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Commentary

Imperial Arrogance and Hypocrisy

 Imperial Arrogance and Hypocrisy - by Stephen Lendman

 

Washington supports a UN seat for the illegitimate Transitional National Council (TNC) Libyan government.

 

Obama vows to veto a Palestinian bid for statehood and full de jure UN membership.

 

Imperial America's wrong over right agenda takes center stage across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

 

Death, destruction, and immiseration take precedence over rule of law principles and norms.

 

It's no different at home where political leaders favor wealth and power interests over working households, struggling to cope during America's greatest Depression.

 

Imperial arrogance and hypocrisy define Washington's contempt for human and civil rights, as well as other core democratic values. Almost daily it reaches for new heights.

 

On September 16, New York Times writer Neil MacFarquhar headlined, "UN Takes Steps to Assist Libya's Transitional Leaders," saying:

 

The "Security Council lift(ed) some economic sanctions and the General Assembly accept(ed) the credentials of the (Illegitimate) transitional government to represent Libya in the world body."

 

Reuters said Washington "welcome(d the) vote. Vow(ed) to be 'friend' of Libya."

 

UN ambassador Susan Rice said Tripoli will have "a friend and partner in the United States. The Libyan people still have much more work to do, but they also have the full knowledge that the international community, including the United States, stands ready to help their transition towards democracy, prosperity, and the rule of law."

 

In fact, Washington plans colonization, occupation, plunder, and exploitation. Libya is now wholly owned by America and its imperial partners. 

 

Democracy, rule of law principles, and general prosperity won't be tolerated.  Only favored elitist interests will benefit. That's what all wars are about, not freedom and a new beginning for liberated people.

 

Seventeen countries voted against UN membership. Venezuela's UN Ambassador, Jorge Valero, perhaps spoke for others, saying:

 

Caracas rejects the "illegitimate transitory authority imposed by foreign intervention" and any attempt to make Libya a NATO or Security Council "protectorate."

 

It's already a colony to be brutally exploited like wherever imperial America shows up.

 

Cuban UN Ambassador Pedro Nunez Mosquera said NATO conducted "a military operation to change the regime to promote their political and economic interests." 

 

On September 20, Obama will welcome TNC head Mustafa Jalil in New York at the UN. He'll also meet there with other imperial partners to discuss how to carve up their new trophy property.

 

White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes describes it as "US support (for) the type of Libya we'd like to see going forward."

 

He barely concealed what he means, calling Libya a "success" story. Millions now suffering there might disagree. For them, in fact, the worst is yet to come.

 

A previous article discussed planned peacekeeper occupation of Libya, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/09/planned-peacekeeper-occupation-of-libya.html

 

On September 16, the Security Council authorized a "UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)," without explaining its another illegal imperial occupation against the wishes of Libyans wanting freedom, peace, and right to govern their own affairs. 

 

Instead they'll get paramilitary brutality, mass rapes, and sex trafficking, as well as other atrocities and crimes against humanity. 

 

They're commonplace wherever Blue Helmets show up. They come as enforcers, not peacekeepers. They serve powerful interests, not those of people they're sworn to protect.

 

Libyans will soon taste what 16 other countries endure, including DRC Congo, Sudan, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Haiti where local people hate them and want them out. However, they have no say or rights. Their choice is obey or else.

 

Libya v. Palestine

 

Partnered with Israel, Washington won't tolerate Palestinian statehood and full UN membership. Note the contrast. TNC-led Libya has no legitimacy. Yet it easily got UN membership.

 

Palestinians have waited 63 years for their legitimate rights. 

 

Maybe next time, not now, because Obama and Netanyahu won't tolerate them. Neither does Abbas who signaled capitulation in a September 16 speech.

 

New York Times writers Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner weren't listening. It shows in their September 16 article headlined, "Palestinians Set Bid for UN Seat, Clashing with UN," saying:

 

Abbas "announced Friday that he would seek membership for a state of Palestine from the (Security Council) next week, putting him on a collision course with Israel and the United States...."

 

Fact check

 

The only "collision" will be Arab street anger after America's veto, even though doing so has no teeth. The General Assembly alone admits new members. The Security Council only recommends. 

 

A previous article said Abbas won't petition the General Assembly, or if he does, it'll be for less than full rights within easy reach. In other words, he'll settle for half a loaf status quo, leaving Palestinians back at square one.

 

Yet both Times writers called Abbas' plan "a double defeat for the United States. Washington not only failed to dissuade (him) from a unilateral bid for statehood, but also fell short of its goal of" preventing an easy to pass "symbolic" General Assembly vote.

 

Fact check

 

As explained above, if properly done, General Assembly membership votes are decisive, not "symbolic." 

 

"The United States has struggled to place itself on the side of those seeking justice and freedom in the current revolts....A veto of Palestinian membership would intensify Arab perceptions of American double standards."

 

Fact check

 

Ask Bahrainis about Washington's "struggle" for "justice and freedom." Ask Yemenis being bombed by US drones. Ask Libyans enduring months of daily terror bombings and cutthroat mercenaries murdering anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi.

 

Ask starving Somalis being attacked by US proxies and tortured in secret US prisons. Ask Iraqis and Afghans how they feel about Americans in their midst. Ask anyone anywhere when US forces show up. They'll explain. 

 

Bronner and Kershner are paid to lie and support powerful interests, not popular ones or rule of law standards.

 

Netanyahu - a Profile in Brazen Defiance

 

Haaretz writer Doron Rosenblum accused Netanyahu of "running Israel aground," saying:

 

He devoted his tenure "to riding roughshod over every diplomatic finesse, to scattering threats, to provoking crises, to searching for anti-Semitism and to finding various bizarre excuses for continuing the annexationist status quo."

 

"Only when (he was) absolutely forced (did he) pay lip service to 'two states' and 'willingness to negotiate' - but with a lack of conviction that was worse than a direct refusal. For in doing so, (he) did not merely lose sympathy; he lost a much more important card: trust."

 

Rosenblum only stopped short of saying better trust a snake than a man known for never "having acted in good faith." 

 

On September 16, it showed by his rejection of Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the UN, saying:

 

"Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel," adding:

 

When the PA "abandon(s) its futile measures, firstly its unilateral decision to approach the UN, it will find Israel as a partner for negotiations and peace."

 

In fact, Israel only wants Palestinian leaders as an occupying power's enforcer. 

 

Israel never negotiates and won't tolerate peace. Netanyahu once called it "a waste of time." 

 

Washington backs whatever Israel wants, even when it harms its own interests. 

 

On September 6, US Israeli ambassador Daniel Shapiro said:

 

"The test of every policy the administration develops in the Middle East is whether it is consistent with the goal of ensuring Israel's future as a secure, Jewish, democratic state. That is a commitment that runs as a common thread through our entire government."

 

Israel, of course, never was democratic and isn't now. Any nation affording rights solely to one segment of society at the expense of others is discriminatory, repressive and unfair. 

 

Arabs comprise one-fifth of Israel's population, but are treated more like fifth column threats than citizens. 

 

America, of course, treats all working people as subjects to be exploited, not helped. It's true at home and abroad. Israel modeled its economy after America's, adopting the worst of its neoliberal harshness. 

 

Both nations are partnered in an imperial enterprise to subjugate people throughout the Middle East/North Africa/Central Asia. America and its NATO allies plan the same thing globally, waging multiple wars to do it. 

 

Freedom, independence, and democratic rights are notions none of these countries tolerate. Ask suffering millions. They'll explain.

 

Taking Aim at Abbas

 

As explained above, Abbas signaled capitulation in his September 16 speech, again revealing his collaborationist credentials. 

 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad denounced his speech.

 

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused him of "unilateral moves" by acting without consulting Palestine's legitimate government and other factions.

 

Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab said his objective is reopening negotiations with Israel, not independence and UN membership. 

 

He added that Abbas should focus on implementing his May unity government agreement, now sidetracked at Washington and Israel's behest. They, in fact, want Hamas isolated, not allied with Fatah to serve all Palestinians.

 

Reuters said Quartet members will meet in New York on September 18 in a last-ditch effort to derail a showdown over Palestinian statehood and UN membership.

 

They want resumption of bilateral Israeli/Palestinian negotiations going nowhere and won't now. At issue is preventing Abbas from petitioning the UN, no matter how little he'll settle for. 

 

In a word, they want Palestinians subjugated under permanent occupation with no rights. Obama and Netanyahu call it "peace." 

 

Others call it bondage. Abbas calls it the best he can get. 

 

Palestinians may finally realize they need leaders representing them, no matter what they sacrifice to do it.

 

Freedom never comes easily or quickly. It never comes at all without trying under committed leaders doing what they know is right.

 

Freedom next time isn't good enough. Tomorrow never comes.

 

Palestinian statehood and full UN membership - now's the time.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Abbas Speech Signals Capitulation

 Abbas Speech Signals Capitulation - by Stephen Lendman

 

Without saying it, he left little doubt how he'll petition the UN on September 23.

 

Speaking on television from Ramallah, he said:

 

"We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization."

 

"We are going to the Security Council." He must. It's procedure, but a US veto is toothless as only the General Assembly admits new members. The Security Council only recommends.

 

"As for other options, we have not yet taken a decision on them."

 

In effect, he suggested he won't petition the General Assembly after a certain Security Council veto, or if he does it'll be for less than full rights. As a result, he'll capitulate when victory is within easy reach.

 

He also wants Palestine recognized within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its capital.

 

Most important, he said he can't guarantee success. As a result, he tipped his hand. 

 

He revealed his collaborationist intentions, suggesting he'll accept less than what Palestinians waited decades for and deserve - statehood and full de jure UN membership they won't get as long as Abbas or collaborationists like him have power.

 

Since the late 1980s, PLO officials knew exactly how to petition properly for full rights. Abbas and those around him know.

 

On September 23, when the moment of truth arrives, he'll take the low road, not the high, effectively capitulating to Washington and Israel.

 

A previous article said the fix is in. Indeed so. What'll emerge will be called victory. In fact, it'll be defeat - a worthless half loaf, not what's within reach. Better he stay home instead of showing up for betrayal.

 

Yet disingenuous pieties claimed:

 

"What I will take to the UN will be the suffering and concerns of our people that have been taking place of 63 years living under the occupation."

 

Cooperation between Hamas and Fatah is a national duty, "even if we differ on some issues," adding that "there is nothing better than national unity between the West Bank and Gaza, and we will do everything we can to maintain this unity."

 

In fact, since January 2006, he collaborated with Israel and Washington to prevent it, leaving skeptics to wonder what he'll do now. They'll soon know it's not what Palestinians everywhere deserve.

 

Moreover, as president, he's worked against his own people, acting as Israel's enforcer. Expect no change after the UN session ends. 

 

Rhetoric is hollow when not backed up with deeds. That, defines Abbas since Oslo, collaborating with Israel for his own self-interest. As long as he's president, nothing will change. 

 

"After I speak to the UN General Assembly," he said, "I will submit our request to the Secretary-General, who will in turn submit it to the chairman of the Security Council."

