-Conservatives want to take out Syria as a favour to Israel. Remember, many of these Neo-Conservatives are affiliated personally and professionally with the Likhud Party in Israel and Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beirut, the man who exterminated twenty thousand Arabs in Lebanon, most of them, not all of them were Muslims. And in addition, slaughtered two thousand completely innocent Palestinian women, children and old men at Sabra and Shatila. Ariel Sharon, the man who went to Haram Al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam, where Muhammad, (Peace Be Upon Him) ascended into heaven, and desecrated the Haram on September 28th, 2000, and deliberately provoked the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and has inflicted death and destruction on the Palestinian people since then. Close to thirty seven hundred Palestinians since then alone have been killed….most of them shot down like dogs in the street, and what has the Muslim world done about this?

My Palestinian friends tell me that they are worried that the government of Malaysia might recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. I certainly hope this is not true. We must treat the criminal apartheid regime in Israel, the same way the world treated the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa.

If the United States attacks Iran, they will probably attack Syria with the Israeli air force and they will attack Lebanon to take out the Islamic resistance movement in southern Lebanon – Hezbollah that defended the legitimate rights of Lebanon and the Lebanese people and expelled the invading longstanding occupying Israeli army that had the full support of the United States government for over twenty years.

So they could attack Iran, Syria, Southern Lebanon and inflict yet another round of ethnic cleansing on the suffering Palestinian people. Remember Sharon and Likhud believe that Jordan is Palestine. And they want to drive as many Palestinians as possible out of their homes and into Jordan.

So if the United States as reported by Hersh and other reliable sources, goes ahead and attacks Iran, we could see warfare erupt all the way from Egypt to the border with India. This whole area convulsed in warfare. And who will be the primary victims of this war? Muslims. The United States could not care less about Muslim life. Look at the demonisation and victimisation of Muslims that we have seen inflicted by the United States and its surrogate, Israel. Look at Guantanamo, where six hundred Muslim men have been treated like dogs in a kennel. Pretty much the way the Nazis treated the Jews. Look at Abu Ghraib and the sadism and sexual exploitation and perversion of Muslims by their American captors. And the same thing has been done in Baghram in Afghanistan. And when Professor Sharif Bassiouni, the U.N. special rapporteur filed the Report with the Security Council against U.S. practices in Afghanistan, the Americans had Kofi Annan fire him. Just as they had Kofi Annan fire Mary Robinson, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, when she protested what was going on down in Guantanamo.

The United States could not care less about Muslim life. And the same is true for the genocidal apartheid regime in Israel. They would be happy to use nuclear weapons against Iran. They would be happy to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki against Muslims in Iran. It would create no problem at all for them. Indeed, I went to school with these Neo-Conservatives at the University of Chicago. Wolfowitz was there, ChalabiKhalilzadShulsky, all the rest of them. I went through the exact same programme. Their mentor, Professor Leo Strauss. And who was his teacher in Germany and his sponsor? Professor Carl Schmitt who went on to become the most notorious Nazi law Professor of his day, justifying every atrocity that the Nazis inflicted on everyone. We must understand that these Neo-Conservatives are in fact Neo-Nazis. They have espoused the Nazi doctrine of Schmitt and Strauss and Machiavelli and Nietzsche, the “superman.” They are the supermen, and the Muslims are the scum of the earth.

Now, I do not believe the United States will initially start bombing Iran with nuclear weapons. But if things get out of control they are fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons. And here in our materials, you have the Pentagon’s Joint Publication 3-12, which you can get on the internet…. just do a Google search and read it. And you will see there dated March 15, 2005; nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons have been fully integrated into United States conventional forces.

So if Iran were to defend itself, human wave attacks, whatever, they will be happy to use nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Remember, these Neo-Nazis, Neo-Cons want to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They want to use tactical nuclear weapons, to be able to say to the rest of the world, you do what we tell you to do or else look what we did to the Iranians!

It’s a very serious situation. And this could even get further out of control. Remember that before Bush invaded Iraq, President Putin of Russia said that if he invades Iraq he could set off World War Three. Well, I interpreted that as an implicit threat. Even the famous American news broadcaster Walter Cronkite said that if Bush invaded Iraq he could set off World War Three. Two weeks ago we had the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; China, Russia and Iran. So again, if Bush were to attack Iran, he very well could set off a Third World War, a nuclear war. And that is where you come in:

“This is what I can do. These are my talents. These are my professional qualifications. These are my skills. This is my cheque book. Let me help. Let me prevent, let me help prevent a nuclear war, a possible final, cataclysmic Third World War.”

Thank you, shukran.

ARAB STRATEGY FORUM: Political Systems in the Arab World in 2020:

Moving Towards Reform and Development

 

by Professor Francis A. Boyle

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL

Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The demand by the Bush Jr. administration and its Zionist neo-conservative operatives for democratization in the Arab world is a joke and a fraud that is designed to pressure, undermine, and destabilize Arab governments and states at the behest of the genocidal Israeli apartheid regime, and to pursue America’s continuing campaign for outright military control and domination of the Gulf oil and gas resources that the United States government launched in direct reaction to the Arab oil embargo of the West in 1973. For over the past three decades American foreign policy toward the entire Middle East has been determined by oil and Israel, in that order.

The United States government will seek direct military control and domination of the hydrocarbon resources of the Arab and Muslim world until there is no oil and gas left for them to steal, using Israel as its regional “policeman” towards that end. Oil and Israel were behind both the Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. wars against Iraq. And now Bush Jr. is threatening to attack Syria, Lebanon, and Iran in conjunction with the genocidal apartheid regime in Israel. As the oil and gas in the Arab and Muslim world proceed to run out, the United States and Israel will become even more predatory, aggressive, destructive, and genocidal toward Arab and Muslim states and peoples.

The Bush Jr. administration and its Zionist neo-conservative operatives could not care less about democracy in the Arab world. In fact, Bush Jr. and his Neo-Cons are all trying very hard to build a Police State in the United States of America that we lawyers are vigorously opposing. What the Bush Jr. administration and its Zionist neo-conservative operatives really want in the Arab world are quisling dictators who will do their dirty work for them and the genocidal Israeli apartheid regime against the wishes and prayers of the Arab people for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, constitutionalism, as well as for the liberation of Palestine and Al Quds.

Those will be the predominant facts and trends that the Arab world will have to confront between now and 2020. It was not my assignment here today to advise Arab states and the Arab people how to counteract this anti-Arab and anti-Muslim agenda by the United States and Israel. But certainly the sacred Koran and the divinely inspired teachings of the Prophet Mohammed – May Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him! – shall guide you and protect you during this most difficult period in the history of the Arab Nation, the Arab People, Arab States, and Islam.

Shukhran.

Professor Francis A. Boyle is an international law expert and served as Legal Advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include “ Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (2003), and “ The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law” (2010).

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

International Criminal Lawyer to ST: ICC is Controlled by The US and EU

ST

DAMASCUS, (ST)- An International Criminal Lawyer has underscored that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has fallen under the influence of those who fund it mainly the EU, and US and private corporations who donate to it and who are very willing to use the court when it suits their interests.

Mr. Christopher Black told the Syria Times e-newspaper that the US will not recognize the court, nevertheless it attempts to use it through certain personnel placed in key positions to do its bidding.

“The Americans and British, for example, are putting pressure on the ICC to investigate and charge the Syrian government with war crimes.

This effort is fronted by certain lawyers pretending to represent Syrian refugees, but the lawyers all work for US and UK intelligence and NATO,” he said.

The veteran lawyer went on to say: “one of the US lawyers involved is Stephen Rapp who was once in charge of prosecutions at the Rwanda tribunal where he engaged in some corrupt practices, then became head of the Hariri tribunal which had the objective of making propaganda against Syria, then became the US roving ambassador for war crimes. Now he is acting on US government’s orders.”

He affirmed that US, EU and other NATO countries do not want the ICC to be used against them but they are very willing to use it to suit their interests.

“The USA did sign up to the Rome Treaty but withdrew its signature under President Bush because the Americans see themselves as the exceptional people, subject to no laws but their own, at the same time that they try to dictate to the world what the law should be,” Mr. Black added.

He made it clear that there are of course many atrocities that have been committed by American forces in all their wars and will be in the future but they do not want to be judged in a world court, have their officer and leaders put on trial, their national reputation disgraced.

“They [American forces] also view war crimes tribunals as only suitable for those who have defeated, as propaganda show trials to justify their wars and portray the defeated enemy as criminals. But they will never tolerate the same treatment for themselves because they see themselves in their arrogance above all others and subject to no one’s judgement,” the lawyer stated.

He underscored that the ICC is not accountable to any higher body. “For this reason, Russia and China and I suspect Syria have not joined it.  All national courts are part of a governmental system. Court decisions can be challenged at appeal levels and even to the government in certain cases. But there is no world government for the ICC to report to or where its decisions can be challenged.  So it has fallen under the influence of those that fund it mainly the EU, and US and private corporations who donate to it.”

The chance of the US or close allies being charged is zero

In response to a question about who will judge American, Israeli atrocities and their allies for their war crimes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, the lawyer said: “No one will judge them except the peoples of those countries. There are no means possible to bring them to justice before an international body with the present world power structure. However, each country that has suffered under their aggression can lay their own charges, have their own trials, even in absentia, and show the world the crimes that they committed.”

He indicated that the Americans have made it very clear they will not permit their people to be arrested by the ICC or their allies. “As we saw this week with Afghanistan, when they don’t want to be investigated, the ICC will back off and will drop its investigations. They even have a law permitting them (a US law) to physically release any of their people even if they were arrested. So the chance of the US or close allies such as Israel being charged is zero.”

The lawyer asserted that the ICC is dominated by EU and US and other NATO countries such as Canada.

“Many of the staff are people that used to work under NATO -US command at the Yugoslav and Rwanda tribunals which were in name UN tribunals but were in fact controlled by the USA. Key staff they can rely on to do what they want are placed in key positions,” he said.

Mr. Black concluded by saying: “Once again, the only people who can hold them accountable are the people of the nations they have attacked.”

Interviewed by: BasmaQaddour

The ICC intends to violate the decision of the Security Council and try Bachar el-Assad

Everyone believed it to be impossible for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try the Syrians, since China and Russia exercised their vetos against a Western draft resolution to do so. But no! A piece of legal sleight of hand may make it possible to dodge the decision of the Security Council. The Court hopes to incriminate President Bachar el-Assad, not for the murder of Rafic Hariri (that lie fizzled out some time ago), but for « crimes against humanity ».

JPEG - 37 kb

In 1998, the United Nations convened the Conference of Rome, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). Of course, the aim was not to to create a super-Tribunal which would legislate, on behalf of the member-states, in the name of humanity, but to possess a tool capable of judging criminals at the end of a war, when the institutions of the vanquished are diminished or destroyed.

Thus the statutes of the Court emphasise that it may only accept a case with the agreement of the local Justice system. But these same statutes also state
- that it may take on the case of a crime committed by a citizen of a non-member country, inside a member country, in place of the victim country;
- as well as a crime committed by anyone, anywhere, as long as it is handled by the Security Council of the United Nations.

In both cases, the Rome Statute, developed within the UNO and signed by a few States, may apply to all States, even that of non-members.

This why the three greatest world States – China, the United States and Russia – refused to ratify it. They saw in it – quite rightly – a violation of the principle of sovereignty, formulated in the 18th century by the legal expert Emer de Vattel, and voted into action by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties [1].

Last September, the ICC declared admissible a complaint against the authorities of Myanmar, despite the fact that it is a non-member, because it was said to have committed atrocities which provoked the exodus of the Rohingyas. The Court considered itself competent because the victims fled to Bangladesh, which is a signatory of the Rome Statute [2].

