Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 4th, 2014

Clear-cut evidence, but with a niggler

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UPDATE: James Fallows tells me that this page was discussed right after the accident and is now thought to be a fake.

This was on the Internet only briefly (2-3 hours) and the Internet Archive did not catch it before it was taken down. But an alert archivist saw it and said that they must grab it. Direct evidence: it would never be allowed. Use Google Translate to see.

Now, the niggler: The Wife said, “So the Separatists say they’ve shot down a plane they believe is a Russian military transport (“no civilian casualties”). But why are Separatists trying to bring down a Russian military plane. Aren’t they on the same side? And the guy seems sort of braggy about it.”

That’s a good question. Please answer in comments.

Via Google translate (and at the link above are two videos):

Summaries of the shooting of Igor
17.07.2014 17:50 (MSK) Message from the militia.

“In the area Torrez just downed plane An-26, lying somewhere in the mine” Progress. ”
Also warned – do not fly in “our sky.”
And here is the confirmation of the next video “ptichkopada.”
Bird fell for waste heap, the residential sector is not caught. Civilians are not injured.

And also have information about the second downed aircraft, like the Su. ”
17.07.2014. In Tores downed plane 1:12
In the area of ​​Snow Ukrainian militiamen shot down plane 17.07.2014 0:58

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Government, Military

Interesting—and grim—from China

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The report by Stuart Levenworth in McClatchy is absolutely straightforward and neutral, but what he’s describing is total corruption being exposed by events. The account is powerful.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 4:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Government, Law

The law President Obama did not faithfully execute

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As regular readers know, I have been astonished at the degree to which President Obama simply ignores the highest law of the land—and gets away with it. Here is a Daily Kos post on his malfeasance.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 2:04 pm

The specific, legal case for international charges against Israel of war crimes

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Manal Tellawi writes in Salon:

Israeli officials have prided the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) on abiding by principles of international law at war, or international humanitarian law (IHL) as it is commonly referred to. In fact, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, declared that the IDF deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint.”

The civilian death toll for the past three weeks alone in the Gaza Strip has risen over 1,500, hundreds of which are children. This is a clear indication that the Israeli forces are not exercising restraint, but rather, are committing war crimes.

Article 51 of the UN Charter states clearly: “Nothing shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” Israel’s right to self-defense in occupied territory has been questioned by many international legal scholars, and dismissed by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on the Wall, on the premise that Israel cannot invoke this right in territory it exercises complete control over. However, because the American media has centered almost entirely around the claim that Israel is defending itself, we must assess Israel’s bombardments and their legality.

This conflict has not occurred in a vacuum, and as such, it is worth noting that the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations since 1967. The first talking point by supporters of the offensive is generally mentioned as a retort to the word ‘occupation.’ They argue that Gaza is no longer occupied and that Israel has no duty towards the Palestinian population.

Gaza remains occupied under international law, because Israel maintains control over its borders, water sources, electricity, population registry and reserves the right to enter, shell, and bombard Gaza, which we have seen escalate to epic proportions over the past three weeks. Last week, Israel shelled Gaza’s sole power plant, and most Palestinians now have access to electricity for only two hours a day. According to the Palestinian Energy Authority, it could take months to repair the damage. Israel’s complete control over the residents of Gaza confirms that it still maintains a duty as occupier to ensure the well-being and security of the Palestinian people.

Furthermore, as for the disengagement plan, when Israel withdrew its 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 and placed them in the West Bank it continued violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention in Gaza, which prohibits the movement of its own population into occupied territory.

Under IHL, states are limited by two principles during a military conflict: distinction and proportionality. According to the ICJ’s Nuclear Weapons case, the principle of distinction is one of the “intransgressible principles of international customary law.” Article 52 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions allows only the targeting of military personnel and military establishments, or in some exceptional cases, civilian establishments used for military purposes.

In violation of this article, Israel has bombed several mosques and churches, which are also protected by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in Times of War. Moreover, it has destroyed the homes of at least 4,000 families (25,000 residents), and targeted a total of 747 residential buildings. . .

Continue reading. There’s lots more. For example:

The recent Israeli attack on a UN school was carried out after the IDF received 17 warnings from the UNRWA requesting that they not target the school.  It resulted in 15 deaths and many injuries and international condemnation, in particular by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who was horrified at the attack on sleeping children.  These cases are all evidence that Israel does not exercise the utmost care in avoiding civilians, rather it targets them intentionally, without a care in the world.

Israel has become a rogue nation, driven mad by stress and pinprick attacks to the point where it is committing serious war crimes—enabled and assisted by the US.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 1:33 pm

How Austerity Wrecked the Recovery in One Chart

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Take a look. Paul Krugman is perfectly correct is his economic analysis, and Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are wrong.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 1:22 pm

Inhuman shield: How the New York Times protects US elites from Gaza’s brutal reality

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Patrick Connors writes at Mondoweiss:

The New York Times’ reporting on Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has been a rollercoaster. Unfortunately the high points have been few, short and quickly followed by dizzying and prolonged plunges back into a morass of lazy, credulous recitations of Israeli government talking points, and efforts to portray balance and symmetry in a dramatically unbalanced situation, all permeated by an absence of skepticism and critical analysis, and a failure to explain context. Though Israel has slaughtered over 1000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza and only three civilians have been killed in Israel, in The Times’ upside down world, every Palestinian weapon is a major threat, while Israeli weapons are either defensive or non-existent.

As a result, a few days of strong, urgent reporting by Anne Barnard and Tyler Hicks on the ground in Gaza have been overwhelmed by embarrassing headlines, false equivalencies, and a seemingly unembarrassed willingness to promote Israeli perspectives no matter how obviously outrageous they might be. Who can forget, just in the last days as the Palestinian death toll soared, “Israel Shells Are Said to Hit UN School,” “Israel Says Its Forces Did Not Kill Palestinians Sheltering at UN School,” “Pause in the Fighting Gives Civilians on Both Sides a Moment to Take Stock,” and “Neighborhood Ravaged on Deadliest Day So Far for Both Sides in Gaza;” or these oldies, “Israel on Edge after Possible Revenge Killing of Arab Youth” and “Missile at Beachside Gaza Cafe Finds Patrons Poised for World Cup”?

At it’s worst The Times’ reporting on this crisis has reminded some readers of Judy Miller’s and Michael Gordon’s enthusiastic shilling for the US attack on Iraq. There is so much that could be written about these failures, but I’ll focus on a few highlights – The Times’ failure to examine Hamas’ involvement in kidnappings or the manipulation of information about Israeli teens’ deaths, The Times’ failure to explain basic context about Gaza, Times’ explainers that grossly distort reality, and the papers’ hyping of Palestinian military capacity, in contrast to the invisibility of Israel’s massive arsenal.

Failure to Examine Hamas’ Involvement in Kidnappings or the Manipulation of Information about Israeli Teens’ Deaths

The stage was set early by The Times’ reporting on the development of the current crisis. When the Israeli government launched a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, blaming Hamas for the abduction of three Israeli teens in early June, The Times generally repeated Israeli government claims of Hamas responsibility for the kidnapping, while also occasionally introducing some uncertainty about Hamas involvement, and at least once quoting Hamas denials of those claims. But The Times never published a piece examining the suspicious lack of clear evidence that Hamas was responsible, unlike Shlomi Eldar on Al Monitor or Sheera Frenkel on Buzzfeed. And in the last weeks, as some Israeli authorities have been quoted saying that they had concluded that Hamas was not responsible for the abductions and killings, The Times has not looked back. The growing consensus that the Israeli government based the escalation against Hamas that led directly to the current fighting in Gaza on false claims seems not to interest The Times.

Even more damning, however, The Times’ Jerusalem-based reporters never . . .

Continue reading.

The Times is sometimes guilty of gross failures of honesty and journalistic standards—the Iraq War springs to mind, or the way the NY Times editor Bill Keller suppressed the story of George W. Bush’s program of widespread illegal wiretapping until after Bush was re-elected. The paper has a rotted underside that occasional heaves into view. This article does a good dissection of that.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 1:13 pm

State of marijuana legalization, prosecution, success and failures

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This article seems to be AlterNet’s answer to the NY Times series on legalizing marijuana. It’s worth reading to see where things stand, and it’s also interesting to see how many blatant lies are told (and two of the worst are Democrats: Andrew Cuomo (who seems utterly corrupt in any case) and Dianne Feinstein (who, thank God, is finally going to retire). For example:

High-ranking Democratic elected officials continue to repeat long-disproven drug falsehoods.

Elected officials like New York’s Andrew Cuomo still buy into long disproved pot myths like pot is a “gateway drug” [23]. Recently, “Mr. Cuomo said that he was wary of allowing marijuana to become too widely or too easily available” (despite the fact that NY has hundreds of thousands of pot arrests). In recent days “he said he feared that it was ‘a gateway drug,’ and observed that the state was already dealing with a resurgence of heroin use.”

The New York Times [24] underscores how out of touch Cuomo is:

Marijuana “does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse,” the Institute of Medicine study said. The real gateway drugs are tobacco and alcohol, which young people turn to first before trying marijuana.

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 August 2014 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Politics

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