Posts tagged ‘United Nations’

Text of Roger Waters’ speech at the UN On December 13, 2012 ………….

http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com

Roger Waters address at The United Nations 29th November 2012 on behalf of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (PDF file)

Table of contents:

  1. The text of the speech delivered to “The UN Committee on the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People.” (UNISPAL) (page 1 to page 9)
  2. The original un-edited speech. (page 10 to page 17)

1.

Mr. Chairman, your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you very much for receiving me at this moment of solidarity and crisis. I am a musician, not a diplomat, and so I shall not waste this precious opportunity on niceties of protocol. However I will say that you must all be suffering from listening fatigue, to a certain extent, so while I’ve been sitting there listening as well, I’ve been editing my rather long speech down to a rather shorter speech, but I believe the full text will be available to anybody who cares to read it, at the end of this meeting.

I appear before you as a representative of the fourth Russell Tribunal on Palestine and in that capacity I am representing global civil society.

By way of preamble I should say my remarks here today are not personal or driven by prejudice or malice, I am looking only to shed some light on the predicament of a beleaguered people.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was created to shed such light, to seek accountability for the violations of international law and the lack of United Nations resolve that prevent the Palestinian people from achieving their inalienable rights, especially the right of self-determination. One particular stimulus to our convening was the disturbing failure of the international community to implement and enforce the clear judgment of the International Court of Justice in 2004, contained in its advisory opinion on the Israeli Wall, as requested by the UN.

We met here in New York City, six weeks ago, on the 6th and 7th of October, having previously sent out invitations to all interested parties.  After listening to exhaustive testimony from many expert witnesses, and after careful deliberation, we arrived at the following judgements.

We found that the State of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes.

  1. Apartheid.

The UN’s International Covenant on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, defines that crime as inhuman acts by any government that are “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”  As you all know, the prohibited acts include arbitrary arrest, legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields; measures that divide the population along racial lines, and the persecution of those opposed to the system of apartheid.

As you are aware, this finding by the tribunal was endorsed earlier

In the year by the HRC Committee for the Elimination of Racial

Discrimination in Geneva after submissions by the Tribunal made

both orally and in writing.

  1. Ethnic cleansing.  In this case that crime includes the systematic eviction of much of the native Palestinian population by force since 1947-48.
  1. Collective punishment of a civilian population, explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Convention Article 33. Israel has violated its obligation as Occupying Power throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Its most serious violations have occurred recently in Gaza with the blockade and virtual imprisonment of the entire population, the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians during the Israeli offensive, “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008 and 9, and now the devastation wrought by the recent attack, ironically named, “Operation Pillar of Defense.”

As I speak, I can hear the tut, tutting of governmental and media tongues trotting out the well worn mantra of the apologists, but “Hamas started it with their rocket attacks, Israel is only defending itself,”

Let us examine that argument. Did Hamas start “It”? When did “It” start?

How we understand history is shaped by when we start the clock. If we start the clock at a moment when rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel on a certain afternoon that, is one history. If we start the clock earlier that morning, when a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he played soccer on a Gaza field, history starts to look a little different. If we go back further we see that since “Operation Cast Lead”, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, 271 Palestinians were killed by Israeli, bombs, rockets, drones and warplanes, and during the same period not a single Israeli was killed. A good case can be made that “It” started in 1967 with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. History tells us that the invasion and occupation of a land and the subjugation of its people almost always creates a resistance. Ask the French or the Dutch or the Poles or the Czechs, the list goes on. This crisis in Gaza is a crisis rooted in occupation.

Israel and its allies would contend that Gaza is no longer occupied. Really? The withdrawal of soldiers and settlers in 2005 changed the nature, not the existence, of occupation. Israel still controls Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters, borders, land, economy and lives. Gaza is still occupied. The people of Gaza, the 1.6 million Palestinians, half of them children under the age of 16, live in an open-air prison.  That is the reality that underlies the current crisis. And until we, not only understand that, but also until you, Excellencies, your governments, and your General Assembly take responsibility to end that occupation, we cannot even hope that the current crisis is over. In October, on the last occasion jurors from The Russell Tribunal addressed this committee, we were assured that our representations and reports would be advanced on the floor of the GA for general debate. If things go well today we may hope to hold you, Excellencies, to that assurance.

I have diverted briefly, let me return to the Israeli violations, which the Russell Tribunal identified.

4. Contravention of the Fourth Geneva convention’s prohibition on settlements – specifically Article 49. The settlements, ALL the settlements, are not simply an obstacle to peace, they are illegal. Period.  Full Stop.  All of them. You, in the General Assembly, and even the Security Council as well, have over the years identified them as illegal.  And yet they stand, a daily reality in which now more than 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem violate the law every morning simply by waking up – because their houses sit on illegally expropriated land. It is not enough to call, as some governments do, for an end to further settlement expansion; if we are to live under the law the entire settlement undertaking must be ended.

5. Use of illegal weapons. During Israel’s Cast Lead operation four years ago, international human rights organizations documented Tel Aviv’s use of white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza. Human Rights Watch found that, and I quote, “Israel’s repeated firing of white phosphorous shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.” White phosphorous burns at up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine what happens when it comes into contact with the skin of a child. Human Rights Watch called for Israel’s “senior commanders” to be held accountable. But so far, there has been no such accountability. No governments, nor even you, the United Nations General Assembly, have attempted to hold these Israeli commanders accountable. We hear a great deal about the UN’s commitment to the “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations.  Surely the UN’s “responsibility to protect” must extend to this most vulnerable of populations, Palestinians, imprisoned in a crowded, besieged open-air prison?

There are more violations, your Excellencies, but you know that. Your resolutions trace the history of Israeli violations. You regret, you deplore, you even condemn the violations. But when have your resolutions been implemented?  It is not enough to deplore and condemn. What we need is for the United Nations – for you, excellencies, your governments and the General Assembly in which you serve – to take seriously your Responsibility to Protect Palestinians living under occupation and facing the daily violation of their inalienable rights of self-determination and equality.

The will of “we the people of these United Nations” is that all our brothers and sisters should be free to live in self determination, that the oppressed should be released from their burden, by being given recourse to the law, and that the oppressors should be called to account by that same law.

In 1981 I wrote a song, called ‘The Gunner’s Dream’ it appeared on a Pink Floyd album ‘The Final Cut’, the song purports to express the dying dream of an RAF gunner as he plunges to his death from a stricken aircraft towards the corner of some foreign field. He dreams of the future for which he is giving his life. I quote.

A place to stay

Enough to eat

Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street

Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears

And what’s more

No one ever disappears you never hear their standard issue

Kicking in your door.

You can relax on both sides of the tracks

And maniacs, don’t blow holes, in bandsmen by remote control

And everyone has recourse to the law

And no one kills the children anymore

No one kills the children anymore.

In 1982 and again in 1983, the General Assembly passed resolutions holding Israel accountable for its violations. Those resolutions called for a complete arms embargo on Israel and an end to military aid and trade with Israel. Those resolutions were never implemented.  We never expected the United States, or my government, I’m from The UK, by the way, to implement those GA resolutions – the U.S. is giving Israel $4.1 billion this year to bolster its already bloated military. The IMF says Israel is the 26th wealthiest country in the world, and Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East – why would any government be giving them money for more arms? Beats me. But the reality that they are does not excuse other governments from their obligations to implement those arms embargo resolutions.

No such embargo has been imposed. Instead, it has fallen to global civil society to take the lead. Following a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society, social movements, activists, and increasingly church bodies and even some local government authorities around the world have created the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It aims, as many of you know, to bring non-violent economic pressure to bear on Israel to force an end to its violations, an end to occupation and apartheid, an end to the denial of Palestinians’ right of return, and an end to Palestinian citizens of Israel being required to live as second class citizens, discriminated against on racial grounds, and subject to different laws than their Jewish compatriots. The BDS movement is gaining ground hand over fist. Just last week I was happy to write a letter of support to the Student Government of the University of California, Irvine, congratulating them on demanding that their University divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Also, last summer I was in Pittsburg to witness The Presbyterian Churches of the USA general assembly vote on a resolution to divest from Motorola, Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard, this would have been unthinkable ten years ago. To quote the great Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a ‘Changing”

Back to today.

You, the members of the General Assembly are about to have the opportunity to vote on changing Palestine’s UN status to that of a non-member State.

Whilst not according full UN membership, it would provide UN recognition to Palestine as a state that would have the right to sign treaties – crucially including the Rome Treaty as a signatory to the International Criminal Court.

