Thursday, 11 March 2010

A Quick Portrayal of a Modern Hypocrite and Fool..Colonel Desmond Travers IDF


Desmond here was part of an
investigation team that descended
into the production of propaganda

This is a quick article as I need to gear up for covering the pending election. Not that the election will change a single thing in Britain anyway. British Colonels and occasionally American ones have been occasionally portrayed in the media as blimp like figures. Often this is done for amusement. However that accolade now must surely belong to Desmond Travers of the IDF. No not that IDF this IDF the Irish Forces. So who is Desmond Travers? Well he is a former Senior Officer of the IDF and was one of the panelists that produced the Goldstone report for the UN. That is the report which accused both Hamas and Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The Goldstone report is widely used to criticise Israel. In fact it has some authority in many people's eyes as it was produced by a UN body. Even though the body itself is a complete turkey which appointed Sudan as a member on May 4th 2004! Previous members have included Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Cuba. You probably get the point. That was the esteemed body for which Travers worked.

So my concerns for Travers are? Well quite simply the man is not equal to the task of performing an investigation into human rights violations. He has serious baggage, it was his intent from the start to use the report as a means of attacking Israel. This man should not be trusted to run a bath let alone mount an investigation. Read the following report in the Jerusalem Post by Alan Dershowitz. The Goldstone report was never meant to be impartial. In fact it could not possibly have been. Travers would have seen to that himself. He wanted to use the report to attack Israel. Travers has also unsurprisingly made paranoid and anti-Semitic remarks about a 'Jewish lobby'. For proof of that and a video of the man displaying his limited grasp of debating skills look at this piece by my friend Chas Newkey-Burden. Note how Travers evades the question. Also his completely contradicts himself saying that remarks about mosques storing munitions, can only be made if supported by forensic evidence. He states assuredly that no mosque did store munitions in Gaza, yet he he conducted no forensic investigation himself. He then theorises that munitions would not ever be stored in a place of worship, as his ancestors had been insurgents during the Irish war of independence. His ancestors had not done so between 1919- 1921 so therefore Hamas would never do so in 2009! What fatuous nonsense! The video is below:






Desmond Travers is a hypocrite, a political actor and not an investigator and an utterly disingenuous fool. You don't like me calling you that Des? Tough plenty of other people are and you can always sue me. Only I'll use your own words as evidence for this claim.


Full text on Travers in the Jerusalem Post below:


When Irish Colonel Desmond Travers eagerly accepted an appointment to the Goldstone Commission, he was hell-bent on revenge against Israel based on paranoid fantasies and hard left anti-Israel propaganda. He actually believed, as he put it in a recent interview, that "so many Irish soldiers had been killed by Israelis," with "a significant number who were taken out deliberately and shot (in southern Lebanon.)" This is of course complete and utter fantasy, but it was obviously part of Col. Travers' bigoted reality.

Travers came to the job having already made up his mind not to believe anything Israel said and to accept everything Hamas put forward. For example, Israel produced hard photographic evidence that Gaza mosques were used to store rockets and other weapons. Other photographs, taken by journalists, also proved what everybody now acknowledges to be true: namely that Hamas, as its leaders frequently boasted, routinely use mosques as military munitions depots. When confronted with this evidence, Travers said, "I don't believe the photographs." Of course not; they don't comport with his politically correct and ideologically skewed world-view. This is what he had previously said about why he didn't believe that Hamas used the mosques to store weapons:


We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions. Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion. ...If I were a Hamas operative the last place I'd store munitions would be in a mosque. It's not secure, is very visible, and would probably be pre-targeted by Israeli surveillance. There are a [sic] many better places to store munitions."


But that is exactly what Hamas did, despite Travers' insistence on paraphrasing Groucho Marx's famous quip, "Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?"

Most disturbing, however, was Travers' categorical rejection of Israel's claim that it attacked Gaza only after enduring thousands of anti-personnel rockets intended to target Israeli civilians, mainly schoolchildren. In fact, Hamas rockets hit several schools, though fortunately the teachers had dismissed the students just before the rockets would have killed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of them.

This is what Travers said about Hamas rockets:


...the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding their operations was something like two. The Hamas rockets had ceased being fired into Israel and not only that but Hamas sought a continuation of the cease-fire. Two had been fired from Gaza, but they are likely to have been fired by dissident groups, [i.e. groups that were violating a Hamas order not to fire rockets]." (emphasis added).

Again, Travers' rendition defies the historical record and tells us more about Travers than it does about what actually provoked Israel into finally taking action to protect some million civilians in range of Hamas' rockets. In fact Israel complied with the cease-fire, under the terms of which Israel reserved the right to engage in self-defense actions such as attacking terrorists who were in the process of firing rockets at its civilians.

Just before the hostilities began, Israel offered Hamas both a carrot and a stick: it reopened a checkpoint to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. It had closed the point of entry after the checkpoint was targeted by Gazan rockets. Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, also issued a stern, final warning to Hamas that unless it stopped the rockets, there would be a full-scale military response.

This is the way Reuters reported it:


Israel reopened border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Friday, a day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned militants there to stop firing rockets or they would pay a heavy price. Despite the movement of relief supplies, militants fired about a dozen rockets and mortar shafts from Gaza at Israel on Friday. One accidentally struck a house in Gaza, killing two Palestinian sisters, ages 5 and 13." (emphasis added)


Despite the opening of the crossings, the Hamas rockets continued - not none, not "something like two," but many - and Israel kept its word, implementing a targeted air attack against Hamas facilities and combatants.

Not surprisingly, Travers said that he "rejected ... entirely" Israel's claim that its "attack on Gaza was based on self-defense." Instead, he compared Israel's attack on Hamas to the unprovoked Nazi bombing of "Guirnica."

Travers has repeatedly claimed that "no substantive critique of the [Goldstone] report has been received." This is an out-and-out lie. I have read dozens of substantive critiques, and have written a 49-page one myself. The truth is that Travers has studiously ignored and refused to respond to these critiques. And of course he blames everything on "Jewish lobbyists."

Nor was Travers the only member of the commission with predetermined views and an anti-Israel agenda. Christine Chinken had already declared Israel guilty of war crimes before seeing any evidence. Hina Jilani had also condemned Israel before her appointment to the group, and then said that it would be "very cruel to not give credence to [the] voices" of the victims, apparently without regard to whether they were telling the truth. And then there is Richard Goldstone, who told friends that he too took the job with an agenda, which he says was to help Israel! Why any reasonable person would pay any attention to a report written by four people who had prejudged the evidence and came to their jobs with agendas and biases is beyond comprehension.

20 comments:

Colm said...

What is this travesty?

Is any investigation of acts of war, within which many civilians died, to be immediately decried as 'biased', by the pro-Israel lobby?

Was there an incursion by IDF into Gaza? What was the reason for that? How many died? How many of those were civilian? Did IDF soldiers themselves, recently report on what they saw, and perceived as war crimes?

How many Palestinians died, & how many Israeli soldiers?

If Colonel Travers, in his professional experise, feels a degree of outrage, is he not entitled to say so?

Paul said...

'Is any investigation of acts of war, within which many civilians died, to be immediately decried as 'biased', by the pro-Israel lobby?'

No, not by me it won't. However as I have described Travers possessed a bias himself. He had an agenda. He also claimed that it could not be possible to describe the Mosques destroyed as containing munitions without scientific evidence. Yet without citing such 'scientific' evidence he assured us they was no possibility mosques were used to store munitions, see the video. Also as evidenced in the video his anti-Semitic leanings, which he refused to comment on.

'Was there an incursion by IDF into Gaza? What was the reason for that? How many died?'

Simple enough to answer that. The IDF responded to the repeated launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel. To answer the questions you posed about deaths? Your statement is slightly ambiguous, but the responsibility for the deaths of Gazan civilians rests with Hamas. Why? Because they chose to cynically sacrifice their own people to further their propaganda purposes. Also to sacrifice their own women and children to protect their gunmen and rocket launcher teams. See here:

http://amodernlibertarian.blogspot.com/2009/01/hamas-mp-fathi-hamad-brags-about-using.html

'How many Palestinians died, & how many Israeli soldiers?

If Colonel Travers, in his professional experise, feels a degree of outrage, is he not entitled to say so?'

The first question here about the comparison of Israeli and Palestinian deaths is moot. Not least as whilst one side sought to protect themselves the other was deliberately sacrificing their civilians. For evidence of that look at what Fathi Hamad said in the clip I linked to.

As to Travers I assume he has got some professional expertise. I just wish he was not an anti-Semite who speaks propaganda for terrorists. Also if he is to carry out 'investigations' they should hold to objective standards and not be prejudiced by bias. For sound judgements of Operation Cast Lead by military professionals look at what Tim Collins said and here:

http://amodernlibertarian.blogspot.com/2009/02/british-soldiers-view-of-operation-cast.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX6vyT8RzMo

Personally I would feel that the assessments made by individuals like Kemp, Collins and the British Soldier I mentioned on my blog carry far more weight, than those of a political actor such as Travers. Not least as Collins et al have real combat experience.

Paul said...

By the way you're welcome to comment here but an anonymous profile raises suspicions.

Colm McGinn said...

I'll follow with a more detailed rebuttal of your blog, but meantime, from someone I much admire:

Israel Screwed Itself Over with Its Gaza Assault; the World Sees It as a 'Blood-Stained Monster'
The Israeli author warns that his country has made a tragic mistake: "This war is a crime against ourselves .. a crime against the State of Israel."
January 24, 2009

In this powerful essay, Uri Avnery writes that Israel's latest assault on Gaza has backfired spectacularly for the country's long-term interests. He writes, "Seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a bloodstained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have severe consequences for [Israel's] long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet."

Avnery also writes that the true purpose of Israel's invasion, "(apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign country. The reality is, of course, entirely different." Yet, he argues, "Even if the Israeli army were to succeed in killing every Hamas fighter to the last man, even then Hamas would win. The Hamas fighters would be seen as the paragons of the Arab nation, the heroes of the Palestinian people, models for emulation by every youngster in the Arab world. The West Bank would fall into the hands of Hamas like a ripe fruit, Fatah would drown in a sea of contempt, the Arab regimes would be threatened with collapse."

---

"Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called "the Red Army" held the millions of the town's inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz."

This is the description that would now appear in the history books -- if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as "hostages" and exploit the women and children as "human shields", they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

Colm McGinn said...

Israel Screwed Itself Over with Its Gaza Assault; the World Sees It as a 'Blood-Stained Monster'
The Israeli author warns that his country has made a tragic mistake: "This war is a crime against ourselves .. a crime against the State of Israel." January 24, 2009

In this powerful essay, Uri Avnery writes that Israel's latest assault on Gaza has backfired spectacularly for the country's long-term interests. He writes, "Seared into the consciousness of the world will be the image of Israel as a bloodstained monster, ready at any moment to commit war crimes and not prepared to abide by any moral restraints. This will have severe consequences for [Israel's] long-term future, our standing in the world, our chance of achieving peace and quiet."

Avnery also writes that the true purpose of Israel's invasion, "(apart from gaining seats in the coming elections) is to terminate the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the imagination of the planners, Hamas is an invader which has gained control of a foreign country. The reality is, of course, entirely different." Yet, he argues, "Even if the Israeli army were to succeed in killing every Hamas fighter to the last man, even then Hamas would win. The Hamas fighters would be seen as the paragons of the Arab nation, the heroes of the Palestinian people, models for emulation by every youngster in the Arab world. The West Bank would fall into the hands of Hamas like a ripe fruit, Fatah would drown in a sea of contempt, the Arab regimes would be threatened with collapse."

---

"Nearly seventy ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called "the Red Army" held the millions of the town's inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz."


This is the description that would now appear in the history books -- if the Germans had won the war.

Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as "hostages" and exploit the women and children as "human shields", they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

In this war, as in any modern war, propaganda plays a major role. The disparity between the forces, between the Israeli army -- with its airplanes, gunships, drones, warships, artillery and tanks -- and the few thousand lightly armed Hamas fighters, is one to a thousand, perhaps one to a million. In the political arena the gap between them is even wider. But in the propaganda war, the gap is almost infinite.

Ted Leddy said...

Hi Paul

I think you are largely correct about Colonel Travers. He does not come across as fair and balanced. I, like you believe that many of Israel's fiercist critics are in fact using anti Zionism to diguise their anti Semitism.

However as Colm made clear it is entirely appropriate that an international investigation should take place after a military conflict in which over a thousand civillians are killed. And I think we all know that there are many in the pro Israel camp that will immediately claim bias and ani semitism the moment such an investigation focuses on Israel's role.

Also I must confess that I find the human shield argument unsatisfactory. In all wars the weaker parties tend to use the civilian populations as cover in some way or another. This does not mean that the stronger party is absolved of their obligations to avoid civilian casualties. The onus is on both sides to make every effort to minimise civilian casualties. I believe that during Operation Cast Lead both sides failed big time in this regard.

Gaza is extremely densely populated and using weapons like white phosphorus may in fact be a war crime. If so then it is right that Israel be condemned strongly for its use.

Paul said...

Thank you guys for your comments. Also thanks Colm for updating your profile. Okay onto the issues concerned.

'Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as "hostages" and exploit the women and children as "human shields",'

Colm that is not absurd and your arguments Re the Second World War are ahistorical. Did you watch the video I posted a link to? Fathi Hamad from Hamas openly bragged about using their own civilians as cover from which to launch their attacks. So the 'absurdity' claim that you speak of lacks any basis. Not least as those who criticise Hamas's use of human shields can now directly quote a Hamas official as admitting so.

The comments by Uri Avery are heavy on rhetoric but light on substance. I mean nowhere do they address what Israel should have done? Does Israel not have a right to defend itself? They had withdrawn from Gaza in 2005. All they got was an increase in terrorist attacks including the launch of thousands of rockets into Israel. They had to act to defend themselves.

Ted, many thanks for stopping by. I have to say I find the criticisms of the use of WP illogical. I mean if I defend myself by using a knife, does it become a crime if the knife has a serrated edge? I cannot see how the firing of a rocket containing high explosive is all right but one containing phosphorous is not to be honest. If either impacts on the wrong target the outcome is just as appalling, I know I've seen it myself.

Again though Israel is held to higher standards than the rest of us. In 1982 Chris Keeble of 2 PARA, warned the Argentine defenders of Goose Green that they would be liable for the fate of civilians at Darwin and Goose Green. The British had fought to the outskirts of Darwin and Goose Green and intended to bombard both areas if the Argentineans still held out. Fortunately the Argentineans surrendered. However Keeble's note made it clear that the responsibility for any civilian casualties as a result of British bombardment lay with the Argentineans. Keeble’s point was in line with the norms and laws of war and yet he faced only praise for making it not condemnation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Goose_Green
The Israeli response was the only one they could have made in light of having been attacked by Hamas. Their response was legal and morally just. Personally I feel they did not go far enough and should have removed Hamas from the field of operations outright.

Colm McGinn said...

A first part:

Paul, there are so many details that I have to dispute with you. However, to set the scene, I wish to examine your personal history, in as much as it relates to this story. You mention your military service. By your age (mid 30s), and other life experience, I assume that you have served somewhat less than 5 years. I assume by other elements that you were at junior officer level, or possibly NCO. The reason I mention these guesses on my part, is to consider your scathing comments on Col. Travers' military expertise. In one example, of explosion in ** your expressed belief that Col. Tim Collins was more expert on the matter, is not supported by the basic issues of military science, that analysis of explosive blasts does really require more expertise than the average soldier possesses. Travers refers to that, in his otherwise fulsome praise of Tim Collins. To me, this part of the dispute is analogous to certain holocaust-deniers analysis of Auschwitz gas chambers; in taking chemical analyses of the brickwork (in a very inappropriate way), and hence 'proving' that no hydrocyanic acid residue was present, they 'proved' that it was not used, and hence that the murders never happened. Now of course that is nonsense, the murders of 'the Final Solution' did happen, in those gas chambers, but you can 'prove' anything if an insufficient rigour is applied. That rigorous analysis is actually what Col. Travers refers to. 'Common sense', unless supported by a great deal of experience, of say being a long service veteran of a full scale war, is not sufficient. And even then, probably not. I hope this (*my argument) is not too convoluted; I will leave it for the moment.

When you refer, without further examination, to Dershowitz's assertion that "disturbing, however, was Travers' categorical rejection of Israel's claim that it attacked Gaza only after enduring thousands of anti-personnel rockets intended to target Israeli civilians, mainly schoolchildren. In fact, Hamas rockets hit several schools, though fortunately the teachers had dismissed the students just before the rockets would have killed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of them."

That imples what is not true. Travers says (actually) "..the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding their operations was something like two. The Hamas rockets had ceased being fired into Israel and not only that but Hamas sought a continuation of the cease-fire. Two had been fired from Gaza, but they are likely to have been fired by dissident groups, [i.e. groups that were violating a Hamas order not to fire rockets]"

Dershowitz lies about this. Other reports from the time were (My disclosure, to have a completely truthful examination, I'm quoting David Morrison on this):

Colm McGinn said...

Part Two

"On More4 News last Friday (9 January 2009), Israeli spokesman, Mark Regev, was forced to admit that from 19 June until 4 November 2008, during the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt, Hamas fired no rockets or mortars out of Gaza into Israel, absolutely none. A video clip of this is available on YouTube
.

The More4 News story

(which was based on information supplied by me) demonstrated the effectiveness of the ceasefire in reducing the threat to Israeli
civilians to almost nil, despite the fact that Israel failed to honour its commitment in the ceasefire agreement to lift its economic
strangulation of Gaza.

Israel torpedoed the ceasefire on the evening of 4 November (when the world was watching the election of Barack Obama) by its military action in Gaza, contrary to the terms of the agreement - and, by so doing, increased the threat to its citizens and provoked a 'casus belli' for its assault on Gaza on 27 December 2009.
It is based on publicly available information from the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Might I also draw your attention to two articles by me also for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Israel's assault on Gaza, which have been published in the Irish Times:-

(1) / Israel broke ceasefire by killing six /(30 December 2008)

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2008/1230/1230581467173.html


(2) /Is Israel right to try to destroy Hamas?/ (5 January 2009)

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0105/1230936654232.html
(I didn't choose the question - scroll down for my NO answer, David Morrison)"

Colm McGinn said...

Part Three:

&
"(Travers) actually believed, as he put it in a recent interview, that "so many Irish soldiers had been killed by Israelis," with "a significant number who were taken out deliberately and shot (in southern Lebanon.)" This is of course complete and utter fantasy, but it was obviously part of Col. Travers' bigoted reality" The view that Col. Travers had might have been influenced by: (*Wikipedia 'From 1978 to 2001, a battalion of Irish troops was deployed in southern Lebanon, as part of the UN mandate force UNIFIL. The Irish battalion consisted of 580 personnel which were rotated every six months, plus almost 100 others in UNIFIL headquarters and the Force Mobile Reserve. In all, 30,000 Irish soldiers served in Lebanon over 23 years.

The Irish troops in Lebanon were initially intended to supervise the withdrawal of the Israeli Defence Forces from the area after an invasion in 1978 and to prevent fighting between the Palestine Liberation Organization forces and those of Israel. Another Israeli invasion in 1982 forced the PLO out of southern Lebanon, and occupied the area. The following 18 years, up until 2000 saw prolonged guerrilla warfare between Israeli forces, their allies in the South Lebanon Army and Hezbollah. The Irish battalion, caught in the middle of the conflict, lost 47 soldiers killed and more wounded in the mission. Their role consisted of manning checkpoints and observations posts and mounting patrols. In addition to peacekeeping the Irish also provided humanitarian aid to the local population - for example aiding the orphanage at Tibnin. From 25 April 1995 to 9 May 1996, Brigadier General P. Redmond served as Deputy Force Commander of UNIFIL - a period that coincided with the Israeli Operation Grapes of Wrath offensive in 1996."

Let me say that Dershowitz is an accomplished liar, persuasive to those wo do not seek for source; that above seems, on the face of it, better evidence than Professor Dershowitz provides. Not, after all, "complete and utter fantasy" but with complete basis in truth. As an ex-soldier yourself, you will be familiar with the thought that a certain amount of jaundice is present, on the part of any soldier who knows of his comrades' deaths, when considering these pratitioners of realpolitik, whether they are the IDF (Israel Defence Forces), or the IRA.

See also http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1314&dat=19800419&id=SfcRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Me4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3131,1935008

Colm McGinn said...

In a peacetime army, which the British Army has been for many years, but dealing with many bombing incidents, and with consequent expertise, you will be familiar in general terms with explosive blast, and with the mass requirement.

The various rockets that Hamas have fired into Israel (over a 10 year period) amount to ~ 9,600. Or 3 per day (approx.) These rockets are militarily analogous to those which the British Army used in the war of 1812, against USA. You know the mention in 'the Star Spangled Banner', of 'the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave truth through the night, that our flag was still there''?

The mass of explosives in the warhead is completely determined by dimension. The rockets fired by Hamas have varied from 2.5 inches to 4 inches, or a volume / mass of 2 - 6 kg (I'm calculating, but am correct in principle) By comparison, ONE Israel airstrike, one bomber, might drop 7,700 kg of explosive payload. There is no comparison; Israeli response is disproportionate. Four aircraft, one mission, drop more on Gaza than Hamas has fired over its whole 10 years (30 tons).

But yes, Israel has the right to defend itself, with proportionate response. That is what they have never employed, proportionality. Appropriate response might have been a limited special forces incursion, or a precisely targeted assassination. Such things are possibe, there must be some reason as to why Israeli Zionism prefers to do it this other way.

Why would that be?

(btw, and on Col. Travers;
In quoting Alan Dershowitz, you leave in place his offensive racist slur upon Travers' pronunciation; ("Instead, he compared Israel's attack on Hamas to the unprovoked Nazi bombing of "Guirnica." ) the image of the sophisticate that Dershowitz thinks himself to be, is somewhat diluted by his bad manners, and basic ignorance. Would he make the same joke about a German, or English, or Scottish, or French regional pronunciation? Dershowitz is an appalling person, who has been shown to distort and lie in his conflict with Norman Finkelstein. That does rather colour my reading of his analysis. But hey, it's great that he exposes himself.)


[And, as an aside, let me confirm that I also (re your profile) am all in favour of "help(ing) the planet without punishing the individual". I suggest that survival of our species, rather than the starvation & death of 80% of us, is a goal that we might (nearly) all share. The exceptions are the raving neo-cons of the American Christian Right. They like the thought. 'Chosen people' are bloody dangerous, no matter what their other beliefs.]

Paul said...

Colm, you have provided links to some articles that you wrote. I will peruse those later and comment if necessary. On first glance it appears what you have provided is very convoluted. So can we get back to the issues originally discussed in my post for now? I'll go over those again to simplify matters.

1. Desmond Travers is he impartial or not? What about his comment regarding how Jews control the media? Neither he nor you commented on this important matter. It is referenced in the video clip I provided.

2. In a rather round about and delirious fashion you have likened Tim Collins critique of Travers to holocaust denial? That makes little sense to me and I hope you can explain further?

However for now back to my original post. I stated that Travers claimed there was no scientific evidence to back Collins's claim that munitions were stored in mosques. However equally Travers himself quoted no scientific basis for his claim that munitions were not in the mosques! Indeed he claimed that they could not have been as his relatives in the Irish war of independence have never stored munitions in Churches! A bizarre piece of relativity by Travers to say the least.

The fact remains that Hamas was never interested in a cease-fire with Israel. They launched thousands of rockets AFTER Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Why? Well their own charter provides the answer. They are Islamic supremacists, only interested in killing Jews and terrorism. As such it is not hard to see how they would only regard a ‘cease-fire’ as a hollow and temporary expedience, one that allows them to resume their aim after a break to re-arm and recoup.

Colm McGinn said...

To try to answer you, Paul:
'1. Desmond Travers is he impartial or not?'
Well. he's 'technically' impartial; that is to say, as a professional soldier, with specific expertise in explosives & blast effects (which he has alluded to) he doesn't allow his personal prejudices (should he have some) to colour his professional examination. Similarly, a medical doctor (one hopes) does not allow his/her dislike of say, the terrorist caught up in their own bomb, to colour whether or not that terrorist receives treatment.

Part of the problem of our discussion is cultural; you, the Englishman, have (I suggest) a somewhat linear approach to this and other parts of this argument. I, the Irishman, (who, of course, is much closer to the mother lode of the language of Shakespeare, influenced as I am by both Hiberno-English & Middle- English.... OK, I'm joking... But only a little bit.) adopts as a standard technique a fluid & flexible understanding of any such issue. So, I would say that 'prejudice is an essential tool of thought'; no-one has ever thought through some issue without a first position. It's a human condition, no-one is, or has ever been, a 'tabula rasa'. You spent quite a bit of your blog on Col. Travers' defects, as a man, as a soldier, and as an impartial observer. I think that, culturally, you find him 'inaccessible'. This colours your view of him. (I suggest)

As regards 'how Jews control the media'; Travers' comment, as I recall it, was not anti-semitic. (I can't look at it again, see below) To recognise that Israeli Zionism puts a great deal of effort (& has success) into swaying the news agenda (esp. of western, 1st world, media) is not to say "Da Joooz are behind it all". I have a good friend, New York Jewish guy, who suggests that the whole of US foreign policy is swayed in a direction favoured by AIPAC by as little as FOUR individuals. His analysis is from taking the Forbes' 'Rich List', knowing the number of Jewish people within that, knowing a certain amount of their beliefs, and applying his knowledge. He's referring to people with $ Billions of wealth, who apply $ Tens of Millions in support of their personal, Zionist, ideology. He also points out that the large majority of Jewish Americans are politically liberal, are well educated, DO NOT share those Zionist views, and in fact are opposed to them. So let me agree with Col. Travers (as I remember his comment), OF COURSE, there is a great deal of manipulation of the broadcast & other media, by the Zionists. And the ownership of media is predominantly in the hands of people whose original ethnic origin is Jewish. Is this a surprise to anyone?

The reasons for that ownership stretch back at least a century, and arguably 10 centuries, and are connected to the oppression that the Jews suffered at the hands of the European elites, and the Christian, esp. Catholic, churches. Handy scapegoats. They were forced as a matter of survival into industry, and to revere and encourage learning.

As regards my 'rather round about and delirious fashion you have likened Tim Collins critique of Travers to holocaust denial?' That's an issue of fluid approach. But, I did not, and do not, liken Collins, or you, to 'holocaust deniers' (though it was an oblique dig at the Zionists) The issue was of the chemistry & physics of explosives and other methods of dealing death. It was just something that came to memory. Fred Leuchter, (fantasist and celebrity seeker) who did this 'analysis' was intellectually and professionally not competent to examine that. Just because Col. Collins has done a bit (or a lot) of 'derring do', and made a great speech, does not give him that expertise. It's a technical issue.

Colm McGinn said...

This bloody thing does not allow long posts; so Part Two:


As regards 'Travers claimed there was no scientific evidence to back Collins's claim that munitions were stored in mosques. However equally Travers himself quoted no scientific basis for his claim that munitions were not in the mosques!' That is a non-sequitur, and logically incomprehensible. We could argue about anyone's motive in a similar circular fashion. And never get anywhere. I can rabbit on about my belief on the most likely rationale on how insurgents in Ireland or Gaza would/ should/ might behave; well, who should care? There was a bluff naivety about Col Travers comments on his family history, but really, not important enough to address further. Except, perhaps, to mock him. Not much enlightenment in that.

To get to something of real substance, as regards how we look at Islam, and Hamas "The fact remains that Hamas was never interested in a cease-fire with Israel. They launched thousands of rockets AFTER Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Why? Well their own charter provides the answer That is very 'coloured' view of how oppressed people behave. And a very simplistic view of how Israel is actually behaving, as against what the media present of the behaviour & motivation of Israel, the state, and Isaeli Zionism, the ideology.
You can read David Morrison's reportage on the issue.

From earlier:
"On More4 News last Friday (9 January 2009), Israeli spokesman, Mark Regev, was forced to admit that from 19 June until 4 November 2008, during the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt, Hamas fired no rockets or mortars out of Gaza into Israel, absolutely none. A video clip of this is available on YouTube .......demonstrated the effectiveness of the ceasefire in reducing the threat to Israeli civilians to almost nil, despite the fact that Israel failed to honour its commitment in the ceasefire agreement to lift its economic
strangulation of Gaza.

Israel torpedoed the ceasefire on the evening of 4 November (when the world was watching the election of Barack Obama) by its military action in Gaza, contrary to the terms of the agreement - and, by so doing, increased the threat to its citizens and provoked a 'casus belli' for its assault on Gaza on 27 December 2009.
It is based on publicly available information from the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.


In your reply, you ignore completely Alan Dershowitz, whose opinions seemed to provide the basis for your first story. That man is a total and complete liar. He is (as the French say) 'engagé' Would not know the truth on any subject. But my earlier was all about that, so no point in re-hash.


'you have provided links to some articles that you wrote' Not my articles though I see the confusion. This blogging template somewhat conceals stuff. David Morrison wrote those. Certainly, have a good poke around them. He's very well informed.


As regards 'the video clip I provided'; I watched that twice, but on trying to access it again (now), I see 'this video has been removed due to terms of use violation'. That comment from YouTube is of course a 'load of balls'. Who would have complained about that video? [Clue, I don't believe it was you. Or the Goldstone Commission]

Colm McGinn said...

Part Three:

To make a comment on honesty, and on how non-Zionist Jewish people see that part of the world:

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/finkelstein-on-gaza-and-goldstone-finnish-subtitles/

And on scholarship in general:
http://www.facebook.com/norman.finkelstein?ref=mf#!/notes/norman-finkelstein/in-memory-of-a-mensch/378408035921

Paul said...

Colm, many thanks for commenting. I think in light of your recent comments that common ground between us may be hard to come by. Firstly though back onto Desmond Travis. It now seems in your own words you accept he was biased. He may have had a hatred of Israel formed by the deaths of Irish peacekeepers in Lebanon. Those deaths were tragic and it is a particular shame they happened given the Irish forces sound reputation for peacekeeping. But given this predisposition doesn't that make it likely that Travers is a poor choice for a UN inquiry that is supposed to be impartial? Further evidence of Travers possessing anti-Semitic views was in the YouTube video I posted. That will be going up here next as I have a copy.

You say that stating that Travers was not anti-Semitic in any case with his statement that 'Jews control the media'. It would seem that you agree with him with:

'OF COURSE, there is a great deal of manipulation of the broadcast & other media, by the Zionists. And the ownership of media is predominantly in the hands of people whose original ethnic origin is Jewish. Is this a surprise to anyone?'

Well it's news to me and most reasonable people. Colm that is anti-Semitism. I mean look at the BBC for instance and how they cover Israel/Palestine. Barbara Plett talked of how she cried at the site of Arafat's coffin ffs! If Zionists do control the media it certainly does not work with the BBC. Also the video I linked to where Fathi Hamad admitted the use of human shields by Hamas. The MSM completely ignored that one.

You seem quite happy to make excuses for Hamas whilst not denying their genocidal and anti-Semitic ideology. That's hardly surprising though when one looks at the PSC organisation. This organisation openly endorses both Hezbollah and Hamas on its website. They also through VivaPalestina actually supply them with funds!

http://www.vivapalestina.org/home.htm

But just so we're clear here is excerpts for the Hamas Charter as quoted in the Times.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article721211.ece

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).”
“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.”

They are really not a nice bunch of chaps.

Colm McGinn said...

Paul, That is fairly extraordinary, to accuse Travers of 'bias', when your own words on him are (a sample) "Desmond Travers is a hypocrite, a political actor and not an investigator and an utterly disingenuous fool. You don't like me calling you that Des? Tough, plenty of other people are and you can always sue me. Only I'll use your own words as evidence for this claim"

I think you can feel confident that you will not be sued, but (purely for interest) my opinion is that your words (on Col. Travers) are actionable. But the damage (to him) is slight. The defence you offer has a flimsy quality; most courts would not concede the truth of your assertion, on 'his own words'.

Talking of which, no video up. And I think you will find it difficult to put up; perhaps you should ask for clarification from YouTube?

On your comment "Well it's news to me and most reasonable people. Colm that is anti-Semitism" No it's not.

Anti-semitism (Wikipedia) 'is prejudice against or hostility towards Jews, often rooted in hatred of their ethnic background, culture, or religion. In its extreme form, it attributes to the Jews an exceptional position among all other civilisations, defames them as an inferior group and denies their being part of the nation in which they reside.'

That is not in any way my position. But I don't feel offended, by an avowed supporter of Israel, and opponent of resistance to Israeli Zionism, firing that epithet at me. It goes with the territory. Any opposition to Israel, & Zionism, is usually answered (!) with that charge. You conflate Zionism with being a Jew, which is exactly what the Zionists desire.

Actually, while making my response yesterday, I thought of the various men & women who I remember with admiration almost to the point of seeing them in a heroic light. (Clumsy phrasing, but the meaning is true.) And of my 'top ten' (a floating membership), 4 of them were Jewish. But none were, or could ever be, Zionists. It's all the same. Zionism, Nazism, Irish (or British) Nationalism. Or any other. Nationalists in general are blind. Blinded by unreason, convinced that they alone are the uniquely injured casualties of history. I write from Ireland, and I think first of all of our own nationalists, when I make that comment.

On 'Jews control the media', that you quote Col. Travers as saying. I think that while it's not quite a 'both feet in mouth' moment, it was an injudicious comment. I don't think, that what I said, was precisely that; rather that Zionists have considerable & effective input into the media.

Now, back to your "Well it's news to me and most reasonable people" If that is the case, you need to get out a bit more. Keep reading. The input of Zionism into the British media (by comparison with the US media) is relatively subtle and restrained, but it's still real. The BBC has on occasion covered stories with relative (or even complete) honesty; more often it and most western media don't cover the stories at all. This not from my prejudice (though that also exists; I'm prejudiced against people who bully their way into other peoples' land, because 'God said it was so'. See my earlier comment on logic, and a 'first position') this is reportage from what I see as legit sources. I've referenced them. Or perhaps from your totally dis-interested position, you may see prejudice? Pehaps one is only 'un-prejudiced' if one is in support of the State of Israel, as presently constituted?

On the BBC correspondent, tears do not interest me. Sentimentalists can always be relied upon to water the handkerchief. The real grief, of the really bereaved, is one thing. Some journo getting all teary is a 'so what' moment.

Colm McGinn said...

Part Two

It's sort of 'fun' that you, the ex-soldier, has declined to address any of the comments I made on 'proportionality'. I find that strange. Why no comment on the explosive power, the relative effect of Hamas rockets versus IDF airstrikes? Your previous comment on white phosphorous (WP) is also strange. Gives one concern for the level of training in the British Army. Because, you see, both of these (dis-proportionality & WP use in civilian areas) are issues that are considered in the Geneva Convention, and amendments, and are defined as war crimes. The other especially & egregiously awful stuff used, is Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) That stuff is really fun. Slices the target personnel off at the knees, leaves a residue of finely dispersed (& not precisely known) particles, from which the target sickens & dies. I presume that's tungsten or DU particles. Both are poisonous.

Now, killing combatants is one thing, killing civilians, women & children, in this way, is quite another. And you're concerned about my (you say) 'anti-semitism'. I think my conscience is clear, on all these matters. You might consider your own position, of heaping opprobrium on the massively oppressed.

I don't make any excuses for Hamas; I don't know what a future world might bring, I'll respond to it at that time. For the moment, they seem to have some degree of democratic legitimacy. Interesting that they were encouraged in the first place by Mossad, in their tinkering with the Muslim Brotherhood, as a counter to pan-Arabist (& secular) Fatah. More of un-intended consequences. Or were they un-intended?

And as for Hezbollah, I'm with Finkelstein on that. Those guys can fight, they defend their country from a massively powerful enemy. They're the boys for me.

Paul said...

Colm, the video is up. I uploaded it to a separate blog entry as YouTube no longer allow it you can find it on this blog easily enough it's the post above this one. I have my own copy of that video and that is how I have been able to post it.

Happily discuss proportionality with you. I didn't have the time to discuss it earlier. Now on the one hand your premise is arguably correct. Supposing I belong to some Islamist militia and launch small explosive rockets into a valley several kilometres from where I live. I target the people in that valley indiscriminately as they are Jews. That is after all what Hamas do and their own charter provides evidence of that animosity towards ALL Israelis and Jews. The rockets are of course unguided munitions and are launched indiscriminately. However clearly I need to shield myself from a possible counter-battery strike by the IDF. One handy solution is to launch the attacks from Schools, mosques and other areas packed with my own people. That will not guarantee the safety of the people launching the attacks. It will mean however that if a retaliatory air strike hits a school or a mosque. Then Israel by doing so, even if their intention was self defence may pay a price in terms of adverse publicity. Legally however it may not be a war crime although that is open to debate. The debate being that under the Geneva Convention Schools and places of Worship are protected places. They do however loose that protection if they are used as military bases.

But still you did make a valid point. If I've read you correctly then what you propose is that if one party fires a rocket with a warhead of 3- 5 Kg and the other drops a 500lb bomb from an aircraft then the latter is automatically disproportionate. A fair point Colm, but still wrong and I'll explain why. But for another explanation at this issue look at some of the comments in this article.

http://amodernlibertarian.blogspot.com/2009/02/british-soldiers-view-of-operation-cast.html

Yet if we look at 'proportionality' what should that mean? It would have been proportionate of Israel to respond to the firing of Hamas rockets by indiscriminately firing thousands of their own rocket and mortar munitions into Gaza. Yet they did not and should not have done so. A targeted response is called for but how? The options are not attractive nor are they numerous. A guided munition from an aircraft or drone is an option. The only other option is to send in ground troops. Ground troops though are a fairly blunt tool. I take it you've seen 'Black Hawk Down'? Well that is what can happen to a targeted Intelligence led raid when a small unit of Soldiers bites off more than they can chew. Surrounded by a hostile militia in an urban environment again the troops rely on air power to stay alive. The third option is to use a large military force and simply re-occupy the area. Patrols can prevent the use of mortars and rockets from the areas they patrol. That is only because the terrorists/Insurgents focus is on the patrols themselves. A constants stream of casualties results from IED and Suicide attacks against them. Those are the three military options effectively open to Israel and their relative drawbacks.

I'll leave it at that for now. I'll be back tomorrow to discuss Desmond Travers and your support of an Odious and fascistic terror grouping, the anti-Semitic Hezbollah. Good night and thanks for stopping by.

Paul said...

Colm, firstly lets go over what I said about Travers and I'll elaborate each point.

1. Hypocrite- I’m afraid he is as detailed in that video he demanded that scientific evidence be produced to demonstrate how Hamas had stored munitions in mosques. He did not provide any to substantiate his claim that they were not.

2. Biased- You've accepted yourself that Travers may have had a grudge against Israel due to the deaths of Irish peacekeepers in the Lebanon. Isn't it unreasonable then to appoint him to such a sensitive task? If a former British soldier with a grudge against Irish people was appointed to the Saville inquiry how would Irish nationalists feel?

3. A political actor - His actions demonstrate this as he never intended to be impartial. Instead he set out to participate in a one sided propaganda production against Israel.

4. A fool? Well okay he was biased but I don't believe he is stupid. For what it's worth I'm very sorry for the deaths of Irish peacekeepers in Lebanon. Also Travers’s statement that munitions would never be stored in a mosque because his relatives never stored munitions in Churches during the Irish War of Independence is incredibly fatuous.

Now onto Hezbollah. You seem to admire them for defending the Lebanon? Well do you admire them for possessing a mandated desire to destroy Israel? Or spreading anti-Semitic propaganda and saying Jews spread AIDS? I will grant you they fought hard against Israel in '06. A war they started after abducting and murdering Israeli soldiers. The Israeli government released a convicted child murderer Samir Kuntar in '08 as part of an exchange. All they got back was body parts. But just because individuals fight hard in a war they start that is no reason for unqualified admiration. I don't suppose you regard the Waffen SS soldiers who defended Normandy in 1944 as 'the boys' as well.