Friday, November 30, 2012

UN Vote on Palestine


UN Vote on Palestine

by Stephen Lendman

Haaretz said Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in New York. So did truth about what actually happened, what it means, and what's likely going forward. More on that below.

Thursday's vote expressed overwhelming support. UN Member States number 193. Five didn't vote. Of those that did, 138 said yes, nine voted no, and 41 abstained.

Countries voting no included America, Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, and four small Pacific island states: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. They're in lockstep with all US/Israeli policies. They spurn Palestinian rights.

Countries abstaining included Britain (after expressing support) Germany, Australia, Colombia, South Korea, Haiti (under US-installed puppet Michel Martelly), Singapore, Rwanda (under US puppet Paul Kagame), the Netherlands, Paraguay (under coup d' etat puppet Federico Franco), Poland, Hungry, and 29 others.

Netanyahu was typically arrogant. Palestine "must be prepared to end the conflict with Israel once and for all….No decision by the UN (changes) the rights of the Jewish people in this land."

Blaming the victim continues. Palestine for Jews alone reflects official Israeli policy. 

Obama strongly opposed upgrading Palestine's status. He affords Israel one-sided support. No rights for Palestinians is official US policy. 

Hillary Clinton reflects bullying, bluster and imperial arrogance. She blasted the UN vote. "Unfortunate and counterproductive," she called it. In other words, any support for Palestine can't be tolerated.

UN ambassador Susan Rice gives diplomacy a bad name. She's an embarrassment to legitimate governance. She's one of America's worst ever envoys. 

She mirrors Clinton. Her style is belligerent, arrogant, and offensive. She has major unexplained conflicts of interest

Her 2011 financial disclosures show she "and her husband own at least $1.25 million worth of stock in four of Canada's eight leading oil producers."

She has up to $600,000 equity in TransCanada Corp. It's building the environmentally destructive Keystone XL pipeline.

Her holdings also include up to $11.25 million in Royal Bank of Canada, as well as lesser equity in other Canadian financial institutions funding XL.

She's perhaps frontrunner to replace Hillary Clinton next year as Secretary of State. She has lots of explaining to do.

"Today's vote" she said, "should not be misconstrued by any as constituting eligibility for UN membership. It does not. This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state."

Palestine was eligible for full de jure UN membership many years ago. Palestine already is a state. The UN vote upgraded its status. It didn't go far enough. 

Headlines misreported what happened. Analysts who know better got it wrong. Many incorrectly called the vote support for Palestinian statehood. 

It was about upgrading Palestine to nonmember observer status. More on rights afforded with it below.

Previous articles explained Palestinian statehood. Key facts bear repeating.

The State of Palestine exists. It was proclaimed in Algiers on November 15, 1988. At the time, the PLO adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence. 

PLO legal advisor Francis Boyle drafted it. He called it "determinative, definitive, and irreversible." It recognized the General Assembly's 1947 Partition Plan in good faith. It also declared:

  • its commitment to the UN Charter's purpose and principles; 

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), policy, and principles of nonalignment;

  • its natural right to defend the Palestinian state, while rejecting "the threat or use of force, violence and intimidation against its territorial integrity and political independence or those of any other state;"

  • its willingness to accept UN supervision on an interim basis to terminate Israel's occupation;

  • its call for a Middle East International Peace Conference based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338;

  • its asking for Israel's withdrawal from occupied Palestinian lands - since 1967, including East Jerusalem;

  • its willingness to accept a voluntary confederation between Jordan and Palestine;  

  • its "rejection of terrorism in all forms, including state terrorism...;" and 

  • its acceptance of UN Charter Article 51, the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare.

Boyle included safeguards to assure all sovereign state rights. His document left no wiggle room loopholes. He also made sure UN membership won't comprise them. 

Palestine satisfies all essential criteria for sovereign independence and full de jure UN membership. 

All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4). 

As the League's successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO Palestine's legitimate representative. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body. It's empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren automatically become citizens. 

So do diaspora Palestinians. Those living in Israel and Jordan have dual nationalities. Occupied Territory residents remain "protected persons" (under Fourth Geneva) until a final peace settlement is reached.

Boyle's "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE" Memorandum of Law described characteristics needed for world community recognition. They include:

A determinable (not necessarily fixed) territory. Its borders are negotiable. The new state is comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians have lived there for millennia. They rightfully deserve universally recognized sovereignty.

They have a fixed population. They're a legitimate state with a functioning government. It's peace loving. It accepts UN Charter provisions and can administer them. It's willing to do so. 

In 1988, Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government. It has the capacity to enter into relations with other states.

Palestine fully qualifies on all counts. It did so many years ago. It long ago should have become a full de jure UN member. PA leaders must explain why not. Why not now? Why partial, not full status?

Palestine's Proclamation of Independence created the Government of Palestine (GOP). UN approval requires qualifying based on five conditions. 

Applicants must be a state, peace loving, accept UN Charter's provisions, be able to administer them, and be willing to do so.

