VIDEO: the corrupted Tony Blair loved only by Israhell and oil money! (MUST SEE!)

 

The Wonderful World of Tony Blair

Channel 4 Investigation

Since resigning in June 2007, Tony Blair has financially enriched himself more than any previous ex-prime minister. Reporter Peter Oborne reveals some of the sources of his new-found wealth, much of which comes from the Middle East.

On the day Tony Blair resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official representative Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East. By January 2009 he had set up Tony Blair Associates – his international consultancy – which handles multi-million-pound contracts in the Middle East. It is so secretive we don’t know all the locations in which they do business.

Dispatches shows that at the same time as Blair is visiting Middle East leaders in his Quartet role he is receiving vast sums from some of them. If Blair represented the UK government, the EU, the IMF, the UN or the World Bank, this would not be permitted.

He would also have to declare his financial interests and be absolutely transparent about his financial dealings. But no such stringent rules govern the Quartet envoy.

However, he could opt to abide by the rules and principles of public life. They were introduced by John Major, and Tony Blair endorsed and strengthened them for all holders of public office – but chooses not to himself.

Gaza: it’s Hamas’s move now

Hamas must seize the initiative if there is ever to be an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine

So it has happened again. Nearly 18 months after the Israelis bombed Gaza to a wasteland, with barely a load of building materials allowed in since then, Turkey has taken the brunt of an operation of humanitarian assistance gone wrong.

The UN must establish the facts impartially and independently and, if laws have been broken, those responsible must be held to account. Political demonstrations posing as relief flotillas go wrong too easily and Israel understandably has to prevent weapons being smuggled into Gaza. But was this really the best way to bring the ships to shore for examination? A commando attack on civilian ships looks callous and disproportionate. No one should have been hurt, whatever the emotions behind all this.

Why is Gaza under siege in the first place? Under international law, the Israelis are responsible as the occupying force for the proper administration of the territory; and half the point of Israel is not to be above the law. Yet they are creating a traumatised territory of 1.5m neighbours, many of whose children seem to want to grow up to be suicide bombers. They are also pouring fertiliser on al-Qaida’s ground.

The director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, John Ging, gave a speech in London this week entitled “Illegal, inhuman and insane: a medieval siege on Gaza in 2010”. This objective humanitarian practitioner should be listened to. How has Israel, the only democracy in its region and a symbol of the need for racially inspired violence to end, come to risk any claim to international legitimacy in its handling of this situation?

Hamas are the enemy of Israel, but they do not have to be. They preach violent resistance too readily, yet over the past 17 months they have been trying to control the militant groups intent on threatening Israel with rockets – imperfectly perhaps, but not a single Israeli citizen has been killed (alas, one immigrant worker was) by a rocket since the Gaza bombing stopped in January 2009. They are also the implacable opponents of al-Qaida. They won a fair election in 2006 and claim to respect democracy. Let’s test them on that. At present, Hamas security people are being sniped at by the Israeli Defence Forces when they try to arrest other militant groups. This is genuinely getting insane.

The unwisdom of reliance on angry military responses is all the clearer when the mood in Palestine, in both the West Bank and Gaza, is steadily moving towards a negotiated end to the occupation. I am convinced from my own direct experience that Hamas is prepared to establish and respect a long-term ceasefire so that the talking can start without the threat of violence, and that they would enter in good faith, if that were reciprocated, into negotiations to establish two states in the disputed territories, Israel and Palestine, with their own rights and responsibilities under international law. The distortion of their position, a little of it the fault of their own PR, does no side any good.

If a comprehensive negotiation is too much to expect for now, what about a first step? I believe an arrangement to end the blockade is within reach if only Israel, Egypt and Gaza would test the possibilities of dialogue. Hamas have indicated that they could cease all attacks on Israeli soil, close the tunnels, release Gilead Shalit and stop the import of arms into Gaza if the blockade was ended, an agreed number of Palestinian prisoners were released and Gaza began to be rebuilt.

The Palestinians of course have work to do on their own internal reconciliation, while the relationship between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza remains so bad. But the UN, the US, Russia, the EU and the Arab world must make a much more serious attempt to test the possibilities, putting ordinary Israelis and Palestinians first, not their own political comfort.

We are coming close to losing the chance of a two-state solution. US policy, based on a West-Bank-only approach, is locked in a cul-de-sac if Gaza is left out of the equation, because majority Palestinian support will be lacking. Israel is confident in the knowledge that it cannot be militarily defeated.

But that ignores the huge danger of losing the political, diplomatic, legal and moral high ground. This matters in today’s world, as the US and the UK discovered in Iraq, because government authority and public opinion interact closely, and legitimacy breeds support.

