Living by the Sword….

“Those who  live by  the sword,  die by  the sword”

Through its abrogation of key  elements of the Geneva Convention by  using torture, genocide and illegal  incarceration of people it thinks could  do  things to US interests that  the state might not  like, the US has  progressively negated key  aspects of the constitutional  protections for its own  citizens.  In addition, professional  bodies such  as the American Pyschological  Association and the American Medical  Association, in  tacitly    legitimizing torture and murder ( drones or otherwise)  and  random  indefinite imprisonment of people the state thinks might be a risk  to the US, have  destroyed their legal   and moral authority .

The Orwellian  legal  and  state  double-speak ( what is evil  is good,  what  is war is peace) by  US political  and legal figures,  is now accepted as truth by  the vast  majority of US citizens and many in the Western world. Many US citizens are consequently  no  longer able to differentiate between right and wrong/truth  and lies.

The US has been fighting wars to  protect  its “interests” (read  companies) for most of its existence, beginning with the genocide of the North American  Indians who  populated much of North America at  the time of European settlement and leading to the wars with Spain in  the Carribbean  and the Philippines in  order to  develop  an empire to exploit , as with  other Western powers of the time.

But it is really only in the years after the end of Second World War in 1945, that the power of the corporations in the US has finally overturned all  semblance of  human rights,  decency  and fairness  in the US . These wars, and particularly the  genocides committed  in North KoreaVietnam, Cambodia and Iraq, have  lead to  no  negative national consequences for the US ,   and have thus  resulted in those in power in the US believing  that they are immune to the  impact of the death  and destruction they inflict on others.

Moreover, over those intervening 65 years of constant war, the US has  steadily become a “war machine”- its raison  d’etre being to fight and kill others for what they have. Each marine that returns home brutalised  and scarred by  the reality of war;  each  soldier who  returns to  his home town finally knowing the truth of what  “the greatest nation in  the world ” really stands for, is a time bomb of death  and destruction to  that community. A culture of violence as the solution to  anything  has now  totally permeated every  aspect  of American  society.   To  quote another of those biblical  aphorisms -“what ye sow, so  shall  ye reap”

And with each  war, the targets of American state violence  become ever more  aware of the complete and viciously laughable  hypocrisy of the United States; it’s  Presidents mouthing  ghastly platitudes of the US being the ” shining city on  the hill” , the exemplar to  the world of peace and democracy,  while raining terror and death on the helpless. For the families and communities of the  millions killed by  the US military since the second world war, there remains no  justice – no resting place.

What is now desperately  needed is an international  legal body  that is truly impartial-no longer  controlled by those  rich  and powerful states who commit the the vast majority of the  terror and death  they so  loudly condemn in others.  An international  body  that  seeks justice, not vengeance,  that  ascribes appropriate  compensation to those whom  the powerful have done injustice to.

When every war-mongering state, not just as is currently ,  its head of state,  knows that, regardless of the colour of the skin of those in power, the  warring state will be punished with heavy financial reparations for the evil  it has done- only then  will the incentive for war   rapidly recede and justice prevail.

The American Psychological Association and Torture

The Guardian, in  an  article of 22nd January, notes that  the The American Psychological Association (APA) has declined to  rebuke one of its members,  Dr John Leso for his known  complicity in  the torture of  the US kidnapped suspect  Mohammed al-Qahtani, who  was ” charged” by  the Pentagon  in  2008 for his suspected  involvement in 9/11.
The Guardian notes that  “the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.
The American Psychological Association describes itself as ” the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members. Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.”

APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman has stated that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

The evidence of John Leso’s complicity in  torture is incontrovertible in creating an  inhumane environment for Mohammed al-Qahtani to  be tortured by  his “interrogators”. Dr John Leso   therefore both  unequivocally  breached the APAs code of conduct  and the universal  medical  ethic of “do no  harm” .

No  labyrinthine legal  argument can  allow the APA to  escape its responsibilities to ensure its members behave in  ethical  and humane ways to their  patients.

