Saturday, January 8, 2011

TWEET, TWEET; DOJ Wants to Peak To See If You Like WikiLeaks.

TWEET, TWEET; DOJ Wants to Peak To See If You Like WikiLeaks.

Democracy Now: Headlines for January 07, 2011

US War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity And “Change”

The brutality with which the US government exercises its war of terror is condemned both by the court of international public opinion and by the principles of international law governing human rights. Wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and the torture of detainees are clearly defined as war crimes by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture and other treaties to which the United States is a signatory. Under the cover of "national security," other countries in the region are being drawn into the on-going wars.

The Principles of International Law, recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, provide no defense for war crimes. Similarly, the Convention Against Torture, which defines torture as a war crime, provides that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

The prohibition on war crimes is absolute, not relative, meaning that there is no justification for war crimes despite the particular circumstances in their respective countries. U.S. Justice Robert Jackson proclaimed at Nuremberg: “No grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy. The same applies to other war crimes as well. The war crimes of one’s opponents are no justification for one’s own.”

War Criminals Watch exists for one reason: to ensure that prosecutions of high officials of the Bush administration or any subsequent administration who are guilty ofwar crimes and/or crimes against humanitytake place now. Key officials must be held accountable and prosecuted for the crimes they stand accused, in world public opinion, of having committed. Editorialists may demand action. Even some politicians may call for it. But only an energized and politically active public can make those prosecutions happen. War criminals must be publicly shamed and prevented from occupying powerful or influential positions within our society. As in other cases where authorities have gone beyond US and international law as well as the laws of decency, only a public accounting will restore lawful conduct.

War Criminals Watch calls on people of conscience to publicly scrutinize those whose acts require prosecution. Former Bush officials now have new roles in society: professor, lawyer, corporate manager, etc., etc. Some have moved on into the Obama administration. Students and professors, especially, have an obligation to act,to let the war criminals know that there will be no safe haven on campuses. It is our responsibility to call them out and to demand that legal proceedings take place and in a timely fashion.

It was thought by many that President Obama would put a stop to the madness, to the wars, to the Bush administration’s nightmarish approach to national security. After one year, this is "the change" we have:

  • The expansion of the war in Afghanistan with tens of thousands of additional troops as well as an equivalent number of military contractors. The military strategy is under the direction of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, an expert in "counterinsurgency" in Iraq.
  • Drone strikes in Pakistan have continued and increased in numbers and intensity killing quickly growing numbers of Afghani and Pakistani civilians, including women and children.
  • Several of those who have been accused of Bush-era war crimes have continued into the Obama administration – for example, McChrystal, Gates, Petraeus and Fredman, all of whom have been concerned with "national security" issues militarily and domestically.
  • Withdrawal from Iraq is fading into the future. And, when and if the troops do go, the military contractors remain.
  • $20.5billion allocated in the 2009 DoD budget to be spent on recruiting efforts to increase US military forces. Add to this the intangible value of access to high school students provided by the NCLB Act.
  • Obama has insisted on “moving forward” by avoiding the recognition of crimes committed by the government, allowing the worst offenders of the Bush years to avoid prosecution. He has both granted amnesty to the CIA agents involved in torture and offered legal defense if anyone else were to prosecute them.
  • On February 19, 2010 the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) issued its report on whether John Yoo and Jay Bybee should be held accountable for their actions associated with their role providing legal cover for torture, indefinite incarceration without trial, rendition, massive spying and other practices. DOJ found that they engaged in "intentional professional misconduct” by ignoring legal precedent and providing poor legal advice. But it did not hold them accountable for the crimes committed under the cover of their “legal” memos. Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, then downgraded the report’s conclusions to “poor judgment.” As a result, two slaps on the wrist are all that have emerged from an investigation into one of the darkest periods of modern US history.
  • Obama has proposed "preventive detention": imprisoning people because the government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future.
  • Prisoners are being rendered not only to "black sites" in Afghanistan but possibly to other countries.
  • Prisoners are still enduring prolonged isolation, sleep and sensory deprivation and force-feeding. These techniques cause extreme mental anguish and permanent physical damage and they are not permitted under international law. Make no mistake, the US still engages in torture. And we do know that solitary confinement is also taking place on US soil, as in the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi, a Muslim American student held for two and a half years in downtown Manhattan under Special Administrative Measures (SAMS).
  • Guantanamo still has not been closed. If it does close, there is talk of moving the remaining prisoners to a jail in Illinois under the same conditions of confinement.
  • Prisoners in secret detention centers or "black sites" around the world are not allowed to gain access to courts, lawyers or even to know the charges or evidence against them.
Is this the change we want to see? Is it really okay if Bush policies are carried out by Obama? Have the wars ended? No, they are being expanded. The Obama administration is condoning the Bush war crimes by not prosecuting the Bush officials and by carrying some of them over into the new administration. This makes the Obama officials complicit with the Bush war crimes.

