• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 25 september 2009

Dries van Agt

Deze handige lijst heb ik van de website van de heer Van Agt gehaald: http://www.driesvanagt.nl/

Rechtsbronnen

o Conventies van Genève (1949)
o Haagse Conventie (1907)
o Universele Verklaring voor de Rechten van de Mens
o Europees Verdrag voor de Rechten van de Mens

Verenigde Naties
o UN News Centre – The Middle East
o Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
o UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Occupied Palestinian Territory (tip)
o UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
o UN website The Question of Palestine
o United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (tip)
o UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA-OPT)
o United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
o ReliefWeb – Occupied Palestinian Territory

Internationaal Gerechtshof
o Uitspraak Internationaal Gerechtshof inzake de illegaliteit van de Muur

Mensenrechten- en vredesorganisaties
o Adalah
o Addamir Prisoners' Support Center
o Al Haq (tip)
o Al Mezan Center For Human Rights
o Amnesty International (Israel and the Occupied Territories)
o Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
o Arab Association for Human Rights
o Arab Organization for Human Rights
o Badil
o B'Tselem - The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (tip)
o Breaking the Silence
o Coalition of Women for Peace
o Defence for Children International Israel
o Defence for Children International Palestine Section
o Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
o Gush Shalom
o Human Rights Watch (Israel and Palestinian Authority)
o International Committee of the Red Cross in the Palestinian Territories
o Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
o Machsom Watch
o Miftah (tip)
o The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
o The Freedom Theatre (tip)
o The Minerva Center for Human Rights of the Hebrew University
o Mossawa Center - the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel
o Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
o Palestine Human Rights Monitoring Group
o Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights
o Peace Now - Israel
o Physicians for Human Rights - Israel
o Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
o Who Profits - Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry

Christelijke organisaties in Palestina en elders
o Association of World Council of Churches related Development Organisations in Europe
o Churches for Middle East Peace (USA)
o Friends of Sabeel North America
o Joint Advocacy Initiative (tip)
o Presbyteriaanse Kerk (USA)
o Sabeel – Oecumenisch Centrum voor Bevrijdingstheologie in Jeruzalem (tip)
o Wereldraad van Kerken
o YMCA Oost-Jeruzalem
o YWCA Palestina

Denktanks en onderzoek
o Diakonia Easy Guide to International Humanitarian Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
o Foundation for Middle East Peace
o International Crisis Group (tip)
o International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative
o Institute for Palestine Studies
o Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information
o Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (tip)
o Palestinian Refugee ResearchNET

Israëlische en Palestijnse politiek
o Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken van Israël
o Negotiations Affairs Departement van de PLO

Nederlandse organisaties en acties
o Een Ander Joods Geluid (EAJG) (tip)
o Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST)
o Gate48
o Nederlands Instituut Palestina Israël (NIPI)
o Nederlands Palestina Komitee (NPK)
o Palestijnse Gemeenschap Nederland (PGN)
o Palestijns Platform voor Mensenrechten en Solidariteit (PPMS)
o Steuncomite Israëlische Mensenrechten- en Vredesorganisaties (SIVMO)
o Stichting Talliq
o Stichting Vrienden van Nazareth
o Stop de Bezetting
o United Civilians for Peace (UCP) (tip)
o Vrienden van Sabeel Nederland (tip)
o Vrouwen in het Zwart
o Werkgroep Keerpunt
o Stichting Kifaia

Solidariteitsacties
o BIG Campaign
o Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement
o End The Siege
o Olijfboomactie “Houd Hoop Levend” (tip)
o Palestine Solidarity Campaign
o Send a Message
o
The Free Gaza Movement
o Verhef je stem

Vredesorganisaties divers
o The European Co-ordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP)
o European Jews for a Just Peace
o If Americans Knew
o Jews for Justice in the Middle East
o Not In My Name
o Refuser Solidarity Network

Academici
o Noam Chomsky
o Norman Finkelstein
o Ilan Pappé (tip)
o Tanya Reinhart (1943-2007)

Media
o Volkskrant dossier ‘Het conflict in het Midden-Oosten’
o Alternative Information Center
o Ha’aretz (tip)
o Ha’aretz webpagina met historische documenten
o Yedioth Aharonot
o Occupation Magazine

o Electronic Intifada (tip)
o Palestine Monitor (tip)
o Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre
o The Jerusalem Times
o Middle East Report Online
o Mohammed Omer (Gaza)
o Tegenlicht serie “Plaats des Oordeels: het nieuwe Midden-Oosten”
o Website over de Nederlandse pro-Israël lobby

Europese politiek
o The EU's relations with West Bank and Gaza Strip
o The EU's relations with Israel
o The EU & the Middle East Peace Process (European Commission)
o The EU and the Middle East Peace Process (The Council of the European Union)
o The EU's Human Rights & Democratisation Policy
o European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL)
o List of negative measures applied by the EU to third countries

Nederlandse politiek
o De Tweede Kamer (documentatie)
o Vaste Kamer Commissie Buitenlandse Zaken
o Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken – Palestijnse gebieden
o Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken – Israël


Beste alemaal,
Willen jullie meedoen?
hartelijke groeten,
Corrie van der hart
-----
Original Message -----

Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 1:28 PM
Subject: NS Publieksprijs - Dries voordragen?

Beste vrienden,
Misschien een idee om het nieuwe boek van Dries van Agt voor te dragen voor de NS Publieksprijs: http://www.nspublieksprijs.nl/
Ik heb het in elk geval gedaan!
Grote groet,
Johan

De Israelische Terreur 948

Dear all,

Please find below recent news coverage related to the recent launch of the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. The Mission was headed by Justice Goldstone and mandated by the UN Human Rights Council in April 2009 "to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after."

The Mission's report recommends that the United Nations Human Rights Council formally submit this report to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The Mission further recommends "that upon receipt of the committee's report the Security Council consider the situation and, in the absence of good faith investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards having been undertaken or being under way within six months of the date of its resolution under Article 40 by the appropriate authorities of the State of Israel, again acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court pursuant to Article 13 (b) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court."

The report also mentioned the declaration under Article 12 (3) lodged by the Palestinian National Authority in January 2009, by which it accepts voluntarily the jurisdiction of the Court with respect to the crimes referred to in Article 5 of relevance to the situation and the application of the provisions of Part 9 and any rules thereunder concerning States Parties, pursuant to Rule 44 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Mission considers that "accountability for victims and the interests of peace and justice in the region require that the legal determination should be made by the Prosecutor as expeditiously as possible."

