Posts Tagged war crimes
The ongoing ground incursion of Gaza by Israel begun July 18 and has, according to a statement by the World Health Organization (WHO) greatly accelerated the casualty rate, especially with respect to the numbers of displaced families.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that “following 10 days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the IDF has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip.”
It said the goal was to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror, while striking a significant blow to Hamas’ terror infrastructure.”
The overwhelming majority of people killed so far in the conflict are Palestinians, including 121 Gaza children under the age of 18, Juliette Touma of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.
Today, Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day ethnic cleansing of Palestinians
war against the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Pools of blood stained the school courtyard in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit. Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed.
The deaths raised the overall Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 to at least 751. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 18, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation. Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed by rocket or mortar fire.
More than 900 Palestinian children are also reported to have been injured, according to UNICEF.
Israel says it has carried out more than 2,000 attacks on Gaza since 8 July, while militants have fired some 1,380 rockets at Israel.
The UN says at least 1,370 homes have been destroyed in Gaza and more than 18,000 people displaced in recent hostilities.
“According to an assessment by aid workers on ground at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said during a briefing in Geneva.
More than 1.2 million of the 1.8 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damaged or lack fuel for generators, Laerke said.
“In addition, we do have reports of sewage flooding which is a threat to public health,” Laerke said.
The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) has distributed emergency food rations and food vouchers to more than 90,000 people so far, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said.
* More than 500 killed in densely-populated enclave
* 121 children killed, 900 wounded, UNICEF says
* More than 1.2 mln in Gaza have no or little water
* Ready-to-eat food stocks running low, WFP warns
* Three hospitals among 18 damaged health facilities (adds statements by UNRWA and WHO)
The World Health Organization said that 18 health facilities in Gaza have been damaged, including three hospitals.
An Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 16, the Health Ministry said.
Hospitals in northern Gaza have been overwhelmed by high numbers of trauma cases and their inadequate supplies, it said.
While the International Committee of the Red Cross, guardian of the rules of war, condemned the attack on the Al-Aqsa hospital which it said had come under “direct fire at least four times”, most countries have, most notably the United States, have remained nothing but bystanders to this massacre.
Warring parties are obliged under international humanitarian law to protect medical personnel, ambulances and facilities, the ICRC said in a statement issued late on Monday.
“There is literally no safe place for civilians,” Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news briefing in Geneva.
The death toll is rising in the coastal enclave which has an estimated 4,500 people per square kilometer, he said. The priority for aid agencies was protecting civilians and evacuating and treating the wounded.
Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they need food, water and mattresses, he said.
“This number continues to increase by the hour,” UNRWA said in a statement on Tuesday, raising its emergency funding appeal to $115 million from $60 million.
Israel’s Genocidal Ambitions and the Apartheid State
To put it in a nutshell: this is horrifying. The argument that Hamas uses civilian locations to hide and launch rockets does not explain, nor justify, Israel’s decision to, say, shell children playing on an open beach.
Sure, one can argue that this is all Hamas’s fault for continuing to fire rockets at Israeli population centers, and doing so in midst of their own civilians, knowing full well what Israel’s response will be. However, that still does not make Israel massacring innocent civilians and children any more ok or understandable. Murdering children is murdering children. There is no grey area.
Of course, the other question here is why the Palestinian people keep re-electing the Hamas.
Some argue that the Hamas’ are leaders of an occupied resistance, others call them terrorists, and yet others call them both.
I may be in the camp of those who call them both and given what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people whose lands they stole based on a book they themselves wrote, I have to say I do not blame them for turning to Hamas to do their fighting.
After all, who else do they have? The Palestinian people have nothing. They have no allies, they have no voice in the international community, they don’t have a standing army.
As Dorothy Zellner, a member of the advocacy group Jewish Voice for Peace, noted “[T]he Palestinians have no army, no air force, no navy, not even an airfield. The Israelis, on the other hand, have super high-tech weaponry.” They also have Iron Dome which has been incredibly effective at shooting down rockets.
Additionally, and thus unlike Palestine, Israel has been receiving over $3 billion in aid, much of which went toward its defense, from the United States in the last year alone.
That is an awful lot of might, behind which is rhetoric like: “When there is no ceasefire, our answer is fire.” Which suggests a parity that does not exist.
Or like: “[Israel] is continuing to pound Hamas and its infrastructure,” without regard for the fact that the population of Gaza is not, in fact, synonymous with “Hamas and its infrastructure.” Children are not Hamas and its infrastructure.
At a certain point, being right becomes less important than doing the right thing.
Or, at least not doubling down on the wrong thing.
So when I hear people say that it is all Hamas’ fault, I ask again: what are the Palestinians supposed to do?
What is anyone whose back is against the wall and desperate, to do? Like a drowning person holding on to whatever he can get his hands on, can we blame Palestinians for holding on to the only entity that is doing their bidding while they are drowning under Israel’s yoke and apartheid regime?
Again, Palestinians have no one on their side and for better or worse, Hamas is all they got.
In fact, the only reason that groups like Hamas have any broad appeal among the Palestinian population is because of Israeli policies permitting the taking of Palestinian land, separating Palestinians from the population, forcing them to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.
You cannot blame a peoples who are the subject of ethnic cleansing, peoples whose lands have been stolen from them, for holding on to anything that resembles some kind of a help.
And then there is my primary concern at this point, which is the utter disproportion of a conflict that has consequences far beyond merely “striking a significant blow” to Hamas’ military arm.
Israel didn’t suffer many casualties from the Hamas rockets that provoked this latest assault! Yet, they’ve ended up killing hundreds of innocent Palestinians in response – most of whom have been children.
The Israeli response has been so disproportionate that they’ve come out of this looking like monsters; like the sort of people that drop-kick a chihuahua into a roaring fireplace after it nips them in the ankle.
The World Is Just Standing By
Sadly, because this is Israel and because the United States is beholden to the Zionist lobby and because we give them billions of dollars of aide each year and because any criticism of Israel’s apartheid regime will immediately be shot down as antisemitism, the world is standing by with officials merely verbally condemning the attacks but without anyone stepping in and actually doing something.
While I, of course, am not denying that antisemitism is quite prevalent, when it comes to Israel’s occupation of Palestine I think that term has been milked for all it’s worth by the Israelis and their Zionist supporters who justify their sinister ambitions and the creation of an apartheid state by calling any criticism of Israel antisemitism, when in reality what Israel is doing, and has been doing, is a gross violation of all sorts of international laws and human rights.
Criticizing the massacre of children and innocent civilians is not antisemitism.
A few months ago we were ready to launch an attack against Syria citing human rights violations and the use of white phosphorous against civilians. Now, Israel is doing exactly that and President Obama is scratching his balls, doing absolutely nothing.
And what does all of this accomplish for Israel, really, other than sapping its moral authority and creating a large, angry class of mistreated individuals? Don’t even give me that “Jewish state” bullshit. You cannot actively disenfranchise people in order to maintain racial or religious purity, and call yourself a modern democracy at the same time. Israel needs to drop its pseudo-theocratic aims and grant equal rights under the laws to Palestinians, or else admit that it’s a backwater theocracy undeserving of international respect.
US Citizens Subsidizing The Murder of Palestinians
The conflict for this strip of land has been going on for over 60 years and it is not going end as long as Israel disenfranchises people to maintain a religious or racial purity, as long as the likes of Netanyahu come to the US war mongering under the guise of “providing aide” and as long as Israel forces Palestinians to live in what are effectively ghettos cut off from all outside resources, preventing them from settling and becoming Israeli citizens, and otherwise ensuring that they have absolutely no stake whatsoever in Israel’s continued existence even as they remain beholden to Israeli power.
We need to stop helping Israel’s genocidal regime and let it fight its own wars. US tax payer dollars need not support the continued atrocities and murders of innocent people.
The way we deal with war criminals in this country is not only giving them high-paying faculty positions at prestigious universities, but also inviting them to colleges to speak at Commencements while paying them $35,000 (which is the low range here).
Condoleezza Rice is one such war criminal and Rutgers University, or to be more precise, Rutgers’ board of governors, is the entity that voted on having this “honored” war criminal over for an inspirational talk at their Commencement, if you were considering a career as a war criminal that is.
Luckily, the students at Rutgers have the integrity their board of directors is clearly missing, because they have been protesting her appearance, saying they wanted nothing to do with her war-mongering, treasonous ass stating that she may not bother showing up at all.
Rice, who really seems to believe that staging a fraudulent war, lying to the American people, being a supporter and architect of the murder and torture of hundreds of thousands of innocent people – on both sides – for oil as well as the destruction of our economy, constitutes “serving her country” and something of an honor (I guess denial is another thing bitch has in common with war criminals). So she decided not to show up at all, stating that while she was “honored” to “serve” her country, she decided not to be at Rutgers so as to not detract from the spirit of the commencement ceremony. (I guess she figured that compared to the bundle she made off of the Iraq war, $35,000 was chump change she could easily forgo).
Good riddance, I say.
On March 11, 2012, Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales – a worthless human being for whom pretty much every excuse under the sun is being currently used to justify the massacre he committed – after drinking on a southern Afghanistan base, crept away to two slumbering villages overnight, shooting his victims and setting many of them on fire. Nine of the 16 killed were children and 11 belonged to one family.
Because the perpetrator is an American, true to form, every news media outlet in the US is making an array of excuses for this guy, from citing his personal money and job problems, to a concussive brain injury, alleged Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) brought upon by his three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as well as marital problems. The man has not even been charged yet – as if there was some sort of a dispute exactly as to what he did – and in fact they are still trying to determine what the charges ought to be.
It is interesting to note that this violent murderer and executioner is being held in the same maximum security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where they just a few months ago held Pfc. Bradley Manning, a non-violent individual whose only offense allegedly is leaking materials documenting war crimes, among other things, to WikiLeaks.
Bale’s defense attorney, John Henry Browne, 65, whose clients range from serial killer Ted Bundy to Colton Harris-Moore, is said to probably not try to argue for a complete acquittal of Bales but instead work to ratchet down the charges. A full acquittal would require that Browne convince a military jury that his client “was unable to perceive the wrongfulness of his or her acts.” More likely, Bales’ defense will argue that his client’s acts “were not premeditated.” That could possibly expose him to lesser offenses, such as second-degree murder or even manslaughter.
I must say that the thought of this executioner and murderer getting off the hook and being set free with something like second degree murder or manslaughter after shooting and setting on fire nearly a dozen children and women turns my stomach and makes me lose any kind of vestigial hope I may have had in humanity.
When the Whole Country Makes Excuses for Murderers and Executioners
As his legal preparations get under way, the news media, Bale’s family and friends as well a colleagues and every commentator in this nation are working hard to paint him as the real victim here under the guise of everything they could come up with doing a quick internet search for “getting murderers acquitted”. As if what Bales did really couldn’t be true and something else was going on there. Everything but personal accountability.
And the only thing that seems to surprise and pain his family is not the fact that 16 people were brutally killed and torched at his hands, but how such a sweet, dedicated little golden boy who did such unique things such as being a high school student once and engaging in extracurricular activities, could have possibly done such a thing. They are said to stand behind the man they know as a “devoted husband, father and dedicated member of the armed services.” It is almost like children who just cannot believe Santa Clause isn’t real.
No tactics aimed at evoking sympathy for this murderer are spared. His victims remain faceless and nameless, seen as nothing but a bunch of dirty Arabs and terrorists no one cares about (note to the reader: Afghans are not Arabs). Bales is remembered fondly by everyone; neighbors recite his “gregarious, chatty and engaged” attitudes as a teen, his army colleagues describe a sunny man, using words like “solid,” and offering up photos of him wearing a broad grin, and his commanding officer Maj. Brent Clemmer describes him as “a really good” soldier and “one of those guys who was always positive”. In fact, in what appears to be a moment of keen character judgment, Clemmer once nominated Bales to receive a medal of valor for his conduct in the battle of Najaf in 2007.
With the high esteem everyone seems to have for this guy it surprises me they haven’t put a medal on him already.
Needless to say I am pissed.
I really can’t believe how the news media in this country and journalists and this guy’s friends and family and pretty much everyone it seems are trying to make excuses and almost feel sorry for him: “he had money problems“, “he had job problems“, “poor baby was under stress“, “he once saved people “, “he was such a nice guy“, “he was deployed to war” blah blah blah. Are you kidding me? I don’t care what your problems are and what stress you are under, you don’t go torching children and innocent civilians.
We all have problems, we are all not feeling great; in fact, not feeling great is the reality for everyone after childhood ends. In recent years, a lot of people lost their homes and retirements and livelihood; we are all somehow having issues of varying degrees – from the traumatic and serious to the mundane – but we don’t go on killing sprees setting people on fire.
Behaving Like the Enemy
If the situation had been the other way around, as in an Afghan soldier had torched and killed over a dozen of American children and families, you bet that no one in the US news media would be sitting here reciting to us the story behind the Afghan soldier’s childhood and tough personal circumstances in attempts to evoke sympathy for him or make his atrocities more “understandable”.
But since the perpetrator is American, everyone is making excuses for him instead of seeing this as what it is: the cold blooded massacre of innocent people by an individual who belongs locked up for the rest of his life for his crimes.
From citing the military industrial complex, the way our troops and veterans are treated, to the Bush administration as well as the rationale behind the war – all legitimate points on their own merit – everyone seems to think that it is everyone else’s fault but his.
While it is important to take the mental state of a person committing a murder into account, in a gruesome case like this and of such proportions where the facts speak for themselves, it is seems asinine to be employing the cowardly tactics of defense attorneys who represent the Ted Bundys and Scott Petersons of this world to somehow absolve this guy of any wrong doing.
Glimpses of a Darkness in Bale’s personal life
A New York Times article shows that Bales was not really the stable, swell and upright citizen everyone is falsely painting him out to be. Bales’s past includes an arrest on a misdemeanor charge of assault on a woman, which was dropped after he completed anger-management counseling; an accident in which he overturned his car, something he attributed to falling asleep at the wheel; and an accumulation of rejections and disappointments.
He also seemed to be enjoying his deployments. During his June 2006 to September 2007 deployment to Iraq, Bales injured his foot. When he returned to the Tacoma area, he was limping, neighbors said, but also working hard to rehabilitate his foot because he wanted to return to full duty. “He was a gung-ho Army guy,” said Tim Burgess, 59, a retired trucker and warehouse worker who lived next door to Bales at the time. “He still wanted to see action even though he had been wounded.”
By August 2009, he was gone again. It was a quieter tour, with more nation building than combat. In a Facebook exchange with a childhood friend, Steven Berling, Bales called the deployment “boring” and “pretty dumb,” then lamented the lack of fighting. “Giving money to Hagji instead of bullets just don’t seem right,” he wrote, apparently misspelling Hajji, a term used by soldiers, often pejoratively, in referring to Arab people.
Bales does not strike one as a peaceful non-violent man or as someone suffering from PTSD. He appears to be harboring a history of violent tendencies and disdain for the citizens of the countries he is deployed to.
Shame on America and everyone who attempts to make excuses for murderers and executioners, such as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales: former high school teenager with hobbies, loving husband and father (except for that time he assaulted a woman), patriot to his country, always eager for the next deployment; loser first class on all other accounts, murderer and executioner of children, women and other innocent civilians.
Whenever I think of Angelina Jolie, I think of a spoiled, pampered incredibly wealthy young woman who dabbles in good deeds to fill the time between shopping sprees, world tours and endless parties. At the Sarajevo premiere of her movie In the Land of Honey and Blood, Angelina Jolie was right on track with that mantra when she got all emotional talking about her movie and her hope that it would be a wake-up call and inspiration for politicians and leaders around the world to do something about what is happening in Syria right now.
I am all for giving, humanitarian aide and just doing things for others; we need more of that in this world driven by selfish, narcissistic people posing as human beings, but there is just something so insincere about these two assholes. I am tired of their self righteous, sanctimonious crap and this pretending that they are not overpaid actors who shot to fame based on their looks, addictions and the number and nature of their sex partners, rather than because of their talent, intelligence and hard work.
On the one hand they want to keep it all private, on the other hand they flaunt it every opportunity they can, such as making out on the red carpet or inviting camera crews over to their house so they can photograph Jolie nursing one of her babies. Angelina goes to an African village talking about the plight of the people and then three days later is seen carrying a $5,000 Louis Vuitton bag that could feed the village for a couple of months.
It almost feels like they get a kick out of going to impoverished countries and “helping” out (i.e. self promoting); like it was a sexual arousal thing that gets them both off. It honestly woudn’t surprise me given Angelina’s sordid past and her fucked up habits like carrying a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck. Sort of like in The Postman Always Rings Twice, where Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson fuck right at the scene of the crash where her husband is bleeding to death and dying. I really think these two get some kind of a pleasure or arousal from this adopting children from some third world shit hole thing and going to deeply troubled and impoverished countries with their luxury handbags, designer clothes and half a dozen mansions, chalets and estates around the world to their name. It is almost like the more impoverished and destitute the country, the higher the arousal and appeal factor for this pair of assholes.
They say that “sincerity is everything. Once you learn to fake that, the rest is easy.” I must say it is quite ironic that these two, despite their alleged tremendous acting skills, have not been able to fake that at least so that when they do take the high ground, it is believable. How in touch with reality can two millionaires a hundred times over with egos the size of entire nations really be? Exactly…