On this model, a family of the Muslim Brotherhood recently filed a complaint against President Bachar el-Assad and the Syrian representatives, although the Syrian Arab Republic is not a member of the Court. The family claims to have witnessed various atrocities and was obliged to flee to Jordan. The Court would have to ignore the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is the heart of Islamist terrorism and that it is listed as a terrorist organisation in many countries. Logically, though, it could declare itself competent, since Jordan is a signatory of the Rome Statute.

However, on 22 May 2014, when the Western powers and their Gulf allies sought to engage the ICC via the Security Council in the context of the events in Syria, both China and Russia exercised their veto [3].

However, it makes no difference – the Court has acquired autonomy. It no longer pretends to help states render Justice, but has proclaimed itself the defender of humanity against states.

It is important to understand what is happening – over the last few years, the ICC has mainly been financed by the European Union, and has drawn up its own Code. Until 2016, it tried only African defendants under its own laws, and found them all guilty [4]. After a vote by its Parliament, Burundi then decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute, on the motive that the ICC had become « an instrument of pressure on the governments of poor countries, or a means of destabilising them according to the desires of the great powers ». Three other states then followed – Gambia, the Philippines and South Africa. However, South Africa and Gambia changed their minds after Gambian Fatou Bensouda was named as the new Prosecutor General for the Court.

Nonetheless, until the nomination of Madame Bensouda, the ICC offered none of the guarantees expected from an impartial legal system. Thus, during NATO’s attack on Libya in violation of the Security Council’s mandate, the « proof » tabled by the General Prosecutor, Argentinian Luis Moreno Ocampo, against Mouamar Kadhafi, his son Saïf el Islam and his brother-in-law Abdallah Al-Senoussi, was limited entirely to Press cuttings from the invading states. Worse – when NATO bombed Tripoli, the prosecutor declared that Saïf el-Islam Kadhafi had been arrested by the Western powers and that his bureau was organising his deferment to The Hague. By doing so, he was guilty of a bare-faced lie, and demoralised the Libyans to the point where they no longer resisted the aggression of NATO. In reality, Saïf el-Islam was safe and sound in the cellars of the Hotel Rixos, where I was myself.

The same Luis Moreno Ocampo raped a female journalist in his Court office, but escaped Justice only by his immunity as an international prosecutor [5]. Corrupt, he demanded secret payments for prosecuting individuals who were marked for elimination [6]. The Prosecutor’s secret bank accounts were later revealed by journalistic investigations in Panama and the Virgin Islands [7]. Luis Moreno Ocampo has never had to answer to these charges.

Certainly, his successor, Fatou Bensouda, is more presentable. But the structure has not changed. The magistrates of the Court are so aware of this that on 15 January 2019, they revolted and acquitted Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude – two defendants whose alleged « crimes against humanity » had served to justify the « régime change » imposed by France in the Ivory Coast. It was the first time that the ICC abandoned the political role with which the Europeans had tasked them.

On 29 July 2015, the Western powers attempted to pass a resolution at the Security Council intended to divest the Ukrainian Justice of the destruction of flight MH17 and transfer the affair to the ICC. This was a strategy aimed at preparing the indictment of President Vladimir Putin, although Russia is not a signatory of the Rome Statute. The question here is not to determine who destroyed the plane, but to observe the political manipulation operated by the international penal Justice system. Russia exercised its veto against the Western resolution.

The Syrian President, Bachar el-Assad, will therefore probably be tried in absentia by the ICC. He will appear in abstensia with other Syrian representatives whose names have not yet been released. He is used to this. In 2005, he was accused of ordering the assassination of ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, this time with the complicity of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. An international enquiry was led by a German/ Israeli team [8]. Then a pseudo-tribunal was created on the initiative of the US ambassador US to Beirut, Jeffrey Feltman. A treaty was signed by General Secretary of the UNO – with the approbation of the Security Council – and by the new Lebanese Prime Minister – without the authorisation of either the government or the Parliament.

At that time, the West had persuaded itself of the guilt of the accused. Alas! After a year of sensational accusations, Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis resigned in the midst of a shattering scandal – the witnesses on whom he relied were imposters paid by his friends. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon pursued its malicious work by accusing Hezbollah this time, although this organisation published recordings of an Israëli drone over the site of the assassination. The Tribunal persisted in pretending that Rafic Hariri had been killed by the explosion of a van, despite the fact that the forensic records were formal – this was impossible [9]. They spent millions of dollars reproducing the scene and attempting to validate their theory, but in vain. They are therefore working on a thesis that everyone knows is false.

The Syrian Arab Republic fought for eight years in order to preserve its sovereignty. It should therefore not allow its representatives to go to The Hague. But it can still contest the validity of the procedure.

It was initiated by the British lawyer for the plaintiffs, Rodney Dixon, known for also being the lawyer for Qatar against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He had a long experience of « international Justice » since he had been one of the councillors for Canadian Louise Arbour, the General Prosecutor for international Justice for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda – two institutions which failed to find the truth about the crimes with which they were tasked.

Mr. Dixon had already declared that he intended to pursue the Syrian leaders for « crimes against humanity ». He based his case on the Caesar Report [10]; a document made public by Qatar, via the London cabinet Carter-Ruck, on 20 January 2014, two days before the peace negotiations of Geneva 2. The report was a collection of 55,000 photographs of torture victims taken by a photographer of the Syrian Arab Army. According to the accusation, they represented the victims of the « régime », while according to the Syrian government, they were on the contrary photos of the the victims of the jihadists. The report was authenticated against Syria by three international prosecutors with a shameful past, since they had worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Penal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia.

- Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva is the author of a report ordered by the British Prime Minister concerning the death of an Irish lawyer, qualified as « shameful » by the victim’s family. He recognised the responsibility of the authorities, which no-one could hide any longer, but blurred the proof against the Crown.
- Sir Geoffrey Nice made himself famous by pursuing Slobodan Milošević for two years, without ever managing to find the slightest proof of crimes against humanity. The trial ended with the death of the prisoner, who, according to Russia, was assassinated in prison.
- David M. Crane is an ex-representative of the CIA and the DIA who, since the beginning of the war against Syria, has been running a programme designed to drag Bachar el-Assad in front of any special international court at all for any reason at all.

In September 2012, the US State Department, on an idea by ambassador Jeffrey Feltman who had become an assistant to the Secretary of State, created an association, the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), tasked with collecting proof of the crimes of the Syrian government. He financed it to the tune of 5 million dollars annually, the rest being at the charge of the « Friends of Syria », especially Morocco. Two years later, Washington ended their use of this tool. However, ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, who had since become the Director of Political Affairs for the UNO, relaunched the SJAC, this time with European funds.

There exists no control of the ICC, even when its general prosecutor is a corrupt criminal. The Court is reserved exclusively for the service of those who pay for it – the European Union.

In the past, war was considered as a means of conquest or defence. Today, on the contrary, we like to pretend that it is an illegal act in itself, even in legitimate defence. Thus, the party that decides on war must not declare it, but establish the proof a posteriori that by committing the crime of war, it is defending Good. Which the victor can always claim.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Mint Press News (USA)

International law under threat

Source

John Bolton

By Lawrence Davidson

Several recent events suggest that global warming is not the only thing threatening our future. As if they are running on parallel tracks, some of the modern institutions that help make for stable societies – the ones that hold back the rise of barbarism – are being weakened even as the atmosphere is heating up and the oceans swell. In pursuit of short-term state or personal interests, some national leaders are violating or ignoring international law and, by doing so, putting us all at long-term risk.

Example 1: Subverting the International Criminal Court

One of the most hopeful developments to follow the catastrophe that was World War II—the war that brought the world the holocaust, the blitzkrieg, the carpet bombing of Europe, and the use of nuclear bombs against large cities – was the extension and strengthening of international law. In 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations, seeking to give such laws real force, called for the establishment of an international criminal court. That call triggered resistance because such a court would necessarily impinge on nation-state sovereignty. It took 54 years before the court was finally convened in order to enforce laws against the committing of war crimes and other evils, such as genocide.

Still, there are some nations that refuse to recognise the court’s jurisdiction. Often these are the states most addicted to the barbaric behaviour that came close to destroying a good part of the globe during the 20th century. These governments now threaten the very workability of the court. Thus, on 28 January 2019 it was reported that “a senior judge has resigned from one of the international courts in The Hague” due to interference and threats coming from both the US and Turkey. The judge’s name is Christoph Flügge.

In the case of the United States, the problem began when the International Criminal Court at the Hague decided to investigate allegations of war crimes, specifically the use of torture, committed by US forces in Afghanistan. At that point President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton (who reminds one of a modern Savonarola when it comes to ideological enforcement), publicly threatened the court’s judges. “If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen,” he said, “the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States  and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

It must be said that (a) torturing Afghanis is not a “domestic concern of the US”, and, all too obviously, (b) Bolton is a deplorable one-dimensional thinker. Bound tightly by a life-long right-wing perspective, he has never been able to get past the concept of nation-state supremacy. This means his perspective is untouched by those lessons of history which have shown the nation-state to be a threat to civilisation itself. Thus, when in 2005, President George W. Bush appointed John Bolton ambassador to the United Nations, it was with the prior knowledge that the man felt nothing but contempt for this international organisation and would disparage it at every turn. At present Bolton has turned out to be just the kind of fellow who fits into the reactionary White House run by Donald Trump.

The leaders of the United States are not the only ones who can purposely undermine international courts. Christoph Flügge tells of another incident wherein the government of Turkey arrested one of its own nationals, Aydın Sefa Akay, who was a judge on the international court at The Hague. At the time, Akay had diplomatic immunity by virtue of his position, a fact that the increasingly statist government in Istanbul ignored. Akay’s crime was to be judged insufficiently loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Flügge and his fellow judges strongly protested against the Turkish actions, but they were not supported by the present UN secretary-general, António Guterres (who himself is a former prime minister of Portugal). And, without that support, Akay lost his position as judge and was, so to speak, thrown to the dogs of nation-state arrogance.

Upon resigning, Judge Flügge had some seminal words of warning about the fate of international law. “Every incident in which judicial independence is breached is one too many.” The cases of Turkish and US interference with the International Criminal Court set a fatal precedent “and everyone can invoke it in the future. Everyone can say: ‘But you let Turkey get its way.’ This is an original sin. It can’t be fixed.” Commenting on the threat levelled by John Bolton, Flügge said, “the American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate… The judges on the court were stunned.” Yet, this behaviour was quite in accord with nation-state aggrandisement and American exceptionalism – national sovereignty stands above international law.

Example 2: Suborning of international police

It is not only the world’s international laws and international court that are being undermined, but also Interpol, the world’s international police force. Nation-state leaders, particularly the dictators who place their interests and preferences above even their own domestic law, now seek to suborn Interpol and use it as a weapon to silence their critics.

The latest example of this comes out of Bahrain. Bahrain is a wealthy monarchical dictatorship in the Persian Gulf. It is run by a Sunni elite minority which systematically represses the country’s Shi’i majority. By doing so, its major “achievement” to date has been to give the religion of Islam a bad name. It is also a staunch US ally, and the US Fifth Fleet is based in that country. If you want to know where much of the US naval forces supporting the Saudi destruction of Yemen come from, it is Bahrain.

