Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

September 30, 2009

Another Lockerbie Doubter, This Time…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:20 pm

..in a highly respected U.S. publication.

You may wonder why I may seem obsessed with the doubts over the guilt of al-Meghari the Libyan convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 whose wreckage was scattered over Lockerbie, Scotland along with the remains of 259 passengers and crew including 189 Americans and 66 children of all nations.

What surprizes me, although I guess it shouldn’t, is that so few reporters or media seem to care about the doubts I’ve reported on in two previous posts, most comprehensively detailed in The London Review of Books September, 24 issue. People can’t live with uncertainty! They crave certainty more than they crave truth. Even if it might mean giving mass-murdering terrorists a free pass.

Now at last a serious U.S. publication has aired the doubts. In the current issue of The New York Review of Books Malise Ruthven carefully explains why the case against the Libyan was far from solid and has been falling apart ever since his conviction,

More rapidly since 2007 when the key witness who supposedly linked the Libyan to a bomb component admitted he’d committed perjury at the trial, and an exhaustive 800 page review of the case by a Scottish judicial commission concluded that “a miscarriage of justice may have occurred”. And yet I saw none of this in any of the reporting on the Libyan’s release here in the states.

Why frame the Libyan when so much evidence pointed to a Syrian based terrorist group? The most plausible answer suggests Ruthven and the London review is that the crime was subcontracted by Iran to a Syrian terrorist group to get revenge for the accidental shootdown of an Iranian airliner by a US warship five months before the Lockerbie bombing. And that by the time of the trial, the Gulf War coalition was gathering and surprize, Syria was on board and Libya was supporting Saddam. I don’t know how much truth there is to this, But nobody seems concerned about finding out. In fact one of the conditions for al-Meghari’s release was that he drop his appeal of his conviction, an appeal in which some uncomfortable facts may have come out, uncomfortable for the UK and maybe the US.

That yes there was a corrupt deal behind the release, but it involved bargaining not over oil but over historical truth–and justice for the families of the victims, many of whom are suing now to find the truth. It may be the last chance given the refusal of the most of the mainstream media to care.

Further Indications of U.S. "Intelligence" Failure on Iran

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 4:04 am

Just in case you had doubts on the bankruptcy of the 2007 U.S. N.I.E. on Iran, and, in particular its dubious assertion that Iran had ceased working on nuclear warheads in 2003 (see post below), check out this report on British intelfrom The Financial Times. (h/t The Daily Beast

*By the way I want to make clear i don’t support a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities with all the potential apocalyptic consequences that are likely to ensue. I support measures that will bring to power a non-genocidally minded regime in Iran.

September 28, 2009

Huge Intelligence Scandal: Will All the Pundits Who Relied on the Discredited 2007 NIE on Iran Now…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 4:39 pm

Will all the pundits who relied on the discredited 2007 NIE on Iran now admit that they were wrong? That they bought into and kept citing, without any serious questioning, the now clearly politically skewed analysis in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate of that year? You remember: the considered consensus wisdom of the entire U.S. intelligence community, which misled the world into believing there was nothing to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, that it had virtually ceased. When, in fact, out of the three components of a nuclear weapons program, at most one might have been suspended, if that.

Will the congressional intelligence committees demand to know how such a deliberately misleading report was being leaked and fed to the public by half-baked pundits even after (we now learn) some part of the “intelligence community” knew — before the the NIE was issued — about the secret nuclear fuel facility we’re now reading about?

What took them so long? Or if there were reasons to keep silent about it, why issue a report that deliberately misled the world into the opposite conclusion? The NIE now appears to be a deliberate LIE — deliberate disinformation, disingenuously written by its authors, who should be hauled before the committees and asked how they could have made such fools of the “intelligence community” and those who took their report seriously.

After all, it was not without consequences. The report essentially bought the Iranians two years of non-interfering in their obvious (to everyone but the “intelligence community”) drive to build nuclear weapons.

Who chose the authors of the LIE? How much did they get paid for distorting intelligence, betraying their trust, our trust (those who had any left after an unbroken record of intelligence community bungling)? Why do we still trust anything that comes out of the “intelligence community” since they are almost always wrong?

Just to review the bidding: there are three components to a nuclear weapons development program. The most difficult is manufacturing the highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium fuel. The second is engineering the warhead itself, now no problem thanks to Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan, who sold the information to North Korea and Iran. And finally there is the delivery system, the missiles which, just yesterday, Iran demonstrated their successful development of.

