I was amazed to see this on CNN last night.

Erin Burnett reported on other passenger airliners that have been shot down, focusing on the 1988 shooting down of an Iranian passenger airliner by the US Navy, killing all 274 on board.

The US government worked hard to cover up the event and later to justify it. Vice President George H.W. Bush said before the UN:

“I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are.”

To this day, the US has still refused to apologize or to take responsibility for the deaths of 274 innocent people. Year later, the US agreed to pay $60 million to the families of the dead, without admitting responsibility.

Burnett compared the situation to the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over Ukraine last week. She then interviewed presidential worshipper and former advisor David Gergen who admitted that it was “strikingly similar” to the MH17 events, but then tried to explain it was different because we were in the region to do good, unlike Putin’s involvement with events on Russia’s border.

The segment was an unusual one for CNN and especially for Erin Burnett, who rarely questions official US policy.

Watch it here:

To assist in a crime makes one a criminal by any legal standard. And the biggest crimes of all are war crimes, since they kill en masse and showcase the cruelest form of human behavior.

The fact that Israel is actively committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not open to debate, since a cursory glance at the conflict obviously exposes them in practice.

The two most glaring war crimes Israel is committing – as defined by the Geneva Convention – are the concepts of “collective punishment” and “necessity and proportionality.”

Under collective punishment, a warring party cannot respond to an attack by waging war on the attacker’s community, as is clearly happening in Gaza. The clearest proof that collective punishment is being used is that a 1,000 Gaza homes have been destroyed and the majority of the casualties are civilians.

Under “necessity and proportionality” a warring party must only use the amount of force necessary to defeat the opponent; disproportional force is a crime. So, for example, if Hamas fires wimpy rockets that kill virtually no Israelis, then it is “disproportionate” for Israel to rain massive bombs, missiles, and artillery to reduce large sections of Gaza to rubble. Even Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the Israel attack a “deliberately disproportionate form of collective punishment.”

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Written for teleSUR English, which will launch on July 24

Kabul – On July 10, 2014, in New York State, Judge David Gideon sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores to a year in prison and fined her $1,000 for photographing a peaceful demonstration at the U.S. Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Field (near Syracuse) where weaponized Reaper drones are remotely piloted in lethal flights over Afghanistan. Dozens have been sentenced, previously, for peaceful protest there. But uniquely, the court convicted her under laws meant to punish stalkers, deciding that by taking pictures outside the heavily guarded base she violated a previous order of protection not to stalk or harass the commanding officer.

Mary Anne is a 58-year-old grandmother of three, from Ithaca, New York, where she is part of the Upstate Drone Action.

Since late 2009 this grassroots group has persistently raised awareness about the consequences of drone attacks in Afghanistan, the global epicenter of US drone warfare. In December 2012, the US Air Force revealed that US drones had struck targets in Afghanistan 477 times during just the preceding year. Members of the Upstate Drone Action, alarmed by the proliferation of drones and the ease with which they kill suspects far from any battlefield, are troubled in general to live in a society that so automatically and heedlessly chooses warfare over other available solutions to its problems.

Hundreds have gathered in Syracuse, NY, for events the Coalition has organized, including nonviolent civil resistance at the Hancock base.

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As the human toll of Israeli military action in Gaza mounts, the Obama Administration continues its cynical endorsement of Israel’s “absolute right” of “self-defense.”

Earlier this week, Flynt appeared on RT’s CrossTalk to discuss the Gaza crisis; see here or here (YouTube). Over the weekend, Hillary went on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Parry (on both Saturday and Sunday) to discuss the Gaza crisis (see here, here, and here), as well as the West’s mounting tensions with Russia over Ukraine (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) and the extension of the P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran (see here). We highlight below some themes discussed.

The Gaza Crisis, International Law, and the Road to a One-State Solution

Among various substantive points in the CrossTalk episode on which Flynt appeared, the discussion was distinguished by one of the other guests – Martin van Creveld, a well-known Israeli military historian at Hebrew University – yelling at Flynt to “shut up” and then storming off the set, all within the first nine minutes of the program. Flynt’s apparent offense was to challenge Prof. van Creveld’s assertion that Israel is no longer occupying Gaza.

Flynt noted that, while Israel withdrew soldiers and settlers from inside Gaza in 2005, it continues to control – strictly and severely – Gaza’s air, land, and sea access to the world; thus, “under international law, Israel is still occupying Gaza.” (For analyses on this important point, see – for starters – here, here, and here.) For Prof. van Creveld or anyone else to claim otherwise is, literally, to “reinvent international law” – and not in a positive or legitimate way.

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The last time major war loomed on the near horizon, Secretary of State John Kerry played fast and loose with the facts. On Aug. 30, 2013 he solemnly claimed, no fewer than 35 times, “We know” the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for chemical attacks outside Damascus on August 21.

Just a few days later, it became abundantly clear that Kerry did not know. On Aug. 30, no one knew for sure. And, to their credit, my former colleagues in CIA and in the Defense Intelligence Agency stood their ground in refusing to say “we know” when U.S. intelligence did not know. We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) tried to alert President Barack Obama to this in a Memorandum for the President on September 6. [for details, see Consortium News.com's Obama Warned on Syrian Intel.]

Determined to avoid a repeat of the fraudulent intelligence performance on WMD before the March 2003 attack on Iraq, this time our former colleagues refused to “fix the intelligence around the policy,” as the British Downing Street Minutes document put it. The opposition was so strong that not even the malleable CIA Director, John Brennan, was able to provide Kerry with the usual “Intelligence Assessment” he wanted. So the best he could do was to issue a “Government Assessment” bereft of verifiable evidence.

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Israel’s current attack on a basically defenseless population in Gaza is a repeat of its massacres of Palestinians in November 2012, December 2008-January 2009 and June-July 2006. This time Israeli forces have already slaughtered over 500 Palestinians, overwhelmingly civilians, while about 20 Israelis, almost all soldiers, have been killed. The imbalance of these death tolls is staggering but not surprising. I say not surprising because Israel has one of the strongest militaries in the world, supplied with the latest US weapons and technology, whereas Palestinians have no real army nor any defense against Israeli plane or missile attacks.

In each of these massacres, the scenario was similar. Palestinians react to some Israeli provocation and Israel uses the Palestinian reaction as an excuse to launch its attack. The use of provocations is a long standing Israeli tactic. For example, Moshe Dayan discussed the use of this tactic against the Syrians, claiming that at least 80% of the incidents with Syria under the armistice agreements were caused by Israeli provocations.

Israel claims that the goal of its attack is to stop rockets from being launched into Israel. If Israel were really serious about this goal, it would have honored the terms of the 2012 ceasefire about easing the illegal siege on Gaza. A key condition was “Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas.”

Despite Israel’s history of duplicity, the US government and the US corporate media serve as megaphones for its propaganda, spinning the story as Israel simply defending itself. This version ignores the fact that Israel occupies Palestinian lands, steals Palestinian resources and brutally oppresses Palestinians.

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