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Iraq, Iran, Red Lines and Headlines

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | February 6, 2013

Could this repeated history be any more obvious?

This was August 5, 2002:

And this was November 8, 2011:

This was September 9, 2002:

And this was October 9, 2012:

This was also September 9, 2002:

This was September 17, 2002:

And this was May 9, 2006:

This was September 22, 2002:

And this was November 6, 2011:

This was September 10, 2002:

And this was November 9, 2011:

This was September 17, 2004:

And this was January 27, 2009:

This was October 6, 2004:

And this was January 25, 2010:

This was April 25, 2005:

And this was October 8, 2012:

This was September 6, 2007:

And this was February 4, 2013:

*****

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Reporters Who Got Iraq So Wrong

By Peter Hart | FAIR | February 6, 2013

Ten years ago today, Colin Powell made the Bush administration’s case for going to war against Iraq. Much of what he said about Iraq’s threats to the United States was false. But the media coverage gave the opposite impression, and most of the pundits and journalists who promoted the justifications for the war paid no price for their failures.

As FAIR reported at the time, even before the Powell address there were reasons to be skeptical of the administration’s claims.  On February 4, 2003, FAIR published “Iraq’s Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact,” which made the point that “it has not been demonstrated that Iraq continues to hold unconventional weapons.”  FAIR criticized coverage like that of the New York Times (2/2/03), which asserted that “nobody seriously expected Mr. Hussein to lead inspectors to his stash of illegal poisons or rockets, or to let his scientists tell all.”

As the FAIR release concluded:

The media convey to the public the impression that the alleged banned weapons on which the Bush administration rests its case for war are known to exist, and that the question is simply whether inspectors are skillful enough to find them.

Powell’s address was instrumental in pushing a faulty media line on Iraq’s WMDs further. That much was clear in the coverage right after his appearance at the United Nations, as FAIR documented on February 10 in “A Failure of Skepticism in Powell Coverage.”

In Andrea Mitchell‘s report on NBC Nightly News (2/5/03), Powell’s allegations became actual capabilities of the Iraqi military: “Powell played a tape of a Mirage jet retrofitted to spray simulated anthrax, and a model of Iraq’s unmanned drones, capable of spraying chemical or germ weapons within a radius of at least 550 miles.”

Dan Rather, introducing an interview with Powell (60 Minutes II, 2/5/03), shifted from reporting allegations to describing allegations as facts: “Holding a vial of anthrax-like powder, Powell said Saddam might have tens of thousands of liters of anthrax. He showed how Iraqi jets could spray that anthrax and how mobile laboratories are being used to concoct new weapons.” The anthrax supply is appropriately attributed as a claim by Powell, but the mobile laboratories were something that Powell “showed” to be actually operating.

Commentator William Schneider on CNN Live Today (2/6/03) dismissed the possibility that Powell could be doubted: “No one disputes the findings Powell presented at the U.N. that Iraq is essentially guilty of failing to disarm.” When CNN‘s Paula Zahn (2/5/03) interviewed Jamie Rubin, former State Department spokesperson, she prefaced a discussion of Iraq’s response to Powell’s speech thusly: “You’ve got to understand that most Americans watching this were either probably laughing out loud or got sick to their stomach. Which was it for you?”

If you turn to FAIR’s “Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline” (3/19/07), you see that February 6 Washington Post op-ed page had Mary McGrory writing: “I don’t know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell’s ‘J’accuse’ speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.” She added that she “heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought.”

And Richard Cohen (2/6/03) announced that the debate was over:

 The evidence he presented to the United Nations–some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail–had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool–or possibly a Frenchman–could conclude otherwise.

Obviously, the fools and Frenchmen were correct. And as FAIR documented, independent-minded journalists were reporting that some of the administration’s claims did not stand up to scrutiny. The Associated Press had a detailed look at the state of Iraq intelligence on January 18. The skepticism and good judgment of those reporters (and others) should have been the rule, not the exception, if journalists had been doing their jobs.

But most journalists did a different job. And most of them faced no consequences whatsoever for being so disastrously wrong.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obama and Co. Make Up the Law as They Kill

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford | February 6, 2013

Unlike the bombast that characterized the Bush administration’s assaults on U.S. and international law, the Obama regime tends to dribble out its rationales for gutting the Bill of Rights and every notion of global legality. This president prefers to create a fog – let’s call it the fog of his war against human rights – as he arrogates to himself the power to perpetually imprison or to summarily execute anyone, at any time, anywhere in the world. Obama assures us such authority is constitutionally rooted – it’s in there, believe me, he tells us – but he never produces legal chapter and verse to prove that presidential dictatorship is lawful. Instead, we get dribs and drabs of the administration’s position from lawyers defending Obama’s preventive detention law in the courts, or from informal statements by the attorney general, or even little tidbits gleaned from an Obama conversation with comedian Jon Stewart.

obama_yes_we_can_murderThe latest hors d’oeuvre to be dished out comes in the form of a leak. I say “dished out” because leaked documents are commonly placed in public view by the administration in power, to test the political waters. This leaked Justice Department “white paper” appears to have been drawn up after the execution-by-drone of U.S. citizen Anwar Awlaki, in Yemen. It justifies the killing of anyone occupying a position of status in al-Qaida, or with the ever-changing universe of groups said to be “associated” with al-Qaida. The document stretches the definition of “imminent threat” to cover anyone engaged in activities directed against the U.S., whether or not an actual operation is planned or in progress. Most interestingly, the white paper empowers Obama to delegate the kill-at-will authority to “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.” Which has a certain logic, since dictators certainly have the power to delegate the carrying out of their unjust acts to whomever they choose.