So, how is the dictatorship in Bahrain corrupting the world’s international police force? One of the players on Bahrain’s national soccer team, Hakeem al-Araibi, vocally expressed his dissent over the way Bahrain is run. He was then framed for “vandalising a police station”, even though he was playing in a football match, broadcast on TV, at the time of the incident. He was arrested, beaten up in jail, yet still managed to escape to Australia, where he was granted asylum. At this point Bahrain managed to have Interpol issue a fraudulent arrest warrant. When Al-Araibi showed up in Thailand on his honeymoon, he was taken into custody and now awaits possible extradition back to Bahrain, where he may well face torture. By the way, it is a violation of international law to extradite someone to a country where he or she risks being tortured. So far Thailand has not taken advantage of this legal and moral reason to defy the Bahraini monarchy.

This is not an isolated problem. The watchdog organisation Fair Trials has documented multiple cases of the corruption and abuse of Interpol by governments which do not feel themselves bound by the rule of law.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that the 21st century has begun with an assault on both the climatic and legal atmosphere that underpins the world’s stability.

Before 1946 the world was a mess: one hot war after another, economic recessions and depressions, imperialism, colonialism, and racism galore. All of this was grounded in the nation state and its claim of sacred sovereignty. The world experienced a sort of climax to this horror show in the form of Nazi racism and the holocaust, the use of nuclear weapons, and Stalinist Russia’s purges, mass starvations and Gulag exiles.

After World War II, things got better in a slow sort of way. The trauma of the recent past spurred on the formation of international laws, international courts, a universal declaration of human rights, civil rights movements and the like. We also got the Cold War, which, for all its tensions, was a big improvement on hot wars.

Now things are falling apart again, and rest assured that US leaders and their less savoury allies abroad are doing their part in the devolution of peace and justice. Shall we name just a few US names? Well, there is President Trump and his minion John Bolton. They go gaga over thugs passing themselves off as presidents in such nation-states as Egypt, the Philippines and that pseudo-democracy, Israel. There is also Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who has turned into the US version of Cardinal Richelieu when it comes to Washington’s South America foreign policy. He is the one pushing for the overthrow of the legitimate government in Venezuela while simultaneously calling for close relations with the new fascist president of Brazil.

And the list goes on. How do we do this to ourselves? Is it short memories of the wretched past or almost no historical memory at all? Is it some sort of perverse liking for group violence? This is an important question and a perennial one. But now, with global warming upon us and lifestyles soon to be under threat, things are going to get even more messy – and messy social and economic situations are usually good news for barbarians. More than ever, we are going to need uncorrupted international laws, courts and police.

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

February 07, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela — A Case of News-Suppression

INTRODUCTION

This news-report is being submitted to all U.S. and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hude such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the U.N. General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public:

THE COVERED-UP DOCUMENT

On 3 August 2018, the U.N.’s General Assembly received the report from the U.N.s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, concerning his mission to Venezuela and Ecuador. His recent travel though both countries focused on “how best to enhance the enjoyment of all human rights by the populations of both countries.” He “noted the eradication of illiteracy, free education from primary school to university, and programmes to reduce extreme poverty, provide housing to the homeless and vulnerable, phase out privilege and discrimination, and extend medical care to everyone.” He noted “that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and Ecuador, both devote around 70 per cent of their national budgets to social services.” However (and here, key paragraphs from the report are now quoted):

22. Observers have identified errors committed by the Chávez and Maduro Governments, noting that there are too many ideologues and too few technocrats in public administration, resulting in government policies that lack coherence and professional management and discourage domestic investment, already crippled by inefficiency and corruption, which extend to government officials, transnational corporations and entrepreneurs. Critics warn about the undue influence of the military on government and on the running of enterprises like Petróleos de Venezuela. The lack of regular, publicly available data on nutrition, epidemiology and inflation are said to complicate efforts to provide humanitarian support.

23. Meanwhile, the Attorney General, Tarek Saab, has launched a vigorous anticorruption campaign, investigating the links between Venezuelan enterprises and tax havens, contracting scams, and deals by public officials with Odebrecht. It is estimated that corruption in the oil industry has cost the Government US$ 4.8 billion. The Attorney General’s Office informed the Independent Expert of pending investigations for embezzlement and extortion against 79 officials of Petróleos de Venezuela, including 22 senior managers. The Office also pointed to the arrest of two high-level oil executives, accused of money-laundering in Andorra. The Ministry of Justice estimates corruption losses at some US$ 15 billion. Other stakeholders, in contrast, assert that anti-corruption programmes are selective and have not sufficiently targeted State institutions, including the military. …

29. … Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model. In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. …

30. The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably [a list is supplied]. …

31. In its judgment of 27 June 1986 concerning Nicaragua v. United States, the International Court of Justice quoted from [U.N.] resolution 2625 (XXV): “no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State”. …

36. The effects of sanctions imposed by Presidents Obama and Trump and unilateral measures by Canada and the European Union have directly and indirectly aggravated the shortages in medicines such as insulin and anti-retroviral drugs. To the extent that economic sanctions have caused delays in distribution and thus contributed to many deaths, sanctions contravene the human rights obligations of the countries imposing them.Moreover, sanctions can amount to crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. An investigation by that Court would be appropriate, but the geopolitical submissiveness of the Court may prevent this.

37. Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through “fake news”, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights “end” justifies the criminal means. …

39. Economic asphyxiation policies are comparable to those already practised in Chile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua and the Syrian Arab Republic. In January 2018, Middle East correspondent of The Financial Times and The Independent, Patrick Cockburn, wrote on the sanctions affecting Syria:

There is usually a pretence that foodstuffs and medical equipment are being allowed through freely and no mention is made of the financial and other regulatory obstacles making it impossible to deliver them. An example of this is the draconian sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and EU which were meant to target President Bashar al-Assad and help remove him from power. They have wholly failed to do this, but a UN internal report leaked in 2016 shows all too convincingly the effect of the embargo in stopping the delivery of aid by international aid agencies. They cannot import the aid despite waivers because banks and commercial companies dare not risk being penalised for having anything to do with Syria. The report quotes a European doctor working in Syria as saying that “the indirect effect of sanctions … makes the import of the medical instruments and other medical supplies immensely difficult, near impossible”. In short: economic sanctions kill. …

41. Bearing in mind that Venezuelan society is polarized, what is most needed is dialogue between the Government and the opposition, and it would be a noble task on the part of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to offer his good offices for such a dialogue. Yet, opposition leaders Antonio Ledezma and Julio Borges, during a trip through Europe to denounce the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called for further sanctions as well as a military “humanitarian intervention”. …

44. Although the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not yet reached the humanitarian crisis threshold, there is hunger, malnutrition, anxiety, anguish and emigration. What is crucial is to study the causes of the crisis, including neglected factors of sanctions, sabotage, hoarding, black market activities, induced inflation and contraband in food and medicines.

45. The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others. It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ”is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible”. …

46. It is pertinent to recall the situation in the years prior to the election of Hugo Chávez. 118 Corruption was ubiquitous and in 1993, President Carlos Pérez was removed because of embezzlement. The Chávez election in 1998 reflected despair with the corruption and neo-liberal policies of the 1980s and 1990s, and rejection of the gulf between the super-rich and the abject poor.

47. Participatory democracy in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, called “protagónica”, is anchored in the Constitution of 1999 and relies on frequent elections and referendums. During the mission, the Independent Expert exchanged views with the Electoral Commission and learned that in the 19 years since Chávez, 25 elections and referendums had been conducted, 4 of them observed by the Carter Center. The Independent Expert met with the representative of the Carter Center in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who recalled Carter’s positive assessment of the electoral system. They also discussed the constitutional objections raised by the opposition to the referendum held on 30 July 2017, resulting in the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. Over 8 million Venezuelans voted in the referendum, which was accompanied by international observers, including from the Council of Electoral Specialists of Latin America.

48. An atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure the Independent Expert into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from NGOs asking him not to proceed because he was not the “relevant” rapporteur, and almost dictating what should be in the report. Weeks before his arrival, some called the mission a “fake investigation”. Social media insults bordered on “hate speech” and “incitement”. Mobbing before, during and after the mission bore a resemblance to the experience of two American journalists who visited the country in July 2017. Utilizing platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, critics questioned the Independent Expert’s integrity and accused him of bias, demonstrating a culture of intransigence and refusal to accept the duty of an independent expert to be neutral, objective, dispassionate and to apply his expertise free of external pressures. …

67. The Independent Expert recommends that the General Assembly: (g) Invoke article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations and refer the following questions to the International Court of Justice: Can unilateral coercive measures be compatible with international law? Can unilateral coercive measures amount to crimes against humanity when a large number of persons perish because of scarcity of food and medicines? What reparations are due to the victims of sanctions? Do sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes? (h) Adopt a resolution along the lines of the resolutions on the United States embargo against Cuba, declaring the sanctions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela contrary to international law and human rights law. …

70. The Independent Expert recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate the problem of unilateral coercive measures that cause death from malnutrition, lack of medicines and medical equipment. …

72. The Independent Expert recommends that, until the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court address the lethal outcomes of economic wars and sanctions regimes, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, the Russell Tribunal and the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission undertake the task so as to facilitate future judicial pronouncements.

On January 26th, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens”, and Michael Selby-Green reported that:

The first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years has told The Independent the US sanctions on the country are illegal and could amount to “crimes against humanity” under international law.

Former special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who finished his term at the UN in March, has criticized the US for engaging in “economic warfare” against Venezuela which he said is hurting the economy and killing Venezuelans.

The comments come amid worsening tensions in the country after the US and UK have backed Juan Guaido, who appointed himself “interim president” of Venezuela as hundreds of thousands marched to support him. …

The US Treasury has not responded to a request for comment on Mr de Zayas’s allegations of the effects of the sanctions programme.

US sanctions prohibit dealing in currencies issued by the Venezuelan government. They also target individuals, and stop US-based companies or people from buying and selling new debt issued by PDVSA or the government.

The US has previously defended its sanctions on Venezuela, with a senior US official saying in 2018: “The fact is that the greatest sanction on Venezuelan oil and oil production is called Nicolas Maduro, and PDVSA’s inefficiencies,” referring to the state-run oil body, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA.

Mr De Zayas’s findings are based on his late-2017 mission to the country and interviews with 12 Venezuelan government minsters, opposition politicians, 35 NGOs working in the country, academics, church officials, activists, chambers of commerce and regional UN agencies.

The US imposed new sanctions against Venezuela on 9 March 2015, when President Barack Obama issued executive order 13692, declaring the country a threat to national security.

The sanctions have since intensified under Donald Trump, who has also threatened military invasion and discussed a coup. …

Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change. …

The then UN high commissioner, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit, and the Venezuela desk of the UN Human Rights Council also declined to help with his work after his return despite being obliged to do so, Mr de Zayas claimed. …

Ivan Briscoe, Latin America and Caribbean programme director for Crisis Group, an international NGO, told The Independent that Venezuela is a polarising subject. … Briscoe is critical of Mr de Zayas’s report because it highlights US economic warfare but in his view neglects to mention the impact of a difficult business environment in the country. … Briscoe acknowledged rising tensions and the likely presence of US personnel operating covertly in the country. …

Eugenia Russian, president of FUNDALATIN, one of the oldest human rights NGOs in Venezuela, founded in 1978 before the Chavez and Maduro governments and with special consultative status at the UN, spoke to The Independent on the significance of the sanctions.

In contact with the popular communities, we consider that one of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis in the country is the effect that the unilateral coercive sanctions that are applied in the economy, especially by the government of the United States,” Ms Russian said.

She said there may also be causes from internal errors, but said probably few countries in the world have suffered an “economic siege” like the one Venezuelans are living under. …

In his report, Mr de Zayas expressed concern that those calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis” are trying to justify regime change and that human rights are being “weaponised” to discredit the government and make violent overthrow more “palatable”….

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not easily accessible to US and transnational corporations.