People of conscience must insist on accountability for the actions of U.S. officials, no matter who is president. It is our obligation.

By Glenn Greenwald  : (updated below - Update II)

Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir -- a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament -- announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information "about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009."  Several news outlets, including The Guardianwrote about Jónsdóttir's announcement.
What hasn't been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter -- which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested -- seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange.  It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks' Twitter account.

The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope.  It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the "means and source of payment," including banking records and credit cards.  It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present.  A copy of the Order served on Twitter, obtained exclusively by Salon, is here.

The Order was signed by a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, Theresa Buchanan, and served on Twitter by the DOJ division for that district. 

It states that there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation," the language required by the relevant statute.  It was issued on December 14 and ordered sealed -- i.e., kept secret from the targets of the Order. 

It gave Twitter three days to respond and barred the company from notifying anyone, including the users, of the existence of the Order.  On January 5, the same judge directed that the Order be unsealed at Twitter's request in order to inform the users and give them 10 days to object; had Twitter not so requested, it would have been compelled to turn over this information without the knowledge of its users.  A copy of the unsealing order is here.

Jónsdóttir told me that as "a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee [of Iceland's Parliament] and the NATO parliamentary assembly," she intends to "call for a meeting at the Committee early next week and ask for the ambassador to meet" her to protest the DOJ's subpoena for her records.  The other individuals named in the subpoena were unwilling to publicly comment until speaking with their lawyer.  

I'll have much more on the implications of this tomorrow.  Suffice to say, this is a serious escalation of the DOJ's efforts to probe, harass and intimidate anyone having to do with WikiLeaks.  Previously, Appelbaum as well as Bradley Manning supporter David House -- both American citizens -- had their laptops and other electronic equipment seized at the border by Homeland Security agents when attempting to re-enter the U.S.

UPDATE:  Three other points:  first, the three named producers of the "Collateral Murder" video -- depicting and commenting on the U.S. Apache helicopter attack on journalists and civilians in Baghdad -- were Assange, Jónsdóttir, and Gonggrijp (whose name is misspelled in the DOJ's documents).  Since Gonggrijp has had no connection to WikiLeaks for several months and Jónsdóttir's association has diminished substantially over time, it seems clear that they were selected due to their involvement in the release of that film. 

Second, the unsealing order does not name either Assange or Manning, which means either that Twitter did not request permission to notify them of the Subpoena or that they did request it but the court denied it (then again, neither "Julian Assange" nor "Bradley Manning" are names of Twitter accounts, and the company has no way of knowing with certainty which accounts are theirs, so perhaps Twitter only sought an unsealing order for actual Twitter accounts named in the Order).  Finally, WikiLeaks and Assange intend to contest this Order.  

UPDATE II:  It's worth recalling -- and I hope journalists writing about this story remind themselves -- that all of this extraordinary probing and "criminal" investigating is stemming from WikiLeaks' doing nothing more than publishing classified information showing what the U.S. Government is doing:  something investigative journalists, by definition, do all the time.

And the key question now is this:  did other Internet and social network companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) receive similar Orders and then quietly comply?  It's difficult to imagine why the DOJ would want information only from Twitter; if anything, given the limited information it has about users, Twitter would seem one of the least fruitful avenues to pursue.  But if other companies did receive and quietly comply with these orders, it will be a long time before we know, if we ever do, given the prohibition in these orders on disclosing even its existence to anyone.

Wikileaks Demands Google And Facebook Unseal US Subpoenas

Peter Beaumont

Call comes after it emerges that US has tried to force Twitter to release WikiLeaks members' private details

WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook unseal any US court subpoenas they have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter secretly to hand over details of accounts and use of the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wideranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.

"Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement today.

The writ, approved by a court in Virginia in December, demands that the San Franscisco based micro-blogging site hand over all details of accounts and private messaging on Twitter – including the computers and networks – used by five individuals.

Those include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Manning, Icelandic MP Brigitta Jonsdottir and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp. Three of those – Gonggrijp, Assange and Jonsdottir – were named as "producers" of the first significant leak from the US cables cache, a video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians and journalist in Baghdad.

The broad-reaching legal document also targets an account held by Jacob Applebaum, a US computer programmer whose computer and phones were examined by US officials in July after he was stopped returning from Holland to the US.

The court issuing the subpoena said it believed that it believed that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe Twitter held information "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."

It also ordered Twitter not to notify the targets of the subpoena, which the company successfully challenged.
The court order crucially demands that Twitter hand over details of source and destination Internet Protocol addresses used to access the accounts, which would help investigators identify how the named individuals communicated with each other, as well as email addresses used.

The emergence of the subpoena appears to confirm for the first time the existence of a secret grand jury empanelled to investigate whether individuals associated with WikiLeaks, and Assange in particular, can be prosecuted for alleged conspiracy with Manning to steal the classified documents.

US attorney general Eric Holder has already said publicly that he believed that Assange could be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. The court that issued the subpoena is in the same jurisdiction where press reports have located a grand jury investigating Assange.

It has also been reported that Manning has been offered a plea bargain if he co-operates with the investigation.

The emergence of the Twitter subpoena – which was unsealed after a legal challenge by the company – emerged after WikiLeaks announced that it believed other US Internet companies had also been ordered to hand over information about its activities.

WikiLeaks also condemned the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.

"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in the statement.
"I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone," Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message.

Twitter has declined comment on the claim, saying only that its policy is to notify its users, where possible, of government requests for information.

The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d) which a recent Federal appeals court ruled was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where it was issued – or in San Francisco where Twitter is based.

Assange has promised to fight the order, as has Jonsdottir, who said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly".

Appelbaum, whose Twitter feed suggested he was traveling in Iceland, said he was apprehensive about returning to the US. "Time to try to enjoy the last of my vacation, I suppose," he tweeted.

Gonggrijp praised Twitter for notifying him and others that the US had subpoenaed his details. "It appears that Twitter, as a matter of policy, does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in," Gonggrijp said. "Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me."

Why is Manning kept in solitary confinement? And what role did Assange play in Manning's leaks? We answer these questions and more. READ MORE

The Aftermath of Wikileaks

posted by Danielle Citron

The U.K.’s freedom of information commissioner, Christopher Graham, recently told The Guardian that the WikiLeaks disclosures irreversibly altered the relationship between the state and public.  As Graham sees it, the WikiLeaks incident makes clear that governments need to be more open and proactive, “publishing more stuff, because quite a lot of this is only exciting because we didn’t know it. . . WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen . . . these are facts that aren’t going away.  Government and authorities need to wise up to that.”  If U.K. officials take Graham seriously (and I have no idea if they will), the public may see more of government.  Whether that more in fact provides insights to empower citizens or simply gives the appearance of transparency is up for grabs.

In the U.S., few officials have called for more transparency after the release of the embassy cables.  Instead, government officials have successfully pressured internet intermediaries to drop their support of WikiLeaks.  According to Wired, Senator Joe Lieberman, for instance, was instrumental in persuading to kick WikiLeaks off its web hosting service.  Senator Lieberman has suggested that Amazon, as well as Visa and and PayPal, came to their own decisions about WikiLeaks. Lieberman noted:

“While corporate entities make decisions based on their obligations to their shareholders, sometimes full consideration of those obligations requires them to act as responsible citizens.  We offer our admiration and support to those companies exhibiting courage and patriotism as they face down intimidation from hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks’ philosophy of irresponsible information dumps for the sake of damaging global relationships.”

Unlike the purely voluntary decisions that Internet intermediaries make with regard to cyber hate, see here, Amazon’s response raises serious concerns about what Seth Kreimer has called “censorship by proxy.”  Kreimer’s work (as well as Derek Bambauer’s terrific Cybersieves) explores American government’s pressure on intermediaries to “monitor or interdict otherwise unreachable Internet communications” to aid the “War on Terror.”