 

Key, of course, is what's included or omitted, whether he'll also petition the General Assembly, and if so, for precisely what. He didn't explain beyond saying:

 

"We are going to the UN to demand our rights, and this does not undermine the PLO," the peace process, or Israeli interests. 

 

Undermining Palestinian interests matter most.

 

On September 16, New York Times writer Rick Gladstone headlined, "Abbas Says He Will Seek Palestinian State at the Security Council," saying:

 

His Ramallah speech "was the first time he has formally committed (to) seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council" next week.

 

Abbas didn't say but "speculation" hints he may take his "statehood application to the (General Assembly) where the United States has no veto power. But that alternative, which would almost certainly be approved, would not give the Palestinians full statehood rights they would get through approval from the Security Council."

 

Fact check

 

In recent weeks, other Times articles repeated the same lie, ignoring the only route to statehood and full membership. 

 

As explained above and in previous articles, only the General Assembly grants it. With more than enough support, statehood and full membership are there for the asking if proper procedures are followed. 

 

The Security Council is irrelevant, even though it votes. Vetoes can't derail membership unless Abbas capitulates after Washington acts. Apparently he will to say he tried and failed.

 

On September, Haaretz said Netanyahu changed his earlier hardline position, saying he'll accept a PA upgrade short of statehood and full membership.

 

In his General Assembly address, he'll stress only direct Israeli - Palestinian negotiations can achieve peace despite of decades of failure trying.

 

He also said "as long as (Palestine) is less than a state, I'm ready to talk about it."

 

Washington and regional envoy Tony Blair, however, have pressured EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to reject a French-Spanish initiative, calling for all 27 EU nations to support PA upgrading short of full membership and statehood.

 

In exchange, PA officials will agree, and won't file criminal charges against Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court (ICC). In other words, they'll accept capitulation and failure.

 

Abbas signaled it in Ramallah, defying his people in the process who deserve better.

 

A Final Comment

 

On September 16, the pro-Israeli International Christian (Zionist) Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) issued an anti-Palestinian statehood press release, calling it a "reckless and ill-conceived unilateral move," adding:

 

It's "clear that the PA has chosen a dangerous path for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and even more so given the volatile political climate in the region."

 

Claiming "Israel is fully prepared to discuss the very issues at stake directly....in good faith any time," it called PA actions "irresponsible."

 

Israeli, of course, discusses nothing in good faith ever. Nor does it negotiate. It demands.

 

ICEJ is an extremist evangelical organization committed to "giving comfort to Israel (and) be part of God's great purposes in bringing the Jews back to Israel," no matter the harm caused in the process and since they arrived.

 

As a result, it wants Palestinians to forego their rights and remain quiescent under occupation. After all, they're just Arabs.

 

Israel and Washington agree, threatening recrimination if they dare pursue their rights.

 

Sadly, Abbas was easily cowed to acquiesce. They didn't have to do much to remind him who's boss. 

 

Abbas knows his role and plays it for special benefits in return.

 

It doesn't matter how much harm he's caused for years and will again in New York next week.

 

Palestinian hopes and dreams will have to wait for next time. It's been their legacy for 63 years.

 

This time is especially painful with victory within easy grasp. It's coming but who can say when.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Planned Peacekeeper Occupation of Libya

 Planned Peacekeeper Occupation of Libya - by Stephen Lendman

 

The peacekeepers are coming! The peacekeepers are coming! War, mass killing and destruction continue, but they're coming!

 

In fact, paramilitaries are coming to kill and terrorize Libyans wanting liberation, not occupation. 

 

A blind eye won't notice mass rapes and sex trafficking, as well as other atrocities and crimes. They're commonplace, in fact, when Blue Helmets show up, operating as they please with impunity. More on that below.

 

Moreover, when they come they don't leave as long as imperial powers want them there. Citizens of occupied countries have no say nor any rights. Their choice is obey or else.

 

Libya's corpse belongs to NATO. It's now Libya, Inc. to be carved up for profit with paramilitaries deployed for enforcement.

 

Under the UN Charter, the Security Council may act to maintain international peace and security, including by deploying peacekeepers host countries request.

 

The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations then enlists member states to provide contingents once the Security Council approves.

 

In place, they're supposed to restore order, monitor the withdrawal of combatants, maintain peace and security, build confidence, enforce power-sharing agreements, provide electoral support, aid reconstruction, uphold the rule of law, facilitate economic and social development, help provide essential needs, and remain in place until government officials take over on their own.  

 

A previous article called them occupiers, serving power, not popular interests in Haiti, South Lebanon, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, DRC Congo, Sudan, Somalia, various other countries, and its initial UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) since 1948. 

 

Like elsewhere, it, too, failed to bring peace to Palestine. Yet it's still there, performing no active role. In fact, it opposes the interests of the people they're sworn to protect.

 

Since 1948, dozens of "peacekeeping" missions did more harm than good. At present, 16 Blue Helmet operations are deployed on four continents. They include:

  • UNMISS in South Sudan, beginning on July 9, 2011 after the country was balkanized as part of an imperial scheme to prevent African unity, and exploit its resources - mainly oil;

 

  • UNISFA in Sudan's Abysei region bordering the North and South, beginning on June 27, 2011;

 

  • MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo, replacing an earlier MONUC operation on July 1, 2010;

 

  • UNAMID in Darfur, beginning July 31, 2007;

 

  • UNOCI in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), beginning April 4, 2004;

 

  • UNMIL in Liberia, beginning September 19, 2003;

 

  • MINURSO in Western Sahara since 1991;

 

  • UNMIT in Timor-Leste since 2006;

 

  • UNMOGIP Observer Group in India and Pakistan since 1949;

 

  • UNAMA (special political) Assistance Mission in Afghanistan since March 2011;

 

  • UNFICYP in Cyprus since 1964;

 

  • UNMIK in Kosovo since 1999;

 

  • UNDOF in Golan since 1974;

 

  • UNIFIL in Lebanon since 1978;

 

  • UNTSO in Palestine since 1948; and

 

  • MINUSTAH in Haiti since 2004 after US marines ousted democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

 

 

From inception, it had no legitimacy. In fact, it was the first time UN occupiers enforced coup d'etat authority against an elected president, instead of staying out or backing his right to return. 

 

MINUSTAH, in fact, symbolizes the sham hypocrisy of all Blue Helmet missions and why occupied people deplore them.

 

UNIFIL in Lebanon never established peace and security. It did little more than take up space or get out of the way when Israel attacked.

 

UNMIK in Kosovo hid the grim reality of NATO terror bombing, mass killing, destruction, and balkanization of Serbia. 

 

In fact, it collaborated with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) thugs, its leader Hashim Thaci, and their connection to organized crime. In January 2008, Thaci, in fact, became Kosovo's illegitimate prime minister, a gangster running a rogue state.

 

MONUSCO in Congo never brought peace and security. It facilitated the plunder of Africa's most resource-rich country. It did nothing to stop the immiseration of millions, nor was it deployed to do so.

 

Credible reports, in fact, linked Blue Helmet forces with mass rapes and other atrocities.

 

The same ugly story repeats wherever Blue Helmets show up. In December 2004, London Times reports suggested UN staffers committed 150 or more sex crimes, including selling pornographic videos and photos, images of their handiwork.

 

Congolese women and girls were raped. Congo's Minister of Defense, Major General Jean Pierre Ondekane, said peacekeepers in Kisangani would be remembered "for running after little girls," not doing their job.

 

Two or more UN officials left after impregnating local women. In fact, sex trafficking, abuse and rape are commonplace wherever Blue Helmets are deployed. 

 

They have power. Occupied people don't. Who'll stop them no matter what they do. They take full advantage, terrorizing local people with impunity.

 

On November 5, 2009, the London Independent published Bradley Klapper's AP report headlined, "Fifty UN peacekeepers punished for sex abuses," saying:

 

At least 50 were involved in "committing sexual abuses (and exploitation) on United Nations missions since 2007, the UN said today."

 

On February 10, 2009, New York Times writer Neil MacFarquhar headlined, "In Peacekeeping, a Muddling of the Mission," saying:

 

Besides earlier failures, "the most noticeable (recent ones include) the inability of troops in Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan to stop the violence that is killing civilians."

 

In Congo, for example, Blue Helmets near an area where 150 people were killed, "did not intervene," citing reasons without credibility.

 

On September 7, 2011, MacFarquhar headlined, "Peacekeepers' Sex Scandals Linger, On Screen and Off," saying:

 

UN missions have a notorious history of "sex scandals from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haiti....forc(ing) the United Nations to change the way it handles accusations of trafficking, rape and related crimes."

 

This week, in fact, hundreds of angry Haitians demanded MINUSTAH forces leave after troops raped a  teenage male.

 

Human rights experts and others accuse the UN of coverup and denial instead of strong disciplinary action against offenders.

 

In January 2009, Save the Children reported Blue Helmet abuses. They included trading food for sex with girls as young as eight in Liberia. Similar practices are common in Burundi, Ivory Coast, East Timor, DR Congo, Cambodia, and Bosnia. Various other reports cite sex with young girls, rape and trafficking.

 

On July 16, 2009, IPS writer Marina Litvinsky headlined, "Rape by Regular Army a Growing Problem, HRW (Human Rights Watch) Says," stating:

 

In DR Congo alone, "tens of thousands of women and girls have suffered horrific acts of sexual violence at the hands of the government army," according to a new report, titled "Soldiers Who Rape, Commanders Who Condone: Sexual Violence and Military Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo." 

 

Little is done to stop it or hold culpable peacekeepers accountable. As a result, Congolese women and girls are ravaged with impunity. So are others most everywhere peacekeepers show up.

 

As a result, people live in constant fear that forces allegedly sent to help them will inflict harm.

 

In September 2009, Kathleen M. Jennings and Vesna Nikolic-Rstanovic prepared the MICROCON (Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict) Research Working Paper 17, titled, "UN Peacekeeping Economies and Local Sex Industries: Connections and Implications."

 

Examining Blue Helmet missions in Bosnia, Kosovo,  Liberia, and Haiti, the paper examined "the interplay between the peacekeeping economy and the sex industry, including domestic sex work, trafficking for sexual exploitation, and sex tourism."

 

Despite UN "zero tolerance," officials haven't stopped decades of serious abuses. According to MICROCON: 

 

It "suggests that the existence and potential long-term perpetuation of a highly gendered peacekeeping economy threatens to undermine, if not actively contradict, the goals and objectives to gender roles and relations that are generally an implicit or explicit component of most contemporary peace operations."

 

In fact, sex trafficking and exploitation is wide-ranging, including slavery and prostitution. The UN calls it "transactional sex," involving peacekeepers. 

 

In countries like Bosnia and Kosovo, "domestic sex work and sex trafficking have become a seemingly permanent part of the" economy. Their peacekeeping missions affect both supply and demand. They "effectively creat(e) avenues (for) trafficking of women for sexual exploitation into/through these areas."

