Law and Disorder Radio

Law and Disorder September 21, 2009



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United Nations Goldstone Report on Gaza: Operation Cast Lead

Last week, the United Nations commission released a six hundred page report (PDF) that says Israel committed war crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.  South African Judge Richard Goldstone who headed the report also says that Israel committed crimes against humanity during the Operation Cast Lead in late December and January. The report also states that the Palestinians committed war crimes by firing rockets into southern Israel. The report confirms that Israel fired the chemical agent white phosphorous in civilian areas, and intentionally fired high-explosive artillery shells upon hospitals. It also claims that Israel used Palestinian civilians as human shields and deliberately attacked Palestinian food supplies in Gaza.

Professor Richard Falk:

  • The report is a real milestone in holding the Israeli government accountable at least at the level of affirming facts for its behavior in the occupied territories. A great contribution to the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.
  • I think the report went a little too far in the objective view, while it didn’t treat them equally, the report gave a lot of detail on the rockets that were fired from Gaza, and allowed a certain impression of symmetry to be formed, which I think is very misleading.
  • The rocket fire is a war crime and should be condemned but at the same time, there was a cease fire in 2008 where the rocket fire was reduced virtually to zero. Hamas tried to extend that cease fire, Israel basically broke it and refused to extend it.
  • Reasons why Israel broke cease fire: It occurred near Israeli elections, change in leadership in the US, overcoming the impression of Israeli defeat in the Lebanon conflict of 2006
  • Israel kept pressing for an opportunity to show it is a formidable power that shouldn’t be challenged, and in that sense the message was as much to Iran as the Palestinians.
  • The report discuss in detail the various incidents in factual detail and confirmed what had been alleged earlier. Attacking civilians who are in complete vulnerability.
  • It was the indiscriminant and disproportionate character of the use of force by Israel, that is the focus of the condemnation that is at the core of the report. The report confirms what had been a journalistic consensus.
  • The report gives credibility to universal jurisdiction. Universal jurisdiction initiatives are appropriate given the findings of the report.  The international criminal court may not be available, but there are other possibilities for ending Israeli impunity and one of them is universal jurisdiction. Countries can push for universal jurisdiction in holding certain Israelis accountable.
  • The report will help legitimize the BDS movement. The blockade still in place.

Guest – Professor Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who has been barred entry to Israel. He’s Professor of International Law at Princeton, will be the Council’s special investigator of Israeli behavior in the territories and this has incited furious objections from Yitzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva. Falk replaced South African John Dugard, a veteran anti-apartheid activist.



Capitalism Hits The Fan:  A Jobless Economic Recovery

Nearly a year ago, the US government seized mortgage banks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, within a week investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt that triggered a global financial panic. In the months that followed financial markets tumbled worldwide.  With trillions vaporized from the world economy, the US is partnering with G20 groups to create global rules that will govern finance. The US economy is just now showing signs of  recovering from one of its deepest economic recession ever.

Rick Wolff:

  • False euphoria about recovery, gamblers come into the market, believing it won’t go lower.
  • Typically however there’s another leg down, we have people investing in a way expecting the market to drop.
  • The whole world went into the toilet (economically) and the Chinese government stock market doubled?
  • The Chinese miracle is based on exports, but in order to have exports, the rest of the world has to be able to buy. The rest of the world has been in the greatest depression at least since the second world war
  • How can the Chinese keep producing if the rest of world in which they sold, can’t buy?
  • My theory is that if the Chinese allow their system to collapse they’d have a domestic impossibility, socially and politically. The Chinese are basically continuing production and storing it. Hold it, and hope against hope, warehouses of toys and everything.  Revealed: The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore
  • Two bubbles, the Chinese bubble and the US treasury bubble.
  • The Federal Reserve prints money, that’s voted on by the Federal Reserve boards. This way they avoid the unpleasantness of having to tax people or borrowing from the private sector
  • One out of 15 people in the US labor force today is unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Roughly 59 percent of the US is working, every conceivable worker that can be laid off, is being laid off.
  • Is this a real recovery? New businesses? Yes, but workers taking it on the chin.
  • American businesses are discovering everywhere, that the future growth is elsewhere, it’s not in the U.S.
  • The American working class is being pushed down, with the unemployment, the foreclosures.
  • In China and other countries that are desperately poor, there’s a small growing income rich, technical industry, since that’s the only growth anywhere in the world economy, it’s what everyone is excited about, and where everybody is gearing.
  • The Obama Administration ought to question the assumption of focusing all their efforts on restoring credit markets and shoring up banks, bailing out busted insurance companies, etc.
  • Roosevelt hired millions people in the depths of the depression to work on a whole host of projects, Obama hasn’t done a thing about that, nothing.
  • Capitalism Hits the Fan, you can follow how the crisis happened, why it took the forms it did, literally, month by month how it was happening, think about it as a critical analysis, of how we had this crisis, why its not responding to the government, why it is so powerful and global in nature.

Guest – Rick Wolff, Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About, Rick takes the reader back to 2005 and step by step reveals how policies, economic structures and wage to profit systems led to a global economic collapse. His books is complimented by the film Capitalism Hits the Fan.


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