“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

UN Gaza war report signals Israel's top leaders toward The Hague

UN report on Gaza war likely to bolster international criminal court inquiry

Analysis: Report on 2014 Gaza conflict, claiming Israeli and Palestinian factions violated international law, will give momentum to ICC preliminary examination


The UN’s inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war issues a rallying call for suspected war criminals “at all levels of the political and military establishments” to be brought to justice, but as the report itself wearily concedes, that is unlikely to happen soon.
However, the report is likely to bolster the international criminal court’s preliminary examination of last summer’s conflict, increasing the likelihood that a full investigation will eventually follow. 

The UN commission identifies a culture of impunity surrounding Palestinian militant groups and the Israeli military alike, and the immediate reaction from both camps suggests this culture will remain highly resistant to change. Hamaswelcomed the report but noted only how it applied to the Israeli occupation, ignoring its finding on potential Palestinian abuses. Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials rejected the report as inherently biased on the grounds that it had been commissioned by the UN human rights council.
“You can see the reactions of the prime minister [Netanyahu] and other ministers, dismissing the implications of this report because it came from the human rights council,” said Yael Stein, research director of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation. “And there are problems with the council. But nobody is looking at what is actually written in this report. They just close the discussion.”
While there is little prospect of any greater procedural restraint being imposed on the operations of militant groups in Gaza, Israel is evaluating the findings of an earlier inquiry on the use of military force, known as the Turkel commission. However, those recommendations principally refer to the workings of the Military Advocate General office inside the Israeli military, and rights groups say none of the reforms would give it jurisdiction over senior officers or politicians.
“Even if all the Turkel recommendations were implemented, we think it would have no effect on the ground,” Stein said. “The bottom line is that the whole system is not built for accountability.” 
In the absence of meaningful internal change, the UN report looks to potential legal intervention from outside. It calls on the international community to “exercise universal jurisdiction to try international crimes in national courts”. This is a reference to the capability of prosecutors in some European countries to issue arrest warrants based on allegations of war crimes or crimes against humanity committed elsewhere. 
It was the principle behind the detention of the Chilean ex-dictator, Augusto Pinochet, in London in 1998, acting on a Spanish request, and it was the reason Israeli ministers were wary of travelling to Britain five years ago. But since then, universal jurisdiction guidelines have been tightened in the UK and several other European countries in a way that makes them less potentially threatening to Israeli ministers.
The main impact of the new UN report is likely to be felt indirectly through the momentum it gives the ICC preliminary examination into the Gaza conflict, started earlier this year. A spokeswoman for the court in The Hague said prosecutors there were studying the commission’s findings.

“The preliminary examination is still ongoing. It is an independent and impartial process; and the office [of the prosecutor] continues to gather information from multiple reliable sources, which will assist it in arriving at a fully informed decision at the end of the process,” the spokeswoman said in an email. Unconfirmed reports in Israel said ICC investigators were expected to travel to Gaza next month.
Fred Abrahams, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “The report’s conclusions on the failures of Israel and Hamas to seriously investigate alleged war crimes will likely get the ICC’s immediate attention.”
However, David Bosco, the author of a book on the ICC, predicted it could be a long time until the ICC examination became a fully fledged investigation. 
“A five- or six-month preliminary examination is not all that unusual. but in the end I would expect that this preliminary examination would last much longer than many others, in part because of the political and institutional backdrop,” said Bosco, who is an assistant professor at American University in Washington. 
“It’s worth noting that Palestine itself has still not formally referred its situation to the court, although the court has jurisdiction. The prosecutor may take that as a sign that Palestinian leaders are uncertain about whether they actually want a full investigation. And that may increase the prosecutor’s hesitation.”


  1. Those at the top of Israel’s war machine, those running the government should get what they deserve. It would be refreshing to see the same treatment being given to the same Neocon criminals in Washington starting with George Bush over the atrocities that have been committed in Iraq.

  2. Hillary ! Kerry !

    Step forward to the dock, now !

    It's obvious to all thinking folks that the Leaders of Hamas, and Saddam are innocent angels.