The ICC has officially opened investigations in 4 situations: DRC, Northern Uganda, Darfur, and CAR but the Prosecutor's office is also reportedly conducting preliminary examinations in other situations, including Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Georgia, Kenya and Palestine.

Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.

Regards,
CICC Secretariat

*********************

I. REPORT OF THE UN FACT FINDING MISSION TO GAZA

"HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES," Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 15 September 2009, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/UNFFMGC_Report.pdf

"On April 3rd, 2009 the President of the Human Rights Council established the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict with the mandate to 'investigate all violations of International Human Rights law and International Humanitarian law that might have been committed at any times in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.'

...The President appointed Justice Richard Goldstone, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to head the mission.

...The mission convened for the first time in May 2009 and conducted field research in addition to other research. Their methodology to implement the mandate was to consider any actions by all parties that might have constituted violations of international human rights law or humanitarian law.

[...] XXXI. RECOMMENDATIONS

1764. The Mission makes recommendations related to the following matters:
(i) Accountability for serious violations of International Humanitarian Law
(ii) Reparations
(iii) Serious violations of human rights law
(iv) The blockade and reconstruction
(v) The use of weapons and military procedures
(vi)The protection of human rights organizations and defenders
(vii) Follow up to the Mission's recommendations

1765. To the Human Rights Council

[...] In view of the gravity of the violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and possible war crimes and crimes against humanity that it has reported, the Mission recommends that the United Nations Human Rights Council request the United Nations Secretary-General to bring this report to the attention of the United Nations Security Council under Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations so that the Security Council may consider action according to the relevant Mission's recommendations below.

The Mission further recommends that the United Nations Human Rights Council formally submit this report to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

1766. To the United Nations Security Council

The Mission recommends:

1. That the Security Council require the Government of Israel, under Article 40 of the Charter of the United Nations:

(a) To take all appropriate steps, within a period of three months, to launch appropriate investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards, into the serious violations of International Humanitarian and International Human Rights Law reported by the Mission and any other serious allegations that might come to its attention;

(b) To inform the Security Council, within a further period of three months, of actions taken, or in process of being taken, by the Government of Israel to inquire into, investigate and prosecute such serious violations

2. The Mission further recommends that the Security Council at the same time establish an independent committee of experts in International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law to monitor and report on any domestic legal or other proceedings undertaken by the Government of Israel in relation to the aforesaid investigations. Such committee of experts should report at the end of the six-months period to the Security Council on its assessment of relevant domestic proceedings initiated by the Government of Israel, including their progress, effectiveness and genuineness, so that the Security Council may assess whether appropriate action to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators has been or is being taken at the domestic level. The Security Council should request the committee to report to it at determined intervals, as may be necessary. The committee should be appropriately supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

3. The Mission recommends that upon receipt of the committee's report the Security Council consider the situation and, in the absence of good faith investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards having been undertaken or being under way within six months of the date of its resolution under Article 40 by the appropriate authorities of the State of Israel, again acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court pursuant to Article 13 (b) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The Mission recommends:

1. That the Security Council require the independent committee of experts referred to in paragraph 3 to monitor and report on any domestic legal or other proceedings undertaken by the relevant authorities in the Gaza Strip in relation to the aforesaid investigations. The committee should report at the end of the six-months period to the Security Council on its assessment of relevant domestic proceedings initiated by the relevant authorities in Gaza, including their progress, effectiveness and genuineness, so that the Security Council may assess whether appropriate action to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators has been taken or is being taken at the domestic level. The Security Council should request the committee to report to it at determined intervals, as may be necessary.

2. The Mission recommends that upon receipt of the committee's report the Security Council consider the situation and, in the absence of good faith investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards having been undertaken or being under way within six months of the date of its resolution under Article 40 by the appropriate authorities in Gaza, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court pursuant to Article 13 (b) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

1767. To the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

With reference to the declaration under article 12 (3) received by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC from the Government of Palestine, the Mission considers that accountability for victims and the interests of peace and justice in the region require that the legal determination should be made by the Prosecutor as expeditiously as possible. [...]"

II. CICC MEMBER PRESS RELEASES

i. "FIDH welcomes the conclusions of the Goldstone fact-finding mission", Sept 15, 2009, Ethan Bronner contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Taghreed el-Khodary from Gaza.
http://www.fidh.org/FIDH-welcomes-the-conclusions-of

"The fact-finding mission headed by Justice Goldstone mandated by the UN Human Rights Council in January 2009 'to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after' released its report today.

According to the first conclusions of the report, it is established that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, during its December 27-January 18 military operations in the Gaza Strip. The commission also concludes that there is evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, as well, by firing rockets into southern Israel.

FIDH and its member organizations in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have constantly reaffirmed that the grave human rights violations should not remain unpunished and those responsible for their perpetration should be prosecuted.

FIDH recalls that international law requires that every state investigates serious human rights violations that are committed by bodies or persons acting on its behalf and prosecutes those responsible for the violations; therefore it welcomes the request by the Goldstone Commission that both parties conduct independent, impartial and transparent investigations within 6 months.

Nevertheless, FIDH recalls that if the parties to the conflict fail in their obligation to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violations, then it is necessary to support the establishment of international justice mechanisms that will ensure the process of accountability, through filing complaints based on the principle of universal jurisdiction and by contributing to the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor's preliminary analyses and investigations, by submitting communications providing information on the crimes perpetrated during Operation Cast Lead."

ii. "Israel/Gaza: Implement Goldstone Recommendations on Gaza," Human Rights Watch (HRW), 16 September 2009
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/09/16/israelgaza-implement-goldstone-recommendations-gaza

"Israel, Hamas, and relevant United Nations bodies should promptly implement the recommendations of the UN fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone on the recent Gaza war and bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today.

The Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, established by the UN Human Rights Council, found that both parties to the conflict were responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and that they committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

"The fact-finding mission's findings of serious violations by both Israel and Hamas are a significant step toward justice and redress for the victims on both sides," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. 'Now the UN, and the Security Council in particular, need to act on these recommendations and ensure that justice is done.'