Eleven U.S. senators are asking for further clarification of the administration’s legal position. But that is just more fog, since the Congress overwhelmingly passed Obama’s preventive detention law – twice!! – a law based on the same assumption that due process of law does not apply when the president says it’s wartime. Therefore, the commander-in-chief can lock up any American, without charge or trial, forever, or until he declares peace. The U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder, has made the administration’s position clear enough. Due process, he says, does not necessarily mean access to the judicial process – meaning, a trial. The process is whatever the president or the nearest “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government” says it is. Obama had redefined war, itself. The president told the Congress, after bombing Libya for eight months, that by his definition – which is the only one that counts – no state of war exists unless Americans become casualties, even if the U.S. kills tens of thousands, or millions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fond of saying that the arc of history bends towards justice. In the long term, that may be true. But Martin’s arc is not bending towards justice under this administration. It bends towards fascism, with a Black presidential face.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

U.S. Violating Human Rights of Children, Says U.N. Committee

By Allison Frankel | ACLU Human Rights Program  | February 6, 2013

The Obama Administration recently underwent its first U.N. treaty body review, and the resulting concluding observations made public yesterday should be a cause for alarm. The observations, issued by independent U.N. experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the international treaty on the rights of children in armed conflict (formally known as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict or “OPAC”), paint a dark picture of the treatment of juveniles by the U.S. military in Afghanistan: one where hundreds of children have been killed in attacks and air strikes by U.S. military forces, and those responsible for the killings have not been held to account even as the number of children killed doubled from 2010 to 2011; where children under 18 languish in detention facilities without access to legal or full humanitarian assistance, or adequate resources to aid in their recovery and reintegration as required under international law. Some children were abused in U.S. detention facilities, and others are faced with the prospect of torture and ill-treatment if they are transferred to Afghan custody.

By ratifying OPAC in 2002, the U.S. committed to guaranteeing basic protections to children in armed conflict zones, and to submit periodic reports on the implementation of its treaty obligations to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child. We wrote about the latest U.S. report, released in November, which revealed that over 200 children have been held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan since 2008, some for lengthy periods of time. During its review of the U.S. on January 28, the Committee posed critical questions about the treatment of children by the U.S. military and issued recommendations to remedy these human rights violations.

These recommendations include taking “concrete and firm precautionary measures [to] prevent indiscriminate use of force” particularly against children, and ensuring all allegations of unlawful use of force are “investigated in a transparent, timely and independent manner” and that “children and families victims of attacks and air strikes do always receive redress and compensation.” In regard to the detention of juveniles, the Committee urged the U.S. to ensure that all children under 18 are detained separately from adults and guaranteed access to free and independent legal assistance as well as an independent complaints mechanism. Importantly, considering the previous U.S. response to the Committee revealed that the average age of children detained by U.S. forces is only 16 years old and the average length of stay for juveniles in U.S. military custody has been approximately one year, the Committee recommended children be detained only “as measures of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time and that in all cases alternatives to detention are given priority.”

The Committee also stressed that allegations of torture and other forms of mistreatment must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, and that no child should be transferred to Afghan custody if “there are substantial grounds for the danger of being subject to torture and ill treatment.” The Committee specifically mentioned the case of Omar Kadr, a former child soldier who was detained by U.S. forces at the age of 15 and was subjected to torture and a systematic program of harsh and highly coercive interrogations at the American prisons at Guantánamo Bay and Bagram.

The U.S. government’s human rights obligations do not end with the release of a periodic report or the completion of a treaty body review. In order to give meaning to the words of the children’s rights treaty, the U.S. must work diligently to implement the Committee’s recommendations and ensure that our military forces, intelligence agents, and other government officials treat children in the war zones of Afghanistan and elsewhere in accordance with international law.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s “Red Lines” That America Crosses Everyday

By Peter Chamberlin | There Are No Sunglasses | February 6, 2013

The government of Pakistan claims that there are “red lines” which drones and ground soldiers dare not cross (US urged not to cross ‘red line’ in Fata). This is another lie. In reality, US drones (and possibly “private contractors”) cross those lines everyday. Just another day in the multi-faceted psychological war games, that are fought-out in FATA everyday.

This new public relations ploy, to allow the families of drone victims to prosecute American Predator war crimes builds a new line of defense for the Pak Army, while enhancing its credibility.  This is part of Pakistan’s new “Plan B” for Waziristan, where the civilian administration attempts to use Western courts to stop daily drone attacks upon the Wazir tribes in both North and South Waziristan, since military persuasion has failed miserably in that respect.  Military reluctance to interfere with US plans for Pakistan’s militants has derived not from a common desire to see the CIA … Pakistanis, but from a desire NOT to piss-off the paymaster, which is interpreted by the people as complicity in the attacks (SEE:  US embassy cables: Pakistan backs US drone attacks on tribal areas (23 Aug. 2008, 14:12)). Even the targeted militant leaders are aware of Army complicity in drone targetting.  I am referring here to the testimony of the recently assassinated Waziri leader Nazir (SEE: As-Sahab: English transcript of the interview with Mulla Nazeer Ahmad, the amir of the mujahideen in the South Waziristan).