 

Organized crime also gets involved. The prevalence of rape and sex slavery increases. Women and young girls are brutally exploited, and "documented cases of UN soldiers (show) that, far from helping the victims," they become clients or otherwise are implicated in the trade.

 

Former prisoners said they saw girls forced into UN vehicles and driven away. International military and civilian personnel are directly involved in the sex industry, including trafficking.

 

A 2002 Turin Conference on Trafficking, Slavery and Peacekeeping report said "peacekeepers are often part of the problem." Connected to organized crime, it's well known that human trafficking provides "an important revenue source."

 

UN "zero tolerance" is more rhetoric than policy. Wherever they're deployed, peacekeepers serve power, not populations they're mandated to protect.

 

Libya Soon to Be Occupied 

 

Libyans will now experience what other UN occupied countries fear. They already live through daily hell as war rages. Insurgents are murdering anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi. Black African guest workers are especially vulnerable.

 

On September 15, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Philip Gordon, gloated about another imperial trophy, saying:

 

The Libya operation is "in many ways a model on how the United States can lead the way that allows allows allies to support." 

 

"What is new about Libya is the approach that the United States would do an initial phase that only the United States could do, and then that Europeans were playing a leading role in certain aspects."

 

In fact, Pentagon commanders are fully in charge. US forces continue playing a leading role without publicly "taking center stage." In all wars involving America, it leads, never follows, or plays back seat to any other nation.

 

No matter who's out in front publicly, Washington's fully in charge. It didn't matter that Cameron and Sarkozy showed up in Tripoli yesterday, not Obama. He did his gloating at home.

 

The British and French leaders did theirs at a press conference with National Transitional Council (NTC) puppet head Mustafa Jabril, a figurehead stooge for Washington.

 

Given continuing violence in the capital, they didn't stay long. Heavy security also accompanied their arrival and departure. NTC officials said they'll stay in Benghazi until NATO's campaign ends. 

 

However, it may not be over when it's over. Divisions in the ranks of victors are emerging. Islamist leaders openly criticize Jabril. AP reported that Tripoli military council spokesman Anes Sharif called for his resignation, saying:

 

"He's been living for the last six months outside the country. He is appointing people depending on their loyalty to him, not depending on their worth and their activities in the revolution. We think he's a project for a new dictator."

 

Muslim cleric Ali al-Sallabi made similar comments. So have others. On August 30, New York Times writers David Kirkpatrick and Rod Norland headlined, "Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum," saying:

 

"There are growing hints of rivalry among the various brigades over who deserves credit for 'liberating' the city and the influence it might bring."

 

Open divisions within rebel leadership ranks emerged, "but also between secularists and Islamists."

 

Internal power struggles "illustrate the challenge a new provisional government will face in trying to unify Libya's fractious political landscape."

 

Given considerable tribal influence, greater fissures may emerge for something much different than what Washington has in mind, and for sure ordinary Libyans who yearn for former peace and stability under Gaddafi. 

 

Moreover, Islamists and secularists have conflicting visions of a new Libya. Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Al Qaeda leader/now CIA asset heading rebel forces in Tripoli, openly criticized Jabril. A close aid said he'll "be gone soon."

 

Ali Sallabi, Etilaf head, an Islamist umbrella group, called for his resignation, accusing him and other NTC officials of planned profiteering and "a new era of tyranny and dictatorship."

 

On September 14, Times writers Kirkpatrick and Norland headlined, "Islamists Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya," saying:

 

At issue is "the ultimate character of the government and society that will rise in place of (Gaddafi)." 

 

Likely conflict-producing power struggles may prove more troublesome than whether secularists or Islamists prevail. In various countries, Washington has allies in both camps. At issue only is if they're client or independent states. Gaddafi's "sin" was the latter.

 

Whoever finally takes charge, protracted conflict will continue after NATO declares victory and stops bombing.

 

So far it continues unabated. According to Cameron, "We must keep up with the NATO mission until civilians are all protected and this work is finished."

 

Given the massive death and injury toll, there may not be many left or a Libya fit to live in when terror bombing and rebel rampaging ends.

 

Nonetheless, Sarkozy said, "We have done what we did because we thought it was the right thing to do."

 

They committed grievous crimes of war and against humanity. It's ongoing serial killing on an industrial scale.

 

It won't stop across the region soon. According to General Carter Ham, AFRICOM commander, new campaigns ahead are planned to control all Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. 

 

As a result, expect NATO's killing machine to select new countries to destroy as part of its "responsibility to protect humanitarian mission."

 

In fact, it's to colonize and exploit the entire area, carving it up for profit. 

 

Like Afghans and Iraqis, Libyans know what happens when NATO shows up. At least, those still alive can explain it.

 

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

 

Also 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's Rocky Road to Statehood

 Palestine's Rocky Road to Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Some roads prove too rocky to traverse, especially when opposition against the real thing comes from alleged supportive allies.

 

The worst of all enemies often are traitors to a just cause. That in a word sums up Palestine's dilemma as loyalists count down to September's General Assembly meeting next week. 

 

The 11th hour. The moment of truth, looking more like disappointment, shame and betrayal. 

 

In other words, again Palestinians face what they've endured for decades, despite millions of global supporters, including most or perhaps the entire Arab street.

 

What do Palestinians want and deserve? In a word: justice.

 

They want sovereign statehood - no ifs, ands, buts or maybe next time.

 

They want it comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem - 22% of historic Palestine, not parts only in isolated pieces.

 

They want control over their shoreline and air space. 

 

They want fixed borders and unfragmented territorial integrity, not isolated cantons on worthless scrub land constituting no state at all.

 

They want Israel's illegal occupation ended.

 

They want unauthorized incursions on their land called naked aggression.

 

They want international law provisions enforced, including UN Charter Chapter VII, Article 51, saying nations may attack another only in self-defense. Even then, it's only until the Security Council acts as the final arbiter on matters of international peace and security.

 

They want freedom over their own lives.

 

They want decades of Israeli state terror ended.

 

They want no more of their land stolen.

 

They want access to every international convention and institution able to help them.

 

They want diaspora refugees freely able to return as codified in international law.

 

On December 11, 1948, UN Resolution 194 "(r)esolve(d) that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation (paid by responsible governments or authorities) should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return...."

 

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

 

"Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

 

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his (or her) own, and to return to his (or her) country."

 

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states:

 

"No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his (or her) own country."

 

In short, they want and deserve the same rights as all citizens. Sadly, too few have them, but no one anywhere should quit struggling for what's right, especially those long-suffering and denied.

 

Victories Take Sustained Commitment

 

Great victories aren't won by the timid. Only those committed to stay the course may succeed. They're also the most deserving because they put their bodies where their hopes and dreams lie. 

 

They're willing to stake it all for a just cause. They're willing to settle for only what new generations may enjoy. That's commitment. 

 

Palestinians have it, but not their collaborationist officials, planning to sell them out in New York, despite duplicitous rhetoric to the contrary.

 

On September 15, reiterating his "no retreat" vow on full UN membership, Abbas said:

 

"Going to the United Nations to request full membership for Palestine in the international organization is an inevitable thing and there is no retreat from it."

 

"Despite the pressures exercised on us, Palestine will go to" New York on September 23 "to request full membership."

 

Heavy US/EU/Israeli pressure haven't stopped demanding he give it up. Washington, in fact, vowed not to stop trying. According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:

 

"We want to leave no stone unturned in our effort to get these parties back to the table," where Israel holds all the aces. Palestinians have none, the way it's always been.

 

Nonetheless, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (notoriously pro-Israeli like Obama and his handpicked envoys) said:

 

"The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the two parties, and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York."

 

Earlier she called destroying Libya and NATO's genocidal rape "liberation." 

 

She backs the worst of Israeli crimes of war and against humanity. She deplores the idea of Palestinians having any say over their own affairs. She feels the same way about Americans, as does Obama.

 

He called Palestinians petitioning the UN a "distraction," adding:

 

"What happens in New York can occupy a lot of press attention but is not going to change, actually, what is happening on the ground until the Israelis and Palestinians sit down."

 

He's saying Washington and Israel will deny independent Palestine a moment of peace and security, threatening its right to exist.

 

Israel calls Palestinian statehood an attempt to isolate it and undermine its legitimacy. It'll say or do anything to get its way. So will America and its deceitful EU partners. They're enemies of independence and freedom as is Israel.

 

Its extremist ultranationalist Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, raged about the prospect, warning "harsh and grave consequences" will follow any attempt by Palestine to petition the UN for what's right.

 

Stopping short of revealing specifics, he said:

 

"The moment has not yet come to give details of what will happen. What I can say with the greatest confidence is that from the moment they pass a unilateral decision there will be harsh and grave consequences." 

 

"I hope that we shall not come to (that point), and that common sense will prevail in all decisions taken in order to allow co-existence and progress with negotiation."

 

Spoken like true despot, he also accused Palestinians of planning an "unprecedented bloodbath" after the UN acts.

 

With racist hatemongers like Lieberman and Netanyahu in high places, anything ahead is possible. Both symbolize the worst of Israeli state terror, directed against Arabs for not being Jewish.

 

On September 15, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy headlined, "Israel does not want a Palestinian state. Period," saying:

 

It has no "single persuasive argument against" one. Neither does Washington or pro-Israeli EU partners.

 

"Next week will be Israel's moment of truth, or more precisely the moment in which its deception will be revealed."

 

Its position is wholly without merit. In fact, its entirely self-serving and underhanded, forgetting that the UN, in part, established Israel and other new nations since 1945. 

 

Moreover, it's the only way to create Palestinian statehood, what neither Israel or Palestine can do on their own. Nor Washington.

 

Notably, Oslo promised final status talks in five years. It didn't happen and won't in 50 or 500 if left up to Israel.

 

Every Israeli excuse turned up empty, leaving disturbing naked truths exposed. They're plain as day now to see.

 

As a result, Palestinians have "three options, not four: to surrender unconditionally (and stay occupied); to launch a third intifada; or to mobilize the world on their behalf."

 

They chose the third and got most of it. Israel has no leg to stand on, yet persists against what world public opinion calls the right thing at the right time.

 

"Yesterday, a coalition of Israeli peace organizations published a list of 50 reasons for Israel to support a Palestinian state."

 

In sum, they come down to backing what's lawful, principled, high-minded, righteous and timely.

 

On September 14, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined, "Palestinians Say a UN Gamble on Statehood Is Worth the Risks," saying:

 

"Going to the United Nations remains a high-stakes gambit for Mr. Abbas," adding that it's "far from clear what will happen when the Palestinians go to the United Nations next week to seek recognition of statehood."

 

Fact check

 

What's very clear is that status quo occupation is intolerable and unacceptable. 

 

That independence beside a rogue aggressor is better than living under its rules.

 

Moreover, anything improving their current lot advances true liberation for millions deserving it, even if getting it means waiting years or even decades longer.

 

Try finding any Times writer or op-ed contributor saying so.

 

Notably, its Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, stands out. On September 14, Max Blumenthal's Columbia Journalism Review article headlined, "Conflict in Israel? saying:

 

In charge since March 2008, Bronner "joined the speakers bureau of one of Israel's top public relations firms, Lone Star Communications," an organization with a pro-Israeli agenda.