September 25, 2009

Denying "Holocaust Denial"–It's Still Important

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:21 am

I have argued in the past that in some ways, in the sick mind of the deniers holocaust denial is the next step in the evolution of evil.

Not only do the deniers lie about the holocaust, they lie about their denial. Almost without exception they know it happened and they’re glad it happened, and they want it to happen again. And they think they’ve found a tactic that will help.

In the absence of that they’ve found a way to add insult to injury in a viciously evil way: by branding the dead non-persons and calling the survivors (and every other decent person on earth) liars.

Accepting them as merely sick, pathological or insane is unacceptable. Nobody has articulated the larger geopolitical consequences of tolerating such lies and the license them to prepare for a second holocaust while denying the first than Bibi Netanyahu in his UN speech yesterday. he makes the point that it doesn’t merely affect Jews but disgraces and endangers the rest of the world as well.

I urge you to read it in its entirety. It’s link to the UN lie about Gaza is bracing truth-telling.

September 23, 2009

Obama and 'Solutionism' at the UN

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 4:53 pm

Obama’s UN speech defined him as a solutionist. I envy him. I wish I were a solutionist. Do you know the word? I’ve often referred to “the American belief there’s a solution to every problem,” but I didn’t coin the word “solutionism” — although I wish I had.

I’m not sure he invented it, but the first of the some 4000-plus Google entries for “solutionism” (now 5000-plus since Obama’s speech — coincidence?) comes from my friend Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic*, writing about the Mideast. He calls solutionism “America’s national religion”: the compulsion to believe that, with good will and good faith, a solution to everything — even ancient hatreds — can be found. Maybe it’s because we’re too young a country to have experienced ancient hatreds, although we brought a lot over with us. Ancient hatreds will trump good will and good faith every time.

It’s this really very admirable “solutionism” that Obama demonstrated at the UN. The optimistic belief that with good will and good faith there’s a solution to every international problem, just as there’s a solution to health care somewhere in the 500 amendments to the Senate bill.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s better to have a solutionist as president that a bitter misanthropic anti-solutionist like myself. But solutionists are optimists about human nature, despite the evidence in front of their eyes. I know every last shred of optimism about human nature I ever had was shredded ever further by my observation of commenter culture where the twisted face of hatred hides behind the cowardly mask of a screen name.

Seriously though, it just confirmed my feeling that the worst instincts drive out the best, especially when you think no one knows your name. The way a mask — of nationalism, ideology, religion, bigotry and above all else self-righteousness — can conceal and reveal. And we expect the Afghans to all get along? As someone put it, “What planet do you live on?”

The planet of solutionism headquartered at the UN is, in fact, a writhing, seething sea of ancient hatreds. Was it Yeats who said, of the Irish problem, “big hatred, little room”? No solutionist he, although a century later things finally seem to have quieted down a bit.

Another Comprehensive Debunking of the Lockerbie Bombing Investigation

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:39 am

They don’t seem to go away. the doubts about whether the real mass murderers have gone free amidst the uproar of the freeing of the convicted Libyan. He may be guilty as charged.

But see if you feel as strongly about that after you read the September 24, issue of The London Review of books in which Gareth Peirce makes the case that released Libyan al-Megrahi was framed and Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command was behind it.

It’s a sober evidence-backed, non conspiracy-theory investigation-of-the- investigation that all too many want to sweep under the rug. It in no way denies Libyan invovlement in murderous terrorism. In fact tht invovlement made it all the more easy to in the blame them for highly complicated, intelligence-related reasons we may never completely learn the truth about.

September 22, 2009

What You Need to Know About the U.N. Gaza Report

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 3:09 pm

The indispensable Tom Gross gives a comprehensive–sickening–round up of its flaws and bias here.*

It’s like the lie of the Jenin “massacre” all over again.

*Apologies for non-working link above. I am reprinting Tom Gross’ summary of some of the articles in his post, plus, at the bottom you’ll find a working link to another site summarizing objections to the report:

[All notes below by Tom Gross]

ISRAEL: “THIS REPORT WAS CONCEIVED IN SIN”

Israelis across the political spectrum have reacted with fury to the outrageously biased report of a UN “fact-finding” mission in Gaza mandated by the horribly misnamed UN Human Rights Council and headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone.

