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What War with Iran Means

By Patrick J. Buchanan | April 02, 2010

“Diplomacy has failed,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told AIPAC, “Iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot afford that.”

“We have to contemplate the final option,” said Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., “the use of force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”

War is a “terrible thing,” said Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., but “sometimes it is better to go to war than to allow the Holocaust to develop a second time.”

Graham then describes the war we Americans should fight:

“If military force is ever employed, it should be done in a decisive fashion. The Iran government’s ability to wage conventional war against its neighbors and our troops in the region should not exist. They should not have one plane that can fly or one ship that can float.”

Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, Neocon Central, writes, “The only questions remaining, one Washington politico tells me, are who starts it, and how it ends.”

As to who starts it, we know the answer. Tehran has not started a war in memory and is not going to launch a suicide attack on a superpower with thousands of nuclear weapons. As with Iraq in 2003, the war will be launched by the United States against a nation that did not attack us — to strip it of weapons it does not have.

But to Graham’s point, if we are going to start this war, prudence dictates that we destroy Iran’s ability to fight back. At a minimum, we would have to use air strikes and cruise missiles to hit a range of targets.

First, Iran’s nuclear facilities such as the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, the U.S.-built reactor that makes medical isotopes, the power plant at Bushehr, the centrifuge facility near Qom and the heavy-water plant at Arak.

Our problem here is that the last three are not even operational and all are subject to U.N. inspections. There are Russians at Bushehr. And there is no evidence that diversion to a weapons program has taken place.

If Iran has secret plants working on nuclear weapons, why have we not been told where, and demanded that U.N. inspectors be let in? Why did 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, three years ago, tell us they did not exist and Iran gave up its drive for a nuclear weapon in 2003?

If Iran is on the “verge” of a bomb, as Schumer claims, the entire U.S. intelligence community should be decapitated for incompetence.

This week, in a hyped headline, “CIA: Iran capable of producing nukes,” the Washington Times said that a new CIA report claims, “Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so.”

Excuse me, but this is mush. We could say the same of a dozen countries that use nuclear power and study nuclear technology.

But let us continue with Graham’s blitzkrieg war.

To prevent a counterattack, the United States would have to take out Iran’s 14 airfields and all its warplanes on the ground. We would also have to sink every warship and submarine in Iran’s navy and destroy some 200 missile, patrol, and speedboats operated by the Revolutionary Guard, else they would be dropping mines and mauling our warships.

Also, it would be crucial on day one to hit Iran’s launch sites and missile plants for, like Saddam in 1991, Iran would probably attack Israel, to make it an American and Israeli war on an Islamic republic.

Among other critical targets would be the Silkworm anti-ship missile sites on Iran’s coastline that would menace U.S. warships and oil tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Any Iranian attack on ships or seeding of mines would likely close the gulf and send world oil prices soaring.

Revolutionary Guard barracks, especially the Quds Force near Iraq, would have to be hit to slow troop movement to and across the border into Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers and civilians. The same might be necessary against Iranian troops near Afghanistan.

With Iran’s ally Hezbollah in south Beirut, all U.S. civilians should probably be pulled out of Lebanon before an attack lest they wind up dead or hostages. And how safe would Americans be in the Gulf region, especially Bahrain, home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a predominantly Shi’ite island?

And whose side would Shi’ite Iraq take?

Would we have to intern all Iranian nationals in the United States, as we did Germans and Italians in 1941? How many terror attacks on soft targets in the USA could we expect from Iranian and Hezbollah agents in reprisal for our killing thousands of civilians in hundreds of strikes on Iran?

Before the War Party stampedes us into yet another war, the Senate should find out if Tehran is really on the “verge” of getting a bomb, and why deterrence, which never failed us, cannot succeed with Iran.


April 2, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | 7 Comments

Liberals with guns: scarier than Tea Partiers

Charles Davis | False Dichotomy | March 25, 2010

I often begin my political science courses with a brief introduction to the idea of “the state.” The state is the entity that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, force and coercion. If an individual travels to another country and kills its citizens, we call it terrorism. If the state does it, we call it war. If a man kills his neighbor it is murder; if the state does it is the death penalty. If an individual takes his neighbor’s money, it is theft; if the state does it, it is taxation.

Maria Harris-Lacewell is a professor at Princeton University, as so subtly alluded to in the above excerpt from her latest drivel for The Nation, and she’s concerned about the “legitimacy” of the state — a legitimacy she assumes but doesn’t explain — which she notes some backwards reactionaries have had the temerity to challenge in the age of Democratic government. Now, considering that U.S. government imprisons more of its own citizens than any other in the history, with 25 percent of the world’s prisoners; that it has more military bases in more countries than any previous empire in history, and has killed millions of people from Iraq to Vietnam; and that its current head, Barack Obama, is openly targeting for extrajudicial killing Americans and foreigners alike, one might ask: why is a liberal magazine so concerned about this state’s legitimacy?

Because of the Tea Party movement, you see, whose flashes of racism and disrespect toward politicians is of more concern to Ivy League academics than the “legitimate” state violence they applaud. Tea Partiers, by accusing the current administration of “various forms of totalitarianism . . . are arguing that this government has no right to levy taxes or make policy,” the professor writes, apparently under the mistaken belief that most taxes the state levies go to gumdrop bridges and fairy dust health clinics, rather than less wholesome things like aircraft carriers and daisy cutters. Rather than focusing on what the state actually does, though, Harris-Lacewell, like most liberals, would prefer we focus on their shining, abstract ideal of what it could be, while sanctimoniously dismissing those who see no distinction between state-sponsored and private sector murder, an approach befitting the wait-until-you’re-called merit-class liberal mentality that dominates the Democratic Party and the progressive press.

As The Nation’s house political scientist explains it, adopting an argument that one could never imagine being applied to the left, “When protesters spit on and scream at duly elected representatives of the United States government it is more than act of racism. It is an act of sedition.”

Put another way: offenses against the state are inherently more despicable than any offense one could commit against some poor schmuck civilian. An overstatement? Well, no, as Harris-Lacewell herself demonstrates in writing about Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), who “is no longer just a brave American fighting for the soul of his country- he is an elected official. He is an embodiment of the state.” Yeah, you know, before Lewis just marched in the streets against racism and state-enforced segregation as a (ho-hum) private citizen, but now he chairs a subcommittee — show him some respect!

Hooping and hollering at an elected official — sorry, “an embodiment of the state” — might give liberals at The Nation the vapors, and right-wing protesters who cheered on the Bush administration’s abuses of power may not be my cup of tea, but color me unimpressed with the argument that I have more to fear from the talk radio right than I do the incarcerating-and-assassinating state. Now while there’s little chance you’ll catch me marching against compact fluorescent light-bulbs or Obamacare anytime soon — though I promise nothing — I just don’t fear a rollback of the Reconstruction period “and the descent of a vicious new Jim Crow terrorism” as much as I fear and abhor the actual, happening-right-now terrorism carried out by my esteemed public officials with the tacit approval of the humanitarian progressives too busy lecturing the rabble on the need to pay taxes and pledge allegiance to their betters in Washington than to challenge their leader’s wars. In addition to the hundreds killed without so much as a show trial by hellfire missiles since the glorious advent of The Liberal Ascendancy, agents of the U.S. government have been implicated in several headline-grabbing atrocities, the latest of which involved the pre-dawn slaying of a pair of pregnant women and a teenage girl. That female civilians are being killed at a level on par with Afghan males is no doubt being hailed in the halls of Brookings as a feminist triumph, but it’s more troubling to me than the idea of some people questioning the legitimacy of the perpetrators’ employer.

Perhaps they shouldn’t just be ignored, but until Glenn Beck’s followers kill two dozen people in a remote village, I’m going to spend most of my time focusing on those with control over the tanks and nuclear weapons. And rather than seeking to bolster the state and reinforce the idea of some mythical, mystical social contract, I just might seek to undermine this government, so far as I can, for as long as it continues enriching a politically connected corporate elite while imprisoning and enlisting the rest of its population, no matter how “duly elected” our politicians might be as a result of the sham two-party electoral system. When political leaders are engaged in senseless war and widespread human rights abuses — and the occupation of Afghanistan and the U.S. prison system at home and abroad qualify — the person of conscience’s duty is not to the state but to justice, which usually means opposing the state and questioning its presumed legitimacy.

The proper attitude toward a criminal government is not deference and respect, however much some at The Nation might love a smooth-talking Democrat, but defiance and rebellion — of the non-violent variety.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | Comments Off on Liberals with guns: scarier than Tea Partiers

Obama’s Economic Brain Trust

The Guys Who Got It Wrong

By PAM MARTENS | April 2, 2010

America is held out to the world as a meritocracy. You work hard, you play by the rules, you make sound judgment calls, you succeed. That’s the American dream. Right?  That’s what the President of the United States should exemplify in his actions. Right?

Then how does one explain the individuals who represent the abject failures of financial and regulatory theory chosen by the President to dominate the dialogue on financial reform.  How does one reconcile President Obama appointing Lawrence Summers as head of the National Economic Council after Mr. Summers played a central role in rolling back the safeguards that led to the current financial crisis.

This is what Mr. Summers had to say at the November 12, 1999 signing ceremony for the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the draconian legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act and allowed commercial banks holding insured deposits to merge with investment banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies: the very same combinations that led to the 1929 stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression:

“Let me welcome you all here today for the signing of this historic legislation. With this bill, the American financial system takes a major step forward towards the 21st century, one that will benefit American consumers, business, and the national economy for many years to come…I believe we have all found the right framework for America’s future financial system.”

Mr. Summers was wrong.  This was not the “framework for America’s future” but the framework for epic financial collapse.  Why isn’t Mr. Summers in an unemployment line  along with the millions of Americans his bad judgment call put out of work.

Then there is Neal Wolin, confirmed by President Obama as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury on May 19, 2009.  Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle on November 19, 2009, Robert Scheer had this to say about Wolin:

“Wolin, Geithner and Summers were all proteges of Robert Rubin, who, as Clinton’s treasury secretary, was the grand author of the strategy of freeing Wall Street firms from their Depression-era constraints. It was Wolin who, at Rubin’s behest, became a key force in drafting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which ended the barrier between investment and commercial banks and insurance companies, thus permitting the new financial behemoths to become too big to fail. Two stunning examples of such giants that had to be rescued with public funds are Citigroup bank, where Rubin went to ‘earn’ $120 million after leaving the Clinton White House, and the Hartford Insurance Co., where Wolin landed after he left Treasury.”

Rounding out the list of those who got it wrong in the Clinton administration who have been brought back to get it wrong again in the Obama administration: Gary Gensler, one of those supporting the de-regulation of derivatives under Clinton, now head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under  President Obama; Gene Sperling, thanked by Lawrence Summers in the opening remarks at the signing of the legislation to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, now counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner; and, of course, Geithner himself, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who served under Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers in Clinton’s Treasury Department from 1999 to 2001.

Many Americans have suspected for some time that meritocracy has died an uncelebrated death and was quietly laid to rest in a paupers’ graveyard.  Many Americans also believe something has gone terribly wrong not just with our economic model but the moral compass that guides that economic model.

Today, authors of the book, “The Meritocracy Myth,”  Stephen J. McNamee and Robert K. Milller have studied meritocracy patterns in America and concluded the following:

“To get ahead in America, it no doubt helps to be bright, shrewd, to work hard, and to have the right combination of attitudes that maximize success within given fields of endeavor.  Playing by the rules, however, probably works to suppress prospects for economic success since those who play by the rules are more restricted in their opportunities to attain wealth and income than those who choose to ignore the rules.”

Without realizing it, McNamee and Miller have just unraveled the secret to the wealth gap and rising inequality in America: the memo that the rules can be ignored was only selectively distributed to Americans.  I didn’t get it; did you?

I can tell you for certain that the play-by-the-rules-waiver memo was selectively distributed leading up to the June 25 and June 26, 1998 public hearings at the Federal Reserve on usurping the role of the legislative branch of the government by letting the Federal Reserve decide if it would repeal the Glass-Steagall Act by permitting the merger of Travelers and Citicorp to form Citigroup.

Chuck Prince, the man who planned Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill’s lavish birthday parties and was haplessly placed in the role of Citigroup CEO when Weill stepped down years later, testified as follows on June 25:

“I do want to emphasize, however, that we do not seek and do not require any change in the law in order to consummate this merger.”

Mr. Prince was a lawyer.  Mr. Prince knew the above statement to be false.  Mr. Prince had gotten the memo: playing by the rules restricts opportunities to attain wealth and income so shred the rules.

Matthew Lee, also a lawyer representing Inner City Press/Fair Finance Watch did not get the memo that legal ethics, the legislative branch, and the truth could all be ignored at a Federal hearing.

Mr. Lee testified as follows:

“…we think [the merger application] should be dismissed based on improper communications that have taken place between Travelers, Citicorp and the Federal Reserve Board.  Prior to the deal even being announced and the application being submitted, not only did the two CEOs of the two institutions meet with Chairman Greenspan, we found that, in fact, there was very detailed preapproval sought for particular practices…We think it is tainted.”

No one appearing on Panel 5 on June 25 had received the rules-waiver memo either. The fact that the merger was “illegal” was stated six times by four panel members.  Mark Silverman of Citicorp-Travelers Watch, a coalition of community groups formed at that time to scrutinize the proposed merger, testified as follows:

“…the merger is illegal.  The affiliation between Citibank, as a member bank of the Federal Reserve Board and Travelers’ subsidiaries that are engaged principally in securities dealings is simply prohibited by the Glass-Steagall Act…If the Board approves this merger prior to any change in the law, Congress, pressured by Citigroup and concerned about the consequences of a forced divestiture, can enact one of the most embarrassingly blatant pieces of private-interest legislation in recent memory…the Board risks undermining the legitimacy of itself and the legislature..”

Hilary Botein, at the time Associate Director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) said the Federal Reserve Board would “make a mockery of the regulatory process by allowing Citicorp and Travelers to brazenly violate existing law.”

Sarah Ludwig, then Coordinator of the New York City Community Reinvestment Task Force stated that if the Federal Reserve signed off on the merger it would “constitute an affront to the public, and underscore that large and powerful corporations influence government decision making even to the point of obtaining approval on illegal transactions…Secondly, approving the application would constitute hideously unsound policy….”

Josh Zinner, a lawyer at the time with South Brooklyn Legal Services’ Foreclosure Prevention Project, testified as follows:

“We represent low-income seniors who have been ripped off by high-rate finance companies… We haven’t heard any testimony today about Commercial Credit Corporation. This is an entity of Travelers Group…This type of high-rate lending that Commercial Credit does can often lead to foreclosure, if abusive, and, in fact, the Primerica Financial Services [also owned by Travelers] is selling Commercial Credit loans in the billions of dollars using this completely, loosely-regulated sales force with the same sort of A.O. Williams evangelical fervor.  Again, the data shows, and this data will be submitted with a comment that Commercial Credit does high-rate lending in the same communities that Citibank has been redlining… the engine for marketing Commercial Credit loans is an unregulated pyramid scheme…”

Mr. Zinner could not have been more prescient.  Commercial Credit changed its name to CitiFinancial and operates 2,000 storefronts across America bearing that angelic halo logo. But far from angelic, this is how a former Assistant Manager, Gail Kubiniec, said business was done in testimony to the FTC in July, 2001:

“At CitiFinancial, emphasis was placed on marketing new loans, particularly real estate loans (loans secured by a home mortgage), to present borrowers of CitiFinancial.  Employees would receive quarterly incentives, called ‘Rocopoly Money,’  based on how many present borrowers they ‘renewed’ (refinanced) into new loans…Typically, employees would only state the total monthly payment amount in selling a proposed loan.  Additional information, such as the interest rate, and the financed points and fees, closing costs, and ‘add-ons’ like credit insurance, were only disclosed when demanded by the borrower…It was also common practice to try to sell borrowers the largest loan possible…All CitiFinancial branch offices had quotas for the sale of credit insurance…Loans were typically presented to consumers with ‘100 per cent coverage,’ meaning that real estate loans were presented with at least credit life and disability already included, and personal loans were presented with at least credit life, disability, involuntary unemployment, and property insurance already included.  When quoting the monthly payment, I frequently quoted the payment with coverages already included, telling the consumer only that it was ‘fully protected.’ This was a common practice used by employees at CitiFinancial…The pressure to sell coverages came from CitiFinancial’s Regional and District Managers.  Each branch had monthly credit insurance sales goals to meet…If these goals were not met, the District Manager would call and put pressure on the Branch Manager to get the branch up to par.”

I tracked down Josh Zinner last week.  He’s now Co-Director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project.  I asked Mr. Zinner for his reflections on the state of financial reform today, given that Citigroup is now a financial ward of the American taxpayer.  The day he responded, March 31, Citigroup had just sold a majority stake in Primerica common stock to the public.

Mr. Zinner states:

“Citi’s sale of Primerica, long known for its aggressive marketing of junk financial products in low income communities, is a coda to the disastrous Citi-Travelers merger.  Those who were working on the ground in low income communities at the time knew very well that this super-merger would only serve to perpetuate and institutionalize unfair financial practices, exemplified by a two-tiered financial services system where poor people and people of color were paying far more for inferior financial products.  The Citi-Travelers debacle should be a lesson that the financial services marketplace cannot police itself and that only strong and comprehensive financial regulation — including an independent consumer financial protection agency and the return of Glass-Steagall firewalls — can prevent the next financial meltdown.”

I next turned to Matthew Lee of Inner City Press who has been tirelessly pursuing justice against Citigroup and its subprime subsidiaries since the merger.  In 2004, Mr. Lee published a novel called “Predatory Bender: A Story of Subprime Finance.”  The story is built around a corporation called EmpiBank; its Chairman is Sandaford Vyle.  It also has a storefront subprime lender called EmpiFinancial.  The book is, of course, more poignant today than in 2004.  It comes with a non-fiction, must-read afterward titled “Predatory Lending: Toxic Credit in the Inner City.”

I asked Mr. Lee for his thoughts, given that even when Citigroup fails on its own hubris as testament that the public has spoken about its business model, it’s resuscitated back to life by the government.  Mr. Lee was as forthright as always:

“When Travelers met and swallowed Citicorp in 1998, the Federal Reserve didn’t just approve an illegal merger — it illegally pre-approved an illegal merger.  Sandy Weill and John Reed and their lawyers got the green light from the Alan Greenspan Fed before even announcing the merger. The group I worked and work with, Inner City Press/Fair Finance Watch demanded all records of the meetings, but got only two cryptic letters, talking about the marriage of ‘Red’ and ‘Blue.’ [Travelers’ logo was a red umbrella; Citicorp had a blue logo.]  At the shareholders’ meetings on the deal, my question to Sandy Weill resulted in a Citicorp official threatening to try to take away my law license. The Fed approved, and predatory lending took off.  And now in the aftermath, even the Chris Dodd bill would house consumer protection inside the same Federal Reserve, a huge mistake. Red and Blue indeed…”

If financial behemoths collapse from hubris and corruption and lack of meritocracy, why wouldn’t government administrations do the same?  President Obama needs to sack the financial wizards who got it wrong and add the common sense folks who got it right.

Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years; she has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article.  She writes on public interest issues from New Hampshire.  She can be reached at

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite | Comments Off on Obama’s Economic Brain Trust

Who’s Afraid of 9/11 Conspiracy Theories?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | April 1, 2010

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
– Queen Gertrude, Hamlet.

Whenever someone insists too strongly about something not being true, we tend to suspect that maybe it is. In their denials of involvement in 9/11, do Israel’s apologists “protest too much”?

While it would take a small book to adequately document the Israeli connection to 9/11-as editor Justin Raimondo has attempted in The Terror Enigma-let us briefly recall some of the more intriguing facts as reported in the mainstream media, involving dancing Israelis, Odigo warnings, and Zim’s timely move.

The story of the five Israelis who were seen celebrating and filming as the Twin Towers burned and collapsed was investigated by Neil Mackay in Scotland’s Sunday Herald. The so-called “dancing Israelis” worked for Urban Moving Systems, later deemed to be a Mossad front by the FBI. Despite failing numerous polygraph tests, the young men were deported to Israel two months later. Back home, several of the men appeared on a TV chat show, in which one of them amazingly said, “Our purpose was to document the event.”

Two employees of Odigo, an Israeli instant messaging service, received messages two hours before the World Trade Center attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, Ha’aretz reported.

Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co., part-owned by the Israeli government, moved their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia one week before the 9/11 attacks, incurring a $50,000 fine for breaking its lease, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Despite being in the public domain, none of these relevant facts are mentioned in the 9/11 Commission’s 567-page report.

Moreover, Philip Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, is concerned about the spread of such inconvenient facts to the wider public. “Our worry,” he says, “is when things become infectious…. [then] this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body.”

But was Zelikow speaking here as an American government official or as a pro-Israeli insider?

In the same month that he authored the so-called “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive war, which provided the justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Zelikow made this candid admission: “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990-it’s the threat against Israel.”

Yet, instead of investigating the Israeli connection, Zelikow used the 9/11 Commission to sell the Israeli-inspired Iraq war to the American people.

Zelikow’s “bacteria” quote is cited in a 2008 paper entitled “Conspiracy Theories.” Co-authored by Cass Sunstein, who currently heads President Obama’s White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the main focus of the paper “involves conspiracy theories relating to terrorism, especially theories that arise from and post-date the 9/11 attacks.”

Rather than attempting to debunk such theories, Sunstein and Vermeule claim that those who suspect Israeli involvement in 9/11 suffer from a “crippled epistemology.” This, the authors argue, is due to “a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.” In other words, “they know very few things, and what they know is wrong.”

To counter these suspicions, Sunstein recommends “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents, or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of those who subscribe to such theories. They do so by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.”

It could, of course, be argued that Sunstein’s work also suffers from a crippled epistemology-his research relies heavily on pro-Israeli sources, most notably the notorious Islamophobe Daniel Pipes.

Pipes is a bit of an expert on conspiracy theories, having written two books on the subject. “Conspiracism provides a key to understanding the political culture of the Middle East,” Pipes opines in The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy. “It helps explain much of what would otherwise seem illogical or implausible, including the region’s record of political extremism and volatility, its culture of violence, and its poor record of modernization.”

Like Sunstein, Pipes is concerned that many in the region suspect Israeli involvement in 9/11. “The implications in the Middle East are quite profound,” Pipes told the LA-based Jewish Journal. “It’s one more brick in the edifice of fear and loathing of Israel and the Jews.”

In the absence of a proper 9/11 investigation, there remains a broad range of opinion about the precise nature of Israeli complicity. In The Terror Enigma, Justin Raimondo tentatively concludes that the Israeli connection to 9/11 amounts to “foreknowledge and passive collaboration with Bin Laden’s jihad.” Other experts, such as Alan Sabrosky, are less circumspect. Dr. Sabrosky, former director of studies of the Strategic Studies Institute at the US Army War College, has recently stated that “it is 100 percent certain that 9/11 was a Mossad operation. Period.”

Either way, it’s hardly surprising that some of the most obsessive critics of 9/11 “conspiracy theories” have ties to Israel. If Americans ever find out that their “staunchest ally” had anything to do with the mass murder of their fellow citizens on September 11, 2001, the would-be conspiracy debunkers have good reason to be afraid.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer based in Japan.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | 48 Comments

Personal Data on Nearly 1,000 British Muslim Students Given to CIA

By Jason Ditz | April 01, 2010

University College London, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world, is under fire today amid the revelation that it handed the data of nearly 1,000 Muslim students, members of the college’s Islamic Society, to British police who in turn forwarded the information to the CIA.

The Islamic Society at the school was once home to accused underbomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and he even served as the president of the organization in 2006-07. The data handed over included the names, email addresses, mailing address and telephone numbers of all the group’s members since 2005, including many who were not members at the same time as Abdulmutallab and have never even met him.

There is fear that the disclosure of the data will lead to increased persecution, and indeed some 50 students from the list have already been “visited” by police, but the largest concern is that the disclosure to the CIA could place these students on America’s terror watchlist for the sole reason that they were members of a Muslim group at a prestigious British university.

British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, who advised the Islamic Society during its investigation of the leak, called the disclosure “completely inappropriate” and added that the university had been given no legal reason to turn over the students’ data.

Police confirmed getting the data and insisted the decision to share it with the CIA was “an operational decision.” The CIA has yet to comment on what it plans to do with the data.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Islamophobia | Comments Off on Personal Data on Nearly 1,000 British Muslim Students Given to CIA

Video: Shame, Shame on H&M

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | Comments Off on Video: Shame, Shame on H&M

Israeli Court Decides Not To File Charges Against Soldier Who Killed Nonviolent Protestor in Bil’in

By Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – April 02, 2010

Despite a video clearly showing the death of Bassem Abu Rahma, who was shot in the chest by a gas bomb, an Israeli court decided Thursday that the killing that took place during a nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall in Ni’lin near Ramallah, was not intentional.

The brother of Abu Rahma slammed the decision and said it comes to give the soldiers more chances to continue the killing of innocent, nonviolent protestors.

The soldier will not face any charges, and will be allowed to resume his military service as if nothing happened. Bassem Abu Rahma, 31, was killed in April of last year. Israeli and International peace activists were also at the scene.

The Israeli army claimed that Abu Rahma and other protestors were throwing stones at the soldiers, yet the video footage clearly shows him shouting at the soldiers asking them not to open fire. “rega, rega, catzin” the Hebrew words Abu Rahma told the soldiers… “officer… officer… wait.. listen..”.

The Israeli court disregarded the facts and decided to close all investigations in the issue, and decided that the gas bomb fired by the army was not intentionally aimed at Abu Rahma.

This decision disregarded the fact that the soldiers did not have to open fire at the protestors to start with as they were not under attack, and the nonviolent protestors were on the other side of a barbed-wire fence installed by the army.

Bil’in in the scene of weekly nonviolent protests against the illegal Israeli Annexation Wall and settlements. Israeli and International peace activists join the residents in their protests in Bil’in and in several other Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

Ashraf, the brother of Bassem, said that the court’s decision does not surprise him, and added that “Israel’s Justice System provides cover for the soldiers to continue their crimes”.

In July of 2008, Ashraf was detained by Israeli soldiers during a nonviolent protest in the nearby village of Ni’lin, and after he was cuffed and blindfolded a soldier, standing next to him, pointed his gun at his leg and shot him with a rubber-coated bullet.

The shooting of Ashraf was also caught on tape by a young Palestinian girl. Israeli soldiers kidnapped her father later on as a punishment just for exposing the crime.

Commenting on his brother’s death, Ashraf said that hundreds witnessed the attack, and heard Bassem call out to the soldier asking him to hold his fire, but the soldier shot him while he was only six meters (nearly 20 feet)away.

Ashraf stated that the family will file an appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice, and should it also fail to achieve justice, the family would resort to the International Court.

The army insists that the soldiers did not commit any violation, and that the decision was made after examining all related details.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli Court Decides Not To File Charges Against Soldier Who Killed Nonviolent Protestor in Bil’in

US ‘fabricated documents’ in pursuit of Iranian engineer

Press TV – April 2, 2010

The US authorities have been accused of presenting fabricated documents to French courts to support their demand for extradition of an Iranian engineer, as his court postpones deciding his fate for the sixth time.

Majid Kakavand, 37, was arrested in France in March 2009, at the request of US authorities, as he was returning to Iran after a short holiday in France.

The United States requested his extradition to stand trial for allegedly breaching US embargo against Iran.

He is alleged to have purchased a number of items that may have been of US origin through a Malaysian company, while residing in Iran.

In order for an extradition request to be approved, French courts must decide whether the alleged acts of Kakavand would have violated French law, had they occurred in France. This prerequisite is known as “dual criminality.”

Having detained Kakavand, the French courts have repeatedly requested further information from the US Department of Justice regarding the allegations against the Iranian.

However, since the US failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove the existence of dual criminality, the judge asked for expert advice from France’s “General Delegation for Ordnance” (DGA), which is the body responsible for weapons development and evaluations, and the country’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE). After evaluating the electronic components that Kakavand is alleged to have imported into Iran, both agencies declared that the goods could not be used for military purposes as dual-use technology. DGSE further advised that the case against the Iranian was weak and that he should be released.

Tehran has also highlighted Kakavand’s plight and has demanded his immediate release. On March 16, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said: “The innocence of (Majid) Kakavand is evident and we urge France not to be trapped in American propaganda and release him.”

Now, according to Kakavand’s French lawyers, it appears that, in their enthusiasm for his extradition, the US authorities have stepped over the legal line and have used forged documents to try to sway the French court to hand him over.

Advocate Diane Francois says that some of the documents included “email copies with attachments that did not have corresponding dates,” concluding that the documents were falsified, reported on March 31.

“We will ask San Francisco prosecutors to open a federal investigation of the documents provided by the US authorities,” she said.

Kakavand too denies that he did anything illegal. Additionally, legal experts believe that, as the US embargos against Iran are unilateral, they have no legal force outside the territory of the US, especially when applied extraterritorially, such as has been applied to Kakavand, who is alleged to have traded in US-origin goods outside of the US.

The European Union has repeatedly rejected extraterritorial enforcement of US embargos on its territory.

Nevertheless, this is not the only time that the US has pursued Iranians across the world on similar spurious charges. In 2006, they had Jamshid Ghassemi arrested in Thailand and in 2007 Yousef Boushvash was detained in Hong Kong; both for alleged breaches of extraterritorial US embargo.

Both were released by respective authorities, once it became clear that the US demand for their extradition had no legal basis.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Wars for Israel | 4 Comments

The Case for the Impeachment of Barack Obama

Same Crimes, Same Misdemeanors

By DAVE LINDORFF | April 2, 2010

Back in 2005-06, I wrote a book, The Case for Impeachment, in which I made the argument that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, as well as other key figures in the Bush/Cheney administration–Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales–should be impeached for war crimes, as well as crimes against the Constitution of the United States.

These days, when I mention the book’s title, people sometimes ask, half in jest, whether I’m referring to the current president, Barack Obama.

Sadly, it is time to say, just 14 months into the current term of this new president, that yes, this president, and some of his subordinates, are also guilty of impeachable crimes–including many of the same ones committed by Bush and Cheney.

Let’s start with the war in Afghanistan, which Obama has taken full ownership of with an escalation that will bring the number of US troops in that country (not counting mercenaries hired by the Pentagon and CIA) to 100,000 by this August.

The president has authorized the use of Predator drone aircraft for a program of bombing conducted against Pakistan which has illegally expanded the Afghan War into another country without any authorization from Congress. These pilotless drones are known to kill far more innocent bystanders than enemy targets, making them fundamentally illegal on principle as weapons. Furthermore, this wave of attacks in Pakistan is a war of aggression against another nation if the word “war” is to have any meaning at all, and as such it is illegal under the UN Charter. Indeed initiating a war of aggression against a country which does not pose an immediate threat to the invader is described in the Charter and in the Nuremberg Tribunal Charter as the gravest of all war crimes.

The president, as commander in chief, has also, in collusion with Attorney Eric Holder, blocked any prosecution of those who authorized and perpetrated torture against captives in the War in Iraq, the War in Afghanistan, and the so-called War on Terror–notably Federal Appeals Court Judge Jay Baybee, and Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo, who as Justice Department attorneys authored the legal briefs justifying torture– and has in fact continued to permit the application of torture against captives. All of this is in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions, which as a signed set of treaties, are part of the law of the United States. Under those treaties, failure on the part of those up the chain of command to halt or to punish those who commit torture are themselves guilty of the crime of torture.

As commander in chief, President Obama has also overseen a strategy in Afghanistan of expanded attacks on civilians in Afghanistan. As in Iraq under the Bush administration, this current phase of the war in Afghanistan is seeing more civilians killed than enemy combatants, because of the widespread use of weapons like helicopter gunships, aerial bombardment, fragmentation bombs, etc., as well as a tactic of night raids on housing compounds where insurgents are suspected of hiding–raids that frequently lead to the deaths of many women and children and innocent men. It is significant that even the recent execution-style slaying of nine students, aged 11-18, by US-led forces, has not led to an investigation or prosecution of a individual. Rather, the incident is being covered up and ignored, with the clear acquiescence of the White House and the leadership at the Pentagon.

It is also widely believed that under the command of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is known to have directed a large-scale death-squad operation in Iraq before moving to his current position, a similar death-squad campaign of assassination is being conducted now in Afghanistan–a campaign that like the notorious Phoenix Program in the 1960s in Vietnam, is almost certainly resulting in the deaths of many innocent Afghans.

Domestically, the president has continued to allow the policy of detention without trial of hundreds of captives in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons, including Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, and his director of national security has even stated that it is the policy of this administration that American citizens deemed by the administration to be enemy combatants or terrorists may be targeted for summary execution. Such officially sanctioned state murder is a blatant violation of the Constitution’s insistence that every American has a right to a presumption of innocence and to a trial by a jury of his or her peers.

The president has also continued and in some ways even expanded the Bush/Cheney administration’s program of warrantless spying by the National Security Agency on the electronic communications of millions of Americans. A part of that program, the monitoring of communications of a now defunct Islamic charity, was just declared illegal by a federal judge in a case that was brought against the Bush/Cheney administration, but which continued to be defended by the current administration. There has not been a decision as yet by the Obama administration about whether to appeal that decision. While the case in question does not represent a crime by the Obama administration, it is clear that it only represents the very tip of the huge iceberg of domestic spying, and the administration’s vigorous efforts to shut down this case or to win it are clear evidence that the NSA is continuing to do the same thing on a vast scale. In fact, the only reason this case even got to trial is because of a government error that resulted in a memo describing the monitoring being mailed inadvertently to the victims of the spying.

While we’re at it, I would also suggest that there is ample evidence to call for the impeachment of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who appears, as head of the New York Federal Reserve, to have colluded in an effort to cover up a massive fraud at Lehman Brothers, and who has subsequently as Treasurer, participated in unprecedented giveaways of taxpayer funds to several of the country’s largest banking institutions.

The above enumeration of criminal and Constitutional transgressions makes it clear that this president, like his predecessor, has, almost since his first day in office, continued down a road of criminal and unconstitutional behavior that threatens the survival of Constitutional government in the United States.

Let me state it simply: President Barack Obama, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Treasury Secretary Geithner, should be impeached for war crimes and high crimes against the Constitution.

Of course, having watched the Democratic Congress shamelessly duck its solemn duty to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and their criminal subordinates for two years, I have no illusions about that same Democratic Congress allowing an impeachment bill to be filed against this president.

Having said that, I think it is important to at least make the point publicly that this president, like the one before, deserves to be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). He can be reached at

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on The Case for the Impeachment of Barack Obama

China Denies Backing Iran Sanctions

US Claims of Consensus Denied by Russia, China

By Jason Ditz | April 01, 2010

Yesterday’s claims that the Chinese government had, after months of US cajoling, finally agreed to support sanctions against Iran appear to be premature, and China has reiterated its past position that diplomacy, not sanctions, should resolve the issue.

We will strengthen communication with other parties and engage all parties to promote a proper resolution by diplomatic means,” insisted Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi insisted that China’s position had not changed at all, and he met today with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili about the issue.

Russian officials also issued a statement saying that they supported “focused and selective” sanctions, which is largely in keeping with their previous statements in opposition to the broader package of “crippling” economic sanctions sought by the US.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed earlier this week that there was a “consensus” on the need for sanctions and claimed specifically that China had a “growing awareness” of the importance of the move.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment

9/11 victim families want civil trials for terror suspects

Press TV – April 2, 2010

Family members of those killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks have urged US President Barack Obama to live up to earlier promises and try terror suspects in civilian court.

The September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group of more than 200 family members of 9/11 victims, said they prefer the suspects currently held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba to stand trial in US federal criminal courts rather than before military commissions.

In an emotional four-minute long video appeal, the group warned the US president against “buckling to political pressure” over the trial venue for the alleged 9/11 plotters.

The group argued that, while there have been hundreds of successfully completed terrorism-related trials in federal criminal courts, military commissions have only managed to wrap up three cases related to terrorism.

Donna Marsh O’Connor, a Peaceful Tomorrows member who lost her pregnant daughter on the attack against the World Trade Center, criticized the horse-trading politics surrounding terrorist trials in the US.

Reflecting disappointment with an alleged deal in which the White House would drop plans for civilian trials in exchange for Republican support for the closure of the detention camp at Guantanamo, O’Connor called on Obama to reject any such compromise.

“As 9/11 families, we have suffered greatly and waited almost nine years to see justice done with our own eyes,” she said.

“We understand that you face political pressure to back down. We ask that you do not allow fear and prejudice to govern your decision — as we are not afraid. We know our country is strong enough to hold on to our values in the face of terrorism,” she added.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | 4 Comments