The Security Council only recommends new Member States. Petitioning the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 for an up or down two-thirds vote overrides potential SC rejection.

The General Assembly has sole admission authority. Thursday's vote required a majority of voting Member States. Full de jure membership requires a two-thirds vote. 

It's easily gotten. It's long overdue. Legitimate states are entitled to full de jure UN membership. Palestinians are denied it.

Thursday represented a small victory. If used, it affords Palestine significant rights. Someone other than Abbas will have to invoke them. He's a longtime Israeli collaborator. 

He's Israel's enforcer. For many years, he betrayed his people. He's nearing retirement. He'll do nothing to mess things up. 

Boyle explains rights Palestinians now have. If used, they're considerable. 

"Palestine can join the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC)."

Israeli officials can be sued for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. Illegal settlements, outposts, Gaza's siege, the Separation Wall, and other lawless practices can be challenged.

"Palestine can join the Statute for the International Court of Justice (ICJ)." The State of Israel can be sued on the above charges and others.

"Palestine can join the Law of the Sea Convention." Doing so establishes sovereignty over its territorial waters. They contain significant gas reserves. 

Estimates range up to a trillion cubic feet or more. Where there's gas, there's oil. Offshore resources belong to Palestine, not Israel.

"Palestine can become a High Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions." They deal with laws of war and accountability.

"Palestine can join the International Civil Aviation Organization." Doing so affords control of its own airspace.

"Palestine can join the International Telecommunications Union." With it comes sovereign control over its airwaves, phone lines, and bandwidth.

Sovereign states have many rights. Palestine's new status affords all of the above. They don't matter if not invoked. 

Expect little from Abbas going forward. Long denied Palestinians deserve much better. Liberation remains an unfulfilled dream.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Palestine UN Vote Postmortems


Palestine UN Vote Postmortems

by Stephen Lendman

Pillar of Cloud echoes are still audible. Cast Lead crimes aren't forgotten. Nor is Gaza's siege, occupation harshness, expanding settlements, and horrific daily persecution.

Palestine remains locked down and isolated. UN voting changed nothing. Partial or full membership grants no immunity. Israel takes full advantage. That's how rogue states operate. Palestinian suffering continues.

Another article cited Haaretz saying Israel suffered a humiliating UN defeat. Perhaps so, but does it matter? The fullness of time will tell.

"Israel's leaders competed with each other Thursday over who will utter the most disparaging remark about the Palestinian move in the United Nations," said Haaretz. 

"Never have so many press releases been issued over an event that they themselves characterized as meaningless."

Netanyahu heads Israel's worst ever government. It replicates despotic ones. It's more hypocrisy than democracy. It's an embarrassment to legitimate governance.

Netanyahu was quoted in a companion article. He said more. Whenever he opens his mouth he puts both feet in. Perhaps one day he'll swallow them and choke.

He called Thursday's vote "a meaningless resolution that won’t change anything on the ground. No Palestinian state will arise without an arrangement ensuring the security of Israeli citizens."

He added that Abbas's UN speech was "defamatory and venomous."

Days earlier, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "If the proposal is adopted at the United Nations General Assembly, as far as we are concerned this would be a complete breaking of the rules and it will elicit an extreme response from us."

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "This day is the day of the historic rout of the Palestinians." 

During Pillar of Cloud terror bombing, he said Palestinians killed and injured "deserved it." Other Israeli hardliners express similar views. 

They represent racist police state harshness. Israel isn't fit to live in. Many Jews are voting with their feet and leaving. They have just cause.

Former Kadima leader, Tzipi Livni, now heads a new party called Hatnua (the Movement). She said Palestine's UN vote was a "strategic terrorist attack."

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom called the vote recognition that only Israel honors agreements reached with the PA.

Israeli UN envoy Ron Prosor addressed the General Assembly. He said the body's resolution "ignore(d) Israel's vital security and national interests." He called it "so one-sided, it….push(ed peace) backwards."

"Time and again," he claimed, Israel "sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we have been met by rejection of our offers, denial of our rights, and terrorism targeting our citizens."

His entire speech wreaked of duplicity and shameless lies. Whatever their views, Member State representatives weren't fooled. 

At the same time, a chasm separates their rhetorical support and what they gave Thursday from their failure to hold Israel accountable for decades of horrendous crimes. They continue daily in plain sight.

Palestinians bear a heavy cross. UN status affords no protection.

Haaretz said Netanyahu and senior ministers have themselves to blame for Thursday's vote. They're rigidly hardline. They spurn diplomacy and peace.

"Anyone with eyes in his head can see the diplomatic failure from afar. Having sowed wind during the past four years, on Thursday (Netanyahu and those around him) reaped a storm," said Haaretz.

"Sadly, the next government will probably be even more extreme right-wing and cannot be expected to change direction."

It's as bad or worse in Washington. Rogues run America. Policies reflect high crimes too extreme to ignore. Fundamental democratic values and rule of law principles don't have a chance. War on humanity and police state harshness don't let them.

