- Despite a credible start, the fix is in. Expect justice
again to be denied. After the Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead), the UN Human
Rights Council (HRC) appointed Justice Richard Goldstone to lead an independent
four-person fact-finding Commission to investigate human rights and humanitarian
law violations committed on both sides, Israel doing everything possible
to obstruct him in vain.
- The Commission conducted 188 interviews, got over 300
reports, submissions and other documents, comprising more than 10,000 pages,
30 videos, and 1,200 photographs, much of it gathered first-hand. Secondary
sources added corroboration, in total providing clear evidence of Israel
- On September 15, 2009, the Commission concluded that:
- "there is evidence indicating serious violations
of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel
during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to
war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."
- "While the Israeli Government has sought to portray
its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise
of its right of self-defense, the Mission considers the plan to have been
directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as
- Rocket attacks were a pretext for well-planned naked
aggression. The Commission's findings were conclusively damning despite
Israeli war criminals not punished, justice still denied but not forever.
- Daily, Israel commits crimes against humanity through
targeted assassinations, street violence, mass arrests, torture, regular
incursions, land theft, dispossessions, and other law violations, including
suffocating Gazans under siege, then attacking humanitarian missions breaking
it, most recently on May 31 against Freedom Flotilla participants, murdering
targeted activists in cold-blood in international waters, claiming self-defense,
a clear bald-faced lie, the evidence overwhelming, conclusive, and damning.
- Two UN Commissions Investigating the Flotilla Massacre
- On June 2, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) approved
formation of an international commission comprised of lawyers and international
law and human rights experts, its findings to be presented in September
during the Council's three week Geneva session.
- Its members include:
- -- Desmond de Silva, a UK lawyer and former chief prosecutor
for the Sierra Leone Special Court investigation into widespread killings
- -- Karl Hudson-Phillips, a former International Criminal
Court (ICC) judge and former Trinidad and Tobago attorney general and parliament
- -- Malaysia's Mary Shanthi Dairiam, active in gender
equality issues, including on the UN Development Program's gender equity
- In emergency session, the HRC criticized Israel's "outrageous
attack on aid ships attempting to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip,"
calling it "piracy, (an) act of aggression, (a) brutal massacre, (an)
act of terrorism, (a) war crime, (a) crime against humanity - unprovoked,
unwarranted, atrocious, (and) brutal," calling activists onboard "peaceful,
innocent, noble, unarmed, (and) defenseless, setting a hopeful tone for
a Goldstone Commission-like investigation and conclusions.
- However, on August 2, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
named his own commission, unsurprisingly showing obvious bias toward Israel
after earlier criticizing the HRC for "picking on Israel," a
Reuters June 7 report quoting him saying:
- "The Secretary-General is disappointed at the council's
decision to single out only one specific regional item given the range
and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world,"
the statement omitting Israel or Palestinian Authority (PA) by name.
- At the same time, Alejandro Wolff, deputy US permanent
UN representative accused the council of "a pathological obsession
with Israel," saying "I think the record is starting to speak
for itself," a clear reference to the Goldstone Commission.
- On July 11, on Press TV, former Iraq UN Humanitarian
Coordinator Denis Halliday and former UN chief weapons inspector Scott
Ritter accused Ban Ki-moon of being a Security Council (SC) instrument,
meaning, of course, a US imperial tool. Halliday said the SC corrupted
him, undermining his credibility, shown numerous times, his latest announcement
- According to AFP, Ban's commission includes:
- -- Geoffrey Palmer, former New Zealand Prime Minister,
the commission's chairman;
- -- Joseph Siechanover, former head of Israel's Defense
Mission to the US and Canada, and Israel's Defense and Agriculture ministries'
- -- Ozdem Sanberk, former Turkish ambassador and Foreign
Ministry Undersecretary; and
- -- Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president, the commission's
vice-chairman, a man tainted by corruption and scandal, with close links
to his country's drug cartels and paramilitary death squads, responsible
for murdering thousands of trade unionists, campesinos, human rights workers,
journalists, and others opposing Colombia's narco-state terrorism and ties
to US imperialism.
- James Petras accused him of conducting "a scorched
earth policy (against) Colombia's countryside," murdering thousands
criticizing his regime. "Entire regions of the countryside were emptied
- like the US Operation Phoenix in Vietnam, farmland was poisoned by toxic
herbicides. Over 250,000 armed forces (allied with death squads) decimated
vast (areas) where (FARC-EP resistance fighters) exercised hegemony."
- Human Rights First accused him and his administration
of calling human rights activists "terrorist sympathizers and have
insinuated that illicit connections exist between human rights NGOs and
illegal armed groups."
- Former UN Human Rights Rapporteur, Margaret Sekaggya,
visited Colombia in September 2009, then reported in March 2010 on the
"Stigmatization (of human rights activists) by public officials and
non-State actors; their illegal surveillance by State intelligence services;
their arbitrary arrest and detention; their judicial harassment; raids
(against their) premises and theft of information," ordered by Uribe,
- -- "rent-a-mobs at terrorism's service who cowardly
wave the human rights flag;
- -- human rights traffickers;
- -- charlatans of human rights;
- -- bandits' colleagues; and
- -- (the) intellectual front (for) FARC" resistance
- Contemptuous of human rights, international law and justice,
his appointment destroys the commission's credibility, guaranteeing bias
and whitewash. It's results will be announced in mid-September. HRC's conclusions
will be marginalized, Ban's assured top-featured prominence, sanctifying
- A Hopeful Sign
- On August 10, Haaretz Service reported that Turkey has
set up its own Flotilla inquiry to "investigate the attack and the
treatment the activists faced." The commission will include "officials
from the foreign, justice, interior and transport ministries as well as
from the country's maritime agency."
- Turkey holds Israel responsible for the massacre, Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying "No one else can take the blame for
killing civilians in international waters." President Recep Erdogan
agrees, harshly condemning Israel for the crime.
- A Final Note
- In late May, Israel's Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen.
Gabi Ashkenazi vowed to block the Gaza aid Flotilla, stopping short of
explaining how. On August 11, before Israel's Turkel commission, he defended
the massacre as "proportional and correct," praising his commandos'
calm and morality.
- On August 12, he repeated the warning, telling a naval
graduation class he'll block future flotillas, saying "There is no
doubt that you will manage to stop the nearing threats." Now we know
what he has in mind.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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