Goldstone denounced Israel for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” and urged the Security Council to refer the matter to international war crimes prosecutors.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it was “appalled” by the UN report which was based almost exclusively on unverifiable testimony by Hamas sympathizer groups in Gaza.

Government spokesman Mark Regev said: “This report was conceived in sin and is the product of a union between propaganda and bias.” Israel’s Foreign Ministry launched a special webpage in an effort to rebut the allegations by the Goldstone committee: http://www.mfa.gov.il/gazafacts.

Referring to the upcoming speech of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said: “The same UN that allows the president of a country to announce on a podium its aspiration to destroy the State of Israel has no right to teach us about morality.”

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CANADA, JAPAN, SWITZERLAND AND THE EU REJECT GOLDSTONE REPORT

Numerous states – including Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union – refused to support the Goldstone mission before it even began, so slanted was the make-up of its team that included such anti-Israel bigots as London School of Economics Professor Christine Chinkin. (Goldstone himself served as a director of the anti-Israel group Human Rights Watch*.) Even so, Goldstone’s insistence that Israel be referred to the International Criminal Court is a very dangerous development for those who believe Israel should survive.

A special session of the Human Rights Council has been called for September 29 in Geneva, at which the Palestinians are expected to begin the process aimed at bringing the matter to the ICC.

* Goldstone was a director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) at the time HRW appointed Marc Garlasco its senior analyst. Garlasco, who authored the HRW report from which Goldstone “borrowed” so much “information,” was suspended last week after it was disclosed that he is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia, and had said in an online posting that SS uniforms were “so cool.”

Even before his Nazi-link revelations came out, there were serious concerns about Garlasco. He appears to have played a major role in the later discredited allegations that Israel killed Palestinians on a Gaza beach in 2006 – allegations which The New York Times took seriously at the time and splashed all over its front page, even though it was later established that the Palestinians died after stepping on a Hamas shell. For more, see here: http://www.israpundit.com/2006/?p=1480. Goldstone relies on Garlasco’s supposed “military expertise” in his report.

(As reported last month in these dispatches, another senior HRW staff member – deputy director Joe Stork – hailed the “achievement” of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes for providing “an important boost in morale among Palestinians.”)

Among other “experts” cited by the Goldstone report was the Central Commission for Documentation and Pursuit of Israeli War Criminals.

—————————————————————

EVEN MARY ROBINSON DENOUNCES GOLDSTONE’S REPORT

Even longtime critic of Israel, Mary Robinson, denounced Goldstone’s mandate as “not balanced, because it focuses on what Israel did, without calling for an investigation on the launch of rockets by Hamas” at Israeli civilians. She added that it was “guided not by human rights, but by politics.”

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THE GUARDIAN AND OTHERS PLAY THE JEW CARD

Both The Guardian and The New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune made sure to emphasize on their front pages that Goldstone is a Jew, as if this would somehow excuse his extreme prejudice against Israel. (Throughout history those prejudiced against Jews have used individual Jews to do their “dirty work” for them in slandering or denouncing other Jews. This was particularly so during Roman times, the Spanish inquisition, Stalinist Russia, and Nazi Germany).

What The Guardian and others fail to tell their readers is that the UN Human Rights Council has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than all the other 191 UN member states combined. But then, of course, the more time the Council spends demonizing Israel, the less likely it will ever mention the more than one million displaced people in Somalia this year, the more than one million displaced people in Pakistan this year, the 300,000 Tamil civilians now rotting in northern Sri Lanka, the systematic daily rape of male and female pro-democracy activists now occurring in Iranian prisons, the atrocious treatment of the leader of the Iranian bus workers union who has just had his tongue sliced off so he could no longer lead vocal protests against the regime, and so on.

***

Readers of Goldstone’s report may be surprised to learn that “individuals and groups, viewed as sources of criticism of Israel’s military operations were subjected to repression by the Government of Israel.” This is complete nonsense, of course, and pretty rich coming from a UN Human Rights Commission whose members include states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where protesters face more than just repression if they dare challenge their governments.

—————————————————————

EX-HA’ARETZ EDITOR: GOLDSTONE’S REPORT IS “CHILLING AND MISGUIDED”

The extent of Goldstone’s undermining of the state of Israel has been too much even for the Israeli hard left.