This is a momentous occasion, which was started here 13 months ago. It is one of those rare instances where you, Excellencies, can change the course and the face of history, and at the same time reinforce one of the founding principles of the UN – the right to self determination. The bid implicitly incorporates pre 1967 borders, includes the integrity of East Jerusalem, an autonomous Gaza and the refugee diaspora.

It is momentous because there are already over 132 members who have recognized Palestine as a state and more are appearing every day. And, now, just this week Hamas has lent its support.

I urge you to consider two points. Firstly, please resist pressure from any powerful government to coerce you into defeating or delaying this issue – sadly there is a history of coercion in this hallowed place. No Government, however rich or powerful should be allowed to use its financial or military muscle to set UN policy by bullying other states on this or any other issue.

Secondly, do not take the statehood vote as the end of fulfilling your obligations – General Assembly responsibility goes far beyond UN technicalities, it must include real protection for Palestinians under occupation and real accountability for violations of the law. You have powers you do not use. You do not have to defer to or wait for the Security Council.

In just a few months we will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie, the young peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to protect the house of a pharmacist and his family in Rafah, on Gaza’s border. International activists like Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall and James Miller took the risks they did, and they, and their families paid the ultimate price, because the international community – your governments and the United Nations itself – had failed to protect the vulnerable Palestinian population living under this prolonged occupation. We are proud, though tears burn our eyes, of the work of these young activists and deeply moved by their sacrifice. But we are angry, too, that our governments and our international institutions, including the General Assembly, have failed to provide the protection that would make Rachel Corrie’s sacrifice unnecessary. Also let us not forget the thousands of courageous and anonymous Palestinians and their equally courageous Israeli brothers and sisters in arms (boycott from within) who protest peacefully on a weekly basis for the simple basic right to an ordinary human life. The right to live in dignity and peace, to raise their families, to till the land, to build a just society, to travel abroad, to be free of occupation, to aspire to each and every human goal, just like the rest of us.

Speaking of the rest of us, I live here in New York City. We are a somewhat parochial group, we New Yorkers, to a large extent cut off by propaganda and privilege from the realities of the Palestinians plight. Few of us understand that the government of the United States of America, particularly through its power of veto in the Security Council, protects Israel from the condemnation of the global civil society that I have the honor to represent here today.

Even as bombs rained down on 1.6 million people in Gaza, the President of The United States of America reasserted his position that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

We all know the reach and power of Israel’s military capability and the deadly effects of its actions. So what did President Obama mean?  Did he mean that Israel has the right to indefinitely occupy the whole of the region, that Israel has the right to forcibly evict the populations of the occupied territories, house-by-house, village-by-village?  Did he mean that in this special case Israel has the right to carry out campaigns of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and that the U.S. will protect Israel’s right to do so? Did he mean that Israel has the right to build roads, in occupied territory, protected by razor wire and concrete walls and CCTV and machine guns to protect the residents of Jewish-only settlements?  Did he mean that in discriminate and deadly bombing attacks, including the use of white phosphorous, on the civilian population of Gaza, by an overwhelmingly superior military force, is justified on the grounds of defense?

The Palestinians are an ancient, intelligent, cultured, hospitable, and generous people. And of course they have pride and will resist the occupation of their land and defend their women and children and their property to the best of their ability. Who would not? Would you? Would I? Would President Obama? One would hope so. It would be his duty. Imagine Washington DC, walled in, a prison, mainly rubble from repeated attacks. No one allowed in or out. Constant power cuts, foreign gunboats on the Potomac killing the fishermen, warplanes launching surgical air strikes from their impunity on high, taking out, not only the resistance but women and children too.

More than a generation ago, the General Assembly passed resolution 2625, dealing with the principle of equal rights and self-determination. It recognized that when a people face “any forcible action” depriving them of those rights, that they have the right to “actions against, and resistance to” such use of force. When the international community does not shoulder its “responsibility to protect,” Palestinians will shoulder that responsibility themselves.

This is not to suggest that I support the launching of missiles into Israel. The internationally recognized legal right of resistance means attacking any military target engaged in illegal occupation. But let us be clear, as we believe in The Law as indispensable and even handed. The launching of unguided rockets into Israel, where the most likely targets will be civilians, is not a legal form of resistance.

Many civil society activists – including many Palestinians and Israelis – are committed to non-violent resistance. The BDS movement, which has spread from Palestinian civil society to activists around the world, is part of that non-violent resistance and I support it whole heartedly, but let us be clear that the disparity of power, and the reality of the occupation, and the response of the occupied is the reality we face unless we find recourse in international law and hold all parties to it. In the meantime

Let me try to dial back the rhetoric a little and address the “Israel has a right to defend itself” claim from a legal and historical perspective.

Ex injuria non oritur jus.

“A legal right or entitlement cannot arise from injustice”

If we truly oppose all violence, whether by the occupier or violent resistance by the occupied, we must aim to end the root causes of violence.  In this conflict, that means ending Israel’s occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing, and the denial of the right to self determination and other inalienable rights that the Palestinian people is entitled to according to the UN charter and other tenets of international law.

So to the Future.

Hamas, having dropped its original demand for Israel to be dismantled in the run up to the elections was democratically elected in January2006, in elections deemed free and fair by every international observer present, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The leaders of Hamas have made their position clear over and over again. It is this: Hamas is open to permanent peace with Israel if there is total withdrawal to the 1967 borders (22 per cent of historic Palestine), and the arrangement is supported by a referendum of all Palestinians living under occupation. I know you all know this, but where I live they don’t know this, they don’t know that that is the position of Hamas. So I’m telling them.

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, friends. We are all here for the same reason. We are all committed to human rights, international law, the centrality of the United Nations and equality for all – including for Palestinians. We are all attending this meeting on 29th November that marks the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with The Palestinian People.

But it seems to me, our commemoration of this day is not enough.

So, what else to do? The battleground is here, at the headquarters of the United Nations, and simultaneously in the middle of New York City, with access to the media. The battle is two pronged:

  1. To continue the work of informing the people of the USA about the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and most especially, about the role of their government, the host country of the United Nations, using their tax dollars to fund and enable Israel’s violations. To remind them of the billions of dollars in military aid every year, the absolute protection of Israel in the United Nations, in the International Criminal Court and elsewhere to assure its impunity for war crimes and potential crimes against humanity – to impress upon them, “the people of the United States of America” that these dubious attachments remain the center piece of their governments’ policy in the Middle East.
  2. Just as importantly, we must address, finally, serious reform of the U.N. The UN needs to embrace a new democracy. The veto must be rethought, or the UN will die. The use of the veto as a strategic political tool by one or other of the permanent members of the Security Council has become outmoded. The power of veto residing in the hands of just five nations makes something of a mockery of the pretence of democracy, of the idea that “The will of the Peoples” is represented here. The system is too open to abuse. The blanket protection afforded to Israel by the United States’ use of the veto, is but one example of such abuse. For instance in 1973 it blocked a resolution Re-affirming the rights of Palestinians and demanding withdrawal from the occupied territories, in 1976 another resolution calling for The right of self determination for the Palestinians, and two resolutions in1997 calling for Cessation of settlement building in E. Jerusalem and other occupied territories. There are many more.
  3. l urge you, the General Assembly, to collectively work towards wresting the power back to the people in order to facilitate progress towards a more democratic body, better able to pursue the high aspirations of this great institution, to represent the will of the peoples of these great United Nations.

You, the General Assembly, represent the largest, most democratic component of the United Nations. The United States, and China and France and Russia and the UK have no veto here. What is needed is political will. You can make decisions, and take actions, that the Security Council cannot, or will not. The United Nations Charter begins with the words “We, the peoples, of these United Nations.”  Not “We the governments.”  I urge you, on behalf of the people of your countries, on behalf of the people of all countries, in fact on behalf of all the peoples, of this, our shared earth, to act.

Seize this historic moment.

Support the vote today for Palestinian enhanced observer statehood status as a step towards full membership.

And declare Israel’s continued membership of the UN to be dependent on reform of its illegal apartheid regime.

Thank you,

Roger Waters

29th November 2012

2.

The Full Un-Edited Text.

Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Chairman, your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for receiving me at this moment of solidarity and crisis. I am a musician, not a diplomat, and so I shall not waste this precious opportunity on niceties of protocol.

I appear before you as a representative of the fourth Russell Tribunal on Palestine and in that capacity I am representing global civil society.