    Hamas wishes to live in peace with Israel, haven't you heard ?

    It's in their Charter.

    All Israel need do is march into the Sea.

    "Death to the USA" chanted the entire Iranian 'Parliament' in unison just recently.

    These folks all deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, and free nuclear weapons too.

    It's obvious to anyone with a brain.

    As good fortune will have it, I'm out for the day.

    Cheers !!

    Have a good un....

    1. Parting gifts -

      Iran votes to ban access to military sites amid chants of “death to America”
      By Robert Spencer on Jun 22, 2015 04:31 pm
      Iran votes to ban access to military sites amid chants of “death to America”
      Nothing to be concerned about. Barack Obama and John Kerry say they want peace. And they wouldn’t lie to us, would they? “Iran votes to ban access to military sites amid chants of ‘death to America,'” Associated Press, June 21, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett): With some lawmakers chanting “Death to the America”, Iran’s parliament […]
      Read in browser »

      Iran’s ex-President says US seeks to arrest the Hidden Imam
      By Robert Spencer on Jun 23, 2015 03:23 am
      Iran’s ex-President says US seeks to arrest the Hidden Imam
      Next up on the arrest list: Robin Hood, Santa Claus and Bugs Bunny. This is the kind of thinking that can lead someone to believe that Zionists broke into his house and stole one of his shoes. Islamic Supremacist Conspiracy Paranoia Update: “Iranian Ex-President Says U.S. Seeks Arrest Of Hidden Imam,” by Golnaz Esfandiari, Radio […]
      Read in browser »

      See: Jihad Watch

      I say, arresting the Hidden Imam just goes too far !!

      If this isn't spiritual terrorism and war mongering and religious imperialism of the very worst kind, I don't know what is !!

  3. Are Israeli military sites open to inspection?

    1. Sure but they don't hide them in hospital basements, day care centers and mosques.

  4. Showered, fit, and nearly out the door.

    The "International Criminal Court" -

    What a FARCE.

    Has anyone thought who are these dudes and dudettes ?

    Who 'appoints' them ?

    What's there term ?

    Does the US Senate get to vote on these 'Justices' ?

    Are you, Deuce, really so eager to sell out our hard won and hard earned freedoms to some 'International Criminal Court' ?

    If you are, really, you ought to think again.

    Cheers !


    1. We will be hearing how The US Supreme Court ruled on the ObamaCare case any moment now.

  5. >>Israel condemned the report as biased from the moment it was first commissioned by the U.N.’s human rights council last July, during the heat of the war. The council has a long history of obsessively focusing on Israel and ignoring far more glaring human rights violators. It’s been responsible in the past for such miscarriages of justice as the 2009 Goldstone Report, which baselessly accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians in the three-week Gaza incursion known as Operation Cast Lead. Israel refused to cooperate with that inquiry, whose chair, South African judge Richard Goldstone, eventually repudiated many of his own commission’s findings.

    The council’s initial choice to head the latest inquiry was Canadian academic William Schabas, a longstanding, vehement critic of Israeli behavior. But Schabas quit the inquiry last February following revelations that he’d done paid consulting work for the Palestine Liberation Organization, a conflict of interest. His replacement was a retired New York state judge and onetime Brooklyn federal prosecutor with a reputation for fairness, Mary McGowan Davis.......

    .......The report praises Israel’s efforts to warn residents by leaflet and telephone to flee before buildings were attacked, even at the cost of losing the element of surprise. However, it claims Israel’s practice of “roof-knocking,” dropping light munitions to warn residents before bombing, was ineffective.

    It also raises an explosive question of whether Israel’s top leaders should be culpable for failing to change tactics in midsummer once the high civilian toll of its bombings became clear.

    What will evoke the most discomfort and even outrage for many is the report’s lengthy series of grim eyewitness accounts of civilian deaths (“I found the decapitated bodies of my uncle and daughter…”) and destroyed homes. A handful of killings are documented that the report flatly says violated international law, notably a civilian shot twice after falling down wounded, caught on video.

