Aletho News


Our Tax Dollars At War, Obama The Most Pro-War President In History

By SoftboxFilms on Oct 4, 2011

Based on a “Flashpoints” interview with Dennis Bernstein & Dave Lindorff.

Bonus presentation:
Obama The Most Pro-War President In History


October 7, 2011 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

Settler attack on Nablus sisters is 33rd vehicular assault for 2011

7 October 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Sajah, 19, and Ahlam Bilal, 18, from Kufr Qaddoum were injured on Tuesday October 4th by Israeli settler, Eliyaho Miller, on the main road in Huwara. The two women were walking to Ibn Sina College of Nursing where they are studying when the settler crashed his vehicle into the women. After he hit them both and Sajah was thrown 10 meters from the accident, he attempted to flee the scene by foot. Miller was stopped by a Palestinian taxi driver until the Israeli police came to make a report.

The hit and run accident occurred at 7:50am as the two sisters were walking to campus. As Sajah and Ahlam were about to cross the road, they both saw the settler’s car speed up when they stepped into the street. He made contact with Sajah first in her left shoulder which flung her body into the air until she fell 10 meters from the car. She now has suffered three broken bones in her upper left arm as well as both hips broken. Her sister Ahlam has a bruised, swollen eye and an injured right leg. Sajah was rushed to Rafidya hospital to be treated for the injuries.

Under Israeli law, the Israeli police are under obligation to call an Israeli ambulance when there are injuries of any sort of accident involving settlers. In the hesitancy from Israeli police to call an ambulance, Palestinians living in Huwara took it upon themselves to have an ambulance arrive in order to bring Sajah and Ahlam to the Nablus hospital. Both of the women said Israeli police and military personnel eventually arrived at the scene, but the Israeli army said it had no information on the accident and police reported that they were checking into details of the event.

This particular settler incident comes on the tails of increased harassment and violence towards Palestinians by Israelis. An official report quoted by Quds Press earlier this week stated that there were 33 cases of deliberate vehicular attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank since the start of 2011. Farid Jaber, 8, was murdered after being hit by an Israeli settler’s car in Hebron on September 26th. Nasser Abu al-Kabbash, 20, was involved in a similar hit and run accident with an Israeli settler in Beit Dajan on October 10th.

All this is in addition to “pricetag” violence from Israeli settlers, the uprooting and burning of olive trees in Palestinian cities around occupied West Bank as olive harvest begins, and increased legal persecution of Palestinians for trivial reasons. Sajah received surgery on October 7th for her 3 broken bones in the left shoulder which went successfully according to her doctor in Nablus. The doctors at Rafidya are waiting to see how well her pelvis bones begin to heal before undergoing any correctional surgery.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Settler attack on Nablus sisters is 33rd vehicular assault for 2011

Obama’s New Populist Fakery

Always the Bankers’ Whore

By MICHAEL HUDSON | CounterPunch | October 7, 2011

The seeds for President Obama’s demagogic press conference on Thursday were planted last summer when he assigned his right-wing Committee of 13 the role of resolving the obvious and inevitable Congressional budget standoff by forging an anti-labor policy that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and uses the savings to bail out banks from even more loans that will go bad as a result of the IMF-style austerity program that Democrats and Republicans alike have agreed to back.

The problem facing Obama is obvious enough: How can he hold the support of moderates and independents (or as Fox News calls them, socialists and anti-capitalists), students and labor, minorities and others who campaigned so heavily for him in 2008? He has double-crossed them – smoothly, with a gentle smile and patronizing pattern talk, but with an iron determination to hand federal monetary and tax policy over to his largest campaign contributors: Wall Street and assorted special interests. The Democratic Party’s Rubinomics and Clintonomics core operators, plus smooth Bush Administration holdovers such as Tim Geithner, not to mention quasi-Cheney factotums in the Justice Department.

President Obama’s solution has been to do what any political demagogue does: Come out with loud populist campaign speeches that have no chance of becoming the law of the land, while more  quietly giving his campaign contributors what they’ve paid him for: giveaways to Wall Street, tax cuts for the wealthy (euphemized as tax “exemptions” and mark-to-model accounting, plus an agreement to count “income” as “capital gains” taxed at a much lower rate).

So here’s the deal the Democratic leadership has made with the Republicans. The Republicans will run someone from their present gamut of guaranteed losers, enabling Obama to run as the “voice of reason,” as if this somehow is Middle America. This will throw the 2012 election his way for a second term if he adopts their program – a set of rules paid for by the leading campaign contributors to both parties.

President Obama’s policies have not been the voice of reason. They are even further to the right than George W. Bush could have achieved. At least a Republican president would have confronted a Democratic Congress blocking the kind of program that Obama has rammed through. But the Democrats seem stymied when it comes to standing up to a president who ran as a Democrat rather than the Tea Partier he seems to be so close to in his ideology.

So here’s where the Committee of 13 comes into play. Given (1) the agreement that if the Republicans and Democrats do NOT agree on  Obama’s dead-on-arrival “job-creation” ploy, and (2) Republican House Leader Boehner’s statement that his party will reject the populist rhetoric that President Obama is voicing these days, then (3) the Committee will wield its ax to cut federal social spending in keeping with its professed ideology.

President Obama signaled this long in advance, at the outset of his administration when he appointed his Deficit Reduction Commission headed by former Republican Sen. Simpson and Rubinomics advisor to the Clinton administration Bowles to recommend how to cut federal social spending while giving even more money away to Wall Street. He confirmed suspicions of a sellout by reappointing bank lobbyist Tim Geithner to the Treasury, and tunnel-visioned Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Board.

Yet on Wednesday, October 4, the president tried to represent the OccupyWallStreet movement as support for his efforts. He pretended to endorse a pro-consumer regulator to limit bank fraud, as if he had not dumped Elizabeth Warren on the advice of Geithner – who seems to be settling into the role of bagman for campaign contributors from Wall Street.

Can President Obama get away with it? Can he jump in front of the parade and represent himself as a friend of labor and consumers while his designated appointees support Wall Street and his Committee of 13 is waiting in the wings to perform its designated function of guillotining Social Security?

When I visited the OccupyWallStreet site on Wednesday, it was clear that the disgust with the political system went so deep that there is no single set of demands that can fix a system so fundamentally broken and dysfunctional. One can’t paste-up a regime that is impoverishing the economy, accelerating foreclosures, pushing state and city budgets further into deficit and forcing cuts in social spending.

The situation is much like that from Iceland to Greece: Governments no longer represent the people. They represent predatory financial interests that are impoverishing the economy. This is not democracy. It is financial oligarchy. And oligarchies do not give their victims a voice.

So the great question is, where do we go from here? There’s no solvable path within the way that the economy and the political system is structured these days. Any attempt to come up with a neat “fix-it” plan can only be suggesting bandages for what looks like a fatal political-economic wound.

The Democrats are as much a part of the septic disease as the Republicans. Other countries face a similar problem. The Social Democratic regime in Iceland is acting as the party of bankers, and its government’s approval rating has fallen to 12 percent. But they refuse to step down. So earlier last week, voters brought steel oil drums to their own Occupation outside the Althing and banged when the Prime Minister started to speak, to drown out her advocacy of the bankers (and foreign vulture bankers at that!)

Likewise in Greece, the demonstrators are showing foreign bank interests that any agreement the European Central Bank makes to bail out French and German bondholders at the cost of increasing taxes on Greek labor (but not Greek property and wealth) cannot be viewed as democratically entered into. Hence, any debts that are claimed, and any real estate or public enterprises given or sold off to the creditor powers under distress conditions, can be reversed once voters are given a democratic voice in whether to impose a decade of poverty on the country and force emigration.

That is the spirit of civil disobedience that is growing in this country. It is a quandary – that is, a problem with no solution. All that one can do under such conditions is to describe the disease and its symptoms. The cure will follow logically from the diagnosis. But the role of OccupyWallStreet is to diagnose the financial polarization and corruption of the political process that extends right into the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and  Obama’s soon-to-be notorious Committee of 13 once the happy-smoke settles from his present pretensions.


Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt: A History of Theories of Polarization v. Convergence in the World Economy. He can be reached via his website,

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Obama: The Assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki by Fiat

By James Petras :: 10.06.2011

The killing of Anwar al-Awlaki a U.S citizen in Yemen by a CIA drone missile on September 30 has been publicized by the mass media, President Obama and the usual experts on al-Qaeda as “a major blow to the jihadist network founded by Osama bin Laden” US officials called Awlaki “the most dangerous figure in Al-Qaeda” (Financial Times Oct. 1 and 2, 2011).

There is ample evidence to suggest that the publicity surrounding the killing of al-Awlaki has greatly exaggerated his political importance and is an attempt to cover up the declining influence of the US in the Islamic world. The State Department’s declaration of a major victory serves to exaggerate US military capacity to defeat its adversaries. The assassination serves to justify Obama’s arbitrary use of death squads to execute overseas US critics and adversaries by executive fiat denying the accused elementary judicial protections.

Myths About al-Awlaki

Al-Awlaki was a theological blogger in a small, poor Islamic country (Yemen). He was confined to propagandizing against Western countries, attempting to influence Islamic believers to resist Western military and cultural intervention. Within Yemen, his organizational affiliations were with a minority sector of the mass popular opposition to US backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. His fundamentalist group was largely influential in a few small towns in southern Yemen. He was not a military or political leader in his organization, dubbed by the West as “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP). Like most of what the CIA calls “Al-Qaeda”, AQAP was a local autonomous organization, meaning that it was organized and controlled by local leaders even as it expressed agreement with many other loosely associated fundamentalist groups. Awlaki had a very limited role in the Yemeni groups’ military and political operations and virtually no influence in the mass movement engaged in ousting Saleh. There is no evidence, documented or observable, that he was “a very effective propagandist” as ex-CIA and now Brookings Institution member Bruce Riedal claims. In Yemen and among the mass popular movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain or elsewhere his followers were few and far between. One “expert” cites such intangibles as his “spiritual leadership”, which is as good a way as any to avoid the test of empirical evidence: apparently a crystal ball or a tarot read will do.

Given the paucity of evidence demonstrating Awlaki’s political and ideological influence among the mass movements in North Africa, the Middle East or Asia, the US intelligence agencies claim his “real influence was among English-speaking jihadi, some of whom he groomed personally to carry out attacks on the US.”

In other words Washington’s casting Awlaki as an “important threat” revolves around his speeches and writings, since he had no operational role in organizing suicide bomb attacks – or at least no concrete evidence has been presented up to now.

The intelligence agencies “suspect” he was involved in the plot that dispatched bombs in cargo aircraft from Yemen to Chicago in October 2010. US intelligence claims he provided a “theological justification” via e-mail for US army Major Nidal Malik’s killing of 13 people at Fort Hood. In other words, like many US philosophical writers and legal experts like Princeton’s Michael Walzer and Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, Awlaki discussed “just wars” and the “right” of violent action. If political writings and speeches of publicists are cited by an assassin as the bases for their action, should the White House execute, leading US Islamophobes like Marilyn Geller and Daniel Pipes, cited as inspiration by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Brevik? Or does their Zionist affiliation provide them immunity from Navy Seal assaults and drone missiles?

Even assuming that the unsubstantiated “suspicions” of the CIA, MI 16 and the Al Qaeda “experts” are correct and Awlaki had a direct or indirect hand in “terrorist action” against the US, these activities were absurdly amateurish and abject failures, certainly not a serious threat to our security. The “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s effort to ignite bomb materials on a flight to Detroit, December 25, 2009, led to roasting his testicles! Likewise the bombs dispatched in cargo aircraft from Yemen to Chicago in October 2010 were another bungled job.

If anything the Yemenite AQAP’s hopeless, hapless operational planning served to highlight its technical incompetence. In fact according to Mutallab’s own admission, published on NBC news at the time, Awlaki played no role in the planning or execution of the bomb attack. He merely served to refer Mutallab to the Al Qaeda organization.

Clearly, Awlaki was a minor figure in Yemen’s political struggles. He was a propagandist of little influence in the mass movements during the “Arab Spring”. He was an inept recruiter of English-speaking would be bombers. The claims that he planned and “hatched” two bomb plots (Financial Times, October 1 and 2, page 2) are refuted by the confession of one bomber and the absence of any corroboratory evidence regarding the failed cargo bombs.

The mass media inflate the importance of Awlaki to the stature of a major al-Qaeda leader and subsequently, his killing as a “major psychological blow” to world-wide jihadists. This imagery has no substance. But the puff pieces do have a very important propaganda purpose. Worse still, the killing of Awlaki provides a justification for extra-judicial state serial assassinations of ideological critics of Anglo-American leaders engaged in bloody colonial wars.

Propaganda to Bolster Flagging Military Morale

Recent events strongly suggest that the US and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan to the Taliban: top collaborator officials are knocked off at the drop of a Taliban turban. After years of occupation, Iraq is moving closer to Iran rather than the US. Libya in the post-Gaddafi period is under warring mercenary forces squaring off for a fight for the billion dollar booty. Al Qaeda prepares battle against neo-liberal expats and Gaddafi renegades.

Washington and NATO’s attempt to regain the initiative via puppet rulers in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen is being countered by a “second wave” of mass pro-democracy movements. The “Arab Spring” is being followed by a “hot autumn”. Positive news and favorable outcomes for Obama are few and far between. He has run out of any pseudo-populist initiative to enchant the Arab-Islamic masses. His rhetoric rings hollow in the face of his UN speech, denying recognition of an independent Palestinian state. His groveling before Israel is clearly seen as an effort to bolster his re-election campaign financing by wealthy Zionists.

Diplomatically isolated and domestically in trouble over failed economic policies, Obama pulls the trigger and shoots an itinerant Muslim preacher in Yemen to send a “message” to the Arab world. In a word he says, “If you, the Arabs, the Islamic world, wont’ join us we can and will execute those of you who can be labeled “spiritual mentors” or are suspected of harboring terrorists.”

Obama’s defense of systematic killing of ideological critics, denying US constitutional norms of judicial due process to a U.S citizen and in blatant rejection of international law defines a homicidal executive.

Let us be absolutely clear what the larger implications are of political murder by executive fiat. If the President can order the murder of a dual American-Yemeni citizen abroad on the bases of his ideological-theological beliefs, what is to stop him from ordering the same in the US? If he uses arbitrary violence to compensate for diplomatic failure abroad what is to stop him from declaring a “heightened internal security threat” in order to suspend our remaining freedoms at home and to round up critics?

We seriously understate our “Obama problem” if we think of this ordered killing merely as an isolated murder of a “jihadist” in strife torn Yemen … Obama’s murder of Awlaki has profound, long term significance because it puts political assassinations at the center of US foreign and domestic policy. As Secretary of Defense Panetta states, “eliminating home grown terrorists” is at the core of our “internal security”.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite | 1 Comment

Pro-Israeli hawk urges U.S. to “get tough” with sole Islamic nuclear power

Max Puts the Boot into Pakistan

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | October 7, 2011

While much attention has been paid to Admiral Mike Mullen’s allegations that Pakistan’s ISI was behind recent attacks on American targets in Afghanistan attributed to the Haqqani network, the subsequent call by an influential neoconservative pundit for the United States to “get tough with Pakistan” seems to have gone unnoticed.

Writing this week in two of the neoconservative flagship outlets, Commentary and The Weekly Standard, Max Boot argues for a more aggressive U.S. approach to Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency. “I suggest we start treating Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency the way we treated Iran’s Quds Force in Iraq,” Boot opines in Commentary, an influential magazine founded by the American Jewish Committee, a key component of the pro-Israel lobby. “That is to say, apply the full range of our power–everything from diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, to kinetic military action–to curb the menace posed by this group.”

Currently a senior fellow in national security studies at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot clearly has the kind of influence that could turn his not-so-humble suggestion into American policy. In March 2010, General David Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command, turned to Boot for help when some articles appeared in the American media noting that Petraeus’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee implied that Washington’s uncritical support of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians was hurting U.S. interests in the region.

Petraeus forwarded one of the articles to Boot, with a note saying, “As you know, I didn’t say that. It’s in a written submission for the record….” In his reply, Boot dismissed the source’s credibility, but promised Petraeus that he would write “another short item pointing people to what you actually said as opposed to what’s in the posture statement.” Appreciative, but clearly still concerned to ingratiate himself with Israel’s powerful supporters, six minutes later Petraeus wrote back: “Thx, Max. (Does it help if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night?! And that I will be the speaker at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in mid-Apr at the Capitol Dome…).” When the Russian-born Jewish writer assured the four-star general that this wasn’t relevant since he wasn’t being accused of being anti-Semitic, a relieved Petraeus signed off with a “Roger!” followed by a smiley emoticon.

The embarrassing spectacle of one of America’s most eminent military commanders seeing fit to grovel in such a demeaning way before a young pro-Israeli hack would surely have ended General Petraeus’s career in Washington before it began if the American public had been made aware of the incident. The Israel-centric U.S. media, however, chose to studiously ignore the revealing Petraeus-Boot correspondence. As a consequence of the media’s silence, the servile Petraeus is currently director of the CIA, overseeing the murderous drone strikes which are predictably enraging the Pakistani people; while his self-assured confidant is goading American policy-makers from his safe perch at the neocons’ primary warmongering media outlets to escalate such provocative policies against the world’s sole Islamic nuclear power–a country which, not insignificantly, has been designated as Israel’s greatest strategic threat by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

While most Americans remain oblivious to the crimes being committed in their names around the world, those concerned about Pakistan’s security would do well to remember that what’s on the pages of Commentary and The Weekly Standard one day will most likely be on the lips of the Israel lobby’s compliant Congressmen and Pentagon and White House officials the next.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | 4 Comments

B’Tselem: Israeli govt responsible for Qusra attacks

Ma’an – 07/10/2011

BETHLEHEM — Israeli authorities are failing to stop settler attacks on the Nablus village Qusra, which has faced a repeated campaign of harassment from Israeli settlers, an Israeli rights group said on Thursday.

Israeli settlers uprooted 200 olive trees in the south of the village overnight Wednesday. Israeli organization B’Tselem said due to a new Israeli army post overlooking the valley, “the attack occurred in an open area with excellent visibility.”

“Even if soldiers aren’t present there at all times, the security forces maintain an ongoing presence in the area,” a press statement from the group said.

“Regardless of whether the soldiers noticed the settlers and chose to ignore them or whether they weren’t present in the area, this is a particularly severe case where the security forces violated their obligation to protect the Palestinian residents and their property,” it added.

B’Tselem said it had documented seven cases of Israeli settlers raiding the village in six weeks.

A village mosque was torched and vandalized in early September, and Israeli force killed one villager after settlers broke into the village later in the month.

Qusra is encircled by Jewish-only settlements, which house around 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, among some 2.6 million Palestinians. Settlements on occupied land are considered illegal under international law.

October 7, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | Comments Off on B’Tselem: Israeli govt responsible for Qusra attacks