Shahram Amiri’s exquisite adventure

“I was a soldier, with one round in my gun.”

Interviewer. Well for a period, you were quasi free, semi free, why didn’t you try — with the help your friends, or Iranians, or whatever means — to get your message out, and to get out of the country?

What happened, that the Americans eventually freed you, and you came here, to Iran’s interest section? …

Shahram Amiri. I thought I was a soldier, with one round in my gun.

They pressured me, to help with propaganda against Iran.

I thought, well, I was in a situation, with no equipment to my hand, I thought it was better, I should look at the situation as a problem, as an issue, and see what I could do.

What I talked to the CIA about was, that I have made a promise to myself, that I would not talk against my country, at all.

They said, they had a red line for me, as well. Their red line was for me to not talk about my abduction, or the things that went on afterwards, to anyone. They had done a background search, and said, if you want to talk to anyone, anywhere in the world, we’re monitoring you 24/7, and the possibility for you to succeed, and to achieve your goal, and to complicate the matter, you’re not going to do that. There was evidence, that they were monitoring, what I was doing.

So I thought, if I want risk even more, and get them to suspect me even more.

I preferred to bide my time, and to get to know the U.S. intelligence agency, and how things work in the United States. I got good information, from the people that were around me. I realize how the CIA worked, and the agents worked, and thought I could make the best benefit, from the way things worked there.

What I realized, was that, during the course of time, if I behaved normally, and that if I gave the impression that I was OK with the situation, in the United States, and that I was even making plans, to stay in the United States, for the long run, it would give them the impression, I was cooperating with them, and that I had completely forgotten about my abduction.

So step by step, they would give me more and more freedom, with which, I can create the possibility of escaping the United States, and go to another country, where I can go back to Iran, and freely prove, what had happened to me.

Shahram Amiri, interviewed in Persian (Farsi), simultaneous English translation (Iran Interest Section, 2209 Wisconsin Avenue, Pakistani embassy, Washington D.C., July 13 2010), broadcast by Press TV, Thursday July 15 2010, 08:30am GMT+1.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), July 15 2010

The U.S. declares war on Iran (unsc sanctions s/res/1929)

Susan Rice. “Today the Security Council has responded decisively to the grave threat to international peace and security posed by Iran’s failure to live up to its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Susan E. Rice (U.S. U.N. ambassador), “Explanation of Vote” (“as delivered” “PRN: 2010/115”) on S/Res/1929, her first sentence (U.N. Security Council meeting 6335, New York City, Wednesday June 9 2010, 11:30am.et.) (sc.meetings), meeting transcript S/PV.6335, meeting report SC/9948 (June 9 2010), reported, “Citing Iran’s failure to clarify nuclear ambitions, UN imposes additional sanctions” (U.N. News Centre, June 9 2010). (I haven’t yet seen the resolution). Update: Links to S/Res/1929, S/PV.6335.

This is the language of war.

The draft resolution paragraphs (circulated by the U.S. on May 19 2010) authorize a military attack on Iran, by its language, that no nation is required to use military force against a merchant ship which refuses to stop and be searched, on the high seas.

The U.S. will argue, that the U.N. Security Council applied its mind to this issue of war, and agreed to leave that decision to individual member nations, to attack Iran, if they wish.

The U.S. anyway asserts the right to attack offensively, without U.N. Security Council authority, especially where, as here, they claim the Council itself agrees, that there is a “grave threat to international peace and security.”

A complete and utter lie. So if that’s what the Security Council said (I haven’t yet seen the resolution), then the council exceeded its jurisdiction, because there is no evidence to support that claim, and officials of the permanent members repeatedly say, there is no evidence of any weapons program or any threat.

George W. Bush said, the U.S. president can use force to deter a threat to U.S. interests (code for Israel), initiate offensive war, without consent of Congress. The constitution says, no, that decision is none of his business, it’s the exclusive business of congress.

The judge, of course, whether there is a threat, is the U.S. president, he claimed, a liar, who repeatedly said, Iran has a nuclear weapons program, but he never produced a single scrap of proof, just like the next liar can’t, Barack Obama, demonstrating the wisdom of the constitution, to deny authority to initiate war, to a single individual, and his secret cabals of officials, advisers.

It’s impossible to prove a negative — that something exists which does not exist — and that’s what frets them so.

George W. Bush. “… the long-standing positions of the executive branch on … the President’s constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent, or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests ….”

George W. Bush, “Statement by the President” (written “signing statement” dated White House, October 16 2002), retitled, “Statement on Signing the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002,” 38:42 WCPD 1779 {4kb.txt, 37kb.pdf}, reprinted, 2002 PPPUS 1814-1815 (book 2) {4kb.txt, 34kb.pdf, ucsb}.

The U.S. will also cite this resolution (secretly) to justify its continuing violent criminal covert and special operations against Iran, of murder, arson, kidnapping, promising its officials and their operatives, they will not be prosecuted for their violent crimes.

An unenforceable promise, which will not prevent their prosecution, conviction, imprisonment, execution, down the road, if honest officials ever manage to seize control of the levers of government power.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), June 9, 12, 2010.

The U.S. sets the world ablaze (Iran unsc sanctions)

Today, at 10am.et, the UNSC, United Nations Security Council, will adopt new sanctions against Iran, with the unlawful aim of preventing Iran from enriching uranium.

The draft resolution paragraphs (circulated by the U.S. on May 19 2010) authorize an armed attack on commercial shipping worldwide, and seizure of Iranian cargo.

The U.S. will prohibit all cargo ships from trading in U.S. ports, docking in the U.S., unless their flag countries agree in writing for the U.S. military to stop and search their flagged vessels at sea, and to attack, seize, destroy, any who refuse to submit.

The draft resolution paragraphs authorize the U.S. to seize bank accounts, cargos, assets, of Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Venezuela, and every other country, their nationals, residents, companies, if the U.S. says they traded with Iran, in violation of the sanctions.

“With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.” “Recent Media Report on Iran” (IAEA press briefing, 17 September 2009), reported, “no concrete proof that Iran has or has ever had a nuclear weapons programme” (UN News Centre, 17 September 2009).

This, without a scrap of evidence, a scintilla of evidence, that Iran has, or has ever had, at any time in the past, a nuclear weapons program.

This, even though Iran has scrupulously complied, 100%, with its IAEA safeguards agreement since 2003. (Hilary Clinton is a psychopathic liar, with a large company of fellow U.S. officials).

Millions of people, tens of millions, have watched U.S. officials, and EU3 officials (U.K., France, Germany), liars, bold, relentless, liars, about Iran and its nuclear enrichment program.