Ahead of Thursday's vote, Congress suspended over $200 million in PA aid over concerns about what happened and possible Hamas/Fatah reconciliation.

On Wednesday and Thursday, lawmakers proposed 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendments. They want funding to Palestinians and supportive countries cut off.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She represents the lunatic fringe of Republican hardliners.

"There must be consequence for (Palestinian) rejectionism and continued irresponsibility," she said. 

Democrat and Republican senators said they'll halt aid if Palestine uses its upgraded status against Israel. Senator from AIPAC Chuck Schumer (D. NY) said:

"We are committed, Democrats and Republicans, to using every means at our disposal to ensure that this UN General Assembly vote does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO."

Neocon Senator Lindsey Graham (R. SC) added:

"The biggest fear I have is that the Palestinians achieve this status it won’t be very long before the Palestinians use the United Nations as a club against Israel."

The Israeli Lobby had its say. AIPAC said "Palestinian UN Upgrade Undermines Peace Efforts."

Israel, of course, bears full responsibility. It spurns peace, stability, and recognition of fundamental Palestinian rights.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director Abe Foxman and national chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher jointly said:

"With this resolution, the General Assembly has handed the Palestinian leadership a pyrrhic public relations victory, which in all likelihood will make it even more difficult to move the process forward."  

"The result of the vote is no surprise. The General Assembly has always given a rubber stamp to Palestinian declarations and grandstanding."

"In the long term, this resolution will have potentially disastrous consequences for future Palestinian aspirations."  

"It brings the Palestinian people no closer to statehood, nor does it bring Israel closer to peace and security."

Congressional, Knesset and Israeli Lobby hardliners prioritize war on humanity, violent confrontations, racist hate, misinformation, bald-faced lies, and support for Israel's worst crimes.

In Jerusalem, police prevented MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari from burning a Palestinian flag outside UN headquarters.

Western scoundrel media support for Israel is longstanding. On November 28, a Washington Post editorial headlined "What will Palestinians do after the UN vote?"

Will peace talks resume? Will Palestine sue Israeli officials at the ICC? Will Fatah/Hamas reconciliation happen? Will Palestinian violence and Abbas' retirement follow?

Like other media scoundrels, the Post ignored Palestinian statehood, blamed the PA for not pursuing peace, accused Hamas of "lob(bing) rockets at Israel," and PA leaders of "submit(ting) pointless petitions to the United Nations."

The editorial, previous ones, op-eds, and straight reporting ignore decades of occupation harshness, illegal settlements, and horrendous Israeli crimes.

Previous New York Times editorials opposed Palestinian self-determination. Only Jewish rights matter in Times Square.

On November 28, another New York Times editorial headlined "The Palestinians UN Bid." It reaffirmed which side it's on. Longstanding Times policy spurns Palestinian rights.

General Assembly support won't "endure creation of a viable Palestinian state and guarantee Israel's security."

Palestinian statehood exists. A companion article explained. Palestinians never threatened Israeli security. They don't now. Israel menaces the region. Times editors ignore facts on the ground they know or should.

"Peace negotiations have been at an impasse since 2008."

Legitimate peace talks never happened because Israel spurns them. Palestinians wanted conflict resolution for decades. Without a legitimate partner, it's impossible.

The Times urged "serious new effort(s) at a negotiated two-state solution." When Israel's Separation Wall is completed, its West Bank control will approach 60%.

Over half a million settlers occupy Palestinian land. More join them daily. Closed military zones, restricted tourist areas, commercial locations, and other Jews-only development exclude non-Jews.

At one time, two states were viable. No longer. Partition won't work. What will is one state for all its people at peace with equal rights.  It's the only legitimate way if pursued and given a chance.

Israelis won't propose it. Nor have Palestinians. Israel wants all valued parts of Judea and Samaria it wishes. It wants Jerusalem as its exclusive capital.

Ideally, it wants Palestinians gone. At best, they'll be tolerated with no rights within isolated cantons on worthless scrubland.

Refugees wanting to return will be denied. Persecution will continue. Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will be targeted. Conflict resolution won't happen. Conditions will get progressively worse.

Israel wants permanent occupation legalized. Palestinians deserve long denied liberation. Democratic legitimacy requires one nation for all its people, irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or other differentiating characteristics. 

It requires equal rights, observance of international law principles, and ending decades of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

It requires prohibiting what's no longer tolerable and never was. It requires treating Arabs and Jews equally. It requires establishing binding statutes mandating it. It requires enforcing them. It requires commitment to do the right thing.

It won't happen without committed international support. It's high time long-suffering Palestinians got it. Nothing less is tolerable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obama Wants State-Sponsored Murder Legalized


Obama Wants State-Sponsored Murder Legalized

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed Obama's kill list. Another explained his "disposition matrix." Both constitute elevating Murder, Inc. to a higher level. 

Obama now wants more. He wants murder legalized. On November 24, The New York Times headlined "Election Spurred a Move to Codify US Drone Policy," saying:

Pre-election, Obama "accelerated work….to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned droned." He wants standards and procedures established.

In other words, he wants murder legalized. Washington designates anti-war/imperial opponents "terrorists." He wants new rules giving him clear authority to murder them. 

Israel designates Palestinians wanting to live free from occupation and state terror the same way. Rogue states operate that way.

Obama wants new standards in place. He wants cover for governing illegally. He wants fundamental US and international laws overridden. He wants tyrannical authority.

He wants final say. He wants diktat power to be the last word. He wants to be judge, jury and executioner. He wants it codified and made legal.

Times writer Scott Shane earlier called drone killings an effective "war on terror" policy. He's comfortable about permitting what US and international laws prohibit.

His view differs marginally from Times editorial policy. Last May, The Times headlined "Too Much Power for a President," saying:

Obama thinks "the shadow war on terrorism gives (him) the power to choose targets for assassination, including Americans, without any oversight." That policy "is very troubling."

Times editors don't oppose drone killings. They're wary about one person having diktat power to order them. They're mainly concerned about Americans. Other people matter less. US citizens deserve due process, they said. 

Apparently they believe Americans are more equal than others. At the same time, they're concerned about a "perpetual war on terror (permitting) lethal force against anyone" for any reason.

Times policy stopped short of drawing inviolable red lines. Murder is illegal. US and international laws are inviolable. They're clear and unequivocal. Times editors tried having it both ways.

On the one hand, they said:

"A unilateral campaign of death in untenable."

On the other, they added:

Obama "should publish clear guidelines for targeting to be carried out by nonpoliticians, making assassination truly a last resort, and allow an outside court to review the evidence before placing Americans on a kill list."

Legitimate courts don't pronounce death sentences without trials, proper legal representation, due process, habeas rights, and overall judicial fairness. 

Maybe Times editors forgot.

Internal discussions continue, said Shane, about whether remote-control killing should be freely exercised or used as a last resort against designated enemies. He also ignored fundamental rule of law principles.

Spurning them constitutes tyrannical governance. Failure to explain what's too fundamental to disregard makes editors and journalists complicit. 

Media scoundrels support America's worst crimes of war and against humanity. Aggressive wars are cheerled. Enormous numbers are slaughtered. Retail killing does it selectively. Murder is still murder.

Extrajudicial killing by any means is lawless. Leaders governing this way are tyrants. They should be outed, condemned, and punished.

Remote-control drone killings are especially troublesome. A report jointly prepared by Stanford University's International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (SU) and New York University School of Law's Global Justice Clinic (NYU) titled "Living Under Drones" explained.

Drone killings are indiscriminate. Nameless, faceless victims are murdered. Most are noncombatants. They threaten no one. Many are women and children.

Legal experts say drone killings outside war theaters set a dangerous precedent. Claims about making America safer are false. 

Evidence shows only 2% of victims are high-level combatants. Collateral killings facilitate anti-American recruitment.

SU/NYU's report said Washington must conduct "a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits."

A "significant rethinking (is) long overdue." Policy makers can't ignore civilian harm and counterproductive impacts much longer.

Perhaps what's happening abroad is planned for America. On February 3, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (HR 658) cleared both houses of Congress after differences between Senate and House versions were resolved. On February 14, Obama signed it into law.

It authorizes domestic drone spying under provisions to test and license commercial drones by 2015. Estimates of up to 30,000 UAVs could overfly America by 2020.

Privacy issues are at stake. Much greater ones could follow. Targeted killing could be universally ordered. US communities could become as unsafe as foreign ones. 

Once policies head down a slippery slope, anything can follow. Despots solidify power this way. Post-9/11 police state laws threaten Americans.

In 2010, "unlawful enemy combatants" became "unprivileged enemy belligerents." Language changed but not intent or lawlessness.

In 2011, by executive order, Obama authorized indefinite detentions and military commission trials for anyone he designated for any reason or none at all. Americans are as vulnerable as aliens. 

Provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) hardened executive power. They authorize military arrests and imprisonment with or without charges. Everyone, including US citizens, is vulnerable. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called NDAA authorization "one of the greatest expansions of executive power in our nation's history, allowing the government to lock up citizens and non-citizens without the right to fair trials."

Presidents now have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens if accused of potentially posing a threat.

US military personnel are authorized to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone globally, including US citizens. No one's safe anywhere. 

Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness are null and void. Presidents may order anyone arrested and imprisoned for life without charge or trial.

Special Forces Death squads and CIA-operated drones kill designated aliens and US citizens abroad. They're targeted and murdered for any reason or none at all.

Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights. No due process. No habeas protection. No trial. Just death by presidential diktat. Obama decides who lives or dies. 

Anyone called Al Qaeda or accused of terrorist connections gets marked for death. Kill lists compile names. Obama's "disposition matrix" includes terror suspects, covert plans to kill them, and in some cases sealed indictments and/or extradition requests. 

Obama has final say. Suspects are guilty by accusation.

