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Ariel Sharon is Dead: His Crimes will Not be Buried with Him

By James Petras :: 01.22.2014

Introduction

Ariel Sharon was a serial mass murderer, engaged in massacres of unarmed victims in four countries, of all ages and conditions. He was a “hero” for hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews who settled on land and in houses seized from Palestinians in the West Bank. He was praised by Western leaders at his funeral for his violent, lifelong opposition to Arab nationalist movements throughout the Middle East.

That he was a fanatical upholder of Jewish supremacist policies and practices did not go unnoticed by wealthy Zionist donors in the US. During his tenure as a senior official in numerous Israeli regimes, they contributed hundreds of millions of dollars for Greater Israel and extracted nearly a $100 billion more from the US Treasury. Israeli leaders praise of Sharon as a valiant, brilliant and legendary military leader is echoed in the US mass media and repeated by most Western leaders. He was, in the view of his US adulators, a powerful leader who defied world public opinion in his defense of Israel, who seized Palestinian and Syrian territory and who was willing to strike an independent policy even against Israel’s main benefactors in Europe and North America.

This essay does not simply recount Sharon’s lifelong criminal record. The story we will relate has more to do with (1) the crimes that continue to live after him; (2) the political and military context which allowed him to butcher non-Jewish populations with impunity; (3) the psychological core of Sharonist impudence and arrogance which is so deeply etched in the political psyche of all of Israel’s contemporary leaders.

This paper will critically address several issues regarding the Sharon cult (in Israel and abroad) which presents him as a fearless and successful military leader; a formidable world political statesman, who successfully imposed Israel’s will throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Genocide at the Service of Nationhood

Sharon’s record as a serial genocider is beyond dispute. As early as the ‘founding years’ of Israel in 1947 – 1948 Sharon was commander of the murderous Alexandroni and then the Golani Brigade which murdered, uprooted and terrorized thousands of lifelong Palestinian residents. He later was the commander of Unit 101, an Orwellian Death Squad, which reduced villages to rubble, blowing up homes, where mostly women and children were hiding. In October 1953, Sharon assaulted the Jordanian village of Qibya blowing up forty-five houses and killing sixty-nine civilians, the vast majority women and children. In the early 1950’s Sharon ruled over Palestinian settlements with an iron fist, murdering dissidents, arresting and torturing protestors on a mass scale. On October 29, 1956 Israeli, British and French troops invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal and recolonize the country. Colonel Sharon led the 202nd Paratroop Brigade which seized the Mitla Pass and covered himself with gore – murdering all the Egyptian military and civilian prisoners. The Israeli military advance was stopped cold despite its military alliance and supply from Britain and France. US President Eisenhower told the Israelis and their French and English allies to end their aggression and proceeded to cut off all military and economic aid to Israel; shut off IMF funding for England and France’s post WW II bankrupt economies. US Zionists used their leverage in the Democratic party especially over Lyndon Johnson, House Minority Leader, to block Eisenhower’s economic sanctions and to support Israel’s invasion. Eisenhower rejected Zionist pressure and went to the UN Security Council where his armistice and withdrawal proposal was vetoed by France and Britain. Eisenhower then called a special session of the General Assembly where he triumphed by a 12 to 1 margin. France, Britain and Israel were defeated and forced to retreat. No other President before or since Eisenhower ever took a forthright stand against Israeli colonial wars and territorial seizures.

During the Egyptian invasion, Sharon’s military leadership was severely questioned by his Israeli superiors. His troops suffered the highest casualties of any unit because of his order to attack heavily fortified Egyptian emplacements when Israeli air power could have done more with less.

During the so-called Six Day War (June 5 -10, 1967), Israel’s sneak attack on Jordan, Syria and Egypt, resulted in the seizure and occupation of vast areas and the conquest of millions of Palestinians. Sharon’s military achievements included the wholesale massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war. President Lyndon Johnson, totally under the thumb of his Zionist fundraisers, not only supported Israel’s war of aggression but acquiesced in Israel’s bombing of the US intelligence ship the Liberty and the killing and maiming of over 200 US sailors. In the 1973 Yom Kipper War, Sharon and the Israeli high command were on the verge of military defeat by the Egyptian and Syrian armed forces intent on liberating occupied territories, until Kissinger airlifted 22,395 tons of weapons to Israel, including scores of fighter planes, helicopters and transport planes to turn the tide.

From the Yon Kipper debacle onward, Israel never lacked for US military and political backing and diplomatic protection in its military invasions, colonial settlements and air assaults on Arab countries and inhabitants.

Upward Advance: Master of Massacres and Mediocrity

Sharon’s political career was aided by his leading role in massacring Palestinians in Lebanon and in the Occupied Territories. In Lebanon, Sharon slaughtered 2,000 women and children at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp. He certainly did not rise to political power for his mediocre performance during the Suez crises and Yon Kippur war. In fact, when Sharon faced well-trained and well-armed military forces, as was the case during the Hezbollah war in 2006, he was even less than a mediocre commander. Only against civilians and poorly trained irregulars did he “succeed”. Only where he could murder and dispossess hundreds of thousands of unarmed civilians and settle Israeli Jews was he glorified as the “King of the Jews” by the Israeli settler population.

World leaders praise Sharon because of his power and usefulness in smashing nationalist Arab-dissent. Sharon’s ascent to the Pantheon of world statesman was greased by the western mass media, who to no small extent, sup at the table of his main Zionist benefactors. Sharon’s “legendary history” is media manufactured to fit the requirements of his western Zionist power brokers.