This dishonesty, about Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, this deceit, about matters of life and death, incites immense hatred, of this criminal conspiracy, led by U.S. officials, responsible for the criminal killing of a million people, exile of 4 million, orphans, maimed, widows, homes, businesses destroyed.

This sets decent people searching, for something different, some value system, which does not tolerate deceit, in matters of life and death.

No “meeting” of the council will be permitted by those with power to say so, merely statements after the vote. This is a violation of the “meeting” requirement (if there be one). When a “meeting” is required by law, regulation, bylaw, procedure, then a non-meeting violates that provision, and the result of the meeting is null and void.

A meeting is a dynamic human interaction which can change minds. And that’s why the U.S. fears a meeting, that Brazil, Turkey, Lebanon, can enlighten the other members, about the world war the U.S. is set to unleash on all of them, seizing their bank accounts, ships, cargos, them and their citizens, if they do not obey U.S. orders.

When they realize what they’ve been tricked into voting for, it will be too late. No resolution can be revoked without consent of the U.S. (who can veto a revoking resolution).

But the resolution can be ignored, by all member states, for many good, lawful, reasons.

For agreeing to this declaration of war, Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov will be forever marked, as the most promising failures, in world history.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), June 9 2010.

An oversight (Gaza freedom flotilla)

It’s a pity.

They’re heroes.

Hundreds, thousands, of people, united, a huge enterprise, to bring humanitarian aid, to Gaza.

They built alliances, held events, got donations, bought ships, cargo, hired ships, crews.

And then set sail, for Gaza. 6 ships, 663 passengers, from 37 nations, and the press on board, as witnesses, satellite gear, cameras.

But they forgot one thing.

They didn’t consult a lawyer.

The object of the Gaza freedom flotilla was twin:

(1) To deliver to Gaza humanitarian aid, which Israel refuses to allow (a war crime) and

(2) To build political pressure on Israel — and on its partners in crime (U.S., Canada, Australia, EU, lead by the EU3: U.K., France, Germany) — to terminate that violent war crime, and the other criminal elements of the blockade (for starters).

Both these objectives require publicity, to inform the public of the criminal elements of the blockade, and hope they can persuade some few governments to intervene, find a way to help.

And so, the longer the drama, the better, time for TV executives to fear exposure of their own complicity, flight of audiences, from dishonest broadcasters, time for honest executives, producers, to get informed, build reports, background, experts, to explain the story.

The number one thing, to destroy this objective, is to give the Israelis an excuse, to seize the ships.

Even if the blockade is a criminal war of aggression, and even if it’s administered in a criminal manner, Israel can nevertheless pretend the right to enforce the blockade, and attack ships which violate it.

So there’s no question of a civilian flotilla breaking the blockade. That can only be done by consent of Israel, or by a military escort intimidating Israel, or defeating Israel in an armed conflict, crushing any armed attack Israel launches.

So the ship masters, commanders, captains, they should have made it plain, at every opportunity, their intention, their plan, is to NOT cross the line, into the Israel blockade zone (20. n.miles from Gaza), without permission.

That their destination is outside the blockade zone, some few miles, to patrol its boundary, for these purposes:

(1) To permit the Israelis to inspect the cargo at sea, or at a neutral port.

(2) To torment the Israelis (when they refuse), by not going away.

(3) To make public pleas, for powerful nations:

To come to their aid.

To inspect the flotilla, and announce their opinion, that the cargo comprises humanitarian and relief supplies only, and no contraband (war fighting material).

To invite the Israelis to inspect and agree.

To escort the flotilla to anchor, in Gaza waters, to offload passengers and cargo.

To destroy any Israeli forces, who presume to attack.

Eventually, as the clock ticks, the days go by, some method of delivering the aid to Gaza would emerge, without Israel robbing it, all or part of it, the ships, the cargo, the passengers’ money, laptop computers, video cameras, audio recorders, flash memories, satellite communications, other belongings.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), June 7 2010.

Murder, on a criminal blockade (Israel, Gaza Freedom Flotilla)

Blockade law, below

Israel attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in international waters, 125 nautical miles (231 kilometers) from Israel’s 20 n.mile naval blockade of Gaza, its closest point (May 31 2010, 0415eest, 0115z.utc.gmt, 6 ships, 663 passengers, from 37 nations) 1 .

Israel killed 9 passengers, wounded 60, on board the MV Mavi Marmara, a large passenger ship, and justified it, with the law of naval blockade, a siege.

But Israel’s blockade zone terminates 20 n.miles, from Gaza’s coast, not 125  2 . And so Israel attacked in violation of its own naval blockade, and the international law of blockade does not apply, does not justify Israel’s attack.

Israel also claims self-defense, to justify its attack.

But the self-defense defense arises only in reply to an armed attack (or an “imminent” armed attack). The flotilla of unarmed civilian ships, on the high seas, they did not launch, or threaten, an armed attack on the Israeli warships.

And so the defense of self-defense belongs to the targets and victims of Israel’s unlawful armed attack, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and its champions.

Israel claims its soldiers were entitled to defend themselves, with lethal force, when defenders, of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, attacked the soldiers.

But Israel’s soldiers launched an unlawful armed attack and, by doing so, they forfeited their right of personal self-defense. Their remedy, the soldiers, was to surrender, to flee, or to stop their attack.

Like bank robbers, shooting attackers, pursuers, the Israeli soldiers had no right, no legal justification, to kill in self-defense.

Valid XHTML 1.0 W3C: Valid CSS2

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), June 3, 9, 15, 28 2010

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 1  The large passenger ship broadcast its position automatically, and continuously, every 10 seconds or so (AIS: Automatic Identification System). Two AIS broadcasts per day are archived on the internet (near midnight and noon utc z.gmt), one (0056z) fixed the Gaza freedom flotilla — 19 minutes before Israel attacked by zodiak boats (0115z), 34 minutes by helicopters (0130z) — at 125 nautical miles (231 kilometers) from Israel’s naval blockade zone (its closest point), and 72 n.miles from the coast of northern Israel (its closest point), steering south, parallel to the coast (i.e., not getting closer). Mavi Marmara (IMO: 9005869, MMSI: 616952000), position 33.52615N 32.79371E, speed 7.4 knots, course 184 (date-time: 2010-05-31T00:56z utc.gmt). “Gaza maritime area” (Israel naval blockade zone), northern corner position 314648N 341000E (31 46.80N, 34 10.01E). “Distance between 33.52615N 32.79371E and 314648N 341000E is 125.8679 nautical miles” “assumes the earth is a perfect sphere with a radius of 3963.1 statute miles” (Chris Michels, nau.edu, Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation), accord: Eleftheri Mesogeios (Free Mediterranean, Sofia) (IMO: 6713752, MMSI: 239219000), position 33.52218N 32.78069E, speed 7.3, course 193 (2010-05-31T0104z) (26 minutes before Israel attacked (0130z), “Distance between 33.54655N 32.88334E and 314648N 341000E is 124.4629 nautical miles”), accord: Defne Y (IMO: 7725518, MMSI: 529239000), position 33.54655N 32.88334E, speed 7.6, course 180 (2010-05-31T0012z).

