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Former State Dep’t official apologizes for burying the Goldstone Report

Israel/Palestine
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Judge Richard Goldstone

Judge Richard Goldstone

This came out over a month ago in Truthout, but it’s still getting passed around, as well it should: an apology to the Japanese people from Daniel H. Garrett, a former diplomatic officer in the US State Department for seven years. Here’s an excerpt with a portion of his apology for asking the Japanese to deep-six the Goldstone Report on the Gaza conflict at the U.N. in 2009-10:

“Had this report been written by a US State Department Human Rights Officer (as I was) about a country that wasn’t a US ally, it would have been widely praised by the Secretary of State.”

And compare to Goldstone’s own apologies for his report, under a siege of pressure.

Longer excerpt from Garrett’s eloquent piece:

I used to walk from the US Embassy over to the [Japanese] Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the message I was to deliver was one I didn’t agree with, I used to walk a little slower, wondering if I was selling my soul for a diplomatic passport. Once, for example, I was asked to deliver a demarche about the US position on cluster munitions (basically that the new generation of these weapons was much safer). Japan, of course, has signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and the US has not. These horribly indiscriminate weapons (new generation or not) are rightfully banned. For Japan’s signature though to have any real meaning, it cannot allow its major defense ally to store them in Japan: to do so is to be complicit. The US position (as it is with landmines) is wrong and I apologize to the people of Japan for pretending otherwise.

Once I was asked to deliver a demarche asking that Japan not support a U.N. resolution calling for research into the health effects of depleted uranium. As the children stillborn, or born deformed in Fallujah and elsewhere testify, depleted uranium weapons pose a horrible health risk even after their initial explosive destructiveness. The US position is wrong and I apologize to the people of Japan for pretending otherwise.

Once I was asked to deliver a demarche to the government of Japan asking them not to vote in the U.N. Human Rights Council to accept the Goldstone report from the U.N. fact-finding mission to the Gaza conflict. Had this report been written by a US State Department Human Rights Officer (as I was) about a country that wasn’t a US ally, it would have been widely praised by the Secretary of State. The US position was wrong and I apologize to the people of Japan for pretending otherwise.

Once, as a Human Rights Officer, I was approached by a Japanese group, the Victims of the Red Purge, asking that I deliver a letter to President Obama, asking for an official apology for this US occupation-instigated action that cost so many innocent Japanese their jobs and dignity. I wrote a cable which included their letter, to be delivered to Washington with the recommendation that the US move past this mistaken cold war overreaction and issue a formal apology. The Embassy however overruled my recommendation. In fact, US intervention in the domestic affairs of Japan to insure it had a loyal anti-communist ally, driven largely by a hysteric level of anti communist demagoguery in US domestic politics, resulted in a profound warping of Japanese democracy, a warping which has persisted for a very long time. The US position is wrong and I apologize to the people of Japan for not being successful in obtaining both an apology and a formal statement that during the Cold War, while the US posed as a champion of freedom, and in some cases may have actually been so, in far, far too many countries and locales, it was deeply and criminally complicit in the suppression of many peoples who wanted that freedom, but were so unfortunate as to be under regimes that touted their anti-communist credentials.

In my own defense, I did try to raise my concerns in various venues. I sent two Dissent Channel cables on climate change, and still recall with a smile the day in the Ambassador’s mahogany-paneled conference room sitting at his magnificently long table across from a solid line of sparkling medal-bedecked military officers when, following a presentation on anti-missile defense, I pointed out that numerous studies (including from our own Congressional Budget Office) have determined that anti-missile defenses don’t work and it seemed to me that we were doing little more than making Raytheon and other corporations and consultants, rich. Ah, the wonderful awkwardness of that moment as if one could almost palpably hear the air escaping from so many punctured pompous balloons.

And this is where I now ask the people of Japan for help. My country is no longer the country I once knew, a country moving at least in the direction of providing opportunity for all, regardless of income. The tendency to paranoia and international law-breaking was always there, at a low fever, in clandestine and semi-clandestine actions around the world, driven by visions of American exceptionalism pandered onto an all too naïve public. Though I like to believe that there was the intention at least to make the world a better place, in fact these actions were frankly not just frequently amateurish and inept, they resulted in the suffering and death of many. Nor it seems, have any of the lessons been learnt. Since 9/11, the United States has adopted a national security policy that can most charitably be described as one of anaphylactic shock. Terrorism ranks with shark attacks in terms of real risk. We have, however, so over-reacted, and misreacted to the tragedy that we have become a danger both to ourselves and to others. We have squandered our treasure in the sands of hubris and misunderstanding, and I often wonder now if the real good that we do has become just a fig leaf to cover our obscenely over-muscled shadowhand -tattooed as it is with empty slogans- that wields death and destruction at the press of a button, but doesn’t know how to build, and doesn’t seem to have the slightest grasp of history. Out of the excesses of our fears, we have perverted our own constitution…

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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24 Responses

  1. just
    just
    October 20, 2013, 10:47 am

    It’s a wonderful expose of these United States.

    Thanks Phil, and thanks to Mr. Garrett.

  2. Blownaway
    Blownaway
    October 20, 2013, 11:41 am

    The next step for honorable people is to write this while still in the position and then quit. We have seen it over and over. Bravery comes after they leave office

    • October 20, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Right you are. Seem to remember one SC Sen. Fritz Hollings, if that’s right, bemoaning the power of Israel’s lobby once safely ensconced back on the veranda.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 20, 2013, 2:16 pm

      yeah, shameful, isn’t it. lie down with dogs…

    • just
      just
      October 20, 2013, 2:54 pm

      Lawrence Wilkerson comes to mind…….

      this proved interesting to me:

      “Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President George W. Bush, on Thursday warned that the chemical weapons that were reportedly used in Syria could be a “Israeli false flag operation” because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was running an “inept regime.”

      During an interview with Current TV’s Cenk Uygur, Wilkerson explained that he had been told by his sources in the intelligence community that evidence that Syria had used chemical weapons was “really flaky” and that President Barack Obama should think twice before intervening.

      “This could have been an Israeli false flag operation,” he said. “You’ve got basically a geo-strategically, geo-political — if you will — inept regime in Tel Aviv right now.””

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/05/03/former-bush-official-syria-chemical-weapons-could-be-israeli-false-flag-operation/

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    October 20, 2013, 11:47 am

    “And this is where I now ask the people of Japan for help. My country is no longer the country I once knew,”

    A brave and (now) honorable American fesses up. WHEN will we hear an Israeli say this? A direct plea for help?

  4. Hostage
    Hostage
    October 20, 2013, 1:27 pm

    US wrongdoings in the purely domestic political affairs of Japan were not limited to “US occupation-instigated action”.

    At the beginning of the Obama era, the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation complained that the government was still refusing to declassify documents on Japan 41 years after the fact and that compliance with the 30 year schedule for producing the FRUS was therefore impossible. http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac2009.pdf

    There hasn’t been any improvement. Part 2 of the series on Japan, 1969–1972, is now 41 years old and still under declassification review. http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/status-of-the-series

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      October 20, 2013, 11:45 pm

      Then again, Japan hasn’t really apologized for its war crimes to its Asian neighbours after all these years.
      I’m not sure I buy the ‘Japan is the victim’ narrative.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        October 21, 2013, 6:27 am

        I’m not sure I buy the ‘Japan is the victim’ narrative.

        The volumes of the FRUS detailing Axis war crimes, the declarations of the Allied powers regarding criminal accountability, and the occupation of Japan have long since been declassified and published. There are a number of historians and retired diplomats who are very certain that Japan was the victim of illegal US interference in its domestic political affairs. That factual situation had nothing to do with Japan’s failure to apologize for its past conduct.

  5. rensanceman
    rensanceman
    October 20, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Our unconditional support of this apartheid, pariah state notably at the United Nations is criminal as it allows Israel to rampage with impunity as well as to degrade-further-our moral standing among the world’s nations. (A light unto all nations ,and Exceptional as well). Since 1970, the U.S.has vetoed over 42 Security Council Resolutions condemning Israel’s actions. Remember S. Rice’s 2011 veto condemning Israeli settlement activity, one that our own state department condemns. That poor episode illustrated for all to see how thoroughly corrupted our Administration has become, and those before, as a result of our obeisance to the Zionist.

  6. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    October 20, 2013, 2:11 pm

    ” a national security policy that can most charitably be described as one of anaphylactic shock”
    I liked that. But it made me wonder what his uncharitable description might be.

    • just
      just
      October 20, 2013, 2:55 pm

      That would be good to know, indeed.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 20, 2013, 3:25 pm

      I guess the acute allergic reaction that is the base of our national security policy is the bee sting of losing Zionist donations, or having them go to one’s opponent, and, for appointed US officials like Garrett, the thought of losing one’s privileged career.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        October 20, 2013, 7:32 pm

        We can assume one’s career benefits from doing the things sought by the Israel lobby. (US officials)

  7. just
    just
    October 20, 2013, 2:58 pm

    I wish Mr. Garrett would also apologize to the Palestinian people…….

  8. James Canning
    James Canning
    October 20, 2013, 3:12 pm

    Very interesting story. And of course disturbing.

  9. Marc H. Ellis
    Marc H. Ellis
    October 20, 2013, 4:42 pm

    What a magnificent apology – quite moving.

  10. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia
    October 20, 2013, 5:10 pm

    US pressured India to refer the case of Iran from IAEA to UN. US put pressure on Blair governmnet to fire Jack Straw for his refusal to go along with demonization and assault on Syria and Iran. Jack Straw was fired. Blair also changed in few years from reluctant to an enthusiastic supporter of the evil plans of Bush/Cheny ( he is now doing it without any proddings from US after being recognized by Israeli establishment in Israel and US in many profitable ways) Today there is report of e mail hacking of presidents and Prime minister of Mexico and of Brazil by US in HUffington Post. One wonders whether NSA ever did that on Netanhoo and Olmert or on any military brass of Israel. Chances are that it is other way around by NSA who does on their leaders and pass it to Israel. It does not have be NSA. The Rosen _Franklin case shows that their are enough “Blair” kind of guys in different department who will leak things selectively to media and jeopardize the prosecution’s case to keep the jobs and to increase the pay

  11. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    October 20, 2013, 7:05 pm

    RE: “The tendency to paranoia and international law-breaking was always there [in the U.S.], at a low fever, in clandestine and semi-clandestine actions around the world, driven by visions of American exceptionalism pandered onto an all too naïve public.” ~ Daniel H. Garrett

    FROM RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH’S 1992 FILM “CHAPLIN”:

    [This scene takes place just above and behind the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, to where they had ridden their bicycles.]
    • Douglas Fairbanks: “Charles, you’re a foreigner; you’re still an outsider. You’ve never understood this country.”
    • Charlie Chaplin: “It’s a good country underneath, Doug.”
    • Douglas Fairbanks: “No, it’s a good country on *top*. Underneath, that’s what starts showing when we’re scared.”

    NOTE: The use of “*top*” means that top was said with emphasis.

    SOURCE – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103939/quotes

  12. RoHa
    RoHa
    October 20, 2013, 8:43 pm

    “Had this report been written by a US State Department Human Rights Officer (as I was) about a country that wasn’t a US ally, it would have been widely praised by the Secretary of State.”

    Good grammar, but a factual inaccuracy. The report was written about Israel, not about a US ally.

    “during the Cold War, while the US posed as a champion of freedom, and in some cases may have actually been so, in far, far too many countries and locales, it was deeply and criminally complicit in the suppression of many peoples who wanted that freedom, but were so unfortunate as to be under regimes that touted their anti-communist credentials.”

    Don’t think we didn’t notice.

  13. Ludwig
    Ludwig
    October 20, 2013, 10:30 pm

    Goldstone himself recanted that terrible and biased report. I’m only glad nobody remembers it and it has been buries so deep.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      October 21, 2013, 5:44 am

      Goldstone’s peers on the report did not recant; that Goldstone did so is testament to the power of tribal shunning. Many remember the report.

  14. Hostage
    Hostage
    October 21, 2013, 5:48 am

    Goldstone himself recanted that terrible and biased report.

    No he did not. The Washington Post Editorial did not address the major findings of fact contained in his report. See: There was no retraction http://mondoweiss.net/2011/04/there-was-no-retraction.html

    I’m only glad nobody remembers it and it has been buries so deep.

    I’m sure you are happy. The 90-year old Nazis who are put on trial for war crimes from time to time probably felt the same way about all of the long-forgotten and dusty files that are used as evidence against them today.

    The drawers-full of similar UN reports about Israeli crimes that are not subject to any statutory limitations can always be used to bring those responsible to justice in the future. If your government doesn’t agree to recognize Palestine and to withdraw from the occupied territories in the nine month framework of the talks, nothing will prevent their government from joining the ICC and demanding formal investigations of the crimes documented in all of those official UN reports.

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