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

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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 ».

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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.

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