The Goldstone Encounter with the Hamas Terrorism and Israel’s Defence War

Switzerland UN Gaza War Crimes

Justice Richard Goldstone.

A few days ago Sky News reported a couple of news mentioning the name Goldstone. The first was about an outbreak of the e-coli disease in the Goldstone pet farm ( Surrey, UK),  and the second was the Goldstone commission report about the Cast Lead war between Israel and the Hamas. . I was almost temped to say:  perhaps another sort of disease, breed in the Universal Human Rights laboratories specifically targeting Israel.

Well, no, the report is not a disease. Ex judge Richard Goldstone is an honorable men. His credentials as a Zionist and Israel lover are beyond doubts. He is a first rate jurist with overwhelming experience in war crimes jurisdiction.

So this Zionist Israel lover is the men accusing Israel of war crimes, putting her in the same league as the Nazi criminals in the Nirenberg Trials. He is not drawing a demarcation lines between the premeditated Wannsee plan of exterminating the Jews and in fact exterminating 6 million of them, and between Israel’s self defence war, causing 1300 war casualties mostly Hamas men.

Let me  remind to myself: the Cast Lead war was  only the final result of a 7 year shelling  of more than 8000 qassam rockets  targeting  half a million of civilians living in south Israel by the Hamas ,

So where is the catch? what is going wrong?

Well to say it frankly. Nothing is going wrong, there is no catch at all. Ex judge Goldstone report is viewing and judging the today terrorist warfare  trough the codex of WW2 war crimes .

He has taken a snapshot named the “Cast Lead” war, a war whose causes are fossilized deep into the report as not fitting directly in the overall  schema of what he sees as war crimes . Israel’s attempt to stop the rocket launching on his southern civilian population is, in his view, well fitting in his scheme of war crimes:

…”Israel is currently fighting under, and being judged by, the laws of World War II, which are suitable for conventional wars between two or more armies in open fields, where it is easier to define proportionality.

But what do you do when terrorists hide under homes, or when they don’t wear uniforms? What do you do when the enemy high command runs its operations from under a hospital located in a crowded neighborhood, as Hamas did during Cast Lead, using the basement of Shifa Hospital as a command and control center? It is clear that the existing laws of war are incompatible with the current and evolving nature of war”…, see here.

This is a situation of incompatibilities where hypothetical soldiers will be forced to ask in the middle of battle who is a civilian and who is a terrorist and meanwhile be killed and perhaps loosing a self defense war..

Ex judge Goldstone’s report does not provide much help to solve such incompatibilities or ‘minor’ problems. But on the other hand his report is a panacea for the terrorist who can now rely on his WW2 codex jurisdiction to continue without fear, from within any civilian population, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other country or European capital, and perpetuate any crimes, and if civilians may be killed in the attempt of the local forces to stop them, the blame of war crimes will fall on the defenders.

What conclusions, if any, can be drawn from the encounter of ex judge Goldstone, Hamas terrorism and Israel defending her citizens. In the short run all are shouting in one great cacophony. Right wing speakers blame the world for his hypocrisy. See Obama in Afghanistan, Putin in Tchetchenia… etc. Leftists and fringe speakers accuse Israel for all the vicissitudes of the world, see the  boycotters from the UK, Toronto …etc.

But in the long run, and in our days the long run is relatively short, each of the belligerent parties will readjust himself to the new Goldstone conditions or fight them , fine tuning his intelligence capacities and improving his high-tech weaponry. The smarter will do the hack better. But if the Jihadist mentality  against Israel will prevail, then de facto, nothing will radically change for both sides. Israel and the Hamas will continue their clashes.

This is the world today, a ‘Rashomon‘ movie, telling a 21 century story staged in the high-tech third millennium under the auspice of the Goldstone report as a metaphor.

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Iranian Ayatollahs and Science Fiction

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Aliens or strange protocols…source

The following headers are surely no science fiction and may fit in any major press article about  the hot events of the day:

….”President’s Barak Obama Al-Hazhar speech on 4 Jun 2009 to the Arab-Muslim world.”

“The lesson of the recent revolutionary events in Iran, after the  Ahmadinejad fraudulaus election.”

These are major straightforward events with a global media dissemination and visualization (..Twitter, Facebook etc…). But despite their realness, they are only the top of the iceberg. The remote hidden part may tell stories on the verge of science fiction.

Now, perhaps the Iranian Ayatollahs should be interested to know that the US homeland security  department in an unpredictable move discover that there is such a curiosity named  science fiction  , I quote:

…”U.S. Mission for Sci-Fi Writers: Imagine That Novelists Plot the Future Of Homeland Security…

The line between what’s real and what’s not is thin and shifting, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to explore both sides. Boldly going where few government bureaucracies have gone before, the agency is enlisting the expertise of science fiction writers. … .Crazy? This week down at the Reagan Building, the 2009 Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference has been going on. Instead of just another wonkish series of meetings and a trade show, with contractors hustling business around every corner, this felt at times more like a convention of futuristic yarn-spinners.”… see here.

And going one step further, remembering the hidden part of the iceberg.

When I read the transcript of Obama’s speech I don’t explicitly think about the print  paper the ink and the whole publishing process. The same is true for twitter, facebook or other  social networking sites. I don’t care about internet protocols or any hardware apparatus. Moreover seeing the harsh Tehran clashes pictures on my monitor does not put me in a meditative mood about pixels or about myself as the one who implacably  produce what in my everyday life I experienced as love, emotions, work, art, war, or the “twittering revolutionary events in Iran”. I am only the end user sitting on the top of the iceberg. No science fiction here.

To be more specific, in this inexorable implicit course of absorbing information I only see the  real life  pictures and don’t have any awareness of let’s say -invoking here some weird science (fiction..) –  something like the Feynman diagrams, which is a mathematical protocol  juggling with discrete energy jumps underlying every physical event, including analogously the internet protocols the paper and ink publishing and my physical self. They are all taken for granted at some hidden semi-science-fiction level like in the Minority Report movie where the police can predict future crimes leading to their prevention, (the film is based on a Philip K. Dick story).

diagramGHGHGH

Feynman diagrams.

A good example for this taken-f0r-grantedness is the neutrino effect, I quote..”I can illustrate that. [Your] thumbnail’s about roughly a square centimeter. Every second, about a hundred billion of these solar neutrinos according to our calculations would be passing through your thumbnail every second of every day of every year of your life, and you never notice it.” see here. ..pure science fiction..

In this context, to most people, jiggling diagrams and neutrinos seems to be a fiction  far away from our real life.. But fiction is the name of the game because  being well suited to dig into my shadowy activities working at some inside level in me without asking my permission to do so, a strategy well understood by the brainless swine flu.

And indeed if I am relying on today’s hard core science, exploring this sort of futurist fiction can create the new visual pictures and their interpretations my hint for the unseen part of the iceberg pointing in new directions where science fiction, fiction and non-fiction merge together. The Iranian events my act here as a good metaphor.

I remember Greg Bear’s science fiction novel “Eon”. Pictures generated by the novel, see here, following these new visual  themes  are in diametrical opposition to pictures from the electoral events in Iran (2009) . The first picture below,  is the  representation by the press, TV  the bloggers and  the social nets of the green Iranian opposition protest against the outcome of the vote. The picture is direct, violent and utterly emotional. For the great majority of media users there is no room for (science) fiction speculation, this the true real stuff.

Vote protest Tehran

The second picture  described by the visual artist Kaufeldt:

…” ..is supposed to depict the moment when Lanier is leaving Patricia with a bunch of books in the Alexandria Library (my words: named after the historical library see here), and she is just about to find the passage describing The Death, which will happen in just a few weeks in their timeline, although it is already ancient history for the historian who wrote the book in question.”…

The “Death” describe the annihilation of the planet Earth. A much greater violent event than the Iranian opposition protest but an event buried into science fiction fantasy so having lesser credibility than the actual  immediate deadly events in Iran.

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Kaufeldt’s drawing based on “Eon”. Click to enlarge.

Kaufeldt , depicting the heroes world of Greg Bear’s novel “Eon” presuppose in their world the explicit action of  their modern physics in their everyday on all his aspects . We don’t presuppose such explicit acting of science and no author would written such fantasies: they are  only science fiction..with no real credibility. For instance, black holes are invoked mostly as a metaphor not as the real thing described by science . . So you can always say that the Iranian opposition will be annihilated inside an Ayatollahs black hole.. and Twitter will spate them out in the reverse direction from within a white hole… the stuff for a good science fiction story..

In Eon the metaphor is becoming real. Historians from our future  already wrote our own history: and events that where actually  going to happen where already recorded in their history book called “the Death”, announcing from their timeline, the imminent destruction of Earth in in our timeline,. Their stories are embedded in what they see or feel or know as time travel,  black hole singularity  and gates to other worlds. For us this is only weird fantasy.

Most conventional fiction writers wrote their novels and stories representing our world without mentioning explicitly that their characters and plots are staged in an underpinning  physical world who can act explicitly as some kind of character. The stories are told on a direct psychologist level and the physical environment is always here anonymously.

So when is the physical environment loosing it’s science fiction anonymity in the sense that we acknowledge it’s merging with the stories  of our life..

With the violent events in Tehran, the social networks and in particular Twitter and You Tube moving explicitly to the front stage not only as social networks transmitting in real time the bloody events in Iran, but as building-up an underlying pattern of some sort of collective random mind sending bits of  information revealing a resource that three decades ago would be considered as pure science fiction curiosity. The metaphor of the virtual and the non-creditable fantasy become a  reality in the Islamic state of the Ayatollahs.

In this context look at what Paul Krugman 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics has to say. Being interviewed by Jim Lehrer, see here, he says:

..”Jim Lehrer
“When and why did you decide to become an economist in the first place?”

Paul Krugman
‘That’s a little embarrassing. I don’t know how many of your viewers read science fiction, but there’s a very old series by Isaac Asimov – the Foundation novels – in which the social scientists who understand the true dynamics save civilization. That’s what I wanted to be; it doesn’t exist, but economics is as close as you can get, so as a teenager I really got into it.’

Krugman is talking about the psychohistorians like Hari Seldon, who practiced the science of psychohistory; in the Foundation series, Seldon predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire and then works with a team to reduce the period during which civilization falls into barbarism to a single millenium.”…

Well let me guess, to the grand dismay of president Obama and many other political leaders who are not psychohistorians, they did not predict the events of the Iranian vote and this seems plausible.  But the social earthquake of the Iranian revolutionary events,  generating the twitter, you tube, sms and cellular phone cameras tsunami, may remind Obama and the Ayatollahs  that we are already a world embedded in the science fiction of a viral eco-information era acting as a flue without a possible medication.

And if talking about the era of information here is the following quote:

…”Harry McDavid, chief information officer for Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination & Planning, had a question for Catherine Asaro, author of two dozen novels, about half of them devoted to her Saga of the Skolian Empire. She also has a PhD in physics. McDavid’s job involves ‘information sharing’ — efficiently communicating information about response and recovery across agencies, states, business sectors. How, he wanted to know, did Asaro come up with the Triad system in her novels of flashing thoughts instantly across the universe?

‘It evolved along with the story,’ Asaro said. Basically, she applied principles of quantum theory — one of her specialties as a physicist — to a fictional theory of ‘thought space.’ “… see here.

And below pictures of funny information languages..

Pixel

Are pixels an alien language ?

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The Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli in conventional language..see more.

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Sarkozy’s 2008 New Mediterranean Future

 The Mediterranean 43 nations gathering under the auspices of President Sarkozy, is a well staged show.

 Speaking from my own Israeli view, I dond’t feel a great enthusiasm when seeing the  receptions at the Champ Elysee. The pictures are well know pictures of politicians accolades and handshaking with in the background, limousines, french soldiers in fancy uniforms and security men. Something like the G8.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Bastille Day 2008

Sarkozy is trying to make his ‘grand coup’ especially with the Maghreb countries to minimise their emigration to France. As for Syria and Lebanon, old french protectorates and today in some way francophone countries, his involvement is perhaps useful but the main Israeli talks channel with Syria are via the Turkish mediators. Bashar Assad is one of the winner of this gathering, appearing together with all the other Arab countries, after a long period of isolation. But the Egyptian president Mubarak didn’t even give a look at Assad and some time later they are seen together, in a TV shot with president Sarkozy… And Syria’s Bashar Assad, two meter away from Israeli PM Olmert refuse to see PM Olmert. Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi didn’t like the whole idea and stayed home. This is a shortcut to the ‘sociology’ of this gathering.

Syrian President Bashar Assad refuse to ‘see’ Israeli PM Ehud Olmert.

In Israel we know what is the real ‘cash value’ of talks, ceasefire and signed treaties in the Middle East. With the Hamas there is a ceasefire broken every day. With Syria there are talks, but via Syria there is the gigantic rearmament of the Hezbollah. With the Hezbollah there is the prisoners swap this week, but the Israeli press predict that after the swap Hezbollah is ready to attack: according to their accounting they owe Israel a revenge for Mugniyah’s dead. 

The call of President Sarkozy for a free nuclear middle east (Mediterranean is not possible: France has nuclear weapons,,) is at most not serious. The principal addressee is Iran and is not a part of the Mediterranean but her missiles and their firing range grant her a threatening participating ticket on the presidency stage.

 So, the President Sarkozy’s show is a french romance a la Enrico Macias , the warm-up band, until the real world star and his band,  McCain or Obama will begin their world tour show.

And after all this, I hope that deeds, not words and gala banquets, will be the output of this gathering.

PA Mahaboud Abbas, French President Sarkozy and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, Bastille day 2008.

The ‘Theory and Practice’ of Appeasement in the Middle East

 The following quote is only introductory:
 “Was Bush’s Knesset speech a swipe at Obama?” is the headline of  ‘Rosner’s Blog’ in the ‘Haarets’.I quote from the newspaper,..”Barack Obama’s aides were quick to respond. His people called it “extraordinary politicization of foreign policy.” While U.S. President George W. Bush was speaking in Israel and comparing those who would talk with Iran to those who would have talked to Adolf Hitler, a storm broke out in the American political arena. Did Bush mean Obama?”.. see here.
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Well, I wouldn’t dare to put my head between the Bush policy and the perhaps future policies of Barak Obama or senator McCain.  But if we talk about appeasement, we know the consequences of such policies.The reminiscences of Chamberlain, Daladier and Marshal Petain in France (ww2)., The Molotov-von Ribbentrop  nonaggression pact between Stalin and Hitlers Barbarossa invasion of the Nazi armies and the Pearl harbour attack by Japan, did not fade away.
 
  Now, if i am looking in my own ‘neighbourhood’..the Middle East.
What can be said here?  Well let Tariq Alhomayed speake for himself, I quote, ..”An astounding article … was published recently by the editor in chief of Arabic-language newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat (English edition), Tariq Alhomayed, under the headline “Iran and the fearful Arabs.” ….”The fearful Arab states…are the ones affirming, without conviction, that the Lebanese crisis is an internal matter and they are calling against confrontation with Iran. The fearful Arab states are unaware of the fact that the conflict with Iran will prevail and that it will not just end in Beirut.”…
 
 Or in other words, appeasing Hezbollah and his Iranian sponsor will not evaporate Iran’s urge for an Islamic hegemony.  
 
A further quote…”. “Hassan Nasrallah and his party were defeated the day the divinely-guided leader lost his credibility on the Lebanese street and before the Arab and Islamic worlds. It makes no difference how much he pledges today or tomorrow; the Arabs, Muslims and Lebanese will never forget how Hezbollah turned its weapons against its own people after numerous vows that it would only use them against Israel.”… see here.
 
 Or in other words, Hezbollah’s vow of a non-aggression against his own people was a pure joke.
 
And Syria..  North Korea signed the February 13, 2007 agreement in the Six Party Talks – among the United States, the two Koreas, Japan, China, and Russia with the US on nuclear weapons, see here,  meanwhile every one knows today that ..”A Syrian nuclear reactor built with help from North Korea was weeks away from functioning, a top U.S. official said Thursday after lawmakers were briefed on the site destroyed last year by Israeli jets.”… see here.
 
 Or in others words, the north Korean 2007 agreement, appeasing the nuclear peace believers, morphed into a nuclear reactor in Syria.
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And about Nuclear Iran
 Look at the US intelligence assessment …”The National Intelligence Estimate plays down any early threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. It assesses “with high confidence” that Iran did have a nuclear weapons programme until 2003, but this was discovered and Iran stopped it.    The NIE adds: “We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” The assessment admits that Iran appears “less determined” to develop nuclear weapons than US intelligence had previously thought.   It says that the earliest date by which Iran could make a nuclear weapon would be late 2009 but that this is “very unlikely”.
 
Or in other words, is that not a sort of appeasement policy?
 
 But considering what others say,  I quote…”on 5 March, a senior British diplomat said: ‘Many of us were surprised by how emphatic the writers [of the NIE] were… I haven’t seen any intelligence that gives me even medium confidence that these programmes haven’t resumed’.     Even the Director of US National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, appeared to backtrack on 28 February 2008, in evidence to the Senate Armed Forces Committee. In this evidence, he said that Iran had probably halted warhead design and weaponisation, but pointed out that Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium meant that it was continuing with “the most difficult challenge in nuclear production. He said: ‘We remain concerned about Iran’s intentions… Tehran at a minimum is keeping the option open to develop nuclear weapons.’ ” see here,
 
Is it not fun making of an otherwise serious situation?
 
 And finally, adding the Hamas to the list. Two days ago, a poll on Israeli channel 10, shows that a majority of the Israeli’s don’t believe in a truce with the Hamas. And why? Because, despite the fact that most Israeli’s truly want peace, they see such a truce as an appeasement policy  not quite fitting with the Hamas 1988 charter.  See Carter’s visit: ‘The Wasington Post’ remind us that ..”Hamas’s 1988 charter calls for the destruction of Israel, and its officials have repeated that stand in the years since. The charter also encourages the killing of Jews. But Carter said that in his negotiations, Hamas leaders referred to the charter dismissively as “an ancient document”, see here. Very appeasing indeed… 
 
Putting all this together, in acute life and dead situations, appeasement strategy is only a bet. Paraphrasing on a family living in a dangerous neighbourhood, it is better to buy a good insurance against murders, robberies, vandalism, rape, Mafiosos, beating and who knows what other calamities, and then to decide, if  after all, you want to make a bet on anything in such a neighbourhood.
 

Is Citizen Journalism a Gigantic Blog?

 The new  journalism wave of citizen, crowds, bloggers etc, disturbs the conventional institutional journalism to a point that most well know newspapers introduce in their daily menu ‘bloggers’ acting with a more personal touch, perhaps not so journalistic. 
 Here are a few exemples of such sites,

Gardian

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Blog runner,NYT.

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Jerusalem Post

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Washigton Post

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USAtoday

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  On the other hand there is the original ‘citizen journalism’ where non-trained people, like myself, with no experience whatever make news. Is it possible? Well as the man on the spot, where newsworthy events occurs, if he know how to written and he has an Internet connection and is a member of a participatory site he can immediately upload his news and be published on the fly. Is it lesser news because his professional editors let him upload whatever interest him, doing only some kind of ethical filtering. Or is creditability  possible, if and only if  a Real Pro Journalist and a Real Newspaper does the publishing. I would dare to say that this not the case. 

For look at the Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential race where professional reporters ‘record’ the news. Here is an example from the November 30, 2007 found on Watchblog . 

Watchblog

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Washington Post Reports the News? see here.
I quote..”Everybody tells me that the Washington Post is a great newspaper. It has some of the best reporters. It reports all the important news. But what do they call news? And how do they report it? Is rumor news? Is it proper to report a known falsehood as news?”…”In an article titled ” Foes Use Obama’s Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors about Him” Peny Bacon “reported” :Despite his denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Obama (D-Ill.) is a Muslim, a “Muslim plant” in a conspiracy against America, and that, if elected president, he would take the oath of office using a Koran, rather than a Bible, as did Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the only Muslim in Congress, when he was sworn in earlier this year.  Since when are “rumors and emails circulating on the Internet” news? I was under the impression that reporters report facts.”….(The original Washington Post  article is  here.) 

 In one of the 19 accompanign comments I found this..”The news media reports news. News may correlate with truth, but it is not truth. Those of us more to the right of you have long understood this. You should not let this minor and relatively indirect attack on Obama bother you. We get it all the time in the media.”…see here. So where are the creditability the facts and the truth?

  In opposition to the above intrigues and complaints, I, the ‘inexperienced citizen journalist’ bear no  burden of  global, national or local interests that are constraining the big newspapers. My view is perhaps more direct naive and personal.  If I wants to do real work with a clear voice I should  be careful not to fall into pseudo-journalism as described here,  I quote..”Letter-to-the-Editor are as much journalism as a man’s video of his kid’s wedding is cinema. Or as much as a woman putting a Band-Aid (or ‘plaster’ the British would say) onto her kid’s bruised knee is practicing medicine. Or as much as a guy appearing in traffic court to dispute a parking ticket is practicing law. It’s too much of a rhetoric stretch.”…see here.

  But I already know that the big newspapers blogs sites are not far away. Look at the ‘Ten Commandment’ of Blogrunner (the blog site of the New York Times), I quote..  
 ..”Dig into the web and expose which stories are developing now. Fully integrate blogs and media Highlight the connections between the various agents –bloggers or media- that report or relay or annotate these stories”.. ..”Identify these agents. Use the connections between distributed news fragments to provide context and perspective. Highlight individual voices and expertise. Connect these voices”.. ..”Aggregate expert voices horizontally across categories. Provide perspective. Juxtapose news stories with views about these stories. Saturation coverage: Provide in a single view a snapshot of all major players –bloggers, media organizations– in this conversation – include all resources that are cited.”..
Provide an archive of past moments in the blogosphere, connect current stories to older stories
Stir; shake; serve.”..
see more here.

  So the New York Times has aproved  the above objectives by integrating ‘blogs and news’, and that is what I try to do. The technology is here and the really interested people will stay on the track.

Annotated NYT

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Published on NowPublic.