Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hamas in the Campaign Trail

Last week, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Michelle Nunn was ducking for cover as her leaked 144-page campaign playbook became the hot topic for media outlets around the country.  One of the most damning revelations in the memo came from a strategist who highlighted questionable grants and service awards given under Nunn's leadership at Points of Light.  According to IRS filings in 2008 and 2011, Points of Light gave thousands to an organization with ties to Hamas - a group described in the memo and designated by the United States as a "terrorist" organization.  
Top Campaign Advisor for Jason Carter Calls Hamas a Legitimate Political Actor

In an OpEd featured on, key advisor and chief fundraiser for Jason Carter's gubernatorial campaign, former President Jimmy Carter, accused Israel of "deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict" that violated international law and should be considered as "war crimes." He urges U.S. lawmakers to join him in recognizing Hamas as a legitimate "political actor."

Jason Carter Labels Hamas...?

So where does Jason Carter stand?  Does he agree with Democrat Michelle Nunn's campaign that Hamas is a "terrorist" organization? Or, does he share the opinion of his closest advisor and chief fundraiser that this violent group--committed to the destruction of Israel--is merely a "political actor" deserving of recognition from U.S. leaders? 

Another Question for Carter

Given the war raging in Gaza and the strong ties between Georgia and Israel, the designation given to Hamas by Jason Carter is more than just election time rhetoric.   The label Carter affixes to Hamas - an organization that seeks to "obliterate" Israel - signals how seriously Carter respects America's greatest friend and ally in the Middle East.  If Carter cannot answer this seemingly clear question, how can Georgians expect bold leadership from Carter if he's elected to higher office? 

 —> Georgia GOP

Crying Out For Peace

I am a retired U.S. Army officer.  For 27 years in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, I served as  prosecutor, defense, and operational law attorney, among other roles.  During this time I taught countless courses on the Law of War and Rules of Engagement / for Use of Force.  So I think I know a war crime when I see it.

Since 9/11 I’ve been sickened by the systemic erosion of the rule of law in our nation and across the globe.  I’ve been disgusted by the misuse of my fellow soldiers to wage unjustified, illegal wars, and horrified by the specters of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. 

Far too often our leaders have turned a blind eye to mankind’s most heinous offenses, if committed by our own, or our “allies”. We’ve overthrown governments and launched wars of aggression with impunity.

The president even concedes that “we tortured some folks”, yet holds none accountable.  Now we dismiss Israel's conduct in its latest attack on Gaza.  But they cannot justify bombing civilian infrastructure and protected places e.g.  schools and hospitals. Merely warning noncombatants to evacuate in order to bomb their homes does not make it proportional or permissible under the law of war.  

It is collective punishment.  Such acts are illegal and, above all, immoral. 

But who will stop the Israeli juggernaut? Not the U.S., which protects its own war criminals and mercenaries with all its might. Not Europe, now distracted by the havoc we cranked up in Ukraine.  And not the U.N., which has been emasculated by the U.S. over the years.

The U.S fuels the worldwide arms race, perpetuating the spiral of violence bringing misery to earth.  And since we provided the money and weapons for the IDF’s Gaza crime spree, we are specifically complicit in Israeli crimes against humanity. Isn’t this the same standard many apply to Russia, for allegedly supplying the Ukraine separatists with weapons which downed a civilian airline? 

The world, it seems, has lost its moral compass. And while perhaps there is no functional justice system left on earth, there remains yet a divine, cosmic one… some call it karma, and some say, “the measure you give is the measure you shall receive”. 

I am a former U.S. Army infantry/intelligence officer who later served as a CIA analyst for 27 years.  

I, too, know war crimes when I see them.  "Enhanced interrogation techniques?" this is a direct, literal translation from the Gestapo Handbuch "verschaerfte Vernehmung," and, sadly, most of the techniques used under Bush/Cheney are the same ones listed in the Handbuch.  

Regarding Guantanamo, where torture continues, President Obama asked in a main speech on May 23, 2013, "Is this who we are?"

Disbelief and denial are rampant. Some balance in the universe must be restored.  Until then, the still, small voices of reason and justice will cry out for peace.

 —>  Lorraine Barlett

- If insiders like Ms. Bartlett do not speak out, we are lost as a nation -- no better than the "terrorists" we pursue. -

—> Edited by Anibal Ibarra

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