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan functions as his maestro of murder. He collaborates on who lives or dies. Innocence is no defense. Inviolable laws don't protect.

Advancing America's imperium alone matters. Human lives, democratic values, and fundamental fairness don't count. Anything goes is policy. Obama wants it codified and made legal. Imagine what's ahead in term two.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Israel's Genocidal War on Palestine


Israel's Genocidal War on Palestine

by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding Israeli policy reflects slow-motion genocide. Non-Jews aren't wanted. Israel considers them subhuman.

Peace, nonviolence, diplomacy, human and civil rights, as well as fundamental rule of law principles are systematically spurned. That's now rogue states operate.

Pillar of Cloud raged from November 14 - 21. Memorandum of understand terms ended eight terror bombing days. Israel violated its pledge multiple times. Its word isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Less than 24 hours after conflict ended, Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian. Another 19 were injured.

On November 25, three more Palestinians were shot. They were wounded, not killed. On November 26, another four Palestinians were injured. Soldiers opened fire on them. They threatened no one.

Since November 22, 15 fishermen were accosted at sea. Naval vessels used live fire. Israel claimed they exceeded a recently expanded zone. Believe nothing Israeli authorities say. They systematically lie.

Boats were damaged and confiscated or destroyed. Fishermen on board were arrested, detained, and interrogated. At least most were released.

No one assaulted did anything improper. Israeli claims were lies. Expect continued land and sea incidents ahead.

On November 28, seven Palestinians were shot and injured. At least one is in serious condition. Israel said "rioters" damaged a border fence trying to enter Israel. 

Israeli authorities make this stuff up. They do it to justify persecution and at times murder.

Nonviolent Palestinians are called threats to Israeli security. These type claims are baseless. Israel pledged attacking Gazans would stop. 

Similar promises were made before. Horrific oppression continues. Truce terms changed nothing. Believing otherwise is wishful thinking.

West Bank Palestinians are attacked, beaten and arrested. Apartheid is a way of life. Settlements exclude Arabs. Jews only roads exist. Segregated bus lines appear next.

Palestinian workers with legal permits are being ordered off buses. Settlers claim they pose a security risk. Israel's Transport Ministry may exclude Arabs. Buses henceforth may be for Jews only.

Jim Crow America relegated Blacks to the back of buses. Israel perhaps wants Arabs excluded entirely.

On November 27, B'Tselem headlined "Attempt at bus segregation appalling," saying:

Disclosure about possible segregated bus lines is uncalled for. Services "must be available on an equal basis to all and any who require them."

B'Tselem's executive director Jessica Montell said:

"The attempt at bus segregation is appalling, and the current arguments about ‘security needs’ and ‘overcrowding’ must not be allowed to camouflage the blatant racism of the demand to remove Palestinians from buses."

Israel plans greater occupation harshness. Conditions for besieged Gazans persist. Truce terms changed nothing.

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. It commemorates the General Assembly adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

World leaders pledged to "complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere."

In 1946, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was discussed at the General Assembly's first session. 

Member States submitted the UNHR to the Economic and Social Council "for reference to the Commission on Human Rights for consideration....in its preparation of an international bill of rights."

On December 10, 1948, UN Resolution 217 A (III) adopted UNHR. No members dissented. Eight abstained. Despite emerging Cold War tensions, common ground was found.

UNHR's 30 articles pledged "to promote respect for (fundamental human) rights and freedoms....both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

They affirmed life, liberty, security and dignity. They said no one should be held in bondage or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They scorned arbitrary arrests, detention, exile, and other human rights violations.

They said everyone may leave any country and return freely. Discrimination of any kind was deplored. Free expression, assembly, movement, thought, opinion and religion were championed.

Everyone has the right to work and receive equal pay for equal employment. Essential rights to healthcare, food, clothing, housing, and education were supported.

Articles affirmed that "(n)othing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for the State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein."

Since 1945, the UN failed to uphold fundamental Charter and other international law principles. America, Israel, and other imperial partners bear full responsibility.

On Friday, December 7, human rights supporters will march in Tel Aviv. In solidarity, they'll express support for equality, democracy, peace, and social justice. 

Arabs will march with Jews. A midday concert will be held. An official song is titled "Being Human." Avihu Medina wrote it. A special version called "Being a Woman, Being Human" will be performed.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sponsors this year's march. Hundreds of organizations, activists, and others will participate. Together they say: "It's our right, to all human rights, for every human being." Jews, Arabs and all others.

It comes after Pillar of Cloud. It's when Israel plans greater occupation harshness. It follows multiple truce violations.

It's after Kairo USA's press advisory headlined "Christians and Jews Gather to Support Churches' Call to Investigate Unconditional Military Support of Israel," saying:

On November 29, they met in Washington. They demanded US support for Israel be contingent on its compliance with US laws and policies. Participating groups included:

Jewish Voice for Peace, Kairos USA, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, United Methodist Kairos Response, Friends of Sabeel North America, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, The Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, and others.

Thousands of signatures were obtained. They seek justice for occupied Palestinians. Stopping the Israeli beast is crucial. It threatens humanity.

Violence in Gaza continues. Palestinians are isolated. They're trapped in concentration camp hell. They're on their own. They suffer horrendously out of sight and mind.

Israeli repression is relentless. Civilian deaths are commonplace. From January through October 2012, Israel killed 79 Palestinians. Eleven were in the West Bank. Others were Gazans.

UN and EU officials do nothing to help. They allow grave crimes against humanity. They ignore Palestinian suffering. Naked Israeli aggression and cold-blooded murder are called Israel's right to self-defense.

Palestinian rights are systematically spurned. It's been that way for decades.

Official Israeli policy reflects perpetual conflict, daily violence, intimidation, and repression. Children and infants are harmed most. A Gaza psychiatrist said:

"Children exposed to so much violence have no option but to terminate their childhood and move into a different frame. The likelihood is that they will never stabilize."

Their parents, siblings and friends are killed. Many don't expect to reach adulthood. Trauma devastates them. There's no place to hide. 

No one helps. Israel attacks when it wishes. It's vicious and relentless. Violence never ends. Conflict prevents peace, security and freedom. Palestinians deserve better. They hope for what doesn't come.

Alia Kalajar said her seven-year old daughter, Nisma, "stopped talking, and we don't know if she will ever talk again." Israel bombed their home. Nisma sustained a head fracture and internal bleeding.

Dozens of other children and infants were killed or injured. Some won't ever recover. Many don't understand. Will war on Iran follow? More on that below.

James Petras called Israel's strategic goal "Genocide (for a) Greater Israel - the bloody purge of 5 million Palestinians, the creation of a 100 percent 'pure' Jewish State."

It's that and more. Israel wants Middle East hegemony. It wants rivals balkanized or eliminated. It wants Syria, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, and Iran replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes. 

It threatens regional war for dominance. Washington provides support. Together they threaten humanity. Media scoundrels cheerlead them. They endorse what they should condemn.

Syria tops their target list. Conflict rages daily. Civilians suffer most. Perhaps Lebanon is next. Strategy calls for isolating Iran. Plans call for replacing its independent government with subservient pro-Western puppet leaders. War may be prioritized. Israel urges it.

Propaganda wars precede hot ones. Conflicts and other forms of violence are glorified in the name of peace. Code language conceals policies.

War is humanitarian intervention. Invasions, slaughter, mass destruction and occupations are liberation. Plunder is economic development. Exploitation and dominance are called democracy.

Managed news mind manipulation inverts truth for public support. Big Lies suppress it. Terrorism is what they do, not us. Iran's moment of truth awaits. Washington vilified the Islamic Republic for decades.

Israel wants war. Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) called Pillar of Cloud "Less a War than an Anti-Iran Coup." It claimed Washington, Turkey, and Qatar were involved. 

Aborting Tehran's military ties to Hamas was planned, said DF. "In the short term, the Israeli miniwar was meant as a vivid lesson for Tehran about the fate awaiting its Arab allies. Hizballah is advised" to beware.

Washington and Egypt are involved in preventing Iranian arms from reaching Gaza. Propaganda wars continue. 

Haaretz published a spurious AP report. It headlined "Iran allegedly planning nuclear weapon stronger than bomb used on Hiroshima."

It bears repeating. Annual US intelligence reports say no evidence whatever suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Israeli, US, and EU officials know it. They pretend otherwise.

Iran threatens no one. Alleging a nuclear threat is red herring cover for regime change. Haaretz/AP claim a "leaked diagram." The source was unnamed. 

Concealed ones lack credibility. Claims about Iranian scientists running nuclear weapon computer simulations able to produce "triple the explosive force" that destroyed Hiroshima are meaningless. 

Without proof, they're baseless. Haaretz/AP said an unnamed "country critical of Iran's atomic program" leaked information to help shut it down.

IAEA made similar claims last year. Proof was absent. It reported alleged diagrams showing Iran was calculating the "nuclear explosive yield" of potential weapons.

An unnamed senior diplomat said Haaretz/AP used old IAEA information. Israel and Washington fabricated it. It was proved baseless. Anti-Iranian pseudo-experts called it credible.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) weighed in. It called AP's diagram "nothing more than either shoddy sources or shoddy science. In either case, the world can keep calm and carry on."

AP embarrassed itself. So did Haaretz for publishing its rubbish. BAS added:

"The graphic has not yet been authenticated; however, even if authentic, it would not qualify as proof of a nuclear weapons program." 

"Besides the issue of authenticity, the diagram features quite a massive error, which is unlikely to have been made by research scientists working at a national level."

AP's diagram "shows two curves: one that plots the energy versus time, and another that plots the power output versus time, presumably from a fission device." 

"But these two curves do not correspond: If the energy curve is correct, then the peak power should be much lower - around 300 million ( 3x108) kt per second, instead of the currently stated 17 trillion (1.7 x1013) kt per second." 

"As is, the diagram features a nearly million-fold error.
This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax."

"In any case, the level of scientific sophistication needed to produce such a graph corresponds to that typically found in graduate or advanced undergraduate-level nuclear physics courses."

Iran denies interest in developing nuclear weapons. No evidence proves otherwise. Bogus claims hype tensions. They surface repeatedly. Expect more next year, especially after Israel's January elections.

Rogue states never quit. America and Israel reflect the worst of what they represent.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Arafat's Body Exhumed


Arafat's Body Exhumed

by Stephen Lendman

On November 27, Arafat's body was exhumed. Samples were taken from his remains and surrounding soil. Tests are being conducted. International experts are involved. 

Earlier evidence proved he died from radioactive polonium poisoning. Tests will check for all possible toxic substances. 

Israel had motive and opportunity. Mossad and Shin Bet have long histories of targeted assassinations. They use poisons and other means. Ariel Sharon's government bears full responsibility.

Fourteen months earlier, then Israeli Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli radio after a cabinet meeting:

"How are we going to" remove Arafat? "Expulsion is certainly one of the options, and killing is also one of the options."

In July 2000, Arafat fell out of favor. Bill Clinton hosted him and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David.

Barak insisted Arafat sign a "final agreement" and declare an "end of conflict." Doing so would have renounced any legal claim to Palestine land.

Nothing was put in writing. No documents or maps were presented. Barak wanted Palestinian land divided into four isolated bantustans surrounded by expanding settlements and other Israeli controlled territory.

He offered terms no responsible leader would accept. He demanded unconditional surrender. Arafat refused and was unfairly blamed. It very likely led to his death by assassination.

On September 29, 2000, a second Intifada erupted. Sharon provoked it. On September 28, accompanied by 1,000 Israeli troops and police, he staged a provocative visit to Islam's third holiest site - the Haram al-Sharif sacred shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque. 

A cycle of violence followed. Jenin perhaps was most affected. In April 2002, its refugee camp was attacked.

Hundreds of buildings were destroyed. Palestinians were buried under rubble. Water and power were cut off. Food, medical aid, and other essentials were kept out. Unknown numbers of civilian men, women and children were slaughtered in cold blood.

IDF violence targeted other areas. Palestinians never had a chance. When the five-year Intifada ended, 4,166 Palestinians died. Among them were 886 children and 271 women. 

Thousands more were injured or disabled. Hundreds of targeted assassinations occurred. Thousands were imprisoned, including 288 children and 115 women.

Another 2,329,659 dunums of Palestinian land were stolen, thousands more razed, and over 1.3 million trees uprooted. Nearly 7,800 homes were demolished. Another 98,800 were damaged.

Israeli crimes were extreme. Palestinian victims were blamed. Israel called it self-defense. Arafat was targeted. His failure to surrender at Camp David cost him his life.

In March 2002, Israel lay siege to his Ramallah (Mukataa) compound. It continued until May. Troops surrounded it. Tanks and armored vehicles smashed through walls. 

Palestinian intelligence headquarters was shelled. Heavy damage was inflicted. Troops stormed a facility adjacent to Arafat's compound.

He and close aides took refuge on a lower floor. His security guards and IDF forces exchanged fire. At least five Palestinians were killed. Two dozen or more were wounded.

Power and phone lines were cut. Arafat was totally isolated. Israeli snipers shot anyone trying to leave his compound. Israeli troops and tanks let no one in or out. 

Talk surfaced about Sharon wanting Arafat killed. It was more than talk. His spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said his "life is in danger."

Arafat made contact with Arab leaders. He told Al Jazeera, "They either want to kill me, capture me, or expel me, but I tell them I'd rather be martyred."

He accused Israel of terrorizing Palestinians and wanting to scuttle peace efforts. Sharon mobilized reservists. He deployed thousands of troops across the West Bank. Villages and refugee camps were raided.

Gun battles broke out in Ramallah and other West Bank cities. Dozens of Palestinians were killed, injured or arrested. 

Defense Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer declared Ramallah the "capital of terror." Military operations would continue, he said. "Nobody is immune to the armed forces as long as that person is labeled a terrorist."

The IDF was told to "strike everywhere." Destroy "terrorist infrastructure." 

"Restraint is dead," added Eliezer. Arafat's days were numbered. He was a marked man. Israel decided to murder him.

Two previous articles explained. One written on January 2, 2007 headlined "Former Longtime Confident Accuses Ariel Sharon of Assassinating Yasser Arafat."

Uri Dan's 2006 book titled "Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait" told what he knew. In 2004, Sharon informed George Bush. He also wanted Arafat removed. He was isolated in his compound. Israel destroyed most of it.

On November 11, 2004, Arafat died in Paris. He was 75. In early October he took ill. On October 29, he was flown to France's Percy Military Hospital. Doctors examining him couldn't diagnose his illness.

On November 3, he slipped into a coma. Eight days later he was dead. French doctors prepared a 558-page report. They claimed death from blood disorder complications.

