A Palestinian protester shot dead. It had nothing to do with a threat to the life of the Israeli soldier who shot him
nor to Israel’s national security. The massacre is the work of a bribe-taking prime minister who needs a distraction.
Reckless criminals who need a war
A huge prison whose hungry and desperate inhabitants occasionally lob missiles back and their tormentors, usually not making distinctions between enemy combatants and innocent bystanders — that’s the reality of Gaza under Israeli blockade. It’s facile enough to talk about the twisted, demagogic politics that arise in such a place but those who have created those conditions with a blockade — an act of war under international law — have no standing to complain.
Meanwhile, Israeli police accuse their country’s prime minister and members of his family of multiple bribe-taking crimes. Meanwhile, members of the US president’s erstwhile inner circle are pleading guilty to criminal charges and turning state’s evidence. We shall see what the full charges are, eventually, but there were unseemly relations with foreign powers seeking to steer the 2016 US elections and US policy since then and all sorts of criminal lies told in the denials of that. Both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Trump want a war because they need the distraction. That’s what the Israeli massacre of more than a dozen people — some not even protesters but farmers working in their fields who became the targets of Israeli tanks because the orders were to kill Arabs and it didn’t much matter which ones — and the wounding of hundreds more — at Gaza’s Land Day protest was all about. The Trump administration and its weird fanatic ex-settler ambassador to Israel cheered while most of the rest of the world recoiled in horror.
With appointments of war criminals as National Security Advisor and CIA director, and with an announced intention of abandoning the nuclear deal with Iran in mid-May, Donald Trump is sliding the United States toward a war, wherein it is hoped that the Saudi-led Sunni jihad will join forces with Israel to take on Iran, Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, the Houthi government in Yemen and the Lebanese Hezbollah. This would be a proxy war, or maybe a direct conflict, between the United States and Russia. It would be interesting to see what the Palestinians, the Qataris, the Turks, the Kurds and the wider Muslim world might do. It is the height of madness. Three to five nuclear-armed belligerents could be drawn in.
Antiwar activism in a time of war hysteria is always difficult and dangerous. Despite all of the personal and political risks, however, Israeli and American doves need to mobilize now.
Moving toward a Honduran-style election
The Electoral Tribunal, which does not count on experts at deciphering signatures, has thrown out the great majority of signatures on petitions to put Miguel Antonio Bernal on the ballot because they say that they don’t match the signatures on their records. Of course, no two signatures by the same person are exactly the same, but a competent handwriting expert can readily determine whether two signatures are by the same person. There is apparently a great fraud being perpetrated here, either by people at the Electoral Tribunal or by people in the Bernal campaign. International handwriting experts need to be brought in, the truth determined and those who committed fraud need to face criminal proceedings about it.
It’s no good to ask our system to deal with it. The magistrates of the Electoral Tribunal are from the political parties and have manifested their bias against independents. The Electoral Prosecutor is a sneering criminal who supported all of the Martinelli camp’s 2014 election crimes and should be in prison rather than in public office for that performance.
There is a problem with international assistance, of course. Certainly the United States has the expertise, but then the Trump regime is a major backer of the Honduran election fraud, and moreover, back in 1989 US forces stole Panama’s public archives and have kept them under lock and key, among other things to protect Manuel Antonio Noriega’s election fraud apparatchiki. (Recall that the Reagan administration supported Noriega’s 1984 election theft.)
Is there an acceptable broker? In the end, only the Panamanian people. The discredited power brokers intend to have everything arranged but they run the great risk of things being decided outside that law and on the streets rather than in an orderly and fair election process. But then, banana republic strongman like Mr. Hernández in Honduras or Mr. Ortega in Nicaragua is the role to which so many of them aspire.
Bear in mind…