The APA has clearly now abrogated that  responsibility and most certainly undermined the rights of human beings to  the right to be treated humanely by  state apparatus, and has consequently eliminated any professional  credibility it may have had in  the eyes of the  global  public  and clinical  professionals around the world.

It would therefore  be  expeditious for the APA to re-consider its astounding   decision to  condone torture by  its members and to immediately and permanently  dis-bar John Leso  from its membership. However,  this is unlikely to happen.

Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in  the United States,  and the various Western  countries who  have been complicit in  the  fictional  “war on terror”, we have seen  increasing use by  the state of  statements by  their “legal experts” to  justify  war  crimes,  torture and   murder on  an ever-expanding scale.
The APA’s excuse that the evidence about Dr Leso’s complicity in  torture did not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” is clearly at odds with the facts. It does however reflect  the fear by  a  supposedly ethical  and professional  body,  of the power of the state to inflict  harm on  even such  a prestigious professional  body  as the APA .
 Weasel  words and legal  sleight of hand  must  instead   be used by  the APA’s legal  advisors to  justify  this cowardice. However when such  a  professional body, which  in their words, exists to   “benefit society and improve people’s lives”, abrogates it’s right to instill  justice, ethics and fair play out of fear of state retribution , there  appears little hope for the foreseeable future of  a fair and just   society in the United States.

 

A Letter to the Editor-Palestine

On November 26 2013, the UN General  Assembly   voted to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was requested to organize relevant activities in cooperation with governments, the UN system, intergovernmental organizations, and significantly, civil society.  The seven countries who  opposed the proclamation were Israel,  United States, Canada, Australia,Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. The vote was 110-7, with 56 abstentions.

I would ask  that  readers take some time to read the accounts of what has happened to Palestine and the Palestinian people since “ The Catastrophe”,  the” Nakba, when in 1948 Israeli  troops and gangs  brutally forced out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians  from the lands and houses they  had lived  in  for centuries, killing many in  the process .

This dispossession,  65 years later,  is ongoing;  each  day  more Palestinians are  uprooted from their homes, their houses and   orchards bulldozed and new “settlements  for Israeli Jews only built over the rubble. The brutality, intensity and magnitude of the occupation is for some reason, a matter for silence by Western governments. Perhaps sharing in the guilt of the Nazis in the Jewish genocide in  Europe, they turn  a blind eye to  the ghettoization of the Palestinian people.  The victim of violence has indeed become the perpetrator. In the West  Bank, the Israeli government  have walled the population in ,  has carefully calculated the minimal  calorific intake to  keep each  Palestinian alive, and has  over many years reduced West  Bank Palestinians lives to  subsistence level, reliant on  “illegal” tunnels supplying food from  Egypt, while health , water and sewage systems crumble. This systematic policy is designed to force Palestinians to abandon their homeland to allow more Israeli settlement. What is urgently needed is for our New Zealand government to finally stand up to Israel and their US supporters and say “enough is enough” and permit international law to prevail.  A separate Palestinian state is now no longer viable after 65 years. What is required therefore is, in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, a process of restoration of justice.  Modelled on the Treaty of Waitangi  process and the South African  Peace and Reconciliation process,  a  unity government of all  religions and politics across Israel  and  the rump  of Palestine  needs to be set  up. This government would oversee the return of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who  have been  dispossessed  over the past 65 years , the release from jail  of the many thousands of  Palestinian  political prisoners (men  women and children) , and the full  compensation or return of lands lost since the occcupation.

Nelson Mandelas’ vision of reconciliation and hope for the future can result in an   Israel/Palestine state that brings a message of hope to the Middle East. The alternative is not worth imagining..

 

References:

2014: International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: Richard Falk

“The Government and the police have a duty to protect the public and our national security”- from truth

In the latest  absurdity upon  absurdity in this  fictitious “war  on  terror”, the UK Police have defended their actions in holding and interrogating for 9 hours  Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda on the grounds that Miranda was suspected of terrorism  because  he may  have been relaying truthful  information about  a wide range of Western governments’  illegal   spying on   its citizens.

