Goldstone's Henchman, Colonel Travers, Is another Piece of Work
Many lies resembling truth, Hesiod, Theogony
The moral flimsiness of the Goldstone Commission, also called the UNHRC Fact Finding [fact-finding, no less] Mission on the Gaza Conflict, shows up not only in the matrix from which it emerged, the UN human rights council, a corrupt body with an Orwellian name. It also shows up in its personnel, Richard Goldstone himself, Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin, and Desmond Travers.
Goldstone's conduct as chief prosecutor of the ICTY [Yugoslav criminal tribunal] was meant to besmirch and incriminate Serbs as much as possible, going easy on the Croats and the Bosnian Muslims, while making sure that the major Western powers that had played a decisive role in instigating the Yugoslav conflict were not tarnished in the least. That's Goldstone.
Then there is Ms Professor Christine Chinkin who had notoriously made up her mind as to the identity of the guilty party before being appointed to the "fact-finding commission."
Then there is Ms Hina Jilani, a prominent supreme court lawyer in Pakistan. Her country, Pakistan, is an active and leading member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which initiated the whole project of a UNHRC investigating commission on the Gaza war, according to its secretary-general, Mr Ihsanoglu of Turkey. Pakistan and the OIC support the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which vitiates the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since it goes by Islamic law, shari`ah, which places non-Muslims in an inferior position to Muslims in which any rights that non-Muslims have are subject to the whim of the Muslims.
It is curious that both Jilani and Goldstone have complained about the abuse of human rights by Sudan in Darfur, but the people there are Muslim, although not Arab or Arabic-speaking like the rulers of Sudan in Khartoum. Further, although she and Goldstone both objected to Sudan's Darfur policy, the UNHRC which sent them off to investigate Israel's acts of self-defense denied any Sudanese wrongdoing, as did the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority. The Hamas is not a member of the Arab League but is closely allied with the Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir, which shares with Hamas the extremist Islamist ideology of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Does accepting a mission from a body that denied Sudanese genocidal practices in Darfur, a mission which turned out to be in moral defense of the genocidal Hamas, which also supports the genocidal Sudanese regime, indicate that either Jilani or Goldstone is truly committed to opposing genocide and mass murder in Sudan?
Be that as it may, we are left with Colonel Desmond Travers,
" a retired Colonel of the Irish Army. His last appointment was as Commandant of its Military College. In a career spanning over forty years, he served in various field command, staff and instructional appointments. He was a founder of two of the Armys' teaching and training institutions. He also served in command of troops and in key operational appointments with various UN and EU peace support missions. These were in the Middle-East (Cyprus, Lebanon) and in the Former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina)." [here][emphasis added by Eliyahu]Travers filled the slot of supposed military expert for the "fact-finding commission." Apparently, he also thinks that he is a qualified agronomist, hydrologist, or geologist. Consider his stated opinions in an interview with Harper's Magazine:
Col Travers continued by saying: "There are a number of other post-conflict issues in Gaza that need to be addressed. The land is dying. There are toxic deposits from all the munitions that have been dropped. There are serious issues with water-its depletion and its contamination. There is a high instance of nitrates in the soil that is especially dangerous to children. If these issues are not addressed, Gaza may not even be habitable by World Health Organization norms.". . . . [Harper's comments] another note here is the reference to toxic deposits from munitions.Even if he is not a specialist in soil sciences, he certainly knows how to turn a purple phrase: "The land is dying" -- Here Travers shows or pretends to show his professional expertise in the scientific fields mentioned above. He must be either an agronomist or geologist or hydrologist. Otherwise he has no business pontificating in the areas that he touches on in this paragraph. Or is he just expressing prejudice against Israel, as one would expect of the ordinary UN official? Or is it careerist opportunism? Or both?
Travers mentions "toxic deposits" but --according to his words-- these are only from munitions "dropped", that is, by Israel. He says nothing about the large stores of Hamas munitions there, much of which were destroyed by Israel in the war and conceivably left toxic deposits in their destroyed state, although there have been a number of accidents which have occurred over the years to Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad personnel who were working with explosives, making bombs and rockets, laying mines, etc. As to water, most drinking water in Gaza is supplied by Israel through pipes. So the state of the ground water is separate from the quality of the water supplied by Israel. Likewise the quantity of potable water does not depend on the local ground water which is likely too salty for drinking and cooking due to Gaza's proximity to the sea, which is not Israel's fault. It is not likely that the soil is highly mixed with nitrates in most of the Gaza Strip but only where either too much fertilizer was used or where nitrate-based explosives or ammunition was used, but does this affect most of the land area of the Gaza Strip?? Can Travers prove that? Some of Travers' claims might be defended by saying that they are "mere hyperbole." But hyperbole is precisely one of the things that must be avoided by a fact-finding commission. Travers' claims sound plausible and professional but are not. Rather, analysis of the
claims indicates that he is being propagandistic, deceitful, and mendacious, as you would expect from a veteran of UN expeditions. Travers was a good partner for Goldstone.
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The secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference boasts that his body started off the whole process of the Judeophobic Goldstone Report:
"Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: Let me first start by completing the story of the history of the Goldstone report. What I would like to put on record is that the OIC was the initiator of this process." [see here]
On the corruption of the UN human rights council's predecessor, the human rights commission, consider how Christian Rocca put it, in an article for Il Foglio April 27, 2005.
At the UN, the Torturers Watch over Human Rights
China, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Libya have three things in common: they are ferocious dictatorships, they reject the concept of human rights, and they are enthusiastic members of the UN Human Rights Commission. In 2003, Libya even presided over its work... The regimes that torture and repress and keep their own subjects in chains are never missing from the Commission. Indeed, they are the ones that seek most tenaciously to get a seat at Geneva.... Even Kofi Annan's wise men have recognized that some countries go into the Commission "not to reinforce human rights but to protect themselves against criticism or to criticize other countries."
Our previous post on the Moral Incompetence of the UNHRC [here]
For a more comprehensive view of the UNHRC'S "fact-finding commission report," see the Understanding the Goldstone Report blog [here]