The outrageous death of Nazir and his friends clarified for the other militants, along with the entire Wazir tribe, that the Pak Army is obviously complicit in the drone attacks, otherwise actions would have been taken to put an end to the air incursions (SEE: India/Pakistani Detente’ Went Into the Ground with Mullah Nazir).  As long as the Army continued to maintain its duplicitous drone acceptance/rejection strategy, denying involvement in the drone targeting (which consistently hit the pro-Army Wazirs and not the anti-Pakistan Mehsuds in both North and South Waziristan), the Wazirs continued to participate in the Pak/US development strategy of infrastructural bribery, based on building ”Quick Impact Projects” in areas previously cleared of Mehsud terrorists.

Since the UAV murder of Mullah Nazir near Wana, working in tandem with the development strategy, the Army is allowing lawsuits (Case No: CO/2599/2012) to go forward on one of the most heinous drone attacks upon the Wazirs, the March 17th, 2011 attack upon a Waziri Jirga in Datta Khel, N. Waziristan, which killed 50 (SEE: Waziristan tribesmen to move ICJ against drone hits).  This move may be a compromise between the government and the Wazir tribe, to avoid a companion lawsuit (which is coming-up for a hearing on Feb. 13) that has been filed in Peshawar High Court, which forces the government of Pakistan’s hand.  The Peshawar suit makes the following demands:

  1. Confirm the Pakistani government’s complete opposition to US drone strikes in the tribal areas as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
  2. Approach the United Nations Security Council and demand adoption of a resolution condemning drone strikes and requiring the US to end the strikes in Pakistan.
  3. Issue a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as the fundamental right to life is being breached by US drone strikes. 
  4. Publicly encourage victims of drone stacks to file complaints to the UNHRC so that the UN Secretary General can list this issue on the Council agenda for discussion. 
  5. Notify the US government of Pakistan’s intention to seek relief in the International Court of Justice for the US’s illegal operation of drones in Pakistan.
  6. Sign the Rome Treaty so that the International Criminal Court can have jurisdiction to prosecute the drone attacks as international law crimes.

The Wazir experiment was intended to reinforce existing agreements that have been made between the Army and the Tribal Authorities, which have previously delegated the policing function to the Tribes.  Under those peace deals, Tribal Leaders had agreed to keep “terrorists” and foreigners out of their territory, referring to Taliban and the Uzbek and “al-CIA-da” forces.  The Wazir Tribe has been held responsible for the terrorist attacks within their neighborhoods since this agreement was signed in 2007.  Under the agreement, the Mehsuds were to have been run-out of Wana.  The Wazirs resisted taking this extreme step for the Army, because they were forced to travel roads through Mehsud territory and obviously didn’t want to start a Tribal feud (SEE:  Pak Army Uses US Money To Build Road for Ahmadzai Wazirs To Run Mehsuds Out of Wana On).

View Map

The Wazir were expected to run the remaining 1,000 or so Mehsud out of Wana, just as soon as the new Kaur-Gomal-Tanai-Wana road was inagurated.  Mullah Nazir led a tribal jirga, which voted to run them out on December 5 (SEE:  1000 Mehsud Refugees Run-Out of Wana ).  Three weeks later, Nazir was killed in a flurry of Hellfire missiles which were fired by three or four drones (SEE:  They Had A Funeral In Wana for Mullah Nazir and 10,000 People Showed-Up–where were the drones then?).  After years of trying and  countless near-misses, the CIA finally killed the lynchpin of Pak Army plans for peace through development, by gifting him with a Quran containing a drone tracking chip.  The man who was the most feared, as well as the most effective anti-Taliban tribal leader/fighter, was the centerpiece of Pakistani peace efforts, who hopefully would inspire all of the tribes to build their own effective anti-Taliban “Lashkars.”

The S. Waziristan development projects were a type of reward for supporting govt. efforts.  The Army officials took their peace efforts so seriously that they rolled-up their sleeves and helped to build homes for the returnees, teach gardening skills, classes in fish farming, poultry and livestock handling.  They have even organized an off-road rally in South Waziristan, hoping to draw people into an entertainment venue and thereby possibly enhance their communal feelings.  The Army is whole-heartedly into the idea of “winning hearts and minds” in South Waziristan, following American counter-insurgency tactics to the letter.  But they are finding-out the hard way that it might be impossible to smooth relations with people whose homes and schools you have just flattened, not to mention overcoming those hard feelings harbored over family members who were killed by the Army’s zealous pulverizing of parts of South Waziristan.

rehabilitation zone

As you can see from this WSJ article clip, the rehabilitation effort, centered on Kotkai village (Hakeemullah Mehsud’s hometown), is not having the desired effect or speed of development.  With the killing of the Wazir leader, how much further will the Tribal elders be willing to go in trusting the Army to deal fairly?

The lawsuit in British courts against the UK Govt., for their participation in the American drone strike of the Wazir jirga will serve as a largely symbolic test which could possibly enable judicial interference to handicap further drone strikes.  The suit filed in Peshawar could prove to be a very significant test of govt. loyalty, to document whether Pakistan supports its own citizens (who are being systematically deprived of their inalienable rights to Life), or the rights of the Imperial powers to murder them at will.  A wrong choice on the Army’s part could cost them all of their remaining friends in the Tribal Regions.  It would force the govt. hand, requiring public opposition to drone strikes, as well as taking the people’s case to the UN and filing formal Human Rights violations.  In addition to this, it would force govt.  to allow charges to be filed in the ICJ (International Court of Justice).  If any of these actions are taken, they would be sufficient to suspend all further American payments to Pakistan.

therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FCC Ponders Powerful and Free Internet Service for All… Again

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | February 6, 2013

Free public access to government-created WiFi networks across the United States could become a reality in the near future, under a proposed plan by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC idea could allow Americans to make phone calls or access the Internet without the need to do business with cell phone companies.

Not surprisingly, telecoms hate the FCC plan and intend to lobby heavily against it.

But the FCC does have its own heavyweights supporting the WiFi networks, namely Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who see free wireless service as a way to encourage innovation and new technology.

The new WiFi networks would reportedly be more powerful than existing wireless networks found in most households. “They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas,” according to Cecilia Kang of The Washington Post.

Drawbacks to the plan include that it would take years to set up the networks, assuming the FCC can convince local television stations and other broadcasters to sell portions of their airwaves for the new access.

Critics add that once in operation, the government might not do a good job of managing the networks against crashes and bandwidth problems.

To Learn More:

Tech, Telecom Giants Take Sides as FCC Proposes Large Public WiFi Networks (by Cecilia Kang, Washington Post)

FCC Bends to Telecoms on Broadband Internet Development (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

FCC Proposes Broadband Internet for All Americans (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

J-BIG Vs. P-small

By Gilad Atzmon | February 6, 2013

A poorly-written but still revealing briefing was published a few days ago by J-BIG. J-BIG may sound like an Israeli penis enlargement clinic but is in fact an acronym for Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods  –  a Jews Only political organisation set up to promote Jewish interests amongst Palestinian solidarity in general and the BDS movement in particular. The briefing was apparently published in order to “help BDS campaigners to defy the accusation of antisemitsm” and to explain “how the charge of antisemitism applies (actually) to Zionism itself.”

It doesn’t take long for an intelligent person to grasp that Zionism is fuelled by anti-Semitsm. In fact, early Zionists were candid enough on occasions to admit that the enemies of the Jews may actually have a point.

Here are some comments made by Early Zionists about their fellow Jews.

‘The Jew is a caricature of a normal, natural human being, both physically and spiritually.’ (Our Shomer ‘Weltanschauung’, Hashomer Hatzair, December 1936, p.26. As cited by Lenni Brenner

The fact is undeniable that the Jews, collectively, are unhealthy and neurotic..’ Ben Frommer, The Significance of a Jewish State, Jewish Call, Shanghai, May 1935, p.10. As cited by Lenni Brenner

‘The enterprising spirit of the Jew is irrepressible. He refuses to remain a proletarian. He will grab at the first opportunity to advance to a higher rung in the social ladder.’ (The Economic Development of the Jewish People, Ber Borochov, 1916

So in this regard, early Zionism, could actually be seen as a unique moment of Jewish self-reflection. It’s certainly true, and J-BIG are correct in suggesting that Zionism, and later on Israel, both invested heavily in anti Semitism, transforming it into the very raison d’être of the Jewish national project.

But what about these so-called ‘anti’ Zionist Jews and J-BIG? Do they not also invest in ‘anti Semitism’ and in most cases even invent its existence simply to justify their own existence? In fact, our J-BIG ‘anti’ Zionist Jews are even more sinister than their Zionist twins because J-BIG  are clearly making a huge effort to transform the entire Palestinian solidarity discourse into a new front in their eternal battle against anti Semitism. It’s as if anti-Semitism is a Palestinian issue. And why do they do it? Probably  because primarily they are concerned, not with Palestine, but with their own tribal interests. So, as much as they love to keep the  ‘J’ big, they also happen to keep the ‘P’ somehow smaller or at least secondary.

It takes our J-BIG agitators about 1000 words of mangled logic and convoluted reasoning before they get to the point and reveal their true motivation. “Some misguided supporters of the Palestinians have attributed their oppression to an international Jewish conspiracy, to ‘Jewish power’, to ‘a Jewish spirit’, etc.”

Here we go again. In spite of the fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’, despite the fact that its airplanes are decorated with Jewish symbols and its murderous actions are supported by powerful Jewish lobbies around the world, our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists  still insist that we do not address the core of the problem. They want us to oppose Israel while avoiding the crucial fact that Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’. In effect, they want us to fight Israel but with both hands tied behind our back. And why? Is it because they are concerned with some universal ethical issues? I don’t think so. No, the real reason is that, knowingly or unknowingly, they are actually committed to a tribal cause and I think we all know which tribe we’re talking about.