As the headline above notes; the UK Police’s rationale for the infringement of Miranda’s rights,  was that they  “had a duty to  protect the public and our national  security ” (from  such unwarranted journalism).  With  both  the UK and US police forces being increasingly accused of both corrupt  and violent behaviour, it is little wonder the public  in  those countries feel  a sense of betrayal by  the state.  Who are their police and armed forces in  fact  protecting?

Certainly the deliberately manufactured farce of  muslim  terrorism ( funded with enthusiasm  by  the CIA, and various other “intelligence” western  agencies around the globe- not to mention our “allies”-  the Saudis), is providing an ever more thinly stretched excuse for heavy handed enforcement behaviours,  surveillance and the  erosion of civil  rights.

Who and what  is  it all for?

DublinBaysmallIt would appear that much of this deterioration in  rights and freedoms is simply to  improve the profits of those international  corporates ,  whether media, arms manufacturers ,  energy  companies telecommunications or security companies that  are able to buy the required  influence in  western  “democracies”.

As it becomes increasingly clear  that  we  are nearing the end of the free capitalistic lunch-with  the remainder of  the world’s  natural  resources  being rapidly frittered away for a few quick  bucks  – the corporate billionaires are rushing for the exits, and trampling us “little people” in  the stampede.

 

The Slaves of the World

A recent Guardian article about the lives of  migrant workers in  Qatar highlights the issues of forced labour and slavery in  middle eastern and some European countries.

As the Guardian article notes; Qatra has the highest ratio  of migrant workers to  the domestic population in the world; more than 90%.  Aidan McQaude of Anti-Slavery International has no hesitation in calling many of these migrants not just  forced labour, but true slaves;   people who  are treated as objects.

Craig Murray,  ex British ambassador to  Uzbekistan  and long time campaigner against   child labour/slavery in their cotton  fields, notes that  both the tolerance and the exploitation of slavery or cheap  labour inevitably goes right to  the top. In Uzbekistan’s case,  to its  torture loving  President Karimov and his daughter (who  are such good friends with Tony Blair!) .  Anti Slavery  International  describes the working conditions for children  in the cotton  fields thus:  Cotton production in Uzbekistan is a state orchestrated forced-labour system. The Government of Uzbekistan forces over a million children, teachers, public servants and private sector employees to pick cotton under appalling conditions each year. Those who refuse are expelled from school, fired from their jobs, and denied public benefits or worse. The Government harasses and detains citizens seeking to monitor the situation.

In  Qatar’s case, the official responses to  the accusations  of slavery  are so  far at odds with the reality on  the ground ,  that it would be very  surprising that  the government authorities and companies involved did not have full cognisance of the systemic  exploitation occurring.

Asia News notes that  the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)  highlighted “contradictions with Qatari law” that fail “to give workers any real rights or protection from slavery conditions.”

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said the visa sponsorship system in Qatar allows the exaction of forced labour. “Under Qatari law, employers have near total control over workers. They alone choose if a worker can change jobs, leave the country or stay in Qatar,” she said.

In 2012, the Labour Relations Department in Qatar’s Labour Ministry received 6,000 worker complaints. The top concerns facing workers included exploitation, delays in paying wages, violence and work-related safety issues and fatalities.

In one of those most malignant of ironies, Qatar is one of the richest  countries in  the world for its Qatari  citizenship  population of 300,000 (total  population of 1.9  million)

Similarly, across the border in  Saudi  Arabia, the Guardian  in January  2013, noted that  45 foreign maids faced beheading  by  the State executioner . The International  Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of (Labour Rights) Conventions  noted in  2012 that in Saudi  Arabia the   vulnerable situation of migrant workers, particularly domestic workers who are excluded from the provisions of the Labour Code, who are often confronted with employment policies such as the visa “sponsorship” system and subjected to abusive employer practices such as the retention of passports, non-payment of wages, deprivation of liberty and physical and sexual abuse which cause their employment to be transformed into situations that could amount to forced labour.