They likely concealed what they knew. They described what they called "disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)." It causes malignancy and infection, they said. 

They claimed his blood vessels exhibited small clots. They deplete platelets and clotting factors needed to control bleeding. It can cause death by hemorrhaging. 

They also called DIC a secondary condition. In other words, it wasn't the main cause of his illness or death. Something else was responsible. That issue was left unanswered.

Arafat's personal physician, Dr. Ashraf Al Kurdi, believed very likely he was poisoned. At the time, nothing was done to confirm it. Kurdi said Abbas blocked an autopsy. He had coverup in mind.

"They didn't want to do it," said Kurdi. "When you talked to them about an autopsy they would get fits. (Abbas) said it would disturb relations with France."

In suspected criminal cases, autopsies are automatic. Given the strong possibility that Arafat was poisoned, failure to determine cause of death was unconscionable.

In August 2007, Haaretz headlined "Arafat's doctor: There was HIV in his blood, but poison killed him," saying:

Kurdi said "the virus had been injected into (his) bloodstream close to his death, and that the real cause of (his) death was poison."

Kurdi was Arafat's personal physician for 18 years. He explained that he'd "usually be summoned to attend to (him) immediately, even when all he had was a simple cold." 

"But when his medical situation was really deteriorating, they chose not to call me at all." He was denied access to his body after he died. He wanted France to set up an inquiry commission.

On September 9, 2005, he said "any doctor would tell you that (Arafat's condition exhibited) symptoms of poisoning."

Haaretz added that "Arab journalists and opinion-shapers have repeatedly accused Israel under former prime minister Ariel Sharon of poisoning Arafat."

On July 4, Al Jazeera headlined "Arafat's widow (Suha) calls to exhume his body," saying:

"A nine-month investigation suggests that the late Palestinian leader may have been poisoned with polonium."

"Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader."

"Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system. Rumors abound about what might have killed him – cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, even allegations that he was infected with HIV."

"A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed that none of those rumors were true: Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill on October 12, 2004."

Arafat's personal belongings showed traces of deadly polonium. Science Daily calls it "around 109 times" more toxic than hydrogen cyanide. Its main hazard is radioactivity. It's "most lethal when ingested" or inhaled.

Switzerland's Radiophysique (SR) analyzed Arafat's belongings. Blood, sweat, saliva and urine samples were obtained. Tests showed abnormal polonium levels in his body when he died. 

SR director Dr. Francois Bochud said:

"I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids."

SR scientists said further tests "concluded that....between 60 to 80 percent (of the polonium) was 'unsupported.' " It didn't come from natural sources.

Arafat's widow, Suha, asked Palestinian Authority (PA) officials to exhume his body. If bone, tissue, and/or other bodily evidence substantiates SR's diagnosis, poisoning will be confirmed.

On November 27, Al Jazeera headlined "Yasser Arafat's body exhumed in Ramallah," saying:

International experts conducted 10 hours of tests. They'll be shipped overseas for analysis. Jordanian doctor Abdullah Bashir was involved. 

About 20 samples were obtained, he said. "We have asked (international teams) to test for all poisons, not only for polonium."

PA officials imposed "a near-media blackout." Arafat family members and lawyers representing his widow, Suha, were excluded from attending his exhumation. No reason was given.

Experts examining samples include a French toxicologist, pathologist, and legal medicine generalist. Switzerland's Radiophysique (SR) is part of the investigation. Russian experts will conduct their own independent analysis.

Al Jazeera said if polonium killed Arafat, "very little….will remain at this point. Polonium-210, the isotope found on (his) personal effects, has a half-life of 138 days."

It means half the substances decays "every four-and-a-half months. Scientists say that eight years is about the limit for recovering a useful sample, and a longer delay would have made it impossible to  recover a workable sample."

Tests will take months before findings are announced.

Natural polonium "replenishes itself after decaying." Unsupported polonium from unnatural sources does not.

When results are known, French courts will decide what's next. Arafat died in Paris. France maintains legal jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, Suha requested a murder investigation. In August, it was approved. French judges began "collecting Arafat's medical records and other evidence." Efforts are proceeding quietly.

Al Jazeera said PA security officers harassed their reporters. They tailed them "in cars and on foot, and at one point broke into the network's hotel rooms."

Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. He may have coverup in mind. He originally blocked an autopsy. Arafat was buried suspiciously fast. It doesn't happen when foul play is suspected.

On November 27, Maan News said PA officials "will start legal proceedings against Israel at the (ICC) if forensic tests prove (Arafat) was murdered." Chief investigator Tawfiq Tirawi said:

"We have evidence and indications that (Arafat) was killed, including remarks by Israeli leaders that they must get rid of Arafat, but we need evidence to submit to the International Criminal Court."

Foul play was suspected all along. Clear evidence is hard to deny. At the same time, responsibility may be hard to prove. 

Israel will go all-out to prevent it. Washington will help. Expect Abbas to be party to coverup. Longtime collaborators don't turn a page. They don’t reinvent themselves honorably as saints. 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour