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by CTuttle

Jimmy Carter Demands “War Crimes” Be Investigated In Gaza

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

In an Op-Ed in Foreign Policy, Elders Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson wrote…

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

As Ma’an reported…

Jimmy Carter: World powers should rethink approach to Hamas

Former US president Jimmy Carter said in an op-ed Monday that in order for the Israel-Gaza status quo to change, the international community needs to recognize Hamas as a ‘legitimate political actor.’

‘Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise,’ an op-ed written by Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson said.

‘Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,’ the op-ed, published in Foreign Policy, said.

‘Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.’

Carter and Robinson called for an ‘partial lifting’ of the eight-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip, and said an international force should be put into place to monitor border crossings.

The presence of an international force is also necessary to hold both sides accountable for ceasefire violations, they said. {…}

Both Carter and Robinson are members of the Elders, a non-governmental organization that describes itself as a group of ‘independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.’

Carter is among the most notable American public figures to criticize Israeli policy toward Palestinians. He is the author of ‘Peace Not Apartheid,’ a book for which he has earned praise for its frank speech about Israel and Palestine. Some key American figures, however, accuse him of being biased against Israel.

One of those ‘Usual Suspects’ key American figures… Giuliani: Jimmy Carter ‘Off the Deep End’ Asking U.S. to Recognize Hamas

Naturally, Bibi says there’s nothing to see, move along…

Netanyahu: Gaza operation ‘justified, proportionate’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday launched a vigorous defence of Israel’s month-long conflict in Gaza as ‘justified’ and ‘proportionate,’ blaming Hamas for the heavy Palestinian civilian death toll.

‘I think it was justified. I think it was proportionate and that doesn’t in any way take away the deep regret we have for the loss of a single civilian casualty,’ he told a news conference in Jerusalem in response to a question from the US news channel CNN.

He said it would have been disproportionate to not ‘defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill.’

In his first public remarks since a 72-hour ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday, Netanyahu told local and foreign journalists that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was to blame for the heavy destruction and civilian casualties.

‘The tragedy of Gaza is that is it ruled by Hamas,’ he said.

It should be noted that the Palestinians are getting serious about the ICC…

Palestinian foreign minister seeks to prosecute Israel for war crimes at ICC

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki has announced that the Palestinian Authority seeks to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its war crimes committed during the latest aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Following his meeting at The Hague with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, Al-Maliki said the Palestinian Authority seeks to join the ICC as a prerequisite to opening an international investigation into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Arabs 48 news website reported that Al-Maliki accused Israel of committing ‘atrocities’ and said that ‘Israel does not leave us with any other choice; we must do everything we can to bring those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice.’

Al-Maliki commented on the 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, which went into effect on Tuesday morning, saying: ‘We expect the ceasefire to continue for 72 hours and even more,’ adding ‘everything depends on the seriousness of the Israeli side.’ {…}

Al-Maliki pointed out that the Palestinians are prepared to bear the results of any possible investigation, which would include both sides, not only the Israeli side.

Bensouda said in a statement that the court still could not investigate Israel over war crimes because the Palestinian Authority is not a member state of the Rome Convention.

The ICC prosecutor pointed out that she had not yet received ‘any official document from the Palestinians requesting to join the ICC or demanding to investigate the Israeli war crimes’ following their recognition as an observer state.

Bensouda noted that her meeting with Al-Maliki was intended to ‘clarify the available mechanisms for any state to join the ICC or push for a probe.’

The Times of Israel quotes Al-Maliki as saying that joining the ICC now is merely ‘a question of procedural matters.’

Hunkering down… Israeli Foreign Ministry advises against cooperation with UN inquiry into Gaza war

Meanwhile, our State Dept had to chime in…

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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al-Assad, Kerry, Khamenei, and, McCain

6:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Some recent developments on the P5+1 talks…

U.S. sees Iran nuclear talks difficult, success uncertain

The United States and long-time arch-foe Iran agree on at least one thing ahead of Tuesday’s negotiations on a long-term nuclear deal – reaching an agreement will be very difficult, if not impossible.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man who has the final say on all matters of state in the Islamic Republic, declared again on Monday that talks between Tehran and six world powers ‘will not lead anywhere.’

Hours later a senior U.S. administration official also played down expectations, telling reporters in the Austrian capital that it will be a ‘complicated, difficult and lengthy process’ and ‘probably as likely that we won’t get an agreement as it is that we will.’

From the Supreme Leader himself…

Iran’s Khamenei says nuclear talks will ‘lead nowhere’

Iran’s top decision-maker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday nuclear talks with world powers would ‘lead nowhere’ but that he did not oppose them.

Iran is due to resume talks on Tuesday in Vienna with the P5+1 group—Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany—aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on its controversial nuclear program.

After a decade of failure and rising tensions, U.S. President Barack Obama has put the chances of an agreement at ’50-50,’ while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has predicted ‘difficult’ discussions.

‘I repeat it again that I am not optimistic about the negotiations and they will lead nowhere, but I am not against them,’ Khamenei said in remarks published on his website Khamenei.ir.

Now, here’s a real game-changer…

Iran says Russia could build nuclear reactor in exchange for oil

Russia could build a second reactor at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for Iranian oil, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow said in remarks published on Monday.

Russia could also supply Iran with trucks, railroad tracks, mini-refineries or other goods to pay for the oil, ambassador Mehdi Sanaei told the daily Kommersant, under a deal Reuters revealed was being negotiated last month.

Reuters reported Iran and Russia were negotiating to swap up to 500,000 barrels of oil per day for goods in the deal that would undermine Western efforts to maintain economic pressure on Tehran while global powers seek to curb its nuclear programme.

In an interview published a day before the six powers including Russia resume talks with Tehran on a nuclear deal, Sanaei confirmed Russia and Iran were discussing supplies of ‘a few hundred thousand barrels per day.’

‘Iran could use some of the proceeds (to pay for) the construction by Russia companies of a second unit at the nuclear power plant in Bushehr,’ he said. Russia built the first reactor at Bushehr, Iran’s sole nuclear power plant.

Sanaei said it was possible the oil deal, and a broad memorandum on economic cooperation, could be signed before August. Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev is to visit Iran in April for talks on trade.

Asked what Russia could supply in exchange for the oil, Sanaei said the sides were discussing a number of possibilities including the construction of small oil refineries, Russian investment in gas fields and supplies of electricity. {…}

A top U.S. official said this month she believed the oil-for-goods swap would not go ahead in the near future after the United States warned both sides it would make reaching a nuclear agreement ‘more difficult if not impossible.’

Moving along to McInsane…

I was actually pleasantly surprised at Candy’s questions…!

Now, Col. Lang penned a great post today…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Clueless In Syria and Faust Wants His Soul Back

4:04 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Pepe is right (again) when he concludes that the Partitioning of Syria has been the Neo/Ziocon’s main objective all along…! Divide et Impera…!

Since my last posting, a ton of sh*t has occurred in the MENA, with global ramifications…!

Let’s dive right into that sh*t pile… UN:Call for Calm after Reported Israeli Air Strikes in Syria

“The Secretary-General calls on all sides to exercise maximum calm and restraint, and to act with a sense of responsibility to prevent an escalation of what is already a devastating and highly dangerous conflict,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in the statement.

“The Secretary-General urges respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in the region, and adherence to all relevant Security Council resolutions,” he continued…

…Top UN officials, including Mr. Ban and his political chief, Jeffrey Feltman, have said on numerous occasions that a political solution is the only answer for long-term in the country and the region…

Even China is calling for political dialogue in Syria…

China calls for all relevant parties in Syria to launch political dialogue and carry out political transition as soon as possible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

In response to a media request for China’s take on the current situation in Syria at a regular press briefing, Hua said that China pays close attention to the development of the situation and believes a political solution is the only correct way for solving Syrian crisis.

She said China also calls for all relevant sides to earnestly respect Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, remain restrained, avoid any actions that might escalate the tension and play a responsible and constructive role in solving Syrian issue through political means.

It seems the EU is “satisfied” with the recent U.S.-Russia deal on Syria…

…An EU spokesman said on Wednesday that the bloc was “very satisfied” with the joint call by the United States and Russia for an international conference on Syria to end the country’s escalating crisis.

“The EU would welcome any dialogue that would bring two sides to the negotiating table. The EU has repeated on many occasions that the solution of the conflict lies in a comprehensive political settlement,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The EU “stands ready to assist in any way possible and hopes that the conference will be a beginning of a peace process,” he said in an email to Xinhua.

Following hours of talks with Russian officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the two had agreed to convene an international conference on Syria that would be attended by representatives of the Syrian regime and the opposition

More on that meeting between Kerry and Putin…

Seeking Syria accord, Kerry tells Putin of common ground

…The U.S. secretary of state sought Russian help in ending Syria’s civil war on Tuesday, telling President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that common interest in a stable Middle East could bridge divisions among the big powers.

Putin, however, kept John Kerry waiting three hours before their meeting at the Kremlin, fiddled with a pen while his guest spoke and made no mention in his own public remarks of the conflict in Syria, which has generated some of the frostiest exchanges between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War…

Funny, how true to form, the Rebels are once again rejecting all that ‘talk’… Syrian rebels to reject U.S./Russia-sponsored peace talks? (H/T Fairleft)

Anyways, today, Obama had a little chit-chat with Bibi…

…The White House said in a short statement that Obama and Netanyahu, who is visiting China, spoke by telephone, and discussed “regional security issues and Middle East peace.”

U.S. officials have declined to comment in detail on air strikes by Israel on targets near Damascus on Friday and Sunday which Israeli sources said destroyed Iranian missiles apparently destined for the Hezbollah militia.

But Obama said on Saturday after the first set of Israeli raids that the Jewish state was justified in seeking to “guard against the transfer of advanced weaponry to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah.”

The blowback to Bibi’s buffoonery was swift…Saudi Arabia urges UN action against Israel

…Saudi Arabia on Monday called for UN action to end Israeli strikes on Syria, describing the raids as a “dangerous violation” of the sovereignty of an Arab state, the official SPA news agency reported.

The Saudi cabinet voiced “deep concern from the worsening situation in Syria” and urged “swift action by the UN Security Council to stop these Israeli attacks on Syrian territories and ensure they are not repeated,” said SPA.
…its government on Monday described Israel’s raids as “flagrant attacks and a dangerous violation of the sovereignty of an Arab state, warning of its dangerous effects in the region’s security and stability.”

Egypt condemned the raids as a “violation” of international law, Britain warned of “increasing danger” to the Middle East, while the Syrian regime’s main regional ally Iran said it would shorten the existence of the Jewish state.

The National Coalition, the war-torn country’s umbrella opposition group, also condemned the attack while accusing Assad’s regime of complicity by weakening the army in its battle with Syria’s people.

Russia said the raids threatened to escalate tensions in neighbouring countries.

“We are looking into and analysing all the circumstances surrounding the especially concerning reports of the May 3 and May 5 Israeli air strikes,” the foreign ministry said in a statement…

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Monday for “a political solution” to the conflict in Syria.

“The situation in Syria is a real tragedy,” Fabius told a press conference in Hong Kong, adding that if it continued, it could be a “human and political disaster.” …“Obviously it’s something that one can understand, but at the same time, it’s a risk,” he said of the raids.

As a side note, Israel Has the Gall to Actually Complain to the UN About Stray Syrian Mortar Shells…

Now, here’s a very interesting wrinkle… US to arm Syrian rebels: Putin’s rebuke, Chinese “peace plan” mar Netanyahu’s Chinese trip…

…Negative diplomatic ricochets are pursuing Israel in the aftermath of its air force attacks on Syria. In the first place, they are seen to have had no effect on Hizballah’s successful military intervention on the side of the Assad regime or the Syrian war at large. In the second, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by President Vladimir Putin Monday, May 6, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.…

…Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons.

…US military instructors have been working with Syrian rebels at training camps in Jordan and Turkey for some months. So putting the arms in their hands only awaited a decision in Washington.

…Putin’s message to Netanyahu was intended to reach a wider audience than Jerusalem, such as Barack Obama in Washington and President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of Netanyahu’s talks there Tuesday… …when US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Moscow that day, in an attempt “bridge the divide” between their governments on the Syria conflict, he was preceded by a barrage of Russian condemnation of the Israeli air strikes in Damascus “as a threat to regional stability,” a stiff warning from the Russian foreign ministry to the “West” to stop “politicizing the issue of chemical weapons in Syria,” and Moscow’s “concern that world public opinion was being prepared for possible foreign military intervention.”

…The Chinese government’s cold shoulder to Israel was exhibited less directly than Moscow’s but no less firmly. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was invited to visit Beijing and meet President Xi two days before the prime minister arrived in the Chinese capital Tuesday to begin the official part of his visit. The Chinese president unveiled his peace plan before meeting the Israeli prime minister…

Let’s not forget that Mossad has already been very active in Syria…Israel spy agency has presence in Syria, says senior rebel general

Here’s a fascinating read on our failed policy…

America’s hidden agenda in Syria’s war

…The commander – a moderate Sunni and an influential rebel leader from Damascus who said he has met intelligence operatives from Western and Arab states – said the US officials were especially keen to obtain information about the identities of Al Nusra insurgents and the locations of their bases.

Then, by to the rebel commander’s account, the discussion took an unexpected turn.

The Americans began discussing the possibility of drone strikes on Al Nusra camps inside Syria and tried to enlist the rebels to fight their fellow insurgents.

“The US intelligence officer said, ‘We can train 30 of your fighters a month, and we want you to fight Al Nusra’,” the rebel commander recalled.

Opposition forces should be uniting against Mr Al Assad’s more powerful and better-equipped army, not waging war among themselves, the rebel commander replied. The response from a senior US intelligence officer was blunt.

“I’m not going to lie to you. We’d prefer you fight Al Nusra now, and then fight Assad’s army. You should kill these Nusra people. We’ll do it if you don’t,” the rebel leader quoted the officer as saying.

What the commander says transpired in Jordan illustrates a dilemma that has preoccupied, even paralysed, Syria’s opposition and their international supporters – how to deal with the expanding role of Islamic extremists in the anti-Assad insurgency.

Other meetings with Western and Arab intelligence services have shown a similar obsession with Al Nusra, the commander said.

“All anyone wants is hard information about Al Nusra, it seems to be all they are really interested in. It’s the most valuable commodity you can have when dealing with these intelligence agencies,” he said…

Funny thing tho… Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra…

Yet, here’s a perspective, from within Syria…

Syrians deserting the FSA: Faust wants his soul back

The reality is that opposition militias and the official army have reached a military stalemate – one step forward and one step back as progress on one front is checked by loss and retreat on another…

…In the midst of this harsh war, Syrians have found themselves at a crossroads: obliged to choose between either their personal interest and life or the country’s freedom. A question occurs to me here – Is it possible for fighters who quit the FSA to go back to their old lives? It seems highly improbable, given that Syria has been ripped into so many different pieces with different authorities holding sway over particular areas – here the regime, there such and such battalion.

The country is now a hotch-potch of hot and cool areas. Families have been displaced across the country in their millions. Most fighters are wanted by intelligence forces and they can’t go back to their original villages and towns, nor can they meet their families who were forced to flee. This is how our lives – and not just that of FSA fighters – have been trapped, in the eye of a tornado that is hurtling at breakneck speed. Where and how we get off is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure – it won’t be an emerald city.

In wrapping up… Take a gander at this load of crap from Carnegie…Building a Syrian State in a Time of Civil War…

God help the Syrians…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Reagan, Iraq, Syria, and,Tunisia

4:52 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

For some real retrospect… Reagan’s ‘Death Squad’ Tactics in Iraq

Official Washington has long ignored the genocide and terrorism that Ronald Reagan inflicted on Central America in the 1980s, making it easier to genuflect before the Republican presidential icon. That also helped Reagan’s “death squad” tactics resurface in Iraq last decade, as William Boardman reports…

…The hour-long film explores the arc of American counterinsurgency brutality from Vietnam to Iraq, with stops along the way in El Salvador and Nicaragua. James Steele is now a retired U.S. colonel who first served in Vietnam as a company commander in 1968-69. He later made his reputation as a military adviser in El Salvador, where he guided ruthless Salvadoran death squads in the 1980s.
When his country called again in 2003, he came out of retirement to train Iraqi police commandos in the bloodiest techniques of counterinsurgency that evolved into that country’s Shia-Sunni civil war that at its peak killed 3,000 people a month. Steele now lives in a gated golf community in Brian, Texas, and did not respond to requests for an interview for the documentary bearing his name.

News coverage of this documentary has been largely absent in mainstream media. The Guardian had a report, naturally, at the time of release and “Democracy Now” had a long segment on March 22 that includes an interview with veteran, award-winning reporter Maggie O’Kane, as well as several excerpts from the movie she directed. The documentary is available online at the Guardian and several other websites…

Ten years on… Syrian Rebel Faction Merges With al-Qaeda in Iraq

…Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), an official auxiliary of the parent al-Qaeda organization which was established to resist the US occupation of Iraq, has announced that it is formally merging with Jabhat al-Nusra.

Jabhat al-Nusra had been publicly endorsed by al-Qaeda officials repeatedly as the preferred Islamist faction in Syria’s ongoing rebellion. AQI says that the merged group will replace the name Islamic State of Iraq with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

It is time to declare to the Levant and to the world that the al-Nusra Front is simply a branch of the Islamic State of Iraq,” confirmed AQI leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi went on to say other alliances were possible so long as the group agreed to similar harsh definitions of Sharia Law

Now, I was certainly surprised to see The Grey Lady publish this today…

Wider Use of Car Bombs Angers Both Sides in Syrian Conflict

…The attack, witnesses and the government authorities said, was the latest of dozens of car bombs to rip through Syrian business districts and neighborhoods during the country’s two-year war. It again turned a wary but busy downtown commercial area into a scene of terror and chaos. The Syrian government blamed its opponents for Monday’s attack and said it had killed at least 15 people and wounded at least 53.

The proliferation of car bombs across Syria has frightened and enraged many on both sides in this battle, government supporters and opponents alike. The use of these powerful and indiscriminate weapons — rejected by some rebel factions — has undermined support for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and left many Syrians angry at the government for failing to stop the bombings.

In Damascus, the Syrian capital, on Monday, some residents blamed the United States and its allies, which back the opposition, for the devastation…

“This is America, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia! They are funding those people to do those explosions!”

… In December 2011, when car bombs began hitting government security buildings — and killing civilians nearby — government supporters and opponents alike viewed the explosions as an ominous turn in the conflict.

Until then, the fighting had largely pitted rebels with small arms and roadside bombs against the army and security forces. But suddenly, the Syrian capital was witnessing scenes reminiscent of the Iraqi insurgency. Checkpoints and blast walls went up everywhere

…Now, the Nusra Front has become a major force on the battlefield, leading other rebel groups in more conventional fights. That poses a quandary for the United States, which supports the opposition but rejects the Nusra Front and accuses it of ties to Al Qaeda.

The bombs have killed Syrians of all sects and views

Now, in wrapping up, from the ‘Cradle of the Arab Spring’…

Tunisia Now Exporting “Jihadis”

…Families here told IPS that they have no way of contacting their sons once they leave — whether by choice or coercion they will never know — for the warring nation nearly 3,000 miles away. At most, family members receive an inaudible telephone call from Libya, where the soon-to-be militants are trained, the muffled voice on the other end of the line saying a quiet and final goodbye.

After that point, no news is good news. If they are contacted again, it will only be an anonymous caller announcing the death of a son, brother or husband, adding that the family should be proud of their martyred loved one…

…But beneath the moderate veneer, a strong ultra-conservative undercurrent remained, steered by Salafist-controlled mosques – like Fath, Ennassr, Ettadhamen, and the great mosque of Ben Arous located on the outskirts of Tunis – that are now serving as headquarters for the smuggling of fighters.

The imams of these mosques often hail from the Gulf and are skilled at convincing young men – who run the gamut from poor, uneducated Tunisians, to wealthy professionals — that they must “help their Syrian brothers” in the “jihad” against Assad.

Charity organisations like Karama wa Horrya, Arrahma, Horrya wa Insaf, which provide basic humanitarian assistance to the poor, also play a role in this network that gathers able-bodied Tunisians, transports them to Libya and then, after a brief stop in Turkey, sends them onwards to the frontlines of the Syrian war such as the north-western border with Lebanon, and the city of Aleppo.

Young fighters’ first point of contact in Syria is with the Jabhat al Nusra (meaning the ‘Support Front for the People of Syria’), considered the most aggressively militant arm of the FSA…

One final, must-read from Chris Hedges… When War Hawks Become Human Rights Officials…

Good Gawd, y’all…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

UN Report: Gaza Blockade Legal, IDF Used Excessive Force

6:31 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Sorry, my Grandson’s birth has kept me distracted from blogging on the I/P…

Today, the Grey Lady leaked the Palmer Report a day early. From the Guardian…

UN investigation backs Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza

Report backs Israel’s right to defend itself but says assault on pro-Palestinian flotilla was ‘excessive and unreasonable’

A United Nations investigation has backed Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza as legal but said its military assault on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists last year, in which nine Turks were killed, was “excessive and unreasonable”.

The report notes that Israel has not satisfactorily explained how it is that most of the dead were shot multiple times, including in the back, and at close range. But it also said the organisers of the flotilla acted “recklessly” in attempting to breach the blockade.

The report is expected to be released on Friday after months of delay because of a dispute between Israel and Turkey over its contents and Ankara’s demand for an apology from Israel for the deaths of its citizens…

I will say that a UN report that states something is legal, does not make it necessarily so. Let’s put it before the World Court at The Hague. They’ve already taken a dim view on the earlier West Bank Barrier Wall…

Now, my favorite Knesset Member gave a great response to the Palmer report…

MK Zoabi: Try Israel’s leaders over flotilla raid

Arab politician unimpressed by UN report on flotilla incident, insists Gaza blockade illegal

“Those who sent the army to stop the flotilla should be persecuted and brought before international tribunals,” Zoabi said. “Breaching the blockade is the moral, political and humane obligation of anyone who believes people must not remain silent over the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Yes, let’s put Bibi and Barak in the Docket…!

Here is a great Legal Analysis on the Gaza Blockade…

Today, Al Jazeera published a great look at all the legalese behind the Pro and Cons on the Palestinian Statehood bid… Palestinian statehood opinion causes uproar.

And continuing with the legalese, Philip Giraldi, had also published an explosive report today… Israel Wages Lawfare Against Gaza Flotilla…

…Amid all the sound and fury, it is important to recall that none of the vessels involved in the 2010 flotilla incident ever reached either Israeli or Gazan territory. They were intercepted in international waters. At that point, the passengers and crews had done absolutely nothing, illegal or otherwise. When the boats were hauled into the port of Ashdod, no weapons were found on any vessel.

Defining the flotilla’s organizers as terrorism supporters is a cheap trick, but if it passes muster in Israel, all it takes is an American judge or prosecutor to buy into the argument and bring about an indictment of any American citizen who tries to break Israel’s Gaza blockade. Eric Holder would hardly object, and it is not unimaginable that the Justice Department would make criticism of Israel de facto and de jure a crime in the United States. Could the accused be convicted in an American court “of terrorism support” given that they had done nothing illegal, particularly in light of their First Amendment rights? Maybe not, but stranger things have happened in the past 10 years. Since lawfare as practiced by Shurat HaDin is little more than an instrument to intimidate and threaten, dragging flotilla participants into court and forcing them to pay for lawyers will be seen as a victory. More disturbing than the actions of obvious Israeli partisans like Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is the willingness of the Obama administration to go along with the charade and the enthusiasm of Republican governor and presidential wannabe Rick Perry to join in. When the U.S. criminal justice system falls in line and plays the Israeli game, we will all be in trouble.

It is spooky what is afoot…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

A First Look at The Palestine Papers…

1:21 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As a former Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) from 2004 to 2006, who coordinated CIA activities in Iraq from 2002 to 2004 as the Iraq Mission Manager, and was the CIA Chief of Station in Islamabad, Pakistan before and after the 9/11 attacks. Earlier, he was the deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, and also served as the CIA’s chief of operational training, Al Jazeera’s Robert Grenier, had this to say about the Palestine Papers…

All of us approach this record burdened with our own backgrounds and experiences. I assess them as an American, and as a former government practitioner. As an American, the reaction I draw, frankly, is one of shame. My government has consistently followed the path of least resistance and of short-term political expediency, at the cost of decency, justice, and our clear, long-term interests. More pointedly, The Palestine Papers reveal us to have alternatively demanded and encouraged the Palestinian participants to take disproportionate risks for a negotiated settlement, and then to have refused to extend ourselves to help them achieve it, leaving them exposed and vulnerable. The Palestine Papers, in my view, further document an American legacy of ignominy in Palestine.

As a government practitioner, my reaction is one of empathy for the Palestinian fellow-practitioners whose record and whose impressions these pages reflect. I know well that to achieve anything in public affairs, one will always in the end be compromised to some extent. It is easy for the observers, for the armchair analysts, to criticize; but my sympathies lie with those who enter the ring, who fight and who risk failure for what they believe.

The Palestinian leadership will surely face criticism for what The Palestine Papers reveal. Some will be merited; some not. The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over, that the history of the peace process is one of abject failure for all concerned. The Palestinian participants, having lost the most, will likely suffer most. But I can only come away with the passionately-held belief that these people deserved better.

They do deserve so much better…!

The pizza pie analogy has been the most apt descriptor…

All the while the Israelis have been ‘negotiating’, they’ve been devouring the pie…! 8-(

I’ll have much more later on this bombshell, as I absorb the material…

Here’s the Guardian’s coverage, and, Al Jazeera’s…

Pass the popcorn…!

by CTuttle

WikiLeaks: The Guardian Smears Al Jazeera Then Apologizes

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Our professional ‘Diplomats’ have no ‘earthly idea’ what’s really going on in their respective countries…!

One only has to look at who was writing the ‘cable’, and, whom was the recipient of said cable…! Something I’d mentioned before…

Anyways, I was seriously disappointed when I read last night’s Guardian wikileak ‘revelation’…

WikiLeaks cables claim al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy

US embassy memos contradict Arabic satellite channel’s insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidised by Gulf state…

…a cable written in November 2009 predicted that the station could be used “as a bargaining tool to repair relationships with other countries, particularly those soured by al-Jazeera’s broadcasts, including the United States” over the next three years. [...]

In February, the US embassy reported to Washington how “relations [between Qatar and Saudi Arabia] are generally improving after Qatar toned down criticism of the Saudi royal family on al-Jazeera”. In July 2009, the US embassy said the channel “has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters”. [...]

In a clear example of the regional news channel being exploited for political ends, the Doha embassy claimed Sheikh Hamad (HBJ) told the US senator John Kerry that he had proposed a bargain with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, which involved stopping broadcasts in Egypt in exchange for a change in Cairo’s position on Israel-Palestinian negotiations.

“HBJ had told Mubarak ‘we would stop al-Jazeera for a year’ if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a lasting settlement for the Palestinians,” according to a confidential cable from the US embassy in Doha in February. “Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.”

Al Jazeera promptly rejected that nonsense, as it should…

Al Jazeera rejects leaked US claims

Al Jazeera says the leaked US cables about the network are very far from the truth.

Al Jazeera has dismissed the claims made in the leaked US cables that the state of Qatar is using the news network as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions.

Al Jazeera said the claims, which were published by the Guardian newspaper, on Sunday were far from the truth.

This is the US embassy’s assessment, and it is very far from the truth. Despite all the pressure Al Jazeera has been subjected to by regional and international governments, it has never changed its bold editorial policies which remain guided by the principles of a free press.” said Al Jazeera in response on Sunday.

Btw, I’ll take Al Jazeera’s journalistic integrity over the Guardian’s any day! Although, I’d rate them both above our own Fawning Corporate Media here…!

So today, the Guardian issued this Mea Culpa…

Al-Jazeera is not the poodle of the Qatari emir

As a former reporter for the Qatar-based channel, I never saw evidence of US embassy claims that it is ‘leaned on’

We are becoming used to WikiLeaks reports of cables from US diplomats being immediately accepted as factual statements, rather than opinion based on encounters – the latest being the leaked communiqués from the US ambassador to Qatar, Joseph LeBaron.

The ambassador claimed that Qatar-based satellite channel al-Jazeera was being used “as a bargaining tool to repair relationships with other countries, particularly those soured by al-Jazeera’s broadcasts, including the United States”, and based his opinion on what he had been told by Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who said: “Al-Jazeera’s ability to influence public opinion is a substantial source of leverage for Qatar, one which it is unlikely to relinquish.

Bully on you, the Guardian…!

Btw, Al Jazeera put Qatar on the map…!