US oil companies had large investments in Venezuela in the early 20th century but were locked out after Venezuelans voted to nationalise the industry in 1973.

Other than readers of that single newspaper, where has the public been able to find these facts? If the public can have these facts hidden from them, then how much trust should the public reasonably have in the government, and in the news-media?

(NOTE: Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who “reportedly refused to meet Mr de Zayas after the visit,” is Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a Jordanian Prince. Jordan is a vassal-state in the U.S. empire. But Prince Hussein is a Jordanian diplomat who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018 — hardly an unbiased or independent person in such a supposedly nonpartisan role.)

(NOTE: Here is the garbage that a reader comes to, who is trying to find online Mr. de Zayas’s report on this matter: https://documents-dds-ny.un.. As intended, the document remains effectively hidden to the present day. Perhaps the U.N. needs to be replaced and located in Venezuela, Iran, or some other country that’s targeted for take-over by the people who effectively own the United States Government and control the U.N.’s bureaucracy. The hiding of this document was done not only by the press but by the U.N. itself.)

(NOTE: On January 23rd, Germany’s Die Zeit headlined

“Christoph Flügge: ‘I am deeply disturbed’: The U.N. International Criminal Court Judge Christoph Flügge Accuses Western Nations of Threatening the Independence of the Judges”. Flügge especially cited U.S. President Trump’s agent, John Bolton. That same day, the Democratic Party and Labour Party organ, Britain’s Guardian, bannered “International criminal court: UN court judge quits The Hague citing political interference”. This news-report said that, “A senior judge has resigned from one of the UN’s international courts in The Hague citing ‘shocking’ political interference from the White House and Turkey.” The judge especially criticised Bolton: “The American security adviser held his speech at a time when The Hague was planning preliminary investigations into American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. The American threats against international judges clearly show the new political climate. It is shocking. I had never heard such a threat.” Flügge said that the judges on the court had been “stunned” that “the US would roll out such heavy artillery”. Flügge told the Guardian: “It is consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law’.”)

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

israel (apartheid state) is Afraid of Khalida Jarrar because She Shatters Its False Democratic Image

Israel is Afraid of Khalida Jarrar because She Shatters Its False Democratic Image

Israel renewed administrative detention of Khalida Jarrar. (Photo: via MEMO)

By Ramzy Baroud

When Israeli troops stormed the house of Palestinian parliamentarian and lawyer Khalida Jarrar on April 2, 2015, she was engrossed in her research. For months, she had been leading a Palestinian effort to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her research on that very evening was related directly to the kind of behavior that allows a group of soldiers to handcuff a respected Palestinian intellectual, throw her in jail with no trial and have no accountability for their action.

Jarrar was released in June 2016 after spending more than a year in jail, only to be arrested once more, on 2 July last year. She remains in an Israeli prison to this day. On 28 October, her “administrative detention” was renewed for the fourth time.

There are thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, most of them held outside the militarily-occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Nearly 500 of these Palestinians are held with neither charge nor trial and detained for six-month periods that are renewed, sometimes indefinitely, by Israeli military courts with no legal justification whatsoever. Jarrar is one of those “administrative detainees”.

The parliamentarian is not pleading with her jailers for her freedom. Instead, she is keeping herself busy, educating her fellow prisoners about international law, offering classes and issuing statements to the outside world that reflect not only her refined intellect but also her resolve and strength of character.

Jarrar is relentless. Despite her failing health — she suffers from multiple ischemic infarctions and hypercholesterolemia, and was hospitalized due to severe bleeding resulting from epistaxis — her commitment to the cause of her people has not, in any way, weakened or faltered.

The 55-year-old lawyer has championed a political discourse that is largely missing amid the ongoing feud between the Palestinian Authority’s largest faction, Fatah, in the occupied West Bank, and Hamas in besieged Gaza. As a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and an active member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Jarrar has advocated the kind of politics that is not disconnected from the people and, especially, from the women who she strongly and uncompromisingly represents.

According to Jarrar, no Palestinian official should engage in any form of dialogue with Israel, because such engagement helps to legitimize a state that is founded on genocide and ethnic cleansing; a state that is currently carrying out various types of war crimes, the very crimes that Jarrar tried to expose before the ICC. As such, she rejects the so-called “peace process”, a futile exercise that has no intention or mechanism aimed at “implementing international resolutions related to the Palestinian cause and recognizing the fundamental rights of the Palestinians.”

It goes without saying that a woman with such an astute, strong position vehemently rejects the “security coordination” between the PA and Israel. She sees such action as a betrayal of the struggle and sacrifices of the Palestinian people.

While PA officials continue to enjoy the perks of “leadership”, desperately breathing life into a dead political discourse called the “peace process” and the “two-state solution”, Jarrar, a female Palestinian leader with genuine vision, subsists in HaSharon Prison. There, along with dozens of other Palestinian women, she experiences daily humiliation, denial of rights and various other Israeli tactics intended to break her spirit.

Jarrar, though, is as experienced in resisting Israel as she is in her knowledge of law and human rights. In August 2014, as Israel was carrying out one of its most heinous acts of genocide in Gaza — killing and wounding thousands in its so-called “Operation Protective Edge” military offensive — Jarrar received an unwelcome visit by Israeli soldiers.

Fully aware of her work and credibility as a Palestinian lawyer with an international outreach — she is the Palestine representative in the Council of Europe — the Israeli government unleashed their campaign of harassment, which ended in her imprisonment. The soldiers delivered a military edict ordering her to leave her home in Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, and go to Jericho.

The Israelis failed to silence her, so she was arrested in April the following year. Thus began an episode of suffering, as well as resistance, which is yet to end.

When the Israeli army came for Jarrar, its soldiers surrounded her home in great numbers, as if the well-spoken Palestinian activist was Israel’s greatest security threat. The scene was surreal and revealed what Israel’s real fear is: Palestinians, like Khalida Jarrar, who are able to communicate an articulate message that exposes Israel and its crimes to the rest of the world.

Indeed, the whole set-up was reminiscent of the opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial: “Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.”

Administrative detention in Israel is the recreation of that Kafkaesque scene over and over again. Joseph K. is Khalida Jarrar and thousands of other Palestinians who are paying a high price merely for calling for the legitimate rights and freedom of their people.

Under international pressure, Israel was forced to put Jarrar on trial, levying against her twelve charges that included visiting a released prisoner and participating in a book fair. Her other arrest and the four renewals of her detention is a testament not just to Israel’s lack of any real evidence against her, but also to its moral bankruptcy.

Why is Israel afraid of Khalida Jarrar? The truth is that Jarrar, like many other Palestinian women, represents the antidote to the fabricated narrative which promotes Israel relentlessly as an oasis of freedom, democracy, and human rights, juxtaposed with a Palestinian society that purportedly represents the opposite of what Israel stands for.

As a lawyer, human rights activist, prominent politician, and advocate for women, Jarrar and her eloquence, courage and deep understanding of her rights and the rights of her people, demolish this Israeli house of lies. She is the quintessential feminist; her feminism, however, is not mere identity politics, a surface ideology, evoking empty rights meant to strike a chord with western audiences. Instead, Khalida Jarrar fights for Palestinian women, their freedom and their right to receive a proper education, to seek work opportunities and to better their lives, while facing tremendous obstacles like Israel’s military occupation, prison, and social pressures.

In Arabic, Khalida means “immortal”. It is a most fitting designation for a true fighter who represents the legacy of generations of strong Palestinian women whose “sumoud” — steadfastness — shall always inspire an entire nation.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net.

Khan Al-Ahmar Exposes the Misplaced Priorities of the PA and the International Community

Residents of Khan al-Ahmar block Israeli bulldozers to stop the demolition of their village. (Photo: Oren Ziv, Activestills.org)

October 20, 2018

By Ramona Wadi

The Palestinian Authority and the international community made a PR spectacle out of Khan Al-Ahmar and its impending demolition. Suffice to say that when facing human rights violations which are listed as war crimes, protocol is given precedence and the media follows suit. Two recent statements testify to this collective experimentation upon the Palestinian people.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor warned that Khan Al-Ahmar’s demolition would constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute. Fatou Bensouda will, she added, “continue to keep a close eye on the developments on the ground.” It is worth noting that the situation in Palestine has been under preliminary investigation at the ICC since 2015 and the rhetoric remains stagnant in concordance with the bureaucratic procedures that allow war crimes to be committed rather than prevented.

Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah paid a so-called “solidarity visit” to the threatened village in which verbal distinction between the people and the politicians was blurred.  “Our presence here today in Khan Al-Ahmar carries a message that says we are going to fight to defeat the deal of the century,” Hamdallah declared.

Whose presence was he referring to? The PA’s presence is a symbol devoid of any symbolism, diplomatic or otherwise; it’s an authority without authority. There will be no official PA presence in Khan Al-Ahmar when the Israeli bulldozers roll in and rhetoric about fighting the deal of the century will be spouted forth at another opportune time and place.

While the fate of the Bedouin village has indeed attracted international attention, there is a constant failure to note that all such forced displacements from 1948 onwards are part of Israel’s plan to colonize all of historic Palestine. The insistence on framing this eviction as detrimental only to the two-state compromise is not only inaccurate but also dangerous.

To what extent is Khan Al-Ahmar important to the international community? Is it because there is a commitment to uphold human rights — if so, why are they not being upheld? — or is there some value to be derived from maintaining the clearly obsolete two-state rhetoric? It is not difficult to guess that human rights have little to do with what is happening. This should prompt collective outrage at the international community’s own abuse and exploitation of Palestinian rights depending on whether they concur with the accepted paradigm.

The PA and the international community have tethered Palestinians to future hypothetical support. Furthermore, there is an adamant refusal to view Khan Al-Ahmar’s demolition as another macabre chapter in a long history of forced displacement of the Palestinian people. Historically, the villagers’ struggle is not unique, yet we are forced to view it as an isolated incident.

The difference lies beneath the perception. Palestinian communities targeted with forced displacement are aware of their solitary predicament in relation to the political unraveling of their cause. The PA’s alignment to Israel and the international community, on the other hand, leaves it with little choice other than to continue the charade of allegedly protecting Palestinian rights while failing, more than ever, to find a foothold for its survival beyond what is dictated to, and implemented by, itself as an institution created to defend Israel. Like the international community, PA officials have attempted to tie Khan Al-Ahmar to the two-state delusion in vain, while the community has persisted in its resistance within the framework of historic Palestine.

– Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor, where this article was originally published. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Related Videos

UNO : birth of the post-Western world

Thierry Meyssan

Thierry MeyssanPolitical consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

DAMASCUS (SYRIA)
The administration of the UNO had been hoping for a clash between the pro- and anti-Trump factions during the General Assembly. What actually happened was very different. While several States, including France, denounced the methods of the resident of the White House, Russia undertook an analysis of the Western alliance. According to Moscow, most of our current problems are due to the desire of the old colonial powers to conserve their domination of the rest of the world – at whatever the cost. In order to overtake them, a formidable coalition has been born.

JPEG - 77.2 kb

The hearing of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Despite appearances, the procession of the heads of State and government, or Ministers for Foreign Affairs, at the General Assembly of the United Nation was not without purpose. It’s true that most of them, having little to say, addressed their interior public opinions by blaming UNO incompetence and calling for a respect for the law. But many of their interventions went straight to the heart of the matter – how to resolve the disputes between States and guarantee peace?

The first three days were marked by the speech by Donald Trump (United States) and the responses by Emmanuel Macron (France) and Hassan Rohani (Iran). But all these complications were shattered on the fourth day with the intervention by Sergueï Lavrov (Russia), when he presented the map of the post-Western world.

World collapse according to Donald Trump

President Trump, whose speeches are usually extremely disorganised, had on this occasion prepared a finely structured text [1]. Distinguishing himself from his predecessors, he affirmed that he gave privilege to « independence and cooperation », rather than « governance, control and international domination » (in other words, his national interests rather than those of the « American Empire »). He followed by enumerating the readjustments of the system he had set in motion.

- The USA has not declared commercial war on China, but is in the process of re-establishing its balance of payments. Simultaneously, the US is trying to restore an international market founded on free market competition, as demonstrated by their position in the energy sector. The US has become a major exporters of hydrocarbons, and would therefore benefit from high prices, but it opposes the existence of an intergovernmental cartel, the OPEC, and is calling for lower prices.
- It is opposed to the structures and treaties of globalisation (that is to say, from the point of view of the White House, transnational financial imperialism), notably the UN Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, and UNRWA. Of course, this is not a claim for torture (which was legitimised by George Bush Jr. in his day) nor crime, nor starving the Palestinians, but the destruction of the organisations which instrumentalise their object in order to achieve other goals.
- Concerning the migrations from Latin America to the United States, and also within the interior of the South American continent itself, the US intends to end them by treating the problem at its roots. For the White House, the problem results from the rules imposed by globalist Treaties, notably NAFTA. President Trump has therefore negotiated a new agreement with Mexico which links exports to respect for the social rights of Mexican workers. He intends to return to the original Monroe doctrine – meaning that the multinationals will no longer be able to interfere in the governing of the continent.

The reference to the Monroe doctrine merits an explanation, since the expression suggests US colonialism at the beginning of the 20th century. Donald Trump is an admirer of the foreign policies of two very controversial personalities, Presidents Andew Jackson (1829-1837) and Richard Nixon (1969-74). The Monroe doctrine (1823) was elaborated during the intervention of a man who at that time was no more than General Jackson in the Spanish colony of Florida. At that time, James Monroe wanted to protect the American continent from European imperialism. It was the « era of good feelings ». He therefore pledged that the United States would not intervene in Europe if Europe stopped intervening in the Americas. It was only three quarters of a century later, notably with Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), that the Monroe doctrine would be used as a screen to hide US imperialism in Latin America.

The defence of the old world by Emmanuel Macron and Hassan Rohani

In a strange inversion of roles, French President Emmanuel Macron presented himself as the European Barack Obama facing up to the US Charles De Gaulle, as played by Donald Trump. Macron symbolically declared war, stating: « Let us sign no more commercial agreements with powers which do not respect the Paris Agreement » (which means no more agreements with the United States) – an odd way to defend multilateralism!

The French President began with Donald Trump’s implicit assessment – the crisis of the current « liberal Westphalian order » [2]. This means the crisis of nation-States who are badly shaken by economic globalisation. But this strategy was only intended to more efficiently oppose the solution proposed by the White House, which he qualified as the « law of the strongest ». He therefore described the French solution, « based around three principles – the first is the respect for sovereignty, the very foundation of our charter; the second is the reinforcement of our regional cooperation; and the third is the implementation of more robust international guarantees ».

But then his speech zoomed off into the stratosphere to end in a lyrical exaltation, during which Emmanuel Macron allowed himself a moment of juvenile hypocrisy reaching to the limits of schizophrenia.

- As an example of « the respect for sovereignty », he called for a refusal to « substitute oneself for the Syrian people » when we decide who will become their leader… while at the same time forbidding President el-Assad to present himself for election by his compatriots.

- Concerning the « reinforcement of regional cooperation », he mentioned the support offered by the African Union to the French anti-terrorist operation in the Sahel. But this operation was in reality only the land-based wing of a larger plan directed by AfriCom, for which the US army supplied the airborne wing. The African Union itself has no real army as such, and acts only to legalise a colonial operation. Similarly, the sums invested for the development of the Sahel – which the French President quoted not in Euros, but in dollars – mixes true African projects with foreign aid for development. The impotence of this endeavour has long been clear to all.

- Concerning « the implementation of more robust international guarantees », he announced the struggle against inequalities which should be addressed by the G7 summit in Biarritz. This was simply a way of affirming, once again, Western leadership over the rest of the world, Russia and China included. He claimed that « the time when a club of rich countries could alone define the balance of the world is long over », and promised to … present a report of the decisions taken by the major Western powers before the next General Assembly. Again, he proclaimed that the « G7 should be the motor » of the struggle against inequality undertaken by the UNO.

Speaking in his turn, Iranian President Cheikh Hassan Rohani described in detail the way in which the White House is destroying, one by one, the principles of international Law [3].

He reminded us that the 5+1 agreement (JCPoA) had been validated by the Security Council, which had called upon numerous institutions for their support (resolution 2231), and that Donald Trump’s USA had withdrawn from the agreement, negating the signature of his predecessor and the principle of the continuity of state. He emphasised that, as attested by twelve consecutive AIEA reports, Iran has conformed and is still conforming to its obligations. He expressed his indignation at President Trump’s call to disobey the UNO resolution and the threat he has addressed against those who respect it.

He finished by recalling a few facts – Iran fought Saddam Hussein, the Taliban and Daesh before the United States (which was at that time supporting them) – one way of emphasising the fact that for a long time, the about-faces by the USA do not correspond to the logic of Law, but to the logic of its own hidden interests.

Sergueï Lavrov presents the post-Western world

This debate, not for or against the United States, but for or against Donald Trump, was organised around two main arguments:
- The White House is destroying the system which has so well benefited the international financial elites (Macron).
- The White House is no longer even pretending to respect international Law (Rohani).

For the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergueï Lavrov, this debate hides a problem which goes even deeper. « On one hand, we see the reinforcement of the polycentric principles of the world order , (…) the aspiration of the people to preserve their sovereignty and work with models of development which are compatible with their national, cultural and religious identities. On the other, we see the desire of several Western states to preserve their self-proclaimed status as “world leaders” and to hinder the objective and irreversible process of the establishment of multipolarity », he stated [4].

From that point, it is no longer pertinent for Moscow to argue with President Trump, nor even the United States, but with the Westerners in general. Sergueï Lavrov went as far as drawing a parallel with the Munich Agreements of 1938. At that time, France and the United Kingdom signed an alliance with Germany and Italy. It’s true that this event is remembered today in Western Europe as an act of cowardice on the part of France and Britain faced with the demands of the Nazis, but it remains engraved in Russian memory as the decisive step which triggered the Second World War. While Western historians seek to decide who took this decision and who followed the movement, Russian historians note only one thing – that none of the Western Europeans assumed their responsibilities.

Extending his study, Sergueï Lavrov no longer denounced the infringements to the Law, but to international structures. He observed that the Westerners attempt to force the people to enter into military alliances against their will, and threaten certain States who wish to chose their partners themselves. Alluding to the Jeffrey Feltman affair [5], he denounced the attempts to control the administration of the UNO, and force it to assume the role which should be played by the member-States, and finally, to use the General Secretariat to manipulate them.

He noted the desperate nature of these attempts, observing, for example, the inefficiency of fifty years of the US blockade of Cuba. He stigmatised the British desire to judge and condemn without trial by using their rhetoric of « highly probable ».

Sergueï Lavrov concluded by emphasising that all this Western disorder did not prevent the rest of the world from cooperating and developing. He recalled the « Greater Eurasian Partnership », mentioned at the Valdaï Forum in 2016 by President Putin to complete President Xi’s « Belt and Road Initiative ». This vast initiative, which was at first given a chilly reception by China, is now supported by the Collective Security Treaty, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, BRICS, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Counter-propositions by Australia, Japan and the European Union were still-born.

While Western representatives have the habit of announcing their projects in advance, and discussing them, Russian diplomats only speak of them when they are already under way and are sure to succeed.

To sum up, the strategy of the containment of Russia and China, dreamed up by British deputy Halford J. Mackinder [6] and clarified by US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński [7], has failed. The world’s centre of gravity is being displaced to the East, not against the Westerners, but by their fault [8].

Drawing the first practical conclusions from these analyses, Syrian Vice-Prime Minister, Walid al-Moallem, demanded on the following day at the tribune of the General Assembly the immediate withdrawal of the occupying troops of the United States, France and Turkey [9].

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] “Remarks by Donald Trump to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 25 September 2018.

[2] « Discours d’Emmanuel Macron devant la 73e séance de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies », par Emmanuel Macron, Réseau Voltaire, 25 septembre 2018.

[3] “Remarks by Hassan Rohani to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Hassan Rohani, Voltaire Network, 25 September 2018.

[4] “Remarks by Sergey Lavrov to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Sergey Lavrov, Voltaire Network, 28 September 2018.

[5] “Germany and the UNO against Syria”, “How the administration of the UNO is organising the war”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 28 January 2016 and 5 September 2018.

[6] “The geographical pivot of history”, Halford J. Mackinder, The Geographical Journal, 1904, 23, pp. 421–37.

[7The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzeziński, Basic Books. 1997.

[8] “The Geopolitics of American Global Decline”, by Alfred McCoy, Tom Dispatch (USA) , Voltaire Network, 22 June 2015.

[9] “Remarks by Walid Al-Moualem to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly”, by Walid Al-Moualem, Voltaire Network, 29 September 2018.

israel (apartheid state) imagines it’s above International Law and will have no excuses when other nations assume the same

Israel Says It Is Entitled To Violate Sovereignty of Foreign Countries

The Israeli government has recently claimed that it can “legislate anywhere in the world”, that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries”, and that “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”. This was written in an official response letter to the Supreme Court last month.

On the face of it, these are audacious claims. Is it really that bad? I would say that it’s even worse. The background to these statements is a new law from last year, which legalizes outright theft of Palestinian land.

Several Palestinian human rights organizations have challenged the law in court. The plaintiffs are Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) on behalf of 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank. The Israeli government was represented by a private lawyer, Harel Arnon, because Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit refused to defend the law in court, since he deemed it illegal by international law already when it was first passed.

The Settlement Regularization Law was passed in February last year, in order to retroactively legalize thousands of settler homes and structures built on Palestinian private land, to avert the possibility that the Supreme Court might one day sanction their removal. Before the law was passed, Israeli law still considered such structures illegal, even though under international law, absolutely all the settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, be they located on private land or not.

It was not only Haaretz that called the law a “theft law” – it was also longtime Likudniks such as lawmaker Benny Begin; Former Likud minister Dan Meridor called it “evil and dangerous”; even Prime Minister Netanyahu was warning that passing it may end up getting Israeli officials to the International Criminal Court in The Hague; attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s stated refusal to defend the law in court was met with reassurance by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that the state could simply get a private attorney (which it did). The contentious matter was not only the theft itself – but the application of Israeli law enacted directly by the Knesset (rather than by the Military occupation authority), that was seen as a precedence leading to de-facto annexation. As Dan Meridor wrote in his Haaretz opinion piece just ahead of the final vote on the law: 

“The Knesset has never enacted legislation regulating Arabs’ property ownership in Judea and Samaria. The Knesset was elected by Israelis and legislates for them. The Arabs of Judea and Samaria did not vote for the Knesset, and it has no authority to legislate for them. These are basic principles of democracy and Israeli law. As a rule, elected officials legislate for their constituents and those within the area of their jurisdiction, not others. No government in Israel has applied its sovereignty to the West Bank – not former Likud prime ministers Menachem Begin or Yitzhak Shamir. They understood the obvious: If you want to pass legislation for the West Bank, you have to extend your sovereignty and allow the residents of Judea and Samaria the right to become citizens and vote in Knesset elections. And the meaning is clear.”

