Getting Away with Larceny, Theft and Murder in 2009

Wednesday, 30 December 2009 By Max Gross

As he doffs his party hat and stacks the freezer with vodka, Xenox News’s raving reporter Max Gross ruminates about the year past and the year ahead.

2009. Shit, we’re still only in 2009. But not for much longer.Picture Preview

And what a year it was, a bloody free-for-all in which the poor got poorer, the rich got richer, Iraqis continued to get blown up, the Taliban staged a comeback in Afghanistan, nuclear-armed Pakistan teetered on the brink of failed-state status, the Bush crime gang escaped prosecution, the Palestinians got shafted again and the leaders of the most powerful developed nations shrugged off the threat of global warming and condemned future generations to a world of diminishing returns. Among many other things.

Despite its clear criminality, the so-called “state” of Israel continued – continues - to steal property and kill with impunity.

A year ago, in a 22-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces left 1,400 people dead, thousands more wounded, as well as hospitals, schools, prisons, UN facilities, factories, agricultural processing plants and some 20,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Picture Preview

Thirty-two of the U.N.'s 221 schools were damaged in the Israeli assault, plus scores more government ones. None have been repaired because Israel does not allow construction materials into Gaza, saying they could be used to make weapons.

A U.N.-sponsored report, known as the Goldstone report, has called upon both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate human-rights violations committed during the Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip. Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel. It concluded that Israel had used disproportionate force and had deliberately targeted Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, while destroying civilian infrastructure.

And just this week, we had more grotesque news when Israel's military admitted pathologists have harvested organs from dead bodies - both Israeli and Palestinian - without the permission of their families. The former head of Israel's Abu Kabir forensic institute acknowledged pathologists did harvest heart valves, skin, corneas and bones from soldiers and civilians, Palestinians and foreign workers.

Also this week, the Israeli government invited tenders to build hundreds of more homes in illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem. When Barack Obama met Benjamin Netanyahu six months ago at the White House, he demanded that Israel freeze all settlement construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank for the so-called “peace process” to resume.

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Netanyahu ignores that demand. Obama does nothing.

And in an incursion in the northern West Bank town of Nablus this week, Israeli troops entered homes and shot dead three members of president Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah party. Witnesses said none had resisted arrest or fired on the Israelis and that the trio had been killed in cold blood.

In this way Israeli terrorism ensures that Palestinian hopes for an independent Palestinian state are never realised.

Ah, terrorism, such a handy tactic for all players.

In February, a three-year investigation into the consequences of counter-terrorism measures found that many countries acted illegally in the so-called “war against terrorism” (a term no longer in popular use by the very nations who most profited from it).

The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists accused some countries of using the fear of terrorism to create illegal measures such as torture, detention without trial and enforced disappearance. The panel of legal experts pointed out the U.S. and U.K. as two such culprits.

Disgraced former U.K. PM Tony Blair and members of the ousted Bush/Cheney crime gang have so far avoided prosecution for their illegal activities that violated the U.S. Constitution, broke international laws and caused the misery, maiming and death of hundred of thousands of innocent men, women and children, including more than 4000 U.S. soldiers who died for a pack of lies.Picture Preview

But Cheney, like Nixon, obviously thinks “if the President does then it’s not illegal”.

I’d like to see him try that as an argument in his trial defence when he finally is arrested for crimes against humanity and profiteering.

By not prosecuting Bush/Cheney etc, cleanskin U.S. Prez Barack Obama condones their crimes.

I guess we can still hope that one day Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state former, attorney general Alberto Gonzales, former under secretary of defence Douglas Feith, Cheney's former chief of staff David Addington, John Yoo and Jay Bybee from the Justice Department, and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes – among many others - will jet to Europe for some exclusive R & R and be arrested on arrival by judges claiming universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity.

And how about trapping the Lying Rodent and his venomous brood of mean and tricky liars? Oh, to see Johnny H. in irons for his role in aiding and abetting George W. Bogus and co. in their flagrant military adventurism and heinous war crimes. Picture Preview

Just don’t hold your breath.

President Obama has dismissed justifiable calls for the prosecutions of the former Bush gang officials and legal advisers, or even for a South African-style "truth commission" that would reveal facts but not lay prosecutions.

One fact is crystal clear: the real threat to democracy and our way of life comes not from terrorism but from laws that undermine our democracy and way of life.

To Osama Bin Laden’s delight, people are being convicted under U.S., British and Australian anti-terror laws primarily not for engaging in terrorist activity or even preparing a terrorist act, but for reading, writing and thinking.

And the CIA is still engaged in extraordinary renditions and shipping suspects to overseas contractors, torture-friendly US allies in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

As journo Greg Barns aptly put it: “If the post-September 11 years have taught us anything, it's that civilised societies will not defeat terrorism by tearing down their own values. Respect for human dignity is not, as many political leaders in the wake of that terrible attack tried to tell us, incompatible with national security.”Picture Preview

Tell that to the marines?

Of the nearly eight hundred prisoners who have passed through America’s Guantánamo gulag, well over half have been released without charge, after years of detention. And between 70 percent and 90 percent of people deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake.

And how many of those innocent men, women and children - yes, kids! - were tortured in the name of U.S. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

The torture of detainees, whether they're prisoners of war or civilians, is an unequivocal war crime. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. The four Geneva Conventions, created 60 years, do not allow for any exceptions.

But Condoleezza Rice, piano aficionado and former U.S. secretary of state, approved the use of torture methods such as waterboarding as early as 2002, while here Downunder the former Aussie attorney-general Philip Ruddock said he did not "regard sleep deprivation as torture". His master in the dark arts, then prime minister, John Howard, agreed.

Torture was signed, sealed and delivered in our name, all but guaranteeing new recruits for Al Qaeda or any number of pissed-off militant groups around the world.Picture Preview

Yet even though international law requires Australia to outlaw all forms of torture, we have not yet done so.

In fact, back in August, a Red Cross survey found that more than 40 per cent of Australians interviewed believed it was acceptable to torture captured enemy soldiers. How’s that for your good old Aussie sense of a fair go?

And recently here in Australia the Rudd government has ensured that the Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation don’t even need warrants in “certain circumstances”, the definition of terrorism has been expanded and new offences dealing with hoaxes and “incitement” have been invented.

In the words of David Miliband, British Foreign Secretary, “Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression”.

I’d say a certain Mr Bin Laden has won that round, wouldn’t you?

Yep, 2009 sure was a shitburger with the lot and we all took a great big greedy bite.

How about the sickening spectacle of Barack Obama sanctimoniously condemning Scotland's government for allowing the Lockerbie bomber, dying of cancer, to return home to Libya on compassionate grounds.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi was serving a life sentence over the desruction of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish village of Lockerbie, which killed 270 innocent people in 1988.

The blast killed all 259 on board, and 11 people on the ground died due to falling debris.

''We have been in contact with the Scottish Government, indicating that we objected to this and we thought it was a mistake,'' pontificated Obama, as if we had forgotten Flight 655, the Iranian passenger plane that was shot down by the U.S. navy by “mistake” in 1986, killing 290 innocent people.

And what happened to the perpetrators of that Yank act of terrorism? They got medals, of course!

As is always the case, there’s one rule for America and Israel and other rules for the rest of the world.Picture Preview

However, America is no longer the superpower it once was, thanks to the profligate military madness of the Bush/Cheney crime gang.

And with a wounded economy and a “liberal” administration led by a black president, there has been an upsurge in white supremacist and right-wing militia groups, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It looks like home-grown terrorism poses a greater threat to ordinary Americans than any affiliate of Osama Bin Laden or Al Qaida.

Remember the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by good ol’ boy Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people?

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Before 9/11, that was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil… conducted by an all-American white bread nut case.

But it wasn’t all bad news in 2009.

Here in Australia, there was plenty of cheer to be had watching our federal politicians running into walls and beating themselves over the heads with socks stuffed with fresh manure. Still, the faux-Labor government of Kevin Rudd remains historically popular in spite – or because – of its many cock-ups.

But with an Opposition party like the raving Liberal rabble, how could it be otherwise?Picture Preview

Cartoonists and comedians throughout the land rejoiced when the reactionary, gaff-prone mad monk, Tony Abbott, won the leadership in a spill that saw ex-merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull relegated to the back bench. No one was more stunned by the result than… Tony Abbott.

When Abbott - the third federal Opposition leader since his party’s 2007 election defeat - appointed spittle-spraying rural accountant Barnaby Joyce as shadow finance minister, the crowd went wild. The tearful laughter hasn’t stopped.

And when Abbott put the seriously deranged right-wing zealot Eric Abetz in charge of “workplace relations”, the Rudd government seemed assured of at least another term.

But then, incredibly, Abbott demonstrated his brilliance for self-defeat by digging up the rancid corpses of former Howard Era ministers in the form of Bronnie Bishop, Phil Ruddock and “creepy jesus” Kev Andrews, who had briefly appalled even his own, gobsmacked colleagues by claiming a tilt at the leadership himself.

Talk about Return of the Living Dead!

And with nutty Nick Minchin's crackpot accusation on the Four Corners current affairs show that global warming is an invention by the Left to give it a new cause after the demise of the Soviet Union in order to destroy our way of life…What the fuuuuck???

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Hapless, hopeless Tony Abbott can go round in circles accusing the Government of a “great big tax” until his ears pin back and his Opus Dei penis ring rusts, but the cold hard fact is that he got the kamikaze Lib leadership job by one thin vote.

Quite an endorsement from a divided, back-biting, back-stabbing party of neo-con leftovers, Howard era nostalgics, buffoons, bastards and ratbags as we race towards another bloody election!

To paraphrase one Liberal insider on hearing of Abbott’s leadership win: “We have just fucked ourselves”.Picture Preview

This was Max Gross reporting for Xenox News, counting down the hours, beer cans and vodka spritzers as the old year ends and the new year begins. Cheers!


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