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April 15, 2002
Oil futures and War Crimes

By Ahmed Amr.
Editor

 
 

A few weeks ago, Colin Powell lied to the American public and denied that he gave Ariel Sharon a green light to launch a major war crime against the Palestinian people. Then he turned around and gave Sharon another green light for two more weeks. Powell is the same smug and arrogant man who was largely responsible for the Balkan genocide which, in turn, justified The Rwanda genocide and now the mass repression of the Palestinians. In the end, he will still be the only African-American member of some exclusive golf club, get a bit more money from CNN/AOL/Time Warner, and try to pass himself off as a human being. Not in my neck of the woods. When a man sheds that much decency, it is hard to recognize him as a man of any color.

The Palestinians see Powell as one of Sharon's willing enablers. If he had a grain of decency, he would insist on visiting the ruins of Jenin. But I am through preaching decency to this administration. My new concern is that they might be playing with oil futures. Because that might go a long way to explain the events of the last month.

This is just speculation, based on the past behavior of both Bush and Powell. Recall that Powell's son sat on the SEC commission that approved the AOL/Time Warner deal even while daddy was on the AOL board of directors. I also seem to recollect the Silverado banking scandal involving Niel Bush and the sweet heart baseball stadium deal. There is also the issue of Colin Powell's involvement in covering up the My Lai massacre and in conducting illegal military operations in Vietnam. (www.nilemedia.com/Columnists/Ahmed/2001/May/The_Collin_Powell_file.html). And need we mention Enron.

Over the course of the last month, the administration made a lot of noise about the Beirut conference in support of the Saudi vision for peace in the Middle East. Earlier, President Mubarak of Egypt had been given a warm reception in the White House. Arafat looked like he would be attending Beirut and it seemed that Bush was going to restrain Sharon by the collar and force him to recognize certain realities. Lest anyone forget, American policy for 48 hours was that Arafat should attend Beirut. But then things started falling apart real fast when Sharon said that Arafat would not be allowed home after the conference. 48 hours later, American policy was changed to note that attendance was not important for any Arab leader. So, other Arab leaders, including Mubarak, took the hint and decided not to show up for roll call.

Still, the conference went on and by the second day of the conference, in response to the Saudi initiative, Sharon was sending his army into Ramallah and shooting up Arafat's office. So, considering how important Beirut had been to the administration, just a week earlier, there was a natural expectation that Bush would force Sharon to put a lid on it and respond in a positive manner to the Saudi vision.

Instead, Bush tossed the Saudi initiative out of the window, endorsed the rampage by Sharon's goons and put the onus on Arafat, a man facing death and left with a cell phone as his only remaining instrument of state. A few days later he further expanded Sharon's horizons by extending his adventure for another two weeks. In rapid sequence, Bush provocatively called Iraq and Syria and Iran terrorist states. What a long way to travel from Beirut in the span of a couple of weeks. I challenge any historian to find so much foreign policy zig zags in such a short period of time.

The results of Sharon's latest invasion were predictable. More Palestinian casualties, more retaliatory suicide bombings, an angry Arab street, protests in Europe, a Japanese guy killed himself to protest the plight of the Palestinians, demonstrations from Brazil to Indonesia, anti-Semitic attacks in France and more Palestinian and Arab rage. But another thing happened, Sadam Hussein emerged calling for an oil embargo and it was getting the nod on the Arab Street. And their was new 'public enthusiasm' for drilling in Alaska. Conveniently enough, the Department of Interior reversed itself and said that the Caribou herds would not be hurt by the project. (www.nilemedia.com/Columnists/Ahmed/2001/March/Exchanging_a_Veto.html)

In any case, oil prices went through the roof and a tidy sum of money was made by any 'insider' who was in on the Bush reversal. Bush and company might have managed to fake the oil market by raising expectations in Beirut and secretly signing on to a major Israeli invasion of the West Bank and Gaza. Maybe because the Bush tribe made so much money on this major market fix, they didn't mind being publicly humiliated by Sharon.

We are forced to call for a SEC commission investigation of any firms associated with any member of the Bush administration that engaged in irregular oil futures contract trading over the course of the last month. We believe that this investigation is warranted because the abrupt foreign policy changes cannot be explained in terms of national security interests. The oil trading firms that Bush and Cheney are involved with are fairly well known. In the interest of restoring public trust, their books for the last month should be open to public scrutiny.

We also call on the State Department War Crimes office to follow the letter of the law and initiate a war crimes investigation against Sharon. There is overwhelming evidence to justify such a probe. And any delay would only serve to make Powell and company complicit in Israeli crimes.

The list of crimes include the murder of civilians and the administration of cruel forms of collective punishment, including torture and public humiliation. The wounded have been denied access to treatment and left to bleed to death and medical personnel have been assaulted and even killed. Relatives have not been allowed to bury there dead. A population of two million is living under curfew and running out of vital supplies. The Israeli army has resorted to the wanton destruction of private homes and public infrastructure, including vital utilities. Access to water and electricity has been denied and public records have been destroyed. There has also been a systematic attempt to assault historic Palestinian sites in Nablus, Bethlehem and Ramallah. In Jenin, it appears that the Israeli army did its worst with a spirit of vengeance and then attempted to bury the evidence in mass graves. Reporters are still being denied access to that town, which shouldered the brunt of the Israeli assault. It appears that Sharon is attempting to make the West Bank uninhabitable to make room for his settlers. These acts are on the same magnitude of the atrocities in Kosovo and East Timor.

So far the Bush administration continues to embrace Sharon, calling him 'a man of peace' and a 'friend.' Well, with friends like that, one can easily be incriminated in war crimes. We trust the folks at foggy bottom have a clue of what is going on. But, just to assure that they don't brush this Sharon episode off, we put together some compelling evidence from multiple sources.

From Amnesty International (4/12/2002)
full report (www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/index/mde150422002)

'The Palestinians must be hit and it must be very painful. We must cause them losses, victims, so that they feel the heavy price''. Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, speaking to the press on 5 March 2002

Since 27 February 2002 the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have launched two waves of incursions into the Palestinian areas occupied by Israel in 1967, using tanks, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and Apache helicopters. In the six weeks up to 11 April 2002 more than 600 Palestinians may have been killed and more than 3,000 injured.

Chrisitan Science Monitor Editorial, April 12, 2002

The devastation of major Palestinian cities went way beyond the army's goal of simply uprooting "the infrastructure of terror." An Israeli group called Rabbis for Human Rights yesterday stated that it is aware of many human rights violations and forms of collective punishment inflicted by the army. These include disruption of water and food supplies for civilians, demolition of homes, torture of detainees, killing of innocent civilians, and denial of care for the injured and for women in labor.

Counting The Dead In Nablus, by Daniel Williams, Washington Post (4/12/2002)

Homes and stores throughout the area's winding lanes were battered, charred, chipped and peppered by shrapnel, bullets and rockets. The 250-year-old St. Demetrius Greek Orthodox monastery was badly damaged. Machine-gun fire defaced the Salahuddin the Great Mosque, housed in the shell of a Byzantine basilica. The 19th-century Kanaan Olive Soap factory, a relic of Nablus's industrial past, crumbled when hit by a bomb dropped from an F-16 jet. The Yasmina quarter, the historic home of the ancient Samaritan community, suffered heavy damage to its warren of arched, thick-walled buildings. An Ottoman-era public bath was destroyed.

Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, Sunday April 14, 2002

Israeli tanks have turned historic Madbassah Square into rubble, three years after it was renovated at a cost of $2 million. Fires and explosives have ruined a 300-year-old pilgrims' hostel with soaring arches that took two years to refurbish. A once-sparkling new artists' colony, recently completed for $600,000, has been ransacked and defaced.Starting in 1998, the people of Bethlehem began an ambitious makeover of their dilapidated city, sinking more than $250 million into projects designed to lure tourists to a destination that Christians venerate as the birthplace of Jesus. Most of the money came from foreign governments and aid agencies, which had hoped to turn Bethlehem into a showplace for an emerging Palestinian state. The centerpiece of the effort was the 2000 Millennium celebrations, which brought Pope John Paul II and numerous heads of state to the town of 30,000 people.Today, however, Bethlehem's Old City is in tatters, and the cost of repairing the damage to its historic and holy sites is expected to be enormous. Israeli troops have methodically blown up buildings and torn up the freshly paved streets since they invaded April 2, destroying most of what had been accomplished in recent years and instilling in residents a deep sense of despair over what they view as a noble but wasted effort to revive the town.

From The Independent of London (April 13, 2002)
Israel buries the bodies, but cannot hide the evidence
By Justin Huggler in Jenin and Phil Reeves in Jerusalem
(http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=284436)

One after another, international officials, angered by Israel's rampant violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the human misery that has resulted, confided to The Independent yesterday that they had reached the inevitable conclusion: a crime has been committed which Israel is trying to cover up."It is clear they have something to hide; that is the bottom line," said one senior diplomatic source. Red Cross and Red Crescent ambulances waited on stand-by for yet another day, without getting in to the camp.The agencies have been tirelessly collecting information in the face of Israel's news black-out, building up details of the scene inside the half-wrecked, water-starved camp a sprawl of tightly packed homes over one square kilometer. In effect, it has been turned into a prison where thousands of refugees are still in hiding, terrified that the soldiers will add them to the three-figure death toll. A grim, if incomplete, picture is forming. Electricity supplies in Jenin Hospital are so low that the morgue's refrigerators are not running. Decomposing bodies, retrieved from other parts of the West Bank town, have been buried in the hospital gardens.But yesterday morning corpses lay unburied in the camp itself, where 15,000 refugees, half of them under 18, lived before the assault, and the ensuing battles, began.

From The Independent of London (April 15, 2002)
By Justin Huggler

It appears that many of the disappeared are still alive. But that is where the good news ends. Inside Ofer up to 1,000 Palestinians are detained and have been regularly beaten with wooden batons. They are forced to spend nights sitting in the dirt outside in the cold, in their underwear. They are refused food for days at a time.This is according to evidence collected by respected Israeli human rights organisations, and interviews The Independent has conducted with released prisoners. Those held in Ofer are not allowed to see lawyers or anyone else from the outside world. Yesterday, the International Red Cross was trying to negotiate access after having an earlier request refused.

Clues to Sharon, based on his record as a serial mass murderer

  • www.nilemedia.com/Columnists/Ahmed/2001/June/Believe_it.html
  • www.nilemedia.com/Columnists/Ahmed/2001/May/Nailing_Sharon.html


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