David Landau – who was the editor in chief of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz from 2004 to 2008 at a time when the paper veered to the far left and who famously told Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. should “rape”* Israel to force it out of the West Bank) – yesterday wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he described Goldstone’s report as “chilling and misguided.”

(* For background on his “rape” remarks, please see: http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000913.html)

Landau told New York Times readers: “The [Goldstone] report stunned even seasoned Israeli diplomats who expected no quarter from an inquiry set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which they believe to be deeply biased against Israel.”

“Judge Goldstone has thwarted any such honest debate – within Israel or concerning Israel. His fundamental premise, that the Israelis went after civilians, shut down the argument before it began.” (Full article below.)

(It is regrettable that in his article Landau makes no mention of key issues such as the false claims by Hamas to NGOs which gullible Goldstone and his team lapped up.)

—————————————————————

WILL OBAMA NOW LET GOLDSTONE INTO AFGHANISTAN?

Ari Shavit, one of the leading columnists for Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz newspaper, writes:

“Some two weeks ago American airplanes fired on two oil tankers in northern Afghanistan. It was a German officer who’d asked the U.S. air force to attack the tankers in the middle of the night, in a populated area. The attack was successful – the two tankers were hit, went up in flames and were destroyed. But the overwhelming American-German air attack killed some 70 people. Some of those brought to hospitals were severely injured – with mutilated faces, burned hands and charred bodies.

“One way or another, it’s clear that the United States and Germany are responsible for an extremely brutal attack. Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway also bear responsibility for the massacre as NATO members.

“Obama would probably be the principal defendant in this case. He was the one who believed in the war in Afghanistan and intensified it. As U.S. commander-in-chief, he bears direct responsibility not only for the deaths of those who were burned with the tankers, but the death of many hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians.

“If there are is such a thing as an international community, international law and universal ethics, they must seriously consider putting Obama on trial for his responsibility for severe war crimes.

“Absurd? Yes, it’s absurd. Only when Israel is involved is international judgment administered out of context… As long as Judge Richard Goldstone doesn’t probe the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka or Turkey, just as he probed Israel, he is not a moral figure…”

Tom Gross adds: there have been dozens of cases where over a hundred civilians have died in a single airstrike in Afghanistan. This is why Israel avoided such airstrikes in Gaza and bravely sent its own soldiers into battle in a desperate effort to root out Hamas terrorists while avoiding harm to civilians. In other conflicts around the world, such as the ongoing conflict in Yemen against the country’s Shia population (in which 80 children and women were killed in a government airstrike on Saturday alone), or the Sri Lankan assault on its Tamil population earlier this year or the ongoing wars in Somalia, Congo and elsewhere, far more people have been killed.

—————————————————————

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: “GAZA REPORT UNFAIR, LENIENT WITH HAMAS”

The Associated Press reports:

The Obama administration sharply criticized a UN report Friday alleging that Israel committed multiple war crimes in Operation Cast Lead this year. The State Department statement ended nearly a week of muted reactions to findings already rejected by Israel.

The U.S. State Department said the conclusions of a UN commission headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone were unfair to Israel and did not fully deal with the role in the conflict of the Palestinian group Hamas. It said the United States objected to a recommendation that Israeli actions be referred to the International Criminal Court.

“Although the report addresses all sides of the conflict, its overwhelming focus is on the actions of Israel,” spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

“While the report makes overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect to Israel, its conclusions regarding Hamas’s deplorable conduct and its failure to comply with international humanitarian law during the conflict are more general and tentative,” he said.

Kelly said that the United States wanted to keep discussion of the report within the council and had “very serious concerns” about a recommendation that it be raised at other bodies, including the International Criminal Court.

—————————————————————

SUSAN RICE: U.S. HAS “VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS” ABOUT GOLDSTONE’S “UNBALANCED, ONE-SIDED AND BASICALLY UNACCEPTABLE” MANDATE

The Washington Post reports:

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, rejected a UN proposal to compel Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, to conduct credible investigations into war crimes during last winter’s war in Gaza or face possible prosecution by an international prosecutor.

She said it has long had “very serious concerns” about the mandate the Human Rights Council gave to Goldstone, calling it “unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.” Israeli officials have said the mandate was biased against Israel.

“Our view is that we need to be focused on the future,” Rice told reporters outside the Security Council. “This is a time to work to cement progress towards the resumption of negotiations and their early and successful conclusion and our efforts, and we hope the efforts of others will be directed to that end.”

—————————————————————

HANIYEH: WORLD MUST BACK GOLDSTONE’S REPORT

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports:

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh yesterday urged world powers to embrace the new report on alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s recent war on the Gaza Strip.

“We hope the report will not be doomed to the fate of the dozens of reports that [Israel] has condemned for decades,” referring to the report of the fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone.

Haniyeh specifically asked the Arab League and European countries to use all means to make sure the report is brought to the attention to the UN Security Council and then referred to prosecutors.

The Hamas leader was speaking to a mass prayer session and rally in Yarmouk Stadium in Gaza City, shortly after dawn on Sunday morning, the first day of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month of Ramadan. Some 30,000 men, women and children filled the football pitch. Palestinian and Hamas flags flew from the goal posts.

***

Tom Gross adds: In remarks made in Gaza, a senior Hamas official is also reported to have thanked Goldstone for giving “ammunition to our supporters in the West”.

—————————————————————

SHIMON PERES: THE GOLDSTONE REPORT “MAKES A MOCKERY OF HISTORY”

Israel’s generally dovish President Shimon Peres has joined criticism of the Goldstone UN report, saying it “legitimizes terrorism” and “ignores Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself.”

Peres said it “makes a mockery of history” and that “it does not distinguish between the aggressor and the defender.”

A visibly angry Peres added: “War is crime and the attacker is the criminal. The Hamas terror organization is the one who started the war and also carried out other awful crimes. Hamas has used terrorism for years against Israeli children.”

“The report gives de facto legitimacy to terrorist initiatives and ignores the obligation and right of every country to defend itself, as the UN itself had clearly stated.”

The criticism aimed at Israel, he added, “failed to supply any other way for Hamas fire to stop. The IDF’s operations have boosted the West Bank’s economy, liberated Lebanon from Hizbullah terror and allowed Gazans to resume normalcy.”

“The Israeli government withdrew from Gaza and Hamas began a murderous rampage, firing thousands of shells on women and children – innocent civilians – instead of rebuilding Gaza and caring for the population’s welfare.”

—————————————————————

EX-ISRAELI JUSTICE MINISTER: “IT IS A POLITICAL REPORT DISGUISED IN A LEGAL CLOAK”

Former Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann also criticized the report, saying “it is a political report disguised in a legal cloak, but it is legally unfounded.”

“What this report really means is that Israel is the only country in the world which is not allowed to defend itself against acts of terror. Israel is the most threatened nation in the world and yet it makes the most effort to avoid harming innocent lives.

“Any comparison of Israel’s fight on terror with recent conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. immediately shows that Israel holds itself to the highest ethical standard.”

—————————————————————

AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN: “THE UN DIDN’T LET THEMSELVES BE CONFUSED BY THE FACTS”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “The Goldstone Mission was established for the express purpose of finding Israel guilty of war crimes and to that purpose the members of the Mission didn’t for one moment let themselves be confused by the facts.”

“The whole purpose of the report, from the moment it was decided to write it, was to destroy Israel’s image through the agency of states to which the concepts of ‘human rights’ and ‘ethical warfare’ are totally foreign.”

—————————————————————

“IT’S A GOOD THING THAT THE UN WASN’T AROUND DURING WORLD WAR II”

Max Boot writes on the website of the magazine Commentary:

After reading the Goldstone Report on human-rights abuses committed during the Gaza War all I can say is, it’s a good thing that the United Nations wasn’t around during World War II.

I can just imagine it producing a supposedly evenhanded report that condemned the Nazis for “grave” abuses such as incinerating Jews, while also condemning the Allies for their equally “grave” abuses such as fire-bombing German and Japanese cities.

The recommendation, no doubt, would have been that both sides be tried for war crimes, with Adolf Hitler in the dock alongside Franklin Roosevelt.

Actually, that may be giving the UN more credit than it deserves. To judge by the evidence before us, the likelihood is that the UN in those days would have devoted far more space to Allied “abuses” than to those of the Axis and would have recommended that FDR stand alone before the world court.

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“THE UN REPORT COULD HAVE BEEN DRAFTED BY HAMAS EXTREMISTS. WAIT, IN EFFECT, IT ACTUALLY WAS!”

Alan Dershowitz writes:

Richard Goldstone has now become a full fledged member of the international bash-Israel chorus. His name will forever be linked in infamy with such distorters of history and truth as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Jimmy Carter.

