Posts tagged: Politics
Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, both effectively and legally – and is recognised as such by the UN. Israel is in control of Gaza’s land and sea borders, territorial waters and natural resources, airspace, power supply and telecommunications. It has blockaded the strip since Hamas took over in 2006-7, preventing the movement of people, materials, and food supplies in and out of the territory – even calculating the 2,279 calories per person that would keep Gazans on an exemplary “diet”. And it continues to invade the strip at will.
So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.
But instead the US, Britain and other European powers finance, arm and back to the hilt Israel’s occupation, including the siege of Gaza – precisely to prevent Palestinians obtaining the arms that would allow them to protect themselves against Israeli military might.
Israel has tried assassinating Palestinian leaders for decades but the resistance persists. Israel launched a devastating and brutal war on Gaza from 2008 to 2009 killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, but the resistance persists.
Go read this.
Jihad al-Masharawi carries the body of his 11-month-old son Omar, who according to hospital officials was killed by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City 15 November, 2012.
Glenn Greenwald expands on the sentiments I briefly noted yesterday, that Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza:
Ultimately… Obama had no choice but to support these attacks, which were designed, in part, to extra-judicially assassinate Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari as he was driving in his car (the IDF then proudly posted the video of its hit on YouTube). How could Obama possibly have done anything else?
Extra-judicial assassination - accompanied by the wanton killing of whatever civilians happen to be near the target, often including children - is a staple of the Obama presidency. That lawless tactic is one of the US president’s favorite instruments for projecting force and killing whomever he decides should have their lives ended: all in total secrecy and with no due process or oversight. There is now a virtually complete convergence between US and Israeli aggression, making US criticism of Israel impossible not only for all the usual domestic political reasons, but also out of pure self-interest: for Obama to condemn Israel’s rogue behavior would be to condemn himself.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively taking Social Security off the table in terms of measures toward balancing the budget.
Never mind that entitlements are set to consume 100% of tax revenue within in the next few decades. Also, ignore the fact that all unfunded liabilities together total over 80 trillion dollars and growing.
“Killing someone because they looked like they were ‘up to no good’ doesn’t really pass legal muster.”
Under the Obama administration, the CIA drone program uses what they call signature strikes, as you’ve no doubt heard. Usually, the term “signature” has a positive connotation, as in a characteristic that distinguishes one from others. But, to the CIA, it just means that any military-age males in an area it has decided is a strike zone are combatants. In other words, they look like they’re “up to no good” and deserve to die.
In September, as you may be aware, the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law released a landmark report titledLiving Under Drones. In one section it reveals the sheer simple-mindedness of dividing individuals under surveillance into either civilians or militants. In fact, most of those labeled militants should be painted in shades of gray. (Emphasis added.)
Major media outlets in the US, Europe, and Pakistan that report on drone strikes tend to divide all those killed by drone strikes into just two categories: civilians or “militants.” This reflects and reinforces a widespread assumption and misunderstanding that all “militants” are legitimate targets for the use of lethal force, and that any strike against a “militant” is lawful. This binary distinction. … distinction is extremely problematic, however, from a legal perspective.
[First] use of the word “militant” to describe individuals killed by drones often obscures whether those killed are in fact lawful targets under the international legal regime governing the US operations in Pakistan. It is not necessarily the case that any person who might be described as a “militant” can be lawfully intentionally killed.
Even if one buys into the drone program, he or she must acknowledge that
… in order for an intentional lethal targeting to be lawful, a fundamental set of legal tests must be satisfied. For example … the targeted individual must either be directly participating in hostilities with the US (international humanitarian law) or posing an imminent threat that only lethal force can prevent (international human rights law).
But that’s only the beginning of the criteria that should be used in determining if someone is Predator or Reaper fodder.
[First] members of militant groups with which the US is not in an armed conflict are not lawful targets, absent additional circumstances … Further, simply being suspected of some connection to a “militant” organization—or, under the current administration’s apparent definition, simply being a male of military age in an area where “militant” organizations are believed to operate–is not alone sufficient to make someone a permissible target for killing.
… Second, the label “militant” also fails to distinguish between so-called “high-value” targets with alleged leadership roles in Al Qaeda or [the Taliban], and low-level alleged insurgents with no apparent … means of posing a serious or imminent threat to the US. National security analysts—and the White House itself—have found that the vast majority of those killed in drone strikes in Pakistan have been low-level alleged “militants.”
To make matters worse, along with the CIA failing to properly discriminate about who it attacks
… Often, little to no information is presented to support the claim … that a certain number of those killed were “militants.” And, it is entirely unclear what, if any, investigations are carried out by the Pakistani or US governments to determine who and how many people were killed.
The drone program was key in preventing many of us from throwing our support behind President Obama in the election. In future posts, we’ll examine further atrocities within the atrocity that the drone program as a whole constitutes.
Sohail Daulatzai - Respect the architect: Malcolm X, the elections and the politics of empire.
While there are those who claim that voting for Obama is the practical thing to do and that to either vote for a third party or to not vote at all is “impractical” and “misguided”, Malcolm might turn the tables and ask how “practical” is it to vote for either major party when the violent forces that define them are so intractable and resistant to change, let alone transformation?
Very thought-provoking analysis by Mr. Daulatzai. Considering US politics as “post-racial” is incorrect and occludes the reality embedded in its violent, imperialistic structure, like he says. Anyone assuming that a black president would somehow cure the racism in US politics, is easily forgetting that the same president - regardless of his race but due to his support and complicity with a system like this one - is the same president who expanded the tyranny. In the words of Murtaza Hussain: “The right to indefinitely detain citizens without trial, classified kill-lists and “disposition matrices”, a fast-expanding fleet of legally-unaccountable aerial drones, and the presumptive right to kill American citizens without due process - all these sweeping expansions of executive power are the legacy of four years of Barack Obama’s presidency and of themselves represent a new era in the power of the American government over its citizenry.”
How “post-racial” and “progressive” is that?