Callous and impenitent

Bolton at the Hay Festival last year before his attempted arrest for war crimes
Bolton at the Hay Festival last year before his attempted arrest for war crimes

John Bolton, with his characterisic contempt for international law, writes in today’s Washington Post that ‘with no other timely option, the already compelling logic for an Israeli strike [on Iran] is nearly inexorable’. The article is reproduced in full below. It should, I suggest, be read whilst mindful of Article 2 of the UN Charter by which it was agreed that: ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.’

Last year, you may recall, the Guardian columnist George Monbiot attempted a citizens arrest on Bolton. It was a futile but symbolic act; and a rare acknowledgment that this man is a war criminal by any decent standard – and an unrepentant one at that.

Time for an Israeli Strike?

By John R. Bolton
Thursday, July 2, 2009

With Iran’s hard-line mullahs and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unmistakably back in control, Israel’s decision of whether to use military force against Tehran’s nuclear weapons program is more urgent than ever.

Iran’s nuclear threat was never in doubt during its presidential campaign, but the post-election resistance raised the possibility of some sort of regime change. That prospect seems lost for the near future or for at least as long as it will take Iran to finalize a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.

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Israeli doctors colluding in torture

Jonathan Cook reports about the collusion of Israeli doctors in the torture of Palestinians based on evidence presented in a new joint report by the Public Commitee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. This comes in the wake of a petition signed by 725 physicians from 43 countries who are demanding that the current president of the World Medical Association Yoram Blachar be removed from office, claiming that the Israel Medical Association which he heads has ignored evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are allowing torture. In return, Blachar has recruited the help of Hadassah – the Women’s Zionist Organization of America – to launch a couter-campaign to discredit the work of the human rights NGOs. (See also the recent report by PCATI which documents the torture and physical abuse of prisoners held by Israeli security forces.)

Israel’s watchdog body on medical ethics has failed to investigate evidence that doctors working in detention facilities are turning a blind eye to cases of torture, according to Israeli human rights groups.

The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has ignored repeated requests to examine such evidence, the rights groups say, even though it has been presented with examples of Israeli doctors who have broken their legal and ethical duty towards Palestinians in their care.

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The Color of the Race Problem Is White

Robert Jensen is one of the best US scholars whose analysis on issues ranging from race, class, media to foreign policy is always insightful and free of dogma.

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois suggested that the question white people so often want to ask black people is, How does it feel to be a problem? This program turns the tables and recognizes some simple facts: Race problems have their roots in a system of white supremacy. White people invented white supremacy. Therefore, the color of the race problem is white. White people are the problem. White people have to ask ourselves: How does it feel to be a problem?

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The Yes Men Fix the World

(via Mondoweiss)

The Yes Men, co-directors of the new award-winning documentary film The Yes Men Fix the World, have decided to withdraw their film from the Jerusalem International Film Festival, in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign:

Dear Friends at the Jerusalem Film Festival,

We regret to say that we have taken the hard decision to withdraw our film, “The Yes Men Fix the World,” from the Jerusalem Film Festival in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (

This decision does not come easily, as we realize that the festival opposes the policies of the State of Israel, and we have no wish to punish progressives who deplore the state-sponsored violence committed in their name.

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Michael Jackson, the bookworm

I saw this news item on Jeffrey St. Claire’s Facebook just as I returned from one of my (at least) twice weekly visits to an old bookshop (with a haul that includes works by Adam Smith, Gramsci, Fromm, Koestler, Steinbeck, C. Wright Mills, Albert Hourani and Eric Hobsbawm–all for a mere £10!). I like browsing for books and I am always heartened when I hear about other kindred spirits since the book reading culture appears to be on fast decline. I didn’t expect Michael Jackson to be one, but Carolyn Kellogg’s piece in the Los Angeles Times suggests otherwise. “Owners of local bookstores, including Dutton’s, recall encountering the late pop star perusing their shelves”, she writes. (Also see Democracy Now’s excellent coverage on Michael Jackson’s life and work).

Michael Jackson buying books
Michael Jackson buying books

When news broke in early 2009 of Michael Jackson’s return to Los Angeles, it was not via reports of him being spotted dining at the Ivy or dancing at the hottest new Hollywood club but book-shopping in Santa Monica.

“He was a longtime and valued customer,” a store representative of art and architecture bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls said Thursday. “We’ll miss him.”

If Jackson’s bookstore appearance surprised his pop fans, it was nothing new for booksellers. A few years ago, Doug Dutton, proprietor of then-popular Dutton’s Books in Brentwood, was at a dinner with people from Book Soup, Skylight and other area bookstores.

“Someone mentioned that Michael Jackson had been in their store,” Dutton said by phone Thursday, “And everybody said he’d shopped in their store too.”

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