The so-called report commissioned by the notorious United Nations Human Rights Council and issued under his name is so filled with lies, distortions and blood libels that it could have been drafted by Hamas extremists. Wait, in effect, it actually was! UN members were accompanied on their investigations in Gaza by actual Hamas activists who showed them only what they wanted them to see.

***

Michael Freud writes in The Jerusalem Post:

Even for a body with a steady and dependable record of demonizing Israel, the UN has truly outdone itself this time. Mustering all the righteous indignation at its disposal, the world organization has deemed itself morally fit to accuse the Jewish state of “actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” during last winter’s conflict in Gaza.

… Israel’s assault, the report concludes, “was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole,” which is about as close as you can come to depicting a country’s actions as Nazi-like without actually using the “N” word.

—————————————————————

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ASKS GOLDSTONE: HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE US OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?

Solly Ganor, a survivor of the Dachau death camp, who moved to Israel after the war, writes an angry open letter to Goldstone which I attach below.

I also attach a piece from The Los Angeles Times which says that “the Goldstone mission report has endorsed tactics of unlawful guerrilla movements the world over that purposefully endanger the lives of their own civilians in order to protect themselves from attack.”

The Goldstone mission ignored numerous media reports by Palestinians stating that Hamas held them as human shields, for example a Newsweek article in which a Palestinian witness said “resistance fighters were firing from positions all around the Al Quds hospital” and an article in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera quoting a Gaza resident saying, “The Hamas gunmen had taken refuge mainly in the building that houses the administrative offices of Al Quds; the nurses were forced to take off their uniforms so the gunmen could blend better and escape the Israeli snipers.”

Other eye-witness accounts from European newspapers quote Gaza residents saying Hamas fighters forcibly prevented them from leaving their houses and shot at Israeli forces from the same locations, telling them that they should be happy to die together with the “holy warriors.”

***

For those who want to read more about the Goldstone report, there is a good round-up with various link: .

[All notes above by Tom Gross]

September 21, 2009

"SMEARED FOR LIFE"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:19 am

I’m surprized nobody else commented on this. “SMEARED FOR LIFE” was the front page headline on the Saturday, September 19 New York Post.

The front page contained an explanatory sentence: “The men wrongly accused of gang-raping a Hofstra student will never fully shake the stigma. ‘My name is forever tarnished,’ said Stalin Felipe. “I’ll always have to explain it,” he added in the story inside.

Well, yes.

September 18, 2009

Afghanistan: When Ralph Peters and Daniel Ellsberg Agree…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:48 pm

When my favorite conservative, well, realist, military analyst Ralph Peters of The New York Post agrees with the “The Most Dangerous Man in America” (what Nixon called Daniel Ellsberg after he leaked the Pentagon Papers–which ultimately led to Nixon’s impeachment for the acts of the Plumbers Squad to do break-ins after the Ellsberg affair, eventually including Watergate), it’s time to pay attention to the case against nation building in Afghanistan which is not a nation in any real sense and is causing increasing casualties in what seems like a futile effort.

I read the Peters column linked above (he’s been saying similar things for months) the morning after I attended the premier of an excellent, moving documentary about Ellsberg’s career (did you know he enlisted in the Marines and was a gung ho warrior, like Peters, who took led patrols in Vietnam as a civilian, before turning against the kind of wars we were fighting, then war itself?)

Anyway in the Q&A after the screening in New York’s great Film Forum Ellsberg called Afghanistan “Vietnamistan” and the mostly left-liberal audience despite being Obama supporters had clearly turned against the war and were puzzled by Obama ‘s commitment to it.

Was it because, as Victor Navasky suggested to me after the screening that Obama had used Afghanistan as “the right war” to separate himself from Bush’s Iraq. And then found himself stuck with it and with generals and a Pentagon giving him a range of options from 10,000 to 45,000 more troops? Does anyone think that’s the last request? That way lies Vietnam and the wreckage of a liberal Presidency the way Vietnam wrecked LBJ’s.

The best analysis of why we are in Afghanistan is in Tara McKelvey’s prescient article in The American Prospect last year an astute analysis of “The Cult of Counterinsurgency”. In it she describes the way the charismatic military thinkers who engineered the surge in Iraq and saved us (temporarily) from humiliating defeat, gained so much credilbity for their new way of fighting “low intensity conflicts” as they’re called, that a kind of hubris was developing: we can do this in Afghanistan, maybe everywhere if we want. Unfortunately carryover has not been–and may not be–automatic to other nations, other cultures. It’s too bad Obama didn’t read her article before getting us deeper into what looks like a bloody stalemate at best.

Peters points out the Afghan army won’t fight for itself, its troops, “dont even bother to show up for formations”, so why should we die for them? We’re killing what’s left of al Qaeda with drones that can be launched from offshore.

Not that it’s comletely simple. The Taliban ae evil terrorist-harboring woman and gay hating theocrats, but can we fight evil anywhere and everywhere? Change every culture into a Jeffersonian democracy with a wave of the counterinsurgency automaticwand? And of course Afghanistan can’t be separated from nuclear Pakistan, the growth of al Qaeda sympathizers there and the de stabilization that will come if the Taliban. prevails in Afghanistan.

I tend to be pessimistic and think there’s no good solution, but why should American troops die for a no solution stalemate?

Do you have any better ideas?

September 16, 2009

Are Defenders of Racists Ignorant of History or Deliberately Dissembling?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:52 am

I was fascinated to see the sadly defective, or deliberately decetiful attacks on my praise for the Civil Rights movment. Rather than address the issue, as I’d actually put it:

“…I don’t hear of many other conservatives expressing regret that their movement stood in solidarity with racists and continues to profit from Southern strategy racism.”

They were fixated onthe fact that Southern Democrats (many of whom found a friendly home in the post-60s GOP) were racists. No kidding. But now most of the racists among them vote Republican. The “Southern Strategy” at work.

Let me reprint a reply I made to one of the commenters taken up in ditto fashion by others (the ones who weren’t adding anti-semitism to their racist repertoire–some of those I’ll single out in subsequent posts as a way of demonstrting the all-spectrum repulsiveness of racists. Scratch a racist and you find a Jew-hater under the hood)

But what got to me was that instead of giving credit to liberals of all parties for the great moral movement for civil rights, they assumed I was attacking Republicans, not the conservative enablers of Southern racism.(who can do no wrong). But why is it that so many contemporary racists identify themselves as Republicans? it doesn’t mean all Republicans are racists, but from what I see in the comments the obverse may be true: racists defending the GOP) So as not to repeat myself, here’s my comment on the comment:

“Since many subsequent commenters take up the same obvious distortion (I wonder why?), let me point out that anyone who reads my post will see it’s not about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about conservatives and liberals. Lincoln, who feed the slaves was a Republican–duh! All honor goes to Republicans who, in his wake, supported the civil right movement, all shame to those who betrayed his legacy. The Southern Democratic racists who opposed civil rights were not liberals, even though they were Democrats, they were conservatives. Got that straight? It’s not that difficult if you took history in high school. You almost have to be willfully deceitful (or just thickheaded) not to understand the distinction . Strom Thurman who was a Dem, and then a Repub. was a conservative and a racist in both parties.
The point is that conservatives of both parties found reasons to oppose one of the great moral and political movements in American history; liberals of both parties supported it, and those among Jews for whom the prophetic tradtion of social justice is central saw this clearly.”

What none of the defenders of Republicans (back when they voted for civil rights legislation) has been able to defend is the continuing efficacy of the Southern strategy, which I characterized as “racism lite”. Why do you think the former Confederate, segregationist states suddenly switched to the GOP after the 60’s? Why did so many Democratic office holders in the South switch to the GOP? It’s pretty obvious: it’s because by that time the national Democratic party had become identified with the civil rights movment and the GOP in the south became a haven for racists. That’s not to say the GOP candidates and officeholders themselves were racists, but they benefited from racism. That’s the “Southern strategy”.

Those who seek to avoid the question by saying Southern Dems were racist in the past (duh, again) are afraid to face the facts.

And let me point out since there are so many reading-challenged commenters among the anti-semites and racists, I am not condemning the contemporary South as a whole, (or ignoring racism in the North), just pointing out that those who exploit or benefit from the South’s residual racism are mainly conservative Republicans..

But I must admit the number of unashamed racists and anti-semites who post comments is remarkable. Check that; they’re not entirely unashamed. That’s why they use cowardly anonymous screen names. If they used their real names no civilized person would invite these braying spittle flecked ranters and haters into their homes.

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