 

It "arranges speaking dates for Bronner and takes 10 to 15 percent of his fee. At the same time, (it) pitches (him) stories."

 

His Times bosses see no conflict of interest. Why should they with their pro-Israeli agenda and refusal to hire on staff with views different from their own. Bronner fits the bill.

 

Combining journalism with "paid engagements from a firm that also pitches him stories" he reports is big time conflict of interest, especially one with a "clear ideological bent."

 

"Bronner faced an earlier controversy when his young son decided to serve in the Israeli military....(F)ormer Times editor Bill Keller strongly backed (him) and he weathered it." 

 

At first, however, he and Times editors declined comment. Foreign Editor Susan Chira said only that:

 

"Mr. Bronner's son is a young adult who makes his own decisions. At The Times, we have found Mr. Bronner's coverage to be scrupulously fair and we are confident that will continue to be the case."

 

Others disagree based on studies showing a history of Times misreporting on Israel/Palestine, besides on so much else. In fact, bias and distorted coverage defines how its correspondents and opinion writers do their job.

 

Calling it "scrupulously fair" is laughable on its face. It's also insulting to those affected.

 

A Final Comment

 

On September 23, Abbas will formally petition the UN for whatever he intends to propose. He'll address the General Assembly the same day.

 

So will Netanyahu after earlier saying Shimon Peres would represent him. Advisors warned him against it, saying not being there would show weakness and support what Palestinians want.

 

He claims he decided to go "to tell the truth before anyone who would like to hear it." In fact, he and truth are total strangers. He couldn't look it in the eye and see it.

 

Neither can Obama, those around him, and most in Congress, warning harsh measures if Palestinians pursue their rights.

 

"Make no mistake," said House Appropriations Committee member Steve Rothman (D. NJ), "I have no doubt that Congress will act swiftly and with an overwhelming majority to impose penalties...."

 

Besides cutting off funding, he may even have declaring war in mind. Why not with a legislative body packed with rogues. They're bipartisan criminals, backing imperial rampaging and wrecking America for their deep-pocketed funders. 

 

They also support whatever Israel wants, including the right to reign terror on Palestine.

 

"The PA has little to gain and much to lose," added Rothman. Most Americans, in fact, gained nothing and lost everything under Republican and Democrat scoundrels, sacrificing them for their own self-interest.

 

Homeland justice depends on committed grassroots activism. It's true as well for Palestinians. 

 

On September 23, Abbas plans to sell them out like so many previous times. Rothman and his bunch needn't worry. 

 

Americans are on their own. So are Palestinians.

 

The struggle for liberating justice here and there continues. 

 

With enough sustained commitment, maybe one day it'll show up. 

 

For Palestinians, however, not on September 23. Abbas didn't book it passage on his New York flight. 

 

Hopefully, he won't be warmly greeted when he returns. 

 

Many there hope he's gone and won't come back.

 

That would be a big step forward, especially if his number two, Salam Fayyad, leaves with him.

 

Great victories come a baby step at a time. 

 

Hopefully some are coming, but only people power ones matter most.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Face-Off: Palestine v. Washington/Israel on Statehood

 Face-Off: Palestine v. Washington/Israel on Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

With the moment of truth arriving next week, rhetoric from both sides suggests Palestinians again will lose out.

 

Instead of an advocate representing them in New York, a collaborationist apparently will show up. Public statements and body language say so.

 

What could at last be looks likely to be denied. Instead of a new beginning, betrayal appears in the cards. 

 

It's almost no exaggeration saying the fix is in. What'll finally emerge will be portrayed as a Palestinian win. In reality, it'll be defeat - a worthless half loaf in place of what's easily within reach.

 

With more than enough international support backed by international law at a time Israeli and US influence are weaker, a golden chance is slip-siding away.

 

The daily soap opera continues. Here's the latest.

 

On September 14, Haaretz writer Avi Issacharoff headlined, "Palestinians trying to dodge pre-UN vote face-off with Obama," saying:

 

"Next week, intense negotiations will be undertaken between the European Union, the PA and the American government regarding the specific formula of the request for Palestinian statehood recognition."

 

The "specific formula" says it all. Only an easily attainable one delivers statehood and full de jure UN membership. Anything less continues status quo betrayal.

 

Instead of going for it with overwhelming support, bet on Abbas petitioning only for reshuffling the deck chairs, leaving status quo denial in place.

 

Apparently he's less concerned about justice than embarrassing Washington, if Obama followed through with his threatened Security Council veto. Bet on it, and it won't be long before it's known.

 

On September 13, New York Times writers Steven Myers and David Kirkpatrick headlined, "US Scrambles to Avert Palestinian Vote at UN," saying:

 

Ahead of next week in New York, "maneuvering became an exercise in brinkmanship as the administration wrestles with roiling tensions in the region, including a sharp deterioration of relations between....Egypt, Israel and Turkey."

 

While Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Palestinian statehood "not a choice but an obligation," Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby said after meeting with PA officials:

 

"(I)t is obvious that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries are leaning towards going to the General Assembly" for a meaningless status upgrade from "observer entity" to "observer state," leaving them back at square one.

 

Even so, Obama, Hillary Clinton, regional envoy Tony Blair (a reinvented war criminal), EU representative Catherine Ashton, US Middle East envoy David Hale, and pro-Israeli hardliner Dennis Ross want Abbas to call the whole thing off. 

 

In their minds, even a fig leaf is too much. 

 

Only Israeli interests matter. Palestinians must accept their status as powerless occupied people and shut up.

 

"The administration has spent months trying to avoid" the embarrassment of a Security Council veto, even though under international law it's toothless. Only the General Assembly admits new members. The Security Council recommends. 

 

Both get their say on admissions. One body alone matters, and it's ready to do the right thing if proper procedures are followed.

 

Lots of times, Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat had their say more for Israel than Palestine. 

 

Erekat, in fact, signaled no change now, saying:

 

"We don't intend to confront the US, or anyone else for that matter (suggesting Israel and its EU allies)." 

 

The early 2011 released Palestine Papers revealed that policy position was longstanding, siding with Israel against his own people.

 

So did Abbas as chief Oslo negotiator where he sold them out entirely and did so ever since.

 

Expect no change of heart now. For him, Erekat and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, it would be entirely out of character. Leopards can't change their spots, nor snakes in the grass.

 

Nor Congress, threatening to cut off aid in the event of a UN vote, what most in it call a "confrontation," not long delayed justice.

 

The same Congress backs Obama's imperial wars, banker bailouts, austerity hardship for needy Americans, and repressive police state laws to slap them down if they complain.

 

The deck indeed is stacked, and unrepresented Palestinians hold no aces.

 

So hinted Jimmy Carter, America's 39th president and author of "Peace Not Apartheid."

 

His September 13 New York Times op-ed headlined, "After the UN Vote on Palestine," saying:

 

Camp David promises proved hollow. Despite overwhelming Knesset approval, "call(ing) for honoring all aspects of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967)," Israel systematically violated its provisions.

 

Key ones included denying "the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security."

 

Others mandated:

 

"(i) Withdrawal of Israel(i) armed forces from territories occupied in (1967);" and

 

"(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

 

In 1948, Palestinians lost 78% of their historic homeland. In 1967, they lost the rest. Camp David I, Madrid, Oslo, Oslo II, Wye River, Camp David II, Taba, and decades of peace process futility accomplished nothing.

 

Every post-Camp David I negotiation favored Israel. Palestinians' only choice was take it or leave it. Nothing's changed now. Carter knows it but didn't say. So do Palestinians and the Arab street with no power.

 

Carter did say Washington "basically withdr(ew) from active participation in the peace process. The Palestinians and other Arabs have interpreted US policy as acquiescing on the occupation and (being) biased against them."

 

Given what they're up against, "what are the options for the future?"

 

Instead of explaining the futility of peace process negotiations because Palestinians have no willing partner, Carter called for "comprehensive" efforts "based on the fully compatible US official policy, previous UN resolutions and the Quartet's previous demands."

 

In other words, he recommends another round of what won't work instead of suggesting what may, and saying US policy must back it. With enough (sorely lacking) commitment, Israel would have a hard time saying no, but don't bet it wouldn't try.

 

Yet Carter's vision calls for "peace for Israel and all its neighbors. The United States would regain its leadership role in the region, based on its commitment to freedom, democracy and justice, and a major cause of widespread animosity toward America within the Arab world would be eliminated."

 

Shamefully, Carter omitted mention of America's imperial wars. That the business of America is war. That permanent war is official policy.

 

That eroding homeland social justice pays for them. That repressive police state laws slap down resisters. 

 

That post-9/11, $10 trillion or more was spent on militarism with all categories included. 

 

That over the same period, millions of lives were lost. Many millions more were harmed, and killer weapons destroyed nonbelligerent countries lawlessly. 

 

Libya, of course, is Washington's latest trophy. Even so, death and destruction continue daily, turning the entire country into a hellish charnel house.

 

At home, unbridled greed, corruption, and imperial lawlessness define America.

 

Torture, extraordinary renditions, indefinite detentions without charge, military commissions, warrantless surveillance, and racial profiling are official policies. 

 

Special Forces death squads murder people globally who disagree with US policies. 

 

Decades of bad policies, including his own, have America on a fast track toward tyranny and ruin.

 

America's middle class is disappearing. Growing millions suffer from poverty, homelessness, hunger and despair. America's media don't notice, let alone care.

 

America partners with Israel's most lawless policies. Its leaders (including himself) support the worst of world despots and brutes. 

 

Democracy in America is a sham illusion. Whistleblowing and dissent can be called criminal.

 

Times op-eds alone won't change things, especially ones falling way short of the mark.

 

On October 1, Carter turn's 87. Arguably, his post-presidency is the best of the lot, though far from perfect.

 

At this stage in life, why not go all the way burnishing it. 

 

What better way than by forthrightly challenging US policies causing so much harm to so many, including permanent imperial wars and social injustice.

 

Then support Palestinian statehood and full de jure UN membership. At the same time, denounce Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, saying "harsh and grave consequences" will follow a UN vote.

 

That's the kind of legacy worth working for!

 

It's true for everyone, not just him!

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Israeli Police State Crackdowns Against Palestinians

 Targeting Lawyers: America v. Paul Bergrin - by Stephen Lendman

 

Post-9/11, thousands of political prisoners languish unjustly behind bars or await trial.

 

They include lawyers for challenging injustice, especially for defending the "wrong" clients after America declared war on humanity.

 

Longtime human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart got 10 years for doing it. In a recent interview she said:

 

"I believe I am one of an historical progression that maintains the struggle to change (America's) perverted landscape....It seems that being a political prisoner must be used as a means of focusing people's attention on the continuing atrocities around them....I might think I hadn't been doing my utmost if they didn't believe I was dangerous enough to be locked up!"

 

Explaining how outrageously prisoners are treated, she added:

 

"Human rights do not exist in prison....I see day-to-day brainwashing that teaches all prisoners that they are less than nothing and not worthy of even the least human or humane considerations."

 

It shows up in "adequate medical care, the appalling diet....no access to the Web....an absence of legal advice," and so much else "to keep us dumbed-down, docile and estranged."

 

"The outside world is oblivious....brainwashed into believing (everyone locked up is) less than human."

 

Inhumanity is official policy in America's gulag. It's by far the world's largest, and for many in it as brutal as some of the worst. A growing part includes filling prison beds for profit, many in them victimized by injustice.

 

Lynne's there for defending a client Bush officials wanted locked up for life - no matter his innocence.

 

Paul Bergrin now awaits his turn, behind bars ahead of his trial. A previous article discussed his case, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2009/12/targeting-lawyers-case-of-paul-bergrin.html 

 

It said the Sixth Amendment assures defendants in "all criminal prosecutions" the right to speedy, public, fair trials with "the Assistance of (competent) Counsel for his (or her) defense" provided free if unable to pay for it. 

 

The Fourteenth Amendment holds government subservient to the law and guarantees due process respect for everyone's legal right to judicial fairness on matters relating to life, liberty, or property.

 

In America and elsewhere, defending unpopular clients is a long, honored tradition. So is upholding the law and challenging unfettered power defiling it. Yet doing it risks lawyers being criminalized for doing their job too vigorously or making enemies in high places.

 

Before being targeted, Bergrin was a formidable advocate. The New Times Times called him a "top prosecutor" before becoming one of New Jersey's "most prominent defense lawyers representing clients as varied as Abu Ghraib defendants, the rap stars Lil' Kim and Queen Larifah, and members of Newark's notorious street gangs." 

 

They and others deserve the same legal rights as everyone, nothing less. So does Bergrin as an unjustly accused defendant, targeted for doing his job.

 

He defended US soldiers accused of killing four Iraqis near Samarra during Operation Iron Triangle in May 2006. The case made international headlines when evidence showed Col. Michael Steele gave orders to "kill all military age males."

 

It was no ordinary murder case. It involved government conspiracy, cover-up and intrigue against scapegoated soldiers to absolve higher-ups throughout the chain of command to the top.

 

As a result, four soldiers were convicted of conspiracy, murder, aggravated assault, or obstruction of justice for following orders. If disobeyed they'd have been court-martialed, dishonorably discharged, fined and imprisoned.

 

Guilt or innocence didn't matter. They never had a chance, and for using his formidable skills for them, neither perhaps does Paul. 

 

Obama officials want him crucified and locked away for life, turning justice into a four-letter word like for so many others targeted for political advantage.

 

Prosecutorial Charges

 

On May 20, 2009, a Department of Justice (DOJ) press released headlined "Newark Lawyer Arrested, Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Murder of a Federal Witness (along with) Three Others Also Arrested and Charged."

 

The 14-count indictment (now 33) accused him of "using various legal entities, including (his law office) to conduct illegal activities, including murder, to protect criminal clients, perpetuate their activities and shield them from prosecution."

 

Specifically cited was his alleged role in the "murder of a confidential witness in an Essex County (New Jersey) federal drug case, and his efforts to hire a hitman from Chicago to kill at least one witness in a Monmouth County drug case."

 

Bergrin was charged with "racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, murder of a federal witness, and conspiracy to murder a federal witness, and, separately, witnesses in a state case, as well as Travel Act violations and conspiracy to commit Travel Act violations."

 

If convicted of murder, racketeering and conspiracy, potentially he faces life in prison.

 

Bergrin v. Attack Journalism

 

On June 5, New York Magazine writer Mark Jacobson headlined, "The Baddest Lawyer in the History of Jersey," practically convicting him without trial by his title.

 

Naming some of Essex County's most notorious scoundrels, including Mafia boss Lucky Luciano, he called Bergrin a "strong candidate for addition to this list.... facing charges that are a good bet to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life."

 

In other words, he swallowed government accusations hook, line and sinker pre-trial, what legitimate journalism never should do. He accepted inflammatory charges as truth, no matter how implausible and bogus. 

 

American justice accuses innocent victims spuriously with crimes they didn't commit, including terrorism, conspiracy to commit it, and murder.

 

In Bergrin's case, Jacobson admitted that federal authorities hated him, without saying why. It was because of his skill and commitment to expose their crimes, the same ones ongoing daily in war theaters.

 

Anyone doing that for a living or pro bono will be targeted the same way. Authorities don't like effective thorns in their side, so stop at nothing to remove them. Innocence doesn't matter, only continuity of unchallenged crimes of war and against humanity with impunity. 

 

Bergrin knew it and wanted top chain of command officials exposed and prosecuted. As a result, he's behind bars facing possible life in prison.

 

Based on government charges and uncorroborated hearsay, Jacobson said he'd "gone rogue," crossed "that border between what was allowed and what was not..."

 

Yet he admitted that "(h)e knew the reality, how the deck was stacked, and was willing to fight fire with fire" for justice. "He went to war for you," said a former client. "That's why Paul was loved in the streets." They're aren't enough like him.

 

The deck is so stacked against him that former counsel Lawrence Lustberg believes it's impossible he can get a fair trial in this environment. Attack journalism, of course, doesn't help.

 

ABA (American Bar Association) Journal contributor, Martha Neil, discussed Bergrin's case in previous articles.

 

On June 7, she headlined "Expanded New RICO Indictment Accuses Alleged Rogue Attorney of More Law-Firm-Related Charges," saying:

 

A "new racketeering indictment (read more like) the latest John Grisham legal thriller" from murder one to piling on lots more. In other words, the more charges, the more likely some will stick, whether or not credible.

 

On August 30, she headlined, "High-Profile Defense Attorney Accused of Practicing Law in RICO Enterprise May Represent Himself," saying:

 

Jailed since 2009 "on charges that he ran his law practice as part of a criminal racketeering enterprise," he may do what "one expert" calls a good idea, given his skill representing others.

 

"Three of the government's main cooperating witnesses (include) his mistress and alleged top criminal associate, his former law partner, and a drug kingpin ex-client."

 

All copped a plea for lighter treatment in return for testifying against Bergrin, the main target prosecutors locked up for life, even by framing him on bogus charges.

 

On September 12, Neil headlined, "Attorney Paul Bergrin's Biggest Trial is About to Begin: His Own Racketeering Case," saying:

 

Federal Judge William Martini agreed to let him proceed pro se, but he'll "be restricted in his courtroom movements." 

 

He won't be allowed to approach jurors, hand documents to witnesses, or participate in private out of earshot sidebar conferences at the bench where legal issues are considered.

 

At the same time, federal marshals will monitor him closely, giving jurors the appearance of a guilty man going through the motions.

 

Overcoming a stacked deck will be Bergrin's greatest challenge. Some, however, say if anyone can do it he can, given his reputation as a formidable adversary other lawyers feared, knowing how tough he is to beat.

 

However, judicial restrictions will impede his every move, making jurors believe he lacks credibility and is guilty. On October 11, his trial is scheduled to begin, fair or foul.

 

A Final Comment

 

The entire case is based on fabrication and intimidation to suppress hard truths and convict lawyers trying to expose them. Bergrin was framed to discredit and silence him. In November 2009, he said:

 

"This virtual nightmare has destroyed everything I worked my heart and soul out for, including my family. What hurts me the most is I am not guilty and totally innocent."

 

I was about to change the course of history that I had affirmative proof that President Bush, VP Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assist. Secy. of (Defense) Wolfowitz, Carbone and White House Counsel, (Alberto) Gonzales (later US Attorney General) had lied, deliberately and intentionally when they denied knowledge of the torture techniques at Abu Ghraib."

 

He never got a chance to prove it. Instead, he's been convicted in the court of public opinion. His trial won't be about alleged crimes. It's for threatening the wrong people up the chain of command to the top. 

 

Imagine the possibilities if he'd done it, putting Bush/Cheney & Co. in the dock, instead of himself because he tried.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Anti-Israeli Friction Helps Palestinians

 Anti-Israeli Friction Helps Palestinians - by Stephen Lendman

 

Borrowing the opening line from Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities:"

 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."

 

He referred to the French Revolution, promising "Liberte, egalite and fraternite." Inspired by America's, it began in 1789, ending 1,000 years of monarchal rule, benefitting the privileged only. A republic replaced it.

 

That was the good news. The bad was the wrong people took power. The moderate Jacobins lost out to extremists, ushering in a "reign of terror." 

 

Change doesn't always work out, but when intolerable conditions exist, trying for something better is key. It holds for Palestinians wanting freedom from Israel's repressive occupation. Statehood and full de jure UN membership is step one toward it, though no guarantee.

 

Palestinians have many global supporters, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Israeli crimes he opposes drew him closer, and he's not shy about saying it and more.

 

On September 13, Turkey's Today's Zaman headlined, "Erdogan calls on Arab nations to unite, raise the Palestinian flag," addressing a Tuesday Arab League meeting in Cairo.

 

He asked Arab countries and Turkey to close ranks so tightly "even daylight shall not pass between" us.

 

Calling for solidarity, he continued:

 

"We are living through a turning point in history, and we are called upon to cooperate more closely than ever. It is time for us to take responsibility for our common future." 

 

"Storms of applause" interrupted him several times.

 

He particularly aimed at Israel, saying what few leaders anywhere state publicly:

 

"While the Israeli administration tries to legitimize itself, it takes steps that shake its legitimacy in the region," referring to Netanyahu's refusal to apologize for murdering nine Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010 as well as Cast Lead.

 

"The aggression of the Israeli administration has reached levels that threaten the future of the Israeli people," as well as occupied Palestinians, especially in besieged Gaza.

 

He called Israeli-Palestinian relations "the heart of the conflict in the region." Ruling out normalization, he said that won't change unless Israel apologizes, pays just compensation for its crime, and ends its Gaza siege.

 

He also stressed that Israel reached a point of no return, calling the status quo "no longer sustainable." He reiterated his intent to sue for ending Gaza's siege in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

 

He asked Arab states for support, saying "let's all unfurl the Palestinian flag together, and let that flag be the symbol of peace and stability in the region."

 

Whether he's a sometime or permanent Palestinian friend matters less than what he'll do now to support them. He calls Israel's mentality an obstacle to peace, adding that Israelis endure their own blockade under Netanyahu and extremists around him - without naming names.

 

They're in Washington as well as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Two of them headed back a second time to pressure Abbas  - Middle East envoy David Hale and special State Department advisor Dennis Ross (a notorious pro-Israeli hardliner).

 

Ma'an News said the Obama administration is scrambling to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full UN membership within 1967 borders during next week's New York session.

 

Smart money says Abbas already caved despite publicly saying otherwise.

 

PA presidential office head Muhammad Shtayyeh said:

 

"We are going to the UN and to the Security Council and we will ask for full membership for a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967. This does not go against any efforts towards serious peace negotiations."

 

Offering wiggle room, he added:

 

"We are open-minded to any proposal. And we are ready to engage with any proposal. But this is not a step to really stop us from going to the (UN). If the whole idea of (an 11th hour US or Israeli) proposal is to engage peacefully, then you don't really bring it in the last five minutes of the hour."

 

Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rudeihah said:

 

"Americans failed to provide us or the Israelis with a platform for negotiations. They failed to stop or cease the settlement activities."

 

Abbas always was "ready for negotiations on this clear basis, (including) 1967 borders with (agreed land) swaps, with a cessation of settlements. For this, we are ready to come back to negotiations."

 

"As long as negotiations are not there," the UN is the "only option we have to protect our people and our interests. We cannot keep this stalemate any more than this. That is why the UN is the only place that we can assert our rights."

 

He added that occupation must finally end, even though statehood won't assure it. He wants it "built, and we are ready....We are willing and ready to live side by side with an Israeli state."

 

Israel and Washington, of course, object, with plenty of financial, political and belligerent muscle for backup.

 

As a result, neutral observers say it's unclear what Abbas will propose. As noted above and in previous articles, smart money says he'll cave.

 

Criticizing his own government, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called the bunch "dangerous pyromaniacs without equal." He scathed Netanyahu whose stubbornness is costing Israel regional allies.

 

He called Avigdor Lieberman "our thuggish foreign minister." He should have compared him to Hillary Clinton, matching him blow for blow and then some.

 

He asked what will Egypt do "now that Turkey has almost entirely severed relations?....What new depths will this lead us into?"

 

He quoted Yiddish poet/songwriter Mordechai Gebirig (1887 - 1942) saying:

 

"Our town is burning, brothers, burning. Our whole town burns! And you stand looking on with folded arms and shake your heads. You stand looking on with folded arms, while the fire spreads!"

 

A Polish national under Nazi occupation, he tried to mobilize Krakow's resistance before dying on "Bloody Thursday," June 4, 1942, in its ghetto. He remains the preeminent Yiddish literature and song folk artist.

 

Israel's fire today is self-inflicted. Why aren't Israelis protesting against it along with calls for social justice? 

 

All just causes are inseparable, including for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Yet Israel treats 20% of its population like fifth column threats, not citizens.

 

Where's the righteous indignation? Where's the national awakening that Palestinians deserve rights like Jews? Where's the throw the bums out mentality, but not for new ones? When comes understanding that injustice to anyone affects all? 

 

Where's the spirit to rise up and act - courageously for what's right over wrong, especially targeting rogue leaders needing to be removed?

 

It's high time Palestinians got "Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite," starting with statehood and full de jure UN membership.

 

They need supportive Israelis for it as intensively as for social justice, damning Netanyahu and Obama for opposing it.

 

They need pressure applied to Abbas to deliver in New York, not collaborate with Israel and Washington as now appears likely for an unacceptable alternative.

 

They need all the friends they can get when the moment of truth arrives.

 

It's days away. Will it be Palestinian spring or winter?

 

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

 

Also 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/.

New York Times: Railing Against Palestinian Statehood

 New York Times: Railing Against Palestinian Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Longstanding Times policy supports wealth and power; war, not peace; US hegemony and imperial rampaging; and all things benefitting Israel.

 

In so doing, it turns a blind eye to its most egregious violations of international law, norms and standards.

 

It's no surprise that Times editorial policy opposes Palestinian statehood and full UN membership. A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:

 

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-york-times-opposition-to.html 

 

Endorsing wrong over right, its August 7 "Palestinians and the UN" editorial falsified and distorted key facts. It also suppressed others instead of explaining issues forthrightly.

 

That's never been NYT's long suit.

 

Its latest broadside did it again. More on it below.

 

On September 10, Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, "In Seeking Statehood, Palestinians Stir Concern," saying:

 

Days ahead of "Palestinians plan(ning) to 'defy' the Obama administration by requesting (UN) membership and statehood recognition....there is a growing fear that the Arab-Israeli conflict is entering an explosive new phase."

 

Despite clear benefits greatly outweighing concerns, Bronner claims "many (predict) disaster, especially after the storming of Israel's Cairo embassy and the expulsion of its ambassador from Turkey."

 

In fact, Washington and Israeli acquiescence would go a long way to ease, not heighten, tensions, a point Bronner omitted. Instead, he quoted an unnamed "senior Western diplomat," saying:

 

Israel "will react to a Palestinian statehood bid with punitive measures in the West Bank. Congress will probably cut off aid....The Palestinian Authority could collapse. We're watching a potential train wreck."

 

Fact check

 

Under military occupation, Palestinians have no rights. Gazans are suffocating under siege. Daily Israeli attacks and/or incursions into neighborhoods terrorize millions of civilians. Israel at times preemptively declares war. Its modus operandi is death, destruction and immiseration.

 

Statehood and full UN membership is step one for something better, regardless of how long it takes.

 

It's already as bad as it gets unless NATO intervenes supportively for Israel. If so, it may do to Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem what it did to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, turning the Territories to rubble and slaughtering tens of thousands, defending the indefensible on whatever pretext it chooses.

 

For America, its NATO partners and Israel, it remains a frightening option, given how many previous times it was chosen.

 

Bronner quoted Yuli Edelstein, Israel's public diplomacy minister, saying:

 

"If the Palestinians go to the United Nations, it will begin a long funeral for the peace process and negotiations."

 

Fact check

 

Of course, Israel long ago buried what for decades it refused to tolerate and won't now. As a result, resurrecting a corpse makes no sense, especially when one willing side has no partner.

 

Bronner highlights negatives over positive statehood benefits. For example, "rocket(s) from Gaza would be cause to bring them to account."

 

Fact check

 

True enough except in self-defense, a universally accepted right. Moreover, ineffective "rockets" only follow multiple Israeli attacks. If Palestinians initiated them, Israel might declare war.

 

Palestinians have nothing to gain from conflict. In contrast, Israel thrives on it, knowing it can act with impunity.

 

Bronner also denigrated Palestine's legitimate government, saying:

 

If the Palestinian Authority under Abbas "ended up withering for lack of support and security cooperation with Israel, Hamas would be waiting in the wings. A Hamas 'takeover' attempt in the West Bank is not something Israel would accept lightly...."

 

Fact check

 

In January 2006, Hamas won a decisive 74 seat majority victory as Palestine's legitimate government. Fatah under Abbas got 45, and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Third Way party won only 2 of 132 Palestinian Legislative Council seats. 

 

Though almost entirely rejected, he's now illegitimately second in command, serving, like Abbas, as an Israeli collaborationist.

 

Bronner entirely omitted that context from his article. He also excluded comments from Palestinian statehood advocates. Instead, he concluded, quoting Israeli MK Einat Wilf, saying:

 

Abbas "knows he is not getting a state. He knows he is not resolving anything. He is simply taking the conflict to another place. (He and other Palestinians) will take each and everybody of the UN and use it as a theater to continue this whole conflict."

 

Fact check

 

Of course, conflict persists because of Israeli and Washington obstructionism and belligerence. 

 

Long ago, Palestinians wanted peace, an equitable resolution of longstanding grievances, and a legitimate sovereign state they deserve after Israel stole their homeland in 1948.

 

Bronner didn't explain. Instead, he one-sidededly backed Israel.

 

So did another disgraceful Times editorial (dated 9/11) headlined, "Palestinian Statehood" saying:

 

"A United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous. Yet with little time left before the UN General Assembly meets, the United States, Israel and Europe have shown insufficient urgency or boldness in trying to find a compromise solution."

 

Fact check

 

After 44 years of occupation, statehood and de jure UN membership are long overdue. Opposing it is inexcusable. Nothing less than full recognition is acceptable within 1967 borders, as well as East Jerusalem as its capital.

 

"Last week, the United States made a listless effort to get Palestinians to forgo the vote in favor of new peace talks. (The) best path to statehood remains negotiations."

 

Fact check

 

As explained above, for decades Palestinians have had no willing partner for peace and don't now. Moreover, Israel doesn't negotiate. It demands, with backup muscle like its Washington/paymaster partner.

 

Nonetheless, the editorial says America "and its Quartet partners (EU, UN and Russia) should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations and a formal UN statehood vote. The core element: a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps and guarantees for Israel's security."

 

Fact check

 

The same futility repeated numerous previous times. Resurrecting a corpse won't revive it. Relying on Israel and Washington assures subjugation, exploitation, and continuity, not justice or peace. 

 

It's long past time that ended, especially with overwhelming world support when Israel is growing increasingly isolated, and along with America, reviled on Arab streets.

 

"To get full UN membership the Palestinians have to win Security Council approval."

 

Fact check

 

Previous articles explained that the Security Council  recommends. Only the General Assembly admits new members by a simple two-thirds majority. 

 

Times writers know it but won't say. Instead, they keep beating the same dead horse lie, plus a blizzard of others daily in print, notably on what's most important.

 

"Congress has threatened to cut millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it presses for a UN vote. Instead of just threatening the Palestinians, Congress should lean on Mr. Netanyahu to return to talks."

 

Fact check

 

True enough. Congress may withhold aid. Perhaps the 113th one will restore it after January 3, 2013. 

 

In the meantime, other states can and should fill the void. It's pocket change for them collectively, even during hard times, especially if they wage less war and more peace. 

 

For his part, Netanyahu doesn't respond to pressure. Efforts are better directed on what works, or at least has a better chance.

 

"Israel has said it would cut millions of dollars in tax remittances to the authority."

 

Fact check

 

Israel no longer would control policies of an independent Palestinian state, including matters relating to taxes.

 

The piece concludes saying "Washington and its partners will have to limit the damage" following a vote.

 

In fact, under the best of circumstances, Palestinians are cursed by bordering on a belligerent rogue state, menacingly there all the time.

 

That's a real concern, including for neighboring states knowing they, too, are vulnerable.

 

Shut Out of the Process Hamas Responds

 

On September 12, Haaretz headlined, "Hamas distances itself from Palestinian statehood bid at UN," saying:

 

Hamas officials said PA efforts omitted Gaza interests entirely. Abbas proceeded on his own, without consulting Hamas, Palestine's legitimate government.

 

Other Palestinian factions expressed their views. Islamic Jihad also opposes PA efforts. Spokesman Dawood Shihab said the "move needs to be studied to make sure it will not ignore major issues such as the right of return, and the future of the (PLO) as an umbrella for" all Palestinians.

 

Nothing compromises either if proper procedures are followed. In fact, the right of return for diaspora Palestinians will be strengthened.

 

Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Zahar said no one "asked the people of Gaza to take to the streets showing solidarity with the so-called September bid. If the Palestinian Authority calls for that, we will oppose it because they detain people in the West Bank."

 

"How can I give them the right to demonstrate in Gaza while they do not give us that right in the West Bank?"

 

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri accused Abbas of acting "without consulting any faction."

 

An anonymous PA official said Abbas "was surprised by the international opposition to the reconciliation with Hamas so he decided to slow down at least until September." 

 

"Now, with all efforts focused on" petitioning the UN, "we want all voices to be with us. We are not giving the Americans or anyone else a reason to shun us because of the reconciliation or anything else."

 

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and The Palestinian National Initiative support petitioning the UN, saying it's the last (or perhaps best) chance for statehood, given the futility of peace talks.

 

PFLP official Kayid al-Ghoul said:

 

"We support the Palestinian leadership's plan to go to the UN because (it's) a natural right of the Palestinians and part of the political battle against Israel." 

 

"Regardless of the outcome, this step should be part of the political battle we fight against occupation. It will also be an opportunity to enlarge the circle of solidarity with the Palestinian people's rights, and to expose Israel's policies and the supportive US policy."

 

Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti called the UN initiative "the last option for two states," adding "time has come for an alternative. There is no space or place for talks. We won't be slaves to apartheid for the rest of our lives."

 

He also said if South Sudan could get statehood in 48 hours (no matter that America and EU nations pushed for balkanization), why not Palestinians after decades of failure.

 

Why not indeed, despite opposition from Washington, Israel, and at least several key European states.

 

Nothing important ever comes easily. Nothing comes at all without trying. Delay is the enemy of success. Whoever said there's no time like the present got it right.

 

A Final Comment

 

Since taking office, Obama's presidency has been defined by duplicity, lawlessness and betrayal.

 

He proved it by waging multiple imperial wars, lying about why they're fought.

 

He did it by handing Wall Street giants multi-trillions of taxpayer dollars - called "emergency loans" that perhaps never were repaid. He and the Fed also refused to say how much until finally it was learned that at least $16.1 trillion was involved. 

 

Some observers think it's lots more, plus an open-ended checkbook for as much as they want.

 

He rubbed it in by demanding austerity cuts during a Main Street Depression when growing tens of millions need help, not a hammer to the back of their heads.

 

On September 8, his "American Jobs Act" address to Congress was, in fact, another thinly veiled wealth transfer scheme to corporate favorites and super-rich elites already with too much.

 

He also proposed stealth measures to weaken Social Security and Medicare ahead of destroying them altogether to free up money for more wars and bailouts.

 

On September 12, he reiterated his contempt for Palestinians, saying:

 

If Palestinian statehood comes "to the Security Council, we would object very strongly, precisely because we think it would be 'counterproductive.' We don't think that it would actually lead to the outcome that we want, which is a two-state solution."

 

"Counterproductive" with no "two-state solution?"

 

Of course, his doublespeak distorts and inverts what Palestinians want and can get if proper procedures are followed.

 

Obama, Netanyahu and other officials from both countries are pushing to prevent them from achieving rights they've been denied for decades.

 

It's high time a ground swell of right over wrong support thunderously rejects the criminal class causing so much harm to so many. 

 

It's time it emerges globally against these two rogue states and their duplicitous allies. 

 

When committed and sustained, it's how great victories are won. 

 

Though never easily or quickly, they're only possible by trying.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Implications of Palestinian Statehood

 Implications of Palestinian Statehood - by Stephen Lendman

 

Previous articles discussed likely Palestinian statehood and full UN membership if proper procedures are followed. 

 

They also suggested Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will belie his supportive rhetoric by betrayal at the 11th hour.

 

When the General Assembly meets later in September, we'll know which Abbas shows up - a leader representing his people or an Israeli collaborationist like so often before. Smart money says the latter.

 

A September Anne Suciu and Attorney Limor Yehuda Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) paper headlined, "Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: Possible Implications of the Recognition of Palestinian Statehood," explaining future possibilities under statehood.

 

They depend on what course Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) choose, how Israel and Washington respond, and which side Western, regional, and other countries support.

 

ACRI agrees that full de jure UN membership is unlikely. Nonetheless, "the very recognition of Palestinian statehood" by a decisive General Assembly two-thirds majority "would have significant repercussions."

 

In fact, if statehood and full UN membership are granted, Palestine would "become party to international conventions and international courts." As a result, it would have new tools to uphold its rights as do all other recognized nations.

 

Conditions for Statehood Recognition 

 

ACRI cites four 1933 Montevideo Convention criteria:

  • a permanent population;

 

  • a defined territory;

 

  • an effective government; and

 

  • the ability to have diplomatic relations with other states.

 

 

In his important book titled, "Palestine, Palestinians and International Law," Law Professor and former PLO legal advisor Francis Boyle also discussed them, explaining that:

  • "A determinable territory" doesn't have to be fixed and determinate. Its borders may be negotiated. The new state would be comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians have lived there for millennia. As a result, they're entitled to all of it (22% of historic Palestine) as their nation state.

 

  • A fixed population as stated above.

 

  • A functioning government. In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government. 

 

  • The capacity to have diplomatic relations with other states. Up to 140 nations recognize Palestine, easily enough to qualify. Others haven't because occupation deprives it of effective territorial "control." 

 

 

Still others disagree, saying Israel isn't in control. It's an occupier. On December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy, according it UN observer status.

 

Palestine easily satisfies the above criteria. All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League of Nations Covenant article 22(4). 

 

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

 

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

 

In addition, diaspora Palestinians no longer would be stateless. Their right of return would be guaranteed and enforced. 

 

Those living in Israel and Jordan would have dual nationalities. Others in the Occupied Territories would remain "protected persons," according to the Fourth Geneva Convention - until a final peace settlement is reached.

 

The Proclamation of Independence must then create the Government of Palestine (GOP). As a final step, it should direct the GOP to claim Palestine's right to UN membership. It requires Security Council and General Assembly approval, according to five conditions. Applicants must be:

  • a state;

 

  • peace loving;

 

  • accept the Charter's obligations;

 

  • be able to carry them out; and

 

  • be willing to do it.

 

 

America provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it's barred from reversing its position by vetoing a Security Council Resolution, calling for Palestine's UN admission. 

 

Any veto would be illegal and subject to further Security Council action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the Security Council only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a simple two-thirds majority.

 

If Washington invokes its Security Council veto, the GA can override it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. 

 

In days, we'll know what actually happens, its implications and early stage repercussions.

 

ACRI said an entity meeting the above four criteria qualifies as a state, "and does not require the recognition of other states. The difficulty, of course, is that without....recognition....it cannot fully realize its sovereignty. According to the constitutive model, on the other hand, the act of recognition by others states is what bestows statehood."

 

However, if it's granted exclusive of recognition by Israel, Washington and other Western states, "its ability to realize its sovereignty will be limited." 

 

At least initially it's true, but that can later change, especially with key allies like China, Russia, Brazil, India, and other major ones - plus the weight of supportive numbers.

 

ACRI also suggests if two-thirds or more member states afford Palestine recognition, with or without Security Council approval, "the General Assembly could invite it to be party to various international conventions."

 

Normative Framework Applicable to the West Bank and Gaza

 

"According to the laws of occupation, statehood is irrelevant in determining whether a territory is occupied or not." As a result, Israel's standing in international law as an occupier may not be affected.

 

However, as Boyle explained, the League of Nations in 1919 provisionally recognized Palestinian statehood in its League Covenant Article 22(4) and its 1922 Mandate for Palestine - awarded to Britain. 

 

After proclaiming its independence in November 1988, the PNC began working for a comprehensive peace settlement. Its Declaration of Independence accepted the General Assembly's 1947 Partition Plan, thus reaching an historic accommodation for a good faith two-state solution.

 

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 and to reject "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 an International Peace Conference on the Middle East based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338;

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

As a result, on December 14, 1988, the Reagan administration began dialogue. In June 1990, the Bush administration suspended it, alleging the PLO violated its pledge.

 

From then until now, US administrations call self-defense "terrorism" even though it's an inherent (individual and state) right under "customary international and humanitarian law, including:" 

  • Article 51 of the UN Charter;

 

  • the four 1949 Geneva Conventions; and

 

  • the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare.

 

 

The PNC accepts them. Israel doesn't, violating fundamental laws with impunity. Other nations are also culpable. Under Geneva's Common Article 1, all countries are obliged to pressure Israel to comply. 

 

America is especially culpable as Israel's paymaster/partner/supplier of weapons, equipment, supplies, generous handouts, loans, grants, and various other benefits. 

 

Without them, Israel couldn't wage aggressive wars or be strong enough to intimidate neighbors. At least not like now. Today no country threatens Israel (or America) despite claims to the contrary.

 

In contrast, Washington and Israel pose major threats, including to Occupied Palestine.

 

Nonetheless, the same day the General Assembly recognized Palestine, it called for a UN-sponsored Middle East Peace conference based on the following principles:

  • ending Israel's occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem;

 

  • guaranteeing security for all regional states;

 

  • resolving the Palestinian refugee problem;

 

  • dismantling illegal Israeli settlements;

 

  • placing Palestine under interim UN supervision; and

 

  • requesting the Security Council consider measures to convene an International Middle East Peace Conference.

 

 

The PLO was willing to cooperate and negotiate in good faith. It agreed to be flexible, including over Jerusalem's final status. The 1947 Partition Plan called for an international trusteeship administered separately from Jewish and Arab territories. 

 

Israel and Washington blocked efforts from the start. They obstruct regional peace. Without their cooperation they'll be none. This must end. The world community must no longer tolerate it. The fate of millions of Palestinians and Arab peoples are at stake.

 

Gaza

 

Following Israel's summer 2005 disengagement, the IDF regional commander declared Israel's rule over the Territory ended, but it never worked out that way with Israel maintaining control under siege.

 

As a result, "Israel bears legal responsibility for what takes place" in Gaza, but without international enforcement it's meaningless, as Israel literally gets away with murder with impunity.

 

Area A

 

Israel transferred area control to the PA. However, its complete West Bank/East Jerusalem occupation continues, so "control" excludes sovereign authority, rendering it meaningless.

 

Israel maintains responsibility for "security" - code language for real control, including over Area A.

 

Israel's Military Court of Appeals ruled the entire West Bank/East Jerusalem areas remain under belligerent military occupation as "a single territorial unit."

 

Unless that changes, Palestinian statehood won't affect Israel's de facto control as an occupying power unless World Court redress is achieved.

 

Oslo Accords

 

ACRI believes independence "contravenes this agreement, and opens the door to a declaration of the non-validity or revocation of the accords." However, absolute revocation needn't happen.

 

At the same time, Oslo only benefitted Israel, not Palestinians, so revocation would change little, just like Israel's Gaza disengagement afforded no rights, only siege after Hamas was democratically elected.

 

Changes in the Legal and International/Institutional Framework - Becoming a Party to International Conventions

 

With statehood comes access to them, as well as the ability to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for repeated crimes of war and against humanity, as well as other issues.

 

They include:

  • regular border infringements and incursions into Palestinian neighborhoods;

 

  • lawless arrests, prosecutions in military tribunals, imprisonment and torture;

 

  • Israel's illegal 44 year occupation;

 

  • land theft to expand settlements;

 

  • Separation Wall to steal up to 12% of the West Bank when completed;

 

  • defined borders for East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital, as well as for the West Bank and Gaza to assure 22% of historic Palestine is retained; and 

 

  • other illegal acts under recognized international law.

 

 

Palestine could also ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israeli war criminals - specifically high-ranking government officials and military commanders.

 

Under the Rome Statute's Article 125(3), all signatory states may use this option. So may non-UN member states by ratifying the Statute.

 

The ICC restricts prosecutions to instances where states don't exercise appropriate jurisdiction, including proper investigations and trials for individuals believed guilty. 

 

A welter of evidence proves numerous present and past Israeli officials culpable for crimes of war and against humanity, as well as other offenses.

 

Notably, with statehood come obligations to respect human rights and other international conventions - for its own citizens and those of other states.

 

Besides benefits, in other words, statehood brings the legal and moral imperative to do the right thing. It also means bearing the full legal burden for failure.

 

Weighing all pluses and minuses, failure to use all legal procedures and avenues for statehood and full de jure UN membership no longer can be tolerated or delayed.

 

Doing so now, in fact, constitutes betrayal.

 

Is that challenging Abbas to do the right thing? You bet it is!

 

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

 

Also 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/.

Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian Tensions

 Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian Tensions - by Stephen Lendman

 

Issues affecting Palestinians include: 

  • statehood within 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine);

 

  • East Jerusalem as its capital;

 

  • full de jure UN membership;

 

  • 44 years of illegal occupation;

 

  • decades of unresolved Israeli crimes of war and against humanity;

 

  • daily land theft and dispossessions;

 

  • illegal detentions and torture;

 

  • argeted assassinations;

 

  • horrific levels of oppression and persecution overall; and

 

  • many other longstanding festering grievances.

 

 

For Turkey, relations have deteriorated for years. Cast Lead exacerbated them. So did murdering nine Turkish nationals on May 31, 2010, aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship.

 

On September 12, Today's Zaman (a Turkish English language broadsheet) headlined, "Erdogan: Mavi Marmara raid was 'cause for war,' " saying:

 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:

 

"The May 31, 2010 (incident), the attack that took place in international waters, did not comply with international law. In fact, it was a cause for war. However, befitting Turkey's grandness (sic), we decided to act with patience."

 

He added more, saying Turkish warships will now patrol Eastern Mediterranean waters. Their mission will include escorting future Gaza humanitarian aid ships.

 

After Israel refused to apologize for the killings, Turkey expelled its ambassador, imposed sanctions, and suspended military agreements. It also said it'll enforce free Eastern Mediterranean navigation.

 

Erdogan emphasized that "Turkish ships, I mean military ships, more often (will patrol) international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially in (Turkey's) exclusive economic zone."

 

Israeli bullying no longer will be tolerated.

 

Erdogan also challenged a Cyprus plan to explore offshore Eastern Mediterranean gas fields bordering Israeli waters, saying they belong to Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

 

In August, Israel and Cyprus discussed offshore energy exploration cooperation, Netanyahu citing "overlapping interests."

 

Erdogan responded, saying:

 

"You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas of the Mediterranean. You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and hold fast to the right to monitor international waters in the eastern Mediterranean."

 

By acting lawlessly and refusing to apologize, Israel "condemn(ed) itself to isolation."

 

While not wanting to jeopardize relations with Washington, Turkey's exerting its influence as a regional power. It has enough military might to back up its words with muscle. It includes 650,000 troops, second largest  NATO force after America.

 

Israel, of course, is a powerhouse in its own right, including nuclear weapons and delivery systems to launch them.

 

Forced Displacements While Disingenuously Talking Peace

 

Almost daily, Israel proves its rogue credentials. It's a regional menace threatening peace and security. Then it wonders why affected nations and people react adversely. 

 

Poor Israel! Why is it so misunderstood? Perhaps because Palestinians and regional neighbors long ago acknowledged its lawless disregard for international law, norms and standards.

 

Israeli/Palestinian peace talks are a case in point. They've been stillborn since inception and remain so, disingenuous rhetoric notwithstanding. 

 

Nonetheless, Israel "resurrects" them strategically to change the subject, as well as pressure Palestinians to accept subjugation, not freedom on their own land in their own country. 

 

Moreover, Washington lurks menacingly in the wings, backing up Israel's muscle with its own, and no shyness about using it.

 

At issue today is growing Israeli isolation ahead of Mahmoud Abbas petitioning the UN for statehood and UN membership. 

 

He's doing it even though smart money wagers he'll accept less than Palestinians deserve, leaving them  back at square one. Bet on it!

 

On September 13, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "Israeli intelligence urges return to peace talks with Palestinians," saying:

 

"In recent weeks, the Foreign Ministry, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad" distributed documents, saying negotiations will "tone down tensions and anger against Israel."

 

In recent cabinet meetings, discussions focused around restarting what never before worked because Israel won't tolerate peace - just its appearance, an illusion to continue illegal military occupation.

 

Nonetheless, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told ministers:

 

"By sharpening tensions with the Palestinians, we are inviting (greater) isolation on Israel."

 

Meanwhile, Spain, France, and Catherine Ashton (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) are trying to negotiate a "package deal" to have all 27 EU member states support "upgrading the PA to the status of a non-permanent member of the UN."

 

In other words, they back the status quo despite Palestinians deserving better. At the same time, they want Washington to abstain on UN membership and continue financial aid in return for Abbas promising not to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

They may, in fact, get what's totally unacceptable by hook, crook, or even threatening NATO intervention if Palestinians dare demand their rights.

 

Ravid reported that Abbas, knowing he faces a US Security Council veto (even though illegal and without teeth, as previous articles explained), "decided to turn to the UN General Assembly....in order to seek the support of (EU) member states in the vote."

 

Specific negotiated issues include:

  • Palestinians settling for permanent observer status, not full membership;

 

  • all or most EU nations supporting it without agreeing to recognize Palestine on a bilateral level;

 

  • Palestinians resuming no peace/peace negotiations, without preconditions, with no chance for an equitable resolution because Israel won't permit it;

 

  • Palestine's General Assembly petition "will be balanced and will combine elements of" Obama's May 19, 2011 speech, "and the conclusion of the EU's Foreign Affairs Council of December 2009."

 

 

In other words, while petitioning for recognition within 1967 borders, it appears Abbas will agree to unacceptable land swaps. 

 

By so doing, he'll accept both status quo recognition surrender along with Palestinian statehood on worthless cantonized scrub land. A bantustan state. 

 

Again he'll reveal his collaborationist credentials, selling out his people for whatever ways he benefits. 

 

He's done it before so often, so it shouldn't surprise now. But it should be strongly condemned and rejected.

 

At minimum, Palestinians deserve all land within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as their capital - nothing less now or ever. 

 

Settlers could then choose either to become citizens of Palestine, or retain their current status in a foreign country under its laws, not Israel's.

 

Doing what's right, however, was never Abbas' long suit. In days, it appears he'll again prove what Palestinians and their supporters already should know.

 

Israel will wiggle out of another tough spot. Palestinians will end up with nothing. They'll still be occupied. Their land will keep being stolen. Their rights will be entirely denied. 

 

Justice again won't be delayed. It'll be disgracefully denied with Palestinian Authority compliance, at least from Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and other PA Israeli collaborators, selling out their people for their own self-interest. On its own, Israel does it belligerently.

 

Displacing Bedouin Arab Israeli Citizens 

 

On September 12, Ma'an News said Israel's cabinet voted to displace tens of thousands of Negev Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens, offering them inadequate financial help to relocate.

 

"Around 160,000 Bedouins live in Israel." Over half live in so-called unrecognized villages without municipal water, electricity, and other essential services because Israel refuses to provide them. 

 

Many are also deeply impoverished, struggling daily to get by. Israel now agreed to make their lot tougher by stealing their land and property, in return for forced displacement.

 

Amnesty International (AI) condemned the plan, saying it "includes the forceful evacuation of thousands of Bedouins from their homes," calling it "a significant blow to (their) right to adequate accommodation."

 

It's that and much more. It's destroying a way of life, as well as spurning the rights of its own citizens lawlessly.

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed righteous indignation. So did Bimkom-Planners for Planning Rights in a joint statement, denouncing "continued discrimination of the Bedouin community."

 

Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens will be lawlessly uprooted from their homes - "against their will and in clear violation of their historical and proprietary rights to the land."

 

The so-called Prawer Plan facilitates state-sponsored discrimination, "disregard(ing) one of the most disenfranchised communities in Israel, during a period in which (an internal) mass protest movement" demands social justice for ALL Israelis.

 

Affected are 35 Negev Bedouin villages. They had no say in government policy. Since 1948, they've "suffer(ed) from severe neglect and lack of infrastructure...."

 

The Prawer Plan contradicts Goldberg Commission findings, calling Bedouin treatment unjust and ineffective. It also ecommended injustices be corrected by recognizing their communities as they exist.

 

"ACRI and Bimkom insist that only a master plan based on respect for human rights of the Bedouin population, and that includes them in the decision-making process with bring about a lasting and holistic solution in the Negev that will contribute to the betterment of all who live there, both Arabs and Jews."

 

Israel wants none of it. It refuses to end 44 years of illegal occupation. Again, it's about to deny Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, and its Gaza siege keeps suffocating over 1.6 million Palestinians who deserve freedom, not de facto imprisonment.

 

Israel's Gaza Closure Policy

 

On September 12, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement published Freedom of Information Act obtained documents, disclosing Israel's Gaza siege policy in its own words. Included were previously unknown details.

 

"Despite (introduced) measures to 'ease' the closure, introduced in July 2010....there has been no change" in policy regarding free movement between Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.

 

Exceptions include a handful of merchants with Israeli-issued permits. However, even they so far can't exercise the right Israel granted them.

 

Moreover:

  • movement restrictions affect categories of people, not individuals based on security concerns;

 

  • Gaza soccer players may access the West Bank, not students to attend universities or most Gazans needing medical care unavailable at home;

 

  • Gaza residents can't relocate to West Bank areas for family reunification or other reasons;

 

  • Gaza students awarded Fulbright scholarships can't leave to accept them;

 

  • Israel continues to prohibit construction materials and anything called "dual use" from entering Gaza; "dual use" is anything Israel says it is;

 

  • With few exceptions, exports are prohibited; and

 

  • Overall, isolation under siege is rigorously enforced; violators caught are arrested or shot.

 

 

A Final Comment

 

Israel wants it both ways. It demands Palestinians agree to their own occupation, subjugation, persecution, and continued status quo affording them no rights. At the same time, it talks peace.

 

The hypocrisy requires no comment, except to say they have a willing collaborator in Abbas. He's again about to back-stab his people like at Oslo as chief Palestinian negotiator, and numerous times thereafter, acting as Israel's enforcer.

 

In days, when he petitions the UN, he'll again prove his illegitimacy. His term of office also expired in January 2009, over two and half years ago.

 

Yet he remains in office, backed by Israel and Washington for obvious reasons while Palestine's legitimate government is persecuted, terrorized and isolated in Gaza.

 

As long as repressive conditions continue, Palestinians won't ever be free, even if granted statehood and full UN membership.

 

They'd still be no match for Israel's military might and no shyness about using it. Not to mention the world community turning a blind eye to its worst crimes.

 

Issue one thus demands changing that to give Palestinians rights they've long been denied.

 

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

 

Also 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/.

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