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السبت، 31 مايو 2014

Libyan General With U.S. Passport Wages War On Islamist Extremists

Libyan General With U.S. Passport Wages War On Islamist Extremists

TIME   Gen. Khalifa Hifter has assembled a force that is taking the fight to Islamist extremists in the worst fighting since the 2011 revolution

Into the chaos of post-revolution Libya rides Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a former confidant of Muammar Gaddafi with a U.S. passport and a reputed history with the CIA. A resident of northern Virginia until the 2011 revolution that deposed his old boss, Hifter, 71, returned to his homeland and, after a couple of embarrassing personal setbacks, recently persuaded elements of the military forces to join him in battling the most extreme of the many armed militias operating in Libya today.
Libya has remained conspicuously unstable since Gaddafi’s regime fell in August 2011 in an armed rebellion supported by a NATO air campaign. A constitutional process was set up, and a legislature and prime minister elected. But the government has failed to establishwhat academics call the fundamental element of sovereignty—a monopoly on force. Last October, the premier was kidnapped in broad daylight. Scores if not hundreds of militias are active, the most feared of which are Islamist extremists like the gunmen responsible for overrunning the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in September 2012, killing ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.The fighting, described as the worst since the overthrow of Gaddafi, prompted the State Department this week to urge Americans to leave Libya, and the Pentagon to move a warship with 1,000 Marines on board into the vicinity. The USS Bataan was ordered, if not quite to the shores of Tripoli, then close enough to respond quickly if an evacuation is ordered.
Those are the militias Hifter is targeting. “We are now fighting not only on behalf of Libya, but on behalf of the whole world,” he told the New York Times by telephone on Wednesday. Fighter-jets loyal to Hifter bombed a base in Benghazi held by an extremist militia. In Tripoli, the capital, a militia loyal to Hifter overran the legislature on May 18, prompting lawmakers to finally name a date for new elections (June 25).
U.S. officials deny that Hifter is getting American support, something he reportedly boasted of receiving decades earlier when he commanded a force trying to unseat Gaddafi. He had helped Gaddafi come to power in a 1969 coup, but then turned against the strongman in the 1980s after being captured in neighboring Chad, which Gaddafi had ordered invaded. He later moved to Virginia, andvoted in local elections in 2008 and 2009.
His 2011 return to Libya was not triumphant. Hifter tried but failedto take command of the rebel force arrayed against Gaddafi. And when he showed up on television in February calling for the overthrow of the government, he was mocked.
But in the weeks that followed, a force took shape behind him—motivated, according to the current U.S. ambassador, Deborah Jones, by a wave of assassinations carried by extremists, including abomb attack on graduating military cadets. “That was the breaking point,” Jones said in a May 21 talk at The Stimson Center, a Washington think tank.
“Hifter’s focus is very specifically on terrorist groups,” Jones said, in remarks she acknowledged were more supportive of Hifter than the official State Department line, which criticizes the use of force. “It’s not necessarily for me to condemn his action going against… groups that are frankly are on our lists of terrorists,” Jones said.
Libya’s politics remain chaotic. The country has had three prime ministers in the last two months, two of whom still claim the title. The constitution is only now being drafted. Hifter has shown signs he views himself as Libya’s version of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian general who deposed an elected Islamist government in neighboring Egypt, and was elected president this week. But the dynamic in Libya is a different one, analysts say.
“I hear a lot of support for his actions against these specific groups, less support for him as an individual, given his background,” Jones said. “The jury is still out, because it’s not clear what the political agenda is.”

Clashes in Yemen between Shiite rebels and tribesmen backed by national army units kill 12

Clashes in Yemen between Shiite rebels and tribesmen backed by national army units kill 12

 
 
SANAA, Yemen - Clashes between Shiite rebels and tribesmen backed by national army units in Yemen have killed at least 12 people, security officials and tribal leaders said Friday.
Officials said that fighting resumed late Thursday night when Hawthi rebels attacked a checkpoint and two locations where tribesmen from the Islamist Islah Party had gathered in the city of Amran, northwest of the capital, Sanaa.
One official said the clashes killed five tribesmen and at least seven Hawthis, including one of their leaders.
That official added that army and police forces managed to drive away the Hawthis fighters.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
The Hawthis waged a six-year insurgency in the north, which officially ended in 2010. But the group recently has clashed with Sunni ultraconservatives.
The Hawthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shiite Islam, accuse the ultraconservatives of trying to spread their school of thought in their strongholds. Mediation efforts and cease-fires have failed to end the tension.

Fordite - updated

Fordite - updated


I have been a rock/mineral/agate collector since childhood, but had never heard of "fordite" until encountering the word this morning in a J-Walk comment thread, where it was the wrong answer to a question. Fordite is an enamel created when paint accumulates and becomes hardened. The name presumably derives from its being harvested from old Ford automobile manufacturing plants. 
The original layered automotive paint slag "rough" was made incidentally, years ago, by the now extinct practice of hand spray-painting multiples of production cars in big automotive factories.The oversprayed paint in the painting bays gradually built up on the tracks and skids that the car frames were painted on. Over time, many colorful layers built up there. These layers were hardened repeatedly in the ovens that the car bodies went into to cure the paint. Some of these deeper layers were even baked 100 times. Eventually, the paint build-up would become obstructing, or too thick and heavy, and had to be removed.

As the story goes, some crafty workers with an eye for beauty realized that this unique byproduct was worth salvaging. It was super-cured, patterned like psychedelic agate, and could be cut and polished with relative ease!

Sadly, the techniques that produced this great rough years ago, are no longer in practice. Cars are now painted by way of an electrostatic process that essentially magnetizes the enamels to the car bodies. This leaves little, or no overspray. The old factory methods that created this incredible material are long gone.
Text and photo credit to Fordites.com, where there is a gallery of cabochons.

Addendum:  Reposted from 2009 to add a link to some impressive photos of fordite posted at Bored Panda and at My Modern Met.

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush Committed War Crimes

It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes."


In a Democracy Now! exclusive, the nation’s former top counterterrorism official has said he believes President George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Richard Clarke served as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism during President Bush’s first year in office. He resigned in 2003 following the Iraq invasion and later made headlines by accusing Bush officials of ignoring pre-9/11 warnings about an imminent attack by al-Qaeda.

Clarke spoke to Democracy Now! in an interview that will air this week.
Amy Goodman: "Do you think President Bush should be brought up on war crimes [charges], and Vice President Cheney and [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld, for the attack on Iraq?"
Richard Clarke: "I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes."

Painful Global Connections

Painful Global Connections
by Louis Yako on 29-05-2014
BRussells Tribunal
A story about the sufferings of suppressed Americans, Iraqis, Syrians, all struggling with similar socio-politico-economic ills, and very likely caused by the same political players, disguised under a million masks, and a million colors.

An Iraqi refugee in an apartment, somewhere in the USA

            I recently went to Pennsylvania to see one of my dear American friends whose sister passed away after a short battle with cancer. Having worked at a hospital and witnessed people whose lives had been harvested by the sickle of this disease, I have learned that, with cancer, it is much better to exit after a short battle than after a long one. In a sense, my friend’s sister was fortunate to depart in the course of a couple of months rather than go through the painful process of chemotherapy, radiation, followed by usually a high chance of relapse, then death anyway.
 
              After shedding some tears in each other’s arms, we decided to head to the cemetery to visit her sister’s grave. We took a look at the graveside with notably small bouquets of flowers, perhaps because she was a poor woman who spent her life cleaning the houses of the rich with cleaning materials loaded with chemicals. After all, poor people are only as good as their last service to the masters of the system. At any rate, the visit was peaceful and it reminded us of the direction in which we are all headed. It reminded us that before the power of death, all significant things can become insignificant. More importantly, we were reminded that death itself is not frightening, what is frightening is a meaningless, or an unfair death. Having been raised in Iraq, I know this lesson well. We took a few flowers from the graveside to dry them in her memory. As we got ready to leave the cemetery, my friend started talking about how some family members of her deceased sister were already fighting over the old TV, the grill, the desktop, and other “trivial” things her sister had left behind. She also talked about how this “unexpected death” is to affect her own budget and life for many months to come. She works as a kitchen manager at a convenient store. “I have to simply live on bread, milk, and eggs for the next few months, because I do not have any money for anything else. If I am to pay the bills, I have to be extremely frugal for a long time.”
 
              On the way back from the cemetery, we decided to buy some bread to cook a small dinner for us that evening. She suggested that we stop at a store that specializes in selling breads and pastries near expiration date at half price. The idea of this store is interesting and it made me wonder whether we are headed to a future when people with limited means will be forced to live on “second-hand breads”—as in second-hand clothes—in order to survive. Unlike the stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, which cater for the rich and their slave classes, this was a one big room with a strong smell of stale food. The lighting was dim and rather depressing even on a beautiful sunny day, as if reminding its costumers of their reality, and making sure that they do not forget who they are, where they are coming from, and where they are headed on their path to the nightmarish “American dream”. 
 
As we got ready to checkout, I went first in line to get the bread for our dinner that evening. The cashier was a woman in her early to mid-40s, with a beautiful chestnut-color hair, wearing a comfortable white shirt and blue jeans, with a cross hanging around her neck. I greeted her in English and told her that she looked Middle Eastern, and the following conversation took place between us:
 
- “Yes. I am Middle Eastern, indeed. I am from Syria.” She said.
- “Nice to meet you ‘my sister in pain’.” I said in Arabic, referring to the current crisis in Syria and its painful connections with the situation in Iraq and the potential connection of what brings us together in the US.
- “Thank you. Are you originally from Iraq?”
- “Yes. And you can only imagine how much I feel the pain Syria is going through.”
- “Yes my dear. The day we all feared has come. All those who did not wish us well must be very happy gloating at the destruction taking place in beloved Syria. We who embraced the Palestinians, the Lebanese, and the Iraqis in their crises and called them ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’; we are now being stigmatized and seen as annoying, unwanted, and unpleasant ‘refugees’ disturbing the status quo. Aside from everything else, the reality of what is happening in Syria is hideously, though not surprisingly, distorted by Western media for God knows what purposes.”
 
         I was speechless. I looked into her beautiful amber eyes and noticed that she was courageously struggling to hold her tears back. My own life and journey with wars, hunger, pain, destruction, and injustice have taught me that at certain difficult moments, being with somebody simply means to listen, to hold their hand as they grieve, while acknowledging that no words can possibly provide comfort. Silence at such moments is more articulate than words. As she finished the checkout, she gave me another look as though asking me to just say something before departing. I wish I could have held her hand and sang for her, but neither the place nor the time were appropriate, and so I simply recited a part of a song by a Lebanese singer expressing the massive pain of Lebanon, which have become the reality of almost all Middle Eastern countries:
 
         “I dream to see you one day. Tomorrow this nightmare will be over, and instead of one sun, many suns shall shine. On the land of our beloved homeland, we shall meet again one day…” I said the words, without looking at her face that awakened all my own pains. In the car, my friend gave a loving slap on the back saying: “what did you say to that poor woman in Arabic? Did you say something harsh? Why did you leave her in tears like that, you bastard?” 
 
          I remained silent. We drove out of the parking lot heading home and all I could think of was the deep connections between the sufferings of suppressed Americans, Iraqis, Syrians, all struggling with similar socio-politico-economic ills, and very likely caused by the same political players, disguised under a million masks, and a million colors. Although many of us are struggling against the same oppressive powers, we are all made to think of each other as enemies rather than allies in this global struggle. Reflecting on my day, I thought about how what connects our human reality is much more meaningful and significant than the trivial details over which we are made to hate and kill each other. I hoped for a day when, as the singer says, instead of one sun, many suns will shine, but for that to happen, do not we need to wake up first?
 
Louis Yako is a PhD student of cultural anthropology researching Iraqi higher education and intellectuals at Duke University.

AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT AGGRESSION; AND THE CRIME OF AGGRESSION

SUNDUS SHAKER SALEH versus Bush - Update



We have received a preliminary order from the Court and have been given a deadline of June 9 to file what will be the third Complaint in this lawsuit. There will be further motion practice which will probably go for at least a few more months, however, the Court has indicated that this will be the last operative Complaint before it decides issues of immunity, on which it has focused. The Court has not yet addressed the issue of aggression as a component of federal common law. The Court has also calendared a case management conference on August 27, 2014.
This last and final Complaint, due June 9, is what the Court will analyze, and will likely be the Complaint that will go up on appeal if and when the Court issues a final order, probably by the end of this year. The Court has specifically highlighted that Ms. Saleh should provide evidence to the Court that will address her claims that the Defendants in this case -- ex-President Bush, ex-Vice President Cheney, and officials Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz -- were acting outside the scope of their employment in the planning and lead up to the Iraq War.

A Million People Killed Iraq: The Biggest Petroleum Heist in History?