Whether we like it or not, Israel is openly driven by a dynamic force which it interprets (rightly or wrongly) as the true “Jewish spirit” and whether we like it or not, Israel’s supporters around the world utilise every possible aspect of Jewish power. And this is no conspiracy. Everything is done right out in the open for all to see. Even the Jewish lobbying within the Palestinian solidarity movement is pretty much in the open, as proved by the J-BIG pamphlet. Philip Weiss, the man behind the Jewish progressive blog Mondoweiss was even honest enough to admit to me a year ago that his support of Palestine is “motivated by Jewish self interests.”

So, I guess that the most crucial question here is what exactly are those ‘Jewish self-interests’ and how do they relate to ethics in general and to the Palestinian plight in particular?

Unfortunately, our ‘progressive’ J-BIG agitators have managed to drag some Palestinian academics and activists to fight their battles for them and, once again, they openly brag about the fact that “leading Palestinian commentators and activists reject such ‘support’ as damaging the Palestinian cause. Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh were among dozens who denounced any who point to the ‘Jewish’ character of the oppression of Palestinians.

Clearly, without mentioning my name, our ‘progressive J-BIG refer here specifically to the call by Palestinian blogger Ali Abunimah and others to disavow yours truly.

Since I am found to be at the centre of this campaign I should mention that by now enough prominent Palestinians activists, humanists and academics have stood up for me and my writings – something J-BIG  fails to mention. Furthermore, I actually welcome the debate on those crucial matters and I am more than happy to be at its very centre. This week, Counterpunch published Blake Alcott’s detailed analytical study of the call for my disavowal. Alcott established beyond doubt that what some of our leading Palestinians were led to sign was a very problematic text. What led a bunch of devoted Palestinian academics and activists to join a Jewish campaign without even engaging in some elementary research? What led Abunmiah & Co to disavowal a fellow intellectual turning their back to the notion of intellectual integrity and freedom of expression? I think we should be told.

Interestingly enough, my latest book The Wandering Who attempts to provide an answer. It elaborates on the Jewish political nature of Israel and its lobbies but it also points at the destructive role of those lobbies within the left, the Anti War Campaign and the Palestinian solidarity movement. Again, I don’t speak about any conspiracy. As far as I am aware, this is all taking place before our very eyes. Abunimah & co kept silent about this affair for almost a year and they probably know why.  I guess that they are still searching for something that may look remotely like an argument or even an excuse. After all, It is slightly unusual for Palestinians and Arabs to adopt the most vile Talmudic Herem culture. As Palestinian poet Nahida Izzat suggests, it demands an explanation.

Here is my message to J-BIG, Abunimah and anyone who is willing to listen. It would be impossible to grasp the success of Israel and Zionism without scrutinizing the role of Jewish culture, ideology and the significant impact of the Sabbath Goy within the American Administration but also in Palestine. After all, many of us do realise by now that, at least,  from a Jewish political perspective,  the Palestinians are merely Goyim du jour. Nothing really new, yet very painful if you happen to be a Palestinian.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bulgarian Opposition Blasts Burgas Bombing Charge

By Yahya Dbouk | Al-Akhbar | February 6, 2013

The US and Israel are using the accusations leveled against Hezbollah in the 2012 Burgas bus bombing to pressure the EU into including the resistance group on its terrorist list. But the Bulgarian opposition is crying foul.

Israeli and US pressure on Bulgarian authorities to formally accuse Hezbollah as the organization behind the 18 June 2012 bus bombing in the city of Burgas – in which six people, including five Israelis, were killed – has not been entirely successful.

They have succeeded in pressuring the Bulgarian investigators probing the bombing to link the attack to Hezbollah. This has been done in such a way as to strike a compromise between the hardline stances of Israel and the US, and the cautious position of European countries, who do not see it in their interest to up the ante against Hezbollah at this juncture.

Bulgarian Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced Tuesday, 5 February 2013, that two people believed to have been connected to Hezbollah were involved in the Burgas bombing.

Speaking after a special meeting of the country’s Consultative Council on National Security to discuss the investigation’s findings, Tsvetanov said the pair were part of a group of three who carried out the attack. The two had traveled on Australian and Canadian passports, and lived in Lebanon since 2006 and 2010, respectively.

The minister went on to say that “there is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects,” and that investigators had “a well-founded assumption that they belonged to the military wing of Hezbollah.”

The wording of his remarks was significant. It could foil longstanding Israeli and US efforts to pressure the EU to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, as opposed to merely its “military wing.”

Tsvetanov also said that the Lebanese authorities had been asked for assistance in the probe.

From Lebanon to Bulgaria, the Opposition Reacts

The announcement was quickly challenged by Sergei Stanishev, leader of Bulgaria’s parliamentary opposition and the head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, who charged that finger-pointing against Hezbollah was unfounded and politically motivated.

“It is obvious that Bulgaria’s government has chosen a political approach and is only repeating the interpretation alleged by Israel on the very next day following the attack, when the investigation had not even started,” he said, as quoted by the Sofia News Agency.

“The investigation is currently underway, and there is no way one can be talking about decisive evidence regarding the direct perpetrators, much less regarding the organization that is behind this tragic event,” Stanishev added.

The Agency quoted sources at the Bulgarian foreign ministry as saying that security had been stepped up at the country’s embassy in Beirut as a precaution against possible attacks.

The Bulgarian opposition’s skepticism over the Hezbollah accusation has made no impression on the Lebanese opposition. Members of the March 14 coalition seized on the news, and some predicted it would lead to the downfall of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government, of which Hezbollah is a member.

Senior sources in the Future Movement told Al-Akhbar that it had already been agreed that Mikati would step down once a new election law is in place, “but now we have been unexpectedly given the Bulgarian accusation.”

The sources said Future Movement MPs discussed the issue at a meeting Tuesday, but decided not to discuss the Bulgarian charge against Hezbollah in the media for the time being.

Nevertheless, a prominent Future Movement MP remarked to Al-Akhbar: “How can a partnership be established in this country on the basis of terrorism?” He added that in demanding that the government quit, “we are not speaking from a position of hostility or score-settling,” but “out of concern for the country and its interests.”

Sources close to the prime minister denied that the government had any intention of stepping down in the wake of the Bulgarian minister’s announcement. The source attributed the suggestion to “the wishful thinking of the March 14 camp.”

In his public reaction to the announcement, Mikati reiterated Lebanon’s readiness to cooperate with the Bulgarian authorities “to shed light on the circumstances” of the incident, while stressing its condemnation of all such attacks in any European or Arab country.

Lebanese official sources said Beirut had been informed earlier that four members of Hezbollah would be accused of complicity in the bombing. It also knew in advance that the Bulgarians would draw a distinction between Hezbollah’s military wing and Hezbollah itself in order to avoid its placement on the EU terrorist list.

Yet no Lebanese officials were informed of the suspects’ identities, the sources said. The only request for assistance received from Bulgarian investigators by Lebanese judicial authorities was a request to search for an individual’s fingerprints in Lebanese records.

While Hezbollah remained silent, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to seize on the news to demand that the EU designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization and not distinguish between its military and political wings.

In a statement released by his office, Netanyahu thanked the Bulgarian government for its “thorough and professional investigation” and elaborated on how Iran and Hezbollah were “orchestrating a worldwide campaign of terror,” as well as supporting “the murderous Assad regime in Syria.”

The Israeli prime minister’s words were parroted almost verbatim by US President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, who urged EU states to ”take proactive action to uncover Hezbollah’s infrastructure and disrupt the group’s financing schemes and operational networks.”

The EU itself seemed less eager than the US and Israel to put Hezbollah on its terrorism list. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton merely took note of the results of the Bulgarian probe and stressed the need to “reflect on the consequences.” She said that “the EU and member states will discuss the appropriate response based on all elements identified by the investigators.”

Israeli media had reported in advance of the Bulgarian announcement that Israel’s contribution to the probe had enabled investigators to link the Burgas bombing to Hezbollah. Israeli reports over the past two months had anticipated that Hezbollah and Iran – Hezbollah as an organization and the Iranian state – would be accused of funding and implementing the attack.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel must not meddle in AMIA affair: Argentina’s FM

Press TV – February 6, 2013

Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman says the Israeli regime has no right to interfere in the proceedings of the AMIA issue underway between Argentina and Iran.

Israel recently called for an explanation about an agreement between Iran and Argentina to set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the 1994 deadly bombing at a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

“Israel has no right to demand explanations; we’re a sovereign state,” Timerman told Israel’s ambassador to Buenos Aires Dorit Shavit.

“Israel doesn’t speak in the name of the Jewish people and doesn’t represent it,” Timerman added.

Those who live in Argentina are Argentinean citizens and Israel’s involvement in the issue will only give ammunition to anti-Semites, the Argentinean foreign minister stated.

On January 27, 2013, Iran and Argentina signed a memorandum of understanding for the two countries to shed light on the 1994 bombing on the AMIA building in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others.

The Israeli foreign ministry issued a statement on January 28, 2013, saying they were “astonished and disappointed” at the deal.

Israel summoned Argentina’s envoy Atilio Norberto Molteni the following day in protest against the deal. The Tel Aviv regime also asked Shavit to demand a meeting with Timerman to “seek clarifications.”

Under intense political pressure imposed by the United States and Israel, Argentina formally accused Iran of having carried out the 1994 bombing attack on the AMIA. The Islamic Republic has vehemently and consistently denied any involvement in the bombing.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pentagon Continues Contracting US Companies in Latin America

By John Lindsay-Poland  | FOR | January 31, 2013

The Pentagon signed $444 million in non-fuel contracts for purchases and services in Latin America and the Caribbean during the 2012 fiscal year, an overall decrease of nearly 15% from the previous year. But US military spending in the region is still considerably higher than during the George W. Bush administration, when the equivalent Pentagon spending in Latin America averaged $301 million a year.

Fellowship Of Reconcilliation conducted an analysis of Defense Department contracts listed on usaspending.gov for Fiscal Year 2012, building on the review we did last year.

More than a third of funds for these contracts in the region are being carried out in Cuba, with $158 million for housing upgrades, intelligence analysis, port operations and other services. The United States maintains the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba, site of the 11-year-old detention center that holds 171 prisoners without trial, many of whom have been cleared for release.

An additional $130 million in Pentagon contracts was for fuel purchases, including more than $44 million in Brazil, $35 million in Costa Rica, and $24 million in Honduras. Such fuel purchases supply the Fourth Fleet of the Navy, as well as military aircraft and land vehicles used in exercises, operations, and training.

Colombia remained the country with the largest amount of Pentagon contracts in continental Latin America, with $77 million. A multi-year contract shared by Raytheon and Lockheed for training, equipment and other drug war activities accounted for more than a third of Pentagon contract spending in Colombia. Honduras, which has become a hub for Pentagon operations in Central America, is the site for more than $43 million in non-fuel contracts signed last year.

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The US Southern Command (SouthCom), responsible for US military activities in Central and South America and the Caribbean, is assisting the Panamanian border police, known as SENAFRONT, by upgrading a building in the SENAFRONT compound. The force was implicated in killings of indigenous protesters (PDF) in Bocas del Toro in 2011, and fired indiscriminately with live ammunition (PDF) on Afro-Caribbean protesters last October.

Many countries that host US military activities hope to receive economic benefits and jobs as a result. But more than five of every six Pentagon dollars contracted for services and goods in the region went to US-based companies. Only nine percent of the $574.4 million in Pentagon contracts signed in 2012 (including fuel contracts) were with firms in the country where the work was to be carried out. In the Caribbean, there were virtually no local companies that benefited from the $245 million in Defense Department contracts.

A few corporations dominated Pentagon contracts in the region. CSC Applied Technologies, based in Fort Worth, Texas, received more than $53 million in contracts to operate the Navy’s underwater military testing facility in the Bahamas. Lockheed Martin received more than $40 million in contracts, almost entirely for drug war training, equipment and services in Colombia and Mexico.

Pentagon Focus on Guatemala

Although the Pentagon spent less in most Latin American countries in 2012 than the year before, DOD contracts have more than doubled since 2010 in Guatemala, where there is a ban on most State Department-channeled military aid to the army. However, the ban does not apply to Defense Department assistance. The contracts for nearly $14 million in 2012 amount to more than seven times what it was in 2009. In addition, the US military spent another $8.1 million on fuel in Guatemala last year, probably for “Beyond the Horizon” military exercises held there and in Honduras from April to July, and perhaps to support the deployment of 200 Marines to Guatemala in August.

The contracts included new assistance to the Guatemalan special forces, known as Kaibiles, former members of which have been implicated in giving training to the Zetas drug cartel, as well as the worst atrocities during the genocide period of the 1980s. Two contracts, funded by SouthCom and signed in September, were for a “shoot house” and “improvements” at the Kaibiles training base in Poptun, Petén.

SouthCom also funded a contract for construction of a new $3 million counter-drug base in Santa Ana de Berlin, in Quetzaltenango. This year, SouthCom is slated to build a $1.8 million counternarcotics operations center and barracks in Mantanitas, Guatemala, according to an Army Corps of Engineers presentation.

The expenditures included equipment. For the last two years, SouthCom has been providing Boston whaler boats, radios, and tactical vehicles (Jeeps) to Central American militaries. Guatemala is receiving more of the equipment than other countries in the region – 47 Jeeps and 8 Boston whalers, according to a SouthCom document. SouthCom signed a $2.5 million contract in September for Jeeps for Guatemala, and it has purchased more than $2.8 million of Harris military radios for Guatemala since September 2011.

Department of Defense contracts, summaries of which are posted on usaspending.gov, only represent a portion of Pentagon spending. A report to Congress last April (PDF) of Defense Department assistance worldwide showed more than $15 million in military aid to Guatemala in 2010, including $9 million for intelligence analysis, training, boats, trucks, night vision devices, and a “base of operations.” These funds also included more than $6 million of unspecified support for Guatemalan police operations in Cobán, in the Guatemalan highland department of Alta Verapaz.  The report didn’t include data after 2010.

On December 7, the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency signed a $1.4 million contract with a Guatemalan firm to manage a 10,000-barrel supply of turbine fuel for the next five years in Puerto Quetzal, on Guatemala’s southern coast. This followed a July 2012 solicitation to deliver 63,000 gallons of jet fuel to another southern Guatemalan site, in Retalhuleu.

FOR compiled data on the “country of performance” for contracts. For Guatemala, we also examined data on additional contracts that reference the country, which included a $2.5 million contract signed in late September with a Chrysler distributor to deliver tactical vehicles – some of the Jeeps slated for the country. The US Army also purchased $7.6 million worth of trousers from a producer in Guatemala in 2012.

“Mini-Bases”

Some legislation for DOD drug war construction of bases and other infrastructure limits projects to $2 million, and the Southern Command continues to employ this authority frequently to construct a variety of facilities all over the Americas. Here are some of the facilities the US military is constructing around Latin America.

City, Country Amount of contract Date signed Description
Tecun Uman, Guatemala $550K Dec. 5, 2011 Health post refurbishment
Champerico, Guatemala none — part of multi-award contract Sept 17, 2012 Counter Narco-terrorism (CNT) Ops Center; pier and fuel
Santa Ana de Berlin, Guatemala $3 million (Army Corps of Engineers says $4.1 million) Sept 29, 2012 CNT Barracks, Latrines, refurbish chow hall, motorpool
Las Mantanitas, Guatemala $1.8 million Not known; see ACE FY13 plan. CN Operations Center/Barracks
Summit, Panama $1,078,971 Sept 22, 2012 Counternarcotics maintenance facility
Hunting Caye, Belize $1,778,420 August 10, 2012 Construction of operations barracks/maintenance facility
Puerto Castilla, Honduras $374,882 March 9, 2012 Construction of helicopter landing pads and team room improvements
Dominican Republic $1.8 million Sept 28, 2012 Construct dormitory building
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic $414,444 Jan. 24 and March 8, 2012 Refurbish peace keeping operations training school buildings
Antigua none — supplemental to existing contract October 19, 2011 Emergency response warehouse
Tarapoto, Peru $1,049,265 September 12, 2012 Disaster relief warehouse and search and rescue training facility
Puno and Huaraz, Peru $1,037,808 July 27, 2012 Emergency Operations Centers
Piura and Concepción, Peru $853,500 July 27, 2012 Emergency Operation Center and Disaster Relief Warehouse

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AP Investigation: U.S. Spends $20 Billion Over 10 Years on Increasingly Bloody Drug “War” in Latin America; Rejects Drug Policy Reform

By Alex Main | CEPR Americas Blog | February 5, 2013

It started in Colombia in 2000, moved on to Mexico in 2008 and now rages in Central America.  Since the beginning of the century, the U.S.-backed “war on drugs” has progressively spread throughout the northern part of Latin America, leaving tens of thousands of lost lives in its wake. An in-depth investigative piece published by the Associated Press over the weekend explains how this so-called “war” – which relies on U.S. funding, training, equipment and troops – has grown in recent years to become “the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War.”

The article, authored by Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Martha Mendoza, describes how the U.S. has “spent more than $20 billion in the past decade” and deployed U.S. army, marine and navy troops to support a heavily militarized campaign to fight drug trafficking throughout the region.  The fact that the efforts have been accompanied by soaring violence – with, for example, 70,000 Mexican lives lost in the last six years – doesn’t seem to trouble the U.S. officials in charge of implementing U.S. drug policy internationally.  In fact, they seem to consider spikes in violence to be a sign that the “strategy is working.”

William Brownfield who heads the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told Mendoza that “the bloodshed tends to occur and increase when these trafficking organizations… come under some degree of pressure.”

For others in Washington, the shocking number of lives lost suggests that the strategy is in fact not working.  New York Congressman Elliot Engel, a moderate Democrat who is now the ranking minority member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the AP that he supports a congressional review of counternarcotics programs in the Western Hemisphere.

“Billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent over the years to combat the drug trade in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said. “In spite of our efforts, the positive results are few and far between.”

Particularly worrying is the fact that the administration seems to be unable to account for enormous sums that have been authorized to be spent on military equipment.  The article notes that,

neither the State Department nor the Pentagon could provide details explaining a 2011 $1.3 billion authorization for exports of military electronics to Honduras — although that would amount to almost half of all U.S. arms exports for the entire Western Hemisphere.

The first major militarized anti-drug campaign that the U.S. supported in the region was Plan Colombia in 2000, and the U.S. administration frequently presents that initiative as a shining example for the region given that homicide rates and cocaine production have fallen in that country.  But this assessment disregards the tragic “side effects” of the Colombian campaign, including thousands of abuses carried out by the Colombian military and by paramilitary groups, and the displacement of millions of poor Colombians from their lands.  Furthermore, Colombia continues to be one of the top cocaine producers in the world and is still the number one exporter of cocaine to the U.S.

Today Central America is increasingly the focus of U.S. militarized counternarcotics programs.  As the New York Times revealed in early May of last year, tactics and personnel that were previously used in Iraq and Afghanistan have been transferred to Central America, including the DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) that first operated in Afghanistan.

Only days after the Times article was published, four innocent villagers – including a pregnant woman and a 14-year-old boy — were killed in an anti-drug operation in northeastern Honduras which involved at least ten FAST team agents.  The killings were denounced by human rights groups in Honduras and the U.S., particularly after it became clear that the victims had been abandoned by authorities and that the Honduran attorney general’s investigation of the incident was deeply flawed.  Consequently human rights groups and 58 members of Congress have called on U.S. authorities to carry out a full investigation of the incident to determine what role may have been played by U.S. agents.

As a result of this and other recent incidents, $30 million in aid to Honduras has been put on hold by Congress, according to Mendoza.  Yet, she notes, “there are no plans to rethink the strategy.”  Instead, Brick Scoggins, who manages counternarcotics programs at the Defense Department, told Mendoza: “It’s not for me to say if it’s the correct strategy.  It’s the strategy we’re using (…) I don’t know what the alternative is.”

President Obama and Vice President Biden cannot pretend to be as unaware of alternatives to the administration’s “war on drugs.”  In recent multilateral meetings, both Obama and Biden were asked by regional leaders to reconsider the current militarized approach to fighting drugs and to consider paths toward drug decriminalization or, at the very least, to consider placing a greater focus on reducing demand for drugs in the U.S. and treating the drug problem as a public health issue.   Both rejected any change of course in the current war on drugs, and – despite the fact that the president of Colombia himself supported the discussion of alternative policies – both Obama and Biden have insisted that Plan Colombia is the model to follow.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment