Kerry on the Jewish State

March 14, 2014

Well, well, well. Did John Kerry really say at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that, “Israel’s insistence that the Palestinians officially recognize Israel as a Jewish state is a mistake”? Who would have thought only a week ago that John Kerry would ever say so publicly? The entire world knows that he put enormous pressure on Abbas to recognize Israel as “The Jewish State”, because he said so publicly four or five times in front of TV cameras. But Abbas, to his credit, resisted, and said, “No way! That would never happen.” Realizing that Netanyahu could use this as an excuse to scuttle peace talks, Kerry has suddenly started singing a different tune. The reason is quite simple, really. He wants the talks to continue beyond the April 29 deadline that he himself had set before the talks began. He also knows that when the talks collapse, Abbas would go to the Hague, Netherlands, and knock on the ICC doors. This he wants to prevent at all costs. He is even willing to drop one of his original demands. Just shows how desperate Kerry is to see that the talks continue for another year or more. He has never been an unbiased arbiter of peace. He has, after all, Israel’s interest at heart; the longer the talks last, the more opportunity Netanyahu gets to annex more Palestinian lands, approve and build more illegal settlements, and change “the facts on the ground”. I hope sanity will prevail in Israel’s political leaders and that Israel’s occupation of Palestine using brute military force will end soon.
Yesh Prabhu, Bushkill, Pennsylvania

Finally some real action against six American rogues

February 9, 2010

Several books have been written, and many articles have been published in august international legal journals, and long winded lectures have been delivered at prestigious universities, international organizations, and hallowed halls around the world by international experts in criminal law; but only a few have taken any meaningful action against the perpetrators of some of the most brutal acts and despicable crimes on our planet: the kidnapping and transportation of men to some dark dungeons in secret prisons in foreign lands, in a process euphemistically called “Extraordinary rendition”.

“Extraordinary rendition” is an extra-judicial act of abduction and transportation of people to secret prisons scattered around the world, without obtaining a legal order issued from a court of law. It is an abominable act perpetrated often with the cooperation and connivance of nations not averse to practicing such barbarity.

Some of the nations that facilitated such shocking, and blatantly illegal acts are none other than our friendly, permanent allies such as Britain, France, Germany, and Italy; and allies of mutual convenience such as Australia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan; and, in a class by itself, Syria. Poland and Romania are also suspected of lending the USA a helping hand. The BBC has reported that, according to a report from Europe’s human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, fourteen European states colluded with the CIA in secret US flights for terror suspects. The report states that Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Germany and Cyprus provided “staging posts” for rendition operations, while the UK, Portugal, Ireland and Greece were “stop-off points”, and that Italy, Sweden, Macedonia and Bosnia allowed the abduction of residents from their soil.

The criminal policy of Extraordinary Rendition meets the definition of War Crimes as enunciated in the Rome Statute that constitutes the foundation of the International Criminal Court in Hague, in the Netherlands. It has been established that under the pretense of waging a “War on Terror”, nearly 100 people have been subjected to this barbarous act. They have been tortured using techniques such as water boarding, banging on the head, sleep and food deprivation, and forcing them to sleep in the nude on cold floors.

Now comes the news that, a courageous man of unimpeachable character, moral fortitude, and a strong conviction that the perpetrators of these despicable war crimes and crimes against humanity must face justice at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands. Mr. Francis A. Boyle, Professor of International Law, University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Illinois, USA, has filed a complaint against American citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales, whom he refers to as the “Accused”.  He has petitioned the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to obtain international arrest warrants against George Bush and his co-accused.

Even though the United States is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, because the Accused had ordered that these men be subjected to extraordinary rendition – the kidnapping and subsequent torture – they have committed acts considered as crimes under the ICC statute, within the territories of many ICC member states.  And so the ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their ICC statutory crimes. He has also requested the prosecutor to formally submit to the “Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute Article 15(3).

I have been waiting to hear this good news for over two years now. And I am happy and terribly relieved that Professor Francis A. Boyle has persevered, against heavy odds, to complete the task. I hope Professor Francis A. Boyle will follow this complaint, soon, by filing an additional complaint against George Bush and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for committing War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity by bombing and invading a disarmed Iraq without any provocation. The destruction of the city of Fallujah, and the infrastructure of Iraq, its roads, bridges, electricity generating plants, and water treatment centers, and the slaughter of more than a million Iraqis, and the displacement of 4 million more as refugees, in my opinion, constituted even graver War Crimes than the “Extraordinary Rendition” implemented by them.

Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Evident Decline of the USA in the Last Decade, and the Inevitable Rise of China

January 16, 2010

Much has been written about the rapid rise of China in the last decade as a major world power. On its front page, The New York Times, for example, last year published several articles describing China’s modern super-high-rises, its gleaming towers, and wide super highways that connect its major cities, and ultra modern stadiums, and clean parks. At a time when America’s economy is stagnating, China’s economy is booming.
Unemployment rate is well over 10% in the United States, with cities such as Detroit registering unemployment of 30% or more. Officially, the unemployment rate in Detroit is around 30%, but according to the Detroit News, the actual figure is closer to an almost unimaginable 50%. The number of the homeless throughout our nation is at a bewildering level, with more than three million houses repossessed in the last two years alone, and with three million more houses awaiting their turn to be repossessed this year. At a time when the number of families that are unable to feed their children is rising to shameful levels here, with reports that one out of four children in America goes to bed hungry, China’s booming economy is incomprehensible to the average American who does not read news papers or international magazines.

I have read that tourists who were dazed by what they saw in Beijing and Shanghai were shocked even more when they returned to New York, Detroit, or Los Angelus, and saw our dirty subways and crumbling infra-structure, and graffiti scrawled walls needing a coat of paint, and dirty floors needing a thorough scrubbing, and trash on the curbs, and desperation in the eyes and anxiety in the faces of the millions of the unemployed and the newly homeless. Judging from readers’ comments in national newspapers and magazines, there is increasing evidence that people have finally begun asking in earnest the question: What happened to America?

What happened is quite simple, actually. There is no mystery to it. Americans’ priorities changed in the last decade. We became war-obsessed. Even now I shudder when I recall vividly how some newscasters in the USA cheered loudly as bombs fell on the sleeping civilians in Iraq, during the abominable “Shock and Awe” carnage broadcast live on several TV stations worldwide; and here in New York, on a major network, two anchormen pounded their fists on the table, laughed, and roared, and showed a video clip again and again of a bridge in Iraq being bombed with precision missiles, and a truck on the road speeding and falling down the bridge and tumbling into the river.

While we continued to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, year after year, on needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Chinese continued to spend about 45 to 50 billion dollars per city in both Beijing and Shanghai in the last two years, building soaring high-rises and sparkling towers and new museums, widening and repaving the roads, clearing all the trash, and improving their infra-structure. As a result, Shanghai has replaced Paris as the Queen of the cities at night time. With its economy booming, last year more cars were sold in China than in the USA, for the first time in over six decades. And China also built the fastest train on earth, the new magnetic levitation train, Maglev, that runs at an astonishing 430 KPH(Kilometers per hour, or about 267 miles per hour).

The rise of China and the decline of the USA will continue so long as the war-obsessed America continues the two wars initiated by us, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the one war in Palestine fed by us – by supplying tanks, bombs, missiles, and phosphorus bombs, and 2.9 billion dollars to Israel each year. We financed the wars using trillion dollars borrowed mostly from China and Japan.

It’s quite obvious to all but the close-minded, that our priorities had changed in the last decade. Our decline was inevitable. It will get much worse here in the USA for the poor and middle class people in the next four years. The rich, of course, will continue to prosper, and get excellent health coverage. Unburdened by the expenditures of needless wars, the Chinese will continue to spend billions of dollars to improve their infra-structure, agriculture, and health care.

As grave as our economic decline has been, our moral decline has been even more startling and precipitous. Torture became an acceptable and official policy of the US government during the Bush years. There is no doubt that the detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons were indeed tortured, as revealed by the classified “torture memos” that were released by the Justice department, to comply with a court order that the ACLU obtained using the Freedom of Information Act. Also, the world was aghast that hundreds of detainees were held in captivity for more than seven years without being charged of any criminal activity, and that several prisoners were even tortured to death.

Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ

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January 16, 2010

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