In the U.N. Security Council meeting, a U.N. official said this, “At approximately 4 a.m. local time, the Israeli navy acted to intercept the convoy. This reportedly took place 40 nautical miles off the coast in international waters …” (but he cited no such report) (Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant secretary-general for political affairs, speaking english, reading a prepared statement). The U.N. transcript wrongly transcribed what he said, as “14 nautical miles” (in english, 14 and 40 sound very similar, especially in a foreign accent), but the U.N. report of the meeting said 40 not 14 (SC/9940, May 31 2010), what the written statement presumably says.

The foreign minister of Turkey spoke next (Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking english, reading a prepared statement), “I am distraught by the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces stormed a multinational civilian endeavour carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters — 72 nautical miles off the coast, to be exact — killing and wounding many civilians.” U.N. transcript, S/PV.6325 (scact2010), U.N. video {140mb.rm, scvideo} (U.N. Security Council meeting 6325, New York City, Monday May 31 2010, 1:55-3:20pm). 72 n.miles is consistent with reports from onboard the big passenger ship, by reporters for Aljazeera English and Press TV, before Israel jammed their satellite communications, before the attack.

The six ships: (1) Challenger I (US-flagged yacht, operated by “Free Gaza Movement”), (2) Eleftheri Mesogeios (Ελευθερη Μεσογειοσ, ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΗ ΜΕΣΟΓΕΙΟΣ, Free Mediterranean, MS Sofia) (IMO: 6713752, MMSI: 239219000, Greek-flagged cargo ship, operated by “Ship to Gaza”), (3) Sfendoni (Σφενδονη, ΣΦΕΝΔΟΝΗ, photo, source) (Greek-flagged passenger ship, operated by “Greek Ship to Gaza” and “European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza”), (4) MV Mavi Marmara (IMO: 9005869, MMSI: 616952000, Comoros-flagged passenger ship, owned and operated by IHH: Insani Yardim Vakfi: Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), (5) Gazze (“Gaza”) (IMO: 7806192, MMSI: 271002042, Turkish-flagged cargo ship, owned/operated by IHH, (6) Defne Y (“Laurel Y”) (IMO: 7725518, MMSI: 529239000, Kiribati-flagged cargo ship, owned and operated by IHH. Ali Abunimah, “Did Israel press on with bloody attack on Mavi Marmara even as ship fled at full-speed?” (aliabunimah.posterous.com, June 7 2010).

 2  No. 1/2009 Blockade of Gaza Strip (Israeli Navy, Tuesday January 6 2009 00:00, effective January 3 2009, 1700z.utc).

Israel’s naval blockade zone (“Gaza maritime area”) extends 20 nautical miles from the Gaza coast, its coordinates virtually identical to the 4 corners of the Gaza “fishing zone” (M1, M3, K1, K3), designated on “Maritime Activity Zones, Map No. 6” {1.27mb.pdf, mfa.gif, usip.gif}, in the “Maps” attachment to the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area (Cairo, May 4 1994) (U.N. docs. S/1994/727, A/49/180, June 20 1994, 216 pages, maps, tables), part of the Oslo Accords: Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (Washington D.C., White House, September 13 1993). There’s a difference between satellite coordinates and true coordinates, and (if an element in any coordinates) compass bearings wander, with changes in the earth’s magnetic field. One or more of these facts might explain the slight differences between the two sets of coordinates, I haven’t investigated it. The fishing zone map coordinates are specified in degrees, minutes, seconds, and the blockade map, in degrees, minutes, decimal-minutes (seconds expressed as a decimal of 60 seconds).

The closest blockade point, to the flotilla, was the northern corner of Israel’s blockade zone (125 n.miles away), namely, “31 46.80 N” = 31 degrees, 46 minutes, 48 seconds north (of the equator), “34 10.01 E” = 34 degrees, 10 minutes, 1 second east (of London, the Greenwich meridian), that’s a quarter n.mile, 461 meters, from the northern corner (K3) on the fishing zone map, namely, “31° 46′38.3″ N” = 31 degrees, 46 minutes, 38.3 seconds north, “34° 09′48.4″ E” = 34 degrees, 9 minutes, 48.4 seconds east. “Distance between 31 46′38″N 34 9′48″E and 31 46′48″N 34 10′01″E is 0.2488 nautical miles” (0.4609 km).

45,000 people once worked in the Gaza fishing industry, which Israel destroyed, by blocking fishers from the fish. Israel reduced the 20 n.mile fishing zone it had agreed to, to 6 n.miles, by armed force, Israeli warships, attacking (artillery, machine guns), ramming, destroying, Palestinian fishing boats, killing fishermen, murder, arson, war crimes, and a material breach by Israel of the Oslo Accords, as with Israel’s 2 massive violent war crimes, continuous armed robbery and colonization of Palestinian land (settlements, 500,000 settlers, exclusions zones), in the 1967 oPt, Israeli occupied Palestinian territory.

A few hours before Israel attacked, journalists on board the flotilla reported, that the Israeli warship radio-talkers said, Israel’s blockade zone was now extended (suddenly), from its published 20 n.miles to a new unpublished 60 n.miles.

But Israel warship commanders do not have that legal authority, under the international law of blockade, to alter a published blockade zone, nor any other officers in their chain of command.

A blockade is unlawful unless the government owns it, it’s an act of war, affecting all nations using the high seas, it’s not a tactical tool for military commanders to meddle with, suddenly declare a ship to be violating a blockade and then pretending the legal authority to attack it, if won’t obey orders.

And, the government itself does not have legal authority to expand its blockade zone, as its whims might dictate, to envelop ships on the high seas, beyond what is strictly necessary, for its military purpose.

The 20 n.miles is already a prima facie unlawful blockade zone, a certainly unnecessary encroachment, onto the high seas, way beyond Gaza’s 12 n.mile territorial sea. There’s no need for it.

It would have been justified, 20 n.miles, if Gazans could fish in that zone, to guard against transiting ships dropping off contraband, for the fishers to pick up. But there is no such risk, because Israel long ago excluded Gaza fishing boats, from that fishing zone Israel agreed to, confining the fishers, not from the coast to even the 12 n.mile territorial boundary, but only half that, 6 n.miles.

There’s no significant danger from shore to the warships. The Palestinians do not have guns which can fire 20 n.miles, or 12 n.miles, or 6 n.miles, their homemade Qassam rockets (Kassam) don’t have that range, and the very few long range rockets they sometimes had (Soviet, Russian, grads) are also unguided rockets, not guided missiles.

And the patrol area is short. The outer, western, boundary, of the 20 n.mile zone, is only 19.6 n.miles long, a mere 10 n.miles either side of a warship on patrol, parked in the middle, with long range radar, shore radar, and aerial radar.

An Israeli spokesman said, Israel can legally attack any ship, anywhere in the world, on the high seas which intends (eventually) to breach the blockade, citing “military manuals.” The U.S. Navy military manual says this: “Attempted breach of blockade occurs from the time a vessel or aircraft leaves a port or airfield with the intention of evading the blockade” (usn 7.7.4 below), claiming they “are liable to capture” (usn 7.10 below).

But the U.S. Navy does not justify its grandiose definition of “attempt” (in its 1997 annotated supplement, “7.7.4 Breach and Attempted Breach of Blockade,” footnote 138, citing “Hall, Law of Naval Warfare 205-06 (1921)”), compare, 1914 edition page 89.

In addition, the U.S. manual explains, that long distance presumed “attempt” does not apply to a “close-in blockade,” the Gaza type situation, where the warships are in no danger (usn 7.7.5 below).

The San Remo Manual (srm 98 below), and the U.K. military manual (ukmlac 13.70 below), they both reject this U.S. Navy definition of “attempt” and, instead, they both adopt the traditional rule, that capture is justified only if a ship is “breaching” a blockade, and that the blockade line can be set at a distance required by military necessity (srm 96, ukmlac 13.68, below), e.g., beyond reach of shore artillery or aircraft (but only if the blockade can be enforced from that distance).

But Gaza has no artillery, or aircraft, and so no blockade line, and no military attack, beyond the 12 mile legal limit is justified by any military necessity.

And so none of these 3 leading military manuals presumes to justify attacking the flotilla 125 n.miles from the blockade line.

Finally, the intentions of the captains, of the flotilla, are unknown. Their aspiration was to “break the blockade,” but aspiration is very different from intention, and very, very, different from “attempt to breach a blockade.”

The captains were entrusted (by the owners) with millions of dollars worth of ships and cargo, and hundreds of passengers, and so it’s unlikely, that any of them would take action, to invite a lawful armed attack.

A couple hours before the attack (120 n.miles from the Israeli coast), a TV reporter stated their plan was to go close to Gaza, but not in to Gaza, indicating an intention to plea for political support, for powerful nations to intervene, to require Israel to permit the cargo to go to Gaza (comprising items not listed among the 80 items then on Israel’s secret permitted list).

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Blockade law

Below, the customary international law of blockade, elements of it, as asserted by the U.K. (2004), the U.S. (2007), a group of experts (1994, San Remo Manual).

Those documents assume the blockading belligerent is law-abiding.

Near the blockade zone, the flotilla would have doubtless invited Israel to search its cargo at sea, or in a neutral port, failing which sailed to and fro, to garner publicity, and appeal for diplomatic, military, support.

Israel forfeited its right, under the law of blockade, to require the flotilla to dock at Ashdod, because Israel daily commits the war crime of preventing humanitarian aid to Gaza, allowing a small amount only (items on a secret permitted list).

The flotilla knew, Israel would confiscate their cargo (most of it), which comprised humanitarian aid not allowed by Israel (medical equipment, water treatment equipment, spare parts, cement, prefabricated homes, school supplies, toys, food items).

Likewise, by its war crimes, Israel forfeited its legal rights under the law of blockade to attack or seize the ship for refusing to sail to Ashdod.

That is the second reason, Israel’s attack on the flotilla was criminal, and the killings, murder. (There’s a third reason).

Israel’s blockade of Gaza has a dual purpose, its lawful purpose (in the laws of war), to prevent contraband, war-making items, its second purpose is criminal, to prevent many items of humanitarian aid with the criminal war aim of distressing the population so they will overthrow the Hamas government, or vote against them next time.

Hamas was democratically elected on January 25 2006 (74 of 132 seats in the PLC: Palestinian Legislative Council), and was prevented from assuming governmental power, when Israel arrested 64 Hamas officials, including nearly all its elected officials, in the West Bank (a war crime).

Hamas seized control of the government of Gaza on June 14 2007, in a 5-day civil war against Fatah operatives, following infiltration into Gaza (via Israel, December 2006) of weapons and death squads, led by Mohammed Dahlan, who began to murder Hamas officials, a violent RICO criminal enterprise, conspiracy to murder, among U.S. officials George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Elliott Abrams, Keith Dayton, and others, Israel, Egypt, Fatah elements, probably with the knowledge and approval of the U.K. too (Tony Blair, prime minister). See, e.g., David Rose, “The Gaza Bombshell” (Vanity Fair, New York City, April 2008), Gareth Porter, “Bush Plan Eliminated Obstacle to Gaza Assault” (IPS News, January 6 2009) (antiwar.com).

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The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict (U.K. MOD, July 1 2004)

Chapter 13. Maritime Warfare

D. Basic Rules and Target Discrimination

Basic Rules

13.24. In any armed conflict the right of the parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. 30 

13.25. Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between civilians or other protected persons and combatants and between civilian or exempt objects and military objectives. 31 

13.26. In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage. 32 

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 30  API, Art 35(1); SRM 38.

 31  AP I, Art 48, see para 2.5; SRM 68.

 32  SRM 40. The same definition is used for warfare affecting targets on land: AP I, Art 52(2), see para 5.4. See also AP I, Arts 49(3) and 52(2).

* * *

Neutral Merchant Vessels and Civil Aircraft

Neutral merchant vessels

13.46. Particular care must be taken before initiating hostile action against neutral vessels. Any attack on these vessels is subject to paragraph 13.3 and the basic rules in paragraphs 13.24 to 13.31. 60 .

13.47. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral states may only be attacked if they fall within the definition of military objectives. 61  They may, depending on the circumstances, become military objectives if they:

a. are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search, or capture;

b. engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;

c. act as auxiliaries to the enemy’s armed forces;

d. are incorporated into or assist the enemy’s intelligence system;

e. sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or

f. otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy’s military action, eg, by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces first to place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, offload, or take other precautions. 62 

13.48. The mere fact that a neutral merchant vessel is armed provides no grounds for attacking it. 63 

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 60  Adapted from SRM 68.

 61  In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage: see para 13.26.

 62  Adapted from SRM 67.

 63  SRM 69.

* * *

E. Methods and Means of Warfare

Methods of Warfare

Blockade

13.65. A blockade shall be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral states. 79 

13.66. The declaration shall specify the commencement, duration, location, and extent of the blockade and the period within which vessels of neutral states may leave the blockaded coastline. 80 

13.67. A blockade must be effective. The question whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact, and is of significance because of the need to distinguish between legitimate blockading activity and other activities (including visit and search) that might be carried on illegitimately on the high seas under the guise of blockade. 81 

13.68. The force maintaining the blockade may be stationed at a distance determined by military requirements. 82 

13.69. A blockade may be enforced and maintained by a combination of legitimate methods and means of warfare provided this combination does not result in acts inconsistent with the rules set out in this chapter. 83 

13.70. Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked if they are military objectives. 84 

13.71. A blockade must not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral states. 85 

13.72. A blockade must be applied impartially to the vessels of all states. 86 

13.73. The cessation, temporary lifting, re-establishment, extension, or other alteration of a blockade must be declared and notified as in paragraphs 13.65 and 13.66. 87 

13.74. The declaration or establishment of a blockade is prohibited if:

a. it is intended to starve the civilian population or deny it objects essential for its survival; or

b. the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade. 88 

13.75. If the civilian population of the blockaded territory is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival, the blockading party must provide for free passage of such foodstuffs and other essential supplies, subject to:

a. the right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and

b. the condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a protecting power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. 89 

13.76. The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of the armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted. 90 

_______

 79  SRM 93.

 80  SRM 94.

 81  Adapted from SRM 95.

 82  SRM 96.

 83  SRM 97.

 84  See paras 13.46-13.48.

 85  SRM 99.

 86  SRM 100.

 87  SRM 101.

 88  AP I, Art 54; SRM 102.

 89  SRM 103.

 90  SRM 104.

UKMLAC: The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict (U.K. Ministry of Defense, July 1 2004, Oxford University Press, 2004, IBSN: 978-0-19-928728-4) {amazon} {LCCN: 2004559969, BL, OCLC: 56067172, WorldCat}, paragraphs 13.65-13.76 (“Blockade”), pages 363-364, from Chapter 13 (“Maritime Warfare”), section E (“Methods and Means of Warfare”).

____________________

The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations (U.S. Navy, NWP 1-14M, July 2007)

Chapter 7 — The Law of Neutrality

7.7 Blockade

7.7.1 General

Blockade is a belligerent operation to prevent vessels and/or aircraft of all nations, enemy as well as neutral, from entering or exiting specified ports, airfields, or coastal areas belonging to, occupied by, or under the control of an enemy nation. While the belligerent right of visit and search is designed to interdict the flow of contraband goods, the belligerent right of blockade is intended to prevent vessels and aircraft, regardless of their cargo, from crossing an established and publicized cordon separating the enemy from international waters and/or airspace.

7.7.2 Criteria for Blockades

To be valid, a blockade must conform to the criteria in the following paragraphs.

7.7.2.1 Establishment

A blockade must be established by the government of the belligerent nation. This is usually accomplished by a declaration of the belligerent government or by the commander of the blockading force acting on behalf of the belligerent government. The declaration should include, as a minimum, the date the blockade is to begin, its geographic limits, and the grace period granted neutral vessels and aircraft to leave the area to be blockaded.

7.7.2.2 Notification

It is customary for the belligerent nation establishing the blockade to notify all affected nations of its imposition. Because knowledge of the existence of a blockade is an essential element of the offenses of breach and attempted breach of blockade (see paragraph 7.7.4), neutral vessels and aircraft are always entitled to notification. The commander of the blockading forces will usually also notify local authorities in the blockaded area. The form of the notification is not material so long as it is effective.

7.7.2.3 Effectiveness

To be valid, a blockade must be effective–that is, it must be maintained by a surface, air, or subsurface force or other legitimate methods and means of warfare that is sufficient to render ingress or egress of the blockaded area dangerous. The requirement of effectiveness does not preclude temporary absence of the blockading force, if such absence is due to stress of weather or to some other reason connected with the blockade (e.g., pursuit of a blockade runner). Effectiveness does not require that every possible avenue of approach to the blockaded area be covered.

7.7.2.4 Impartiality

A blockade must be applied impartially to the vessels and aircraft of all nations. Discrimination by the blockading belligerent in favor of or against the vessels and aircraft of particular nations, including those of its own or those of an allied nation, renders the blockade legally invalid.

7.7.2.5 Limitations

A blockade must not bar access to or departure from neutral ports and coasts. Neutral nations retain the right to engage in neutral commerce that does not involve trade or communications originating in or destined for the blockaded area. A blockade is prohibited if the sole purpose is to starve the civilian population or to deny it other objects essential for its survival.

7.7.3 Special Entry and Exit Authorization

Although neutral warships and military aircraft enjoy no positive right of access to blockaded areas, the belligerent imposing the blockade may authorize their entry and exit. Such special authorization may be made subject to such conditions as the blockading force considers to be necessary and expedient. Neutral vessels and aircraft in evident distress should be authorized entry into a blockaded area, and subsequently authorized to depart, under conditions prescribed by the officer in command of the blockading force or responsible for maintenance of the blockading instrumentality (e.g., mines). Similarly, neutral vessels and aircraft engaged in the carriage of qualifying relief supplies for the civilian population and the sick and wounded should be authorized to pass through the blockade cordon, subject to the right of the blockading force to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which passage is permitted.

7.7.4 Breach and Attempted Breach of Blockade

Breach of blockade is the passage of a vessel or aircraft through a blockade without special entry or exit authorization from the blockading belligerent. Attempted breach of blockade occurs from the time a vessel or aircraft leaves a port or airfield with the intention of evading the blockade, and for vessels exiting the blockaded area, continues until the voyage is completed. Knowledge of the existence of the blockade is essential to the offenses of breach of blockade and attempted breach of blockade. Knowledge may be presumed once a blockade has been declared and appropriate notification provided to affected governments. It is immaterial that the vessel or aircraft is at the time of interception bound for neutral territory, if its ultimate destination is the blockaded area. There is a presumption of attempted breach of blockade where vessels or aircraft are bound for a neutral port or airfield serving as a point of transit to the blockaded area. (Capture of such vessels is discussed in paragraph 7.10.)

7.7.5 Contemporary Practice

The criteria for valid blockades, as set out above in paragraph 7.7.2, are for the most part customary in nature, having derived their definitive form through the practice of maritime powers during the nineteenth century. The rules reflect a balance between the right of a belligerent possessing effective command of the sea to close enemy ports and coastlines to international commerce, and the right of neutral nations to carry out neutral commerce with the least possible interference from belligerent forces. The law of blockade is, therefore, premised on a system of controls designed to effect only a limited interference with neutral trade. This was traditionally accomplished by a relatively “close-in” cordon of surface warships stationed in the immediate vicinity of the blockaded area.

The increasing emphasis in modern warfare on seeking to isolate completely the enemy from outside assistance and resources by targeting enemy merchant vessels as well as warships, and on interdicting all neutral commerce with the enemy, is not furthered substantially by blockades established in strict conformity with the traditional rules. In World Wars I and II, belligerents of both sides resorted to methods which, although frequently referred to as measures of blockade, cannot be reconciled with the traditional concept of the close-in blockade. The so-called long-distance blockade of both world wars departed materially from those traditional rules and were premised in large measure upon the belligerent right of reprisal against illegal acts of warfare on the part of the enemy. Moreover, developments in weapons systems and platforms, particularly submarines, supersonic aircraft, and cruise missiles, have rendered the in-shore blockade exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to maintain during anything other than a local or limited armed conflict. Accordingly, the characteristics of modern weapon systems will be a factor in analyzing the effectiveness of contemporary blockades.

Notwithstanding this trend in belligerent practices (during general war) away from the establishment of blockades that conform to the traditional rules, blockade continues to be a useful means to regulate the competing interests of belligerents and neutrals in more limited armed conflict. The experience of the United States during the Vietnam conflict provides a case in point. The closing of Haiphong and other North Vietnamese ports, accomplished by the emplacement of mines, was undertaken in conformity with traditional criteria of establishment, notification, effectiveness, limitation, and impartiality, although at the time the mining took place the term “blockade” was not used.

* * *

7.10 Capture of Neutral Vessels and Aircraft

Neutral merchant vessels and civil aircraft are liable to capture by belligerent warships and military aircraft if engaged in any of the following activities:

1. Avoiding an attempt to establish identity

2. Resisting visit and search

3. Carrying contraband

4. Breaching or attempting to breach blockade

5. Presenting irregular or fraudulent papers; lacking necessary papers; or destroying, defacing, or concealing papers

6. Violating regulations established by a belligerent within the immediate area of naval operations

7. Carrying personnel in the military or public service of the enemy

8. Communicating information in the interest of the enemy.

Captured vessels and aircraft are sent to a port or airfield under belligerent jurisdiction as a prize for adjudication by a prize court. Ordinarily, a belligerent warship will place a prize master and prize crew on board a captured vessel for this purpose. Should that be impracticable, the prize may be escorted into port by a belligerent warship or military aircraft. In the latter circumstances, the prize must obey the instructions of its escort or risk forcible measures. OPNAVINST 3120.32C, Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S. Navy, Article 630.23 sets forth the duties and responsibilities of commanding officers and prize masters concerning captured vessels. Neutral vessels or aircraft attempting to resist proper capture lay themselves open to forcible measures by belligerent warships and military aircraft and assume all risk of resulting damage.

The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations (U.S. Navy, NWP 1-14M, “Edition July 2007”) {2.01mb.pdf, usnwc-cnws-ild}.

____________________

San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (June 12 1994) (International Institute of Humanitarian Law, 1988-1994),

Part III : Basic Rules and Target Discrimination

Section V : Neutral Merchant Vessels and Civil Aircraft

Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;

(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;

(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;

(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or

(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

68. Any attack on these vessels is subject to the basic rules in paragraphs 38-46.

69. The mere fact that a neutral merchant vessel is armed provides no grounds for attacking it.

* * *

Part IV : Methods and Means of Warfare at Sea

Section II : Methods of Warfare

Blockade

93. A blockade shall be declared and notified to all belligerents and neutral States.

94. The declaration shall specify the commencement, duration, location, and extent of the blockade and the period within which vessels of neutral States may leave the blockaded coastline.

95. A blockade must be effective. The question whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact.

96. The force maintaining the blockade may be stationed at a distance determined by military requirements.

97. A blockade may be enforced and maintained by a combination of legitimate methods and means of warfare provided this combination does not result in acts inconsistent with the rules set out in this document.

98. Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.

99. A blockade must not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral States.

100. A blockade must be applied impartially to the vessels of all States.

101. The cessation, temporary lifting, re-establishment, extension or other alteration of a blockade must be declared and notified as in paragraphs 93 and 94.

102. The declaration or establishment of a blockade is prohibited if:

(a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or

(b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.

103. If the civilian population of the blockaded territory is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival, the blockading party must provide for free passage of such foodstuffs and other essential supplies, subject to:

(a) the right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and

(b) the condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

104. The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted.

San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (12 June 1994) (International Institute of Humanitarian Law, 1988-1994), IRRC: International Review of the Red Cross, no. 309, pages 595-637 (ICRC, Geneva, December 31 1995).

Russia, how to be a nobody, on the world stage (Gaza)

Do this: Make a powerful navy, give it the best, electronics, guns, missiles (offense, defense), anchor a fleet, in the Black Sea.

Do this: Switch on the TV, learn about a Gaza Freedom Flotilla, moblizing, in Antalya Turkey and Greece, to rendezvous off Cyprus (9 ships, 800 activists, 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, 20 media organizations with satellite links), hear Israeli officials give orders, to their IDF, to intercept that convoy, on the high seas, and prevent it reaching Gaza.

Don’t do this: Order your Black Sea fleet to sea, contact the Gaza convoy commander by radio, request s/he heave-to, await arrival of Russian warships, request permission to board with inspection parties, inspect all ships for “contraband” (war fighting material), invite the world’s media on board to video each inspection team at work, hold a press conference when done, broadcast live, announce his opinion (Russian fleet commander), that no items of contraband exist, on any of the 9 ships, which are therefore entitled to cross the blockade, sail to Gaza, and off-load, that Israeli warships are entitled to search for themselves.

Don’t do this: If the Israeli commander declares, that the cargos are prohibited under Israeli law, and contain contraband under blockade law (cement, building materials, whatever), hold a press conference, and declare (Russian fleet commander), that he has no interest in Israel’s law, on this topic, that he disagrees with the Israeli commander, about the definition of “contraband” under the international law of blockade, that he will enforce his opinion, the flotilla will proceed to Gaza, under protection of the Russian fleet, which will await their business, and then escort them away again, and will answer with the same, any violence by Israeli forces.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), May 28 2010

Russia, China, OK seizure of Iran’s oil, gas, petrochemical revenues, assets

The Security Council, …

“PP 15: Recognizing that access to diverse, reliable energy is critical for sustainable growth and development, while noting the potential connection between Iran’s revenues derived from its energy sector and the funding of Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, and further noting that chemical process equipment and materials required for the petrochemical industry have much in common with those required for certain sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities,

* * *

21. Calls upon all States, in addition to implementing their obligations pursuant to resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008) and this resolution, to prevent the provision of financial services, including insurance or re-insurance, or the transfer to, through, or from their territory, or to or by their nationals or entities organized under their laws (including branches abroad), or persons or financial institutions in their territory, of any financial or other assets or resources if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such services, assets or resources could contribute to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities, or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems, including by freezing any financial or other assets or resources on their territories or that hereafter come within their territories, or that are subject to their jurisdiction or that hereafter become subject to their jurisdiction, that are related to such programs or activities and applying enhanced monitoring to prevent all such transactions in accordance with their national authorities and legislation;”

Iran Resolution Elements (U.S. draft resolution, delivered May 19 2010, to the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, with approval of the P5 who negotiated it, among themselves, China, France, Russia, U.K., U.S., the 5 permanent members), a non-paper, 10 pages, omits 4 annexes, boldface added {1.28mb.pdf, source, copy}.

Non-paper. “A proposed agreement or negotiating text circulated informally among delegations for discussion … no identified source, title, or attribution,” “not considered part of the official record.”

Source, Aide-mémoire (wiki), Gretchen Sidhu (principal author), Intergovernmental Negotiations and Decision Making at the United Nations: A Guide Second Updated Edition, page 37 (“non-papers”) (U.N. NGLS: Non-Governmental Liaison Service, Geneva, 2007), “UNCTAD/NGLS/280” {684kb.pdf, source, menu}.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), May 24 2010

No guts, no glory (LibDems, U.K. election)

U.K. voters threw-out the ruling Labour Party (Gordon Brown, leader), at the U.K. general election (Thursday May 6 2010).

But, they did not hand power to anybody else. U.K. voters do not embrace, do not trust, the Tories (Conservative Party, David Cameron, leader). They produced a parliament with no party in control (a “hung parliament”).

It was the voters in “marginal constituencies” who accomplished this, seats where the vote was close last election, between two or three parties. The voters in those constituencies seized 91 of these marginal seats away from the ruling Labour Party, and 5 from the LibDems too, and 1 from another party (net gains and loses).

The voters handed the Tories, 97 new seats, producing this result: Tories (306), Labour (258), LibDems (57), others (28). A majority, in the 650-seat U.K. House of Commons, is 326 seats, a few less because the Sinn Fein party will likely not occupy the 5 seats it won, because they have to swear allegiance to the Queen, and their political philosophy is that Northern Ireland is a British colony.

The LibDems lost 5 seats (net), and did not double their seats, as they might have done, for 2 reasons:

(1) A majority of U.K. voters wanted to throw-out the Labour regime, and to do that, they had to vote tactically, in each of the 650 constituencies (minus one, where a candidate died), they had to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Labour candidate (based on the previous election results, and the polls). And so people who would vote LibDem (in a proportional voting system), they voted instead for the conservative candidates (the Tories), in marginal constituencies, as the only way to ensure defeat, of the Labour candidate (in the U.K.’s non-proportional plurality voting system).

(2) The LibDem leader (Nick Clegg), did not offer any policy promise, worthy of notice, to distinguish his party from the other two. He ensured it was an election among Tweedledum and two Tweedledees.

Untested, is my recommendation, that Nick Clegg stand up, be a bold leader, promise a new direction, seize world leadership away from the U.S., long ago floundered in dishonesty, establish a new world order, of law, justice, morality, and solve a lot of problems at the same time–

Promise, if elected, to BDS Israel, lead the world to impose boycott, divestment, sanctions, to drive Israel out, from the lands it confiscated, after it occupied them, in the 1967 6-day war, namely, the oPt (Israeli occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem), the Golan Heights (Israeli occupied Syria), and the Shebaa Farms (Israeli occupied Lebanon).

He can do that now. Call for a new election and announce that to be LibDem’s red line promise: BDS Israel.

That, and also proportional voting, to transform the U.K., permanently, into a multiparty democracy, where voters can vote for what party they want and get seats in parliament dedicated to their goals. And politicians who know it’s their business to cooperate with other parties, to reflect the voters’ decisions.

I believe he could double the LibDem vote, because now, the distraction of being rid of the Labour Party government, that task is done already.

Politics is about persuasion, so he would first have to persuade his parliamentary colleagues (57 MPs) and then his grass roots party members, in the 650 constituencies. With their mandate he could then call for a new election and make his case to the public, educate them.

Meanwhile, if the Tory Party refuses to agree — a certainty, given their long complicity, in Israel’s violent war crimes (looting, colonizing) — Nick Clegg should work to bring them down, the Tory minority government, to hasten the new election, the day of reckoning.

Let U.K. voters stand up and be counted, yea or nay.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw)

The liar Wyatt Andrews (CBS-Iran)

Russ Mitchell (New York City, CBS News) (caption: “Nuclear warning”). Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, late today, confirmed reports, that he sent a memo to the White House, earlier this year, concerning U.S. strategy, for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.

In Washington, Wyatt Andrews has more on the memo, and the debates, over U.S. policy.

Wyatt Andrews, cbs20100418t2200z)

Wyatt Andrews (Washington D.C., CBS News) (voice over video clips) (segment title: “Iran & Nukes: Next steps?”). Always a believer in the no nonsense approach, Secretary Gates told the White House, in January, it had no effective strategy in place, for dealing with Iran’s nuclear capability. And while some sources said, that memo was a wake up call, Gates denied that today, in a statement, saying, the memo simply presented a number of questions, and proposals, as part of an orderly, and timely, decision-making process.

Still, to critics of the president, the lack of an effective Iran strategy, has been true from the beginning.

John McCain (U.S. senator) {video clip}. I didn’t need a secret memo from Mr. Gates, to ascertain that. We do not have a coherent policy.

Source, John McCain, interviewed by Chris Wallace (Fox News Sunday, Sunday April 18 2010, 9-10am.edt, repeated 6pm) (transcript, video, video rss, entire show audio, audio rss, reported).

Clearly, the president’s initial policy, of engagement with Iran, has gone nowhere.

Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad, rejected engagement, rejected a deal, to send his uranium to Russia, and was exposed, by Mr. Obama himself, for enhancing uranium, in secret.

Barack Obama {video clip}. This is not the first time, that Iran has concealed information.

Source, Barack Obama, “Statements by President Obama, French President Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister Brown on Iranian Nuclear Facility” (Pittsburgh Convention Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the G20 Conference, Friday September 25 2009, 0843-0851am.edt) (transcript, video at 01:58-02:01, audio).

Seven months later, and the president, just this week, got the Chinese and Russians to discuss, a new round of sanctions on Iran, not to adopt sanctions, just to talk about them.

To some supporters, however, the president’s step by step isolation, of the unpopular Ahmadinejad, has been an accomplishment.

Greg Thielmann (Arms Control Association) {video clip}. And so far, it is the Iranians, it seems to me, who are having problems, with the rest of the world, and not the U.S.

Today, Iran staged its annual army parade, featuring the Shahab-3 missile, the one that could potentially, reach Israel.

The U.S. military believes Iran could be one year away, from building, a nuclear weapon.

So the policy is, hope that diplomacy works, but plan for the day it does not.

Admiral Mike Mullen (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff) {video clip}. We, in the Pentagon, we plan for contingencies all the time. And so, certainly, that there are options which exist, shouldn’t surprise anybody.

Source, Mike Mullen interviewed by Lee C. Bollinger (president, columbia.u), “Conversations with America featuring Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Columbia University, World Leaders Forum, Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs, New York City, Sunday April 18 2010, 2-3pm) (transcript, video).

While Secretary Gates denies, he was trying to shake things up at the White House, sources say, his memo did exactly that, for those contingency planners, inside the Pentagon.

Russ?

Russ Mitchell. Wyatt Andrews, in Washington, thank you very much.

Wyatt Andrews (CBS, Washington D.C.), reporting, “Iran & Nukes: Next steps?” (CBS Evening News “with Russ Mitchell,” New York City, Sunday April 18 2010, 6pm.et 2200z) (video podcast, rss, source), satellite rebroadcast, Sky News (0030z) (Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia), Sky News Australia (12:30pm), credits (responsibility): “In Washington: Carrie Rabin, Kate Rydell, news editor: Tom Harris, writer: Hugh Heckman, associate producer: Lisa Pavarini, broadcast associate: Deidra Robinson, production staff: Sally Rosen, weekend news manager: Chris St. Peter,” this segment video id=6409078n, “Gates’ White House Memo on Iran” (“CBS News Video 18 Apr 2010,” April 18 2010 3:55pm.et).

Liars league

Comment to come. -CJHjr

 

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), April 28-29 2010

LibDem red line: Israel? (U.K. election)

SitRep: U.K. voters intend to throw-out the ruling Labour Party (Gordon Brown, leader). The U.K. general election is set for Thursday May 6 2010.

The polls show, that 2/3rds of U.K. voters want a change. This, following the first 2 of 3 TV debates, among the leaders of the 3 main political parties.

But half of them (of those who want change), they fear return of the Conservative Party (“Tories”) (David Cameron, leader), the party of Margaret Thatcher.

That half (a third of U.K. voters), they like and trust Nick Clegg well enough (leader, Liberal Democrats), and his economics man (Vince Cable), to be their agent for change.

There’s no significant difference in the policies of these 3 parties.

But there will be no decisive change, because the vote will be evenly divided, roughly speaking, a third for each party, according to the polls (a “hung parliament”).

A third of the votes, however, does not guarantee a third of the seats in parliament, because the U.K. voting system (“first past the post” “plurality voting” “winner-takes-all”) is not “proportional representation.” This means, a party can win a third of the votes and not a single seat.

But, the LibDems will win many seats, they now have 63 seats, of the 650, in the House of Commons. See,State of the parties at 15 March 2010” (U.K. Parliament).

And so the LibDems will be king-maker, the party which controls formation of a coalition government (a coalition between Labour and Conservatives is not expected).

This is what the LibDems must now do, if they want to be somebody, a powerful political force, of historic proportions.

They must announce their red line, before election day, what agreement they will insist on, in return for their support, to form a coalition government.

A red line announcement is a public invitation, to all voters, to vote for it, that red line policy.

A red line announcement will increase the party’s votes, from those who would have voted for somebody else, or not voted at all, and will decrease votes, from those who change their mind, oppose the policy.

Some voters, maybe most, will have no opinion about it, be confused, its rights and wrongs, its likely results, and yet vote for it anyway, the red line promise, for the pleasure of it, something new, interesting, dramatic, action, in the years ahead. Many will vote for the party, despite it, the announcement, for other reasons, on faith, that the party leaders know what they’re talking about.

A red line announcement is transparent, democratic, politics, it dispels doubt, in advance, about the party’s intention, and so will establish an unequivocal political mandate, from its voters, which cannot be later disputed.

This, is the red line promise, the world now needs:

The LibDems will insist on BDS against Israel (boycott, divestment, sanctions), to drive Israel out, from the lands it confiscated, after it occupied them, in the 1967 6-day war, namely, the oPt (Israeli occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem), the Golan Heights (Israeli occupied Syria), and the Shebaa Farms (Israeli occupied Lebanon).

This red line promise will electrify the entire world, and its media, a political decision, to seize world leadership, away from the U.S., to reestablish moral authority, and to shame Barack Obama, who decided to continue the destruction of the rule of law, to lie about Iran, to lie about Israel, to refuse to act, against Israel’s violent war crimes (looting, colonizing).

A decision to not announce a red line, this will mark Nick Clegg, and his political party, as another nobody, in the long history of nobodies, in U.K. and EU politics.

The red line announcement poses a procedural problem which can be overcome.

The Liberal Democrats pride themselves on being democratic, its party members vote on what policies the party should follow. The party has not voted to face-down Israel.

So this is what Nick Clegg must now do:

1. Convene an emergency meeting of the 63 LibDem MPs, to agree on this red line.

2. Ask the LibDem officials, in each of the 650 U.K. Parliamentary constituencies, to convene an emergency meeting, for their local members to vote on the policy.

3. If they don’t approve it, then decide (with the 63 existing MPs) whether to adopt the policy, anyway, over their objection, their own party members.

4. Then make the public declaration, that the LibDems will BDS Israel, or else will not, and instead will join with the other two parties and continue to support Israel, knowing, that Israel is using that material support to wage its violent war crimes.

And don’t be a coward, like Adam Boulton (Sky News), and pretend this issue doesn’t exist, as he did, when he did not ask a single question about Israel and Palestine (or permit the audience to ask it), during the foreign affairs debate, the second of the three leaders’ debates (Bristol, April 22 2010, Adam Boulton, moderator).

I have high regard for Adam Boulton, and his foreign editor Tim Marshall, but Adam Boulton decided, to not ask a question, about the elephant in the room, the biggest foreign policy issue on the planet.

It’s not too late, Adam Boulton can ask that question now, the election is still 10 days away (Thursday May 6 2010).

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw)