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May 7, 2009

UN pushing Israel toward legal proceedings

Gaza under Israeli fire during the 22-day war.
Gaza under Israeli fire during the 22-day war.

Tue, 05 May 2009 10:40:15 GMT
In pursuit of the case of Israeli war crimes, the United Nations moves to report to the Security Council that UN facilities in Gaza had been targeted willfully.

After the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) compound became the target of GPS-guided Israeli mortars on January 15, the UN set up a commission to bring Israeli human rights violations in Gaza out into the open.

The commission — led by the former British secretary-general of human rights group Amnesty International, Ian Martin — assembled a report on Israeli actions in Gaza for submission to the Security Council.

“Israel deliberately fired at UN institutions even though it knew it was forbidden”, read the report.

According to Israeli daily Ynet, the report blames Israel for disproportionate fire and excessive use of force and goes on to confirm that IDF forces shot at Palestinian civilians unnecessarily and excessively.

A member of the American delegation at the UN described the report as “unprecedented in its gravity towards Israel.”

“Israel will have to lick the wounds of the report for many years, if the current wording is accepted as it is,” the source was quoted as saying.

The report which includes serious charges against Israel has ruffled feathers in Israel, raising fears that it would prompt legal proceedings.

As the commission gets set to submit the report to the council on Tuesday, Israel made a move to reject the findings of the controversial report on Tuesday saying that Hamas “are misleading the investigators, the UN and public opinion.”

Israel is suspected of committing war crimes including the use of the deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas, as revealed in an investigation by The Times in January.

While Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, later mounting evidence forced Israeli officials to admit to having employed the shells.

Earlier in April, the IDF issued a statement claiming that Israeli probes had found that its forces did not violate international law during the recent war in Gaza.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in its Tuesday statement that Israel has held an independent review of its behavior during Operation Cast Lead and “the conclusions of these probes were released two weeks ago and they proved beyond all doubt that there was no deliberate shooting by the IDF at UN facilities.”

Salmonella Spills its Secrets on the Space Shuttle

May 6, 2009: Salmonella, what’s gotten into you?

Researchers have been asking themselves this question ever since Salmonella bacteria grown on board the space shuttle returned to Earth 3 to 7 times more virulent than Salmonella grown on the ground under otherwise identical conditions. Figuring out why could help safeguard astronauts from disease and lead to new treatments for food poisoning and other common ailments on Earth.

see captionNew research by Cheryl Nickerson (Arizona State University) and colleagues explains not only why Salmonella gets “revved up” in space, but also how to calm it down again.

“We think space travel tricks Salmonella into behaving as if it is in the human gut,” Nickerson says. “It’s a mechanical phenomenon having to do with ‘fluid shear.'”


Dick Cheney Accused of Running Assassination Ring

Famous journalist Seymour Hersh has alleged that former Vice-President Dick Cheney was in charge of a ‘secret assassination wing’ that would enter a country and execute people on a list – bypassing local government and US CIA operatives.

While of course Cheney has denied any involvement, former aide John Hannah said during an interview that the account is ‘certainly true’. Hannah agreed that troops in the field are given the authority to capture or kill certain individuals.

Q: Is there a list of suspected terrorists out there who can be assassinated?

HANNAH: There’s clearly a group of people that go through a very extremely well-vetted process, interagency process…that have committed acts of war against the United States, who are at war with the United States or are suspected of planning operations of war against the United States, who authority is given to our troops in the field in certain war theaters to capture or kill those individuals. That is certainly true.


In an interview on CNN’s The Situation Room, Hersh said the group — called the Joint Special Operations Command — reported to Vice President Dick Cheney and was delegated authority to assassinate individuals based on their own intelligence.

“The idea that we have a unit that goes around and without reporting to Congress — Congress knows very little about this group, can’t get hearings, can’t get even classified hearings on it…goes around and has authority from the president to go into a country without telling the CIA station chief or the ambassador and whack someone, I am sorry Wolf, yes I have a problem with that,” Hersh said in the interview with Wolf Blitzer.


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