Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Occupation by Any Other Name

The U.N. as a Tool in the Contemporary Shakedown of Lebanon

Rapists are the scum of the earth. Anyone who aggressively invades another person's body, permanently scarring the victim's psyche, deserves the maximum ethical justice. Whether on the spot or in a court of law, that justice should be firm and expedient. Too often that is not the case. Some rapists never pay for their crimes, no matter how many times they've been caught in the act. Those serial offenders are known as governments.

When a rapist does the nefarious deed, he is basically telling the victim, "you're subhuman; you're expendable; I own you." This is also true when governments rape peoples: they dehumanize them through propaganda and violent actions displaying a total disregard for the victims' identity, sentiments, or livelihoods. The victim can not be thought of as having any control over the attacker. Emotional connections cause the attacker to think of the victim as having some human worth and ability to defend "itself."

Do you suppose U.S. warlords wanted to know the names or opinions of all the millions of Iraqi refugees the invasion and occupation have produced, or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians they have killed, before invading and occupying Iraq? Of course not: the victims had to be made faceless and nameless lest the attackers might grow consciences (fat chance) over the immorality and illegality of the act they're conceiving.

In the case of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, it was the collective conscience of the American people that was numbed, as the false justifications for invading were permeating mainstream media airwaves, encouraging unwitting viewers to forgo the existence of the Iraqi people and the state-limiting rule of law. Discussions on the illegality and the potential damage to Iraqi society and suffering of the Iraqi people were virtually omitted from discussions. The would-be crime-preventers in Congress and in the streets were cast as novel and anti-American, and were given almost no voice in pre-war coverage.

During the build-up to the invasion, the Pentagon acted as a PR firm for retired and active U.S. generals and colonels who were contracted by cable news networks and mainstream press as war experts. Anti-war talk show host Phil Donahue was fired from MSNBC on the spurious grounds that the other, pro-invasion networks were killing them in ratings. The New York Times, in keeping with its rich tradition of all state-worship that is fit to print, committed felonious fraud by publishing lies sourced in the accounts of Mossad-allied Iraqi exiles and war-scheming think-tanks. Neocon-run mouthpieces like the New York Sun and Fox Noise Channel cast dissenters as traitors whose First Amendment rights ended where neocon foreign policy began.

The phony case for war was practically slammed shut in no small part by the infamous Saddam-WMDs speech given by Colin Powell at the United Nations in Fall 2002, aired live on C-SPAN, where he read the script of neocon-Likudnik disinformation to the world about the threat posed by third-world Iraq. If there was barely a trace of root-level policy discussion on the major networks prior to the Powell speech, then trust that those who attempted to give names and faces to the Iraqi people and the rule of law were now brazenly and completely marginalized. Sound bytes from the fraudulent Powell disgrace were incessantly re-aired by all the major networks with almost no accompanying critical discussion because, at this point, the invasion was a foregone conclusion.

Just a few month later, the U.S. military began invading and carpet-bombing Iraq upon the premise of enforcing U.N. Resolutions and the perceived national security threat of a WMD-armed Hussein. The worst subversions of the U.S. and international laws and the rape of the Iraqi people was officially underway.

For many years, another war has been waged through the U.N. and corporate media by U.S. and Israeli war hawks.

After Israel's invasion and and occupation of Lebanon in 1978, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) began carrying out peacekeeping missions in the South. The multinational group was deployed to be a buffer between the Israeli invader-occupiers on one end, and the Lebanese resistance on the other. Then, as now, it performed at least two primary tasks: peacekeeping and observation. The missions have been mostly well-intended and commendable undertakings, but have also produced unintended consequences: observers and peacekeepers have been victims and accomplices, and the U.N. has been both a whipping post and a tool for the U.S. and Israeli regimes in the military and political rape of Lebanon.

— On April 18, 1996, the headquarters of the Fijian battalion of UNIFIL, located in the Southern Lebanon village of Qana, came under fire from the Israeli military. More than 110 Lebanese civilians were killed and many others were wounded, including four U.N. workers. The massacre was part of Israel's 16-day war on Lebanon known in Israel as Operation Grapes of Wrath.

In the following days, Israeli officials offered conflicting excuses: outdated maps, misfire, etc. And when the U.N. investigation showed those excuses to be absurd, the old "stand-by's" given throughout were then re-upped and intensified by Israeli officials: It was the fault of the victims because they refused to flee (though 'fleeing" was impossible and the U.N. building was a safehaven); it was the fault of the supposed targets, the Lebanese resistance army Hizballah, for operating near the site of the attack; and it was the fault of the U.N. peacekeepers and investigators for "sympathizing" with Hizballah by allowing them within a certain range of the targeted building (like they could play traffic cop in a war zone). Still, the findings of the U.N. and independent groups concluded that the attack was unlikely a mistake.

Event Summary: The U.N. Charter was egregiously violated by the aggressor nation, Israel; the U.N. post was targeted; the victims were blamed; UNIFIL was blamed; and the state of Israel continued to rain fire upon civilian objects with impunity.

— On July 25, 2006, two weeks into Israel's long-planned invasion and carpet-bombing of Lebanon—which was cynically disguised as an attempt to rescue two IDF militants captured by Hizballah—the Israeli Air Force (IAF) shelled and bombed a U.N. observation post near the infamous IDF-Phalangist torture facility of Khiam. Four UNIFIL observers were killed and several more were injured when the IAF shelled the rescuers. The attack occurred despite more than a dozen communications over the course of six hours via telephone between the U.N. liaison and the IDF command center. Constant pleas were made for the IAF to stop firing near the facility.

When it was time to comment on the atrocity, Israeli officials again claimed it was “a mistake” and that they were targeting enemy fighters who were firing missiles from near the post. Of course, the “near-enemy” excuse is irrelevant in light of: the hours of desperate supplications from the eventual victims; the building being "well known and clearly marked"; and the IAF’s use of state-of-the-art, US-supplied, precision weaponry. But the state of Israel wasn’t satisfied with its instant exoneration of itself. The victims and their families had to pay for having the audacity to mention malicious intent. In keeping with an Israeli and U.S. government tradition of sociopathic guilt-transference, UN peacekeepers were accused of being—you guessed it—sympathetic to Hizballah.

Event Summary: The UNIFIL observers were targeted and killed by the IAF; U.N. and independent investigations were treated like toilet paper by the aggressors; U.S. veto power blocked U.N. condemnation and demands for a cease-fire from nearly all U.N. member states; and, as should be expected whenever any state investigates its own crimes, the rape was found to have been "an accident." Israeli aggression continued unchecked, and a chorus of jealous sighs could be heard from violent offenders everywhere.

Bouts of self-serving, absolutist Israeli lunacy were nothing new to Timur Goksel, former spokesperson and senior adviser for UNIFIL, who delivered a stinging response to the charge of Hizballah-sympathizing during a July 26, Democracy Now! interview:

"They don’t care if they kill a UN man or anybody on the Lebanese side. For them, their own life is sacred, their own troops are sacred. They have a mission, and if the UN gets in the way of their efforts over there, if the UN gets hit, so be it. . . .

"A peacekeeping force does not come here with pre-set enemies. . . . It’s not [an] Israeli combat force or an anti-terror force, as they would like it to be. As long as we don’t serve their direct interests, they are going to denigrate it as much as they can."

Goksel's assessment underscores something more odious: IAF war crimes against U.N. workers and other observers is an uncommonly common occurrence in the annals of Israeli warfare: it's been a reliable way for the Israeli government to make sure there are no witnesses to its crimes, intimidating anyone else who might otherwise be a willing testifier to the state's atrocities. Look up "attack on the USS Liberty" for starters.

— Just five days after the 25 July assault and ten years since the '96 Qana massacre, the IDF struck the people of Qana again. 28 civilians who had sought the shelter in the underground garage of an apartment building were killed; well over half the victims were children.

The same Israeli excuses were carted out in addition to a common Israeli cop-out claim that Hizballah was storing ammunition in the same building, causing it to explode and collapse on the people inside. The victims were to blame again for not fleeing—though fleeing was impossible for them, and the world knew it. The IDF also claimed that Hizballah were firing rockets from very near the building though U.N. and independent investigations were not convinced. The U.N. was then basically accused of holding to a single high standard: the kind that calls the spade a spade. It was the same old story all over again, contorted into such a controversy even though the deadly Israeli targeting of, and near, civilian objects from the air was the worst, and only provable, crime committed—a fact on which only agents of the neocon-Likudnik variety will disagree.

Event summary: Another one of countless civilian massacres was carried out by the IDF on Lebanese civilians; the U.N. investigators and independent witnesses were charged with colluding with Hizballah; Israel and U.S. officials and corporate media raked the victims, witnesses, and defenders over the coals in the ensuing moments and days; and the Israeli razing of S. Lebanon rolled on with no cease-fire in sight.

The state of Israel committed war crimes throughout its 2006 assault on Lebanon. On many occasions since hostilities began, the U.N. voted on a cease-fire resolution; each time, the wording was changed to appease Israel and its genocide-collaborators in the USA, and each time only a few U.N. member states voted against it. The tiny U.S.-Israeli coalition ultimately prevented peace until they could reluctantly agree on a resolution that benefited them sufficiently.

The Israeli aggression continued upon Lebanon, and so IDF tanks in Lebanon continued to be overturned and targets in Lebanon and N. Israel continued to be hit by artillery from the Resistance. But once it was clear that a unanimous cease-fire was near, the IDF intensified its use of illegal ordnance upon civilians.

From an August 31, 2006, Guardian UK report:

"Israel faced a stinging rebuke from the UN yesterday when the world body's humanitarian chief expressed shock at the 'completely immoral' use of cluster bombs in Lebanon and Kofi Annan called for a rapid end to the conflict in Gaza.

"Jan Egeland said civilians were facing 'massive problems' returning home because of as many as 100,000 unexploded cluster bombs, most of which were dropped in the last days of the war.

"'What's shocking - and I would say to me completely immoral - is that 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution,' Mr Egeland said. 'Every day people are maimed, wounded and are killed by these ordnance.'"

Untold numbers of of non-combatants have died, and hundreds more have been injured, by unexploded "bomblets" from those cluster bombs; amongst the victims, U.N. personnel. In all, an estimated one million bomblets remained unexploded in S. Lebanon. Three months after the cease-fire, the IDF actually admitted to using illegal and inhuman munitions during the assault on S. Lebanon. How many of those weapons came from the United States? Too many.

To this day, despite U.N. and international demands, the state of Israel has refused to release maps of the areas where the cluster bombs were dropped.

Irony and Hypocrisy: Disarmament and Peacekeeping

The U.N. has been powerless in the Levant against a veto-wielding superpower and its alliance of rogue states. UNIFIL has been used as a pawn and surrogate occupation force benefiting only U.S. and Israeli rogues. Lebanon expert Franklin Lamb notes:

"The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was created with the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 425 and 426 on March 19, 1978, primarily to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and 'to restore international peace and security.' Both goals have proved elusive these past three decades with Israel still in Shebaa Farms, the village of Ghajar, and violating Lebanese airspace and sovereignty at will.

"An examination of 30 years of UNIFIL’s presence in Lebanon reveals that UNIFIL, like its parent the UN Security Council, has been exploited by power politics conducted by the United States on behalf of Israel and unfortunately, frequently acquiesced in by the international community."

Those overflights and residual Israeli occupations are always overlooked in mass media because they represent decades of daily violations of international law by Israel. Hundreds of counts of Israeli overflights and other crimes against the Lebanese people have been reported since 2001, and they continue to this day.

For the past few decades, the U.N. presence in Lebanon was literally aimed at disarming the people and enforcing national governance through an international body (itself). All the while, that international body has feigned grave concern for the sovereignty of the national body in question (Lebanon), citing foreign intervention from Syria, with apparently no sense of irony.

Who is condemning the U.S. government for supplying weapons and vehicles to Israel for committing war crimes? U.N. measures are one-sided like that.

What the U.N., U.S., and Israel all know yet refuse to acknowledge is that U.N., U.S., and Israeli intervention into Lebanese affairs is precisely what has gotten them where they are now, as they were back in the 1980s.

The United Nations' so-called cease-fire resolutions concerning Israeli-Lebanese conflicts have been used toward: 1) disarming Israel's enemies; 2) isolating Lebanon's non-Israeli allies, Syria and Iran; 3) getting Israel off the hook using "1" and "2" to deflect focus away from Israeli crimes; and 4) maintaining U.S. control over its puppet politicians in Beirut and proxy militias in the region, thus rendering the people of Lebanon faceless and powerless in their own political system.

I'm not accusing the U.N. of malicious intent; but, it has been victim, enabler, and collaborator in the attempted rape of Lebanon and the shakedown of its allies. Freedom and self-rule shouldn't entail foreign and international occupation and mandates upon them. Let the people determine their fate and the fate of their government. You don't see the U.N. mandating disarmament of Israeli settlerists in the West Bank: they are illegal occupants who are armed to the hilt and committing terror upon the natives daily, with the IDF protecting them. They are allowed to decide not only their own fate, but also that of the Palestinians they occupy and terrorize.

The S. Lebanese Resistance is widely respected in the Arab world for living out its promise of liberating the people of Lebanon from U.S. and Israeli occupation and aggression. This helps to explain why the Lebanese army and a majority in government do not want to disarm Hizballah. But there are many reasons not to try to disarm the Lebanese Resistance; the obvious one being that they've been the only effective defense against aggression from common Lebanese enemies (the Israelis) over the last quarter-century.

In 1982, U.S. Marines were stationed in Beirut as "peacekeepers"; but to the resistance and most of the discerning world, their role was Israeli-allied occupiers. They certainly didn't act as a neutral force (as if they or any other "force" could have anyway). The mission itself was a highly ill-advised, dangerous, and un-American. The only parties benefiting from the U.S. occupation were the Israelis and the Israelis' seditious Lebanese allies, the Phalangist Party's South Lebanon Army (SLA). U.S. interests were definitely not being served while being occupiers and sitting ducks in the middle of an internecine hell. No matter how well-intended the mission, they were seen by most as collaborators and targets.

And they were targeted.

In 1983, a popular U.S. president and tool for the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC)—Ronald Reagan—committed one of the worst possible violations of the U.S. Constitution and his oath of office. Without Congressional approval, he "authorized" the most inhuman and illegal of military interventions in Lebanon. The United States—a supposedly "neutral" party in all Levantine conflicts—began raining death upon civilians from an indomitable position, shelling Beirut suburbs from the Mediterranean. At that time, there was no official Hizballah organization, and no formidable land-to-sea capability in Lebanon to counter the assault. What the USS New Jersey and others did was unbridled human target practice.

Around the same time, a suicide bombing was committed against the U.S. in Beirut—an act Hizballah has been conveniently if not totally wrongfully "blamed" for ever since. Michael Schwartz observes CIA and government-insider accounts:

"Many of us remember that in 1983, during a previous crisis there, an American military barracks was bombed, killing 241 marines who were part of an international peacekeeping force sent there in 1982. That bombing was, as [Roger] Morris tells the story 'itself a bloody reprisal for earlier American acts of intervention and diplomatic betrayal in Lebanon's civil war' which had been raging since 1975.

"No one in the American intelligence community knew for sure (and no one knows to this day) who was actually responsible for the bombing, but CIA director William Casey decided nevertheless to undertake reprisals. He chose as his target a Shia cleric, Muhammad Husain Fadlallah, 'because of his reputation for fiery sermons in favor of social justice and national independence -- and because allied spy agencies -- Israel's Mossad, Saudi Arabia's GID, and Phalangist informers -- claimed he led a militant Shiite group that bore responsibility for the attack on the Marines.'"

That event also turned out to be perhaps Reagan's greatest foreign policy lesson—an empirical argument against entanglements in other nations' affairs. But that lesson was slow to be learned, as Lamb details further:

"CIA agent Robert Baer, now a contributor to Time Magazine, was given the job of finding out who bombed the U.S. Embassy on April 18, 1983. During his March 2008 visit to Lebanon, Baer reminded reporters that his final report delivered to the White House more than 20 years ago concluded there was no proof to charge anyone, including Imad Mughniyeh, with either the April Embassy or the October 1983 Marine barracks attack. His conclusions are just as valid today, he advised interlocutors at the Beirut Vendome Hotel last month.

"The unpleasant fact for the Reagan administration was that gunboat diplomacy had been defeated by car bombs in Lebanon. The Reagan administration and especially CIA Director William Casey were left hungry for revenge — against someone. . . .

"With its new authority, the CIA set up 'counterterrorism units' similar to those Bush authorized in 2007. Casey quickly funded the "Foreign Work and Analysis Unit" (FWAU) inside Lebanon which had the assassination of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah as its first priority. Others targeted for death were Lebanese former Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss, Imad Mughniyeh and Walid Jumblatt, then supporting the PLO. The FWAU conducted a car bombing campaign in Muslim areas of Beirut and targeted the Cinema Salwa, Beirut's Raouche Market, Sabra Street, the Abu Nawwas restaurant, and the Druze Social Centre, among others, killing at least 280 civilians and wounding nearly 1,150. This mayhem was designed to ignite further internal strife and to send the Lebanese resistance a message and offer: "Support a new May 17 agreement with Israel and we can help you." When this 'offer' was unanswered, and on the Mossad's recommendation to Casey, Fadlallah was targeted on March 8, 1985.

"The BirAbed massacre was caused by an enormous car bomb outside Fadlallah's home as he was conducting a religious studies class for women. Had a neighborhood woman not detained him with questions, Fadallah would have been at nearly the exact spot where the rigged vehicle exploded according to Hizbullah investigators.

"The blast killed 83 people, mainly school girls, women and children, and wounded 283. The attempted assassination of Fadlallah, who is to this day Lebanon's most respected senior Shi'a cleric and social worker, enraged Lebanon, including Dahiyeh's two century old Christian community, long beneficiaries of his social services and respectful of his calls for religious dialogue and tolerance. Six months later, on September 12, in what appeared to be a tit for tat operation, the supposedly impregnable perimeter defenses of the new U.S. embassy in eastern Beirut was attacked, killing 23 employees and visitors.

"Eleven local individuals confessed to various roles in the Bir Abed bombing. The terrorist attack was based on now admitted faulty Israeli supplied 'intelligence.' Israel had advised the Reagan administration that Fadlallah was the founder, spiritual leader, and chief of operations for Hizbullah and was behind attacks on the U.S. Embassy and the Marine barracks as well as the kidnappings of Western hostages. Not one of the claims was true as the White House was later to learn. But at the time, CIA Director William Casey was beside himself that the U.S. had, less than a year earlier, been forced out of Lebanon by what he told the president were "third rate rabble-rousers."

The '83 barracks bombing and other attacks outside Lebanon have been conveniently "blamed" on Hizballah in the effort to make Hizballah and its allies into common U.S. and Israeli enemies when they're not. Notice that the "intelligence" cited is always from Mossad, the SLA, and other groups benefiting from such a contrived paradigm. The attack, by the way, was not a terrorist attack: it was an act of war.

Some of the same maniacs who participated in and promoted that mid-80s assault on Lebanese civilians based on Israeli disinfo and trumped up conjecture, namely current U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, are overseeing another U.S. terror mission—again, based on false or unsubstantiated charges—against not only Lebanese people, but the people of Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan as well.

The latest big news in U.S. and Israeli proxy-war hypocrisy is that George Bush enacted a directive of sorts for the official covert use of U.S.-designated terror groups. This means that now the funding doesn't have to be so indirect. Andrew Cockburn writes:

"Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, 'unprecedented in its scope.'

"Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.

"Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or 'army of god,' the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border -- whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law's throat."
If this is true, it is the most significant step taken by D.C. against Iran and Syria since the assist and cover-up of the Sept. 9, Israeli raid on Syria; the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization; or the condemnation in Congress against Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for genocide-incitement, which was based on a long-debunked mistranslation. Meanwhile, the Lebanese people's resistance and their militias ("terrorist groups") must not receive funding or training from Iran or Syria or any other country not approved by the Big Guns. Who's the U.N. working for?

Nuke-toting Israeli and U.S. figures are constantly calling for and committing illegal acts of aggression against second and third-world nations like Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the Israeli-Occupied Palestinian Territories (IOPTs); yet somehow, the "official" time-line always begins with the extreme rhetorical sound-byte response from the object of the violent threat, replayed over and over, effectively making that enemy leader look like the perpetual aggressor when the opposite is true.

For several years now, factions of the U.S. government have been harboring, indirectly funding, arming, and safeguarding Iranian, Palestinian, Lebanese, and Pakistani entities that are designated by the U.S. State Department as terrorist groups. Some of which own the most prolific track records of committing terrorism and acts of war against U.S. targets. One such group, the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MeK), have been provided secure living and training grounds in Iraq where they are being protected by U.S. forces and who-knows-what-seditious-militant-group-from-North-Carolina-or-something. Spokesmen for the propaganda arm of the MeK—calling themselves the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)—have enjoyed uncritical appearances on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN, and have been widely published in the mainstream corporate press. Their agenda is and always has been unabashed regime-change: '53 coup-style.

In 2007, real state-sponsored terror was unleashed upon Palestinian refugee camps in North Lebanon, at the behest of entities within the U.S. and Lebanese governments. The botched-operation-gone-tragic has since been blamed on Syria and members of the Lebanese opposition, just like the assassinations of Hizballah operative Imad Mughniyeh (2/2008, Damascus) and former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri (2/2005, Beirut). None of those terrible events were particularly beneficial for Hizballah or Syria; both of whom supported the Lebanese army against the refugee camp aggressors.

But we’re supposed to be fazed by neocon-Likudnik fear-mongering, outraged that Hizballah would want to challenge Israeli and U.S. meddling in Lebanon and receive Iranian assistance in wars of defense of country, and at the same time, we're supposed to forget that, just a few years ago, the neocon-Likudniks received Iranian assistance for their foreign wars ("rooting out al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan" and "prosecuting the Afghan war on drugs"). This is just a chip off the block of hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of "proxy wars" in the Middle East.

Lebanese Don't Exist

What is a "Lebanese"? Is it someone of "Lebanese" descent? Someone born in Lebanon? Someone who assimilated into "Lebanese" society and eventually became a citizen of Lebanon?

Nope. Lebanese are actually pro-Syrian or anti-Syrian, pro-American or anti-American; Iranian-backed, Syrian-backed, or Western-backed; and just like Palestinians and other Arabs and Persians, they are militant, moderate, terrorist, secular, pragmatic, extremist, Islamist, Christian, Sunni, Druze, and Shiite.

But why aren't they simply "Lebanese"? After all, they call the land of Lebanon their home, and they are citizens of Lebanon. Why "pro-this country" and "anti-that country"? U.S. and Israeli entities are certainly not described as pro- or-anti-this-or-that, and rarely ever by religious designations. So what's the deal?

It's nothing to do with a collective desire to give up their sovereignty and national identity to nations that know better how to use them (though certain others might disagree). And though it does have a bit to do with Lebanon's confessional system of government (installed by imperial powers in 1943 and based on a 1932 census)—which doles out certain government positions to certain factions based on religious affiliation—that only reasons away the use of religious designations.

No. Lebanese people don't exist as simply "Lebanese" for one main, simple reason: the U.S. and Israeli governments and their public relations outfit—international corporate media—say so.

Lebanese people and their leaders are cast relative to the sentiments of neocon-Likudnik foreign policy. Syria and Iran are the chosen enemies of the U.S. and Israeli governments; therefore, an "anti-Syrian" leader gets favorable coverage in news agency reports, thus letting the readers and viewers know that they are the good guys (the "moderates") who are in line with U.S. policy in the region.

According to state-worshiping corporate media standards, Lebanese, Iraqis and Palestinians are never decidedly lawful in defending themselves, their families, and countries against aggressive invasions, belligerent military occupations, insurrections, and ethnic cleansings. At the very best, the status of those "militants" and their aims is made to seem contested or controversial.

But international law is very clear: armed resistance against foreign invasions and occupations is lawful. Nevertheless, corporate media get around this unfortunate fact by omitting it, as they do with all other people-empowering, government-incriminating truths.

It is mostly through the calculated use of language, combined with a constant barrage of lies and false history based on "official" U.S. and Israeli accounts that the U.S. and Israeli regimes have been able to effectively dehumanize the Lebanese people and demonize their leaders in order to politically and militarily rape Lebanon.

The U.N. has been a formidable tool in the shakedown, but if not for the overall influence and scope of media's whitewashing of Israeli and U.S. crimes, most Americans would form their own opinions of all those regional conflicts based on international law, common morality, and the historical record. At which point, Hizballah and the resistance would be seen as the lawful defenders of their people and country, and the rogue elements in Israeli and the USA would never recover from the resulting PR damage of being widely depicted as the global shakedown mafia they actually are.

Then, perhaps, the U.N. wouldn't feel such a need to occupy Lebanon and disarm its legtitimate resistance groups.

Resolutions to Nowhere

The U.N. is ineffectual to the point of being offensive. UNIFIL personnel and the peole of S. Lebanon get along on average, but the overall mission is insane and detrimental to the Lebanese people according to contemporary trends.

Of all the Israeli and U.S. officials who planned, authorized, and carried out any of the "operations" in '82, '96, and '06, or any of the innumerable war crimes they've committed or have been accused of committing along the way, not one of them has been prosecuted or meaningfully investigated by any international body.

On the other hand: Syria and Iran and their "pro-Syrian and "pro-Iran" allies in Lebanon (a.k.a., "most Lebanese") are implicated at almost every turn, for any major assassination or military attack against Israeli targets or targets perceived as being "U.S. interests."

The U.N. and its selective investigations are used as Israeli and U.S. tools for working over their chosen victims. After Rafiq Hariri's murder, there was a "U.S.-backed" uprising amongst his supporters, dubbed the Cedar Revolution. This, in addition to U.S. and Israeli pressure in the U.N., leading to a currently-ongoing U.N. investigation, effectively led to the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon later that year.

How often do the Israeli or U.S. occupiers leave when the government of the occupied nation asks them to, when faced with "international" pressure, or even when they realize their own true interests will be badly damaged otherwise?

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which made the August 2006 Israel-Hizballah cease-fire official, specified that all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias in Lebanon were to be disarmed, and that all hostilities were to end on both sides. UNIFIL's task was to monitor the S. Lebanon countryside, from the Litani River southward, observing militia activity and Israeli incursions and overflights.

Neither side has been all that willing to abide, because everybody knows the resolutions are just political tools for the aggressor states. The Israelis, who have a rich history of pissing on U.N. resolutions, have almost completely disregarded Res. 1701. Not one day has passed in which Israel hasn't violated Lebanese sovereignty by land, sea, or air. The IDF still occupies areas in S. Lebanon.

The double standards are plain to see. The most numerous and deplorable crimes are being committed by these superpower states; yet, the people they are invading, occupying and carpet-bombing must concede to them.

The whole Israeli- and-U.S.-conceived mandate to disarm Hizballah and "buffer" S. Lebanon is the defeated Israelis' way of stacking the deck to avoid total humiliation and take the focus of its serial violations. UNIFIL is not tasked to disarm the militias; the Lebanese Army is, but they refuse to, and for good reason. The people of Lebanon must be free to resist armed invasions and insurrections and move freely—not just within Lebanon, but also between and among other states. Even the Lebanese majority government, a.k.a., the "pro-American" alliance, does not dare try to disarm them; they know the consequences of being completely defenseless against neocon-Likudnik aggression and civil war incitement.

Without Iranian support all these years, Hizballah might not have existed as the only ones to make good on the promise to drive out the occupiers and provide services for the downtrodden they represent in their country. Israel has always received military equipment and funding from the United States and other countries for use in their invasions and occupations in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. The U.S. borrows trillions from foreigners to finance its illegal wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the world. Yet the only the ones who are actually defending their own land must be disarmed?

If the USA was being invaded, it would be the lawful right and duty of each and every able-bodied male to take up arms against the invaders. What "patriotic" American would then fret over what country those arms came from? When people take up arms in self-defense within their own country, they have a common enemy and domestic and international laws are usually on their side. Lebanese, somehow, aren't afforded that honorable duty, or to experience nationality or self-government. The United States, Israel, the United Nations, and corporate media make sure of that.

The only proper course is to reject these heinous double standards. Governments should get out of the U.N. if they insist on flaunting it when convenient and cursing it when it limits their power. The United States should consider this seriously.

If U.S. leaders were actually serious about "peace," "freedom," "democracy," and "moderation," they would let the people achieve it from within. Opposition supporters, including those of Hizballah, have been mass-protesting in favor of a unity government in Beirut since December 2006. But whether it's a unity or other, the people want to determine their fate; they don't want it determined in Washington D.C., New York (U.N.), Tel Aviv, or even Damascus, for that matter.

For its own good and the good of the people of Lebanon, Israel, and the United States, the U.N. should get out of the business of surrogate occupation and keep its intervention into interstate conflicts to a bare minimum, respecting sovereignty and legitimate resistance instead of giving lip-service to it. Trade and friendship with Syria and Iran are Lebanese prerogatives—not those of the U.S., Israeli, or U.N. governments.

No peacekeeping mission or U.N. resolution will bring justice and peace; they never do. The people must be allowed to heal their nation. Each party, whether honorably or treacherously, will continue to ignore U.N. mandates for their own ends.

Like all violent offenders who have always gotten away with it, the neocon-Likudniks have developed a false sense of invincibility; they are carelessly determined to impose their will. The U.S.-Israeli war on Iran is as bold and intense as ever, with the threatening U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf and off Lebanese shores, the contrived nuclear case against Syria, and the Bush directive for covert ops. The violent offenders are just looking for a pretext for the next "operation."

UNIFIL and the Lebanese people should expect to face more aggression at the hands of these judge-and-jury mafiosi. Recent explosions that have killed many U.N. workers in S. Lebanon are still a mystery. Now that Resident Bush has apparently given the official go-ahead on major covert terrorism, we should expect more of that and worse in the near future, and not just in Lebanon.

To disarm the Lebanese people at this point would be conspiracy to commit mass rape and genocide.

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