Legislators have also sought to ensure opacity of certain governmental information with new regulations.  Proposed legislation (spearheaded by Senator Lieberman) would make it a federal crime for anyone to publish the name of U.S. intelligence source. 

The Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act would amend a section of the Espionage Act that forbids the publication of classified information on U.S. cryptographic secrets or overseas communications intelligence.  The SHIELD Act would extend that prohibition to information on human intelligence, criminalizing the publication of information “concerning the identity of a classified source or information of an element of the intelligence community of the United States” or “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government” if such publication is prejudicial to U.S. interests.

Another issue on the horizon may be the immunity afforded providers or users of interactive computer services who publish content created by others under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  An aside: section 230 is not inconsistent with the proposed SHIELD Act as it excludes federal criminal claims from its protections.  (This would not mean that website operators like Julian Assange would be strictly liable for others’ criminal acts on its services; the question would be whether a website operator’s actions violated the SHIELD Act).  

Now for my main point: Senator Lieberman has expressed an interest in broadening the exemptions to section 230’s immunity to require the removal of certain content, such as videos featuring Islamic extremists.  Given his interest and the current concerns about security risks related to online disclosures, Senator Lieberman may find this an auspicious time to revisit section 230’s broad immunity.

WikiLeaks killed our whistleblower protections bill—sort of. After an unbelievable roller coaster of fear and fallacies, votes on and off, and a flurry of activity, when the lights went out in the Capitol Building on December 22, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was dead.

It may be one of the few times in history when legislation has passed both chambers unanimously within two weeks and still failed to get to the president’s desk.  Here’s what happened:

On December 10, the Senate finally passed the bipartisan Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) by unanimous consent. It did not include every reform we had sought, but would have substantially changed the status quo for taxpayers and our federal workforce, which has been bullied into silence about everything from deadly pharmaceuticals to huge contractor fraud to faulty equipment and practices that put our troops at risk.  The WPEA would have saved billions of taxpayer dollars and countless lives by enacting real, desperately-needed protections for those in our government who warn us of waste, fraud, political tampering with science, and other abuses. 

After passing this huge Senate hurdle, making the reforms law seemed finally within reach.  It had taken months and years of deliberations, advocacy, and negotiations to get a bill that eventually won the support of all 100 senators, thanks in large part to the sustained efforts of Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and his cosponsors Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and George Voinovich (formerly R-OH), as well as the White House.  

As soon as the Senate passed WPEA (S. 372), our House allies moved quickly to queue it up for passage in the remaining days on the legislative calendar. The House had already passed a version of the bill in 2007 and again in 2009 that would have gone much further in expanding whistleblower rights than the bill passed in the Senate.  We thought our enemy in the House was time.

But then a few Republicans tried to connect the bill to the WikiLeaks controversy. There was no real connection—just an opportunity for a media platform to possibly embarrass the president and kill a bill he supported in the process.  It was particularly stinging that Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (and winner of POGO's 2010 Good Government Award for his work promoting government transparency and accountability), raised the WikiLeaks red herring and effectively derailed the Senate-passed bill in the House. Issa had long supported the WPEA, but suddenly did an about-face, repeatedly citing concerns that the bill might further enable WikiLeaks-type disclosures. The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth.

There was absolutely nothing in the bill that would have allowed for the public disclosure of classified information a la WikiLeaks.

This bill was about preventing leaks by protecting lawful disclosures by federal employees for more government accountability.  Dozens of the most trusted good government groups from across the ideological spectrum made this clear in an urgent plea to Issa, and yet he persisted in the WikiLeaks propaganda.

So, in an attempt to end the scare tactics and salvage major reforms desperately needed, Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Todd Platts (R-PA), the champions of the House version of the bill (H.R. 1507), removed portions of S. 372 that would have extended coverage to intelligence community workers and other national security-related issues. It was a hard pill to swallow after the Senate cosponsors had spent most of the year negotiating changes to these new rights to appease concerns raised by former Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond and others. However the result was effective: Absent the national security provisions, Issa and other House Republicans could no longer make even a remote connection to WikiLeaks, and so the path was cleared again for passage.

It also was likely an unintended consequence. The bill had been cut, but Mr. Issa had long supported the national security provisions that now had been dropped. In fact, he had supported the more expansive protections for intelligence community and national security workers in the earlier House bill. He eventually signaled his support for the pared-down bill in a press release, noting the need to deal with WikiLeaks issues separately in the New Year.

So after several days of intensive efforts, the House passed the trimmed version of the WPEA in a relatively rare agreement by unanimous consent around 5:40 p.m. on December 22, the last day of the 111th Congress. Our Senate allies had been preparing to run it through if the House passed it, but there was an extremely narrow and unpredictable window—maybe only minutes or hours.

There was another scramble. It was S. 372 minus some provisions, but again, every remaining provision had already won the support of every senator. The Democrats cleared it, but would Senate Majority Leader Harry  Reid (D-NV) keep the lights on until it passed?

It took less than an hour for the death knell.  At least one anonymous Republican senator put a secret hold on the bill, and then skipped town.  

So, in spite of the absolute heroics of our House and Senate cosponsors and their staff, tremendous support from the White House, intense and effective advocacy from the whistleblower, labor, and accountability communities, federal whistleblowers still ended up with coal in their stockings—again.

We are hearing that the hold in the Senate was placed at the request of House Republicans. If true, it does not bode well for a renewed effort this year. We urge the Republican senator who held the bill to come forward instead of hiding in the shadows.  Perhaps there are thoughtful policy concerns behind the hold, but if the senator does not share those, we can only assume foul play.

Meanwhile, Chairman Issa continues to relate whistleblower protections with WikiLeaks. Issa told Fox News this week that “ultimately the next whistleblower bill has to deal with WikiLeaks” and “we’re going to do that right off that bat.” It certainly is the case that there were failures leading up to Private Bradley Manning’s alleged leaking of classified information. Those failures should be examined, as well as the policies for sharing information and intelligence across government assets safely and effectively. But those issues should be addressed separately from the wholly different need to strengthen whistleblower protections for civil servants to improve overall government accountability to taxpayers. 

Chairman Issa has promised hundreds of hearings and active oversight of the federal government.  We hope Chairman Issa will agree that his job will be made far easier once potential whistleblowers can come to his committee without the enormous risks they face today.  If Issa is to fulfill his oversight agenda, he undoubtedly will need the trust and cooperation of federal workers, which he can help ensure by quickly moving the bill to protect them that he supported. He then can turn to WikiLeaks and the host of other issues on his agenda. It’s time to drop the red herring about WikiLeaks and protect civil servants who lawfully blow the whistle.
-- Angela Canterbury

Can A Judiciary That Convicted Israel's Former President Be Trusted to Investigate Alleged War Crimes?

The recent conviction of Israel's former president on charges of rape once again demonstrates the independence, impartiality and vigor of the Israeli legal system.  It is also relevant to whether the International Criminal Court is legally empowered to bring charges against Israel for its efforts to stop rocket attacks on its civilians during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.

These attacks, which killed, injured and traumatized many Israelis, were directed by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, which it took over by violent and illegal actions.  Before attacking Hamas military targets in December of 2008, Israel tried everything to stop the targeting of its civilians, including appeals to international organizations.  The ICC did not, at that time, open an investigation against Hamas for the obvious war crimes of attacking Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields.  It was only after Israel exercised its inherent and entirely lawful right of self-defense against rocket attacks that the ICC considered opening an investigation.

There are several reasons why the ICC has no lawful or moral authority to investigate Israeli actions in Gaza.  The first is that the complaining party is the Palestinian Authority, which is not a state.  The second is that the Palestinian Authority lacks "clean hands" in calling for an investigation of Israel.  As the Wiki leak disclosures prove, it was the Palestinian Authority that urged Israel to take out Hamas and destroy its infrastructure.  Third, Israel's actions were consistent with international law, and a recent admission by a high ranking Hamas official corroborates Israel's claim that most of those killed by Israeli fire during the Gaza War were combatants.  Many of the civilians, who were killed despite extraordinary Israeli efforts to avoid "collateral" deaths, were "human shields" unlawfully used by Hamas fighters who fired from civilian areas.

But the most important reason why any investigation of Israel would be "inadmissible" under the law is that the statute that governs the ICC specifically provides that a case against a nation is "inadmissible" if that country has a judicial system that is "independently and impartially" willing and able to apply the rule of law to its own citizens.

Here is what the statute says:

"the Court shall determine that a case is inadmissible where:

The case is being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution"

In order to determine whether this criteria has been met:

"the Court shall consider whether, due to a total or substantial collapse or unavailability of its national judicial system, the State is unable to obtain the accused or the necessary evidence and testimony or otherwise unable to carry out its proceedings."

Even Israel's enemies concede that the Israeli judiciary is a model of independence and impartiality.  A poll of West Bank Palestinians demonstrated that the institution they would most like to see their own "government" emulate is the Israeli judiciary, which is open to all, including West Bank Palestinians, and which routinely rules against the Israeli government and military.

If any more proof were needed of the ability and willingness of the Israeli courts to do impartial justice, the recent trial and conviction of Israel's former president for the serious crime of rape, surely provides it.  Whether that decision was right or wrong on the merits –the evidence of rape was deemed questionable even by the prosecutor—the fact that a former president was tried and convicted is virtually unprecedented among democracies.  Nor is this the only case in which high ranking officials have been brought down by the Israeli legal system.

The late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was forced out of office by legal proceeding.  Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is currently under investigation.  Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was being investigated at the time of his coma.  And others have been investigated, tried and convicted, as well.  What other nation can boast a stronger record of judicial independence?

Moreover, several soldiers involved in alleged crimes during the Gaza War have been prosecuted and convicted, and other investigations are underway.

Contrast the Israeli legal system with the Russian "legal" system which recently convicted Mikhail Khadorovsky and sentenced him to a long prison term despite the lack of evidence.  It was enough that he was a powerful political opponent of Vladimir Putin. 

Or compare it to the legal system of the United States, where the Obama Administration is doing everything in its power to keep the courts from deciding cases involving allegations of torture, targeted killing and other unlawful or questionable actions in the war against terrorism. 

The Israeli courts regularly decide such cases—sometimes in the midst of ongoing military operations—often requiring the government and military to change what they are doing.  No other judiciary in the world can boast as good a record of enforcing the rule of law against its own military and political leaders.

Moreover, the percentage of civilian to combatant deaths has been far lower for Israel than for Russia in Chechnya or for the United States in Iraq,

Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Yet no investigations have been opened up against either of these countries, or the many other countries whose records are far worse.

It would be a scandal—for international law, for human rights and for the ICC—if Israel's self defense actions against Hamas were to become the subject of an ICC investigation. 

Let that institution focus its attention on the dozens of nations whose judiciaries are truly "unwilling" or "unable" to investigate their own actions, and whose actions truly violate international law

The worst must come first, and Israel is not only not among the worst, it is clearly among the best.  Were the ICC to open an investigation against Israel, that decision would be based not on the rule of law, but rather on the pressures of politics.

2011 Will Be Death Knell and Kneel of America

Every new year Americans wax rhapsodic about hopes for a better year and every year things get worse, not because of bad luck or incompetence at every level of government but because the elite spend billions of dollars bribing and blackmailing us to do it to ourselves. We are our own worst enemies. The elite are few in number but control the vast majority of the wealth in all currencies globally including the oil. Americans have no loyalty to America. We are loyal to ourselves and ourselves alone. This is the by-product of social engineering that has bred rampant hyper-individualism in America. Corporatism has replaced tribalism and collective interests have been displaced in favor or every man for himself.

How did they do it? TV. Americans simply refuse to turn off the tv and remove themselves from the 24/7 brainwashing that keeps us divided along race, religion, sexuality, gender and anything else that is useful to the elite. This lack of unity keeps us slaving away at corporate jobs that barely pay our expenses, if at all. One fifth of Americans are now on food stamps. One fifth of children live at or below the poverty level. All this because Americans choose to project their anger and frustration at the wrong people. We feel powerless to effect change because not only do we fear the famous and the powerful. We respect them. We want to be one of them.

If ten percent of Americans would just stop doing what corporations want then that would be sufficient to create the groundswell we need to awaken many others but we can’t even muster that at this stage. We are at less than one percent of an informed citizenry who want to radically alter the landscape of America. Technology has taken over our lives because it is the medium by which false information is transferred into our pliable brains but technology is not evil. It’s the few elite using it to reach the masses who are evil. Many Americans even defend the right of the elite to fleece the masses and steal every penny we have through corruption of the economic and legal processes. Corporations own all branches of government and yet Americans still show up at the polls to pull a lever and poke a touch-screen, not for the lesser of two evils, but for the most palatable of the same evil.