    But the report’s most direct, unequivocal allegation of illegality — stripped of “may,” “could” or “should” — involves “executions” of suspected collaborators by “Palestinian armed groups” (its collective term for the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several
    smaller groups). The report describes in detail the arrest, torture and summary execution, often in public, of several dozen suspects, “with the apparent knowledge of the local authorities in Gaza,” the report’s term for the Hamas government. These flatly violated “both international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” along with “Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” and “article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions,” the laws of war.....<<

    Think U.N. Gaza 'War Crimes' Report Is Biased? Read It First.
    J.J. GoldbergJune 23, 2015

    Read more:

    The Report has things to say against everyone.

    I blame the Iranians. They are the main supplier of missiles to Gaza and Hamas.

    No missiles from Gaza = no bombs returning to Gaza.

  6. Flag of the Great State of Idaho -

    1. Flag of the State of Mississippi -

    2. How the Confederacy lives on in the flags of seven Southern states
      By Christopher Ingraham June 21

    3. Begala: Hillary 'Absolutely' Has to Answer for Confederate Flag in Arkansas
      9:39 AM, Jun 23, 2015

  7. .

    TAA just passed the Senate. The vote in the House and Senate shows that there is not a sliver of difference between the GOP leadership and Obama.


    1. The GOP 'leadership' sucks, for sure.

      My guy, Rep. Raul Labrador, ran, or tried to run, for Speaker and got absolutely nowhere.

      Don't know how Raul voted on this issue, but he didn't vote however he did because somebody ordered him to do so.

  8. Quirk, I have uncovered a business opportunity for you -

    >>FOR SALE on EBay: Hillary Clinton 2008 Confederate Flag Pins

    Jim Hoft Jun 23rd, 2015 1:57 pm

    For Sale on eBay—
    Hillary Clinton 2008 Arkansas Confederate flag pins<<

    Buy as many of these as your bank account will allow, and now.

    You can thank and buy me the new pickup and camper later.

  9. Marilyn Monroe famously said:

    "I'll suck any cock in Hollywood to get what I want."

    Hillary is of this All-American mind set.

    1. As nearly all Democrats are......

    2. Like Marilyn Mosby, striking a pose in Vogue, saying:

      "I'm not going to try this case in the Media"

      Democrats, all a bunch of crap......

  10. Middle East
    Islamic State conflict: Kurds 'capture Syrian town north of Raqqa'

    7 hours ago
    From the section Middle East

    YPG fighters have pushed IS militants back to the outskirts of the town of Ain Issa
    Islamic State

    Footage reveals IS regime in Mosul
    Islamic State: How it is run
    Fears of Shia muscle in Iraq's Sunni heartland
    What is Islamic State?

    Kurdish fighters in northern Syria say they have captured a key town from Islamic State, just 50km (30 miles) from the group's headquarters at Raqqa.

    A spokesman for the the Popular Protection Units (YPG) said Ain Issa and its surrounding villages were now under the militia's "total control".

    It follows the capture on Monday night of a military base outside the town.

    The YPG captured the town of Tal Abyad on the Turkish border last week, cutting a major supply line for IS.

    The jihadist group has suffered a string of defeats to Kurdish forces since being forced to withdraw from the town of Kobane in January after a four-month battle.
    IS defences 'pushed back'

    The Kurds' rapid advance through Raqqa province continued on Monday with the fall of Brigade 93, a base which IS captured from the Syrian military last year.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, reported that the YPG and allied Syrian rebel fighters overran the base before heading south towards Ain Issa, supported by US-led coalition air strikes.

    By Tuesday afternoon, they had taken full control of the town and nearby villages, YPG spokesman Redur Xelil told the Reuters news agency.

    "Islamic State's defensive lines have now been pushed back to the outskirts of Raqqa city because the area between Raqqa and Ain Issa is militarily weak and they have no fortifications," Rami Abdul Rahman, the Syrian Observatory's director, told the AFP news agency.

    Ain Issa is situated at an intersection of the main roads from Raqqa to other IS-held areas in Aleppo province, to the west, and Hassakeh province, to the east.
    Kurdish forces are now only 50km (30 miles) from Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa

    Raqqa is the de facto capital of the caliphate whose creation IS announced a year ago after it captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

    As well as cutting an IS supply line, the YPG's capture of Tal Abyad allowed the Kurds to link up other pockets they control along the Turkish border, from Iraq in the east to Kobane in the west............