The Himalayan Times in July 2012  stated that up  to  3,000   migrant workers  from Nepal alone  had died in Saudi  Arabia since  2000.

The GypsyHowever as Migrant Rights notes, the abuse of workers is not limited to Qatar or Saudi Arabia, abuse is epidemic and systemic  in  the middle east and beyond.

As I have noted in  a previous blog , “We are all Immigrants”,  none of us have any rights to  this piece of land we currently  plant our feet on. We are simply travelers, as were our ancestors before us. And to  be fully human ,  we must  welcome those new travelers amongst  us too. And yet we continue to  play  this foolish and deadly game of  “us’  and the “others”.

French  attitudes towards  the Roma are also  indicative of the mindless attitude of those in  power towards those who believe that  simply because they  and their ancestors happen to have lived in  a geographically bounded state territory  for some time, they  are entitled to certain  privileges, and those who  are recent comers are not. The brutal   and barbarous attitude by  many in Australia towards  the “boat people” from  Asian countries, is a supreme example of this  vicious mind-set.

The concept of “citizenship” is a useful mirage,  a fiction created by states to  marginalize some populations.

In  reality any person  who lives under the jurisdiction of a state geographic entity needs to be protected by  its laws;  whether they be  occupiers of the lands for many generations,  recent  migrants,  asylum seekers, or migrant workers.

As  As’ad AbuKhalil,  aka the Angry Arab states, it is the ignorance of racsim that  drives these  brutal policies and systems of exploitation and terror.

Laurent Fabius: The Little Lion of Syria

Now that  Assad’s government in Syria has agreed to hand over supervision of its chemical  weapons to the United Nations, some of the wind in the sails of the West’s determination to  attack Syria has dissipated.

Damascus in Flames1926
Damascus in flames as a result of the French air raid on 18 October 1925
http://schools-wikipedia.org/wp/d/Damascus.htm

Yet France and its Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius are determined to  ensure that  a military strike remains likely, with  France’s tabling of a UN resolution that   would require “serious consequences” if the chemical  weapons handover was not completed according to  UN  requirements  or on  time.  Currently it is unclear what  is motivating Fabius’ need to  be the leader of the dogs of war against  Syria.  It is possibly some attempt by  the Socialist  government to  regain  some political support in  France-although every French   poll is indicating that   French  involvement in  Syria would have the entirely opposite effect.  Or is it an  attempt to  revive the glories of colonial  France by re-bombing Damascus all over again , as it did in  1925-26 when those dark-skinned natives dared to  fight for their own freedom  from  their French  oppressors?

Or is it simply a matter of cash?,   as  Wayne Madsen  reports  for Iranian  Press TV, where he states that  the Saudi Arabian spy chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al  Saud has been spending large amounts of Saudi  oil  money to  “pay off” key members of the US Senate and House leadership  as well as key  ministers of the French  government.

It may  also be that   Fabius’  war-mongering,  like the UK foreign minister’s  William Hague’s foreign policy decisions,  appear  wholly  based on  unconditional support for the Israeli  state and its expansion.  Hague the UK Foreign  Minister , who , in an interview with the Israeli website YNetNews describes himself as  “a natural friend of Israel”.  Any actions that  turn Shi-ite against  Sunni in the countries surrounding Israel  have to be,  they reason, good for Israel.

Its my guess, that  Al Qaeda think  otherwise…

What is certain is that  “Western” bombing of Syrian  infrastructure will  cause  even  greater suffering than  Syrians from  both  sides  are experiencing now. The experience of Libya in the last Western  bombing campaign, is sadly  illustrative.  And what  should by  now be evident to  anyone  is that bombings or cruise missiles are not “precision targeted’  despite the hype .  They frequently make errors both in  their electronic targetting and,  as is so often  the case, the targeting coordinates are  based on  unreliable inadequate or false information.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia,Qatar, the UK, France and the US have been steadfast  that there should be no  negotiations while Assad is in  power;  in  other words,  that  Assad’s forces will have to be defeated first before there are “negotiations”!-these are not the principles of those who  espouse peace and reconciliation- what  they appear to  want is the destruction of the Syrian  state, with their pundits arguing ( as they have  done in Iraq) that  Syria must be broken up into  its constituent sectarian geographies. Such  a breakup, (largely fomented by  those outside powers themselves) will  certainly not benefit the Syrian  citizens of those enclaves,  but will  certainly benefit  Israel (in the short term) and Saudi Arabia’s salafist mercenaries.

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Links

Moon of Alabama covers many of the issues regarding how a chemical  weapons transfer might occur.

A very  French (and implausible) take on  French  jingoism  for war  in Syria

The Predator from the West

Everywhere you look  in  mainstream Western media you see the utter “reasonableness’ of our need to  destroy  this or that country because it is evil  and isn’t democratic or reasonable enough.

History tells us  a different story,  but for some reason,  we choose to ignore it. The recent non-revelation of the CIA and UK  ‘intelligence” community’s  overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister Mossaddegh of Iran, beginning on  19th August  1953 once again  highlights what  the Wikipedia  entry aptly describes as the ongoing “grubby” adventures by these two  states.  Foolishly, Mossaddegh’s  government had  voted to  nationalise the  UK “owned’  oil fields production in  Iran and so Mossaddegh  and Iran  had to pay the price-  a lifetime of imprisonment and the re-installation of the brutal  pretend-King of Persia -the Shah.

The UK and France’s ongoing adventure in  Syria is another such  example of history repeating itself, where the so-called socialist  president of France, Hollande is salivating at  the mouth  with the opportunity to  once again invade their old colony under the pretense of protecting its  inhabitants ( identical  story  to last time), and the evil little UK Foreign  Minister  Hague will do  absolutely anything to please his  Israeli  masters. Funding and supporting Al Qaeda is absolutely not a   problem  to  Hollande and Hague and Obama -as it was no  problem for the US in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Read a great  account of the French aerial bombing of Damascus  in 1925  and again  in  1926. The US has a 60  year history of conflict  with Syria, as noted by  Adam Curtis in  his wonderful  blog, “The Baby and the Baath  Water.”

In  Afghanistan,the US repeats the old adventures played out by  its now junior ally,  “Great  Britain”,  in its  nineteenth century wars of 1839-1842,  and 1878-1880 and  then 1919.

Were those wars about peace, justice and  democracy and the rights of women?  Then,  as now, protecting opium  production was one of the driving forces; protecting the  Western  interests who make  huge monies from  addicting and selling  opium  and now heroin to Chinese, Russians or any other brutalised public.

Protecting  Western  oil  interests and profits  is of course, the other game; a game that heavily relies on Israel  forming a “western”  buttress against  the Arab hordes revolting against  the ‘masters and betters’. Hence the less than subtle tacit  support for the Egyptian  Army generals and their counter-revolution,  and the West’s unconditional  support for the Wahhabi  extremist fiefdoms in  Saudi Arabia  Qatar and the UAE.

“The celebrated anthropologist Clifford Geertz has half-jokingly suggested that all  states can be parceled into four types: pluralist, in  which the state is seen by  its people as having moral  legitimacy;  populist, in  which government is viewed as an  expression of the people’s will’; “great beast” in which the ruler’s power depends on  using force to keep  the populace cowed,  and “great fraud” in  which  the elite uses smoke and mirrors to  convince the people of its inherent authority” – 1491- New Revelations of the Americas”: Charles C Mann.   I leave you to  judge  which  of those categories of statehood the UK and US fit into.

The problem with all of these Western adventures is that they benefit only a tiny minority of the UK and US populations;  the very  very  rich (or the less then ‘one-per cent’) , with the trickle-down effects to  the British  and US wider public  negligible. The process can only continue while those publics can continue to be propagandized into  believing that these wars and adventures are about peace democracy  and justice and stopping evil  terrorists blowing us all up..

The desperation of those in  power  and their mercenary backers can be seen in the massive state investment   in  knowing what  everyone is writing and saying online and on the phone  and the need to silence  any whistleblowers quickly.

Time is running out for the predators.

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Links

An  excellent analysis  of the impacts of interventionism in Libya   from  the Belfer Institute by Alan  Ku[perman

Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/23/manning-snowden-and-the-u-s-coup-in-iran/

The War on Democracy

Universal male and female adult suffrage is a relatively recent phenomenon -in a nation  state it first occurred in  1893 in New Zealand . Adult male suffrage ( regardless of property rights)  first occurred in  republican France in  1792.  Universal  suffrage  (including blacks ) was only  enforced in US Federal elections from  1965.  The above dates clearly indicate true universal  suffrage really only  becoming the accepted norm in  recent times in the Western world, let alone globally.

Democracy  in  a given geographical catchment  works most fairly where voters have similar  views and shared identities  (ie  in a nation-state composed of numerous well-defined minorities, only the majority group  will  consider its interests are represented by  ruling governments unless coalitions of minorities are formed). Where there are long-standing minorities in  a given electoral catchment,  resentment and exclusion  naturally follow .

Additionally in  the last 10 years with the advent of the internet  and the fictional  “War on  Terror”,  a new set of issues, both constraining and enabling  democracy, have arisen.

The capacity of private citizens to  find  truthful information on  government decisions and responses has markedly improved  over the last 10 years with the  rise of the internet,  justifiably causing the credibility of most Western politicians to be tarnished as their ongoing epidemic of  lying and posturing  is exposed.

In addition, Western state’s and private corporate’s attack on general elections in  the past few years  in   countries such  as Iran, the Russian Federation and the celebrated colour revolutions of Eastern Europe, have now enabled any electorally defeated opposition  party to claim   fraud and vote rigging and to “legitimately ” resort to  revolution  on the streets ; the principles of majority vote rules are now significantly undermined . This  democratic  revisionism has now also been exacerbated by the West’s recent tacit support  for the Egyptian  Army’s coup  against Egypt’s legitimately elected government .

On top of that , the US and UK security apparatuses and other “democratic ” state apparatus’  insistence on  total knowledge  of their citizens’  online and phone conversations,  is a further deliberate malign attempt to  ensure that only  those who currently have the power and money are able to  circulate their view of the world  to the voters, thereby  attempting to maintain the “status quo”;  somewhat in  opposition to  true democratic  principles.

Democracy  may or may  not be, to paraphrase Churchill, the least worst alternative method of government representation, but the cracks are surely showing…

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Links

http://katieandmartin.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/a-brief-history-of-universal-suffrage/

Another round of negotiations for peace between Israel and “Palestine”- sigh

Richard Falk in his blog article, Reviving the Israel-Palestine Negotiations: The Indyk Appointment notes one of many absurdities in  this current round of “peace negotiations” between Israel  and the Palestinian  Authority,  brokered by  the U.S., is the US appointment of the chief negotiator, Martin Indyk. Martin Indyk, Falk notes, is a “former ambassador to Israel (1995-97; 2000-01), onetime AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) employee, British born, Australian educated American diplomat, with a long list of pro-Israeli credentials.” Hardly what might be described as an independent arbiter

As www.jadaliyya.com display in their simple but effective poster on the displacement of the Palestinian peoples since 1948 by Israeli soldiers and gunmen, by 2008, more than 5.3 million Palestinians were living in enforced exile, often in extreme conditions of hardship. Those who remain in the ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza, imprisoned behind ever higher Israeli concrete walls and for Gazans, facing increasing limitations to their access to food, medicine and the basic necessities of life, by the illegal Israeli blockade. In addition, thousands of Palestinian political prisoners are imprisoned in Israel for their rightful attempts to   break a savage illegal occupation, or like the hundreds of young children imprisoned and often tortured, maybe threw a stone or two against an Israeli soldier or settler.

This is no round of equal party negotiations; this is negotiations between one all powerful  (and totally supported in  every way by  the “independent arbiter”  the U.S.) and the Palestinian  agency  which  has no  democratic legitimacy with its own people (Hamas does)  and which  has absolutely no negotiating leverage.

Falk also notes that “John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, whose show this is, dutifully indicated when announcing the Indyk appointment, that success in the negotiations will depend on the willingness of the two sides to make ‘reasonable compromises.’” One might ask what further compromises the Palestinians may  be asked to make;  having lost almost all  their land, hundreds of thousands of lives, the loss of a  state entity and thousands of their “citizens’  in  Israeli  prisons.  All the while, Israel continues to expand with more settler housing into the occupied territories, destroying more Palestinian homes and orchards and creating more Palestinian refugees. 

Peace in Palestine, if it can be obtained, must surely require the just settlement of past wrongs and the creation of a stable, sustainable and just society for the inhabitants of that region. In my view, some elements of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission model, along with the reconciliations (and compensations) achieved via New Zealand’s Waitangi Tribunal for indigenous Maori, will achieve that goal.

This model translates, in the land of Palestine, to compensation for lands misappropriated by Israeli Jews, compensation for the deaths and torture of Palestinians and Israelis since the Nakba , and equal status for all citizens, whether Jewish, Muslim or any other religious or ethnic identity who currently inhabit those lands – in other words –  a single state solution. A peace settlement requires a just settlement.

In every way, these current negotiations, as all the previous peace negotiations have been, are both a farce and tragedy.

 OsloPalestine

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Links

Reviving the Israel/Palestine negotiations: the Indyk Appointment– Richard Falk

Choosing Martin Indyk to Lead the Israel Palestine Peace Talks is a Disaster – Policy Mic

Former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk to oversee talks with Palestinians –  The Guardian

John Kerry’s Doomed Peace Process-Foreign Policy in Focus

 Two-state IIlusion-New York Times Opinion  by Ian Lustick

 

Democracy/Hypocrisy in Egypt

 So by now it should be clear to every  Western  and Arab citizen, that  western  governments don’t support the will of the majority; otherwise known as democracy-they  support “their man”.

The removal  of Mohammed Morsi  as the legitimately elected President of Egypt by  the US funded  Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Egypt, Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, on the 3rd July after one year in office, with  scarcely a murmur of concern from  any Western  “democracy” is indicative of the contempt the governing Western powers have for the will  of the people.

It can  certainly be argued that  Morsi , whose Muslim Brotherhood renaissance was largely funded by  Qatar, did not deliver on  the promises he made in  the pre-election process last  year.  However if that rule of thumb for instituting a  coup  were to be used against  every  democratically elected leader in  this world, there would be  few remaining in  power after their first year in   office!

Certainly  Morsi  changed his political  agenda frequently  over the past year based on  the  likelihood of funding becoming available from the US or Saudi Arabia or Qatar. But again, if that yardstick  were used against elected leaders  to  define legitimacy,  there are currently  few “un-bought” leaders in  democracies who  would pass that  measure.

Dodge
Dodge van

Don’t get me wrong , I am not an apologist for any kind  of religious based political agenda; whether Christian, Buddhist Muslim or any other sectarian  view of the world. By definition, those sectarian  views breed intolerance,  fear, hypocrisy and violence. But then  again  we have many apparently non religious Western leaders whose non-religious sectarian  views breed that  same intolerance and fear.

No, the most significant  issue is the breathtaking hypocrisy  of those Western leaders who  regularly call  for “democracy”  in  this or that state (usually with some natural  resources they want) ,  but whose agenda is now manifestly clear: ” regime change” is all that matters as long as the new regime is “our”  regime.

Secondly what  is also  breathtakingly clear is the total  corruption and fawning of the mainstream western media to  the powers-that-be.  No  headlines on  why  the UK and US and its European “allies’  are supporting a  military  coup  over democracy,  in what  has been trumpeted for so long as the new democratic “arab spring” ;  no hint of dissonance expressed…..

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Postscript

The Grand Scam: Spinning Egypt’s Military Coup: Exposing the Hypocrisy of ElBaradei and His Liberal Elites-  Counterpunch

Richard Falk’s as always, great  analysis  in his Egypt: Extreme Polarization and Genocidal Politics