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07.21 Greta Thunberg: ‘They see us as a threat because we’re having an impact’ [We love a sane smarty-pants! Trump, you won't understand any of this, so just go off and tweet or chant, or whatever...]

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Cargo ships are emitting boatloads of carbon, and nobody wants to take the blame [1:19 video; Governments must commission to fight deadly shipping emissions, previously omitted in climate summit agreements....]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

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07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

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07.21 Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it

07.21 A court ruled it was legal for guards to strip search female inmates and force them to remove their tampons in front of male officers for a 'training exercise' [The frequency and degree of immorality and degradation being reported in the media is very disturbing, as if society has been reprogrammed overnight to be more like the worst behavior of Nazi Germany]

07.21 THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS GETTING CRUSHED IN FUNDRAISING: “THEY NEED TO GET THEIR SHIT TOGETHER” [Since so-called moderate Democrats will prostitute themselves in many conceivable ways (offering that special quid pro quo) they have effectively become competitively ANTI-PUBLIC, like Republicans. Whereas progressive Democrats must promise not to take corporate donations at all as an effective litmus-test. The DNC refuses to raise funds for moderate and progressives separately, and thus donations fall short. Which is it to be: 1) Will the DNC change? or 2) Must progressive Democrats become corporate whores too? or 3) Maybe you don't need corporate contributions at all if your policies are fantastic?]

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 State and Local Taxes Are Worsening Inequality

07.21 We're no longer in Brave New World. We're back in 1984. [1:35 video; Our despicable President is at it again]

07.21 BALTIMORE'S FILTHIEST HOODS [7:38 video. Ask your governments, why are our cities so much worse than Europe's? Why is our healthcare worse and so much more expensive? And why are our Billionaires so much richer? Ask if those results of bad government are all related, and why? Are they all caused by a power-elite with greed-obsessed immorality?]

07.21 Nancy Pelosi's Dem Socialist Challenger Shahid Buttar: "We're Gonna Win" | Full Interview [5:43 video]

07.21 Jon Stewart goes viral excoriating Rand Paul after blocking vote [9:02 video]

07.21 Nicolle Wallace Refuses to Broadcast Trump Live [5:43 video]

07.21 Sassy Bernie Sanders Sh*ts on Jeff Bezos on His Home Turf... Numerous Times [17:22 video]

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

International & Futurism

07.21 Millions face hardship as Zimbabwe comes close to ‘meltdown’

07.21 Spain set for socialist-led government after Iglesias deal [Some loaded drama going on here...]

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

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  Print view: Universal Jurisdiction to Hold Israel Accountable
JUSTICE!

Universal Jurisdiction to Hold Israel Accountable

by Stephen Lendman
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Under Universal Jurisdiction, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann.

The well-established universal jurisdiction principle (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Thus, under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason. Israel used it to convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. A US court sentenced Chuckie Taylor, son of the former Liberian president, to 97 years in prison for torture.

In March 2003, the Special Court for Sierre Leone (SCSL) indicted his father, Charles Taylor, for crimes of war and against humanity. His trial at The Hague's International Court of Justice (ICC) remains ongoing.

Though never held accountable for murdering Chileans and committing other human rights abuses, Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Augusto Pinochet, hold him under house arrest for 18 months, and set a precedent, making other heads of state and top officials vulnerable. Pinochet's bogus ill health claim sent him home, irreparably damaged and disgraced.

Under Article 7 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg:

"The official position of defendants, whether as Head of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment."

No one deserves immunity for high crimes demanding accountability. It's time that applied to America and Israel, the two worst offenders.

In June 2009 at a Madrid, Spain conference, Raji Sourani, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Director made the case, saying:

"Today, the Gaza Strip lies in ruins" months after Israel's offensive, killing about 1,500, injuring over 5,000, and causing vast destruction - "an illegal form of collective punishment" ongoing for over three years under siege. "For too long now, Israel has been allowed to violate international law with impunity....This situation cannot be allowed to prevail....It is for this very reason that universal jurisdiction is so important....(It) offers hope to victims throughout the entire world, in many cases, it is their only hope." It's long past time to hold Israel accountable.

The Compelling Case for UC

A recent PCHR publication is titled, "The Principle and Practice of Universal Jurisdiction PDF graphic," explaining it in detail with examples, its highlights discussed below.

Though horrific, Cast Lead was just the latest example of decades of Israeli lawlessness - little discussed, unaddressed and unresolved. "Regrettably, this lack of accountability, and the resultant climate of impunity, has been a longstanding feature of Israel's" illegal occupation. "Israel has been allowed to act as a State above the law."

Yet it exists to be enforced. Otherwise, it's irrelevant. However, Palestinians have "limited judicial mechanisms available." According to the 1995 Israel-Palestine Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has no jurisdiction over Israel, including its officials, armed forces members, or other citizens.

Nonetheless, Israel is required to investigate and prosecute its citizens accused of international crimes, a responsibility it's ducked with impunity, a glaring deficiency in its judicial system, exempting war criminals from accountability, in violation of inviolable international standards and principles.

"Justice for Palestinians is not attainable within this system." UJ is the remedy, a "stepping stone (to) universal justice," to protect everyone without discrimination, to address crimes too grave to ignore, to set a precedent for future prosecutions, and warn offenders they're vulnerable.

No accountability encourages criminality, offenders knowing they're safe and can act lawlessly with impunity, especially Israel, shielded by America, the West, and regional indifference or complicity. As a result, Palestinians have suffered grievously for decades, world leaders not giving a damn about their rights or the rule of law, breaking it themselves for not caring.

It's high time UJ principles enforce accountability, using Israel as a test case, including its top government and military officials, guilty of high crimes too grave to be ignored, raising hope for all victims of injustice globally.

Above all, "The pursuit of universal jurisdiction is (the) pursuit of justice. It seeks to ensure an effective remedy for victims - combined with the goal of deterrence - and accountability for those responsible for crimes which 'shock the conscience of humanity.' "

The Applicable Legal Framework

Palestine is belligerently occupied. As a result, international law applies, including the four Geneva Conventions, Hague Regulations, other international humanitarian law (IHL), and Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. As a signatory, Israel is legally bound, including under International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICEPR) provisions such as:

  • Article 2, concerning the right to an effective remedy;
  • Article 14, regarding the right to a fair trial; and
  • Article 26, affirming the right of everyone to protection under the law.
Traditional v. Universal Jurisdiction

Legally, jurisdiction is "the authority of states to prescribe their law, to subject persons and things to adjudication in their courts and other tribunals, and to enforce their law, both judicially and non-judicially," by civil or criminal means.

Five "prescriptive jurisdiction" bases include nationality, territoriality, the protective principle, the passive personality principle, and universal jurisdiction, this discussion focusing on UJ.

It requires "no link of territoriality or nationality between the State and conduct of the offender, nor is the State seeking to protect its security or credit." Only the crime matters, UJ reserved for the worst, ones too serious to go unpunished, their gravity justifying UJ's existence.

Initially for piracy, they were considered outlaws, operating extraterritorially in international waters. Today, international crimes are considered so "threatening to the international community or so heinous in scope and degree that they offend the interest of humanity," all states needing to address them.

However, until post-WW II, UJ applied only to piracy and slave trading, thereafter to genocide, crimes of war and against humanity, as established by the Nuremberg Charter and Judgment, now defined by the ICC to include systematic attacks against civilians, including murder, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer, false imprisonment, torture, rape, sexual slavery, collective punishment, enforced disappearance, and apartheid.

Guilty parties are considered hostis humani generis - enemies of mankind. War crimes are against the jus gentium - the law of nations, international law established to address them.

The International Law Commission's (ILC) principle VI of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the Judgment of the Tribunal, determined that crimes of war and against humanity "rise to the level of international crime," now recognized under customary international law.

A national court exercising UJ acts not in its name, but for the international community - only when responsible countries won't, can't or haven't. In other words, as a last resort.

In addition, various post-WW II Conventions, including the four Geneva ones and their Common Article 1 obligates all High Contracting Parties to "respect and ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances;" namely, to apply its principles universally, requiring High Contracting Parties "search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts."

At Nuremberg, the concepts of individual and command criminal responsibility were addressed, the Tribunal Principles holding that "(a)ny person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment....(c)rimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit (them) can the provisions of international law be enforced."

The Rome Statute's Article 25 of the ICC codified this principle, affirming the culpability of persons committing crimes of war and against humanity. In addition, commanders and their superiors are specifically culpable if they "either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes, (and) failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecutions."

Nuremberg established that immunity is null and void, including for heads of state, other top officials, and top commanders. In addition, genocide, crimes of war and against humanity are so grave that statute of limitation provisions don't apply.

Final Comments
All too often populations, like the Palestinians, are abused for many decades, Israel getting away with mass murder and other grave breaches of law.

UJ is to ensure that individuals committing high crimes are held accountable, essential under the rule of law. Otherwise, it's meaningless. All too often, however, populations, like the Palestinians, are abused for many decades, Israel getting away with mass murder and other grave breaches of law.

As a result, UJ is the only alternative, national courts willing to use it an essential judicial remedy. It's high time they take the first step to universal justice, sending a powerful message that crimes this egregious won't stand, no matter who commits them or shares responsibility.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on August 15, 2010.
 

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