Israel’s relationship with Turkey was the key to a broader understanding with the Islamic community and others beyond the west. That now lies in tatters. If Israel is left as the permanent occupier, or controlling a one-state structure with part of its population downgraded or imprisoned, it will truly be a disaster for its people and what they stand for.

I hope that Hamas will not sit back and enjoy Israel’s discomfiture. They have so far, for a political organisation, attracted much too narrow a range of international support. If they wish to be widely accepted as a negotiating partner, they must unequivocally accept the only fully justified condition set by the international Quartet – the cessation of violence – underline that their objective is a two-state settlement, and win international friends for the ending of the occupation. In whoever’s hands, bombs, bullets, rockets and iron bars will achieve nothing. But a push for justice will.

• This article was originally written for the Times but not published

Ref: Guardian

WANTED: Israeli war crime ministers! + Israel’s culture of impunity

Israel’s culture of impunity

A Spanish court attempted to open a criminal investigation under international law into the killing of a Hamas leader in Gaza City. But the Spanish government backed off under US and Israeli pressure. Israel won’t investigate. Who can?
by Sharon Weill

An Israeli Air Force plane dropped a one-tonne bomb on the al-Daraj district of Gaza City, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, around midnight on 22 July 2002. It was meant to kill Salah Shehadeh, the former military leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who was at home with his family. It succeeded; Shehadeh and 14 civilians, most of them children, were killed, 150 people were injured, many severely. Nearby houses were damaged or destroyed.

In Madrid on 29 January this year, Judge Fernando Andreu Merelles decided, on the basis of universal jurisdiction (1), to open a criminal investigation against seven Israeli political and military officials for allegedly committing a war crime (2). The court claimed that the facts pointed even to crimes against humanity, and so lawyers said they would do their utmost to demonstrate that the bombing was part of a policy of systematic attacks against a civilian population.

The Spanish proceedings had been initiated by six Palestinian victims since it was “impossible to bring the relevant prosecution before the Israeli judicial authorities”. In August 2008 the court asked Israel for information on judicial proceedings; this January it ruled that “the facts can and must be investigated by the Spanish jurisdiction… since no response whatsoever has been received to the request made by this Court… nor is there any evidence that any proceedings have been brought to investigate the facts” (3).

Just as this ruling was made, Israel sent a 400-page file claiming that proceedings were under way in Israel and that the Spanish court should desist. However, even if the Shehadeh affair has been reviewed by legal authorities in Israel including the High Court of Justice (HCJ), no decision has been taken as to whether to initiate criminal proceedings. In September 2002, the pacifist movement Yesh Gvul requested the military advocate general, and then the state advocate general, to open a criminal investigation against those who had planned and executed the operation. An internal investigation within the army found that the collateral damage was the result of an intelligence failure and had not been anticipated by the decision-makers. The attorney general adopted this version of the facts, ruling out a criminal investigation.
Implicit recognition

Yesh Gvul and five Israeli authors then filed a petition to the HCJ demanding that it review the authorities’ decision not to open a criminal investigation. The petition, on 30 September 2003, ended: “There is no intention to disguise the fact that appellants are guided by the desire that the investigation and indictment (if evidence is found) remain within the confines of the State of Israel. The High Court of Justice is the last stop of the law enforcement train before it crosses the borders of the State of Israel and we find ourselves giving the nations of the world the justification to conduct criminal proceedings… according to international law.”

A petition questioning the legality of the targeted killings policy had been pending before the same court since January 2002: the HCJ decided to suspend the Shehadeh petition. On 14 December 2006 it ruled that the policy could not be defined as legal or illegal, and should be determined on a case-by-case basis on the principle of proportionality. Judge Aharon Barak, then HCJ president, emphasised the difficulty of establishing the principle: “Take the usual case of a combatant, or of a terrorist sniper shooting at soldiers or civilians from his porch. Shooting at him is proportionate even if as a result, an innocent civilian neighbour or passer-by is harmed. That is not the case if the building is bombed from the air and scores of its residents and passers-by are harmed.”

By using facts similar to the elimination of Shehadeh, Barak was implicitly acknowledging that a war crime had been committed. After this decision, the HCJ recommended that the Shehadeh affair be examined by an independent body (rather than by the court). On 23 January 2008 the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert appointed a commission of inquiry with three members: two former generals and an ex-security services officer. The structure, nature and mandate of the commission were determined by the state – the very body whose actions were to be investigated. The commission was to function as a military inquiry: all the procedure, testimonies and final report remain confidential and inadmissible before a court of law, and the commission can only provide non-binding recommendations to the army. It has yet to complete its mandate.

The Spanish public prosecutor submitted a request, on 2 April, for the Spanish court to decline competence over the case since parallel proceedings had been taking place in Israel: but Israel would only have the priority if it were willing and able to prosecute. On 4 May the Spanish court rejected the prosecutor’s request to decline competence. The Spanish court found that the Israeli prosecution authorities’ endorsements of an internal military probe, and the fact that the commission of inquiry had been appointed by the prime minister, meant that the case was neither independent nor impartial.

Politicised reactions in Israel show how states perceive the separation of powers doctrine in reaction to accountability for international crimes. The procedure in Spain was described in the media as a “cynical attempt by the Palestinian plaintiffs to exploit the Spanish judicial system to advance a political agenda against Israel”, using diplomatic channels. Ehud Barak, leader of the Labour Party, said: “I intend to appeal to the Spanish foreign minister, the Spanish minister of defence and, if need be, the Spanish prime minister, who is a colleague of mine in the Socialist International, to override the decision” (4).

Under political pressure from Israel, China and the US, the Spanish Congress agreed to amend the law on universal jurisdiction, limiting it to cases with Spanish victims, or suspects present on Spanish soil. On 30 June the Court of Appeal ordered the closure of the investigation.

This is not the first such case. In 2003 Belgium was bullied into changing its law and procedure, following Israeli and US pressure about complaints brought against the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and ex-US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. (The US threatened Belgium with moving Nato headquarters out of Brussels.) Since then, victims have been unable to initiate any judicial investigation; that is now the prerogative solely of the prosecution, which normally reflects government policy. This is a major obstacle to accountability under international law.
Unwilling or unable

Israeli state practice demonstrates the existence of a culture of impunity. According to the Israeli non-governmental organisation Yesh Din, criminal prosecutions are conducted only in exceptional cases – soldiers who act wrongly on their own account – and military inquiries are used to avoid criminal investigation (5). In 2003 the human rights organisation B’tselem filed a petition that challenged the policy not to open criminal investigations in cases in which bystanding Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. The petition is still pending.

Israel is well aware of the possibility of accountability abroad: it did not allow the publication of photos or names of soldiers in Operation Cast Lead (the Gaza war). Officers who travel abroad have first to get approval for their trip. Israel has even declared it will pay all legal expenses for trials abroad.

Yet awareness in Israel of the possibility of being held accountable abroad does not seem to influence the treatment of war crimes allegations, as was demonstrated by the Shehadeh case, or recent war crimes committed in Gaza. If Israel does not change its practice of impunity, this indicates its unwillingness, or inability, to prosecute war crimes allegations. If Israel is not able to prosecute its own war criminals and if the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction, the only way to get justice is through the exercise of universal jurisdiction, an obligation for all states set in the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Ref: Le Monde

Video: GALLOWAY unmaskes the “white anglosaxian” world (BEAUTIFUL! POWERFUL! HARDCORE! TRUE!)

The Speech Brown Should Have Made to the Knesset

I and my dog Mortimer apologise most sincerely to the world, and especially to Arab friends, for our prime minister’s crass speech to the Knesset.

Britain, like the US, has an uncanny knack of producing one silly leader after another from a limitless supply that thrust themselves on an unsuspecting public in order to perpetuate the Great Betrayal and the Nakba. Brown is the latest high-flier from our political swamp. Judging by his performance so far, we Brits are destined to live our lives in a state of perpetual and excruciating embarrassment.

Let it be known that this prime minister doesn’t speak for me or anyone I know when he says: “Britain will always stand firmly by Israel’s side.” And nobody of my acquaintance, or their dog, would ever sign up to “an unbreakable partnership based on shared values of liberty, democracy and justice” with Israel. It is quite obvious that none of our values of liberty, democracy and justice is practised by that regime.

However, it was faintly amusing to hear Brown say that “we will do more than oppose what is wrong. We will show those who would give licence to terror the way home to what is right too – showing them that the path to a better future runs not through violence, not by murder, and never with the killing of civilians but by liberty’s torch, through justice’s mighty stream, and across tolerance’s foundation of equality.” That should have had Knesset members squirming in their seats, but the irony was obviously lost on them, and on Brown himself.

“I think of David Ben Gurion,” he blurted, “who from humble beginnings in Poland built up the Jewish National Institutions and in 1948 said it was not enough for the Jewish state simply to be Jewish, it had to be fully democratic offering equal citizenship to all residents: a democracy not just of one people but of all your peoples…”

Mentioning Ben Gurion in the same breath as democracy and equality is not a good idea. This is the same guy who said: “I support compulsory transfer [i.e. ethnic cleansing]. I don’t see anything immoral in it.” On another occasion he admitted: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel… We have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it is true, but 2,000 years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country.”