By way of preamble I should say my remarks here today are not personal or driven by prejudice or malice, I am looking only to shed some light on the predicament of a beleaguered people.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine was created to shed such light, to seek accountability for the violations of international law and the lack of United Nations resolve that prevent the Palestinian people from achieving their inalienable rights, especially the right of self-determination. One particular stimulus to our convening was the disturbing failure of the international community to implement and enforce the clear judgment of the International Court of Justice in 2004, contained in its advisory opinion on the Israeli Wall, as requested by the UN.

We met here in New York City, six weeks ago, on the 6th and 7th of October, having previously sent out invitations to all interested parties.  After listening to exhaustive testimony from many expert witnesses, and after careful deliberation, we arrived at the following judgments.

We found that the State of Israel is guilty of a number of international crimes.

1.Apartheid.

The UN’s International Covenant on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, defines that crime as inhuman acts by any government that are “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”  As you all know, the prohibited acts include arbitrary arrest, legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields; measures that divide the population along racial lines, and the persecution of those opposed to the system of apartheid.

As you are aware this finding by the tribunal was endorsed earlier

In the year by the HRC Committee for the Elimination of Racial

Discrimination in Geneva after submissions by the Tribunal made

both orally and in writing.

2.Ethnic cleansing.  In this case that crime includes the systematic eviction of much of the native Palestinian population by force since 1947-48.

3.Collective punishment of a civilian population, explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Convention Article 33. Israel has violated its obligation as Occupying Power throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Its most serious violations have occurred recently in Gaza with the blockade and virtual imprisonment of the entire population, the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians during the Israeli offensive, Operation Cast Lead in 2008 and 2009, and now the devastation wrought by the recent attack, ironically named, “Operation Pillar of Defense.”

As I speak, I can hear the tut, tutting of governmental and media tongues trotting out the well worn mantra of the apologists.

“Hamas started it with their rocket attacks, Israel is only defending itself,”

Let us examine that argument. Did Hamas start “It”? When did “It” start?

How we understand history is shaped by when we start the clock. If we start the clock at a moment when rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel on a certain afternoon that is one history. If we start the clock earlier that morning, when a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he played soccer on a Gaza field, history starts to look a little different. If we go back further we see that since ‘Operation Cast Lead’, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, 271 Palestinians were killed by Israeli bombs, rockets, drones and warplanes, and during the same period not a single Israeli was killed. A good case can be made that ’It’ started in 1967 with the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. History tells us that the invasion and occupation of a land and the subjugation of its people almost always creates a resistance. Ask the French or the Dutch or the Poles or the Czechs, the list goes on. This crisis in Gaza is a crisis rooted in occupation.

Israel and its allies would contend that Gaza is no longer occupied. Really? The withdrawal of soldiers and settlers in 2005 changed the nature, not the existence, of occupation. Israel still controls Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters, borders, land, economy and lives. Gaza is still occupied. The people of Gaza, the 1.6 million Palestinians, half of them children under the age of 16, live in an open-air prison.  That is the reality that underlies the current crisis. And until we, not only understand that, and until you, Excellencies, your governments, and your General Assembly take responsibility to end that occupation, we cannot even hope that the current crisis is over. In October, on the last occasion jurors from The Russell Tribunal addressed this committee, we were assured that our representations and reports would be advanced on the floor of the GA for general debate. If things go well today we may hope to hold you, Excellences, to that assurance.

I have diverted briefly, let me return to the Israeli violations, which the Russell Tribunal identified.

4. Contravention of the Fourth Geneva convention’s prohibition on settlements – specifically Article 49. The settlements, ALL the settlements, are not simply an obstacle to peace, they are illegal. Period.  Full Stop.  All of them. You, in the General Assembly, and even the Security Council as well, have over the years identified them as illegal.  And yet they stand, a daily reality in which now more than 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem violate the law every morning simply by waking up – because their houses sit on illegally expropriated land. It is not enough to call, as some governments do, for an end to further settlement expansion; if we are to live under the law the entire settlement undertaking must be ended.

5. Use of illegal weapons. During Israel’s Cast Lead operation four years ago, international human rights organizations documented Tel Aviv’s use of white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza. Human Rights Watch found that, and I quote, “Israel’s repeated firing of white phosphorous shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.” White phosphorous burns at up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine what happens when it comes into contact with the skin of a child. Human Rights Watch called for Israel’s “senior commanders” to be held accountable. But so far, there has been no such accountability. No governments, nor even you, the United Nations General Assembly, have attempted to hold these Israeli commanders accountable. We hear a great deal about the UN’s commitment to the “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations.  Surely the UN’s “responsibility to protect” must extend to this most vulnerable of populations, Palestinians, imprisoned in a crowded, besieged open-air prison?

There are more violations, your Excellencies, but you know that. Your resolutions trace the history of Israeli violations. You regret, you deplore, you even condemn the violations. But when have your resolutions been implemented?  It is not enough to deplore and condemn. What we need is for the United Nations – for you, excellencies, your governments and the General Assembly in which you serve – to take seriously your Responsibility to Protect Palestinians living under occupation and facing the daily violation of their inalienable rights of self-determination and equality.

The will of “we the people of these United Nations” is that all our brothers and sisters should be free to live in self determination, that the oppressed should be released from their burden, by being given recourse to the law, and that the oppressors should be called to account by that same law.

In 1981 I wrote a song, called ‘The Gunner’s Dream’ it appeared on a Pink Floyd album ‘The Final Cut’, the song purports to express the dying dream of a RAF gunner as he plunges to his death from a stricken aircraft towards the corner of some foreign field. He dreams of the future for which he is giving his life. I quote.

A place to stay

Enough to eat

Somewhere old heroes shuffle safely down the street

Where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears

And what’s more

No one ever disappears you never hear their standard issue

Kicking in your door.

You can relax on both sides of the tracks

And maniacs, don’t blow holes, in bandsmen by remote control

And everyone has recourse to the law

And no one kills the children anymore

No one kills the children anymore.

In 1982 and again in 1983, the General Assembly passed resolutions holding Israel accountable for its violations. Those resolutions called for a complete arms embargo and an end to military aid and trade with Israel. Those resolutions were never implemented.  We never expected the United States, or my government, I’m from The UK, by the way, to implement those GA resolutions – the U.S. is giving Israel $4.1 billion this year to bolster its already bloated military. The IMF says Israel is the 26th wealthiest country in the world, and Israel is the only nuclear weapons state in the Middle East – why would any government be giving them money for more arms? Beats me. But the reality that they are does not excuse other governments from their obligations to implement those arms embargo resolutions.

No such embargo has been imposed. Instead, it has fallen to global civil society to take the lead. Following a 2005 call from Palestinian civil society, social movements, activists, and increasingly church bodies and even some local government authorities around the world have created the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It aims, as many of you know, to bring non-violent economic pressure to bear on Israel to force an end to its violations, an end to occupation and apartheid, an end to the denial of Palestinians’ right of return, and an end to Palestinian citizens of Israel being required to live as second class citizens, discriminated against on racial grounds, and subject to different laws than their Jewish compatriots. The BDS movement is gaining ground hand over fist. Just last week I was happy to write a letter of support to the Student Government of the University of California, Irvine, congratulating them on demanding that their University divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.

Also last summer I was in Pittsburg to witness The Presbyterian Churches of the USA general assembly vote on a resolution to divest from Motorola, Caterpillar and Hewlett Packard, this would have been unthinkable ten years ago. To quote the great Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a’Changing”

Back to today.

You, the members of the General Assembly are about to have the opportunity to vote on changing Palestine’s UN status to that of a non-member State.

Whilst not according full UN membership, it would provide UN recognition to Palestine as a state that would have the right to sign treaties – crucially including the Rome Treaty as a signatory to the International Criminal Court.

This is a momentous occasion, which was started here 13 months ago. It is one of those rare instances where you, excellencies, can change the course and the face of history, and at the same time reinforce one of the founding principles of the UN – the right to self determination. The bid implicitly incorporates pre 1967 borders, includes the integrity of East Jerusalem, an autonomous Gaza and the refugee diaspora.

It is momentous because there are already over 132 members who have recognized Palestine as a state and more are appearing every day. And, now, just this week Hamas has lent its support.

I urge you to consider two points. Firstly, please resist pressure from any powerful government to coerce you into defeating or delaying this issue – sadly there is a history of coercion in this hallowed place. No Government, however rich or powerful should be allowed to use its financial or military muscle to set UN policy by bullying other states on this or any other issue.

Secondly, do not take the statehood vote as the end of fulfilling your obligations – General Assembly responsibility goes far beyond UN technicalities, it must include real protection of Palestinians under occupation and real accountability for violations of the law. You have powers you do not use. You do not have to defer to or wait for the Security Council.

In just a few months we will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the killing of Rachel Corrie, the young peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored Caterpillar bulldozer as she tried to protect the house of a pharmacist and his family in Rafah, on Gaza’s border. International activists like Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall and James Miller took the risks they did, and they, and their families paid the ultimate price, because the international community – your governments and the United Nations itself – had failed to protect the vulnerable Palestinian population living under this prolonged occupation. We are proud, though tears burn our eyes, of the work of these young activists and deeply moved by their sacrifice. But we are angry, too, that our governments and our international institutions, including the General Assembly, have failed to provide the protection that would make Rachel Corrie’s sacrifice unnecessary. Also let us not forget the thousands of courageous and anonymous Palestinians and their equally courageous Israeli brothers and sisters in arms (boycott from within) who protest peacefully on a weekly basis for the simple basic right to an ordinary human life. The right to live in dignity and peace, to raise their families, to till the land, to build a just society, to travel abroad, to be free of occupation, to aspire to each and every human goal, just like the rest of us.

Speaking of the rest of us, I live here in New York City. We are a somewhat parochial group, we New Yorkers, to a large extent cut off by propaganda and privilege from the realities of the Palestinians plight. Few of us understand that the government of the United States of America, particularly through its power of veto in the Security Council, protects Israel from the condemnation of the global civil society that I have the honor to represent here today.

Even as bombs rained down on 1.6 million people in Gaza, the President of The United States of America reasserted his position that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

We all know the reach and power of Israel’s military capability and the deadly effects of its actions. So what did President Obama mean?  Did he mean that Israel has the right to indefinitely occupy the whole of the region, that Israel has the right to forcibly evict the populations of the occupied territories, house by house, village by village?  Did he mean that in this special case Israel has the right to carry out campaigns of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and that the U.S. will protect Israel’s right to do so? Did he mean that Israel has the right to build roads, in occupied territory, protected by razor wire and concrete walls and CCTV and machine guns to protect the residents of Jewish-only settlements?  Did he mean that in discriminate and deadly bombing attacks, including the use of white phosphorous, on the civilian population of Gaza, by an overwhelmingly superior military force, is justified on the grounds of defense?

The Palestinians are an ancient, intelligent, cultured, hospitable, and generous people. And of course they have pride and will resist the occupation of their land and defend their women and children and their property to the best of their ability. Who would not? Would you? Would I? Would President Obama? One would hope so. It would be his duty. Imagine Washington DC, walled in, a prison, mainly rubble from repeated attacks. No one allowed in or out. Constant power cuts, foreign gunboats on the Potomac killing the fishermen, warplanes launching surgical air strikes from their impunity on high, taking out, not only the resistance but women and children too.

More than a generation ago, the General Assembly passed resolution 2625, dealing with the principle of equal rights and self-determination. It recognized that when a people face “any forcible action” depriving them of those rights, that they have the right to “actions against, and resistance to” such use of force. When the international community does not shoulder its “responsibility to protect,” Palestinians will shoulder that responsibility themselves.

This is not to suggest that I support the launching of missiles into Israel. The internationally recognized legal right of resistance means attacking any military target engaged in illegal occupation. But let us be clear, as we believe in The Law as indispensable and even handed. The launching of unguided rockets into Israel, where the most likely targets will be civilians, is not a legal form of resistance.

Many civil society activists – including many Palestinians and Israelis – are committed to non-violent resistance. The BDS movement, which has spread from Palestinian civil society to activists around the world, is part of that non-violent resistance and I support it whole heartedly, but let us be clear that the disparity of power, and the reality of the occupation, and the response of the occupied is the reality we face unless we find recourse in international law and hold all parties to it. In the meantime

Let me try to dial back the rhetoric a little and address the “Israel has a right to defend itself” claim from a legal and historical perspective.

Ex injuria non oritur jus.

“A legal right or entitlement cannot arise from injustice”

If we truly oppose all violence, whether by the occupier or violent resistance by the occupied, we must aim to end the root causes of violence.  In this conflict, that means ending Israel’s occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing, and the denial of the right to self determination and other inalienable rights that the Palestinian people is entitled to according to the UN charter and other tenets of international law.

So to the Future.

Hamas, having dropped its original demand for Israel to be dismantled in the run up to the elections was democratically elected in January2006, in elections deemed free and fair by every international observer present, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The leaders of Hamas have made their position clear over and over again. It is this: Hamas is open to permanent peace with Israel if there is total withdrawal to the 1967 borders (22 per cent of historic Palestine), and the arrangement is supported by a referendum of all Palestinians living under occupation.

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, friends. We are all here for the same reason. We are all committed to human rights, international law, the centrality of the United Nations and equality for all – including for Palestinians. We are all attending this meeting on 29th November that marks the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with The Palestinian People.

But it seems to me, our commemoration of this day is not enough.

So, what else to do? The battleground is here, at the headquarters of the United Nations, and simultaneously in the middle of New York City, with access to the media. The battle is two pronged:

To continue the work of informing the people of the USA about the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and most especially, about the role of their government, the host country of the United Nations, using their tax dollars to fund and enable Israel’s violations. To remind them of the billions of dollars in military aid every year, the absolute protection of Israel in the United Nations, in the International Criminal Court and elsewhere to assure its impunity for war crimes and potential crimes against humanity – to impress upon them, “the people of the United States of America” that these dubious attachments remain the center piece of their governments’ policy in the Middle East.

Just as importantly, we must address, finally, serious reform of the U.N. The UN needs to embrace a new democracy. The veto must be rethought, or the UN will die. The use of the veto as a strategic political tool by one or other of the permanent members of the Security Council has become outmoded. The power of veto residing in the hands of just five nations makes something of a mockery of the pretense of democracy, of the idea that “The will of the Peoples” is represented here. The system is too open to abuses. The blanket protection afforded to Israel by the United States’ use of the veto is but one example of such abuse. For instance in 1973 it blocked a resolution Re-affirming the rights of Palestinians and demanding withdrawal from the occupied territories, in 1976 another resolution calling for The right of self determination for the Palestinians, and two resolutions in1997 calling for Cessation of settlement building in E. Jerusalem and other occupied territories. There are many more.

l urge you, the General Assembly, to collectively work towards wresting the power back to the people in order to facilitate progress towards a more democratic body, better able to pursue the high aspirations of this great institution, to represent the will of the peoples of these great United Nations.

You, the General Assembly, represent the largest, most democratic component of the United Nations. The United States, and China and France and Russia and the UK have no veto here. What is needed is political will. You can make decisions, and take actions, that the Security Council cannot, or will not. The United Nations Charter begins with the words “We, the peoples, of these United Nations.”  Not “We the governments.”  I urge you, on behalf of the people of your countries, on behalf of the people of all countries, in fact on behalf of all the peoples, of this, our shared earth, to act.

Seize this historic moment.

Support the vote today for Palestinian enhanced observer statehood status as a step towards full membership.

And declare Israel’s continued membership of the UN to be dependent on reform of its illegal apartheid regime.

Thank you.

Roger Waters. 29th November 2012.

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Gaddafi on democracy, dictators and world peace (Al Jazeera, 25 Sep. 2009) …….

NIall Bradley
Sott.net
Fri, 28 Oct 2011 12:56 CDT
Muammar Gaddafi was supposedly killed by a baying mob last week, having survived successive bombing raids on his residences in Libya by NATO, whose rationale was that Gaddafi was “threatening to kill his own people.”But what do we really know about the man who defied Western criticism and propaganda for over 40 years and transformed Libya from the poorest nation on Earth into Africa’s richest?This interview he gave to Al Jazeera in 2009 during his visit to the UN in New York suggests that far from being an evil, rambling madman, Gaddafi is (or was) one of the few world leaders who actually knows what he’s talking about.

There is much for those of us in ‘the West’ to ponder from this interview, not least fake democracy vis a vis Libya’s participatory democracy which Gaddafi envisioned as a model for the rest of the world.But did you also notice Gaddafi’s carefully measured comments about WMDs and Iran?Something that has really stood out during this season’s ritual slaughter of Muslims by Western powers has been Iran’s full support for the NATO bombing. “The Great/Little Satan” and the “Mad Mullahs” in bed together! What is UP there?

related Video update  :

Obama Calls Murder of Children in Libya A “Success”

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A world that only understands the language of power ………………

http://www.voltairenet.org

by Wassim Raad

Partners | Beirut (Lebanon) | 27 September 2011

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JPEG - 34.2 kb
Westerners turning international law into a farce.
©UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

International affairs

Editorial : A world that only understands the language of power
The Western position in support of Israel in the face of the Palestinian request in form addressed to the United Nations, constituted yet another proof for the high level of international hypocrisy surrounding the Palestinian cause since 1948.
The recognition of a fictive state at the UN carries a moral and political character to immunize the Palestinian diplomatic position in the face of Israel, the violating state which has been protected by the American veto ever since its establishment, to the point of obstructing all the international resolutions against it and preventing any serious international investigation into the genocide crimes it perpetrated against the Palestinians.
For decades, this American-European protection has prevented any serious discussion at the UN of the racial segregation to which the Palestinians are being subjected in their own land by the last “state” in the world representing an occupation based on racial segregation and discrimination against the original citizens since the liberation of South Africa.
Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at the UN about the European role which was always humiliatingly affiliated with the American policy since the days of Charles de Gaulle. The hypocrite and impostor Sarkozy knows well that a state called Syria –against which he is currently conspiring to serve Israel – did not miss an opportunity to call on Europe to play a role that is independent from the American hegemony policy and the blunt bias in favor of Israel. He knows, like all the impostors among the Western European rulers, that Israel is committing hundreds of crimes against humanity every day, is responsible for the displacement of millions of Palestinians and the occupation of Lebanese and Syrian territories whose water wealth it is pillaging.
The West which is busy thinking of ways to protect Israel before the American fleeing from Iraq and to divide the control over the oil and water in the Arab countries, is conspiring day and night against the resistance’s fort that is supporting the Palestinians, i.e. Syria. This provides yet another proof for the fact that the so-called international community only recognizes the logic of power and that all which is called international law is nothing but a mere lie.

Arab Affairs

News analysis: Commotion, pressures and terrorism in Syria
The retreat is ongoing at the level of the response to the calls made by the Syrian opposition movements to demonstrate, after the unity of the opposition itself turned into a slogan during last Friday’s demonstrations. Its divisions and conflicts have reached the level of a major scandal in the opinion of the opposition’s partisans themselves, as most of them are recognizing that this rift is due to disloyal competition, and connections to the states sponsoring the plans to sabotage Syria.
- Firstly, the scandalous paradoxes in the course of the plan to sabotage Syria increased during this past week, the last of which was launched by Mr. Haitham al-Maleh who is claiming in some media outlets to be the most influential leader in the opposition and who was behind the call for one of the Istanbul meetings with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization and the Turkish intelligence. Quite simply, Haitham al-Maleh demanded NATO’s military interference in Syria on one channel then appeared on another to recant his previous statement following the commotion and embarrassment it raised. This is one example of the political mentality prevailing over the leaders of the Syrian opposition movements and revealing their real intentions.
- Secondly, on the media scene, the oil channels that are targeting Syria resorted to the use of old and falsified tapes to give the impression there were massive and ongoing protests on the ground. Last Friday, Al-Jazeera channel thus aired pictures of a demonstration raising banners about the famine in Somalia, as the fabricators of the sounds that accompanied the footage did not pay attention to the fact that the banners called for donations to the Somali children and not for the toppling of the Syrian regime.
- Thirdly, in parallel to the media determination to give the impression that the protests are ongoing, the facts prove that the number of those responding to the calls has retreated below four thousand throughout Syria, and that the main facet of the opposition’s activities has become armed actions against the state and its institutions through terrorist attacks that targeted the army and the security forces in more than one area in the country and especially in the Homs province.
The remaining months until the end of the year, i.e. the date of the beginning of the American escape from Iraq, will witness numerous escalation campaigns and attempts to engage in negotiations because Syria and Iran are still rejecting any compromise that would grant the American occupation a price in exchange for its exit from Iraq, while the primary price demanded by the Americans at this level is securing Israel’s protection for which they moved the missiles shield inside the Turkish-Syrian border.

The Arab file

Libya
• The violent clashes between the Libyan revolutionaries and the forces loyal to Kaddafi proceeded in Bani Walid, Sert and some other regions in which Kaddafi’s loyalists are present throughout the week, while the fighters of the new regime in Libya were able to impose their control over the city of Sebha.
• The members of the national transitional council announced the postponement of the consensus over the formation of a new national government until further notice. As for the national transitional council, it announced it intended to lead the country for the next eight months until the election of a constituent assembly and the staging of general elections within a period not exceeding one year. But UN Envoy Ian Martin assured that the six-month deadline will not begin until the new authorities announce the full liberation of the country.
• Head of the national transitional council Mustafa Abdul Jalil thanked the international community for helping Libya, pledging that the forces loyal to Kaddafi will benefit from fair trials. In the meantime, Aisha Kaddafi, Colonel Muammar Kaddafi’s daughter, issued her first voice recording in which she assured that her father and brothers were leading the battles against “NATO and its agents”, and assured they will eventually prevail.

Yemen
• Since last Sunday, Yemen has been witnessing violent clashes between those loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the president’s oppositionists. The tribes participated in the clashes and the Yemeni capital Sana’a turned into a guerilla zone that witnessed the fall of a large number of dead and wounded. A ceasefire agreement was reached between Saleh’s forces and the ones supporting the opposition, but the accord soon collapsed.
• Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to the country on Friday, calling a few hours after his arrival on all the political, military and security sides in the authority and the opposition to a full truce and a ceasefire that would allow the various parties to reach agreement and consensus.

Palestine
• The Israeli government mobilized its security apparatuses and proclaimed an emergency plan to face the repercussions of the Palestinian intention to head to the UN and see the proclamation of the state.
• American President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday in New York there were no shortcuts to end the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, at a time when the US threatened to use the veto right at the Security Council to deter any request for the accession of the Palestinian state to the Security Council.
• In this context, the cities of the occupied West Bank and the city of Gaza, along with some Arab countries, witnessed marches and demonstrations in support of the Palestinian effort to earn a membership at the UN. A request for that purpose was presented by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Friday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, saying in a speech: “No one with an ounce of conscience would reject the full membership of Palestine at the UN.”

Syria
• The dialogue sessions conducted in the provinces stressed the importance of dialogue to resolve the domestic issues and prevent the foreign interference attempts aiming at undermining Syria’s national unity and at dividing the region. They also stressed the necessity of upholding the resistance and rejectionism.
• And while the disputes escalated between the Syrian opposition forces despite the American, French, Turkish and Qatari efforts to unify them, Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined Barack Obama in calling for the increase of the sanctions.
• Once again it was proven on Friday that the number of people who responded to the demonstration calls has retreated, while the armed attacks against the army and the security forces mounted throughout the Syrian cities and especially in Homs.
• On the other hand, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praised the “balanced Russian position toward the developments in Syria,” as he was receiving a delegation from the Russian Federation. Al-Assad also warned against the foreign interference attempts in Syrian domestic affairs and the attempts to undermine stability in the country.
• On the field, a number of security elements were killed while others were wounded in armed ambushes set up by terrorist groups.

Qatar
• At a time when the prince of Qatar Hamad Ben Khalifa al-Thani is said to be preparing his succession in light of his illness, director of Al-Jazeera network Wadah Khanfar was forced to present his resignation after eight years during which he managed the Qatari media institution. Khanfar, who was known for being close to the Muslim Brotherhood and even Al-Qaeda organization, had seen his position weakened following the emergence of the Wikileaks documents which revealed the details of meetings he held with CIA officials to tackle the direction of the channel’s coverage.
• It is worth mentioning that media reports had claimed that Khanfar’s ousting was due to his disputes with Azmi Bechara who is considered to be very close to the Emir. Consequently, the latter was forced to choose between the two and sacrificed Khanfar.

Israeli file

• “A dangerous historical moment” is how the ongoing drama at the UN was described by the Israeli papers, reaching its peak with the speeches delivered by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The reactions to Abu Mazen’s speech were very harsh, as it was considered to be a speech of instigation violating all the Israeli-Palestinian pacts and agreements.
• The papers indicated that American President Barack Obama stressed that the positions of the Israeli and Palestinian sides were not that far apart, at a time when Europe has been exerting pressures on Abbas to get him to settle for a symbolic recognition.
• The papers indicated that the Israeli army and police raised their state of alertness to its highest levels in preparation for the eruption of any acts violating public order in the West Bank areas. The papers also shed light on Obama’s speech at the UN, in which he said that Israel was a small state surrounded by enemies.

Lebanese affairs

News analysis: Proportionality and the end of the monopolization of the representation
There is a political debate in Lebanon over the electoral law, ever since the government ratified in its ministerial statement the intention to work on a new law based on the principle of proportional parliamentary representation. We can notice at this level that many reactions and positions emerged in regard to this issue, all of which reflecting the electoral interests of the various powers composing the Lebanese political reality.
- Firstly, it is clear that the Future Movement assigned the Phalange Party and the Lebanese Forces to obstruct any consensus during the Bkerke meeting over the support of proportionality. This measure which was adopted by Saad al-Hariri with his two partners reflected the Future Movement’s fear of losing the monopolization of the Sunni sect’s political representation,, since Al-Hariri’s oppositionists in Beirut, West Bekaa, Sidon, Tripoli and Akkar will be able to get a number of parliamentary seats that could expand with the emergence of the centrist bloc headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
- Secondly, it is clear that Deputy Walid Jumblatt who wishes to maintain his sectarian leadership, is afraid that proportionality would allow his political opponents and especially the Arslan wing to get parliamentary seats from outside his political cloak. There is another concern affecting Jumblatt at the level of the Christian political reality in the Mount Lebanon districts that are traditionally considered to be under his command. One of the reasons behind Jumblatt’s opposition is the creation of a climate allowing the launching of the negotiations over the electoral alliances, especially with the Free Patriotic Movement and its leader General Michel Aoun.
What the Lebanese people need is the expansion of the joint space to draft their national options instead of remaining limited to the specificities of the sects and the denominations.

The Lebanese file

• The electricity draft was ratified after three sessions held by the joint parliamentary committees. The deputies participating in these committees’ meetings listened to the explanations of Minister of Water and Energy Gibran Bassil in regard to the electricity plan presented to the council. The opposition deputies interrupted the minister more than once and inquired time and time again about the conditions book, the monitoring sides and the sources of funding. They also demanded the appointment of a regulating committee within three months and an administration board for EDL within two months. In the third session which was attended by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Speaker Nabih Berri started by summarizing what went on during the session, reaching the conclusion that everyone agreed over the core and the principles. Hence, he suggested the adoption of a Cabinet decision to be proposed for voting on Thursday and everyone agreed to that.
• On Thursday, parliament unanimously ratified the plan to reform the electricity sector. For his part, General Michel Aoun assured following the meeting of his bloc there was “no project rising up to the level of the electricity project presented to parliament.” He stressed that the electricity plan will be fully monitored, pointing to the fact that the projects carried out by the Council for Development and Reconstruction were never monitored, whether before or after their implementation.
• Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem believed that the government was facing “a political side that is not opposing, rather trying to cause failure at any price.” He considered that this was due to the “frustration they endured in light of their repeated failures at the level of their political performance.” He added: “I do not wish to specify what the March 14 is doing in the context of the conspiracy, but I will settle for saying they are often acting in a way serving the Israeli-American project.”
• This week, developments were witnessed at the level of the kidnappers of the seven Estonians, knowing that kidnapping and release of the latter hostages were surrounded with utter secrecy. In this respect, the two most dangerous elements in the group that kidnapped the Estonians were killed following an ambush which was set up by the Information Branch that is affiliated with the Internal Security Forces. Questions emerged in regard to this development in light of suspicions that they might have been killed to conceal the details of the kidnapping operation. What was noticeable at this level was the position issued by General Michel Aoun who said there was no reason to congratulate the Information Branch on this operation, considering that the latter did not succeed in arresting the kidnappers and in uncovering who had ordered the kidnapping.

Positions of President Suleiman in New York
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour indicated that Lebanon will deter any resolution condemning Syria, adding that Lebanon wanted Syria to exit its predicament, not see the issuance of resolutions condemning it.
President Michel Suleiman held a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, during which Suleiman stressed Lebanon’s rejection of naturalization and its support of the Palestinian state option.
President Suleiman then delivered Lebanon’s speech before the UN General Assembly, stressing Lebanon’s insistence on its maritime rights and its free exploitation of its resources. He also called for the condemnation of and exertion of pressures on Israel to get it to stop its violation of the Lebanese territories and airspace and implement the international resolutions. He also stressed Lebanon’s support of Palestine’s request to earn membership at the UN, reiterating the rejection of naturalization.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati left Beirut on Saturday on his way to New York while presiding over a prominent delegation. Mikati is expected to head the Lebanese mission at the UN Security Council since Lebanon will be chairing the Council during the month of September.

Source
New Orient News (Lebanon)

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Let’s Get Out of the Middle East – and the UN …..

September 27, 2011

Listen to Rep. Ron Paul deliver this address.

The Palestinian Authority’s recent announcement that it would seek U.N. recognition as an independent state dominated the news and the political debate in the United States last week, though in truth it should mean very little to us. Only a political class harboring the illusion it can run the world obsesses over the aspirations of a tiny population on a tiny piece of land thousands of miles away. Remember, the U.N. initiated this persistent conflict with its 1947 Partition Plan.

Unfortunately, the debate is dominated by those who either support the Israeli side in the conflict, or those who support the Palestinian desire for statehood. We rarely seem to hear the view of those who support the U.S. side and U.S. interests. I am on that side. I believe that we can no longer police the world. We can no longer bribe the Israelis and Palestinians to continue an endless “peace process” that goes nowhere. It is not in our interest to hector the Palestinians or the Israelis, or to “export” democracy to the region but reject it when people vote the “wrong” way.

I have reservations about the Palestinian drive for U.N. recognition. Personally, I wish the United States would de-recognize the United Nations. As most readers already know, in every Congress I introduce legislation to end our membership in that organization. The U.N. is a threat to our sovereignty — and as we are the main source of its income, it is a threat to our economic well-being. Increasingly over the past several years, we see the United Nations providing political and legal cover for the military aspirations of interventionists rather than serving as an international forum to preserve peace. Neoconservatives in the U.S. have grown to love the United Nations as they co-opt the organization under the guise of endless “reform.” Under the sovereignty-destroying doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect,” adopted at the 2005 World Summit, the U.N. takes it upon itself to intervene in internal conflicts of its member states whenever it believes that human rights are being violated. Thus under “Responsibility to Protect,” the U.N. provides the green light for a kind of global no-knock raid on any sovereign country.

If asked, I would personally counsel the Palestinians to avoid the United Nations. U.N. membership and participation is no guarantee that sovereignty will be respected. We see what happens to U.N. members such as Iraq and Libya when those countries’ leaders fall out of favor with U.S. administrations: under U.S. and allied pressure, a fig-leaf resolution is adopted in the U.N. to facilitate devastating military intervention. When the U.N. gave NATO the green light to bomb Libya, there was no genocide taking place. It was a purely preventive war. The result? Thousands dead, a destroyed country, and extremely dubious new leaders.

While I do not see U.N. membership as a particularly productive move for the Palestinian leadership, I do not believe the U.S. should use its position in the U.N. Security Council to block their membership. I believe in self-determination of peoples, and I recognize that peoples may wish to pursue statehood by different means. As we saw after the Cold War, numerous new states were born out of the ruins of the USSR as the various old Soviet Republics decided that smaller states were preferable to an enormous and oppressive multinational conglomerate.

The real, pro-U.S. solution to the problems in the Middle East is for us to end all foreign aid, stop arming foreign countries, encourage peaceful diplomatic resolutions to conflicts, and disengage militarily. In others words, follow Jefferson’s admonition: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

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Ban Ki-moon: A Record of Failure and Betrayal ……

Posted: 2011/09/25

From: Mathaba

Analyst Stephen Lendman joins in the world chorus highlighting the demise of the United Nations
by Stephen Lendman

The UN Charter’s Preamble states:

“WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

— to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

— to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

— to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

— to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom….”

The body affirms international support for tolerance, peace and security, and resolve to promote universal economic and social advancement.

However, since its 1945 founding, it’s failed on all counts, even though some of its agencies (like UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and UNESCO) at times provide aid in areas of health, education, food assistance, refugees, social development and more.

It’s never enough though, timely, or with resolve to support troubled people adequately in times of need.

Moreover, global wars raged every year post-WW II to the present. The UN’s been unable or disinterested in stopping them. One of its fatal flaws is structure, hamstrung by its dominant member, America. It can and does veto measures other member states support, notably when contrary to its imperial interests.

As a result, no action was taken when Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered in a secretly US-authorized aggression. Its TNI forces were armed, funded and supported by Washington.

In 1999, it was impotent again after East Timor voted for independence, after which TNI forces attacked and slaughtered thousands more.

During South Africa’s border wars and invasion of Namibia in the 1960s and 70s, it was sidelined, as well as during a 36-year Guatemala state-sponsored genocide against its indigenous Mayan majority, following the CIA’s ouster of democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz Guzman.

Dozens of other examples reveal a dismal record of failure and betrayal of its high-sounding principles and mandate to enforce them. It didn’t earlier or now, including by deploying Blue Helmets as peacekeepers.

In fact, they’re hostile occupiers, serving imperial interests in Haiti, South Lebanon, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, DRC Congo, Sudan, Somalia, various other countries, and its initial UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) since 1948, failing to bring peace to Palestine. Yet it’s still there, performing no active role, opposing the interests of people they’re sworn to protect.

During his tenure as Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (January 1, 1997 – December 31, 2006) was little more than an imperial tool, never achieving or working for peace anywhere.

He never condemned or acted to end the devastating economic sanctions against Iraqis that killed up to 1.5 million defenseless men, women and children.

He didn’t use his mandate to denounce Washington’s lawless 2003 war. No matter that it’s based on lies to permit slaughtering hundreds of thousands more and be able to plunder another occupied country.

He was silent while war raged in Afghanistan and still does without end.

He backed or failed to act against Israel’s illegal occupation, its worst crimes against Palestine, and its illegal 2006 Lebanon war.

He took no action to denounce Washington’s failed attempts to oust Hugo Chavez, and showed a disturbing indifference to the pain and suffering of his own people throughout the continent of his birth.

Instead, he dutifully served Washington, other dominant powers, and corporate predation of Africa’s riches and elsewhere.

His entire tenure was a testimony to failure and betrayal. So is Ban Ki-moon’s since becoming Secretary-General on January 1, 2007. Ever since, he’s been a co-conspirator in war crimes and other abuses.

In fact, one of his first acts was to reverse the UN’s longstanding opposition to capital punishment. It’s a barbaric practice often sentencing innocent people to death, notably in America.

At the time, he dismissively said whether or not to enforce it “is for each and every member State to decide,” instead of forthrightly condemning it.

Nor did his restructuring plan address the Security Council’s illegitimate veto power, giving one nation like America authority over all others. It’s abused the practice ever since.

Instead, it’s high time the body reflected majority rule, giving all nations equal say on issues affecting everyone. Ban’s overall silence, inaction, and support for wrong over right speak volumes.

In fact, despite its own often deplorable record, Human Rights Watch (HRW) acknowledged Ban’s shamelessness. Its “World Report 2011: A Facade of Action” included criticism of his “quiet diplomacy facade of (in)action” for not taking forceful steps when needed.

HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth criticized his “use of dialogue and cooperation in lieu of public pressure….on abusive governments,” notably America and its imperial partners.

In fact, said Roth, “(f)ar from condemning repression, Ban sometimes (goes) out of his way to portray repressive governments in a positive light.”

He meant third world despots, not the world’s leading human rights abuser, waging lawless imperial wars and engaging in other scandalous actions.

In response, Ban’s office disagreed, despite clear evidence of his complicity in grievous crimes of war and against humanity by indifference, silence, and support for Western aggression. Putting lipstick on that pig doesn’t wash.

Nor have his spineless measures protected whistleblowers or prevented peacekeeper killings, rape, sexual exploitation, corruption and other crimes.

In addition, he hasn’t defended human rights or condemned violations against them, notably by Western countries. Nor has he denounced aggressive wars and other lawless acts.

How can he when he supports them, including Washington’s ouster of democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009.

Or the Obama administration’s militarization of Haiti and complicity in rigging the electoral process to install stealth Duvalierist Michel (“Sweet Micky) Martelly, an anti-populist former Kompa singer supporter of powerful corrupt corporatist interests.

Moreover, Ban backed regime change in Ivory Coast. He authorized a lawless French-backed military operation against Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, killing hundreds of civilians.

He also echoed Washington’s call for Gaddafi’s ouster, saying he lost all legitimacy. At the same time, he backs cutthroat rebel paramilitaries, and supports lawless air strikes.

They’ve laid waste to large parts of Libya and still do, killing and injuring tens of thousands. They also transformed Libya into a charnel house human rights disaster.

Instead of condemning, stopping, or preventing wars, he authorized and cheerled them, betraying his mandate to support peace and human rights.

Shamelessly serving Israel, not Palestine, he caused great harm in the process, including besieged Gaza denied flotilla aid from arriving.

He even petitioned world leaders to back Israel’s demand to direct what it permits “through legitimate crossings and established channels” to prevent vital aid getting through or enough of it.

By appointing his own commission to investigate Israel’s May 2010 Mavi Marmara massacre, he tried to whitewash his own Human Rights Council’s condemnation, as well as independent ones denouncing Israel’s cold-blooded murder of nine civilians and injuring dozens more in international waters.

These were high crimes – piracy he should have forthrightly condemned, but he didn’t. Instead, he dutifully paid homage to Israel as he always does.

Despite representing 193 member states, Ban only serves Washington, Israel, and other dominant powers. He thumbs his nose at the rest, including majority General Assembly positions on numerous human rights and other vital issues.

In other words, in derogation of his sworn mandate, he solely represents dominant interests. Notably they’re those of Washington, Israel, and their imperial partners, ravaging targeted countries to carve up their corpses for profit.

As a result, he shares culpability with lawless predator states, harming billions worldwide by his contempt for human rights. In fact, the very notion’s not in his vocabulary, let alone concern for people in dire need.

They’re on their own because Ban won’t observe his sworn mandate to help them. It’s a testimony to his deplorable record.

It’s appalling enough to have earned him a second term last June, representing wealth and power for another five years at the expense of billions worldwide he scorns.

It’s the mettle of a failed Secretary-General, a legacy history won’t let him forget or expunge.

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

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/. #

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‘Russia to oppose UN anti-Syria bid’

http://www.presstv.ir

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has declared that Moscow will not back a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the use of violence in Syria.

In an interview the Financial Times, Medvedev slammed the way the UN Resolution 1973 on Libya had been interpreted by Western powers, and said he would not like “a Syrian resolution to be pulled off in a similar manner,” Reuters reported.

“What I am not ready to support is a resolution [similar to the one] on Libya because it is my deep conviction that a good resolution has been turned into a piece of paper that is being used to provide cover for a meaningless military operation,” the Russian president pointed out.

“Right now, I am not sure that any resolution is needed because a resolution may say one thing but actions would be quite different. The resolution may say: ‘We condemn the use of force in Syria’ and after that, planes will take off into the air,” he further explained.

Since the beginning of the unrests in Syria in mid-March, scores of people, including security forces, have been killed.

The shadowy opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings. But the Syrian government blames armed gangs for the violence, saying that the unrest is being orchestrated from outside the Middle Eastern country.

In April, the Washington Post published secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, which indicated that the US has conducted a long campaign to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian president has vowed to bring the people responsible for the killings to justice.

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Britain, the Traitor Nation: Media Disinformation and Crimes against Humanity in Libya

by Dr. David Halpin
Global Research, April 24, 2011

“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…Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.” UN Charter – 1: Purposes and Principles http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml 

The vultures wheel over Libya beside the drones but roasted carrion is not their usual feast.  The flag of the Kingdom of Libya is being waved in victory. The jubilant rebels have decided on discretion rather than valour.  The charred skeletons of the government tank crew have been left below and cannot join the party.  Perhaps the celebrants know that the ‘coalition’ dispense U238 as liberally as their illusory democracy.

The royalist flag raised in victory before the human remnants are removed

 


The vultures scent the sweet crude and see all that easy land for US bases banished by Ghaddafi.

These predators are being assisted, as per usual, by the State Broadcaster (BBC) with Channel 4 close behind.

Tanks are being ‘taken out’ but never, never are the crews within mentioned by the news readers.

The significance of these olive skinned humans are as grains of sand.  But it is over in a flash.  ‘So humane, so why refer to the brothers and the fathers?’  A millisecond or  two after the armour is punctured by uranium depleted of U235 alone, the fireball cremates the crew within a few more milliseconds.

 

The minute solid particles resulting from combustion of the U238 with its infinite half life of 4.5 billion years rise in the thermals above the blistered tank.  Some will settle, and some will stay in the air at all levels, eventually dispersing in every direction.  Inhalation will ensure the most intimate contact with the cells of all mammals.  The ionizing radiation of the germ cells in ovary or  testis will lead to birth deformity as witnessed as an epidemic by the mothers and doctors in Fallujah.

 

The plans for  the evisceration of Libya were long laid by the vultures.  The myxoma virus of the blackest of black propaganda is being squirted into the nervous systems of homo non-sapiens to allow many to believe the process is benign.  ‘We are aiding revolution and saving Arabs from themselves’.  The State Broadcaster leads the mega-wattage and is fed by serried ranks of able liars in the FCO,  the Downing Street Media Unit and the Ministry of ‘Defence’.  Lying has is now our heavy industry in blood soaked Albion.

 

The joint statement of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy – “For that transition to succeed, Colonel Ghaddafi must go, and go for good.  At that point, the United Nations and its members should help the Libyan people as they rebuild where Ghaddafi has destroyed — to repair homes and hospitals, ….”   http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2986866.ece     Did they say rebuild the hospitals and medical services that 12 years of sanctions and Shock and Aweing destroyed in Iraq?

 

Every evil allegation is heaped on Muamar and his army.  Three cluster bombs were used in Misrata.  The allegation was backed up by Human Rights Watch but its chief executive, Kenneth Roth, has already shown his partisanship towards the ‘rabbles’.  ‘The Security Council has at last lived up to its duty’.


http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/18/security-council-has-last-lived-its-duty
   Bouckaert, another HRW representative, had given weight to the alleged gang rape of Eman Al-Obeidi.  This distressed lady had aired her claim before a room full of foreign journalists.  Channel 4 showed the segment two nights running.  It would be unusual for such a terrible crime to take place in a nation where 97% are Muslims, and rare also for the victim to shout about it to a crowd.  How did Bouckaert come to an opinion on Eman?

 

As for the three cluster bombs read this by Craig Murray.  Our ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan, who ‘outed’ the most grotesque torture of devout Muslims for ‘intelligence’ which flowed to Langley and thence to MI6, records how the US has the largest stocks of cluster bombs and that it has resisted  joining the cluster bomb ban.  The UK, with its usual treachery, has signed but agrees to hold stocks for the US on this sceptred isle. The use of thousands by ‘Israel’ on the Lebanese people in 2006 is not recalled  by the UK media.  http://craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/04/clusters-of-hypocrisy/

 

This morning, the funereal sounding Orla Guerin, spoke of one hundred rebel injuries and several deaths.  Again the government forces and civilians had no mention.  Death and injury is not their lot.  She said that they were ‘exhausted by death’ in Misrata.  The pilots of the British Typhoons, Tornadoes and French Mirages were not exhausted so by death.  Their very accurate ‘fire and forget’ missiles erased only concrete and metal.  Thus there are no loyal Libyan deaths.

 

The State Broadcaster has been very selective in its news dissemination.  Aware that our premier liar has promised ‘no boots on the ground’, it has been careful to maintain that illusion.  There has been no national news of ‘deployment’.  (They are good on sanitary words – ‘ in theatre’, ‘operational tasking’  These are fragments of the public school lexicon of killing.)  But here, in the South West of England, BBC Southwest has been spilling the beans.  It reckons that almost every local will know warships have been embarking Royal Marines in Plymouth.  However, we were told they were going in case ‘humanitarian help’ was needed in Libya and, rather darkly, for the possible evacuation of UK citizens from other Middle Eastern countries in event of disturbance or similar.  The video showed troops loading humanitarian rocket launchers.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-12995065

 

The MoD said the newly-formed Response Force Task Group (RFTG) would be taking part in multi-national amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean and later in the Indian Ocean.

HMS Albion, Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay were sailing as the lead element of the RFTG, which is held at “very high readiness” to respond to “unexpected global events”.

HMS Albion, a landing platform dock capable of carrying more than 600 people, left Devonport just after 0800 BST 14 April.  A closer look at Albion at sea –

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11491132

Task group commander, Cmdr John Kingwell, said: “Cougar 11 is an important opportunity to develop international inter-operability and build long-term defence relationships, and for the RFTG to demonstrate operational contingent capability.”  (We are used to gold braid bullshit.)

 

The MoD said the ships and troops from Taunton-based 40 Commando would be there “to develop and demonstrate contingent capability for UK defence – in effect, the ability to respond to short-notice tasking across a diverse range of defence activities such as disaster relief, humanitarian aid, or amphibious operations”.

 

Devonport-based submarine HMS Triumph has just returned to the base after operations against pro-Gaddafi forces.     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-12976115

Cdr Rob Dunn said: “I am proud of my ship’s company. They went about their duty and carried out all I asked of them in the most professional way.

“They are naturally satisfied that they carried out an operational tasking using our Tomahawk land attack missiles weapon system, which does not happen very often, but for which they are highly trained and prepared for at any time.”

 

Whilst ships, men and ammunition were rapidly loaded at Devonport Plymouth, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Largs Bay was loading at Hythe dock in Southampton Water.

The dock is supplied by its own railway so the munitions are kept away from the proles who pay for them.  BBC South also kept the public in ignorance of happenings in Hythe.  There is only a village nearby, and the oil refinery of course!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFA_Largs_Bay_(L3006)

These benign activities are all to do with Operation Cougar at the perfidious Albion end.  They are alleged to have been 2 years in the planning.  One function, according to the Ministry of Truth and ‘Defence’, is “preventing conflict.”  ‘ These units have now deployed and have been selected for their ability to remain on task for as long as is required.’  “More units will sail to join the lead elements later this year.” 

support/operations/auriga/news/cougar_11_vanguard_s.htm

These are all the elementsof the Response Force Task Group:-

 Landing Platform Dock (LPD) HMS Ocean Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) HMS Liverpool Type 42 Destroyer HMS Sutherland Type 23 Frigate HMS Triumph Trafalgar Class Submarine RFA Argus Aviation Training and Casualty Receiving Ship RFA Mounts Bay Landing Platform RFA Cardigan Bay Landing Platform  HMS Albion Oil Replenisher  RFA Fort Rosalie  40 Cdo Royal Marines539 Assault Squadron Royal MarinesThe Armoured Support Group Two Lynx Mk 9 Helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command Two Sea King Mk4 Helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command One Lynx Helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron

 

The very big supremo of the NATO ‘peace keeping’ and civilian saving force is Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard.  He has studied ‘defence’ in the US of A and it shows.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13125616

“The head of Nato in Libya, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, said Col Gaddafi’s forces had employed what he called underhand and immoral tactics in their seven-week drive to dislodge the rebels from the city.

‘Inside the city it’s a very difficult tough situation. The Gaddafi forces have taken their uniforms off, they’re hiding on rooftops of mosques, hospitals, schools, that’s where their heavy equipment is positioned, near mosques, near schools, and they’re shielding themselves with women and children.

So when people ask me why aren’t you doing something, well I’m not going to lower to his level. I’m not going to do the kind of warfare that he’s doing. My job’s to help the population,” he said, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.”

We can visualise there are at least 50 vessels standing for freedom in the eastern Mediterranean, including at least one USS nuclear powered and nuclear armed aircraft carrier.  There will be at least 10 submarines.

The buzzard sees the humans crawling on the earth below and he mews

“What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;

Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?”  Heber

 

The cuckoo is quiet and sitting tight.  But the wires are busy – Bibi to Hillary to ‘I am a Zionist’ Cameron to Sarkozy.   Bibi knows of fellow ‘Israeli’ Oded Yinon who in the 80’s studied how the Arab entities might be destabilized and divided into digestible pieces.  (See Ralph Schoenman’s ‘The Hidden History of Zionism’ Chapter 12.  It is most revealing.)  So things are going pretty well.

The actual axis of evil is very busy.  One pole, the dominant one, is in Tel Aviv.  The other pole is Washington.  In the middle is London, and now Paris.

London gives the axis propriety with all the flummery.  It also gives its cunning and its historical knowledge of imperialism.  The power shifts backward and forward along that axis as busily as those jets carrying the psychopaths who pull the triggers.

Whilst Colonel Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi waits for his high explosive execution, (NATO bombed a bunker in central Tripoli last night) read his long, coherent speech to that sham of shams, the United Nations.

http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=626459   Certainly not a member of that axis of evil.

 

That UN was formed in some sort of hope after yet another war to end wars.  Have Cameron, Sarkozy, Obama and the rest of the murderous gang read this? 

“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…Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.”

UN Charter – 1: Purposes and Principles
http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml   
 

David Halpin is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by David Halpin

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