We’re finished. All you can do at this point is hope the elite take mercy on you and keep you around as a slave instead of killing you. Either that or move overseas where the people don’t eat crap, watch tv, never exercise and drink fluoridated water all day. There is still a real chance of democracy in those places like South America but honestly I doubt it because the hand of the elite reaches every corner of the globe. It may take time but the elite are patient because they know this is their world. They know what we want and that we will sell out every human on the planet to have it. They know they will be reincarnated to come back and continue this carnage over and over again so time means nothing to them. They’ve been at this for thousands of year already. Their goal is to keep humanity reincarnating here forever unable to escape to higher realms of consciousness through permanent enslavement of our spirits in these fragile bodies. We’re in the Matrix people. It was not just a movie. You just thought it was because you’re in it.

Americans never believe in any conspiracies even when there is overwhelming evidence to support them. 9/11 was an inside job by this government, the dual citizen Jews within this government and Mossad. There is more than enough evidence to support each and every one of those claims but what do Americans do? Go back into their comfortable world view shell and deny that the government could be that evil. We see the government kill people in other countries all the time and we’re ok with that because we equate that with supporting our bloated lifestyle but we’re so drugged up, mal-nutritioned, out of shape and dumbed down that we cannot see that we hold no special favor in the eyes the global elite. If we did they wouldn’t be destroying the middle class right now. It’s almost as if we’re on fire and we’re trying to ignore it despite all of the physical pain we’re feeling.

Whether you want to believe it or not there will be a major false flag attack on this country this year. Eleven in Jewish gematria is the number of total domination. The elite want to cement our minds in this 3D realm and form their global fascist one-world government of Communitarianism and one-world religion of Luciferianism. If you don’t believe me then sit back, watch and die because you will and painfully too. The signs of the coming phony apocalypse are all around us in the words, the numbers, the music, professional sports, shit-coms, Hollywood, buildings, the physical geography of the planet and on and on. We don’t see it because we have been blinded. We think that we actually originate our own thoughts while ignoring the influence of subliminal messaging. We think that we are special somehow and that our brains could not be vulnerable to such Pavlovian attacks. I’m not like the rest. Well you are. You are just like the rest.

Thought is merely perception and perception is what shapes reality. If everyone on the planet believed that the global financial crisis had ended and that there was no climate change of concern then there would be none. The elite sneak suggestions into our collective subconscious and then are able to actually cause the events to happen using the fear that resides just beneath the surface in all of us. Without fear they have no power but Americans provide a never-ending supply of fear to the global elite. We are their breadbasket of fear. We watch tv shows like 24 and think that all Arabs really do want to kill us because we have big screen tv’s, cars and houses and they don’t. We buy into whatever brand of fear is required to keep the diabolical agenda moving forward. For that we will suffer. We will suffer now. We will suffer after death and we will suffer upon return to this world or a similar one for not snapping out of the trance.

None of what you see is real folks. This is just a very sophisticated computer program that is able to trap your soul inside a body for a lifetime and then do it all over again after death. Do you seriously think that we are the most civilized lifeform in all of reality? There are forms of thought that do not physically exist that are eons and light years ahead of us. We are nothing to them except clay to be molded according to their desires. If you wake up from your slumber you can go free when you die. If you don’t then you come back over and over forever. It’s that simple. All of us have already been back so many times already that it is clear we do not remember. Scientists dismiss deja vu as correlation of recollection of similar events. Bullshit. It’s your mind trying to remember a past life. Science is merely seance. It is the religion of the elite.

It is impossible to fully recollect previous lives until you awaken. The program prevents it and it’s why babies don’t form memories until the age of  three or four. They can still see what is real and not real during the formative years so they would pose a danger to the elite if they were able to retain those memories and verbalize them once they learned how to speak. This has all been planned out carefully by advanced lifeforms who wish to create their own version of heaven on Earth for themselves. They don’t want to leave this realm because they believe they can create heaven right here. The only problem is that it’s hell for everyone else. That’s us. Now return to your slave duties and prepare to die.

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