“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market. But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.”

The Erbil refinery, about 40 kilometers west of Kurdistan's capital city of Erbil, provides the majority of Kurdistan's official refining capacity. (BEN VAN HEUVELEN/Iraq Oil Report)

May 24 2014 "ICH" - "Counterpunch" - These are the ‘best of times’ for the oil giants in Iraq.  Production is up, profits are soaring, and big oil is rolling in dough.  Here’s the story from the Wall Street Journal:
“Iraq’s oil production surged to its highest level in over 30 years last month, surprising skeptics of the country’s efforts to restore its oil industry after decades of war and neglect.”  (Wall Street Journal)
Mission accomplished?
You bet.  But for those who still cling to the idea that the US was serious about promoting democracy or removing a vicious dictator or  eliminating WMD or any of the other kooky excuses, consider what we’ve learned in the last couple weeks. Here’s the story from Aljazeera:
“While the US military has formally ended its occupation of Iraq, some of the largest western oil companies, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, remain.
On November 27, 38 months after Royal Dutch Shell announced its pursuit of a massive gas deal in southern Iraq, the oil giant had its contract signed for a $17bn flared gas deal. Three days later, the US-based energy firm Emerson submitted a bid for a contract to operate at Iraq’s giant Zubair oil field, which reportedly holds some eight million barrels of oil.
Earlier this year, Emerson was awarded a contract to provide crude oil metering systems and other technology for a new oil terminal in Basra, currently under construction in the Persian Gulf, and the company is installing control systems in the power stations in Hilla and Kerbala. Iraq’s supergiant Rumaila oil field is already being developed by BP, and the other supergiant reserve, Majnoon oil field, is being developed by Royal Dutch Shell. Both fields are in southern Iraq.” (“Western oil firms remain as US exits Iraq”, Dahr Jamail, Aljazeera.)
If it sounds like the big boys are dividing the spoils among themselves; it’s because they are. Exxon, BP, Shell; they’re all here. They all have their contracts in hand, and they’re all drilling their brains out thanks to the American servicemen and women who gave their lives for some trumped up baloney about WMD. Isn’t that what’s going on?
Sure it is. And even now–after all the reasons for going to war have been exposed as lies–the farce continues. Nothing has changed. Nothing. There’s still no talk of reparations, no official investigation, no indictments, no prosecutions, no trials, no penalties, no nothing. Not even a stinking apology. Just a big “up yours” Iraq. We’re way too important to apologize for killing a million of your people and reducing your five thousand year old civilization to a pile of rubble.  Instead, we’ll just screw you some more and paper it over with a little public relations, like Obama did a couple weeks ago when he promised to “leave behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people”.
Oh yeah. Obama’s all about sovereignty and stability, everyone knows that.  That’s why Baghdad is the terror capital of the world, because Obama’s so committed to security.
These PR blurbs are effective though, they provide the necessary cover for leaving enough troops behind to protect the oil installations and pipelines.  That’s the kind of security Obama cares about. Security for the oiligarchs and their stolen property.  Everyone else can fend for themselves, which is why Baghdad is such a bloody mess.  Here’s more from Aljazeera:
“Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, US and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq’s oil market,” oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera. “But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973.” (Aljazeera)
Yeah, thanks for that invasion, Mr. Bush. We couldn’t have done it without you, guy. Hope you have a great retirement painting pictures of poodles and stuff while people continue to get blown to pieces in the terrorist Hellhole you created. Here’s more Al Jazeera:
“Juhasz, author of the books The Tyranny of Oil and The Bush Agenda, said that while US and other western oil companies have not yet received all they had hoped the US-led invasion of Iraq would bring them, “They’ve certainly done quite well for themselves, landing production contracts for some of the world’s largest remaining oil fields under some of the world’s most lucrative terms.”
Dr Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum, an international oil consultant and economist …(said) he believes western oil companies have successfully acquired the lions’ share of Iraq’s oil, “but they gave a little piece of the cake for China and some of the other countries and companies to keep them silent”. (Aljazeera)
How do you like that? These guys operate just like the Mafia. The Bossman pays off China with a few million barrels, and China keeps its mouth shut. Nice. Everyone gets “their cut” so they don’t go blabbing to the media about the ripoff that’s taking place in broad daylight. The stench of corruption is overpowering.
And here’s something else you won’t see in the media. In a White House press release,  the Obama administration announced that they would continue to support Iraq’s “efforts to develop the energy sector” in order  to “help boost Iraq’s oil production.”….
According to Assim Jihad, spokesman for Iraq’s ministry of oil, “Iraq has a goal of raising its oil production capacity to 12m bpd by 2017, which would place it in the top echelon of global producers.” (Aljazeera)
“12 million barrels-per-day by 2017″?
That makes this the biggest petroleum heist in history. And we’re supposed to believe that the oil bigwigs didn’t know anything about this before the war? What a crock! I’ll bet you even money the CEOs and their lackeys figured out that Saudi Arabia was running out of gas, so they decided to pick up stakes and move their operations to good old Mesopotamia. That’s why they put their money on Bush and Cheney, because they knew that two former oil men would do the heavy lifting once they got shoehorned into the White House.  The whole thing was a set-up from the get-go, right down to the 5 shady Supremes who suspended the voting in Florida and crowned Bush emperor in 2000. The whole thing was probably mapped out years in advance.
Big oil runs everything in America. People talk about the power of Wall Street and Israel, but oil is still king. They run it all, and they own it all. And “what they say, goes.”  Here’s more:
“Juhasz explained that ExxonMobil, BP and Shell were among the oil companies that “played the most aggressive roles in lobbying their governments to ensure that the invasion would result in an Iraq open to foreign oil companies”.
They succeeded,” she added. “They are all back in.” (Aljazeera)
Hooray. Big oil wins again, and all it cost was a million or so Iraqis who got blown to bits air raids or shot up at checkpoints, or beaten to death with a rubber hose at Abu Ghraib or any of the other democracy reeducation centers that dot the countryside. But, hey, look at the bright side: At least production is up, right? Can you see how sick this is? Here’s more:
“Under the current circumstances, the possibility of a withdrawal of western oil companies from Iraq appears remote, and the Obama administration continues to pressure Baghdad to pass the Iraq Oil Law.” (Aljazeera)
And what is the “Iraq Oil Law”, you ask?
It’s a way to privatize the oil market using Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) which disproportionately benefit the corporations.  Obama’s a big backer of the law since it means even heftier profits for his thieving  friends.  In other words, the humongous profits they’re already skimming off aren’t quite good enough. They want more. They want to own the whole shooting match lock, stock and barrel.
This is really an outrage. What other country behaves like this?
No one. No other country in the world goes out and kills a million people, destroys their country, and leaves them to scrape by on next to nothing just so they can pad the bank accounts of voracious plutocrats have more dough than they know what to do with. No one else would even dare to act like that for fear that they’d get bombed into annihilation by the world’s biggest bullyboy, the US of A.  Only the US can get away with this type of crap, because the US is a law unto itself.
Iraq was the Cradle of Civilization. Now it’s the cradle of shit. The US decimated Iraq; blew it to bits, bombed its industries, its bridges, its schools, its hospitals, leveled its cities, polluted its water, spread diseases everywhere, killed its kids,  pitted brother against brother,   and transformed a vibrant, unique country into a dysfunctional cesspit run by opportunists, gangsters, and fanatics.
And, here’s the corker:  No one gives a rip. Face it: No one gives a flying fu** about Iraq. The American people lost interest long ago, the politicians can’t be bothered, and the UN is too afraid of the US to lift a finger to help. They’d rather stamp their feet and scold Putin over Crimea than utter a peep about the genocide in Iraq.  That’s the state of things today, right?  No accountability for the men who started the war, and no justice for the victims. Just the infrequent (phony) pronouncement of support from the White House or the all-too-frequent sectarian bombing that leaves an untold number of civilians dead or wounded. This is all the US leaves behind; hatred, death and destruction.
Here’s a clip from a poem by Iraqi writer who wants readers to take a minute and think about all the suffering the United States has created. The poem is titled “Flying Kites”:
“Come and see our overflowing morgues and find our little ones for us…
You may find them in this corner or the other, a little hand poking out, pointing out at you…
Come and search for them in the rubble of your “surgical” air raids, you may find a little leg or a little head…pleading for your attention.
Come and see them amassed in the garbage dumps, scavenging morsels of food…
Come and see  our little ones, under-nourished or dying from disease. Cholera, dysentery, infections…
Come and see, come….”  (“Flying Kites” Layla Anwar)
A million people were killed so a few rich fu**ers could get even richer. That’s a hell of a legacy.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Rachel Corrie’s family appeals to Israeli Supreme Court

Rachel Corrie’s family appeals to Israeli Supreme Court

By Lil Jackson

24rc-20120829105136.jpg
uruknet.info

The family of slain American activist Rachel Corrie was at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on Wednesday to appeal a 2012 judgment made by a Haifa district court, which ruled that the Israeli military was not responsible for the young woman’s death in 2003.

Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer on 16 March 2003 while taking part in a non-violent protest against the demolition of civilian homes in Rafah, southern Gaza. At the time, Rachel was working with the International Solidarity Movement.

In an interview with Palestine Monitor on Thursday, Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, fondly described Rachel as an "energetic" woman who "refused to look away from marginalized people."

The Corrie family is seeking justice and say they "deserve a clear answer" on why the Israeli military have remained unaccountable for the death of their daughter.

"There has been no responsibility taken. All along Rachel has been blamed for her own killing, without looking at the responsibility of all parties involved, the military and so forth," Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother, said in an interview with Israel Social TV.

A hearing of Rachel’s case in 2012 saw 23 witnesses testify at 15 hearings spread over a 16-month period. A Haifa District Court Judge upheld the 2003 Israeli military investigation, stating, "The State did not risk the defendant…The defendant risked herself".

Not satisfied by Haifa District Court’s verdict in August 2012, and 9 years after filing a civic suit against the State of Israel, Rachel’s family decided to appeal.

Mr. Corrie told Palestine Monitor the threefold reasoning behind the decision to appeal. During the trial in Haifa, the court failed to address the significance and importance of international humanitarian law when dealing with Rachel’s case. In their brief to the Supreme Court, state attorneys argued that Rachel fell out of the protection of international humanitarian law. They said that only the "occupied population" fall within the ambit of international law. Arguing that international humanitarian law covers only the "occupied population" leaves a great many people vulnerable, and as Mr Corrie said, "a lot of people unprotected".

Whether the area Rachel was working in that day was categorized as a "closed military zone" remains unclear. "Nobody could produce a written order that it was a closed military zone," stated Craig Corrie, adding that the Colonel in charge the day Rachel died confirmed this in his testimony, stating that it was not a closed military zone. However, the Haifa District Judge, Oded Gershon, concluded at the end of the 2012 trial that Rachel was acting in a 'closed military zone’.

Evidentiary differences formed a significant part of Wednesday’s appeal. Israeli military personnel, during the trial in Haifa, presented two different accounts of what transpired the day Rachel died. The disparity only added to the collective frustration felt by the Corrie family. In addition, the Corrie family’s attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, argued that the Haifa District Court’s verdict should be overturned as the State did not undertake a thorough investigation, failing to interview key witnesses and secure integral evidence. Mr Corrie described a conflict of different photographic evidence from the day Rachel died, stating it was "very clear" that the image that had been given to the US Embassy was not a true reflection of the incident. Further, the two Israeli military soldiers who undertook the original investigation into Rachel’s death had little investigative experience. The Judge at Wednesday’s hearing corroborated this fact, commenting that the original investigation was "thoughtless."

The State attorney claims that responsibility for Rachel’s death does not lie with Israel or the Israeli military. They rely on Gaza’s status as a war zone in March 2003, arguing that Rachel entered the area at her own risk.

Mr. Corrie remains positive, saying that at the hearing on Wednesday the "judges understood the issues and asked the relevant questions." There is no time limit on deliberations regarding the re-opening of the case. Only time will tell.

"It started and remains about Rachel," said Mr. Corrie, but if this process can shed any light on the impunity that the Israeli military has enjoyed for a while now, then that can be deemed as positive, not only for internationals acting in solidarity with Palestinians, but for the Palestinian people as well.

The Rachel Corrie appeal comes at a time when sensitivities are high. The unlawful killing of two teenagers at Ofer Prison last Thursday, reiterates further that the issue of impunity needs to be addressed. Both cases demonstrate the disregard the Israeli military often shows towards the lives of people in occupied Palestinian territory. Mr. Corrie poignantly said there is no comparison in the value of a human life. However, the question regarding the application of international humanitarian law is an important one, and left unanswered it threatens to expose a great number of people to violence and harm.

The case has become more than a stand against the State of Israel and the Israeli military, it is now questioning the impunity of the Israeli military.


Source