Robin Mathews: From Harper to Trudeau, The Saga of Corruption in Canada Continues. False News. False Newsmakers. Untroubled Power. The Supreme Court of Canada publishes lies too

 

The Israelization of governments, militaries and security forces means the Palestinianization of most of the rest of us. 

Jeff Halper, Israeli anthropologist

 

From Harper to Trudeau, The Saga of Corruption in Canada Continues False News. False Newsmakers. Untroubled Power by Robin Mathews, November 2017, American Herald Tribune

In a colonial country as wealthy in raw materials as Canada is… awakening can take decades, if not centuries. If Canada had taken control and major ownership of Canadian fossil fuels (just for instance), it might have no national or provincial debt. And, like Norway (with fewer fossil fuel resources than Canada has) it could be sporting something like Norway’s One Trillion Dollar Heritage Fund for use in (future) troubled times. Instead, Canadian governments have HUGE debt and Canadians live in troubled times … now.

If Canada had only retained the right of the Bank of Canada to make interest-free loans to Canadian governments for infrastructure and related needs (Pierre Trudeau handed the right away in 1974 on behalf of Canadian and global private banks), then the Canadian Heritage Fund for use on a rainy day might easily be pushing far above the One Trillion Dollar mark … instead of being virtually a minus quantity … as it is now ….

The picture is depressing, especially since those are only two examples among a great many Canadian (colonial) failures to grasp opportunity. It is especially depressing because Canadians are brainwashed to see none of it, and they are trained to believe that (1) the Canadian wealthy and political leadership are, usually, honest; (2) that bad, bad things happen where it really matters, in the USA. But not here; (3) that fake news and fake newsmakers are in the USA … not in Canada; (4) that the CBC, for instance, “covers Canada well”; (5) that bad people happen in Canada, but not often, and we (deeply colonial in fact, and deeply a part of the worst U.S. savagery engaged in around the world – actively refusing to take over our own government for our own people) are – somehow … admirable and principled people with admirable and principled leaders.

We think all of those things because the majority of Canadian journalists and political commentators are earnest, focussed, even intense … shams. Where they are not (mostly) out-and-out liars … they are (mostly) lies. The first group misleads on purpose. The second is taken in and tells lies because it believes them.

What do leading Canadian political commentators have to say about all that? Why … nothing, of course. That’s why they’re leading political commentators (Canadian-style). Take Chantal Hebert, just for instance – all over the press and media. And Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post (and elsewhere). Those two are higher profile than many others … but representative of the pack, I say.

The National Post, remember, was founded by ex-convict Conrad Black. The paper was founded specifically to further neo-liberal (what I call neo-fascist) politics in Canada. The National Post would have collapsed early if it had been a normal business undertaking. It wasn’t that. It was founded as a propaganda sheet for neo-liberal (neo-fascist) forces in Canada. For at least its first twelve years it lost money … year after year after year … and may be still doing so. It’s kept alive as a political pamphlet masquerading as a daily newspaper.

It should have disappeared. But someone swallows its debt and keeps it going as a major propaganda source for the likes of, say, Stephen Harper, for the likes of, say, Andrew Scheer – for what I call fascist politics in Canada.

When Conrad Black (Lord Black of Cross Harbour) was released from U.S. prison … he had a problem. Having renounced Canadian citizenship to become a British Lord, he didn’t belong in Canada. But if he went “home” to England and tried to enter the House of Lords as a Lord himself, he would have been tossed out on his ear and sent packing. The Lords of Britain are not attracted to ex-convicts!

Since the National Post had helped prepare the victory of Stephen Harper’s neo-liberal (I say “neo-fascist”) “Conservative” government, Harper was happy to have Lord Black take up residence in Canada. The National Post welcomed him. The Globe and Mail positively fawned on him … as if a hero.

Remember too: the Globe and Mail, the National Post and ALL the Post Media newspapers across Canada worked for a Stephen Harper victory in the 2015 election. Let us not fool ourselves about Canada’s “Free Press”. So let us not fool ourselves, either, about Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne, and their kind.

Andrew Coyne works for the National Post. Chantal Hebert writes for … for other outlets. Both Hebert and Coyne have been long members of CBC’s panel on National Affairs where the absolutely key issues of Canadian life are never discussed …. Chantal Hebert is even, Canadian-style, a senior Fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto. When you get into the belly of the Canadian Ruling Class … it shows … and shows.

Lyin’ Brian Mulroney’s last Chief of Staff (before Mulroney went down in flames) is the present Master of Massey College, (Hugh Segal).

Hebert and Coyne (I say) are everywhere. They do the bidding of their masters. They do not (I say) work for Canadians. They work for their masters and live in the land of Perks Canada. But … But, you say, “they have both been energetically on the Bill Morneau-Shepell story. They have turned over every sod….” That is because in the world of Perks Canada Bill Morneau is fair game. If the Liberals go down, the neo-liberal “Conservatives” with the same platform are there to take over. The surface issues can be beaten to death by the likes of Coyne and Hebert. But the issues beneath the surface: Don’t Touch.

How many sods have they turned over about (retiring?) RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson? (Strangely retiring early – at 58.) He had to be the final RCMP overseer of the completely fake evidence-gathering and preparation for the totally phoney thirty-one criminal charges laid against senator Mike Duffy – not one of which held up in an honest court! That story should have just begun … and should be pursued and headlined every week … but Hebert and Coyne are nowhere to be seen (nor any others in their pack) on the story. And so … as planned by their masters … the outrageous, gigantic story of the false criminal charges against Mike Duffy is … disappearing….

How many sods are they turning over about what had to be Bob Paulson’s role in the GIGANTIC (run-out-of-Ottawa RCMP Headquarters) False Flag entrapment of two defenceless Canadians to fake an Islamic Terrorist Attack at the Victoria, B.C. legislature grounds on July 1, 2013? (incidentally involving more than 200 RCMP and millions of tax-payers’ dollars). The (face-saving?) Appeal against the unequivocal erasure of ALL charges against the two entrapped Canadians by B.C Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce – who laid all responsibility for the event upon the RCMP – is to happen on January 18, 2018. Where are Chantal Hebert and Andrew Coyne (and their journalist pack) on one of the Biggest National “Terror” Stories in Canada since the FLQ Crisis of 1970, involving, almost certainly, Stephen Harper and the PMO, and now the Trudeau cabinet? Hebert and Coyne, and their pack … are … (you guessed it!) nowhere to be seen….

Sods turned over? None whatever. Sorry.

Two entrapped, socially challenged Canadians were “framed” and then charged by RCMP dirty tactics, and stripped of freedom. They were jailed … robbed of their basic rights and liberties as Canadians. Then improperly convicted … facing more harassment… until B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce told the real story of what has to be named highly organized RCMP crime. Why do we not hear from Andrew Coyne and Chantal Hebert who have to know that Bob Paulson had to be informed … at least, of galloping RCMP criminality? And that Stephen Harper’s PMO almost certainly had to be neck-deep in it all … and that the cabinet of Justin Trudeau is doing absolutely nothing to assure the RCMP is brought to justice? Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne, and their fellow journalists are … very far away … somewhere else … chasing Bill Morneau. (Chasing Bill Morneau is okay.)

And now Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in the federal government has (I insist) endorsed RCMP criminal activity… an outrageous act, for which he should be forced to resign. Where are Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne and their spineless, conscienceless pack? Why … Why are they letting Ralph Goodale off without so much as a question?

All this is brutally vile. Two innocent Canadians. Entrapped. Charged with false charges. Tried. Harassed. Jailed … for months. Targetted. Still being dragged through horror so the RCMP can fake legitimacy with a Supreme Court of B.C. Appeal. Will it be a stacked court? We will have to wait and see ….

Where oh where … on another issue … are Chantal Hebert and Andrew Coyne and their pack … how many sods have they turned over … as Big Oil in Alberta, hand in hand with the Alberta government and the Alberta courts and the Alberta RCMP and, of course, the Alberta ‘open and free press and media’ continue their program to wreck the life of Jessica Ernst. (The only stellar exception in the Jessica Ernst story is journalist Andrew Nikiforuk who tracks the Corporate/Court Horror Story for all who care.) Ernst is trying to gain a shred of justice and meaningful regulation in the matter of public health, landscape destruction, air/water and general environmental poisoning by Encana Corporation and the rest of Big Oil in Alberta (by “fracking” and other means)… starting with the fracking pollution and destruction of her own farmland in Rosebud, Alberta?

Jessica Ernst is just back from appearing in England and Ireland where she is something of a hero – for alerting the Irish to the truth about Fracking … so they could outlaw it.

2017 10 14: Left to right: Blaine Gaffney, Kate Ruddock, Tony McLoughlin TD (The Irish politician who introduced the bill that criminalized frac’ing in Republic of Ireland), Eddie Mitchell, and Jessica Ernst attend Ireland’s Frac Ban Celebration, Rainbow Ballroom of Romance, Glenfarne

[Ernst] did much to alert North America … and most certainly Alberta. The Right in power in Alberta at the time when she began didn’t support her … at all. Worked to obstruct her. But the NDP? When it came to power surely all must have changed….

Sorry. Not at all. The bold NDP took power in Alberta in 2015, and to show her courage and determination to serve the people, Rachel Notley, premier, did nothing to support Jessica Ernst. Premier Notley, in fact, retained as Alberta Energy Regulator a man who had been president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and a top officer of Encana Corporation. Ridiculous? Of course. That is the fossil fuel corporation against whom Jessica Ernst has fought, facing every dirty trick (I allege) that big power, corrupted courts, and sleazy policing … and money can use.

Rachel Notley (keeping on what I call the odious “regulator”) was telling Big Oil in Alberta (I allege) that she is Big Oil’s Girl – Now And Forever ….

Every decent Canadian must wonder how … in addition … when a portion of the Jessica Ernst court matters got to the Supreme Court of Canada … Justice Rosalie Abella could have termed Jessica Ernst a “vexatious litigant” – as insulting a phrase as almost any that a judge can speak . Not only was Justice Abella wrong – as other judges made clear (Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, for instance). But the insult was included in the written report and sent to the media.

Planned? Paid for? A dirty set-up? An intention to slander? How can we know unless Justice Abella appears publicly to explain and apologize? And of course she wont unless pressed to do so. We may be sure that neither Chantal Hebert nor Andrew Coyne (nor any of what I call the ‘false newsmaking’ pack) will ask Justice Abella to explain publicly her monstrous insult. Not because they can’t … but because they won’t … because that’s not what they are paid to do…. The sods they turn over … do nothing to ruffle the feathers of Real Power anywhere … ever ….

And so false newsmaking, false posturing by news-gatherers, and avoidance (all clearly describing and supporting the deep corruption in our democracy) – all those things, I allege, are the bread and butter of Canada’s false newsmakers to assure the continuation of… untroubled (corrupt) power. But untroubled (corrupt) power in Canada means increasingly troubled times … for Canadians. [Emphasis added]

October 09, 2017, Malton North Yorkshire, UK: Standing ovation for Ernst after her presentation “How Much Abuse of Power Does it Take to Cover-up Frac’ing Pollution?”  (PDF of Ernst’s slides at link. It’s a large file, takes time to download)

Youtube of Ernst’s talk at Malton

[Refer also to:

2015 -2017: Canada’s Supreme Court justices travel to exchange ideas, discuss legal issues with international judges, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin says politics off-limits, but legal problems are on the extracurricular agenda

OTTAWA—It was a pretty high-powered group.

Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada met with judges of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington last April in the midst of the U.S. election season.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and Justices Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner, Claude Gascon and Suzanne Côté travelled to the U.S. capital, and mingled with top U.S. judges at a reception hosted by the Canadian embassy.

The U.S. presidential primaries were heating up. Donald Trump hadn’t closed the deal on his Republican nomination. And President Barack Obama was fighting flat out with Republican leadership to win approval of his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court — in vain, it would turn out.

So, was it a chance to talk politics or law, or did they engage in gossip and small talk in the safe confines of an elite group of judicial officers who wield influence over the lives and rights of millions?

Canada’s top judge says U.S. campaign politics were not on the agenda that day. “We would never discuss political problems — or issues, is a more accurate way to put it — no.”

In an exclusive interview with the Star, McLachlin said they discussed legal problems, and she compared judicial travel to academic conferences where ideas and papers on judicial administration and substantive law are exchanged.

On the same Washington trip, the Canadian judges sat in on a United States Supreme Court hearing.

McLachlin said Canadian jurists travel not just as a way to convey the Canadian way of doing things, or to compare administrative notes, but also to “get a deeper understanding” of a problem that sometimes then aids in the development of Canadian law.

“Sometimes it’s — what is the state of the law and how do you approach this particular issue and how do we approach it — and this helps give us a better understanding of the parameters of the legal issue,” she said.

Other judges on the trip declined a request from the Star to comment, but Justice Andromache Karakatsanis said she generally finds “the exchange of ideas and practices” to be “very worthwhile.”

“Informal and frank exchanges with other Supreme Courts about how we work, how we approach decision-making, the role of a supreme court or discussions on comparative law can be very illuminating. It is an opportunity to be reflective about the unique challenges, roles and responsibilities of a supreme court.”

What’s clear is there’s cross-pollination of ideas on judicial journeys. What’s not clear is how much.

University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen says not much is known about the “sense of camaraderie, or mutual exchange and influence that happens at this very rarefied level” of judicial exchange.

She said it’s potentially a sensitive issue, and if there’s an effect “it’s likely to be a silent effect” that goes largely under the radar.

That’s because when it comes to judging, “there’s sort of an etiquette against the court just throwing in authority that hasn’t been used by counsel,” Mathen said. “That’s how the adversarial system works. The idea is they’re there to settle a dispute, and they shouldn’t be sticking their own oar in.” [Like Rosalie Abella making up shit in her ruling in Ernst vs AER?]

McLachlin, however, points to useful discussions on issues like “proportionality,” citing it as an example of where the Canadian high court was influenced by an idea developed first by Germany and adopted by other places such as Israel.

It’s framed as a three-part test in Canadian constitutional law, known as the Oakes test. And it’s the key judicial tool used by judges when they evaluate whether a statute or a state action that restricts a fundamental constitutional right — say, freedom of speech or freedom of association — may be upheld as reasonable and justified in a democratic society.

McLachlin said when a group of judges from the German Federal Constitutional Court came to Canada in 2012, “we had a terrific session on the concept of proportionality.”

University of Toronto law professor David Schneiderman says McLachlin’s comments are revealing because high courts around the world have adopted this kind of proportionality analysis.

He said the evaluation of whether a law is proportional is “where all the action takes place” when judges are deciding whether to strike it down.

“So to the extent that they’re addressing problems, applying the same methods and tools of analysis, you can see how communication with judges and other high courts would be helpful, instructive one might say.”

In fact, Schneiderman suggests the Supreme Court of Canada was likely influenced to shift its view of the death penalty over a 10-year period, perhaps by a searing South African Supreme Court ruling on the death penalty and discussions around it.

In 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada in Kindler upheld Ottawa’s power to extradite an offender to face the death penalty in the U.S. without receiving assurances the person would not be executed. Then, just a decade later, the Canadian court ruled in the 2001 Burns and Rafay case that a Canadian justice minister must seek assurances an extradited offender wouldn’t face the death penalty, except in undefined “exceptional” circumstances.

The new outcome turned on “the practical and philosophic difficulties associated with the death penalty that have increasingly preoccupied the courts and legislators in Canada, the United States and elsewhere,” the high court wrote in Kindler.

McLachlin refused to comment on what influenced that seminal 2001 ruling on capital punishment. “That would get into the heart of our decision making which we never really comment on. We take the view our decisions stand for themselves.”

But as Canadian courts tackle more complex questions in areas of anti-terrorism and national security law, for example, and try to balance collective security with individual liberty and privacy rights, it’s important to understand what goes into judicial thinking.

Judges’ travel has been a hot topic in the U.S., part of an ongoing debate about whether that Supreme Court should look to, cite or even care about foreign law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution.

Congress once considered a resolution to prohibit the consideration of foreign law in U.S. Supreme Court decision-making. And a Republican congressman actually probed the number of foreign trips American supreme court judges took.

When he found they’d made 93 trips over a five-year period, he snarked to the New Yorker in 2007 that Justices Stephen Breyer and his fellow liberal Anthony Kennedy “are more enamored of the ‘enlightenment’ of the world than they are bound by our own constitution.”

Schneiderman thinks there’s a balance to be struck. While Canadian courts do look at foreign law, “we don’t want to mimic” the U.S. court, for instance.

“I mean the U.S court is a highly dysfunctional court in many ways. It’s riven by a political divide that we don’t have here,” he said. “We don’t want to copy what they’re doing,” but he suggested there is value in judges informing themselves what others do.

Asked if there is a downside to judicial exchanges, especially with countries that don’t align with Canadian values, McLachlin said “No.”

“There’s never a downside in looking at other people’s ideas. I mean, each court in the end decides the cases based on the laws in their country and the jurisprudence in their country, and the submissions of the counsel and the intervenors and so on.

“Listening to other people, I feel, is always a good thing. And you don’t accept holus bolus everything you hear, of course. But it causes you to reflect on your own approach and what you’re being told by litigants, and by lawyers and academics and I come back to the idea that it enriches your thinking about a particular jurisprudential problem.”

However both Schneiderman and Mathen, keen observers of the Supreme Court, suggested it’s positive that judges sometimes get outside the “bubble” or narrow confines of judicial circles that are meant to protect the notion of impartiality.

Court visits

Here’s a look at recent travels by, and visitors to, the Supreme Court of Canada:

  • In 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada hosted a delegation of British judges from the United Kingdom Supreme Court.
  • In 2015, Ottawa hosted judges from the European Court of Human Rights, and McLachlin travelled to Hong Kong for a judicial colloquium and to Israel and met with its high court members.
  • There were no judicial exchanges in 2014.
  • There were two judicial visits to Canada in 2013 by U.S. Supreme Court members and judges from France’s Constitutional Council.
  • In 2012, the Canadian court received visits from members of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany and the Supreme Court of India. That same year, Canadian judges travelled to Australia for a judicial colloquium.

ISRAEL NOT COMPROMISING DEMOCRACY IN TERROR FIGHT: TOP JURIST by Janice Arnold, November 25, 2015. Canadian Jewish News

Combating terrorism in a democracy means fighting with one arm tied behind your back, and Israel is succeeding in doing that while maintaining a Jewish state, the new deputy president of the Supreme Court of Israel told Montreal lawyers.

Elyakim Rubinstein, who has sat on Israel’s highest court since 2004, insisted that Israel’s democracy, including freedoms accorded all citizens, is as healthy as Canada’s despite the ongoing threat to the state’s very existence.

“We have managed to hold up both the flag of freedom and rights, and the flag of security,” said Rubinstein, who was attorney general from 1997 to 2003.

The highest court’s workload is staggering, he noted. Its 15 justices hear 9,000 cases a year (down from 12,000 in 2004), compared to the approximately 80 that come before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Unlike the Canadian judicial system, Israel’s Supreme Court is not for final appeals only, but can be petitioned directly – no need to make one’s way through lower courts, he said. Moreover, a petitioner does not have to be personally involved in the matter, he said.

The court is equally open to Palestinians in the territories, and Rubinstein said they file grievances “daily, not weekly.”

Rubinstein was the guest speaker at the Lord Reading Law Society’s annual Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture on Nov. 24.

Earlier Rubinstein met in Ottawa with Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and some other justices of the Supreme Court.

“The Israeli Supreme Court has had a close and ongoing relationship with the Canadian Supreme Court for decades,” he said. “Canada is one of the best friends of the State of Israel and I hope it remains so.” [TERRIFYING!]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (right) in Ottawa, Canada, March 2, 2012 (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90)Why is Stephen Harper one of Israel’s staunchest supporters?

February 23, 2016: BDS Resolution Passes, photo by Noah Sutton / McGill Tribune

The Israeli Supreme Court is continually criticized within the country, by some for being too liberal, by others for being too harsh, he said, but its members remain committed to the rule of law and moderation.

“Be balanced, be reasonable, proportionality is a major consideration… Trying to cope with terrorism with legal means is not easy… We are not perfect, we make mistakes. But look at our record… We try to do our best in a complex situation.”

Rubinstein said the court is often at odds with the military. He offered the example of the time the IDF wanted to bomb a building where they knew the leadership of Hamas was housed, but the Supreme Court vetoed it because there were innocent civilians living in the 15-storey apartment.

He also recalled that the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Palestinian farmers who protested that the security fence was running through their land. The Court ordered that they must have minimal hindrance in accessing their fields, either by having the fence rerouted or by having a guarded gate.

Rubinstein, who earlier in his career was involved in peace negotiations with Egypt and Jordan, stressed that the enemy is not Muslims.

He rather blames “extremist Islam… a nightmare for the civilized world.”

Rubinstein, who describes himself as a religious Zionist, said he is “an avid reader of the Qur’an,” has worked well with Arabs over many years and has Arab friends. (There is one Arab on the Supreme Court.)

He counselled against despair in the face of terrorism, and remains optimistic that a peace breakthrough could happen unexpectedly and suddenly, as it did when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, in a historic move, came to Israel in 1977.

Rubinstein is confident Israel will remain a “Jewish and democratic state.”

“Israel is a full-fledged democracy, not less than the Canadian democracy, while we are fighting for our existence. We are the only living democracy threatened for its existence by its neighbours,” he said. “And that is black and white, there is no mincing of words – their charter calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel.”

Rubinstein’s lecture was the culmination of a daylong seminar attended by about 60 lawyers on challenges in international law, from the Israeli and Canadian perspectives, organized with Israel’s foreign affairs ministry and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. Topics covered included “lawfare,” counter-terrorism and boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Among the speakers was Daniel Taub, who recently completed his term as Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, as well as ministry officials from Israel, and a representative of Belgium’s defence ministry.

 

November 2014 – 2017: Did the Supreme Court of Canada excessively delay releasing their ruling in Ernst vs AER to punish Ernst, and publish lies in their ruling to discredit Ernst’s frac lawsuit to enable Israel’s violation of international law and theft of Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields (that require hydraulic fracturing), setting up Israel to steal all of Palestine’s gas fields?

 

2014 08 10: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research

More than five years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What is now unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields by Michel Chossudovsky, January 8, 2009, Global Research

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. 

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline. 

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21,  2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.


Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert  “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.”

The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

 “Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security?  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics 

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006) [Emphasis added]


Map 3

Featured image: Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied Michael Lynk [Alhadath24/Facebook]

Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk has been slammed by Israeli ambassador to the UN after he urged for economic and travel sanctions to be enforced on the occupying state to force it to withdraw from the West Bank, according to the Times of Israel.

During a press briefing at the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, Lynk cited a report he released on the situation of the Palestinians earlier this week, calling for the international community to increase pressure on Israel

“Israel is very dependent upon trade with the outside world,” he said in response to a question on whether sanctions could affect Israel.

If there was an understanding that all of a sudden Israelis wanting to travel abroad needed to have visas, if all of a sudden there was an understanding that Israel wasn’t going to get preferential trading agreements with the EU. If all of a sudden, the many and multitude forms of military or economic cooperation or academic cooperation with Israel were now going to come to an end … I think you’d begin to see a sea-change in the attitude of ordinary Israelis and in the attitude of the Israeli government.

His statements were subsequently denounced by Israeli envoy Danny Danon who claimed that Lynk was advocating for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“Mr Lynk is exploiting his position to spread hateful incitement against the State of Israel and is acting as a BDS activist under the auspices of the UN,” Danon insisted.

Lynk also spoke of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, insisting that the Strip “remains occupied”; another statement that was condemned by the Israeli delegation

“The UN Human Rights Council has lost its legitimacy as it focuses obsessively on attacking Israel instead of working on resolving the real human rights problems plaguing the world,” Danon claimed.

Israel and the UN have been at loggerheads in recent months, as the global institution has criticised the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for international law violations in the occupied territories and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Yesterday it was also revealed that up to 190 companies could find themselves on the UN blacklist after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein, sent warning letters to the corporations for operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley; areas occupied under international law. Israel and the US have previously threatened to cut funding to the UN Human Rights Council if it goes ahead with its plan to publish the list.

Earlier this month, the US and Israel announced their planned departure from the UN’s cultural branch UNESCO over perceived anti-Israel resolutions. UNESCO head Irina Bokova responded to the news saying that the withdrawal was a matter of “profound regret”. [Emphasis added]

 

Europe Must Not Buy What Israel Is Selling to Combat Terror, Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry, and is now selling the concept of a police state to the world by Jeff Halper, Aug 20, 2017, Haaretz

Whenever a terrorist attack happens such as the one last week in Barcelona, Israel politicians and security “experts” get on TV to criticize European naïvité. If only they understood terrorism as we do and took the preventive measures we do, they say, they would suffer far less attacks. Most infamous in this regard were the remarks of Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz after the Brussels bombing in March 2016, in which 34 people died.

Rather than convey his condolences in the name of the Israeli government, he scolded the Belgians in the most patronizing way possible. “If in Belgium they continue to eat chocolate, enjoy life and parade as great liberals and democrats while not taking account of the fact that some of the Muslims who are there are organizing acts of terror,” he pronounced, “they will not be able to fight against them.”

The Belgians reacted angrily, and asserted the position of most European governments: While we will continue to be vigilant and take the necessary precautions, we are not going to forsake our freedoms and political openness to become copies of Israel. For they understand that Netanyahu’s government is peddling something far more insidious than mere precautions – even more than the weapons, surveillance and security systems and models of population control that is the bread-and-butter of Israeli exports.

What Israel is urging onto the Europeans – and Americans, Canadians, Indians, Mexicans, Australians and anyone else who will listen – is nothing less than an entirely new concept of a state, the Security State. 

What is a Security State? Essentially, it is a state that places security above all else, certainly above democracy, due process of law and human rights, all of which it considers “liberal luxuries” in a world awash in terrorism.

Israel presents itself, no less, than the model for countries of the future. You Europeans and others should not be criticizing us, say Katz and Netanyahu, you should be imitating us. For look at what we have done. We have created a vibrant democracy from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River that provides its citizens with a flourishing economy and personal security – even though half the population of that country are terrorists (i.e., non-citizen Palestinians living in isolated enclaves of the country). If we can achieve that, imagine what we can offer those of you threatened by terrorist attacks?

In a brilliant shift in imaging, Israel has managed to turn 50 years of Palestinian resistance to occupation into a cottage industry. By labeling it “terrorism,” it has not only delegitimized the Palestinian struggle but has transformed the occupied territories in a laboratory of counterinsurgency and population control, the cutting edges of both foreign wars and domestic repression. It has transformed tactics of control and their accompanying weapons of surveillance systems into marketable products. No wonder, as Netanyahu constantly reminds us, “the world” loves Israel. From China to Saudi Arabia, from India to Mexico, from Eritrea to Kazakhstan, Israel supplies the means by which repressive regimes control their restless peoples. 

Israel’s vast military reach is well-documented. It extends to more than 130 countries and brought in $6.5 billion in sales in 2016. Less known but more corrosive to civil rights are Israel’s security exports. Three examples:

1. Israel harnesses foreign security agencies and police forces to lobby for Security State practices in their own countries. It scoffs at the unwillingness of Western democracies to employ ethnic and racial profiling, as Israel security and police do at Ben-Gurion International Airport and throughout the country. In specific contexts like airports profiling may indeed be efficient – Ben-Gurion is certainly one of the safest airports in the world – but it comes at the price of humiliating and delaying those targeted. When extended outward into society, however, it loses that effectiveness and almost invariably turns into a legalized method of intimidation against whatever populations a government seeks to control. 

2. The Israeli national police holds dozens of training programs and conferences with police forces from around the world, with an emphasis not on domestic police tactics but rather on “internal counterinsurgency” and the pacification of troublesome populations. The Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Center in the U.S. claims to have had 24,000 American police trained by their Israeli counterparts. Unlike other Western countries that erect a wall between their militaries that conduct operations abroad and their domestic security and police agencies charged with ensuring the security but also the civil rights of their citizens, Israel has no such internal constraints. The IDF and the police are one interlocked unit, with paramilitary forces – the Shin Beit, the Border Police, Homefront Command, Yasam and others – further connecting them. Thus in Israel the distinction between citizens with civil rights and non-citizen “suspects” and targets gets lost, and that is a distinction Israeli police try to erase in their training of foreign police as well. 

3. Israel is a world leader in securing cities, mega-events and “non-governable” zones. There is a direct link between its lock-down of Palestinian neighborhoods, villages and refugee camps and the marketing of such tactics to local police to create sanitized “security zones” and “perimeter defenses” around financial cores, government districts, embassies, venues where the G-8 and NATO hold their summits meetings, oil platforms and fuel depots, conference centers in “insecure” Third World settings, tourist destinations, malls, airports and seaports, sites of mega events and the homes and travel routes of the wealthy. So involved is Israel in Trump’s border wall that is nicknamed the “Palestine-Mexico border.”

There the Israeli firm Magna BSP, which provides surveillance systems surrounding Gaza, has partnered with U.S. firms to enter the lucrative “border security” market. NICE Systems, whose technicians are graduates of the DF’s 8200 surveillance unit. Privacy International investigated how the autocratic governments of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan managed to monitor human rights activists, journalists and other citizens within and outside their countries, revealing the most intimate details of their personal lives. “The biggest players,” concluded Human Rights Watch, “are multinationals with offices in Israel – NICE Systems and Verint.” 

In its ultimate form the Security State peddled by Netanyahu and Katz is merely a form of police state whose populace is easily manipulated by an obsession with security.

Israel’s model is especially invidious because it works; witness the pacification of the Palestinians. That seems like a potent selling point indeed. The problem is that that it turns a country’s own people into Palestinians without rights. It would seem that the Security State can be reconciled with democracy – after all, Israel markets itself as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But only the world’s privileged few will enjoy the democratic protections of the Security State, as do Israeli Jews.

The masses, those who resist repression and exclusion from the capitalist system, those who struggle for genuine democracy, are doomed to be global Palestinians.

The Israelization of governments, militaries and security forces means the Palestinianization of most of the rest of us.

Jeff Halper is an Israeli anthropologist, the head of the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and the author of War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification (London, Pluto Books, 2015). [Emphasis added]

 

2017 08 20: A Room Full of Liars & Fascism in Action in Canada: Ever get frac’d? Listen to Steve Harper? Rebel Media? Read Supreme Court of Canada rulings? Minister Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale affirms “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) use of the major crime technique. [AN ISRAELI SECURITY EXPORT?]

2013 10 18 Stephen Harper says Canadian families deserve the cleanest water

2013 10 18: 200 RCMP? Snipers descend on Mi’kmaq-led camp, children and Elders on site, Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada

“These so called trouble makers are trying to protect your water. … What happened to Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Where people have the freedom of speech. … Aboriginal people in Canada as a whole, don’t have freedom of speech.  …

“Nobody is listening.  You don’t care.  You only care about money. You don’t even know how this shale gas is going to affect you. … You are going to have polluted water. …

Everything is going to be destroyed and you guys are there supporting the RCMP and Stephen Harper for what he’s doing.  Are you insane? They are showing up with guns!  They’re showing up with guns! 

***

If the label says Made in Israel, or contains items made in Israel, Ernst will not buy it.

Ernst opposes the apartheid state of Israel’s “settlements” and daily torture of Palestinians.

Ernst opposes greed, corruption, violence, and crimes against humanity, and opposes bullies (country, corporation or court) stealing rights, lands and resources from the weak.

How does that make one anti-semite?

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