UN School of Etiquette: How to Conduct an “Appropriate” Blockade

Just as I arrived in Bil’in for the Friday weekly demonstration, word came that the UN Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident (a.k.a. “The Palmer Committee Report”) has named the blockade of the Gaza Strip “legal and appropriate”. Which is rather surprising, seeing as the blockade was defined by the UN as “illegal” as well as  “illegal and inhumane”, time and time again. (And again.)

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The Straight Line from the Seminole Wars to the War on Terror

from Indian Country Today Media Network, via Antiwar.com

Did the GWOT start with him?

by Gale Courey Toensing

Andrew Jackson’s illegal and heavily censured actions during the First Seminole War in 1817 were cited recently during the military trial of a Guantanamo prisoner and was used as a precedent for the $690 billion defense authorization bill recently passed by Congress that would give the president unilateral authority to wage war at home or abroad and detain anyone suspected of terrorism or “providing material aid to terrorism” anywhere in the world, indefinitely and without trial. Although there is no direct connection between the Guantanamo case and that legislation, the right of free speech is threatened by both and raises fears that the legislation could be used to squelch any kind of dissension or resistance to government policies or actions. And coming on the heels of the government’s use of “Geronimo” as the code name for Osama bin Laden, the man who epitomized global terrorism, indigenous peoples fear that the legislation could be used against them for asserting their right to self determination, sovereignty and the protection of their lands and resources against exploitation by governments or corporations.

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Khirbat Tuqu’ & the Silent World

It must have been late at night when this rare, short, late-night segment on Channel 10 sneaked by the editors:

Between Judea and Samaria & the West Bank

While I’m astonished that an Israeli mainstream news service would even address this story at all, let alone report in a considerably balanced manner; There are many very basic questions that this 2-and-a-half minute segment whizzes through, that I’d like to comment on.
Continue reading “Khirbat Tuqu’ & the Silent World”

Want to make your war a “Just War”? A quick how-to, with help from WikiLeaks.

War is hell, war is pain and sorrow–unless of course it’s a Just War which is noble, heroic, every true Christian’s blessed jihad, and if you can swing it, fully authorized by the UN Security Council.  Even if Just Wars both ancient (say, the Albigensian crusade) and modern (the starvation of thousands of Iraqis by UN Security Council-authorized sanctions) have been unspeakably nasty, Just Wars are still at least Just, so what’s not to like?

cluster-bombs.jpg
These cluster bombs are just.

There are two ways to make your war a Just War, with all the fringe benefits.  Please read carefully.

First, convince the world that the war is just by invoking the UN Charter and getting Security Council authorization.   The law involved is less straightforward than the Scholastic neo-Aristotelianism that used to justify Just Wars, so you’ll be wanting to hire some lawyers.  Less intelligent presidents will put angry anti-diplomats like John Bolton on the task, but cannier ones will hire smoother jurists like Harold Koh and Samantha Power to make the case in the dulcet tones of humanitarian NGOese.  This is the preferred way of making a war Just nowadays, most likely a matter of supply and demand, as there’s no shortage of secular casuists graduating from the top law schools, and the US Department of Defense has 15,000 lawyers on hand.

The second way to make your war a Just War is to get the Pope to declare it so, or at least not denounce it as an unjust war.  This may sound self-consciously retro, but new WikiLeaks disclosures reveal that it has never truly gone out of style.  The story Continue reading “Want to make your war a “Just War”? A quick how-to, with help from WikiLeaks.”

Chase Madar: In defense of Bradley Manning

In this TomDispatch.com interview Civil rights attorney and PULSE contributor Chase Madar outlines the case against––and the defense on behalf of––the soldier who allegedly provided the documents for the latest WikiLeaks release as well as the now infamous “Collateral Murder” video, Private First Class Bradley Manning. Also, don’t miss Chase’s brilliant piece on Bradley Manning.

Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, speaks at Brandeis University

Lisa Hanania

WALTHAM, MOmar Barghouti Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions The Global Struggle for Palestinian RightsA- Today (Wednesday) Omar Barghouti, one of the leading founders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, presented at Brandeis his new book BDS: Boycott Divestment and Sanction: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. The event was hosted by Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) and Haymarket Books.

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Open Letter to Justice Richard Goldstone

Reposted from the Coalition of Women for Peace website in response to Goldstone’s “reconsiderations” of the UN fact finding mission of the bloody incursion into Gaza.

 

April 5, 2011

Dear Justice Richard Goldstone,

The recent escalation in the Israeli army incursions into the Gaza strip is of grave concern to us at the Coalition of Women for Peace. The prospect of yet another flare out of large scale violence against civilians is alarming. Your recent comments on the Goldstone report are already interpreted by Israeli officials and the mainstream media channels as complete and full absolution of Israel’s military conduct in its entirety. Yet, the conclusions drawn from your statement with respect to Israel’s conduct during the Cast Lead military campaign and especially its aftermath are not backed by any new facts or findings. This seriously undermines the international, Israeli and Palestinian civil society struggle for accountability and against impunity from grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

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Neoconomics 101: Conscription and War as Wealth

neoconomicsYesterday Antiwar.com published Grant F. Smith’s book review  “Neoconomics: Conscription and War as Wealth”  discussing Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s 2009 book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.

A 19 minute radio interview is available today.

2:19 Israeli conscription and societal cohesion
2:43 Bomb releases to electric car batteries
3:13 Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres as entrepreneurs
4:21 An international entitlement: preferential US market access
5:55 Are US entrepreneurs battle tested?
6:36 Start-up Nation’s exclusive focus on supply-side
7:20 US consumer market buys 40% of total Israeli exports
7:39 $10 billion in yearly trade surplus as aid to Israel
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The Trials of Bradley Manning: A Defense

For the past seven months, US Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Twenty-five thousand other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.

Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks.  (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation.  All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.)  At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.

For bringing to light this critical but long-suppressed information, Pfc. Manning has been treated not as a whistleblower, but as a criminal and a spy.  He is charged with violating not only Army regulations but also the Espionage Act of 1917, making him the fifth American to be charged under the act for leaking classified documents to the media.  A court-martial will likely be convened in the spring or summer.

Continue reading “The Trials of Bradley Manning: A Defense”

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