  11. The Incarnation of the Ability to Write -

    Shakespeare and the decline of America
    By Dan Hannan | June 22, 2015 | 12:01 am
    Photo -

    There are moments when I want to weep for America. They often come, now that I think of it, when I read the Washington Post. Last week, that newspaper ran an article by a long-serving English teacher in Sacramento called Dana Dusbiber, who dislikes Shakespeare so much that she has decided to ignore the curriculum and stop teaching his works:

    "If we only teach students of color, as I have been fortunate to do my entire career, then it is far past the time for us to dispense with our Eurocentric presentation of the literary world. Conversely, if we only teach white students, it is our imperative duty to open them up to a world of diversity through literature that they may never encounter anywhere else in their lives."

    You know what's disappointing here? It's not that an English teacher uses such shoddy syntax (you mean "teach only students of color," Ms. Dusbiber, not "only teach"). Nor is it the flaky logic. (Black kids? Don't teach them white authors! White kids? Don't teach them white authors!) No, the really depressing thing is that someone who is supposed to be opening the minds of young Americans can miss the universality of the greatest writer produced by our species.

    The magic of Shakespeare is precisely that he is always apt to our circumstances. The same passage can speak to us in contradictory ways at different moments in our life. Keats called it his "negative capability."

    Maya Angelou was lucky enough not to have a teacher with Ms. Dusbiber's prejudices. Coming across Shakespeare as a child, she was "convinced that he was a little black girl." As she grew up, that conviction deepened. She was beguiled, for example, by Sonnet 29:

    >>I all alone beweep my outcast state,

    And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

    And look upon myself, and curse my fate

    Wishing me like to one more rich in hope…<<

    "Of course he wrote it for me," she later explained. "Of course he was a black woman. I understand that. Nobody else understands it, but I know that William Shakespeare was a black woman."

    1. In much the same way, Goethe felt sure that Shakespeare was a spiritual German, who had accidentally been born in the wrong place. G.K. Chesterton had no doubt that he was a devout Catholic. And, in a sense, they're all right. Or rather, as T.S. Eliot put it, "the most anyone can hope for is to be wrong about Shakespeare in a new way." Still, I'm not sure anyone has been as wrong as Ms. Dusbiber.

      Nelson Mandela put it at its simplest: "Somehow Shakespeare always seems to have something to say to us." He spoke with feeling. I recently saw the "Robben Island Bible" on exhibition at the British Museum: a copy of Shakespeare's complete works, disguised to look like a Hindu devotional aid. The anti-apartheid prisoners used to pass it around clandestinely, marking their favorite lines. Mandela chose a passage from Julius Caesar:

      >>Cowards die many times before their deaths,

      The valiant never taste of death but once…<<

      As often happens, those words spoke to him in a way that bore almost no relation to their context in the play. Shakespeare's Caesar is pompous and vainglorious, and never more so than at that moment, addressing his wife as if she were a public meeting. But, like so many people before and since, Mandela found a passage about something else magically appropriate to his situation.

      It's this property that makes us reach for the canon at times of high emotion. Daniel Patrick Moynihan reacted to the news of the Kennedy assassination with the words, "Our revels now are ended". The British Labor politician Roy Hattersley remembers, as a young schoolboy, hearing that France had fallen, and that the Nazis were massing across the English Channel. He and his classmates chanted: "Come the three corners of the world in arms, and we will shock them!"

      Immediately after Margaret Thatcher's funeral two years ago, I spoke in a nearby pub filled with her most ardent supporters. On the spur of the moment, I found myself discarding my planned peroration and snatching at lines from Henry IV Part One:

      >>When that this body did contain a spirit,

      A kingdom for it was too small a bound;

      But now two paces of the vilest earth

      Is room enough…<<

      Shakespeare contains a whole world, a whole universe, brighter and truer than our own. How he was possible, I shall never understand. But I do know that we are blessed, we who speak his language. No English-speaking child should be denied that part of our patrimony.

      Dan Hannan is a British Conservative MEP.

    2. "Full fathom five thy father lies,
      Of his bones are coral made,
      Those are pearls that were his eyes,
      Nothing of him that doth fade,
      But doth suffer a sea-change,
      into something rich and strange,
      Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
      Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell."

      My Niece gets Shakespeare.

  12. .

    Jesse Ventura threatens to run for president to end Obama's TPP which Jesse calls 'fascism'.

    Jesse Ventura explains how Benito Mussolini (who coined the term) defined fascism as the merger of state and corporate power, exactly what lawmakers like Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Jeff Sessions (R-MS) have warned might result from allowing an un-elected body of bureaucrats to regulate the global economy at a level which supersedes the U.S. government.

    Those who have read the secret documents warn that the sort of international regulatory body outlined in international trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP), Trade in Services Agreement(TISA), and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership(TTIP) could lead to such an outcome...

    Sen. Jeff Sessions warns that giving the president authority to "fast-track" international trade agreements through Congress will open the door for three massive treaties which will override U.S. sovereignty on a multitude of issues. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) remain shrouded in secret.

    JEFF SESSIONS: It will be a "living agreement," and that means that the entity itself, the commission, will then be entitled to make it say different things.

    Eliminate provisions it doesn't like, add provisions it does like...

    It is a breathtaking event. It says it is "to promote the international movement of people, services and products," basically the same language used to start the European Union...


  13. Here we go -

    >>Islamic State mints own currency...


    Drowns prisoner in cage, kills with explosive necklace.......Drudge<<

    Drowns prisoner in cage, kills with explosive necklace

    This is the kind of creative death penalty my wife is always urging for the very worst......guys like young Roof, for example.

    Showing her compassion, she would give them the choice -

    Drown in a cage
    The 'ol explosive necklace route

    I am still, after all the years, uncertain as to how serious she is about her ideas.

    She doesn't seem to favor warehousing the folks until nature takes its course, though.

  14. SUN COOLS...


    Light, warmth nosediving to levels 'not seen for centuries'.......Drudge

    Go, global warming.

    I have been worried about a new ice age.


    Keep that Limo at a fast idle in traffic stops, Deuce.

    You can be a Hero.

  15. HIT LIST !!

    >>Among those resisting this effort publicly are the high-profile women being targeted by the SPLC. Some of them are colleagues or friends of Judicial Watch and now they must fear for their safety simply for practicing their rights under the U.S. Constitution. The new hate list is titled Women Against Islam/The Dirty Dozen and includes illustrations and detailed information on all the women, who are branded “the core of the anti-Muslim radical right.” The new SPLC hate brochure further targets them by claiming that they’re “a dozen of the most hardline anti-Muslim women activists in America.”

    Political activist and commentator Pamela Geller is branded the “country’s most flamboyant and visible Muslim-basher” for, among other things “smearing and demonizing Muslims.” Blogger Ann Barnhardt is identified as one of the “most extreme Muslim-bashers in the United States” and radio talk-show host Laura Ingram made the list for saying that hundreds of millions of Muslims were delighted that 12 people were massacred by Islamic terrorists in the Paris headquarters of a satirical magazine. Former CIA agent Clare Lopez, who runs a Washington D.C. think-tank focusing on national security issues, made the list for saying that the Muslim Brotherhood has “infiltrated and suborned the U.S. government to actively assist…the mission of its grand jihad.”

    Others appearing on the anti-Sharia docket include television personality and former judge and prosecutor Jeanine Pirro, former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party Cathie Adams, talk-show host Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, syndicated columnist Diana West, attorney and columnist Debbie Schlussel, blogger Cathy Hinners, ACT! for America founder Brigitte Gabriel and conservative writer and TV personality Ann Coulter. Among her biggest offenses, according to the SPLC, is proclaiming that “not all Muslims may be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims—at least all terrorists capable of assembling a murderous plot against America.”<<

    SPLC Issues Hit List of U.S. Women Against Sharia Law

    JUNE 18, 2015