Thursday, July 31, 2008

Francis Boyle's "Palestine Palestinians and International Law"

Francis Boyle's "Palestine Palestinians and International Law" - by Stephen Lendman

Francis Boyle is a distinguished University of Illinois law professor, activist, and internationally recognized expert on international law and human rights. He also lectures widely, writes extensively, and authored many books, including the subject of this review: "Palestine Palestinians and International Law." In addition, he's represented, advised and/or testified pro bono in numerous cases involving anti-war protesters and activists, the death penalty, human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy and bio-warfare, Canada's Blackfoot Nation, the Nation of Hawaii, and the US Lakota Nation.

Boyle is currently a leading proponent of an effort to impeach George Bush, Dick Cheney and other administration figures for their crimes of war, against humanity and other grievous violations of domestic and international law. Earlier in 1987 he was the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) legal advisor in the drafting of its 1988 Declaration of Independence. Then from 1991 - 1993, he served in the same capacity for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations in the run-up to the Oslo process.

Palestine Palestinians and International Law reviews his work during that period, prior 1980s and earlier events that led to it, and what followed in its aftermath. Like all Boyle's work, it's rich in international law and makes a powerful, easy to follow case for Palestinian self-determination. Relevant events and the law are reviewed:

-- from the 1922 League of Nations Mandate;

-- to the 1947 UN Partition Plan;

-- to the 1987 first Intifada;

-- to the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence;

-- to around 130 nations diplomatically recognizing the Palestinian state;

--to the UN granting Palestine all rights as a member state except to vote;

-- to Oslo's betrayal;

-- to the second Intifada and shortly thereafter over the book's timeline through 2002.

Standing in Solidarity with the Palestinian People

It's been true about Boyle for over 20 years for a man who's "not Arab....not Jewish....not Palestinian....(and) not Israeli." He's an international law expert and a powerful advocate for enforcing it. As a student nearly 40 years ago, he became convinced that:

-- "the world had inflicted a terrible injustice upon the Palestinian people in 1947 - 1948;

-- there would be no peace in the Middle East until this injustice was somehow rectified; and

-- the Palestinian people were certainly entitled to an independent nation state of their own."

He notes how prominent people like himself are treated - like "the proverbial skunk at (a) garden party" but cites the early influence of others - the University of Chicago's Professor Leonard Binder, his Harvard doctoral supervisor Professor Stanley Hoffman and others who've proudly supported Palestinian rights.

After Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Boyle tried to organize what little opposition there was among international law professors. Few had the courage to speak out the way Boyle always does. He also wrote an essay included in a later book: "Dissensus Over Strategic Consensus." It was a comprehensive critique of the Reagan administration's Middle East policy from an international law perspective. In other writings as well he covered Reagan's bogus "war against international terrorism" with special emphasis on the Middle East.

Little has changed to the present with all administrations since Reagan supporting Israel's "serial massacres upon the Palestinian people." Boyle recounts how two decades after the June 1967 war he and Ramsey Clark were invited to a scheduled UN 20th Anniversary Commemorative Session. They both spoke on the Palestinians' right to declare an independent state under international law and practice. It's the first step before creating a Palestinian government, and Boyle addressed it in a Memorandum of Law for the PLO to consider. He completed it just as the first Intifada erupted in December 1987, titled: "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE."

It lay dormant until the PLO UN Mission discussed it in July 1988. Boyle was asked: "Why should the PLO create an independent Palestinian state?" His answer: If you don't, "you will forfeit the moral right to lead your People." On November 15, 1988, the Palestine National Council (PNC) adopted Boyle's Memorandum and "proclaimed the existence of the new independent state of Palestine." Immediately after the Reagan denied Yasser Arafat a visa to attend the UN General Assembly. Instead, he spoke at a Special Session in Geneva. It was called so he could address the world body as an official head of state. Further, this was "the real start of the Middle East Peace Process - by the Palestinian people themselves."

In addition, Boyle's prediction came true. Palestine was an "instantaneous success" and eventually achieved de jure diplomatic recognition from about 130 states. It also became a de facto, not de jure, UN member, but it's "only a matter of time."

Creating the State of Israel

The material below reviews Boyle's "CREATE THE STATE OF PALESTINE" Memorandum of Law. In March 1988, he presented it to the PLO, and it's now a public document. He believes that without Israeli and American acquiescence, the rest of the international community can play a positive role in creating and preserving a legal and political status quo conducive to a final peace settlement based on a two-state solution. He cites the 1946 precedent when South Africa illegally and unsuccessfully tried to annex South West Africa (SWA), now known as Namibia.

Just as the League of Nations awarded Britain the Mandate for SWA in 1920, it did as well for Palestine in 1922. In his 1918 Fourteen Points Address, Woodrow Wilson addressed the issue of world peace and the importance of granting newly liberated territories self-determination to preserve it. The Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles focused on Central and Eastern Europe. People in Africa, the Middle East and Far East "would have to wait."

Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations established a mandate system - in three categories:

-- Class A: sufficiently developed states to be provisionally recognized as independent nations; Palestine was later included;

-- Class B: needing further development; included were Western and Central African states; and

-- Class C: included South West Africa to be "administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory."

The League of Nations Council had jurisdiction over Mandatories while the actual Mandates were international treaties between the Council of the League and mandatory powers. This system remained in place until the end of WW II and creation of the UN. Article 77 (1)(a) of its Charter provided that League mandated territories be placed under UN trusteeship via an agreement between the mandatory power and General Assembly.

Such agreements for the SWA and Palestine Mandates were never concluded. South Africa refused the former, and Britain let the UN General Assembly take over and adopt its 1947 Partition Plan. It was never implemented because conflict intervened and became Israel's 1948 "War of Independence."

As for SWA, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 2145 in 1966. It declared the Mandate terminated and that South Africa had no legal right to administer the territory. It also decided SWA would become independent according to the wishes of its people. In 1968, General Assembly Resolution 2372 affirmed it by redesignating the new nation Namibia. In a June 1971 advisory opinion, the World Court held that South Africa's continued presence in the country was illegal and its occupation must end.

In 1973, the General Assembly recognized the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) as the Namibian people's legitimate representative. Finally in September 1978, the Security Council adopted Resolution 435 establishing the implementing independence machinery for the country. Following UN supervised elections, Namibia should have been free and independent. However, the Reagan administration blocked it. It took a 20 year war of independence before it was achieved in 1990. Based on the Namibian precedent, Boyle proposed in the 1980s that "the Palestinian people proceed forthwith to create the state of Palestine."

He states certain characteristics must be in place for the world community to recognize it:

-- "a determinable territory;" it doesn't have to be fixed and determinate; its borders may be negotiated; the new state is comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem; Palestinians have lived there for millennia; they're entitled to it as their nation state;

-- a fixed population;

-- a functioning government; in 1988, Yasser Arafat declared the PLO as Palestine's Provisional Government; and

-- the capacity to enter into relations with other states; about 130 nations recognize Palestine; others haven't because it lacks effective "control" of its territory; still others disagree and say Israel isn't in control; it's an occupier; on December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy and accorded it UN observer status;

Palestine can easily satisfy these criteria, and all UN Charter states (including the US and Israel) have provisionally recognized Palestinians an independent in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4). Further, as the League's successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as the Palestinian peoples' legitimate representative.

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body and is empowerered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren are automatically citizens of the new state. In addition, diaspora Palestinians no longer would be stateless. Those living in Israel and Jordan would have dual nationalities, and those in the Occupied Territories would remain "protected persons" according to the Fourth Geneva Convention - until a final peace settlement is reached.

The Proclamation of Independence must then create the Government of Palestine (GOP). As a final step, it should direct the GOP to claim the right of Palestine and its people to UN membership. It requires approval by both the Security Council and General Assembly according to five conditions. Applicants must be:

-- a state;

-- peace loving;

-- accept the Charter's obligations;

-- be able to carry them out; and

-- be willing to do it.

The US has provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it's barred from reversing its position by vetoing a Security Council Resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission. Any veto would be illegal and subject to further Security Council action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the Security Council only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority.

It can go further as well by enacting a complete international legal regime for the new state and require all members refrain from recognizing Israel's illegal occupation. Boyle suggests even harsher measures - Charter Article 41 authorized sanctions against the Israeli government.

Then there's the right to vote as a member state. The UN Charter Article 80(1) and League Covenant Article 22(4) mandates the General Assembly to let Palestinians participate in UN activities as a member. Voting rights should follow.

The original Mandate also is relevant. Under UN Charter Article 80(1), several of its articles empower the General Assembly to recognize the Palestinian state and take all necessary measures to end Israel's illegal occupation. The Mandate contemplated the creation of the state and Palestinian government and the right of its people to live freely therein.

Boyle envisions a two-state solution with a "special status for Jerusalem." The process began on November 15, 1988 with the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in Arabic. The PLO's Executive Committee would then serve as its Provisional Government. It was a "remarkable opportunity for peace" because the PNC also accepted the UN's 1947 Partition Plan (Resolution 181) - for Jewish and Arab states and an international trusteeship for Jerusalem. Today it'll accept much less based on the 1967 boundaries of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as provisions of UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

The Declaration is Palestine's foundational document. It's "determinative, definitive, and irreversible." UN bureaucracy willfully sabotaged the original English translation so the PLO prepared its own. The US Declaration of Independence was its model. It's four pages long and published in Boyle's book.

The International Legal Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination and an Independent State of Their Own

Following the December 1987 first Intifada outbreak, its Unified Leadership asked the PLO to proclaim a new state of Palestine - "in recognition of the courage, suffering, and bravery of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation." It became inevitable after Jordan's King Hussein ended all forms of administrative and legal ties to the West Bank. Then on November 15, 1988, the PNC acted as explained above.

As far back as 1919, the League of Nations provisionally recognized Palestinian statehood in its League Covenant Article 22(4) and its 1922 Mandate for Palestine - awarded to Britain. After its 1988 proclamation, the PNC began working for a comprehensive peace settlement. Its Declaration of Independence accepted the General Assembly's 1947 Partition Plan so as to reach an historic accommodation for a good faith two-state solution.

It also declared:

-- its commitment to the UN Charter's purpose and principles; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), policy, and principles of nonalignment;

-- its natural right to defend the Palestinian state and to reject "the threat or use of force, violence and intimidation against its territorial integrity and political independence or those of any other state;"

-- its willingness to accept UN supervision on an interim basis to terminate Israel's occupation;

-- its call for an International Peace Conference on the Middle East based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338;

-- its asking for Israel's withdrawal from occupied Palestinian lands - since 1967, including East Jerusalem;

-- its willingness to accept a voluntary confederation between Jordan and Palestine; and

-- its "rejection of terrorism in all forms, including state terrorism...;" that got the Reagan administration to begin dialogue on December 14, 1988; in June 1990, the Bush administration suspended it alleging that the PLO violated its pledge; from then until now, US administrations call self-defense "terrorism" even though it's an inherent (individual and state) right under "customary international and humanitarian law:"

-- Article 51 of the UN Charter;

-- the four 1949 Geneva Conventions; and

-- the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare.

The PNC accepts them. Israel doesn't and won't observe fundamental laws to which it's a signatory. Other nations are also culpable. Under common article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, all countries are obliged to pressure Israel to comply. America is especially culpable as Israel's co-conspiratorial supplier of weapons, equipment, supplies, many billions in loans and grants, and various other benefits generously provided. Without them, Israel couldn't wage aggressive wars or be strong enough to intimidate the region. Today no country threatens Israel (or America) despite claims to the contrary.

On the same day the General Assembly recognized Palestine it called for a UN-sponsored Middle East Peace conference based on the following principles:

-- ending Israel's occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem;

-- guaranteeing security for all regional states;

-- resolving the Palestinian refugee problem;

-- dismantling illegal Israeli settlements;

-- placing Palestine under interim UN supervision; and

-- requesting the Security Council to consider measures to convene an International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

The PLO was very receptive and expressed willingness to cooperate and negotiate in good faith. It agreed to be flexible, including over Jerusalem's final status. The 1947 Partition Plan called for an international trusteeship administered separately from Jewish and Arab territories.

Israel and Washington were obstructionist from the start. They're deterrents to regional peace, and without their cooperation they'll be none. This must end. The world community must no longer tolerate it. The fate of millions of Palestinians and Arab peoples are at stake.

The Future Peace of Jerusalem

As UN Ambassador in 1971, GHW Bush endorsed the position of his predecessor, Charles Yost, who considered East Jerusalem "occupied territory and hence subject to the provisions of international law governing the rights and obligations of an occupying power." The Fourth Geneva Convention requires it, and apparently it meant something back then.

Bush supported what later became Security Council Resolution 298 in September 1971.

-- it affirmed that "acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissable;"

-- it deplored "the failure of Israel to respect the previous resolutions by the UN (regarding) the status of the City of Jerusalem;"

-- it confirmed that "all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change (Jerusalem's status) are totally invalid...; and

-- urgently calls upon Israel to rescind all previous measures and actions and take no further steps..."

Like other resolutions it opposes, Israel ignored this one. With US help, the Security Council never enforced it. So far, however, Washington maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv and not the Jewish capital. Yet the Israeli Lobby got Congress to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that states in section 3:

-- as a statement of US policy, "Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel;" and

-- the "US Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999."

The Constitution's Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 empowers presidents to perform diplomatic recognition functions. No president thus far moved on the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The Embassy remains in Tel Aviv. The battle for Jerusalem continues. Boyle proposed a solution:

-- withdraw the Israeli army from the city;

-- replace it with a UN peacekeeping force;

-- Israel and Palestine may both press their claims for the city or portions thereof; Palestine may claim it as its sovereign territory and capital; it could construct its parliament and capital district in East Jerusalem;

-- city residents would either be Israeli or Palestinian citizens or could hold dual nationalities; they'd be issued UN identity cards authorizing their right to live in the city; and

-- Jerusalem would be free, open and undivided; neither side would surrender its rights; the UN would retain control for an indefinite period, and historical precedents are many - Vatican City and the District of Columbia to cite two; if both sides agree, workable solutions are possible and decades of conflict can end - at least on this issue.

The Palestinian Alternative to Oslo

Before Oslo was finalized on August 20, 1993, Boyle prepared a confidential memorandum for the Palestinian Delegates to the Middle East Peace Negotiations - delivered on December 1, 1992, months ahead of the September 13, 1993 White House lawn signing ceremony. Boyle reproduced it in his book, titled: "The Interim Agreement and International Law." It's lengthy, covered 30 pages and for good reason. It included numerous potential legal traps Israeli and American negotiators would likely set. Unless prepared to counter them, Palestinians would be hopelessly ensnared in a web of deceit and betrayal. As things turned out, that's precisely what happened because Arafat and others in Tunis rejected Boyle's advice. The Memorandum is briefly reviewed below.

In late October 1992, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi approached Boyle to consult on legal issues related to the so-called Interim Agreement (IA). His Memorandum of Law followed. Nearly everything he feared, in fact, happened. His advice is discussed below:

-- place no trust in Israeli and American assurances; they're worthless and won't be honored;

-- America is racist and deceptive; neither they nor Israelis will abide by their commitments; "they are not and could never be 'honest brokers' for peace;"

-- as part of a Palestinian strategic vision, it's vital to reject the (1978) Camp David approach - to these or any future negotiations;

-- don't count on a written "interconnection" between an IA and a Final Settlement for protection; based on how Camp David was negotiated, it's very doubtful they'll ever be a Final Settlement; Israelis and Americans will "stall, drag out, and indefinitely postpone and delay it" while they continue to occupy your territory, kill your people, destroy your homes, and steal your land;

-- the IA should be negotiated as though it's the Final one; the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority (PISGA) must have independent legislative authority to build a Palestinian state;

-- UN Resolution 242 must be preserved - to establish a "just and lasting (Middle East) peace (and) withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;"

-- Resolution 242's deceptive language must be addressed; otherwise Israel will exploit it to its advantage; their negotiators thrive on ambiguity; at best, only partial withdrawal may be achieved, and they'll be no assurances it won't be reinstated on whatever pretexts Israel employs;

-- Resolution 242's actual text must be considered; its literal language doesn't protect the Palestinian people, and therein lies its trap; Israeli negotiators will exploit it;

-- to preserve 242's claims, demand two co-sponsors (the US and Russia) secure a new UN resolution expressly recognizing 242's validity; 338 as well; Israel will be legally bound under UN Charter Article 25; if the US balks, it will be an expression of bad faith by a dishonest broker;

-- Letters of Invitation and Assurances are no guarantee of protection once an IA is approved; Israel and America can work around them;

-- Palestinians must act independently without Jordan or other outside parties; they should deal solely with Israel; Letters of Invitation and Assurances assure this right;

-- once an IA is drafted, submitting it for PNC debate and approval comes next; Israel may do the same in the Knesset; if both sides approve, UN registration is next - as a treaty or international convention; technical matters must be handled properly; otherwise formal diplomatic recognition may be lost;

-- under any IA, Fourth Geneva Convention rights must be preserved; Israel will argue a state of belligerency no longer exists; it's one of many traps to avoid;

-- Fourth Geneva's Article 6, paragraph 6 clarifies the importance of protecting one's rights; otherwise too little will be accomplished and justifiable claims will be lost;

-- nothing should be done to jeopardize international consensus support for Fourth Geneva rights; Palestine already ratified the four Geneva Conventions; they affirm Palestinian rights under them;

-- handling jurisdiction, laws, and Israeli Military regulations is crucial; nothing should be signed that "regularizes" or "legalizes" them; Israel is a belligerent occupier; no action should be taken to affirm it; "otherwise, you will never get rid of them;"

-- how to do it? through customary and conventional laws of belligerent occupation; one publication covers them - the Department of the Army Field Manuel 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare (July 1956); Geneva and Hague required it be produced; it can be used to end the occupation - a district-by-district withdrawal to Israeli military bases on Palestinian lands; they'll be "effectively" confined there; those lands will thus be "liberated;" any further incursion will be illegal;

-- consider the "awesome implications" of one FM 27-10 sentence: "If, however, the power of the (occupier) is effectively displaced for any length of time, its position towards the inhabitants is the same as before occupation;" it means international law will recognize pre-1967 Palestine and the right of its people to self-government;

-- ending Israeli control depends on "absolute guarantees" that Israeli forces will be confined to their bases and barred from reentering Palestinian lands;

-- if accomplished, Palestine will be liberated; its pre-1967 laws and institutions reestablished; and Palestinian self-government will be restored; the PISGA will be empowered; it's crucial it not be a puppet government under international law; that's precisely what Israelis want (and got under Oslo through today); they want the same arrangement the Nazis set up throughout occupied Europe; avoid it at all costs; "let the Israelis do their own dirty work;" gain agreement among the Palestinian people; avoid any chance for civil war; it's Israel's "final solution;"

-- resolution of a Final Settlement must be agreed on; success depends on it; Israel and America will fight it; don't give in; otherwise Israel will maintain control indefinitely;

-- the PISGA must have independent powers - over all pre-1967 laws, institutions, councils, administrative bodies, courts, everything;

-- Israelis and Americans will devise ways to deceive you; be sure PISGA's power comes from general elections and from independent legislative authority over Palestinian lands and the people;

-- PISGA must be empowered to enact laws; its legislature authority will be the progenitor of Palestinian sovereignty;

-- settlers may be given permanent resident alien status or the equivalent of a "green card" in America; Palestinian citizenship as well without renouncing other citizenship held;

-- no Israeli "settlements should be allowed;" henceforth; Israelis on Palestinian lands would be subject to its laws; however, they should be allowed to live anywhere and not be forced to move;

-- Israeli military bases on Palestinian lands won't come under local laws or courts as long as its forces remain confined; the IDF will maintain jurisdiction on them for both military and civilian personnel; under no circumstances should they have jurisdictional authority over liberated Palestinian lands and its people;

-- in theory, it's possible that the IDF may withdraw to some existing settlements and establish military bases there; however, allowing it risks losing sovereignty;

-- refuse to defer Jerusalem's status for a Final Settlement; it's a trap because the 1989 US-Israel Land-Lease and Purchase Agreement calls for the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem by July 1996; there must be an "iron-clad" guarantee this won't happen until a Final Settlement is negotiated, approved, ratified, implemented and accepted by both sides.

Boyle's document was profound, detailed and crucially important at the time. Had it been adopted, 15 years of pain and betrayal might have been avoided. We'll never know.

From the Oslo Accords to the Al Aqsa Intifada

In all negotiations, going back to pre-Oslo, Israel never bargained in good faith. Nor does it now. When he was Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to Middle East Peace Negotiations (from 1991 - 1993), Boyle was asked his opinion on the "closest historical analogue" to Israel's offer. "A bantustan" that followed from the disingenuous Camp David Accords, he replied. It offered autonomy for the Palestinian people, not Palestinian land. Even worse, Israel wanted the Palestinian interim self-goverment to function as its enforcer, an extension of the IDF to do its dirty work, and it got it.

Under Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi's chairmanship, the Palestinian Delegation rejected Israel's proposal and asked Boyle to draft an alternative. "Do whatever you want," he said. "But do not sell out our right to our State." Boyle assured him he wouldn't despite enormous PLO pressure to give in.

Boyle's alternative was reviewed in the preceding section. The Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations approved it. At first, so did the PLO leadership. In the end, however, Arafat accepted Oslo even though he was "fully informed and properly advised" against it. Dr. Abdul Shaffi boycotted the signing ceremony. He abhorred Oslo and wanted nothing to do with it.

Boyle is kinder to Arafat than this writer in past articles - that he sold out and chose Oslo as his get-out-of-Tunis free pass plus whatever benefits accrued to the leadership. They were substantial. Boyle believes Arafat took what he could get and hoped to "prove that the Palestinians were willing to live in peace and harmony with Israel" throughout a five-year test period. One can only guess if he felt that would lead to an independent Palestinian State within pre-1967 borders. However, given past Israeli - Palestinian relations, he was either foolish, disingenuous, or ill advised by those around him in Tunis even though Oslo promised final status negotiations on all unresolved issues. Fifteen years later, they're still unresolved and not even discussed.

Oslo I led to Oslo II in Taba, Egypt in September 1995, then countersigned in Washington four days later. It made things worse, not better, but that's how Israel negotiates. It called for further Israeli troop deployments and divided the West Bank into Areas A, B and C plus a fourth area for Greater Jerusalem. It gave Israel total control and furthered its settlement expansion.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum came next on September 4, 1999. It implemented Oslo II and other agreements since Oslo I, including a 1994 Protocol on Economic Relations; a Cairo Agreement on Gaza and the Jericho Area the same year; a (1994) Washington Declaration and Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities; and a 1995 Protocol on Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities.

"Permanent status" Camp David talks followed in July 2000. Clinton, Arafat and Ehud Barak attended. Once again, betrayal was certain, yet the major media called Barak's offer "generous" and "unprecendented," and that Arafat spurned peace for conflict. Barak insisted he sign a "final agreement," declare an "end of conflict," and give up any legal basis for additional land. There was no formal offer in writing, and no documents or maps were presented.

Barak again offered a bantustan; the West Bank would be divided into four isolated cantons; placed under Palestinian administration; and surrounded with expanding settlements and other Israeli-controlled land. The deal was duplicitous. It dashed any hope for peace. Arafat had to reject it. Nonetheless, he was unfairly blamed and paid dearly for it.

His trouble began on September 28, 2000. Before becoming prime minister, Ariel Sharon was the main instigator. Accompanied by over 1000 Israeli troops and police, he staged a provocative visit to Islam's third holiest site - the Haram al-Sharif sacred shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque. It ignited uncontainable violence and second Intifada the following day.

On October 7, The Security Council responded (14 - 0 with the US abstaining) with Resolution 1322. Its paragraph 1 stated that the SC "Deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Haram al-Sharif (and) subsequent violence." It was substantial and Israeli-provoked. Its paragraph 3 "Calls upon Israel, the occupying power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention." Israel ignored the resolution and continued to commit extreme acts of violence against Palestinian civilians.

Throughout the five year Intifada, the toll was horrific. Many thousands of Palestinians were killed, injured, maimed, disabled, extra-judicially assassinated and imprisoned. In addition, many homes were destroyed, over two million dunums of land were confiscated, an illegal Separation Wall was built, and over a million trees were uprooted. Under international law, these are crimes of war and against humanity. They continue daily to the present. Washington is equally culpable as Israel's main supporter - in billions of annual grants and loans, the latest in modern weapons and technology, and more. As long as the partnership continues, chances for a viable and lasting Middle East peace are impossible. It appears both countries want it that way.

Preserving the Rule of Law in the War Against International Terrorism

The US Code defines "international terrorism," and many writers and scholars do as well. They boil down to wholesale or retail, the former by far the more important. Retail is by individuals or groups and generally minor in nature. States, in contrast, are wholesale perpetrators. According to Boyle: "the overwhelming majority of "terrorist" acts - whether in number or in terms of sheer human and material destructiveness - have always been committed by strong states against weak (ones), as well as by all governments against their people." America and Israel have the "dubious distinction" of being the world's leading "terrorist" states. Events post-9/11 underscore it.

The Geneva Declaration of Terrorism (for which Boyle served as Rapporteur) states that "Terrorism originates from the statist system of structural violence and domination that denies the right of self-determination to peoples...." It manifests itself in:

-- police state practices;

-- introducing or transporting nuclear weapons through the territory or territorial waters of other states or international waters;

-- conducting military exercises or war games near another state to threaten it;

-- an armed attack that threatens civilians in another state;

-- creating or supporting armed mercenaries to subvert the sovereignty of another state;

-- plots, assassinations or attempted ones against officials of other states or national liberation movements;

--covert intelligence operations to destabilize another state;

-- state disinformation campaigns;

-- arms sales in support of regional wars;

-- subverting civil liberties, constitutional protections and the rule of law on the pretext of countering terrorism; and

-- developing, testing and deploying nuclear and space-weapons capable of inflicting genocide and ecocide.

America is culpable on all counts. Israel as well except perhaps for not introducing or transporting nuclear weapons as above described.

After taking office in January 1981, the Reagan administration declared war on "international terrorism" as the keystone of its foreign policy and more. It supported repressive regimes and redefined terrorism to justify its actions. It also drastically changed US Middle East policy with respect to Israel.

Prior to Reagan, Washington generally sought stability through peaceful settlements of international disputes. Even during the Vietnam years, that approach was never entirely abandoned. Israel, in contrast, opts for retaliation and reprisal even though international law prohibits them. On matters of self-defense, the Reagan administration was much like Israel. Succeeding ones as well, but none more flagrantly than GW Bush.

Like Israel, it practices military retaliation and reprisal, "preemptive, preventive" and "pro-active" attacks, kidnapping suspected terrorists, hijacking aircraft in international airspace, destabilizing governments, fomenting military coups, assassinations, and indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas. It made Americans vulnerable to what the CIA called "blowback" in 1954 - the unintended consequences of our hostile acts like those enumerated above.

In contrast, the UN Charter explains under what conditions violence and coercion (by one state against another) are justified. Article 2(3) and Article 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes. Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use. And Article 51 allows the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security." In other words, justifiable self-defense is permissible. Charter Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or authorized by the Security Council.

Three General Assembly resolutions (Boyle calls "seminal") concur and absolutely prohibit "non-consensual military intervention:"

-- the 1965 Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty;

-- the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations; and

-- the 1974 Definition of Aggression.

Despite clear principles of international law, most terrorism acts are by strong states against weak ones. What can be done? Boyle cites several institutions and procedures to prevent, regulate and reduce international threats and use of force:

-- the UN Security Council;

-- "enforcement action" by appropriate regional organizations acting with authorization of the Security Council under Article 53 and Chapter VIII of the Charter;

-- peacekeeping operations and monitoring forces under Chapter VI of the Charter;

-- General Assembly authorized peacekeeping operations;

-- peacekeeping operations and monitoring forces from relevant regional organizations;

-- the "good offices" of the UN Secretariat;

-- the International Court of Justice;

-- the Permanent Court of Arbitration; and

-- numerous other institutions and bodies as well.

Reagan and GW Bush spurned peace to pursue "radical, extreme and excessive policies" with no heed to the rules and spirit of international laws and norms. The Clinton administration was also culpable in numerous ways. Most flagrantly by the repressive sanctions that killed over 1.5 millions Iraqis (including one million children) during the 12 years they were operative, mostly during his tenure.

Today "apocalyptic military aggression" is possible under George Bush's first strike nuclear attack policy. America is the greatest threat to world peace and the "sole 'rogue elephant' of international law and politics. (For humanity's sake, this administration) must be restrained (along with its Israeli partner). Time is of the essence" even with its scant six months left in office.

What Is To Be Done?

Israel is a serial aggressor, a rogue state, operating outside the law. Palestinians and others pay dearly. The world community must no longer tolerate it. Boyle suggests "new directions."

(1) Suspend Israel from all UN organs and bodies, including the General Assembly; its legal basis is simple; its UN admission basis was conditional on its accepting General Assembly Resolution 181 - the 1947 Partition Plan; Israel repudiated 181 and 194 as well - granting Palestinian refugees the right of return among other provisions; Israel chooses violence and spurns peace; the UN exists to maintain and enforce it; warrior states have no place in it; the General Assembly has UN Charter powers under Chapter IV; it must use them to expel Israel and send a message to other rogue states as well, one in particular.

(2) Peace depends on strict observance of international law; the General Assembly must demand it and require Resolutions 181 and 194 to be the basis for further Israeli - Palestinian negotiations; also other appropriate Security Council resolutions, the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, the 1907 Hague Regulations, and other relevant international law.

(3) America functions as a dishonest broker; it has no place in Middle East negotiations; it can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if it wishes; it never has and never will.

(4) The General Assembly should adopt "comprehensive economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions" against Israel according to the terms of the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution.

(5) The General Assembly should establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine (ICTP) to prosecute Israeli war criminals; it can be done by majority vote under Charter Article 22; Boyle doubts the ICC will do it and notes that the Bush administration has done everything possible to sabotage it; its authorizing Rome Statute established the Court in July 1998; it became operative in July 2002; as of June 2008, 106 states are members; America is not; Israel first rejected the Rome Statute, then signed it, but in 2002 informed the UN it would not ratify the treaty using similar evasive language as the US.

(6) The Palestinian government must sue Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - for acts of genocide in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention; after six decades of crimes of war and against humanity, Palestine's claims are valid; Israel has willfully tried to destroy the Palestinian people and deny them any hope for a viable sovereign state; for aiding and abetting Israel, America is equally culpable; in Boyle's judgment, taking action would send a powerful message and be "a severe defeat for Israel in the court of world public opinion;" for America also.

(7) World governments and people of conscience should organize a comprehensive economic divestment and disinvestment campaign against Israel; it can be modeled after the successful anti-apartheid one; the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid is the standard; it applies to Israel; it defines apartheid as a "crime against humanity" and guilty parties international criminals; a grassroots campaign is already underway but it needs strengthening and official worldwide government support.

Since the inception of the Israeli Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign, Boyle has advised students on tactics. He recommends they replicate efforts their predecessors used against apartheid South Africa. He also explains how pro-Israeli administrators will treat them - with "punitive, repressive, vindictive, and retaliatory tactics....including criminal prosecutions and student disciplinary" actions. The risks are considerable, legal rights notwithstanding. Against "Israel's genocidal apartheid regime," academic freedom, tenure, rights and due process won't apply. Justice won't come easily, but it's up to people of conscience to fight for it. How much longer can they wait?

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Bush Administration's Secret Biowarfare Agenda

The Bush Administration's Secret Biowarfare Agenda - by Stephen Lendman

When it comes to observing US and international laws, treaties and norms, the Bush administration is a serial offender. Since 2001, it's:

-- spurned efforts for nuclear disarmament to advance its weapons program and retain current stockpiles;

-- renounced the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and asserted the right to develop and test new weapons;

-- abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) because it expressly forbids the development, testing and deployment of missile defenses like its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and other programs;

-- refuses to adopt a proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) that would prohibit further weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production and prevent new nuclear weapons to be added to present stockpiles - already dangerously too high;

-- spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined plus multi-billions off-the-books, for secret programs, and for agencies like the CIA;

-- advocates preventive, preemptive and "proactive" wars globally with first-strike nuclear and other weapons under the nihilistic doctrines of "anticipatory self-defense" and remaking the world to be like America;

-- rescinded and subverted the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) to illegally develop new biowarfare weapons; in November 1969 and February 1970, Richard Nixon issued National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDM) 35 and 44; they renounced the use of lethal and other types of biological warfare and ordered existing weapons stockpiles destroyed, save for small amounts for research - a huge exploitable loophole; the Reagan and Clinton administrations took advantage; GHW Bush to a lesser degree;

-- GW Bush went further by renouncing the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that prohibits "the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons....;" on May 22, 1990, GHW Bush signed it into law to complete the 1972 Convention's implementation; what the father and Nixon established, GW Bush rendered null and void; "Rebuilding America's Defenses" is his central policy document for unchallengeable US hegemony; among other provisions, it illegally advocates advanced forms of biowarfare that can target specific genotypes - the genetic constitution of individual organisms.

A Brief Modern History of Biowarfare

-- the Hague Convention of 1907 bans chemical weapons;

-- WW I use of poison gas causes 100,000 deaths and 900,000 injuries;

-- Britain uses poison gas against Iraqis in the 1920s; as Secretary of State for War in 1919, Winston Churchill advocates it in a secret memo stating: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes;"

-- the 1928 Geneva Protocol prohibits gas and bacteriological warfare;

-- in 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads infects human subjects with cancer cells - under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations; Rhoads later conducts radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients;

-- in 1932, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study begins on 200 black men; they're not told of their illness, are denied treatment, and are used as human guinea pigs to follow their disease symptoms and progression; they all subsequently die;

-- in 1935, the Pellagra Incident occurs; after millions die over two decades, the US Public Health Service finally acts to stem the disease;

-- In 1935 - 1936, Italy uses mustard gas in conquering Ethiopia;

-- In its 1936 invasion, Japan uses chemical weapons against China; in the same year, a German chemical lab produces the first nerve agent, Tabun;

-- in 1940, 400 Chicago prisoners are infected with malaria to study the effects of new and experimental drugs;

-- the US has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s; in 1941, it implements a secret program to develop offensive and allegedly defensive bioweapons using controversial testing methods; most research and development is at Fort Detrick, MD; beginning in 2008, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs will also conduct it; production and testing are at Pine Bluff, AR and Dugway Proving Ground, UT;

-- from 1942 - 1945, (US) Chemical Warfare Services begins mustard gas experiments on about 4000 servicemen;

-- in 1943, the US begins biological weapons research at Fort Detrick, MD;

-- in 1944, the US Navy uses human subjects (locked in chambers) to test gas masks and clothing;

-- during WW II, Germany uses lethal Zyklon-B gas in concentration camp exterminations; the Japanese (in Unit 731) conduct biowarfare experiments on civilians;

-- in 1945, German offenders get immunity under Project Paperclip; Japanese ones as well - in exchange for their data and (for Germans at least) to work on top secret government projects in the US;

-- in 1945, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) implements "Program F;" it's the most extensive US study of the health effects of fluoride - a key chemical component in atomic bomb production; it's one of the most toxic chemicals known and causes marked adverse central nervous system effects; in the interest of national security and not undermining full-scale nuclear weapons production, the information is suppressed; fluoride is found naturally in low concentration in drinking water and foods; compounds of the substance are also commonly used for cavity-prevention, but few people understand its toxicity;

-- in 1946, VA hospital patients become guinea pigs for medical experiments;

-- in 1947, the US has germ warfare weapons; Truman withdraws the 1928 Geneva Protocol from Senate consideration; it's not ratified until 1974 and is now null and void under George Bush;

-- in 1947, the AEC's Colonel EE Kirkpatrick issues secret document #07075001; it states that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects;

-- in July 1947, the CIA is established; it begins LSD experiments on civilian and military subjects with and without their knowledge - to learn its use as an intelligence weapon;

-- in 1949, the US Army releases biological agents in US cities to learn the effects of a real germ warfare attack; tests continue secretly through at least the 1960s in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Panama City and Key West, Florida, Minnesota, other midwest locations, along the Pennsylvania turnpike and elsewhere; more on outdoor testing below;

-- after the (official) 1950 Korean War outbreak, North Korea and China accuse the US of waging germ warfare; an outbreak of disease the same year in San Francisco apparently is from Army bacteria released in the city; residents become ill with pneumonia-like symptoms;

-- in 1950, the DOD begins open-air nuclear weapons detonations in desert areas, then monitors downwind residents for medical problems and mortality rates;

-- in 1951, African-Americans are exposed to potentially fatal stimulants as part of a race-specific fungal weapons test in Virginia;

-- in 1953, the US military releases clouds of zinc cadium sulfide gas over Winnipeg, Canada, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, the Monocacy River Valley in Maryland, and Leesburg, VA - to determine how efficiently chemical agents can be dispersed;

-- in 1953, joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments are conducted in New York and San Francisco - exposing tens of thousands of people to the airborne germs Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii;

-- in 1953, the CIA initiates Project MKULTRA - an 11 year research program to produce and test drugs and biological agents that can be used for mind control and behavior modification; unwitting human subjects are used;

-- in 1955, the CIA releases bacteria from the Army's Tampa, FL biological warfare arsenal - to test its ability to infect human populations;

-- from 1955 - 1958, the Army Chemical Corps continues LSD research (on over 1000 subjects) - to study its effect as an incapacitating agent;

-- in 1956, the US military releases mosquitoes infected with Yellow Fever over Savannah, GA and Avon Park, FL - to test the health effects on victims;

-- in 1956, Army Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, specifically states bio-chemical warfare isn't banned;

-- in 1960, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence authorizes LSD field tested in Europe and the Far East;

-- in 1961, the Kennedy administration increases chemical spending from $75 - $330 million; it authorizes Project 112 - a secret program (from 1962 - 1973) to test the effects of biological and chemical weapons on thousands of unwitting US servicemen; Project SHAD was a related project; subjects were exposed to VX, tabun, sarin and soman nerve gases plus other toxic agents;

-- in 1962, chemical weapons are loaded on planes for possible use during the Cuban missile crisis;

-- in 1966, the New York subway system is used for a germ warfare experiment;

-- in 1968, the Pentagon considers using some of its chemical weapons (including nerve gas) against civil rights and anti-war protesters;

-- in 1969, an apparent nerve agent kills thousands of sheep in Utah; Nixon issues two National Security Memoranda in 1969 and 1970; the first (in November 1969) ends production and offensive use of lethal and other type biological and chemical weapons; it confines "bacteriological/biological research for defensive purposes" and has other loopholes as well; the second (in February 1970) orders existing stockpiles destroyed, confines "toxins....research and development (to) defensive purposes only," and declares only small quantities will be maintained to develop vaccines, drugs and diagnostics - a huge exploitable loophole;

-- in 1969, the General Assembly bans herbicide plant killers and tear gases in warfare; the US is one of three opposing votes; despite being banned, open-air testing intermittently continues to the present, and the Pentagon apparently authorized it in its most recent annual report; it calls for developmental and operational "field testing of (CBW) full systems," not just simulations, and followed it up in a recent March 2008 test; in Crystal City, VA, it released perflourocarbon tracers and sulfur hexaflouride assuring residents it's safe; it's not and may harm persons with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory ailments;

-- in 1969, DOD's Dr. Robert MacMahan requests $10 million to develop a synthetic biological agent for which no natural immunity exists;

-- from the 1960s through at least the 1980s, the US assaults Cuba with biological agent attacks;

-- in 1970, US Southeast Asian forces conduct Operation Tailwind using sarin nerve gas in Laos; many die, including civilians; Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, confirmes the raid on CNN in 1998; under Pentagon pressure, CNN retracts the report and fires award-winning journalist Peter Arnett and co-producers April Oliver and Jack Smith because they refuse to disavow their report;

-- in 1971, US forces end direct use of Agent Orange in Southeast Asia; also in 1971 with CIA help, an anti-Castro paramilitary group introduces African swine fever into Cuba; it infects a half a million pigs and results in their destruction; a few months later a similar attack fails against Cuban poultry; in 1981, a covert US operation unleashes a type 2 dengue fever outbreak - the first in the Caribbean since the turn of the century involving hemorrhagic shock on a massive scale; over 300,000 cases are reported, including 158 fatalities;

-- in 1975, the Senate Church Committee confirms from a CIA memorandum that US "defensive" bioweapons are stockpiled at Fort Detrick, MD - including anthrax, encephalitis, tuberculosis, shellfish toxin, and food poisons;

-- in 1980, Congress approves a nerve gas facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas;

-- during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the US supplies Iraq with toxic biological and chemical agents; Ronald Reagan signs a secret order to do "whatever (is) necessary and 'legal' " to prevent Iraq from losing the war;" a 1994 congressional inquiry later finds that dozens of biological agents were shipped, including various strains of anthrax and precursors of nerve gas (like sarin), gangrene, and West Nile virus;

-- in 1984, Reagan orders M55 rockets retooled to contain high-yield explosives and VX gas; his administration begins researching and developing biological agents allegedly for "defensive purposes;"

-- in 1985 and 1986, the US resumes open-air biological agents testing; it likely never stopped;

-- in 1987, Congress votes to resume chemical weapons production;

-- in 1989, 149 nations at the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference condemn these weapons; after signing the treaty, it's revealed that the US plans to produce poison gas; at the UN, GHW Bush reaffirms the US commitment to eliminate chemical weapons in 10 years; the US implements the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 - "to implement....the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction....;"

-- in 1990, GHW Bush signs the 1989 act making it illegal for the US to develop, possess or use biological weapons; Bush also signs Executive Order 12735 stating: the spread of chemical and biological weapons constitutes an "unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States;"

-- following the Gulf War, reports surface about US forces' health problems - later called Gulf War Syndrome; the likely cause - widespread use of depleted uranium, other toxic substances, and the illegal use (on nearly 700,000 theater forces) of experimental vaccines in violation of the Nuremberg Code on medical experimentation; over 12,000 have since died and over 30% are now ill from non-combat-related factors; they've since filed claims with the VA for medical care, compensation, and pension benefits;

-- in 1997, Cuba accuses the US of spraying crops with biological agents;

-- in 1997, the US ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) banning the production, stockpile and use of these substances;

-- in 2001, the Bush administration rejects the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) citing 38 problems with it, some called serious; claiming a need to counter chemical and biological weapons threats, it's spending multi-billions illegally to develop, test and stockpile "first-strike" chemical and biological weapons that endanger homeland security and threaten good relations with other countries;

-- all along, a BWC loophole allows appropriate types and amounts of biological agents to be used for "prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes" - construed to be defensive; it also permits "research," not "development;" the CIA took full advantage to conduct programs for offense, not defense or to further peace; further, the BWC includes nothing about genetic engineering because it didn't exist at the time.

The US Secret Bioweapons Program

In November 2001, Michel Chossudovsky used this title for his Global article. It was when "an impressive military arsenal of aircraft carriers and gun-boats" was building up in the Persian Gulf in preparation for "a major bombing operation....against Iraq" at a future designated time.

Back home, the administration used the 2001 anthrax attacks as "justification for extending the 'campaign against international terrorism' to Iraq....Washington singled out Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya of violating the international treaty banning weapons of germ warfare."

At the same time, ample evidence "confirms that the US has built an extensive arsenal of biological weapons (in blatant violation) of international laws and covenants." It was enlarged in the 1980s and 1990s but significantly expanded under George Bush on the pretext of being strictly "defensive" and to "curb the use of germ warfare by 'rogue states.' "

On October 29, 2002, the London Guardian reported that "Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned that the US is (illegally) developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare" - ironically at the same time it accused Iraq of these same type violations.

University of Bradford international security professor Malcolm Dando and University of California microbiology lecturer Mark Wheelis accused the Bush administration of "encouraging a breakdown in arms control" treaties by secretly conducting these programs. Dando said they include:

-- developing a cluster bomb to disperse bioweapons;

-- building a bioweapons plant from commercially available materials to prove "terrorists" can do it;

-- genetically engineering a more potent anthrax strain;

-- producing dried and weaponized anthrax spores in quantities far larger than for research;

-- researching and producing hallucinogenic weapons such as BZ gas; and

-- developing "non-lethal" weapons similar to the gas Russia used to end the 2002 Moscow theater siege that killed around 170 people and injured hundreds.

In February 2008, the Sunshine Project suspended operations, but its website is still accessible. It was an NGO dedicated to banning and "avert(ing) the dangers of" bioweapons. In 2001, it accused the Bush administration of advancing "a plan to undermine international controls on biological weapons."

On May 8, 2002, it issued a press release titled "US Armed Forces Push for Offensive Biological Weapons Development - genetically engineered microbes that attack items such as fuel, plastics and asphalt" in violation of international law. The proposals date from 1997 and involve the (Washington, DC) Naval Research Laboratory and the (Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas) Armstrong Laboratory. They come at a time when the US rejected "legally-binding" UN inspections of "suspected" facilities producing weapons "explicitly for offense."

Additional documents have been suppressed and those known "are probably only the tip of the iceberg....The National Academies are also concealing related documents. After the Sunshine Project requested copies....on March 12, 2002, (they) placed a 'security hold' on the public file" without explanation. "The research proposed by the Air Force and Navy raises serious legal questions. Under the (1989) US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act, development of biological weapons, including those that attack materials, is subject to federal criminal and civil penalties." It also prohibits development, acquisition and stockpiling of agents intended as bioweapons.

On May 21, 2004, AP reported that arms control advocates warned the Bush administration that "proposed research for a new (Fort Detrick) Homeland Security center may violate an international ban on biological weapons and encourage other countries to follow." Experts said proposals for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) flout bioweapons prohibitions by crossing the line between "defensive" research and banned weapons development.

On July 31, 2007 the London Guardian reported that the US is "Building (a) Treaty-Breaching Germ War Defence Centre" near Washington, DC" - NBACC. It's to be completed in 2008 and will be a "vast germ warfare laboratory intended to help protect the US against an attack with biological weapons, but critics say the laboratory's work will violate international law and its extreme secrecy will exacerbate a biological arms race (by) accelerat(ing) work on similar facilities around the world."

It will house "heavily guarded and hermetically sealed produce and stockpile the world's most lethal bacteria and viruses" - forbidden by the 1972 BWC and 1989 US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act. The Fort Detrick facility will be used for the new 160,000 square foot lab, and it's authorization coincided with the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, and along with 9/11, unleashed everything that followed.

DHS calls Fort Detrick the home of "The National Interagency Biodefense Campus." Besides NBACC, other agencies there include:

-- the Health and Human Services' (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID);

-- the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit (FDWSRU); and

-- the Department of Defense's US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

DHS says USAMRIID "conduct(s) basic and applied research on biological threats (to provide) cutting-edge medical research for the warfighter against biological threats." International law and bioweapons expert, Francis Boyle, disagrees. He says the "program constitutes clear violations of the international (1972 BWC) arms control treaty....ratified by the United States in 1975." He also cites BWC's preamble that states in part:

"....Parties to this Convention (are) Determined to act with a view to achieving effective progress towards general and complete disarmament, including the prohibition and elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction, and convinced that the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons and their elimination, through effective measures, will facilitate the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control...." The BWC goes on to say that use of these weapons are so "repugnant to the conscience of mankind....that no effort should be spared to minimize this risk."

In Boyle's view, Fort Detrick's NBACC and USAMRIID heighten risks because their work involves: "acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, packaging and dispersing classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens." This work is an "unmistakable hallmark of an offensive weapons program" in violation of the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act that he authored. Even worse according to Edward Hammond, former director of the Sunshine Project: Recreating the deadly 1918 "Spanish flu" germ that killed an estimated 40 million worldwide (or other dangerous pathogens) increases "the possibility of (a) man-made disaster, either accidental or deliberate....for the entire world." If a single viral particle or cell escapes or is unleashed, an enormous outbreak may result with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The Fort Detrick plan derives from a Bush Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-10) written April 28, 2004. It states: "Among our many initiatives we are continuing to develop more forward-looking analyses, to include Red Teaming efforts, to understand new scientific trends that may be exploited by our adversaries to develop biological weapons and to help position intelligence collectors ahead of the problem." Boyle calls it "a smoking gun" aimed at the BWC.

"Red Teaming means that we actually have people out there on a Red Team plotting, planning, scheming and conspiring how to use biowarfare" and sooner or later will unleash it using living organisms for military purposes. They may be viral, bacterial, fungal, or other forms that can spread over a vast terrain by wind, water, insect, animal, or humans, according to Jeremy Rifkin, author of "The Biotech Century." Rifkin also asserts it's "impossible to distinguish between defensive and offensive research in the field," and given this administration's penchant for lying and secrecy, other nations will be justifiably suspicious.

The Bush administration proceeded anyway. Since 9/11, it spent or allocated around $50 billion on bioweapons development through 11 federal departments and agencies, including DOD and DHS. For FY 2009, it wants an additional $8.1 billion or $2.5 billion more than in FY2008. It calls its program preventive and defensive and cites Project BioShield as an example. It became law in July 2004 as a 10 year program to develop countermeasures to biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents. It was, in fact, a gift to companies like Gilead Sciences, the company Donald Rumsfeld led as chairman from 1997 to 2001 (and remains a major shareholder) until he left to become George Bush's Defense Secretary.

It would have also required every American to be vaccinated under the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005. It passed the Senate but not the House and would have, under a public emergency, allowed experimental or approved drugs to be used with insufficient knowledge of their safety - in violation of the Nuremburg Code on medical experimentation. It also would have immunized companies from liability and denied those harmed the right to sue.

Private Bioweapons Labs Cashing In

According to the Sunshine Project, "scores of US universities and biotechnology companies (since 2001) have benefitted handsomely from billions of dollars in 'biodefense' cash. Across the country, 'biodefense' labs are sprouting up like weeds. The unrelenting spigot of federal money (has) thousands of scientists and technicians" doing bioweapons research on some of the deadliest pathogens. But the problem is much greater than that:

-- projects underway are illegal;

-- immense secrecy enshrouds them; and

-- federal oversight is so lax that NIH safety guidelines aren't enforced and CDC poorly identifies problems it should address; as a result, "accidents are popping up everywhere" amidst a "pervasive cover-up culture" that hides them - in direct violation of federal rules and responsible practice that:

(1) require government agencies to protect the public from dangerous pathogens, and

(2) obligate research labs to disclose the nature of their work; failure to do so suggests alleged biodefense research is, in fact, cover for offensive biowarfare programs to complement Fort Detrick and other government site efforts.

The Sunshine Project believes about 400 private bioweapons labs now operate around the country with no public disclosure of their activities - and plenty of reasons to worry Francis Boyle that the Bush administration is up to mischief. It "sabotaged the Verification Protocol for the BWC (and) fully intend(s) to (engage in) research, development and testing of illegal and criminal offensive biowarfare programs." That prospect should frighten everyone.

Reporter Sherwood Ross for sure. He calls the administration's project "the costliest, most grandiose research scheme ever attempted (with) germ warfare capability....going forward under President Bush and in defiance of" US and international laws. Far worse, where once "germ warfare was an isolated happenstance, (today's efforts elevate it) to an instrument of (deadly and loathsome) policy.

Other Recent Developments

On February 21, 2008, the Sidney Morning Herald reported that the Bush administration rejected claims made by Indonesian Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, in her book titled: "It Is Time for the World to Change! God's Hand Behind Bird Flu Virus." She questions whether the US is using bird flu samples collected from developing nations to develop biological weapons, not new vaccines as claimed.

On July 20, 2008, the Jakarta Post reported: "If there were a "National Darling Award" contest....Supari would probably win it. (Her) supporters praise her as a great third world heroine who dares challenge the global structure of injustice and inequality perpetrated by powerful states (like the US) and networks of international institutions. Most of the praise is based on opinions" from her new book mentioned above.

She claims the US is transferring virus samples to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It's one of two US nuclear weapons labs that will operate new biological research facilities capable of researching and developing dangerous pathogens in violation of the BWC and US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is the other one. On January 25, it began operating a new Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab. In August, Los Alamos is scheduled to complete a federally mandated environmental study for a similar lab to begin operations shortly thereafter. Given the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy, Supari's accusations may be justified.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) establishes biosafety classifications. BLS-4 ones, like for Ebola, are the most dangerous, in part, because no known cures exist. Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore currently operate BLS-2 labs. They'll now have BLS-3 ones to study infectious agents able to cause serious or fatal illnesses if inhaled. But there's no way to know if both labs, Fort Detrick, others like the former Edgewood Arsenal (now the Edgewood Area at the Aberdeen Proving Ground), Oak Ridge Ridge National Laboratory, and still more we don't know about will secretly research any type pathogens, including the most dangerous ones, for any purpose - offense or defense.

What is known is that government labs will study pathogens posing serious public health and safety threats. Ones like anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, plague, Rickettsia, tularemia, Avian influenza, H5N1 (the recent strain reported and called the most dangerous), and valley fever plus whatever others are planned but kept secret.

Most important is this. These labs conduct weapons research, so they'll likely focus on bioweapons and not follow BWC "prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes" guidelines. For example, vaccines and potential biological weapons defenses may, in fact, be for offense. Distinguishing between the two is impossible so other nations and figures like Supari are suspicious.

They're not comforted by Lawrence Livermore's Lynda Seaver. On February 12, she told Arms Control Today that the US is "a signatory to the Biowarfare Convention and does not conduct bioweapons research." She also said most work there will be unclassified. On February 15, however, a CDC spokesperson suggested otherwise and informed Arms Control Today that Lawrence Livermore security restrictions are tight as they are at Los Alamos, Fort Detrick and other US weapons research facilities. They bar transparency and place strict limits on sharing select agents research to prevent other nations from knowing it exists or its purpose.

Further, later this year DHS will complete construction of the new Fort Detrick lab (NBACC), and a new $500 million animal research facility is planned. Both will have BLS-3 and 4 capabilities. They'll work on the most dangerous known pathogens and conduct controversial type threat assessment research - to develop and produce new biological weapons and develop defenses against them. Once again, differentiating between offense and defense is impossible, and given their penchant for deception and secrecy, no one takes Bush administration officials at their word nor should they.

Francis Boyle's "Biowarfare and Terrorism"

Boyle drafted the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act and covers it in his 2006 book. It's now codified in Title 18 of the US Code, sections 175 - 178 and was the implementing legislation for the landmark 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

MIT molecular biology professor Jonathan King wrote this about the book in its forward:

It "outlines how and why the United States government initiated, sustained and then dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms buildup....Boyle reveals how the new (multi-) billion-dollar US Chemical and Biological Defense Program has been reoriented (endorsing "first strike" CBW use in war) to accord with the Neo-Conservative pre-emptive strike agenda - this time by (illegal) biological and chemical warfare." This "represent(s) a significant emerging danger to our population (and) threaten(s) international relations among nations." These programs "are always called defensive (but) with biological weapons, defensive and offensive programs overlap almost completely."

"Boyle (also) sheds new light on the motives for the (2001) anthrax attacks, the media black hole of silence (about them), and why the FBI may never apprehended the perpetrators of this seminal crime of the 21st century." They killed five people, injured 17 others, and temporarily shut down Congress, the Supreme Court, and other federal operations. Army scientist Dr. Steven Hatfill was unfairly implicated as a "person of interest" but was never charged. He sued the Justice Department and in June was awarded $2.8 million and a $150,000 annuity for violating his privacy, leaking false and inflammatory information, costing him his job and reputation, and blasting his name all over the media for days. It was the beginning of the frightening events that followed.

Boyle is currently a leading proponent of an effort to impeach George Bush, Dick Cheney and other high-level administration figures for their crimes of war, against humanity and other grievous violations of domestic and international law. In his "Biowarfare and Terrorism," he sounds an alarm about the administration's bioweapons program and what it means for humanity. He fears "a catastrophic biowarfare or bioterrorist incident or accident (is) a statistical certainty." It highlights enormous new risks plus other frightening ones like the possibility of nuclear war and catastrophic fallout from it. That, permanent wars, a potential Andromeda Strain, police state justice, and destroying the republic are but five among other threats since the advent of George Bush and his roguish team.

In "Biowarfare and Terrorism," Boyle addresses the bioweapons threat as an expert on the subject and gives readers an historical perspective. He asserts that the US government dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms development, production, and buildup that endangers all humanity with its potential. It's part of an extremist agenda for unchallengeable power and right to unleash "proactive" wars with the most aggressive weapons in its arsensal - nuclear, chemical, biological, others, space-based ones, and new ones in development.

Since WW II, America has actively developed, tested, and used terror weapons, including biological ones. Even after Nixon ended the nation's biowarfare programs, they never stopped. The CIA remained active through a loophole in the law, then the Reagan administration reactivated what Nixon slowed down. It acted much like the current regime with many of the same officials espousing similar extremist views - that America must exploit its technological superiority and not let laws, norms, or the greater good deter them.

The Bush administration raised the stakes and threatens all humanity. Boyle believes it used 9/11 and the anthrax attacks to stampede Congress and the public into aggressive wars and a menu of repressive laws. He also thinks the FBI knows who's behind the anthrax attacks: criminal US government elements planning a police state and another frightening enterprise - to fight and win a future biowar. A possible nuclear one as well. Boyle sounds the alarm about what may lie ahead and its potential consequences.

In October 2003, the National Academy of Sciences did as well. It warned about the "misuse of tools, technology, or knowledge base of (bioweapons) research for offensive military or terrorist purposes." That's the present risk. It makes everyone unwitting subjects of a recklessly endangering experiment.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jeff Halper's "An Israeli in Palestine" - Part II

Jeff Halper's An Israeli in Palestine (Part II) - by Stephen Lendman

According to Israeli-based author and journalist Jonathan Cook, Halper's book is "one of the most insightful analyses of the Occupation I've read. His voice cries out to be heard" on the region's longest and most intractable conflict. Part II continues the story.

Part III: The Structure of Oppression - Expanding Dispossession, The Occupation and the Matrix of Control

What 1948 left undone, 1967 completed - securing control over the entire "Holy Land" with the seizure of Gaza, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. Nishul's fifth stage began and today includes expanding West Bank settlements and continued displacement inside Israel.

After the Six-Day War, all Palestinians came under military rule, and "a comprehensive Matrix of Control was implemented to perpetuate Israeli control forever." A problem arose, however, as international law prohibits an occupier from remaining permanently. Israel's Attorney General, Meir Shamgar, got around it in typical Israeli fashion. No "occupation" exists so Israel didn't violate Geneva or other international law. In other words, "occupation" only occurs when one sovereign state conquers another, so presto - Palestine wasn't sovereign and Israel did nothing illegal.

This has no legitimacy in international law, yet Israel gets away with it, and it's the reason it calls the West Bank (and formerly Gaza) "disputed," not "occupied." Furthermore, Shamgar's ruling affected Supreme Court decisions ever since and lets Israel expand its settlement project on annexed Palestinian land.

Immediately after the 1967 war, the Labor government began "integrating Judea, Samaria and Gaza to Israel." After Menachem Begin's 1977 election, he appointed Ariel Sharon to head a Ministerial Committee on Settlements and gave him the job to do it. He was charged with two tasks:

-- create irreversible "facts on the ground;"

-- prevent any chance of a sovereign Palestinian state; and begin implementing a formal "Matrix of Control" - an almost "invisible system...behind a facade of 'proper administration,' thus protecting Israel's" democratic image to this day.

It has four modes of control:

(1) Administrative, Bureaucracy, Planning and Law as Tools of Occupation and Control

They include rules, restrictions, procedures and sanctions under Military orders regulating everything in Occupied Palestine. For example, 72% of the West Bank was classified as "state lands" making seizure a simple administrative task. A further 400 square miles were designated as closed "military zones," and more restrictions covered zoned "nature reserves."

Military commanders also have authority to prohibit Palestinian construction for security reasons or to ensure "public order." Hundreds of other military orders forbid Palestinian building around army bases, installations, settlements, or within 200 meters on each side of main roads. This effectively closes off tens of thousands of acres from their rightful owners. At the same time, settlement expansion continues, and measures in place use every means possible to advance them.

Administrative restrictions among them like requiring Palestinians to get permits to plant crops on their own land, sell it, or have them for their own use. Opening banks and businesses are also curtailed through a process of licensing and inspections to harass the owners and harm the Palestinian economy.

Control encompasses everything. Resistance is called "terrorism," and legal gymnastics justify assassinations in the name of national security. Mass imprisonments as well. Uncharged victims held administratively. Extensive use of torture. All of it under the radar with a wink and a nod from the West.

(2) Economic Warfare

From 1967 to the Oslo process, "asymmetric containment" defined economic policy in the Territories. The idea was to keep cheap products and labor from competing advantageously with Israel and to prevent Palestinians from gaining economic strength. So constraints were placed on them:

-- preventing their opening a bank;

-- implementing tariffs and subsidies to advantage Israeli businesses;

-- various import controls disadvantaging Palestinians;

-- de-developing the Palestinian economy through lack of infrastructure development, housing and key services;

-- expropriating agricultural land;

-- preventing Palestinian produce from reaching Israeli markets; and

-- implementing internal closure policies to impede Palestinian business inside the Territories.

Israel eased off somewhat during the Oslo years, but the Paris Economic Protocol annex to Oslo II (in 1995) assured total Israeli control over the Palestinian economy. Today economic closure is total under strict Israeli measures:

-- control over industrial and commercial enterprise licensing;

-- issuance of import and export permits; and

-- a nightmarish bureaucracy controlling all facets of Palestinian commerce.

It devastated the economy. Most manufacturing is shut down, and 70% of Palestinians companies either closed or severely cut production and staff. Unemployment is staggering - 67% in Gaza and 48% in the West Bank at the time of Halper's writing. Today it's higher. Without jobs, Palestinians have no income source. Poverty levels are at 75% or higher. Most people live on $2 a day or less. External food and other aid is essential. Still 30% or more of Palestinian children under age five suffer from malnutrition. With Gaza now under siege, it's far higher there and dangerously so. It remains to be seen what effect the cease-fire will have.

Israel also controls fuel, water, electricity, phone and other services, and when available they're at higher prices than Israelis pay. The result is "profound structural imbalances in the Palestinian economy and (an) artificial dependence upon Israel." A "deliberate de-development" scheme as well is in place with international investment cut off and Gaza's airport and sea port destroyed during the second Intifada.

Conditions are so extreme that one UN official complained that he doesn't "know of another conflict area in the world" with these type problems. Nor is there one the entire world is so dismissive of or practically so.

(3) Creating "Facts on the Ground"

Israel began the process with the Six Day War still raging. Ever since, disconnected cantons were created to cement settlements and make control irreversible. Following the Gulf War, the Madrid peace conference promised hope and was the catalyst for Oslo. They established a vaguely-defined negotiating process, specified no outcome, and let Israel delay, refuse to make concessions, and continue colonizing the Territories.

In return, Palestinians got nothing for renouncing armed struggle, recognizing Israel's right to exist, and leaving major unresolved issues for indefinite later final status talks. They include an independent Palestinian state, the Right of Return, the future of Israeli settlements, borders, water rights, and status of Jerusalem as sovereign Palestinian territory and future home of its capital.

Oslo I led to Oslo II in September 1995. It called for further Israeli troop redeployments beyond Gaza and major West Bank population centers and later from all rural areas except around Israeli settlements and designated military zones. The process divided the West Bank into three parts - each with distinct borders, administrative and security controls - Areas A, B and C plus a fourth area for Greater Jerusalem:

-- Area A under Palestinian control for internal security, public order and civil affairs;

-- Area B under Palestinian civil control for 450 West Bank towns and villages with Israel having overriding authority to safeguard its settlers' security; and

-- Area C and its water resources under Israeli control; settlements as well on the West Bank's most valuable land.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum followed and was agreed to by Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak in September 1999. It implemented Oslo II and other post-Oslo I agreements. Months later came "permanent status" talks in July 2000. Promises became betrayal, and Barak's "generous offer" was fake leaving Arafat no choice to reject it. But not without being blamed for spurning an "unprecedented" chance for peace. Barak insisted Arafat sign a "final agreement," declare an "end of conflict," and give up any legal basis for additional land in the Territories. There was no Israeli offer in writing, and no documents or maps were presented.

Barak's offer consisted of a May 2000 West Bank map dividing the area into four isolated cantons under Palestinian administration surrounded by expanding Israeli settlements and other Israeli-controlled land. They got no link to each other or to Jordan. They consisted of:

-- Jericho;

-- the southern canton to Abu Dis;

-- a northern one, including Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarm; and

-- a central one, including Ramallah. Gaza was left in limbo as a fifth canton and "resolved" when Israel "disengaged" in August and September 2005 but kept total control; the right to reenter any time for any reason; and, as it turned out, to impose a medieval siege.

Barak's deal was no deal, all take and no give, with no chance for reconciliation or resolution of the most intractable issues. Halper calls it "a subtle yet crucial tweaking of the Matrix." Rather than defend all Israeli settlements, Barak defined seven "blocs" to remain under Israeli control under any future agreement.

Overall, Israel maintains total control of the Territories and occupies most of the West Bank with expanding settlements, by-pass roads, Separation Wall, military areas and no-go zones. Palestinians are tightly confined in disconnected cantons. Checkpoints and other obstacles restrict free movement, and no possibility exists for a viable sovereign state as of now.

Halper gave a "brief tour" of Israel's settlement blocs. Below they're listed briefly:

-- the Jordan Valley as Israel's eastern "security border;" it separates Palestinians from Jordan;

-- the "Western Samaria" bloc centered around the city of Ariel; it virtually divides the West Bank;

-- the Modi'in bloc connects the Western Samaria Bloc to Jerusalem; it contains some of the West Bank's richest agricultural land;

-- the three settlement blocs of (1)Givat Ze'ev, (2) Ma'aleh Adumim and (3) Gush Etzion, Efrat-Beitar, Illit, comprise "Greater Jerusalem;" they contain 97 square miles and house 80,000 settlers; along with Israeli-controlled Jerusalem and its 240,000 settlers, it dominates the West Bank, destroys its territorial contiguity, and prevents any hope for a viable Palestinian state; and

-- the Hebron bloc in the southern West Bank.

They're all linked by 29 highways and by-pass for-Jews only roads. Finally, there's the Separation Wall. Construction began in June 2002. The World Court ruled it illegal. Israel continues building it. It's nearly complete, and when finished will be 721 kilometers in length or five times longer than the Berlin Wall and more imposing with its sensors, trenches, security roads, mine fields, checkpoints, terminals, watchtowers, surveillance cameras, electronic sensory devices and military patrols using killer dogs. It entraps 50,000 Palestinians, steals their land, and has nothing to do with purported security. It's a plain and simple land grab combined with enclosing Palestinians inside disconnected cantons.

(4) Military Controls and Military Strikes

Israel's Matrix conceals its "Iron Fist" that when unleashed is very visible and destructive. During both Intifadas, major operations were launched killing hundreds of Palestinians and wounding thousands more, mostly innocent civilians. Operations Defensive Shield (March-April 2002), Rainbow (May 2004), Summer and Autumn Rains (second half 2006) are just three among many. Israel's "Iron Wall" shows no mercy.

Concluding Dispossession: Oslo and Unilateral Separation

Oslo represented nishul's sixth stage, "a kind of occupation-by-consent," according to Halper. It's explained above with a few more comments to add. Israel's "security" is key to any peace process. So is getting Palestinian acquiescence to all Israeli demands and being willing to act as its enforcer. The process was flawed by design, collapsed under its own weight, led to the second Intifada, and awakened peace activists to be more proactive for their cause. It also inspired Halper to establish ICAHD, and he's been active in it since.

Oslo's failure got Israelis to "hunker down" and make "security" their foremost issue. It also explains their willingness to elect Ariel Sharon Prime Minister. Halper says "Everything he did had a clear focus and purpose: beating the Palestinians into submission, extending Israel's sovereignty to the Jordan River and preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state." He would complete the final nishul stage, and by luck he took power along with George Bush, his close friend and willing co-conspirator. They had a common agenda and 9/11 advanced it - in four decisive stages:

(1) Defeating the Palestinians Once and For All

It began with Sharon's controversial visit to the Haram/Temple Mount on September 28, 2000 before he was elected Prime Minister. It ignited the second Intifada the result of years of frustration over a "dead-end" peace process. It was also inspired by Hezbollah's forcing Israel's May 2000 South Lebanon withdrawal.

Anger and discontent built and finally erupted on September 29. Israel responded harshly. A cycle of resistance and retaliation followed, and the struggle persisted since despite its formal 2005 end. The first five days were especially bloody. Before a single Israeli soldier was targeted, the IDF unleashed over a million projectiles - bullets, shells, air-to-surface missiles, chemical weapons and more against a civilian population in clear violation of international law that classifies this as war crimes. Palestinian deaths numbered over 170. Another 7000 were wounded. It was just the beginning, and Sharon once in office unleashed it full force with Khan Yunis and its refugee camp one of his first targets.

With 60,000 residents, it's one of the most crowded places on earth. The IDF attacked it and obliterated an entire neighborhood. In April 2002, it invaded Jenin's refugee camp, home of 13,000 Palestinians in the northern West Bank. It cut it off from outside help. Jenin city as well. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed. People were buried under rubble. Power and water were cut off. Food and essentials kept out, including medical aid, and dozens of mostly civilian men, women and children were killed and many more injured and displaced.

Similar campaigns went on throughout the West Bank that took a terrible toll on the people and left all its cities "smoldering." Palestinian infrastructure was notably targeted - houses, roads and physical infrastructure. Institutional also, including government ministry data banks for Health, Education, and Higher Education. Affected were NGOs, research institutes, human rights organizations and everything a modern state needs to function.

It was the beginning of the end for Yasser Arafat. No longer a "reliable" ally, he was targeted for removal. His Ramallah headquarters was destroyed, save for a room or two where Sharon imprisoned him. Every Palestinian city, town and village was under siege as well and subjected to police state repression, curfews and midnight raids against helpless civilians. Thousands of acres of farmland and olive groves were leveled. "Security" is always the reason. Harassment explains it better - the beating of all resistance out of contained people with no outside support for help. David v. Goliath hardly defines it.

(2) Completing the Matrix of Control

The Separation Wall is the end process and is now nearly complete. Israel has all the choice land and settlements it needs, and in September 2004 unveiled a plan for Palestinian-only roads to assure they stay disconnected from Israeli ones.

(3) Getting American Approval for the Annexation of the Settlement Blocs

For this, the Road Map was announced in March 2003. George Bush was reluctant but agreed. If serious, it held promise, but that was too much to expect. From the start, it was a dead letter, and Israel's intransigence killed it although technically it's still alive. It promises a two-state solution, but not the one Israel envisions - disconnected, cantonized and no state at all for Palestinians who reject it out of hand. It can only work if imposed unilaterally and only for so long. For now, Bush is on board with Israel. Negotiations are at a dead end, and the year end Annapolis conference was a combination tragedy and travesty. It was the first time in memory the legitimate government of one side was excluded from discussions, and that alone doomed them.

(4) Implementation of the Cantonization Plan

In December 2003, Sharon launched some called "the maneuver of the century." It refers to his 2005 Gaza "disengagement" as a ploy to secure greater West Bank control and give up nothing in return. In March 2006, he suffered a stroke, became incapacitated, and Ehud Olmert took over to "nail down" Sharon's key objective - "a permanent solution, an end of the Occupation based on the notion of cantonization." It would have to be unilateral as Palestinians were offered nothing.

Olmert conceived his "Convergence Plan" to control all land Israel wants and maintain separation from Palestinians. It's the same idea as Begin's Palestinian "autonomy," Sharon's cantonization, unilateral separation, the Matrix of Control, and the Oslo process while it lasted. A Palestinian state would be offered between Israel's two eastern borders, a mere truncated territory with no potential and little sovereignty. It will be imposed unilaterally, but that contradicts the Road Map that requires negotiation. So Olmert switched his "convergence" to "realignment" - finessing a border one. Palestinians get their state but a "transitional" one with "provisional borders," according the Road Map's Phase II. The problem is no Phase III will follow to assure an "independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state."

If Israel manages this, it wins and Palestinians lose. It can claim the Occupation's end, a two-state solution in place, and the conflict for the victor ended. So far, Palestinians want none of it. Olmert is beset with corruption problems, and final resolution remains a long way off.

Part IV: Overcoming Oppression - Redeeming Israel

Here's where things now stand. "Israel/Palestine (is) at a crossroads." Israel's political leadership believes it's won. The settlement project is in place. It "ensures permanent control over the entire Land of Israel." Palestine is cantonized. The "facts on the ground" are established. America is on board. So are Europeans. The Arab world is indifferent. A mere political act will make Occupation permanent. Israel offers no concessions, Palestinians have no say, and as of now have no chance for a fair and equitable solution - or so Israel thinks. Is it so?

Halper's view is this, and many share it: Ultimately, Israel will fail in its attempt "to transform its Matrix of Control (and permanent Occupation) into a stable, peaceful state of affairs." Oppressed people everywhere "have one source of leverage: the power to say 'no.' " And Palestinians have said it for six decades. For six more if they have to. For as long as it takes to get the justice they deserve. For all their wishes? Maybe not, but enough to matter and be able to end the most intractable conflict anywhere. Be assured - it will happen, one way or other, at some future time.

Hamas is a powerful symbol - of the future - the power to say "no," or as Halper puts it: "To hell with"......Israel, its Matrix of Control, America, the international community, the dismissive Arab world, and corrupted Fatah. We won't submit; won't play your rigged game; won't let you crush us; won't let you deny us our rights; in the end you'll come to us, and we'll prevail. If six decades of struggle doesn't prove it, what then will. We'll give you six more, and more still. Had enough? Now we'll set the terms. Think it can't happen? Read on.

One day Israel and the world community will reach an inevitable conclusion. The price of Occupation is too great - regional instability, global also, continued war, maybe nuclear, and a potential cost far too great to risk. Push will come to shove when it's too great to chance.

Palestinians like Jews and people everywhere have national rights of self-determination provided they don't impinge on others with equal rights. Ethnocracies like Israel don't work. Nor do they in the Muslim or Christian worlds. And understand the distinction. France for the French and Mexico for Mexicans aren't the same as Israel for the Jews. France like most countries have Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever - all entitled to equal rights under law. Israel only affords them only to Jews - an untenable system doomed to fail. When it's realized, push will have come to shove, and then some.

So where are we, and what's ahead? Halper doesn't have a solution, but he offers an approach based on "indispensable" elements:

(1) National expression for the two peoples -

Jews and Palestinians both claim self-determination rights in the same country. Logically, it calls for a two-state or bi-national one-state solution.

(2) Viability -

The two-state option requires real sovereignty for Palestinians to be viable - self rule, over borders, basic resources, and so forth.

(3) Refugees -

The Right of Return is essential or something close enough to matter. Most important - Palestinians have the right to choose. International law backs them. It doesn't give Israel a pass.

(4) A regional dimension -

Adopting a regional approach opens new options. Middle East countries have a stake in what affects them.

(5) Regional Security -

Israel's only chance for peace and stability is to achieve a just peace with the Palestinians and integrate fairly in the greater region. Playing hegemon won't do it. In the end, militarism always fails.

Enormous obstacles must be overcome to achieve any meaningful settlement: locked in attitudes, decades of failure, unresponsive governments, much the same for the UN, so where does that leave things - world public opinion, people of conscience, on a global scale, from the grassroots, creating a groundswell for change. Can it happen? Not easily, but Halper offers a "reframing."

(1) Conceptualizing the conflict: how to secure mutual national rights -

Reconciling mutually opposing rights is key to a meaningful just solution.

(2) Defining the problem: security v. occupation and a proactive expansion policy -

Palestinians have been conciliatory; willing to compromise; accept a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine); Israel flatly refuses; diktats, not compromise is its strategy; "security" the mantra; the outcome - win-lose.

Only a rights-based win-win solution can work; one under international law; apartheid is untenable; human rights reframing advances the de-colonization argument; why elsewhere but not in Israel.

Sum it up and here are Halper's choices:

(1) a traditional two-state solution -

A viable Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories is unrealistic given Israeli settlements with 500,000 Jews in them.

(2) An "Israel plus-Palestinian minus" two-state solution: the Israeli option -

It's a non-starter for Palestinians - a semi-sovereign, hardly viable, disconnected, South African-style apartheid system.

(3) A single-state solution: multi-national and democratic -

The best choice, but is it workable? Transforming a Jewish state into a democratic one faces enormous obstacles. Maybe one day but not soon.

(4) A regional confederation -

It's more complex, "less elegant," but for Halper the only workable choice, and he compares it to the EU - balancing national autonomy with freedom to live and/or work anywhere in the union. It neutralizes Occupation, gets Palestinians out of their trap by allowing them wider economic, social, and geographic opportunities within the region. It's fair and win-win, and he suggests a "two-stage" process:

(a) A Palestinian State alongside Israel -

Essentially what now exists for starters with "stage two" to follow; a "way out of the trap" - an international community regional confederation guarantee within, for example, a decade. That assures viability.

(b) A regional confederation leading to a wider Middle East confederation -

The international community must take charge; set the terms; get everyone on board; and begin say with Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Later bring in Egypt, others and eventually all regional states - a full-blown Middle East Union, like the EU.

Settlements can stay in place; Israel needn't offer Palestinians citizenship; but nishul must stop, allow Palestinians out of their trap; and bring an end to conflict because its reason no longer exists. Details are important and must carefully be worked out, but on a fair and equitable basis to both sides and all regional states. It's no simple task, maybe one too great, but look at the possibilities:

-- ending the longest and most intractable conflict anywhere;

-- stopping it from getting worse; endangering the region; beyond it as well;

-- transforming Israel from an ethnocracy to a legitimate democratic state diplomatically recognized by its neighbors; and

-- allowing Jews and Muslims to live in peace; then both with everyone everywhere; imagine the possibilities; the alternative is hopelessness: Jews will also suffer; ethnocracy is self-destructive; the way out is justice; a little compromise for a lot of gain; win-win; Halper sees Israel going beyond peace to redemption, committed to human rights, and beginning the journey to get there.

What About Terrorism?

First off, distinguish between individual/group v. the far greater state kind. Then consider aggressors and victims, one act begetting another, an eventual vicious circle, and nations claiming the high ground when they're at fault - "worthy" victims of "unworthy" ones even when they act in self-defense.

The real issues is life. It's sacred, and taking it from non-combatants is terrorism. It's also "illegal, immoral and prohibited." Self-defense against combatants is another matter fully justified under international law as is the right to resist with arms. Israel says otherwise, blames its victims, and so far has avoided accountability. That no longer can stand, and Halper suggests a "better language" to hold all terrorist acts accountable.

It exists so let's use it - the language of human rights. It's codified in law, and it's high time it's applied universally. It's precise, inclusive and condemns all forms of terror - by individuals, groups and most importantly states. And judicial bodies exist to enforce it - the International Criminal Court (ICC) for example to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The principle of "universal jurisdiction" also exists that requires other states to bring rights violators (including heads of state) to trial if their own nation won't do it.

Halper sees human rights and applying international law as key to genuine peace and conflict resolution. States, of course, are the obstacle. They won't police themselves, and in-place institutions have proved weak. Changing things requires people action - international civil society demanding justice; doing it proactively; marshaling enough voices to make them heard; refusing to take no for an answer. Think impossible? Think again.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Here's the problem. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict involves far more than two peoples. Far more than the region. It's global and resonates everywhere and affects everyone. For the Middle East alone, regional peace is impossible without a just settlement of the conflict. Absent that and anything is possible - all bad.

Globally, the entire world is affected. For Halper, it's brought him "full circle," a Jew, an Israeli in Palestine seeing his "own people coopted by Israel's security framing and disempowered." Disadvantaged as well considering the alternative. He's part of an effort to change things and suggests four strategic elements:

(1) A global, regional, local and personal vision

The last two decades have seen the emergence of a vibrant international civil society - thousands of peace and human rights organizations of all types together with activists, intellectuals and concerned people everywhere standing up against injustice and demanding resolution. So far, the other side outmuscles them, but who knows for how long. New tools are around like the Internet that connects people everywhere. Alternative media as well, including online choices attracting growing audiences fed up with the mainstream's mind-numbing array.

That combination against injustice has power. Omnipotent - no. Effective - why not, and in enough numbers it works. Social movements comprised of ordinary people have enormous political clout. They can win when they're of a mind to, but it's no simple task. It takes muscle-flexing, exercising "disruptive power," according to Frances Fox Piven, and look what it brought America - ending slavery, labor and civil rights and a liberating revolution from Britain. Why not one freeing Palestinians from Occupation. But it needs an effective program for action. Here's Halper's:

-- reframe the conflict; make it rights-based; include other choices also; mobilize civil society; get support within governments; UN officials; anyone from anywhere to stand up for justice.

ICAHD has "two meta-campaigns:

-- an "anti-apartheid" one involving resistance and ending the Occupation employing various tools and strategies; once an apartheid regime is in place, have planned responses to counteract it;

-- a "60 Years Later: Marking 1948" one highlighting displacement and dispossession;

-- both campaigns focus on other issues as well - home demolitions, the Separation Wall, the entire Matrix of Control, boycotts, disinvestment, sanctions, holding Israel accountable, and framing everything within a "Big Picture" meta-campaign strategy.

Redeeming Israel fits in as well. Making it an "exclusive patrimony" created a "violent nightmare....a self-defeating enterprise." The more Jews "try to Judaize Palestine, the more (they) destroy it" and themselves. The situation is untenable and begs for an alternative. Political Zionism is "exhausted." A prosperous and formidable Jewish state has failed - to achieve "accommodation, justice, peace and reconciliation" with Palestinians, the region, and international civil society.

A "New Cultural Zionism" is needed, disassociating itself from self-defeating politics and its corrupting violence. What's good for Jews is good for Arabs is good for everyone. Halper "can't argue with that." Can anyone?
His book is powerful, enlightening, and important to read and act on.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.