Brown even praised Menachem Begin but was careful not to mention the Irgun. It was Begin’s terror gang, the Irgun, that declared war on the British mandate government while Britain was still fighting Nazi Germany. And our prime minister must have forgotten that in 1946 the Irgun under Begin’s leadership blew up British headquarters in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, killing 91.

But Brown woffled on, oblivious to the heavily larded insults his words conveyed. “…This sixtieth anniversary on the achievement of 1948: the centuries of exile ended, the age-long dream realised, the ancient promise redeemed – the promise that even amidst suffering, you will find your way home to the fields and shorelines where your ancestors walked… And your sixty-year journey from independence is evidence for all to see that good can come out of the worst of times.” So never mind the countless thousands of Palestinians that were murdered, dispossessed, imprisoned, starved and abused in the process.

“You are truly global citizens – often the first to offer help or medical aid…” burbled the unstoppable Brown. Tell that to the chronically sick, who suffer and die in agony because Israel’s siege blocks the supply of medication and hospital spares and prevents them leaving Gaza for proper treatment. How strange that Brown didn’t actually mention Gaza, or the siege, or what some call ‘the slow genocide’ in his whole tiresome speech.

How dare this grey suit use our good name to offer such brazenly partisan approval to a territorial hi-jack that daily brings misery, disaster and cruel injustice to those who are crammed into the impoverished remnants – the crumbs – of what used to be their Palestine homeland. Fortunately Brown’s days are numbered. Unfortunately another I’m-a-Zionist nutter is waiting in the wings.

And I greatly resent, as do others, any leader of my nation playing the religious card and cloaking himself in the mantle of Christianity (in this case his upbringing in the Church of Scotland) in order to give credence to his support for Israel’s pitiless pursuit of its Zionist programme, the purpose of which is to wipe Palestine off the map.

Another prime minister whose young mind hadn’t come under the influence of a Hebrew-speaking, Israel-loving, church-minister father and later the Israel lobby, might have delivered a very different speech to the Knesset:

“Listen up. Your exclusive claim to the whole territory cuts no ice with the rest of the world. Say goodbye to the West Bank, dismantle the Wall as instructed by the International Court of Justice, compensate the Palestinians for the injury and wreckage of the past 60 years, give them back their water, stop interfering with their freedom of movement, quit throttling their economy and hands off their trade.

“Israel’s security is no more precious than the security of its neighbours and their right to live in peace. End the siege of Gaza and your occupation of Gazan airspace, airwaves and coastal waters. Release the 10,000 Palestinians, including women and children, cooped up in your jails. And it’s time your troops hightailed it out of Jerusalem – it was designated an international city 60 years ago and you’ll share it on equal terms with the other great faiths.

“Renounce your nuclear weapons, sign the non-proliferation treaty and open up your nuclear facilities to international inspection just as you expect your neighbours to. Also sign, ratify and meticulously observe the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.

“Until Israel renounces terror, violence, murder, assassination, indiscriminate arrest, false imprisonment and torture, it can forget about the EU-Israel Agreement, the preferential exports and all the other benefits – trade, science, research, path-breaking academic and cultural partnerships and new cooperative ventures. Try and be nice for a change, guys. Remember, ordinary British and European folk, unlike the despised political class, wish to do nice business with nice people. If you continue to bully and humiliate our friends in the Holy Land, which you gate-crashed 60 years ago, you will not be welcome in civilised society.

“And before we all get too carried away about Iran, when is Israel going to comply with the 30 or 40 UN resolutions regarding its multiple breaches of international law? Maybe we’ll talk again when you have reined in your militants and extremists, and when you have read, understood and shown proper respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“By the way, when the Freegaza voyagers set out from Cyprus on 5 August to sail through international and Palestinian waters to Gaza, Royal Navy warships will be on hand to make sure they aren’t molested.”

Come on Mortimer… walkies.

Ref: The palestine chronicle

-Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. For further information please visit http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.

Vanishing Points: Law, Violence and Exception in the Global War Prison

As one of the preeminent scholars in the areas of human and cultural geography, Derek Gregory has been widely influential across numerous fields in the humanities. Since 9/11 much of his work has focused on the long history of British and American involvement in the Middle East. In particular he traces how centuries of imperial and colonial practice continue to shape global imbalances of power and perception in the region.

Gregory’s lecture will examine how these imbalances of power are currently playing out in the “war on terror” with a focus on the imprisonment and interrogation practices used in the global war prison. His talk will explore the strategic geographical sites of the global war prison including Bagram, Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and the so-called ‘Black Sites,’ showing how they are produced through constantly shifting folds between law and violence.

Derek Gregory is Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He is the author of The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq (2004) and Geographical Imaginations (1993).

Click to see the lecture!

Ref: Simpson Center