I should add a critical note here about Meridor’s central claim – that it is in fact erroneous regarding the West Bank, in that East Jerusalem is by international law a part of the West Bank, and Israel has applied its sovereignty unilaterally upon it (de facto since 1967, and in quasi-constitutional basic law in 1980, in defiance of international law and UNSC resolutions). The fact that Meridor simply considers East Jerusalem a part of Israel, and now goes to admonish Israel for basically doing the same (de facto annexation) regarding the rest of the West Bank, only goes to show that this is a case of the blind leading the blind.

But let us now return to the recent ‘theft law’ legislation from last year: The pressure to legitimize Israel’s own crimes became too great to oppose even from the right. The looming ‘danger’ that Meridor mentioned, of enacting de-facto annexation and possibly having to extend Palestinians the right to become citizens, was overweighed by the greed for the land. Israel’s famous equation of “maximum Jews, maximum territory, minimum Palestinians” came this time to mean that Israel would risk enacting state legislation in an area where Jews were still generally not a majority, in the hope that it would help them become it. Thus the law was passed by 60-52, and the land-grab was made legal by the Israeli Knesset. It was estimated that the law would retroactively legalize about 4,000 settler homes.

In the recent court case, the plaintiffs challenging the law pointed to the obvious illegality:

“Adalah and fellow petitioners argued that the Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel. Thus, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.”

The State of Israel, in the recent response letter (Hebrew) to the court (filed August 7th), claimed in its defense that:

[1] ‘The Knesset has no limitation which prevents it from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world, including the area [‘Judea and Samaria’]’.

Having made that statement, the Israeli government goes on to rebuff the plaintiffs’ claim that it cannot legislate there and goes further to suggest that it is not at all subject to the directives of international law:

[4] ‘…Although the Knesset can legislate [concerning] any place in the world, although it is entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries through legislation that would be applied to events occurring in their territories […], although it is within the authority of the Government of Israel to annex any territory […], although the Knesset may ignore directives of international law in any area it pleases […] despite all these, the plaintiffs seek to define a “rule” by which precisely in Judea and Samaria the Knesset is prohibited from legislating anything, and that precisely there, and nowhere else in the world, it is subject to the directives of international law’. 

Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany, were in disbelief:

“The Israeli government’s extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world. It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states – including occupied territories. The Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”

Adalah has posted about this and provided some quotes from the above. You would think that such proclamations by the Israeli government would really hit the mainstream news cycle, yet it seems to have so far gone relatively unnoticed.

Several of my contacts have responded to this little-reported news with a certain disbelief – could it really be that Israel is openly stating that it is above international law?

Indeed, as I had mentioned above, it is not exactly a secret that Israel is now acting in brazen defiance of international law. Its own highest legal authorities are completely aware of it. But what we also need to see is that it has been doing this for a very long time, in fact, since its inception. As I had mentioned at the time of the passing of the Regularization Law, legalizing the theft of Palestinian land has been Israeli policy since day 1. Attorney Harel Arnon was using this notion as precedence in defense of the recent law, noting (in pt. 4):

“The honourable court has never passed legal critique upon central legislation of the Knesset also in cases where it contradicted, by the method of the plaintiffs, the directives of international law in cases which were more clear (the enactment of Israeli legislation in the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem)”… 

That’s a very valid point. Israel’s unilateral annexations of the Syrian Golan and East Jerusalem are direct violations of international law, and they are condemned very clearly in United Nations Security Council resolutions. If the Israeli court approved it then, why should it not approve it now?

Attorney Arnon used a Supreme Court quote from an earlier case (pt. 12), where the court opined that “the mere enactment of a random Israeli norm upon an anonymous place outside the country, does not necessarily make that anonymous place a part of Israel”.  This was relating to the West Bank, where Israel indeed enacts Israeli law upon settlers, even in places where it has not annexed territory. 

See, this is part of the basis by which Arnon claims that “Israel can legislate anywhere in the world”. The essence of this is “if we could do it before, why cant we do it now”?

This point should be taken very seriously. The Israeli Supreme Court has often been perceived as a tool of the Israeli occupation. Thus even in very clear cases such as the 2004 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Israel’s ‘security barrier’, where the ICJ deemed it wholly illegal (because it was mostly built on Palestinian, not Israeli, territory), the Supreme Court still managed to deflect this and claim that international law did not apply to Israel in this way. The Supreme Court has repeatedly managed to avoid and deflect these bigger issues and allow for Israel’s continued creeping annexation. This is a current, ongoing issue. Israel is preparing to demolish the Palestinian West Bank village of Khan al Ahmar, with the approval and sanction of the Supreme Court. B’Tselem:

“On Thursday, 24 May 2018, three Israeli Supreme Court justices – Noam Sohlberg, Anat Baron and Yael Willner – ruled that the state may demolish the homes of the community of Khan al-Ahmar, transfer the residents from their homes and relocate them. This ruling removes the last stumbling block in Israel’s way in the matter, lifting the impediment which had thus far served to defer the transfer of the community, a war crime under international law”;  

“The Israeli Supreme Court in the Service of the Occupation: In their ruling, Justices Amit, Meltzer, and Baron described an imaginary world with an egalitarian planning system that takes into account the needs of the Palestinians, as if there had never been an occupation. The reality is diametrically opposed to this fantasy: Palestinians cannot build legally and are excluded from the decision-making mechanisms that determine how their lives will look. The planning systems are intended solely for the benefit of the settlers. This ruling shows once again that those under occupation cannot seek justice in the occupier’s courts. If the demolition of the community of Khan al-Ahmar goes ahead, the Supreme Court Justices will be among those who will bear responsibility for this war crime” (my emphasis).

Attorney Arnon brought up the Adolf Eichmann case in the response letter:

“The Court further implemented this doctrine in the famous Eichmann (1962) case, regarding ex post facto penal legislation: ‘[W]here [there is a conflict between the provisions of domestic law and a rule of international law], it is the duty of the court to give preference to and apply the laws of the local legislature`”.  

It is smart to bring up the Holocaust in Israel. There’s often a particularly soft spot for that, and that can spill over to melt the ‘pedantic’ limitations of customary law. Eichmann was indeed kidnapped by Mossad in Argentina, 1960. He was given the death sentence in Israel and hanged in 1962. This is extra-territorial spy activity and extra-territorial enactment of jurisdiction. As it involved the Holocaust, few would dare challenge it. This lines up with Golda Meir’s claim that “after the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything”.

And so Israel’s private attorney Harel Arnon is essentially saying: if we could do it to Eichmann, why can’t we do it to the West Bank?

Arnon is not directly implying that Palestinians are Nazis, although such comparisons do occasionally feature in opinions of leading pundits in Israel, such as those of Yoaz Hendel, former director of communications and public diplomacy for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

All this may go to explain the relative media silence there has been about the proclamations made in this letter. The world knows it has allowed Israel to get away with so much criminality, and the West knows that a lot of that has had to do with its own Holocaust guilt. That made it weak and reduced its willingness to take Israel to task for its violations. And maybe people are feeling that they shouldn’t be throwing stones in a glass house. But we must see what is happening – Israel is overtly legalizing theft. The brazen proclamations saying that international law does not apply to Israel should have been shocking – but sadly, they are not. Because we know it has been the policy for so long. And since the reaction has been weak, Israel, like a spoiled brat, has learned that it can get away with it, and that it can become ever more obnoxious without it suffering any cost.

Indeed, one is left to wonder, who will stop the Jewish State? After all, international law does not have the automatic enforcement mechanisms as domestic law, and the international bodies that were meant to hold Israel accountable to international law, have so far largely failed to do so, at least where Palestinians are concerned. In a time when the American superpower stands firmly on Israel’s side in violation of international law, as with the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and the endorsement of Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, it is hard to see why Israel would or should believe that international law applies to it at all. This is the light in which we may understand the language in that letter. It’s so brazen, because there is not even a sense of need to portray any semblance of respect towards international law. Israel is now undertaking a bonanza of theft in broad daylight, with a chauvinist sense that nothing will stop it. That’s what really transpires from the language of that letter.

It’s OK to drop a jaw at this. The language in that letter should serve as a wake-up call. But then we must also collect ourselves and remind ourselves that it is up to grassroots pressure to change this situation and protect the Palestinians from the unhindered Israeli military and legislative colonialist onslaught, enacted by the ‘eternal victims’

The U.S. Goes to War Against the ICC to Cover Up Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan

By Murtaza Hussain

The United States has never been a friend of the International Criminal Court. While relations between the U.S. and the ICC have fluctuated over the course of different administrations, the American government has steadfastly refused to take the step that 124 other states have of ratifying the Rome Statute and thus becoming a member of the international legal body. The ICC’s mandate to investigate war crimes has thus been hampered by the unwillingness of the world’s sole superpower to commit to the organization.

Recent statements from the Trump administration suggest that the United States is now preparing to go to war against the ICC itself, motivated largely by an effort to silence investigations into alleged American war crimes committed in Afghanistan, as well as alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip. In a speech at a D.C. event held by the Federalist Society on Monday, Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton denounced the ICC as “illegitimate” and expressed his intentions toward the institution in no uncertain terms. “We will not cooperate with the ICC,” Bolton said. “We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

In addition to this death wish against the court, Bolton said that the United States would retaliate against any ICC investigations into U.S. activities by sanctioning the travel and finances of ICC officials, even threatening to prosecute them in American courts.

Because it involves U.S. officials themselves, at the center of the campaign against the ICC is a 2016 report by ICC prosecutors that deals in part with the war in Afghanistan. That report alleges the commission of widespread crimes by the Taliban and Afghan government forces. But the report also makes allegations of serious crimes committed by U.S. military forces and the CIA, including “torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape.”

The crimes in question appear to have been related to detention programs run in Afghanistan during the early years of the U.S. occupation. While the report does not name the individuals responsible nor their victims, it indicates that there are dozens of cases in which torture, cruel treatment, and sexual assault were committed by American soldiers and CIA officers in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004.

The report also states that the alleged crimes “were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” adding that “there is a reasonable basis to believe these alleged crimes were committed in furtherance of a policy or policies aimed at eliciting information through the use of interrogation techniques involving cruel or violent methods which would support U.S. objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan.”

Given longstanding U.S. refusals to cooperate with ICC investigations, it’s unlikely that the 2016 document — a preliminary report from the prosecutor’s office — would have succeeded in bringing U.S. officials to trial at the Hague. Bolton’s campaign thus seems intended on solidifying the fact that the United States is free of international norms on human rights conduct, with those who even investigate its actions subject to threat.

That the ICC investigation reaches back to the George W. Bush era, when Bolton served as United Nations ambassador, is fitting. In the years after the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States began to come under withering scrutiny for its detention policies in those countries. In addition to high-profile cases of torture at prison sites like Abu Ghraib, the CIA and U.S. military have been accused of brutalizing and even murdering prisoners held in their custody at detention facilities like Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan.

Civilian contractors working for the CIA have also engaged in the murder of Afghan detainees, including David Passaro, who beat to death an Afghan man named Abdul Wali who had turned himself in to authorities after being accused of involvement in a militant attack. Passaro was later sentenced to eight and a half years in jail by an American court. Following his release, he briefly returned to the public eye in media interviews justifying his involvement in the murder.

To date, Passaro, a civilian, is the only person to have been held legally accountable for torture and murder carried out under the CIA detention program, in Afghanistan or elsewhere. This despite a landmark 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee that documented, in excruciating detail, widespread evidence of torture and other abuses carried out by CIA officials.

The unwillingness or inability of U.S. courts to seriously investigate war crimes carried out by American citizens is part of why the ICC mandate in Afghanistan has been viewed as an important effort to bring a minimum level of accountability over the conflict. This past November, the court announced that it planned to move forward with investigations stemming from its 2016 report.

In a statement responding to Bolton’s threats, the ICC said that “the ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.”

Given its longstanding intransigence toward the ICC, it was unlikely that the United States would ever have cooperated with its investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan, even under a less bellicose administration. But the Trump administration’s threats to target specific ICC officials over their war crimes investigations enters a new realm of hostility against international law. The consequences could be a further degradation of already shaky international norms surrounding human rights in conflict zones.

“The ICC is not stepping in just for the sake of how Bolton put it, just to undermine U.S. sovereignty. This is really nonsense. They are stepping in because we failed — the United States failed to uphold the rule of law,” said Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, in a television segment on Democracy Now! Tuesday morning about Bolton’s comments. “This is the same Trump administration that has an abysmal record of human rights here in the United States and is trying to encourage other countries to follow its pattern.”

This article was originally published by The Intercept

Top Three Charges on Which John Bolton Should be Tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Global Research, September 13, 2018
Informed Comment 12 September 2018

By Juan Cole

Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

National Security Adviser John Bolton appears to be spiraling down into the same miasma of madness that possesses other members of the Trump administration– perhaps caused by a microbe carried in Trump’s sniffle. This week he threatened justices of the International Criminal Court in the Hague with physical abduction were they to dare indict an American for war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute, which went into effect in 2002 has been ratified by 123 nations of the world. Most of Europe and all of Latin America and half of African states have signed. Virtually the only deadbeats are countries whose officials are afraid of being indicted by the court for serious human rights crimes, such as Syria, China, India, Sudan, Israel, Russia and . . . the United States of America (actually the latter four signed but they pulled out when they realized that they had exposed their state officials to prosecution, what with the war crimes they are constantly committing).

The ICC undertook to try dictator Moammar Gaddafi, but he was killed before he could be brought before it; it still has an outstanding case against the dictator’s son Seif. For Bolton to menace it in this way makes clear that he is in the Gaddafi category, which is why he fears the institution.

Bolton has no particular expertise in anything at all, he is just an angry shyster lawyer picked up by the more insane elements of the Republican Party. He once denied that the United Nations exists, then tried to make himself US ambassador to the United Nations (he wasn’t confirmed, but served briefly on a sneaky Bush recess appointment).

So here are five crimes that this authors alleges Bolton has committed, for which he by all rights should face justice at the Hague, at the hands of the same ICC judges that he just brutishly threatened:

1. Bolton played a key role in hoodwinking the American public into the 2003 US war of aggression on Iraq, for which there was no legitimate casus belli or legal basis for war. The UN Charter forbids the initiation of a war except where a country is attacked and responds in self-defense or where the UN Security Council designates a government as a threat to world order (as it did Gaddafi’s Libya). These attempts to outlaw wars of aggression were a reaction against the Nazi invasion of Poland, etc. People like Bolton, who don’t want any constraints on his power from the international rule of law, are just trying out for the role of people like Nazi generals Günther von Kluge and Gerd von Rundstedt, who led the assault on Poland. (Like Bolton in regard to Iraq, they maintained that they were only defending themselves from a menacing Poland, but nobody believed this lie).

Bolton is manifestly guilty of the crime of aggression under the Rome Statute and its 2010 enabling statutes adopted at Kampala: Article 8 bis, para 1, says: For the purpose of this Statute, “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

As Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security under Bush, Bolton was clearly a high executive officer of a government guilty of the crime of aggression.

2. As National Security Adviser, Bolton has supported the Apartheid policies of the far-right extremist government of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu toward the Occupied Palestinians.

Apartheid is a crime under the Rome Statute:

    ‘The crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts . . . committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

He also supports the transfer of Israeli citizens into the Occupied West Bank as squatters on Palestinian land.
8.2.b.viii stipulates as a war crime

    “The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory.”

Bolton strongly supports and enables a whole range of war crimes of the Likud regime in Tel Aviv against the Palestinian people, above all keeping them in a condition of abject statelessness and continually stealing their property.

Under war crimes comes “Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

It could be argued that Israel could not engage in these illegal violations of Palestinian rights save for the American veto, so that high US officials who conspire to enable crimes like Apartheid and usurpation of Occupied Territories are even more guilty than Israeli officials.

3. Bolton is in the back pocket of, has spoken for,  the People’s Jihadis (Mojahedin-e Khalq), a group that has been on the US State Department terrorist watch list and which has killed civilians with bombings and attacks in Iran. They even had a base given them for these purposes by Saddam Hussein, in whose company Bolton has fallen, given their alliance with this same Iranian cult.

Screenshot NY Review of Books , July 2018

The MEK is guilty of “a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack,” and under this heading, of murder. In fact, it has killed Americans.

USA unable to live with International Law but that doesn’t mean it’s going away

The Trump Administration’s Intent Is to “Let the ICC Die”.The International Criminal Court is “Illegitimate” according to Bolton

By J. B. Gerald,

We will let the ICC die on its own – U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton

Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

In a speech to the Federalist Society September 10th National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the U.S. will not cooperate in any way with the International Criminal Court. Speaking for the President and Trump administration Mr. Bolton says the U.S. considers the International Criminal Court illegitimate, and he threatens its judges with denial of entry to the States, and impounding their financial assets, and with arrest, if they pursue cases which might “unjustly” place in jeopardy U.S. citizens. This threat extends to those assisting the Court.

The policy presents an attempt to shield from prosecution “by any means necessary,” U.S. Armed Forces personnel, intelligence agents, and government officials such as himself. By placing these above the law Bolton is threatening the American people with the Trump administration’s impunity. While the policy may allow war crimes and crimes against humanity in U.S. client states, it will also encourage the 123 nations who subscribe to the ICC to view the U.S. as a rogue state and fascist entity

North Americans concerned with prevention of genocide will note that Bolton’s wish to “let the ICC die” would remove a primary international legal mechanism for calling U.S. leaders to account for crimes such as genocide, aggression, torture. Without the resistance available at least on paper from the ICC, governments such as the Trump administration would have a much freer hand in alleged crimes such as torture in Afghanistan, in black operations sites throughout the world, as well as implication in the use of death squads by U.S. client states or what might be considered the kidnapping of migrant children at American borders.

American law if honestly applied has little to fear from international law so the Trump administration’s further severance of the U.S. from the ICC points up the administration’s exception to the global consensus on a decent standard of human rights. Bolton’s revelations express a movement within U.S. extreme right-wing circles which finds burdensome an ongoing struggling tradition safeguarding American human rights (ie. The Bill of Rights).

The thinking which initiated the presidential killing list under George W. Bush, continues to gain strength, asserting itself at this point due to an ICC investigatory report suggesting that war crimes have been committed in Afghanistan, primarily in 2003-4, where Afghan security forces, U.S. forces and CIA personnel are allegedly implicated.

Afghanistan is a member state of the ICC and the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed there. To quote CTV News:

The 181-page prosecution request, dated November 2017, said “information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that members of United States of America (US) armed forces and members of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”

During three months (November and December 2017 and January 2018) allegations of 1.7 million war crimes were sent to the ICC from European and Afghan organizations. There is only a slight chance the Trump administration would not consider ICC prosecution of Americans responsible for these crimes, “unjust”. There is no indication that any of the 1.7 million complaints have been addressed by the U.S. system of justice.

Bolton has made a point of assuring Israelis the same protections as American citizens: the ICC is currently considering whether to prosecute Israel’s alleged war crimes against the people of Gaza. The Palestinian request to the ICC for an investigation is given as the reason for the U.S. recent closure of Palestinian Liberation Office in Washington D.C..

Despite these threats the ICC intends to continue its work.

*

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site at  Night’s Lantern 

Partial Sources Online

“US threatens sanctions against International Criminal Court, will close PLO office in Washington,” Elise Labott and Hilary Clarke, Sept. 11, 2018, CNN;

“John Bolton threatens ICC judges with sanctions,” Sept. 10, 2018, Al Jazeera;

“Rights groups warn against U.S. flouting international court,” Kathy Gannon (AP), Sept.11, 2018, CTV News;

“John Bolton threatens war crimes court with sanctions in virulent attack,” Sept. 10, 2018, The Guardian;

“ICC will continue ‘undeterred’ after US threats,” Sept. 11, 2018, The Guardian;

“Israel lodges official protest to International Criminal Court,” Barak David, Aug. 14, 2018, Channel 10 News.

Featured image is from Julie Maas.

Trump’s Taking Putin’s Earlier ICC Moves to a Qualitatively New Level

President Putin’s decision to remove Russia from the International Criminal Court in 2016 over its hyper-politicized reports about the country’s activities during the 2008 peace-enforcement operation against Georgia and 2014 reunification with Crimea inadvertently gave “normative legitimacy” to Trump leaving the organization too, though Moscow could never have expected that Washington would then take everything to a qualitatively new level by threatening to sanction anyone who dares to cooperate with this globalist body’s cases on American and “Israeli” war crimes.

This much is obvious, and it’s that the US and “Israel” are essentially the same political entity on two different continents, with one hand washing the other, proverbially speaking, and their “deep states” working in full coordination to protect their shared interests across the world. That’s why no one should have been shocked by the Trump Administration’s announcement that it’ll sanction anyone who dares to approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) with accusations of American or “Israeli” wrongdoing or cooperate on any cases against them. Some of the consequences that National Security Advisor John Bolton said could await any potential violators include being banned from entering the US, having any assets there frozen, and even ironically being tried by American courts, which might not be enough to deter everyone but are still substantial enough to make many international elites like the ICC’s judges second guess whether it’s worth getting involved.

Without a doubt, the US wants to prevent any more evidence of it and “Israel’s” war crimes from reaching the public consciousness, hoping that its weaponization of sanctions will be enough to intimidate this globalist body and therefore allow it and its allies to regain some control over the international narrative about their actions in Afghanistan, Palestine, and elsewhere. The blatant unilateralism of this move and the obvious motivation behind it to cover up countless crimes have been loudly criticized all throughout the Alt-Media Community, and rightly so, but the principle of the ICC and its many controversial activities risk being made sacrosanct in response as various forces try to emphasize the immorality of the US’ decision. That, however, is problematic because it could also harm Russia’s reputation by extent, which inadvertently provided “normative legitimacy” to the US’ withdrawal a few years ago.

To avoid any manipulation of the author’s words and intention in writing this piece, it is not being asserted that Russia in any shape or form supports the extraterritorial application of American law, especially regarding sanctions, but just that the prominent action of a Great Power such as itself pulling out of the ICC in 2016 over its hyper-politicized reports about the country’s activities during the 2008 peace-enforcement operation against Georgia and the 2014 reunification with Crimea set the normative precedent for the US to ultimately follow suit under the same pretexts, even if the American claims of the globalist body’s impartiality towards it are hypocritical. The ICC has always been a politicized instrument of control over war-torn countries like the former Yugoslavia and “Global South” ones such as Sudan, and just like the UN itself, it never embodied the “noble ideas” popularly associated with it.

Far from fulfilling the “utopian” expectations of it being the deliverer of “unbiased justice” all across the world, the ICC instead functions as a weapon of “lawfare” for reinforcing infowar narratives and advancing American interests, though just like other international structures that the US previously exerted full control over such as the WTO, Washington gradually lost its total dominance over them as its rivals made progress in leveraging them to their own advantage. The same trend appears to have reached the ICC too, at least judging by how angrily the US is reacting to war crimes accusations against it and “Israel” being given attention there. Whereas Obama’s America might have “tolerated” this and rationalized it as “taking one for the team” in order to advance the ideology of Liberal-Globalism, Trump’s America has to patience to continue playing this game.

The Fate of the ICC:  When Law and Politics Mix

Just like Russia did roughly two years prior, the US is pulling out of the ICC as well, but unprecedentedly going much further in taking everything to a qualitatively new level by threatening to sanction anyone who cooperates with this structure and therefore contributes to sullying the US and “Israel’s” international reputations by drawing global attention to evidence of their war crimes. It doesn’t matter to the US that these claims are based on a lot more fact than the ones levelled against Russia and other countries that have been victimized by this globalist body, but only that its former instrument of control against others is now finally being used against itself, which is why Washington now wants to destroy what it helped create or at the very least thwart its operational effectiveness.

There’s nothing inherently wrong in principle with leaving a hyper-politicized structure that served as a globalist Hybrid War weapon all along, even though it’s understandably unpalatable to many that the US is attempting to justify this through the use of double standards, but it’s very concerning that America is once again expressing its so-called “Exceptionalism” by threatening to sanction anyone who cooperates with the ICC’s efforts to raise awareness of the US and “Israel’s” war crimes. This goes far beyond China’s refusal to ever join this initiative in the first place or Russia’s decision to pull out of it a few years ago and shows that the US is aggressively trying to manipulate the ICC’s activities in a desperate bid to regain control some control over the international narrative, which in and of itself suggests that its many rivals have indeed been successful over the years in breaking through the Mainstream Media’s monopoly.

By Andrew Korybko
Source

ICC ‘undeterred’ by US threats, to continue work

ICC ‘undeterred’ by US threats, to continue work

International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (C) is seen at the ICC courtroom in The Hague, the Netherlands, on August 28, 2018. (Photo by AFP) International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (C) is seen at the ICC courtroom in The Hague, the Netherlands, on August 28, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has firmly dismissed a threat of sanctions against it by US National Security Adviser John Bolton in case it probes possible US war crimes in Afghanistan, declaring that it will continue its work “undeterred.”

The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law,” the ICC announced in a Tuesday statement, a day after Bolton used bullying rhetoric against the United Nations (UN)-backed tribunal in The Hague.

Bolton brazenly threatened on Monday that if the ICC proceeded with a possible probe into possible war crimes committed by the US military and intelligence operatives during its war in Afghanistan or pursued any investigation into war crimes by the Israeli regime or other American allies, Washington would impose sanctions against the court and seek to prosecute its officials where possible.

Reacting to the unprecedented threat by the senior US official, the international court further insisted that it was an independent and impartial institution with the backing of 123 nations, and that it would not be intimidated or dissuaded from its global task.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced last year that there was a “reasonable basis to believe” war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Afghanistan and that all sides in the 17-year-old conflict would be inspected, including members of the US military and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spying network.

In its Tuesday statement, the ICC did not say clearly whether it will launch a probe of possible war crimes by the US in Afghanistan.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks to the Federalist Society, in Washington DC, the US, September 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Bolton threatened that if such an investigation went forward, Washington would ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the US, sanction the funds they have there, and even prosecute them in American courts.

‘Straight out of an authoritarian playbook’

Washington has refused to ratify the Rome Treaty that established the ICC. The US has adopted the so-called American Services-Members’ Protection Act — nicknamed The Hague Invasion Act — which authorizes the use of any means necessary to free any American personnel held by the court.

Bolton’s remarks, meanwhile, have alarmed many legal experts, including the executive director of the London-based International Bar Association, Mark Ellis, who blasted what he referred to as “the [US President Donald] Trump administration’s repugnant policy of exceptionalism.”

“The extraordinary attack launched by… Bolton against the ICC is not only in direct contradiction to the principle of accountability for war crimes, but reinforces the Trump administration’s repugnant policy of exceptionalism, where it demands adherence to international law by all countries, except itself,” Ellis said, as quoted in a report by British daily The Guardian.

The paper also quoted the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program, Jamil Dakwar, as saying, “The Trump administration’s threat to criminally prosecute and sanction international criminal court judges and prosecutors is straight out of an authoritarian playbook.”

‘Justice is not a luxury’

Bolton’s remarks were also censured by Head of Afghanistan’s Human Rights Commission Sima Samar, who said, “It’s very unfortunate because delivering justice to victims will help to facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan,” she said. “Justice is not a luxury. It is a basic human right.”

Moreover, the Palestinian Authority also emphasized that it would not abandon its principles after a US decision to close the office of the Palestinian Liberation Front (PLO) in Washington in retaliation for it calling for an ICC investigation into the Israeli regime’s persisting crimes across the occupied territories.

John Bolton Threatens International Criminal Court Judges for Probing U.S. Torture in Afghanistan

Source

President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has threatened U.S. sanctions against International Criminal Court judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In 2016 an ICC report accused the U.S. military of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing war. The report also accused the CIA of subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. Bolton said in a speech at the Federalist Society Monday, “We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.” We get response from Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

President Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton has threatened U.S. sanctions against International Criminal Court judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In 2016, an ICC report accused the U.S. military of torturing at least 61 prisoners in Afghanistan during the ongoing war. The report also accused the CIA of subjecting at least 27 prisoners to torture, including rape, at CIA prison sites in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania and Lithuania. John Bolton made the comments in a speech at the Federalist Society Monday.

JOHN BOLTON: Today on the eve of September the 11th, I want to deliver a clear and unambiguous message on behalf of the president of the United States. The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecutions by this illegitimate court. We will not cooperate with the ICC, we will provide no assistance to the ICC and we certainly will not join the ICC.

AUDIENCE: [Applause]

JOHN BOLTON: We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.

AMY GOODMAN: John Bolton also threatened to directly target judges at the ICC.

JOHN BOLTON: We will respond against the ICC and its personnel to the extent permitted by U.S. law. We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, we will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.

AMY GOODMAN: During his speech, John Bolton also announced that the Trump administration would close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington in response to a Palestinian effort to push the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes.

JOHN BOLTON: The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC or any other organization to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.

AMY GOODMAN: Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat criticized the move.

SAEB EREKAT: We were notified unfortunately that they will close the office and lower the Palestinian flag. This is an affirmation of the U.S. administration’s determination to continue its process of blackmail and extortion and undermining the peace process and the two-state solution. They have cut all humanitarian aid.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights program. Jamil, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about what John Bolton is saying, the significance of his Federalist Society speech yesterday, on the sanctioning of the ICC, saying he will not allow ICC, International Criminal Court judges into the United States, because they might be investigating the United States and Israel for possible war crimes?

JAMIL DAKWAR: Unprecedented attack on the rule of law. This is unheard of, that we have a government and a country that has committed acts of torture in another country, and the country itself, the United States, failed to hold any official accountable for acts of torture by the CIA, by the U.S. military, during the armed conflict in Afghanistan. And that happened during the Bush years and then Obama administration failed to take the comprehensive, thorough investigation into those acts and said, “We will look forward, not backward.”

And now we’re seeing the Trump administration doubling down on their assault on international law and human rights and impunity and fighting impunity by saying we will now go against the same body that is a last resort for victims of torture, that is the only international institution recognized as the one that is supposed to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. And the Trump administration is saying, “We will be treating your judges and prosecutors like drug traffickers, like war criminals,” instead of admitting that there was a failure in holding officials accountable.

So John Bolton basically is the same John Bolton he was when he was in the Bush administration. He was the same one. He made destroying the court a lifetime project and goal. The difference now, he is in the place where he can do more than what he was doing in the Bush years. So it is a very dangerous attack on the international body where 123 countries are members—many of them are close U.S. allies, particularly in Europe—that is supposed to defend the independence of this body, and yet we see John Bolton perhaps wants to score points with the political base, people who are supporting Trump in the U.S. by invoking distorted and misinformation about the fact that the court is likely to investigate crimes that actually do not exist under the statute, under the law of the ICC.

So we’re in a very—the tipping point where the administration is basically saying, “We’re going to have a frontal attack on judges and prosecutors and personnel.” By the way, there is no legal theory to support that. I don’t understand what is it that, how is it that they would be prosecuting judges for the mere fact of conducting their job and responsibility under international treaty that is recognized, again, and ratified by 123 countries.

What is also concerning and very dangerous is that the threat is not just against the judges and the prosecutors and the personnel of the court, but it’s also against any state or party that is supposed to or willing to assist the ICC in its investigation of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. Lithuania, Romania, and Poland—these are the three countries where the CIA had black sites where people were tortured. And that means that they are opening, they are sending this threat to anyone, virtually anyone who would be an a position to assist the ICC. Does that include lawyers? Does that include individuals, organizations here in the United States? Lawyers who represented torture victims, including us at the ACLU? Where does that go? What is it that the Trump administration wants to do?

But ultimately, they are seeing that the ICC is about to open a full investigation into torture in Afghanistan. As a report said, this investigation is not only against the United States. It is the United States and Afghan forces, Taliban forces who were part of the armed conflict in Afghanistan. What makes it so important and significant here is that the United States is the country that has the longest tradition of upholding the rule of law and having independent investigative bodies and judiciary to investigate acts of torture when they occur, and yet it failed to do so. That is why the ICC is stepping in.

The ICC is not stepping in just for the sake of how Bolton put it, just to undermine U.S. sovereignty. This is really nonsense. They are stepping in because we failed—the United States failed to uphold the rule of law. It failed to investigate acts of torture that were well-documented by the Senate torture report that was published or at least partially declassified in December 2014.

So we are in a position where we see an escalation in attack on international bodies. This is the same administration that withdrew from the Human Rights Council. This is the same administration that is now changing the rules of engagement with regard to the use of targeted killings. This is the same administration that is pulling out of international treaties, including the issue like the Paris Accord, which you talked about in the previous segment.

So we are very concerned about that, but I think we also need to put it into perspective. This is the same Trump administration that has an abysmal record of human rights here in the United States and is trying to encourage other countries to follow its pattern, the pattern of disregarding a court of law, the rule of law, disregarding international law and basically saying that there are certain countries that are above international law, that they should enjoy immunity, they should not be prosecuted or investigated.

The United States after all is the one that actually conducted these operations, military operations, intelligence operations, that were involving torture and prolonged detention of detainees in Afghanistan. And that is why I think we ought to step back and look at what is it and not buy into the false misinformation that is being spread by John Bolton with no basis in U.S. law to threaten prosecutors and judges and so forth.

US Declares War on PA, Closes of it’s Mission in Washington Calls ICC ‘Dangerous’,

US Calls International Criminal Court ‘Dangerous’

September 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton branded the International Criminal Court dangerous and unaccountable Monday, saying it constitutes an assault on US sovereignty.

“In theory, the ICC holds perpetrators of the most egregious atrocities accountable for their crimes, provides justice to the victims, and deters future abuses,” Bolton said.

“In practice, however, the court has been ineffective, unaccountable, and indeed, outright dangerous,” he said.

Source: AFP

US Confirms Closure of Palestinian Mission in Washington

US State Department

The US State Department confirmed Monday it was ordering the closure of the Washington mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, saying the Palestinians were not supporting ‘peace’ talks with ‘Israel’.

“We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

“However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with ‘Israel’.”

Source: AFP

PLO Describes US Move against Mission in Washington as Declaration of War

PLO

The Palestinian government condemned the US administration decision to close the headquarters of the Palestinian mission in Washington, describing the move as a declaration of war.

The spokesman of the Palestinian government Youssef Al-Mahmoud stressed that the US decision would not be able to impose on the Palestinians the formulas which eradicate their cause, calling on the whole world to confront those new imperial policies.

The United States has decided to close the Palestinian mission in Washington in the latest move against them by President Donald Trump, a Palestinian official had said Monday.

“We have been notified by a US official of their decision to close the Palestinian mission to the US,” Palestine Liberation Organization secretary-general Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

Related Videos

 Palestine news

 

The Debate – Israel’s war crimes

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: