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NYT Demands Libyan War Escalation

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | April 8, 2011

Neocon editors who increasingly dominate the New York Times want President Barack Obama to deploy A-10 and AC-130 aircraft for close-combat attacks against Libyan government forces in urban areas.

Rather than give serious thought to peace feelers that have come from members of Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle, including his son Saif, the Times’ editors – like other key figures in the U.S. mainstream news media – see violent regime change as the only acceptable outcome for Libya.

Thus, the Friday editorial urging the use of the A-10s and AC-130s to attack Gaddafi’s urban strongholds and mow down his loyalist forces.

“Unlike the highflying supersonic French and British jets now carrying the main burden of the air war, these American planes can fly slow enough and low enough to let them see and target Colonel Qaddafi’s weapons without unduly endangering nearby populations,” the Times editors wrote.

“European jet fighters can certainly destroy military targets on desert roads and sparsely populated areas. But no other country has aircraft comparable to America’s A-10, which is known as the Warthog, designed to attack tanks and other armored vehicles, or to the AC-130 ground-attack gunship, which is ideally suited for carefully sorting out targets in populated areas.

“In a war where rebel ground forces are struggling to train and organize themselves, and foreign ground forces are out of the question, these specialized American planes provide a unique and needed asset. Mr. Obama should make them available to NATO commanders now.”

The Times’ belligerent rhetoric about Libya and its one-sided coverage of the conflict recall the behavior of the Times, the Washington Post and other leading U.S. news outlets during the run-up to war with Iraq in 2002-03, except then they were cheering on President George W. Bush whereas now they are hectoring President Obama to do more.

Last month, as the crisis in Libya was heating up, the Times and the Post criticized Obama for not intervening in the conflict sooner although he acted immediately after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution permitting use of military force to protect Libyan civilians.

The tough-guy posture of the Times’ and Post’s editors was that Obama should have behaved more like Bush in ignoring the niceties of international law and just take out the “bad guy,” in this case Libya’s Gaddafi rather than Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Warriors of the Mainstream Media.”]

The neoconning of the New York Times may lag slightly behind the pace at the Post, but the phenomenon seems to be gaining momentum under editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal and executive editor Bill Keller.

In typical neocon fashion, there was virtually no accountability for any of the pro-war editors when they fell for U.S. government war propaganda before the Iraq War, a gullibility that contributed to the deaths of untold thousands of innocent people and the expenditure of some $1 trillion.

Keller, for instance, openly sided with Bush’s plans to invade Iraq, swallowed all the pro-war lies, even boasted about the influential journalists on the war bandwagon with him, and – after the false WMD claims and other lies were exposed – still was appointed to the newspaper’s top editorial job.

Having experienced no adverse consequences for his behavior regarding Iraq – indeed having been richly rewarded for it – Keller has continued on as a neocon advocate for new U.S. confrontations with Iran and now Libya, letting his biases spill into the news columns. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Through the US Media’s Lens Darkly.”]

In such a macho U.S. media environment, it seems that trying to understand an adversary’s point of view, objectively evaluating facts or – god forbid – countenancing peace talks are for sissies.

Instead, it’s much easier – and safer, career-wise – to write bellicose editorials demanding that young Americans at the controls of a “Warthog” attack aircraft unleash the plane’s fearsome firepower and slaughter some young Libyans on a city street below.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 14 Comments

14 year old girl taken in the latest wave of Awarta arrests

11 April 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
Halaa aged 6, kicked by soldiers as they raided her home

On Saturday night the Israeli army once again raided Awarta, putting the village under curfew for the fifth time since the murder in the illegal settlement of Itamar on 11th March. Awarta is situated next to Itamar and has endured a constant military presence for a month now.

According to the village mayor Qays Awwad, 23 people were arrested in the latest night raids; 20 males and three females.

One of the females arrested on Saturday night was 14 year old Julia Mazen Awwad, who was taken from her home together with her mother and father; Noaf and Mazen Awwad. Two days earlier, her two brothers; George and Hakeem were arrested, leaving only the smallest children not in Israeli custody. They were left alone after the latest arrests and were taken care of by one of the family’s neighbors until their mother was released Monday morning. Their sister, brothers and father remain in Israeli custody.

One of the families that had their home raided is the family of Muhammad Fawsi Awwad. At 4 am, while Muhammad was sleeping in his brothers home, Israeli soldiers awoke his sleeping wife and six children by throwing sound bombs through every window of the house. After entering the house, the soldiers forced the family to go outside and to sit on the ground while they were still in their pyjamas. One of the daughters, Halaa, who is six years old, was kicked by the soldiers in the process. Her brother, Amjad, 19 years old, was locked inside the bathroom where he had to stay for six hours, while the soldiers completely destroyed his family’s home from the inside. International activists who came to the house after the soldiers had left witnessed the devastation: windows, mirrors and photo frames had been smashed, wardrobes and beds were broken, the washing machine made useless, the bathroom sink was completely demolished, school books were ripped into pieces and oil poured into the sugar supply.

After destroying the family’s home, the soldiers arrested the sons – Majdi Awwad (20), Amjad (19) and Hakam (18) and took them to the Huwwara military base together with their father. The remaining children and their mother have no place to sleep since their beds have been destroyed and the children are too scared to stay in their home.

Windows smashed by sound bombs in the night
Windows smashed by sound bombs in the night

At 5 am, the soldiers arrived to Muhammad’s brother’s home. Hassan Fawsi Awwad and his family were also woken by sound bomb being thrown through their windows before the soldiers entered the house. The soldiers only stayed for 30 minutes, but managed to destroy the family’s washing machine and to pour sand and flour on the floor, before they arrested Hassan and left. This is the second time Hassan has been arrested since the beginning of the curfews. According to his wife Iman, and other eyewitnesses, he was blindfolded and handcuffed before he was forced to walk the road up the center of the village, the soldiers beating and kicking him along the way.

Ayoub Mustafa Daraoshi, 22 years old, was taken from his home at 10 am Sunday morning. According to his mother and his brother, who witnessed the arrest, the soldiers poured petrol on the piece of fabric they used to blindfold Ayoub with. After being blindfolded and handcuffed, he was dragged out on the ground just outside the house where he was beaten and kicked by the soldiers for an hour. At half-past midnight the night before, the soldiers had also arrested his 13- year- old brother Naje. He was forced to walk up to the center of the village where he was put in a military jeep and taken to the police station in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel. Naje, who was accused of throwing stones at military jeeps was kept in custody for five hours and questioned without his parents, or any lawyer being present, before he was released, contravening both international and Israeli law.

Since the brutal murder of five member of a settler family in the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar, hundreds of Awarta residents have been arrested, amongst them elderly, women and children. Some have been released after a couple of hours while others have remained in Israeli custody for almost a month, without being charged with any crime.


Sink torn off the wall

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Israel demolishes homes in the village of Bir al-Hamam

Palestine Information Center – 11/04/2011

NAZARETH — Israeli bulldozers demolished several homes and other structures in the village of Bir al-Hamam on the road to Dimona city Monday morning, as well as some structures in a village near Araara in the Negev desert, said Ibrahim al-Waqili, who heads the council of unrecognized villages.

He added that Israel claimed the structures were built without permit and has declared the region a closed military zone.

Separately, the Israel occupation force has arrested three Palestinian men and set up random checkpoints at the entrances of the West Bank city of Al-Khalil.

The men were arrested after a large force infiltrated several neighborhoods and searched homes.

Checkpoints were set up in the northern and southern entrances of the city, and soldiers searched cars and inspected identifications without report of arrest.

The same day, Jewish settlers from Tel Rumeida, Al-Khalil vandalized and assaulted several shops in the Old City as Israeli soldiers stood by and did nothing. They also set fire to one of the shops.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Rights group calls for monitoring of mass Awarta arrests

Ma’an – April 11, 2011

RAMALLAH — The Ramallah-based rights group Addameer issued a call Sunday for international observation and intervention over the mass arrest campaigns being carried out in the West Bank village of Awarta by Israeli forces.

Sunday morning another nine men and women were detained, bringing to five the number of arrest raids, which rounded up a combined 600-700 residents since 11 March, when five settlers were murdered in their beds, including two children and an infant.

Israel’s investigation of the killings appears to be centered on Awarta village residents, though no suspects have been identified and the case remains under gag-order.

“These arrests have taken place despite the fact that no evidence has been brought forth to indicate that the murders are related to Awarta, suggesting a campaign of collective punishment against the village,” Addameer said in a statement.

The statement said 55 villagers remain in detention, are being held without charge, and include two under the age of 18.

“The arrest procedures also raised serious concerns,” the organization said, citing reports of detention of the elderly, sick and pregnant, saying they were “unlikely candidates for the brutal murders.”

Addameer said it was concerned that “no female soldiers were present and no arrest warrants were presented during the arrest operation,” adding that home-to-home searches lasted up to three hours, and residents were harassed by masked soldiers who used sniffer dogs to search homes, terrorizing families.

“The women’s treatment at the Huwwara Detention Center fell short of basic requirements of international law,” the center further accused, saying many of were arrested in their night gowns, were held in barracks used as military sleeping quarters, and were interrogated repeatedly.

“They were then asked to sign a 2-page statement in Hebrew, a language they do not understand, and threatened with prolonged detention if they chose not to sign it,” the organization said, adding that no lawyers were present for the duration.

In response to the violations cited by the organization, they asked that international observers be installed in the village to monitor the situation in Awarta.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Rights group calls for monitoring of mass Awarta arrests

Bahrain abducts two senior clerics

Press TV – April 11, 2011

Bahraini forces have abducted two senior clerics as the government is putting more pressure to suffocate anti-regime protests.

The Saudi-backed Bahraini forces arrested clerics Sayyed Mohammad al-Alawi and Sheikh Abdul Adim al-Mohtadi in the capital Manama on Monday. It comes after the Bahraini government dismissed 30 doctors and 150 health ministry workers for supporting anti-government protests, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Meanwhile, police stormed schools on Monday and arrested teachers ahead of a planned strike.

Earlier, Bahraini authorities expelled 16 Lebanese nationals from the country. The move came after the leader of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, voiced support for the Bahraini protesters.

Bahraini people have been demanding an end to the two-century-long rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty since February 14. Scores of protesters have been killed and many others gone missing since the beginning of the revolution.

Bahraini forces have reinforced a massive armed crackdown on the uprising with the help of Saudi, the UAE and Kuwaiti troops.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Bahrain abducts two senior clerics

Municipality: Israel shelled drinking water tank in Gaza city

Palestine Information Center – 11/04/2011

GAZA — The Gaza municipality accused the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) of targeting sources of potable water in Gaza city during the military escalation a few days ago.

It said in a statement on Monday that an IOF army tank fired a shell at the 12-meter high Mintar water tank, which fell inside and polluted it.

The municipality said that it had to stop pumping water from there to inhabitants of eastern Shujaia suburb causing a water shortage problem.

It said that water was pumped from another well to the suburb to alleviate the water crisis, which is still affecting the populace.

The municipality charged Israel with committing war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting the citizens’ water sources, and asked the world community to assume its responsibility in bridling the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | Comments Off on Municipality: Israel shelled drinking water tank in Gaza city