The Context of Sharon’s and Israeli Ascendancy

Israel cannot and does not wield power on the basis of its military capability or performance – it operates on borrowed power. When the US was ruled by a President who rejected Zionist influenced Congressional pressure and used available economic and political leverage, Israel retreated, surrendered captured territory and abided by UN sanctions. In other words, Israel’s war aims and its bellicose behavior, is dependent on the power of the Zionist power configuration in the US to turn Washington in its favor.

The Israeli leaders and most, especially Sharon, learned the lesson of the Eisenhower experience. The key to regional power lies in the capacity of American Zionists to control Washington’s decision-makers. In the blunt language of Sharon, in reply to Shimon Peres on Koi Yisrael radio (October 3, 2001) “Every time we do something, you (Peres) tell me, Americans will do this and that. I want to tell you something very clear. Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We the Jewish people control America and the Americans know it”.

In this, his comment on the relations of power between Israel and the United States, Sharon is also providing an insight into his own importance and influence. Sharon the “legendary military leader” is a complete artifact of the real power that the Zionists wield in the US on behalf of Israel.

Sharon is, in a sense, a “cardboard general” who has lost or nearly lost the most important battles in his career – beginning with Suez in 1956, Yom Kippur in 1973 and Lebanon in 2006. Israel has prospered economically and become a major military power largely through over $130 billion dollars transfered from the US Treasury over the past half century; plus tens of billions in favorable trade concessions; plus ‘imports’ of highly trained professionals from the US and Russia (educated by the tax payers of those countries); and more recently billions more in “venture capital” by overseas speculators. In other words, Israel is an artifact of the ‘power of extraction and transfer’ by its overseas acolytes embedded in the US political and economic power structure.

Without the influence and material privileges which have accumulated over four decades, Sharon would have ended his mediocre military career as a crabby second rate politician, barking “blood libels” at his adversaries in the Knesset.

But as circumstances dictated Sharon was not an insignificant figure. His brutal colonial policies reflected the Israel-Jewish political tradition and shaped what has become a dangerous ethno-supremacist ideology, which unfortunately has traversed across borders and entered into the consciousness of many Zionists.

It was one thing to joke, as many of us did in our university days, about the ghetto expression “Is it good for Jews?”. It is another for leaders in positions of power to apply this ethnocentric criteria to American foreign policy, personnel recruitment and professional appointments. That is the real legacy of Ariel Sharon: the legacy of an Israel -centered world built on ideology of ethno-religious supremacy which displays superiority and disdain for non-Jews. For the ethnic supremacists like Sharon, most Americans exist to pay tribute and fight wars for Israel and to keep a tight lip about it.

A Final Word on the Sharon Legacy

Let it be said, here and now, that Sharon’s presumption to speak for “the Jewish people” confused his rabid electoral supporters in Israel and blind adherents among US Zionist leaders, with a growing number of Jews and ex-Jews who detested him and scorn his legacy. His boast that “Jews control America” has dangerous implications, especially in the context of growing popular malaise in these United States. Sharon’s claim that Americans knowingly submit to a foreign tyranny, is very provocative especially if and when Americans begin to wake up— and it will be the majority of Jews, who neither abide by Sharon’s legacy nor share his naked contempt for non-Jews, who will pay a painful price.

The Sharon legacy lives on, among his epigones at the prestigious universities and with the billionaires who bankroll the Democratic Party. Sharon’s Israel First legacy lives on with the government officials who betray the trust of the American people and prostrate themselves before his present-day disciples (Klansmen with yarmulkes), the Avigdor Lieberman’s, Naftali Bennett’s and Netanyahu’s who execute the Sharon legacy of dispossession and assassination of unarmed Palestinian people. Ariel Sharon is dead but his crimes will not be buried. They live on in the policies of the Netanyahu regime but also in the collective memory of humanity in its struggle for freedom and self-determination.

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

OBAMA NOMINATES “WAR CRIMINAL” BARRON TO FIRST CIRCUIT COURT

By Sherwood Ross | Aletho News | January 22, 2014

David Barron, a Harvard law professor who gave President Obama the green light for his illegal global drone attacks, has been nominated by Obama for a seat on the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Barron (co-authored) the infamous Justice department opinion authorizing Obama’s murder of U.S. citizens,” says distinguished international legal authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, Champaign. “It’s a payback.”

“This is a total disgrace. If approved, we will have a murderer and a war criminal sitting on the U.S. First Circuit,” Boyle said. The First District, headquartered in Boston, Mass., includes the states of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island as well as Puerto Rico.

As a result of Barron’s opinion, Boyle says, “We know that at least three U.S. citizens were murdered in Yemen, including (Islamic cleric Anwar) Awlaki of Las Cruces, N.M., and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki,” of Denver, Co., and one other. Still another American citizen was also executed without trial in Pakistan, Boyle said.

Barron co-wrote the June, 2010, legal opinion rationalizing the illegal airstrikes as a member of Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. He was joined by Martin Lederman, a deputy assistant Attorney General in that office.

“So here Barron and Lederman deliberately and maliciously write a get out of jail free card for Obama so that he can murder U.S. citizens, which he does,” Boyle says. “Barron is thus an enabler and accessory before the fact to murder and war crimes” and thus a principal in the first degree with Obama. Accordingly, Boyle says, “Barron is neither fit nor qualified to serve as a Judge on the First Circuit…” a post which would make him a prime candidate for a U.S. Supreme Court seat.