Human Rights Watch particularly urged the US government not to stand in the way of the recommended Security Council action that would for the first time address the conduct of both Israel and Hamas. The Human Rights Council alone is no substitute for the Security Council because Israel has dismissed the council as biased and because the Security Council can refer the situation in Gaza to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The Obama administration's pronounced new principles for human rights in the Middle East will be put to the test," Whitson said. 'Washington should welcome this opportunity for the Security Council to address the actions of both sides in this conflict.'

The 575-page report, released on September 15, 2009, documented serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israel, with some incidents amounting to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, including willful killings, deliberate attacks on civilian objects, wanton destruction of civilian property, indiscriminate attacks, the use of human shields, and collective punishment against Gaza's civilian population in the form of a continuing blockade.

The report also concluded that rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian armed groups was deliberate and calculated to cause loss of civilian life and to terrorize Israeli civilians. As such, the mission concluded, they amounted to serious war crimes and perhaps crimes against humanity.

Human Rights Watch said the UN Security Council should implement the fact-finding mission's recommendation to establish a committee of experts to monitor if and how Israel and Hamas investigate alleged violations by their own forces. In the absence of good faith investigations after six months, the Goldstone report said, the Security Council should refer the situation in Gaza to the ICC.

Investigating and prosecuting laws-of-war violations are, first and foremost, the responsibility of the parties to the conflict, Human Rights Watch said. But both Israel and Hamas have dismal records of investigating and holding accountable members of their own forces for serious laws-of-war violations.

'The record gives little reason for confidence that Israel and Hamas will conduct serious investigations into credible allegations of laws-of-war violations by their own forces,' Whitson said. 'That's why a Security Council-appointed committee to monitor their actions is needed, to spur genuine investigations and prosecutions.'

Human Rights Watch supported the fact-finding mission's call for the Security Council to refer the Gaza conflict to the ICC, should investigations by Israel and Hamas authorities remain inadequate.

'Security Council member states should take concrete steps to ensure justice for crimes committed by all sides during the Gaza conflict,' said Whitson. 'International justice should not be limited to prosecuting perpetrators from states that are more vulnerable to international pressure.'

The ICC, the only permanent international criminal court, is the obvious international tribunal for war crimes committed during the Gaza conflict. Israel is not a party to the ICC, but the court would have jurisdiction over crimes committed during the Gaza conflict if the UN Security Council refers the situation to the ICC, if the ICC prosecutor acts positively on a declaration by the Palestinian National Authority requesting the court's authority over crimes committed in Gaza, or if nationals of ICC member states are found to have committed war crimes on behalf of one of the parties.

Human Rights Watch called on the ICC prosecutor to make a prompt legal determination on the Palestinian National Authority request, consistent with the ICC's mandate to end impunity.

The Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was established by the UN Human Rights Council in January. The original mandate unfairly limited the investigation to Israeli abuses, but the council president subsequently expanded the scope to include an investigation of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, and the Human Rights Council acquiesced in that change when it was announced by the council president. Goldstone, an eminent international jurist and former chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, led the mission, pledging to look at both sides.

The fact-finding mission said it conducted 188 individual interviews, and reviewed more than 300 reports and other documentation, in addition to more than 30 videos and 1,200 photographs.

Israel refused to cooperate and did not answer questions, ostensibly because it viewed the Human Rights Council and the initial resolution establishing the fact-finding mission as biased against Israel. However, Israel has refused to cooperate with other investigations into its recent conduct in Gaza as well, suggesting a desire to avoid scrutiny. It denied visas for Goldstone's team to visit Israel, so the mission invited Israelis to testify at public hearings in Geneva..."

III. MEDIA REPORTS

i. "Israel Rejects Call for Gaza Inquiry", Isabel Kershner; 16 September 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/world/middleeast/17gaza.html?em

"Israeli officials on Wednesday bluntly dismissed one of the main recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission's report on the three-week war in Gaza last winter: a call for the Israeli government to begin an independent investigation of 'serious violations' of international humanitarian and human rights law, including evidence of war crimes, during the military campaign.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that the internal military investigations into the Israeli Army's conduct in Gaza already under way were 'a thousand times more serious' than the investigation just completed by the United Nations mission led by Richard Goldstone, a respected South African judge.

...The report, released on Tuesday, says that if no appropriate independent inquiry gets under way in Israel within six months, the United Nations Security Council should refer the matter to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It made a similar recommendation for Palestinian authorities, calling for an inquiry into evidence of war crimes committed by Palestinian armed groups firing rockets into Israel.
Ahmed Yousef, a senior adviser to the Hamas government in Gaza, said the local authorities would investigate the relevant cases in the report. ..."

ii. "Barak aide: Goldstone Report on Gaza war encourages terror", by Roni Sofer for Y News, 16 September 2009,http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3777530,00.html

"Defense minister's aide says findings of UN probe into IDF offensive 'reward terror,' while senior Hamas figure calls report 'politically imbalanced'

...The United Nations said the investigation led by former South African judge Goldstone concluded that 'Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity,' during its Dec. 27-Jan. 18 military operations in the Palestinian territories.

The global body said the report 'concludes there is also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity,' by firing rockets into southern Israel.

The report accuses Israel of violating international law and possibly committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. Similar accusations, however, are also made regarding Hamas - the report condemns the groups' rocket fire on Israel, as well as IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's captivity, which the report said does not coincide with conventions meant to ensure treatment of prisoners of war.

... The prime minister intends to study the 575-page report - and its possible repercussions - thoroughly; especially those pertaining to possible UN and International Crimes Court (ICC) actions.

Jerusalem's main concern at this time is that a report by a seemingly ephemeral, biased body, will harm international relations. Netanyahu wished to refute the report completely...."

iii. "Evidence of Israel, Hamas war crimes in Gaza: U.N.," by Louis Charbonneau" for The Washington Post, 15 September 2009,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/15/AR2009091501272.html

"Both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants committed war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity, during the December-January Gaza war, the United Nations charged on Tuesday.

A 575-page report by a fact-finding mission organized by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council called on both sides to thoroughly investigate the allegations. Israel did not cooperate with the investigation.

'The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly in some respects crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force,' U.N. investigator Richard Goldstone told reporters.

The report also said rockets fired by Palestinian militants into Israel where there were no military targets would also constitute war crimes, and perhaps crimes against humanity.

... Goldstone, a noted South African jurist, recommended that the U.N. Security Council call on Israel to fully investigate possible crimes committed by its forces. His report made clear that Palestinian authorities should do the same regarding crimes committed by Palestinian fighters.

The probes should be 'independent and in conformity with international standards' and establish a committee of human rights experts to monitor any such proceedings in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

If either Israel or the Palestinians fail to do so, then the 15-nation council should refer the situation in Gaza to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the report said..."

iv. "U.S. Rejects U.N. Proposal to Compel War Crimes Probes of Gaza Conflict", by Colum Lynch for The Washington Post; 17 September 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/17/AR2009091704278.html

"Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rejected a U.N. proposal to compel Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, to conduct credible investigations into war crimes during last winter's war in Gaza or face possible prosecution by an international prosecutor.

Richard Goldstone, a South African judge who headed a U.N. fact-finding mission probing abuses in Gaza, accused the two sides Tuesday of unlawfully targeting civilians during the conflict. Goldstone's four-member team recommended that the U.N. Security Council instruct the combatants to investigate excesses within their own ranks and if they fail to comply, authorize the Hague-based International Criminal Court to do it.

Rice said that violations of human rights in Gaza should be addressed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which created Goldstone's panel in April, and not by the Security Council, which has the authority to authorize an international probe...."

IV. UN MEDIA BRIEFING

"UN - Daily Press Briefing - Gaza, Responsibility to Protect, Human Rights Council, Migration, Children and Armed Conflict, Timor-Leste, DRC", 15 September 2009, http://www.isria.com/pages/16_September_2009_30.php

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of September 15's noon briefing by Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, and Jean-Victor Nkolo, Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly.

"[...]...Gaza:

'The first of the press conferences that happened earlier today, the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, released its findings today in New York. The mission, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, was mandated by the Human Rights Council to 'investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after'.

Since its establishment, the Secretary-General has encouraged and supported the mission and called on all parties to cooperate fully in its work. He believes that accountability for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law is essential both to the protection of human dignity and to the quest for sustainable peace. The mission will formally present its report to the Human Rights Council on 29 September. And earlier today, Justice Goldstone had a telephone conversation with the Secretary-General to inform him of its broad contents and of his intention to release the report. The Secretary-General commended Justice Goldstone for his leadership and independence."

**************************

CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:

The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.

Communications to the ICC can be sent to:

ICC
P.O. Box 19519
2500 CM the Hague
The Netherlands
***********************************************

***********************************************
Mariana Rodriguez-Pareja
Senior Spanish Communications Officer
Communications Section
NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC)
Coalición de ONG por la Corte Penal Internacional (CCPI)
Together for Justice: Civil society in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC. For more information, visit our new website at www.iccnow.org or www.togetherforjustice.org and participate in our blog at www.iccnow.org/blog

donderdag 24 september 2009

Obama 108

The Mystique of "Free-Market Guy" Obama

By Jeff Cohen

September 24, 2009 "
Information Clearing House" -- No matter what the facts are, some liberal activists and leaders persist in seeing President Obama as a principled progressive reformer who lives and breathes the campaign rhetoric about "change you can believe in."

When he compromises, it's not Obama's fault -- it's the opposition. Retreat is never a sell-out but a shrewd tactic, part of some secret long-range strategy for triumphant reform.

He's been in the White House eight months. It's time for activists take a harder look at Obama. And a more assertive posture toward him.

Because if Obama believes it's okay to pass health care "reform" that subsidizes insurance firms without a robust public option and he dispatches still more troops to Afghanistan, it could demobilize progressive activists while emboldening the Teabag & Beck crowd to bring the GOP back from the dead in low-turnout congressional elections next year. That would be a rerun of the 1994 right wing triumph brought on by President Clinton's weakness (e.g. health care reform) and corporatism (e.g. the business-friendly NAFTA).

Some activists still see Obama as a brilliant political superhero who -- although maddeningly slow to fight back against his opponents -- always manages to win in the end ... like Muhammad Ali defeating George Foreman.

But watching Obama last weekend on the news shows gave little reason for confidence. It's hard to win the public toward reform if you accept -- as Obama often does -- the right wing terms of debate. The right frames health care as a debate over a dangerously over-intrusive government taking away individual freedom. The left says it's about greedy insurance and drug companies -- with CEOs getting paid $10 million or $20 million per year -- putting profits above public good.

Last weekend, when he was repeatedly asked to comment on Jimmy Carter's view about anti-Obama animosity being racially motivated, Obama kept wielding the right wing frame about big "intrusive" government. On ABC, Obama talked about people being "more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right. I think that that's probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol."

On NBC, Obama said: "This debate that's taking place is not about race, it's about people being worried about how our government should operate." He asked: "What's the right role of government? How do we balance freedom with our need to look out for one another?"

The president has a huge bully pulpit, which he's largely squandered. I've heard him discuss health care close to ten times in recent weeks without once hearing him rally the public against the corporate greed that leaves our country No. 1 in health care spending and 37th in health outcomes, on par with Serbia. Without a populist challenge to corporate profiteering, what's left is either a bloodless debate about "cost containment" or a right wing debate about "big government." Neither mobilizes the public toward progressive change.

Recent U.S. history shows that you can't serve corporate interests at the same time you're seeking reform -- of health care or Wall Street or any other sector. Not when big corporations are the problem ... and the major obstacles to change.

Placating big business en route to social reform is like downing a flask of whiskey en route to kicking alcoholism.

Yet there was the Obama White House this summer entering into secret deals with the pharmaceutical lobby protecting that industry's outsized profits.

If Obama is radical about anything, it's about not rocking corporate boats.

That's why he received more Wall Street funding than any candidate in history and why -- before he was a front-runner in early 2007 -- he was raising more money from the biggest Wall Street banks than even Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, presidential candidates from New York.

That's why -- as soon as Hillary left the race -- he went on CNBC and assured big business: "Look: I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market."

That's why he declared to the New York Times last March that his economic policies were absolutely not socialist, but rather "entirely consistent with free market principles."

That's why during his 2008 "I love the market" interview on CNBC, he shunned the "populist" label.

President Franklin Roosevelt showed in the 1930s that major reform is possible if a populist upsurge of ordinary people is mobilized to overcome the entrenched opposition of business interests -- derided by FDR as the "economic royalists."

The problem today is that Obama doesn't seem to have a populist bone in his body. A smart guy, he should know that it's absurd -- in an era when a shrinking number of ever-larger corporations dominate Congress and regulators as they deform markets in industries like banking and health care -- to keep believing we have a "free market." Yet he waxes on about being a "free-market guy."

I guess he's smart enough not to call himself "a corporate guy."

Liberal activists need to be smart enough to see Obama for the status quo politician he is -- and to act accordingly.

Jeff Cohen is an associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America.

De Israelische Terreur 947

The Goldstone report and the battle for legitimacy
Richard Falk, The Electronic Intifada, 22 September 2009


Richard Goldstone, former judge of South Africa's Constitutional Court, the first prosecutor at The Hague on behalf of the International Criminal Court for Former Yugoslavia, and anti-apartheid campaigner reports that he was most reluctant to take on the job of chairing the United Nations fact-finding mission charged with investigating allegations of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas during the three week Gaza war of last winter. Goldstone explains that his reluctance was due to the issue being "deeply charged and politically loaded," and was overcome only because he and his fellow commissioners were "professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation," adding that "above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war," as well as the duty to protect civilians to the extent possible in combat zones. The four-person fact-finding mission was composed of widely respected and highly qualified individuals, including the distinguished international law scholar Christine Chinkin, a professor at the London School of Economics. Undoubtedly adding complexity to Goldstone's decision is the fact that he is Jewish, with deep emotional and family ties to Israel and Zionism, bonds solidified by his long association with several organizations active in Israel.

Despite the impeccable credentials of the commission members, and the worldwide reputation of Richard Goldstone as a person of integrity and political balance, as well as of being an eminent jurist, Israel refused cooperation from the outset. It did not even allow the UN undertaking to enter Israel or the Palestinian territories, forcing reliance on the Egyptian government to allow the UN mission entry to Gaza at the Rafah Crossing. As Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has observed, however much Israel may attack the commission report as one-sided and unfair, the only plausible explanation of its refusal to cooperate with a UN fact-finding mission of this sort and seizing the opportunity to tell its side of the story was that it had nothing to tell that could hope to overcome the overwhelming evidence of the Israeli failure to carry out its attacks on Gaza last winter in accordance with the international law of war. No credible international commission could reach any set of conclusions other than those reached by the Goldstone report on the central allegations.

In substantive respects the Goldstone report adds nothing new. Its main contribution is to confirm widely reported and analyzed Israeli military practices during the Gaza war. There had been several reliable reports already issued, condemning Israel's tactics as violations of the laws of war and international humanitarian law, including by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and a variety of respected Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups. Journalists and senior UN civil servants had reached similar conclusions. Perhaps, most damning of all the material available before the Goldstone report was the publication of a document entitled "Breaking the Silence," containing commentaries by 30 members of the Israeli army who had taken part in Operation Cast Lead (the Israeli official name for the Gaza war). These soldiers spoke movingly about the loose rules of engagement issued by their commanders that help explain why so little care was taken to avoid civilian casualties. The sense emerges from the testimony of these Israeli soldiers who were in no sense critical of Israel or even of the Gaza war as such, that Israeli policy emerged out of a combination of efforts "to teach the people of Gaza a lesson for their support of Hamas" and to keep Israeli military casualties as close to zero as possible even if meant massive death and destruction for innocent Palestinians.

Given this background of a prior international consensus on the unlawfulness of Operation Cast Lead, we must first wonder why this massive report of 575 pages has been greeted with such alarm by Israel and given so much attention in the world media. It added little to what was previously known. Arguably, it was more sensitive to Israel's contentions that Hamas was guilty of war crimes by firing rockets into its territory than earlier reports had been. And in many ways the Goldstone report endorses the misleading main line of the Israeli narrative by assuming that Israel was acting in self-defense against a terrorist adversary. The report does describe the success of the ceasefire with Hamas that had cut violence in southern Israel to very low levels, and attributes its disruption to Israel's attack on 4 November 2008, but nowhere does it make the inference that would seem to follow, that the Israeli attacks were an instance of the international crime of aggression. Instead, the report focuses its criticism on Israel's excessive and indiscriminate uses of force. It does this mainly by examining the evidence surrounding a series of incidents involving attacks on civilians and non-military targets. The report also draws attention to the unlawful blockade that has restricted the flow of food, fuel and medical supplies to subsistence levels in Gaza before, during and since Operation Cast Lead. Such a blockade is a flagrant instance of collective punishment, explicitly prohibited by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention setting forth the legal duties of an occupying power.

All along Israel had rejected international criticism of its conduct of military operations in the Gaza war, claiming that the Israeli army was the most moral fighting force on the face of the earth. The Israeli army conducted some nominal investigations of alleged unlawful behavior that consistently vindicated the military tactics relied upon and the top Israeli political leaders steadfastly promised to protect any Israeli military officer or political leader internationally accused of war crimes. In view of this extensive background of confirmed allegation and angry Israeli rejection, why has the Goldstone report been treated in Tel Aviv as a bombshell that is deeply threatening to Israel's stature as a sovereign state? Israeli President Shimon Peres called the report "a mockery of history" that "fails to distinguish the aggressor and a state exercising the right of self-defense," insisting that it "legitimizes terrorist activity, the pursuit of murder and death." More commonly Israel's zealous defenders condemned the report as one-sided, biased, reaching foregone conclusions, and emanating from the supposed bastion of anti-Israeli attitudes at the UN's Human Rights Council. This line of response to any criticism of Israel's behavior in occupied Palestine, especially if it comes from the UN or human rights non-governmental organizations, is to cry "foul play!" and avoid any real look at the substance of the charges. It is an example of what I call "the politics of deflection," attempting to shift the attention of an audience away from the message to the messenger. The more damning the criticism, the more ferocious the response. From this perspective, the Goldstone report obviously hit the bull's eye! Being willing to level such a harsh attack against a person as deeply sympathetic to Israel as Judge Goldstone indicates that no truth-teller will be exempted from vilification.

De Israelische Terreur 946

Wat betreft Israel's oorlogsmisdaden is dit stuk interessant als achtergrond, een advies van de ADVIESRAAD INTERNATIONALE VRAAGSTUKKEN, een raad van deskundigen die de Nederlandse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken adviseert:

'Transitional Justice; gerechtigheid en vrede in overgangssituaties

Beschikbaar op de site van de AIV in twee talen.
Advisory report no. 65
Advies no. 65


II.3 Vervolging
Processen van transitie zullen vrijwel zonder uitzondering met zich meebrengen dat de
verdachten van de meest ernstige misdrijven moeten worden vervolgd. Het Statuut van
Rome inzake het Internationaal Strafhof (Statuut van Rome) brengt in de preambule in
herinnering ‘dat het de plicht is van elke Staat om zijn rechtsmacht in strafzaken uit te
oefenen over degenen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor internationale misdrijven’. De aanvaarding
van het Statuut van Rome door 108 staten heeft het bindende karakter van
deze verplichting versterkt.
In aanvulling op het algemene internationale recht, bevat een aantal verdragen duidelijke
verplichtingen tot vervolging. Deze betreffen vooral genocide, ernstige schendingen van
het oorlogsrecht en foltering.
Verplichtingen van de territoriale staat
Als het gaat om de plicht van staten tot vervolging van internationale misdrijven, moet
onderscheid worden gemaakt tussen de territoriale staat en derde staten. Een verplichting
tot vervolging van personen die verdacht worden van internationale misdrijven rust
in eerste instantie op de staat waar de misdrijven hebben plaatsgevonden.16 Het
VN-Verdrag inzake Genocide17 verplicht de territoriale staat tot vervolging van dit misdrijf.
De Verdragen van Genève en Aanvullende Protocollen verplichten elke verdragspartij18
om personen die van ernstige schendingen (‘grave breaches’) van deze verdragen verdacht
worden ‘op te sporen en […] hen, ongeacht hun nationaliteit, voor haar eigen
gerechten brengen’. Deze verplichting geldt overigens alleen voor internationale conflicten
en geldt niet voor de overige inbreuken op de Verdragen van Genève en Aanvullende
Protocollen. Het VN-Verdrag tegen Foltering verplicht alle verdragspartijen om rechtsmacht
te vestigen over foltering, waar en door wie ook begaan. Staten die verdragspartij
zijn bij de diverse mensenrechtenverdragen, hebben de plicht om maatregelen te treffen
(zoals het opsporen en vervolgen van verdachten van schendingen van deze mensenrechten),
en slachtoffers een effectieve genoegdoening te bieden.
15 Zie: Evans, G. (2008), The Responsibility to Protect, Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All.
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, pp. 148-174.
16 Zie uitgebreid: Orentlichter, D. (1991). ‘Settling Accounts: The Duty to Prosecute Human Rights Violations
of a Prior Regime’, in 100 Yale Law Journal, pp. 2537-2615; en meer genuanceerd: Orentlichter, D.
(2007). ‘Settling Accounts’ Revisited: Reconciling Global Norms with Local Agency’, in Volume 1
International Journal of Transitional Justice, pp. 10-22.
17 VN, Verdrag inzake de Voorkoming en de Bestraffing van Genocide, Resolutie 260 III, 9 december 1948.
18 In casu alle staten ter wereld, in het licht van de universele toetreding tot de Verdragen van Genève.
18
Er bestaan, afgezien van het Statuut van Rome, geen verdragen die soortgelijke verplichtingen
bevatten ten aanzien van misdrijven tegen de menselijkheid. In het algemeen zullen
dergelijke misdrijven echter kunnen worden gekwalificeerd in termen van een van de
voorafgaande categorieën en zal de staat zo toch verplicht zijn rechtsmacht uit te oefenen
en in sommige gevallen vervolging in te stellen.
De AIV/CAVV onderkennen dat staten slechts in beperkte mate toepassing lijken te
geven aan deze verplichtingen. De beperkte praktijk mag echter niet zo worden geïnterpreteerd,
dat deze het verplichtende karakter aan genoemde bepalingen zou hebben ontnomen.
Wel is het mogelijk dat de toepassing van deze verplichtingen mede moet worden
gezien in de context van alternatieve reacties op internationale misdrijven, in het
bijzonder amnestieën en waarheidscommissies (zie paragraaf II.4).

Uit de samenvatting van AIV advies::

Waar het specifiek gaat om het internationaal strafrecht, is het juridisch kader in toenemende mate bindend. Zo heeft de internationale gemeenschap met het Statuut van Rome duidelijk gemaakt dat daders van ernstige internationale misdrijven niet straffeloos mogen blijven. Het Statuut stelt in de preambule ‘dat het de plicht is van elke Staat om zijn rechtsmacht in strafzaken uit te oefenen over degenen die verantwoordelijk zijn voor internationale misdrijven.’ Hoewel het internationaal recht zich duidelijk ontwikkelt in de richting van een algemene plicht tot vervolging van alle internationale misdrijven, kan echter niet worden gesteld dat dit stadium al is bereikt.

Als het gaat om de verantwoordelijkheid van staten tot vervolging van internationale misdrijven, moet onderscheid worden gemaakt tussen de territoriale staat en derde staten. Een verplichting tot vervolging van personen die worden verdacht van internationale misdrijven, rust in eerste instantie op de staat waar de misdrijven zijn begaan.

Indien de staat waar de misdrijven zijn begaan zelf niet in de gelegenheid is geweest of zich niet bereid heeft getoond om verdachten van internationale misdrijven te vervolgen, is vervolging door internationale of gemengde tribunalen een volgende optie. Indien dit evenmin mogelijk is, kan de vraag rijzen of andere staten verplicht dan wel bevoegd zijn deze verdachten te vervolgen.

Een aantal specifieke verdragen (bijvoorbeeld de Verdragen van Geneve en het VN-Verdrag tegen Foltering) bevat een verplichting verdachten van in deze verdragen gespecificeerde misdrijven te vervolgen dan wel uit te leveren. Er zijn echter geen verdragen die verplichten tot vervolging van verdachten van misdrijven tegen de menselijkheid als zodanig. In deze gevallen geldt wel dat andere staten bevoegd kunnen zijn om rechtsmacht uit te oefenen over personen die verdacht worden van internationale misdrijven.


Uit report Goldstone:

L. The need for accountability
1754. The Mission was struck by the repeated comment of Palestinian victims, human rights
defenders, civil society interlocutors and officials that they hoped that this would be the last
investigative mission of its kind, because action for justice would follow from it. It was struck, as
well, by the comment that every time a report is published and no action follows, this
“emboldens Israel and her conviction of being untouchable”. To deny modes of accountability
reinforces impunity and impacts negatively on the credibility of the United Nations, and of the
international community. The Mission believes these comments ought to be at the forefront in
the consideration by Members States and United Nations bodies of its findings and
recommendations and action consequent upon them.
1755. The Mission is firmly convinced that justice and respect for the rule of law are the
indispensable basis for peace. T

1756. After reviewing Israel’s system of investigation and prosecution of serious violations of
human rights and humanitarian law, in particular of suspected war crimes and crimes against
humanity, the Mission found major structural flaws that in its view make the system inconsistent
with international standards. With military “operational debriefings” at the core of the system,
there is the absence of any effective and impartial investigation mechanism and victims of such
alleged violations are deprived of any effective or prompt remedy. Furthermore, such
investigations being internal to the Israeli military authority, do not comply with international
standards of independence and impartiality. The Mission believes that the few investigations
conducted by the Israeli authorities on alleged serious violations of international human rights
and humanitarian law and, in particular, alleged war crimes, in the context of the military
operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, are affected by the defects
in the system, have been unduly delayed despite the gravity of the allegations, and, therefore,
lack the required credibility and conformity with international standards. The Mission is
concerned that investigations of relatively less serious violations that the GOI claims to be
investigating have also been unduly protracted.
1757. The Mission noted the pattern of delays, inaction or otherwise unsatisfactory handling by
Israeli authorities of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of military personnel and
A/HRC/12/48
page 544
settlers for violence and offences against Palestinians, including in the West Bank, as well as
their discriminatory outcome. Additionally, the current constitutional and legal framework in
Israel provides very limited possibilities, if any, for Palestinians to seek compensation and
reparations.
1758. In light of the information reviewed and its analysis, the Mission concludes that there are
serious doubts about the willingness of Israel to carry out genuine investigations in an impartial,
independent, prompt and effective way as required by international law. The Mission is also of
the view that the system presents inherently discriminatory features that make the pursuit of
justice for Palestinian victims extremely difficult.


1760. The Mission notes that the responsibility to investigate violations of international human
rights and humanitarian law, prosecute if appropriate and try perpetrators belongs in the first
place to domestic authorities and institutions. This is a legal obligation incumbent on States and
state-like entities. However, where domestic authorities are unable or unwilling to comply with
this obligation, international justice mechanisms must be activated to prevent impunity.'

De Israelische Terreur 945

In een vorig bericht schreef ik dit:

'Gisteravond volgde ik in de Balie een 'toelichting door en discussie met Yehuda Shaul van Israëlische organisatie Breaking the Silence over door haar gepubliceerde Gaza-rapport', waarin Israelische militairen vertellen welke oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza werden gepleegd door de Israelische strijdkrachten. Hoewel de hele avond gesproken werd over oorlogsmisdaden, werd het woord geen 1 keer uitgesproken. Wel werd verteld dat ook nu nog, na alle nationale en internationale rapporten en getuigenverklaringen over de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden, 80 procent van de joods-Israelische bevolking de officiele militaire en politieke strategie van oorlogsmisdaden steunt. Toen ik tegen het einde van de avond aan Yehuda Shaul vroeg of hij als Israelische staatsburger voorstander was van het juridisch vervolgen van de betreffende militairen, vooral ook gezien het schrikbarende gebrek aan een morele standaard onder 80 procent van de joods-Israelische bevolking, ontweek hij een antwoord door te stellen dat hij geen advocaat was. Toen ik hem er vervolgens op wees dat het irrelevant was bij het beantwoorden van mijn vraag of hij al dan niet een advocaat was, antwoordde hij als reservist niet te weten wat oorlogsmisdaden zijn, en dat trouwens ook alle andere gewone Israelische militairen dit niet weten. Ik stelde hem vervolgens de vraag of hij expliciet tegen het juridisch vervolgen van militairen was die verdacht worden van oorlogsmisdaden. De voorzitter van de avond reageerde door te stellen dat deze vraag niet aan Shaul gesteld mocht worden. Ik was weer helemaal terug in Nederland. Discussie wordt hier niet werkelijk op prijs gesteld.'

Naar aanleiding daarvan schreef Sonja:

Wat erg. Hoe zou jij die houding (van Breaking the Silence) kunnen verklaren? Angst voor represailles? Dat is best reëel.

stan zei

represailles. dat was naderhand de verklaring van de voorzitter. de gedachte is dat men zich kan verzetten zonder dat dit consequenties oplevert of tenminste zo min mogelijk. dat is een absurde aanname. maar veel interessanter is de uitspraak dat de militairen te velde niet weten wat oorlogsmisdaden zijn. juist daarom moeten ze voor het gerecht worden gedaagd, zeker wanneer 80 procent van de bevolking deze officiele terreur steunt. ik kom hier nog op terug.

The Empire 469

Fmr. CIA Counter-terror head: "Syria in 2003 offered to station US forces on its soil before the Iraq war ..."


Our friend (and still prolific) Richard Sale, in the Washington Times, here
"Syria is reorganizing its foreign intelligence operations and sidelining officials with unsavory pasts in an effort by President Bashar al-Assad to consolidate control and improve Syria's relations with the United States, Middle East specialists and former and current U.S. officials say.
Richard Norton, a Levant specialist at Boston University, former CIA counterterrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro and two serving U.S. intelligence officials who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to talk to the press told The Washington Times that the task of overseeing Syria's foreign intelligence operations has been transferred from the heavy-handed military intelligence agency, known as the Mukhabarat, to Syria's General Intelligence Agency (GI), which formerly handled domestic matters and now oversees relations with the United States and Saudi Arabia. .......headed by Gen. Ali Mamluk, .... the change was made by Syria to avoid "queering its current dialogue with the United States."

In general, the functions of Syrian military intelligence appear to have narrowed to providing assistance to the U.N. special tribunal investigating the Hariri murder and seeking to shield the Assad regime from blame. Gen. Assef Shawkat, Mr. Assad's brother-in-law and the former head of Syrian military intelligence, has been assigned to assist Maj. Gen. Arnine Charabi, chief of the Palestine section, who is working with British law firms to develop a scenario of the crime aimed at exonerating Syria from responsibility, according to the two serving U.S. intelligence officials......

Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, said, "Shawkat is not out of the intelligence business." "We're talking about a changing of the guard, being done quite gradually in terms of political consistency," said one of the serving U.S. officials. "It's a transition of power - a slow process of putting people who are loyal to him, walking away from the old military elements of his father and relying on a civilian component instead."......

President Obama, who has assigned a high priority to advancing an Arab-Israeli peace agreement, has sought to improve relations with Syria in order to move the process forward.....

In Lebanon, the administration is disappointed that months have gone by without formation of a new government despite the election victory of a pro-Western alliance. Yet Mr. Norton said he had not detected any "Syrian string-pulling" in the Lebanese elections in which the pro-West coalition beat an alliance led by Hezbollah......

"Hezbollah has obtained a degree of autonomy and is no longer a Syrian client," Mr. Norton said, adding: "Syria is no longer obtrusive in Lebanese politics and no longer is pulling the strings when it comes to Hezbollah."

Many remain skeptical of Syrian good will

David Schenker, a Levant expert at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, "Syria runs hot and cold. When they are interested in improving relations or pleasing us, they toss us a bone or they look to protect their flank." He said that the day after the Hariri murder, Syrian intelligence delivered a high-value target to U.S. operatives in the hope of deflecting popular outrage at Syria's alleged responsibility for the murder.....

According to Mr. Cannistraro, "Syria has tried to cooperate with the United States in intelligence matters, only to be either snubbed or ignored" on occasion. He said Syria in 2003 offered to station U.S. forces on its soil before the Iraq war, and the Syrians opened their intelligence books, which identify assets in Europe, including front companies, in an attempt to track down al Qaeda members. ......."has given us invaluable help in hunting down members of al Qaeda, and they were instrumental in ex-filtrating some major Iraqi fugitives back to Baghdad after the 2003 war."

Two former U.S. intelligence officials said Syria cooperated with the United States last year in an attack that killed Abu Ghadiyah, a former lieutenant of the infamous Abu Musab Zarqawi, the late al Qaeda leader in Iraq. He was killed along with eight civilians near Abu Kamal about five miles inside Syria, foiling a planned attack on Iraqi civilians, according to the former U.S. officials. They spoke on condition that they not be named because they were discussing sensitive information.........."

Zie: http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/

De Israelische Terreur 944

Gisteravond volgde ik in de Balie een 'toelichting door en discussie met Yehuda Shaul van Israëlische organisatie Breaking the Silence over door haar gepubliceerde Gaza-rapport', waarin Israelische militairen vertellen welke oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza werden gepleegd door de Israelische strijdkrachten. Hoewel de hele avond gesproken werd over oorlogsmisdaden, werd het woord geen 1 keer uitgesproken. Wel werd verteld dat ook nu nog, na alle nationale en internationale rapporten en getuigenverklaringen over de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden, 80 procent van de joods-Israelische bevolking de officiele militaire en politieke strategie van oorlogsmisdaden steunt. Toen ik tegen het einde van de avond aan Yehuda Shaul vroeg of hij als Israelische staatsburger voorstander was van het juridisch vervolgen van de betreffende militairen, vooral ook gezien het schrikbarende gebrek aan een morele standaard onder 80 procent van de joods-Israelische bevolking, ontweek hij een antwoord door te stellen dat hij geen advocaat was. Toen ik hem er vervolgens op wees dat het irrelevant was bij het beantwoorden van mijn vraag of hij al dan niet een advocaat was, antwoordde hij als reservist niet te weten wat oorlogsmisdaden zijn, en dat trouwens ook alle andere gewone Israelische militairen dit niet weten. Ik stelde hem vervolgens de vraag of hij expliciet tegen het juridisch vervolgen van militairen was die verdacht worden van oorlogsmisdaden. De voorzitter van de avond reageerde door te stellen dat deze vraag niet aan Shaul gesteld mocht worden. Ik was weer helemaal terug in Nederland. Discussie wordt hier niet werkelijk op prijs gesteld.

Israel's Supporters Ask, "What Sin?"

Wednesday 23 September 2009
by: Ira Chernus, t r u t h o u t | Perspective


"How do you plan to spend the holidays?" That's the question asked by the mother of Annie Hall, in Woody Allen's film of the same name, to the mother of Woody's alter-ego. "We fast," Woody's Brooklyn, Jewish mother replies. "Yeah, no food," Woody's father adds, trying to explain the ritual observance of Yom Kippur; "You know, we have to atone for our sins." "What sins?" Mom Hall asks, as her ultra-WASPish family sits around their food-laden Wisconsin table. "I don't understand." "Tell you the truth," comes the punch line, "neither do we."

I recalled this scene, knowing that Yom Kippur would soon be here, as I studied readers' comments to my last Truthout article,"Zionism vs. Zionism." In this High Holiday season, it seems, there are still many Jews who are baffled by the call to atone for sin, at least when it comes to the policies and behaviors of Israel. In their eyes, the Jewish state can do no wrong, even as Israel resists the American president's urging toward compromise, peace and reconciliation with Palestine. They see no reason to repent because they see no wrongdoing. So, they ignore basic, if painful, facts.

One commenter, for example, objected to these words in my article: "Last fall, Israel could have avoided the Hamas rocket attacks and the war. All it had to do was ease its economic stranglehold of Gaza, which was causing widespread poverty and even starvation. And Israelis could know it, if they simply read their own press." "Do you really think it's so simple?," the commenter asked. "You can hate on a full stomach."

This critic might have clicked on the words "know it" and found these words from the Israeli Jewish press when the attack on Gaza was launched: "Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It [i.e., Israel] unilaterally violated it." Also these words from the former Israeli commander in Gaza: "We could have eased the siege over the Gaza Strip, in such a way that the Palestinians, Hamas, would understand that holding their fire served their interests.... You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they're in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing."

Apparently it was not hate but Israeli violence combined with Palestinian distress that triggered a Hamas response. Nevertheless, an Israeli journalist noted at the time, "Palestinian sources said they do not believe Hamas plans to launch a massive rocket strike on Israel unless the IDF begins offensive operations in the Strip." Israel "did not exhaust the diplomatic processes before embarking on another dreadful campaign of killing and ruin."
Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/092309S