The Barron memo justifies the murder of U.S. citizens without due process of law, in violation of the Bill of Rights and the Fifth Amendment, Boyle says. The precise wording of Amendment V states “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

If Obama’s nomination is approved, Boyle says, “we will have a murderer and war criminal sitting on the U.S. First Circuit and perhaps some day on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

According to the impartial Bureau of Investigative Journalism, London, since 2004 the total number of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan is 381, 330 of them launched by President Obama. BIJ gives the following figures for the period:

Total killed: 2,537-3,646
Civilians killed: 416-951
Children killed: 168-200
Injured: 1,128-1,557

(Sherwood Ross is an award-winning reporter and poet based in Miami who writes on foreign and domestic affairs and runs a PR firm “for good causes.” Reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com)

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

America’s most popular prescription sleep medication linked to mass shootings

RT | January 20, 2014

A new report describing the bizarre and dangerous side effects of the sleep aid Ambien has once again raised questions about one of the United States’ most popular prescription drugs.

In a story by the Fix, Allison McCabe chronicled the numerous cases in which Ambien has caused individuals to commit unsafe, and sometimes deadly acts.

In 2009, 45-year-old Robert Stewart was convicted on eight charges of second-degree murder after he killed eight people in a nursing home. He was originally charged with first-degree murder, but by claiming his tirade was Ambien-induced he was able to have the charges lessened and sentenced to 142-179 years in prison.

In a similar case, Thomas Chester Page of South Carolina was sentenced on five counts of attempted murder despite his claims that Ambien was the cause of a shootout with officers. He received 30 years of prison on each count, to be served concurrently.

Although the Food and Drug Administration approved Ambien in 1992, its warning labels have changed significantly over the last two decades as evidence mounted documenting the drug’s ability to induce dangerous behavior.

“After taking AMBIEN, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing,” the label currently reads. “The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night… Reported activities include: driving a car (“sleep-driving”), making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, sleep-walking.”

In the courtroom, cases related to Ambien use have ranged from shootings to child molestation charges to car accidents. In one such case, flight attendant Julie Ann Bronson from Texas ran over three people – including an 18-month old who suffered from brain damage as a result. When Bronson woke up in jail the next morning, she could barely comprehend what she had done.

“It was surreal. It was like a bad dream,” she said in May 2012. “I did the crime but I never intended to do it. I wouldn’t hurt a flea. And if I would have hit somebody, I would have stopped and helped. We’re trained in CPR.” Bronson pleaded guilty to the felony charges, but also received lesser charges by citing Ambien as the reason for her actions.

While some drug companies work on sleep aids that do not induce the kind of unpredictable and risky behavior Ambien does, the popularity of the medication raises concern over America’s prescription drug culture. The market for sleeping pills is a billion-dollar industry, yet dangerous side effects continue to be reported.

Last year, a report by the Department of Health and Human Services highlighted about 2,200 doctors for suspicious activities such as over-prescribing drugs. More than 700 Medicare doctors were also flagged for issuing what could be seen as “extreme” and potentially harmful prescriptions.

Although the report noted that some prescriptions could have been effective, it added, “prescribing high amounts on any of these measures may indicate that a physician is prescribing drugs which are not medically necessary or that he or she has an inappropriate incentive, such as a kickback, to order certain drugs.”

Soon after that report was issued, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that roughly 18 women a day are dying in the United States due to prescription drug overdose, namely from painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin. With women making up 40 percent of all overdose deaths in 2010, these numbers marked a 400 percent increase compared to data from 1999.

The benefits of medication have also been placed under heavy scrutiny when it comes to other health issues, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In December 2013, RT reported that the authors of the primary study promoting medication over behavioral therapy in order to treat ADHD now have serious concerns over their original results.

“I hope it didn’t do irreparable damage,” said one of the stud’s co-authors, Dr. Lilly Hechtman of Montreal’s McGill University. “The people who pay the price in the end is the kids. That’s the biggest tragedy in all of this.”

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

America on MLK’s Birthday: The Trifecta of Evils

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford | January 22, 2014

When Dr. Martin Luther King died at the age of 39, he was quite clear about who and what was at the root of human suffering. He believed that “racism, militarism and extreme materialism” were the “giant triplets“ of “interrelated” evil that had to be overcome if society was to be transformed. Dr. King said the United States was host to all three resident evils, and that America reigned as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, today.” Forty-six years later, the United States clearly leads the world in all three of Dr. King’s categories of evil. And, we can prove it by the numbers.

It is true that racism is hard to measure, but the effects of racism can be quantified. If a racist government is defined as one that consistently uses its powers in ways that harm a particular racial group, then the U.S. is indisputably the most racist major state in the world. The U.S. prison population is by far the largest on the planet, in sheer numbers and in the proportion of Americans locked up. No other country comes close – which makes the United States the superpower of mass incarceration. America’s police and prison custodial forces dwarf the militaries of most countries – which tells us that militarism is now so deeply embedded in U.S. domestic structures that you can’t tell where the military ends and the police begin. Nearly half of U.S. prisoners are African American, although Blacks are only one-eighth of the total U.S. population. Since Americans make up fully one-quarter of the world’s prison inmates, that means one out of every eight prisoners on the planet is an African American. This could only occur in a thoroughly racist state, whose institutions work overtime to produce the biggest and most racially unbalanced incarceration numbers on Earth. Clearly, America has racism – triple evil number one – covered.

Number two is militarism. The U.S. military budget is almost as large as the military spending of all the world’s other nations, combined. Together, the U.S. and its NATO allies account for more than 70 percent of global weapons spending. At last count, the U.S. spent six times more on war than China, and 11 times more than Russia. In fact, if you count up the U.S. and all of its allies, they are probably responsible for about 90 percent of total moneys spent on war. Therefore, today, 46 years after Dr. King’s death, the United States is not just the greatest purveyor of violence in the world – it is right at the center of just about the totality of militarized violence in the world, today. Which is why a recent international poll shows that the people of the world think the U.S. is the most significant threat to peace.

Finally, the third of the triple evils: extreme materialism. By that, Dr. King meant great disparities in wealth and income. According to the Suisse Global Wealth Databook, wealth is so unevenly distributed in the United States, it no longer resembles a First World country. Of all the rich nations, the U.S. is dead last in terms of material equality.

So, by Dr. Martin Luther King’s measurements, America is in bad shape – more bedeviled by the triple evils than back in his day. In fact, things are much, much worse because…it’s the silence that kills you.

~

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Call It Genocide, not Apartheid

By Nahida Izzat | January 20, 2014

Words, in the battle of Liberation are of prime importance, but in the age of Internet, where Cyber Battles are waged, between truth and falsehood, the use of the right word becomes more vital than ever.

We have observed how the word, “apartheid” has crept in and has been intensely used by many Palestinians and their supporters without much reflection upon the meaning, implications or outcome of such use.

The definition of “Apartheid”

1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.

Thus, the use of apartheid to describe “Israel”, the entity which was established by terror, planned ethnic cleansing and continues to practice slow genocide is extremely inappropriate, insufficient and falls very short from giving a complete and accurate portrait.

Calling “Israel” an Apartheid is a CONCEALMENT of Genocide

Calling the Zionist entity mere “apartheid”, i.e “separation”, would only serve in concealing the true genocidal nature of the Jewish state, and present it as a “normal” and “legitimate” political system with only few holes, some racist laws, and wrong policies which can be easily changed. Such use would promote the legitimization of this entity. From a legal aspect, crimes of apartheid does not carry the same weight in International Law as Crimes against Humanity, thus it may be harder to prosecute.

Campaigning to demand that the existing Jewish state, would change some of its policies (rather than to call for its dismantling and delegitimisation, to end this entity, once and for all) would simply enable the usurpation of historic Palestine.

Calling for ODS (one democratic state, as a continuation of “Israel”), while ignoring the right of Palestinians to FULL LIBERATION, would enable the Zionist entity to expand and enlarge its boundaries, to encompass the ENTIRE land of Palestine, by annexing what remains of Palestine.

Calling for “equal rights” between mass-murderers and their victims, means willful participation in wiping out the Palestinian Identity, under “Israeli” authority thus promoting giving Palestinians “Israeli” citizenship,  which means unwittingly promoting the “Israelization” of what remains of Palestinians, i.e upgrading their state from “occupied Palestinians” to “Israeli slaves”.

I call upon our people and our supporters to be alert and not to participate in whitewashing the crimes of the Jewish state, by calling it an “apartheid” rather than what it really is, a genocidal, supremacist, expansionist, ethnic-cleansing entity.

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The Genocide Convention

Article 2 of the United Nations issued Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

1. Killing members of the group; [Israel …guilty]

2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; [Israel …guilty]

3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; [Israel …guilty]

4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [Israel …guilty]

5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Article 4 states:

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

Nuremberg Principles,

Principle VI. states,
“The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

(b) War crimes:

Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation of slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against humanity:

Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

In Contrast:

In contrast:

The Sanhedrin Principles:

Mishneh Torah, Chapter 5, Halacha 1

“A king should not wage other wars before a milchemet mitzvah. What is considered as milchemet mitzvah? The war against the seven nations who occupied Eretz Yisrael, the war against Amalek, and a war fought to assist Israel from an enemy which attacks them.

Afterwards, he may wage a milchemet hareshut, (war of aggression) i.e. a war fought with other nations in order to expand the borders of Israel or magnify its greatness and reputation.

Mishneh Torah, Chapter 1, Halacha 2:

Amalek’s seed should be annihilated before the construction of the Temple

THE LAWS OF KINGS AND THEIR WARS

6) The obligation to destroy the seven nations living in the Land of Canaan;
7) The prohibition against allowing any one of them to remain alive;
8) The obligation to destroy the descendents of Amalek;
9) The obligation to remember what Amalek did;

Mishneh Torah, Chapter 6, Halacha 1

“If the enemy accepts the offer of peace and commits itself to the fulfillment of the seven mitzvot that were commanded to Noah’s descendents, none of them should be killed. Rather, they should be subjugated as ibid.:11 states: ‘They shall be your subjects and serve you.’

If they agree to tribute, but do not accept subjugation or if they accept subjugation, but do not agree to tribute, their offer should not be heeded. They must accept both.

The subjugation they must accept consists of being on a lower level, scorned and humble. They must never raise their heads against Israel, but must remain subjugated under their rule. They may never be appointed over a Jew in any matter whatsoever.”

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

So when will international justice save Palestine?

By Stuart Littlewood | Intifada Palestine | January 21, 2014

Eighteen months ago UK foreign secretary William Hague delivered an important speech at the Hague, home of the International Criminal Court . He was saying all the right things, for example:

“The rule of law is critical to the preservation of the rights of individuals and the protection of the interests of all states.”

“You cannot have lasting peace without justice and accountability.”

“International laws and agreements are the only durable framework to address problems without borders.”

“Such agreements – if they are upheld – are a unifying force in a divided world.”

He spoke of a growing reliance on a rules-based international system. “We depend more and more on other countries abiding by international laws…. We need to strengthen the international awareness and observance of laws and rules….” 

Some emerging powers, he said, didn’t agree with us about how to act when human rights are violated on a colossal scale, while others didn’t subscribe to the basic values and principles of human rights in the first place. He was talking about Syria although many in the audience must have had Israel in mind.

“The international community came together in an unprecedented way to address the crisis in Libya last year,” said Hague. “The Arab League, the UN Security Council, the UN Human Rights Council, the European Union, NATO and the International Criminal Court all stepped forward and played their part to protect a civilian population.”

Yeah. Funny how they have never come together for crisis-torn Palestine these last 65 years.

We pledge to fight impunity for grave international crimes wherever they occur’

Hague, positively overflowing with fine words and sentiments, chuntered on.

“We have to ensure that when we are trying to build peace, we don’t overlook the need for justice…. Our coalition Government is firmly of the view that leaders who are responsible for atrocities should be held to account…. Institutions of international justice are not foreign policy tools to be switched on and off at will.”

He said referring leaders in Libya and Sudan to the ICC showed that not signing up to the Rome Statute was no guarantee for escaping accountability. “If you commit war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide you will not be able to rest easily in your bed: the reach of international justice is long and patient…. There is no expiry date for these crimes….”

Woweee! Had he told Netanyahu this? Was this tough talking really from the man who watered down Britain’s laws of Universal Jurisdiction to protect Israel’s war criminals from arrest while shopping in London’s Bond Street? Israel and the US, after signing up to the Rome Statute, had second thoughts and ‘unsigned’ in order to escape the long reach of international justice.  At last it was beginning to sound like bad news for TelAviv’s and Washington’s thugs.

At the time of the Libya fiasco Hague announced he had signed a directive revoking Gaddafi’s diplomatic immunity and also that of his sons, his family and entire household. He bragged how the UK “drove” through a Security Council resolution referring what was happening in Libya to the ICC Prosecutor, saying it “sends a clear message to all involved, in the regime and any other groups that if they commit crimes and atrocities there will be a day of reckoning for them.”

Bravo! What a splendidly high-principled chap Hague suddenly seemed to be. And how swiftly he managed to get the International Criminal Court’s attention when he wanted to. But we didn’t hear Hague and his friends call for a reckoning with the psychopaths of the Israeli regime when they committed mega-atrocities against Gaza’s civilians just two years earlier. Instead they tinkered with our laws of universal jurisdiction to enable suspected war criminals to walk free. Gaddafi wasn’t welcome in London but the Foreign Office happily rolled out the red carpet for Livni, Lieberman, Barak and Netanyahu, while Hague conducted the brass band.

Our foreign secretary rounded off his speech by saying:

“There is no doubt where Britain stands: we are with those who say that international law is universal and that all nations are accountable to it…. We are a country that believes in and upholds the Responsibility to Protect, and that is prepared to act to save lives – including through military action as a last resort. We actively support a rules-based international system…. We pledge to recommit to the importance of fighting impunity for grave international crimes wherever they occur…. We will be a robust supporter of the International Criminal Court in its investigations.”

Trampled Palestinians dispossessed by a brutal military occupier and sitting among the smoking ruins of their homes, or eking out a squalid existence in their refugee camp, must have been impressed.

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January 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre: An Introduction to the Ongoing Project

[Samia Halaby,

[Samia Halaby, “The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, the Third Wave of Killing, the Child Fathi” (2012).]
By Samia Halaby | Jadaliyya* | January 19, 2014

When I first accepted the challenge of drawing the Kafr Qasem massacre, I wanted to represent its events as though I were a camera on site. Documentary drawings, I thought, could recreate what photography might have given us if done on a historical basis. I would learn all I could and present the specific individuals and the documented events. I worked on the project in three major periods, each occupying most of a year or several years. I began work in 1999 and continued into 2000. In 2006, on the occasion of the fiftieth memorial of the massacre, I created both a web page and an exhibition of the drawings. In 2012, I returned to the project with the intention of finalizing it by making large-scale drawings and developing a book.

The story of the Kafr Qasem massacre is compelling. At first hidden from the world, it was members of the Communist Party who broke the military and information blockade in order to call attention to the horrific massacre; a detailed press release was finally published by party member Tawfiq Toubi twenty-six days after the massacre on 23 November, 1956 in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. His comrade, the distinguished Palestinian writer, Emile Habibi covered the massacre in issues of the CP organ, Al Ittihad, and in 1976 published a booklet on the subject. In one chapter, Habibi recounted the events and provided a structure whereby the chronology of events were numbered and termed “waves” of killing.

Israel’s military campaign against Egypt and the Suez started at 3pm on 29 October, 1956. One and a half hours later, at 4:30pm, the mukhtar (mayor) of Kafr Qasem was informed of an imminent curfew to begin at 5pm. Twenty-five minutes after this sudden warning, at 4:55, soldiers of the Israeli Border Police began killing anyone they found outside their home—be they man or woman, child or elder. Many were workers unaware of the curfew, as they were just then returning home. At the end of the night, forty-nine civilians lay dead on the roadways. Although each event of the massacre was nightmarish, the last one seemed to shock the villagers most of all, as fourteen women who had been olive picking were forced off a truck and shot at continuously from close range until they all fell dead over each other. The sole survivor of this wave of killing was a fifteen-year-old girl, who, when heavily wounded, lost consciousness, and lay under the corpses of the other women for most of the night. To add terror to brutal injury, the Israelis buried their bodies while their relatives were imprisoned in their homes on pain of death through the use of a twenty-four hour curfew.

A massacre is like a hammer blow that shatters a hard mass to smithereens. At first the pieces, the individuals who suffer this blow, do not all see who wields the hammer nor are they able to attack it. Anger and blame are bottled up. Painful energy flies in all directions. The town receiving the blow is shattered, broken to pieces, and as the pieces settle, loss, recrimination, shock, disbelief, and desperation emerge. Added to all this, as in the case of the Kafr Qasem massacre, is the poverty and depression resulting from a brutal military occupation.

What does a father tell his wife when he returns home alive but their eight-year old child whom she sent to warn him dies in the massacre? Why is a small girl unable to tell her mother that her father lies dead or wounded in the street except to say that dinner need not be prepared for him? Why do men and women, unable to believe their own experience, return to the scenes of the massacre to confirm its reality with those who shared it only to find death instead of fellowship? Why was the only survivor of one of the events of the massacre insensitively asked why she was the only one to survive? Why does a wounded man who had escaped, return on seeing the Israeli soldiers killing fourteen women only to be shot dead himself? Why did some whisper that the pregnant woman in her final month dropped the baby in the agony of her death?

When I first met Aishy Amer of Kafr Qasem, the beautiful scent of revolution permeated her words and manners. We had met through the internet and from her first visit to my loft she began to persuade me that, as an artist, I must do drawings of the massacre. Aishy and I eventually visited Kafr Qasem together, where she introduced me to her large family and friends and opened the way for me into a tightly knit village society made up of only five extended families. Following this first visit, she would assign her friends to help me. After interviewing some individuals several times over a period of thirteen years, they came to trust me as a friend. In fact in 2012, during my last visit to attend the annual memorial march, I found myself receiving extended interviews while members of the press were disregarded.

Along with my interviews, I conducted extensive research for historical materials and found a gold mine in the locally published magazine, Al-Shorok, each October issue of which is dedicated to the massacre. In it are countless long interviews conducted by Majd Sarsour, editor and principal of one of the town’s high schools. In general, the outside press did not match this valuable source of detailed information. It was rare to find newspaper articles that contained more than small bits of quoted information. Yet Al-Shorok allowed each individual to fully tell his or her story. Al-Shorok also insisted on detailing not only the names of victims and their ages, but also those of their children, the gender of the children, and their ages at the time of the parents’ death. In one particular article, the magazine detailed the ages of over four thousand offspring of the victims who had already given birth. An intense need to replenish the village overtook the survivors.

I came to truly respect the village, now grown into a town, regardless of its various types and admire the combination of earthy nobility, innocence, and wisdom they possessed. I learnt of the depth of pain they experienced, causing many to be unwilling to tell their stories. I learnt to value their trust and grew to understand that documentation should respectfully memorialize, avoiding sensation and spectacle.

I began drawing immediately after the first visit and continued to do so in separate periods of intense focus. As I worked and my knowledge grew, many of my initial aesthetic decisions matured. I determined that I would avoid simply showing piles of dead bodies. I would show people in their dignity at the last moments of their life. There would be no blood. I determined that the individual victims should face out towards the viewer, be in control of the aesthetic situation if not the original situation, which brought their violent end.

I began drawing in an illusionist way in the traditions of Renaissance art, but as the project progressed, I often questioned whether I perhaps should use an expressionist method. I admired Diego Rivera and thought that working in that manner, which many of the Palestinian artists of the Intifada were influenced by, might be a more modern path. However, after a lot of thought, I decided that the expressionism and semi-cubist style of Rivera did not suite the ambition of presenting people as specific individuals in documented events.

There is a paucity of visual information on the massacre, leaving written material as the basic source. Transforming verbal description and researched information into visual images presented serious problems. Words can focus on one subject and describe it accurately but not wholly. Pictures describe a scene wholly (from one point of view) but cannot show what happened just before or after. Pictures lack the specificity of time while words lack the specificity of space.

Truthful witness statements can hold up in a court of law but they lack the type of information pictures need regarding the appearance of a whole scene, information about color, light, background, relative positions of parts, and a host of other scenic details. This forced me into a certain amount of invention, which seriously conditioned my ambition to be a camera.

One of my initial inquiries was how to represent the killers, the soldiers of the Israeli Border Police who had executed the massacre. Based on things that I have seen in Palestine combined with my loathing, I made several horrifying renditions. In the end, I decided that the story was not about them and eliminated them from the drawings. However, in the final set done in 2012, I included fragments of them in outlined silhouette although I rendered their weapons carefully. By then I had researched the weapons and noted that they were semi-automatic weapons and that some of them were British made, reminding me of the part British colonialism had in arming and organizing the Zionist terrorists.

I asked for a great deal of criticism from residents of Kafr Qasem and from friends, and their opinions helped me greatly. I was not on a research mission to discover new formal languages but rather on a mission to tell a piece of Palestinian history in comprehensible visual form. I received a rating of seventy over one hundred on my drawing of the sixth wave of killing. I was flattered to have such a high grade for the man grading me, Omar Ahmad Hamdan Amer, known as Abu Naser, was the town’s historian, a man who lived his entire life immersed in the history of the massacre.

Did I meet my own challenge? An inner voice says: do it all over again and do it better. But another voice says: another way to fail is to disregard time. For now, I will be happy when my planned publication of drawings on the subject of the massacre is complete. The book will be called “Drawing the Kafr Qasem Massacre.” It will include a detailed history, a timeline, numerous witness statements, the drawings with my commentary, a roster of victims, and essays by scholars.

Below is a selection of drawings from the series with the artist’s captions:

                [The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, Killing Inside the Village, the Easa Family (1999).]

During less than two hours on 29 October, 1956, Israeli Border Police killed forty-nine people in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qasem. They were mostly workers and children returning home in the evening. Most were killed on the western entrance, while inside the village it began when eight-year-old Talal Easa went out to retrieve a goat after the suddenly announced curfew. Talal’s father, Shaker, heard the shots and dashed out to his son. He was also shot. Talal’s mother, Rasmiyya, and, right after, Talal’s teenage sister, Noor, ran to their bleeding family and suffered the same fate. They remained where they fell, bleeding until morning when they were hauled off by truck to a hospital. Talal died. The grandfather, Abdallah Isaa, then ninety years old, was left alone and saw the massacre of his family. The following morning, Abdallah was found dead.

 [The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, Killing in the Northern Fields (2012).]

In the northern fields of the village, three shepherd boys were out watering the family’s flock of sheep not knowing that Israel had launched a surprise attack on Egypt just hours before, nor did they know of the curfew imposed on their village. The oldest boy, Abdallah Easa was sixteen and the youngest, Abed Easa, was nine years old. Ibraheem Easa, their uncle who was thirty-five years of age, had learnt of the curfew and left the safety of his home to bring them back. They returned immediately with Ibraheem leading. Abed and Abdallah were just behind him while the third boy, Sami Mustafa, was watching the rear of the herd. The boys were met by Israeli soldiers of the Border Police, who immediately shot and killed Ibraheem, Abed, and Abdallah. Sami saw them being shot and fell to the ground, played dead and survived.

[The Kafr Qasem Massacre, the First Wave of Killing (2012).]

Five minutes before the curfew, and unaware of it, four quarry workers were returning home to Kafr Qasem on bicycles. When confronted by Israeli soldiers, with whose harassment they were familiar, they reached for their identity cards. Instead, an order to “harvest them” was given. Two, Ahmad Freij, age thirty-five, and Ali Tah, age thirty, died. Both were fathers of young children. Two others, Mahmoud Freij and Abdallah Badair, managed to escape. Mahmoud was wounded in the thigh and managed to crawl to an olive tree and hide until morning.

[The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, the Third Wave of Killing, Child Fathi (2012).]

The twelve-year-old shepherd boy, Fathi Easa, was leading his family’s herd of black goats home after pasture. His father was driving the herd from the rear having heard of the curfew and had come to hurry his son home. There were three weapons in the hands of the Israeli Border Police all aimed at the boy, an Uzi, a Bren, and a rifle. All were fired, and the boy collapsed and died.

[The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, the Sixth Wave of Killing (2012).]

Evening was darkening as the Israeli Border Police ordered thirteen or more workers to lineup on one side of the road. They had arrived on bicycles and a mule wagon. One of the workers, seventeen-year old Saleh Easa, had arrived with his two cousins. They had heard about the curfew and only feared a beating. When the execution style shooting began six fell dead. Saleh, wounded, playing dead, was dragged to the pile of bodies. He remained quiet, gritting his teeth in spite of extreme pain. He witnessed the rest of the massacre and later crawled to safety.

[The Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956, the Ninth Wave of Killing, Implosion (2012).]

Night had fallen when the truck arrived at the location of the massacre. Among the victims of the ninth wave were two men in the cab of the truck and fourteen women with two boys in the back. The driver, seeing the scattered dead, tried to escape at high speed. This interrupted the singing women, who unwittingly began to scream, thus alerting the recumbent soldiers resting at the school’s well. The soldiers ran after the truck, shot its tires and gas tank, and stopped it. Safa Sarsour, having just seen her sixteen-year-old son, Jum’a, dead on the side of the road, now witnessed her second son, fourteen-year-old Abdallah, being killed with the men. The women, some pregnant, elders and girls, pleaded for their lives. The only survivor was Hana’ Amer, fifteen years of age, who said that the women clung to each other for protection, even the two girls who had managed to escape returned to the circle. As they were being shot, they turned in a big group and one by one they fell. The soldiers continued shooting into their heads to insure their death. How does it measure western civilization when soldiers of the Israeli border police line up defenseless women—some pregnant, tired, returning home from work—and kill them with cold deliberation?

*All images copyright the artist. 

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

UK Court’s Drone Ruling Shows the Law Is an Ass

By Clive Stafford Smith | Huffington Post | January 21, 2014

… There are various ways in which modern law is not married to good sense. For example, one opinion of the United States Supreme Court tells us that your innocence is not constitutionally relevant to whether you should be executed. But recently, British courts have rivalled their counterparts across the pond in competing for the most senseless judgment. The latest example came just yesterday, when three British judges said they could not rule on whether British officials were complicit in murdering Pakistani civilians in US drone strikes because that might embarrass our friends in America.

The case involves a Pakistani called Noor Khan. I have met him. A habitually calm young man, he was understandably incensed when his father was killed – in one of the catastrophes of the US drone age – in the region of Pakistan that borders on Afghanistan. The drone strike was patently illegal; there is no war with Pakistan, and the Predator drone fired hellfire missiles that killed some fifty innocent elders who were holding a jirga or local council meeting, peacefully trying to resolve a local dispute over a chromite mine.

It was the equivalent of bombing the High Court in London. It was both the domestic crime of murder, and the international war crime of targeting civilians.

Sad to say, there is evidence that the British security services have been supplying the US with intelligence that has led to a number of these strikes. The simple claim that Khan was making, too late to save his father, was that GCHQ should not be allowed to do this if their own actions violate British and international law.

British domestic law criminalises the “intentional encouraging or assisting” of the crime of murder. The International Criminal Court Act of 2001 defines one crime against humanity as a mass killing of members of a civilian population. Another is an intentional attack against a person not taking a direct part in hostilities.

Those whose actions are being questioned are not soldiers risking their lives fighting a legal war (who are therefore covered by combatant immunity); they are intelligence officers who, sitting comfortably in Cheltenham over a cup of coffee, are instrumental in one of the most serious criminal acts. … Full article

January 22, 2014 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unilateral missile defence plans great challenge to non-nuclear world – Russian envoy

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Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva Alexei Borodavkin
EPA/Salvatore Di Nolfi
ITAR-TASS | January 21, 2014

GENEVA – Unilateral plans for creating a global missile defense are the strongest challenge to the idea of ridding the world of nuclear weapons, Russia’s permanent representative at the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, told the conference on disarmament on Tuesday.

“Russia’s and the United States’ experience of implementing a number of agreements on the reduction of nuclear arsenals indicates that a short way towards a common goal simply does not exist,” he said. “Also, the situation in the modern world to my deep regret by no means promotes the conclusion of more agreements in the nuclear disarmament sphere.”

According to the diplomat, “some negative factors that undermine strategic stability” have been gaining strength.

“Unilateral plans for creating a global missile defense system are the strongest challenge on the road to a nuclear-weapons-free world,” Borodavkin said. They are fraught with an anti-destabilizing potential. They contradict the fundamental principle of impermissibility of strengthening one’s own security to the detriment of others.

“Abuse of this principle, in view of the inseparable link between the defense and strategic offensive weapons, may have extremely negative consequences in various spheres, including the disarmament agenda,” the Russian envoy said.

Borodavkin said that alongside the missile defense one should remember plans for the implementation of the concept of an instant global strike, imbalances in conventional armaments, and insufficient progress towards the enforcement of the NPT treaty.

“We are certain that all countries having nuclear potentials should join the efforts in the field of nuclear disarmament,” he said.

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

The endless arms race

By Lawrence Wittner | International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War | January 21, 2014

It’s heartening to see that an agreement has been reached to ensure that Iran honors its commitment, made when it signed the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to forgo developing nuclear weapons.

But what about the other key part of the NPT, Article VI, which commits nuclear-armed nations to “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” as well as to “a treaty on general and complete disarmament”? Here we find that, 44 years after the NPT went into force, the United States and other nuclear powers continue to pursue their nuclear weapons buildups, with no end in sight.

On January 8, 2014, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced what Reuters termed “ambitious plans to upgrade [U.S.] nuclear weapons systems by modernizing weapons and building new submarines, missiles and bombers to deliver them.” The Pentagon intends to build a dozen new ballistic missile submarines, a new fleet of long-range nuclear bombers, and new intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in late December that implementing the plans would cost $355 billion over the next decade, while an analysis by the independent Center for Nonproliferation Studies reported that this upgrade of U.S. nuclear forces would cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years. If the higher estimate proves correct, the submarines alone would cost over $29 billion each.

Of course, the United States already has a massive nuclear weapons capability — approximately 7,700 nuclear weapons, with more than enough explosive power to destroy the world. Together with Russia, it possesses about 95 percent of the more than 17,000 nuclear weapons that comprise the global nuclear arsenal.

Nor is the United States the only nation with grand nuclear ambitions. Although China currently has only about 250 nuclear weapons, including 75 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), it recently flight-tested a hypersonic nuclear missile delivery vehicle capable of penetrating any existing defense system. The weapon, dubbed the Wu-14 by U.S. officials, was detected flying at ten times the speed of sound during a test flight over China during early January 2014. According to Chinese scientists, their government had put an “enormous investment” into the project, with more than a hundred teams from leading research institutes and universities working on it. Professor Wang Yuhui, a researcher on hypersonic flight control at Nanjing University, stated that “many more tests will be carried out” to solve the remaining technical problems. “It’s just the beginning.” Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based naval expert, commented approvingly that “missiles will play a dominant role in warfare, and China has a very clear idea of what is important.”

Other nations are engaged in this arms race, as well. Russia, the other dominant nuclear power, seems determined to keep pace with the United States through modernization of its nuclear forces. The development of new, updated Russian ICBMs is proceeding rapidly, while new nuclear submarines are already being produced. Also, the Russian government has started work on a new strategic bomber, known as the PAK DA, which reportedly will become operational in 2025. Both Russia and India are known to be working on their own versions of a hypersonic nuclear missile carrier. But, thus far, these two nuclear nations lag behind the United States and China in its development. Israel is also proceeding with modernization of its nuclear weapons, and apparently played the key role in scuttling the proposed U.N. conference on a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East in 2012.

This nuclear weapons buildup certainly contradicts the official rhetoric. On April 5, 2009, in his first major foreign policy address, President Barack Obama proclaimed “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” That fall, the UN Security Council — including Russia, China, Britain, France, and the United States, all of them nuclear powers — unanimously passed Resolution 1887, which reiterated the point that the NPT required the “disarmament of countries currently possessing nuclear weapons.” But rhetoric, it seems, is one thing and action quite another.

Thus, although the Iranian government’s willingness to forgo the development of nuclear weapons is cause for encouragement, the failure of the nuclear nations to fulfill their own NPT obligations is appalling. Given these nations’ enhanced preparations for nuclear war — a war that would be nothing short of catastrophic — their evasion of responsibility should be condemned by everyone seeking a safer, saner world.

Lawrence S. Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization, What’s Going On at UAardvark?

January 22, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment