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Israel’s Iron Dome grossly over-hyped: scientists

Al-Akhbar | March 9, 2013

Israel’s much touted Iron Dome missile defense system has been grossly over-hyped, a team of renowned scientists have found.

The Iron Dome’s success rate of 84 percent, as reported by the Israeli military, may be as low as 5 percent, according to international expert in military defense Theodore Postol. He previously argued that the joint American-Israeli Patriot missile defense system was ineffective against Iraqi Scud missiles in the second Gulf War.

Postol and two other scientists, who have worked for billion dollar defense companies Raytheon and Rafael, reviewed video footage of the Iron Dome’s performance and concluded that images said to show rocket interception were actually the Dome’s missiles self-destructing.

During Israel’s vicious assault on Gaza last November, 3,200 civilian damage reports were filed due to retaliatory rocket fired from the coastal strip, although the Israeli military reported that only 58 missiles failed to be intercepted by the Dome. Scientists said this was ‘impossible’.

The United States is currently providing funding for an additional eight Iron Dome units. $205 million has been authorized by Congress for the project.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 5 Comments

Yemen Rejects Earlier Report on Detaining Iranian Ship Carrying Weapons

YemenOnline – 9/3/2013

The Yemeni interior ministry said in its official website that the claim about the seizure of an Iranian ship carrying weapons in Yemeni waters “was not real”.

The ministry apologized for its earlier report released on its official website about the confiscation of the ship, and described it as an “unintentional mistake”, the daily added.

The Yemeni interior ministry’s website had earlier reported that a foreign ship, named Jeihan 2, was confiscated while unloading weapons to a fishing boat near the country’s coasts.

The Yemeni Interior Ministry’s Public Relations Director, Mohamed Al-Qaedi, mentioned “confusion in decoding certain information” as the underlying cause of the mistake.

Iranian officials have categorically denied accusations about arms shipment to Yemen as baseless, reiterating that Tehran respects regional stability and security as well as the regional countries’ sovereignty.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Eight villages face expulsion in Firing Zone 918

CPTnet | March 9, 2013

Imagine that your neighborhood was declared a firing range. You are threatened with forced evacuation. Demolition orders are issued for your home, your church and the school your children attend. Your land will cease to belong to you, and your livestock will be removed.

This is what a thousand Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta face.

Twelve villages lie within the area Israel claims as firing zone 918. Residents of four of the villages have been told they are excluded from the attempted eviction because the ammunition being used by soldiers training for war near their homes is not live. The one thousand residents of the other eight villages, half of them children, could lose their homes, schools, crops and livestock, their mosques and their way of life within the year.

These Palestinian families were forcibly removed by the Israeli military in 1999 and many of their homes, wells and animal shelters were destroyed. Some of the region’s residents returned in 2000 and live under constant threat of home demolition, settler violence and military harassment.

On 16 January 2013 the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition on their behalf and the Israeli court granted a temporary order preventing forcible transferring of the families pending a further decision. The temporary order is all that is currently preventing the forced removal of the families living in Masafer Yatta.

During the past month soldiers have repeatedly driven large vehicles across planted fields, confiscated residents’ cars, cameras, phones and livestock, landed helicopters next to dwellings and livestock, and threatened families with imminent eviction and destruction of their homes. Children in the region find unexplored ordnance as they walk to and from school, and families are awakened during the night by the sound of repeated firing and by military helicopters and jeeps driving near their homes.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is there Hope of Justice for a Palestinian family in Israel’s Courts?

International Solidarity Movement | March 9, 2013

Ziad Jilani’s widow and daughters seek Justice for his killing by Israeli Border Policeman Maxim Vinogradov, for the third time. This Wednesday (13 March) Moira Jilani and her three daughters will come face to face with their husband and father’s killer.

ziadetunedesesfilles“I am dreading facing them for my daughters,” Says Moira, “I think I could face them myself but I’m afraid that when I see the pain in my daughters eyes it will kill me.” Her husband, Ziad Jilani was killed three years ago by Maxim Vinogradov, an Israeli border patrolman who put his rifle to Jilani’s head and pulled the trigger three consecutive times.

Now, for the third time, the family is appealing to Israeli authorities to press charges against Ziad’s killer. On the 16th of January 2011 the case was closed by police internal investigations (Machash) for the first time, for “lack of evidence”.

In the following month, on the 15th of February 2011, the family submitted an appeal to then Israel Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz. Despite a confession by Vinogradov that he had shot Ziad at zero range when he was lying on the ground because of the initial gunshot wound, an autopsy report pointing to a close range shooting, dozens of eyewitnesses who were also injured that day as a result of the incident, and very clear changes in Vinogradov’s testimonies before and after the autopsy, Mazuz did not see fit to change Machash’s decision to close the case.

With the help of the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, on January 4th 2012, the family submitted a second appeal. This time, to the Israeli Supreme Court, through the al-Mazaan Center for Human Rights, demanding that the new state prosecutor, Yehuda Weinstein, bring criminal charges against Ziad’s murderers.

“After Weinstein [Israel’s current Attorney General] had all the evidence we had hope that he would press charges against the killers,” Moira recalls, “but after he decided not to do so for the third time, it is hard to have hope that the court will do justice.”

According to Yesh Din in 2012 the MPCID received 240 complaints and various reports of suspected crimes allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Out of these registered complaints, only 103- not even half- have yielded investigations. Not one single indictment has been served to date.

The organization commented on the findings:

“The numerous defects in MPCID investigations of offenses against Palestinians, and in the Military Advocate General Corps’ supervision of the investigations, result in the closure of the vast majority of the files and a minimal number of indictments being served. This creates a feeling of lawlessness on the ground, which may be a central contributing factor in the rise in the number of killings over recent weeks.”

Moira describes this sense of lawlessness, “I still have hope, but its hard when we see everything that’s happening around us,” she says, “my husband’s case is one of what seems to be a systematic sweeping under the rug of violent incidences of Israeli soldiers against the Palestinian population under their authority.

We are not just going to court for Ziad Jilani. We are going to court for all the Palestinians killed before Ziad and those that will be killed thereafter.”

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time’s Ticking Clock on War With Iran

By Peter Hart | FAIR | March 8, 2013

time-iran

Can you threaten to start a war to stop something that doesn’t exist? Open the March 11 issue of Time magazine and you’ll see the headline “The Path to War: Inside Barack Obama’s Struggle to Stop an Iranian Nuke.”

The piece is a behind-the-scenes peek at the debate inside the government about the steps the United States is willing to take to “keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” The idea that Iran is after a weapon  is repeated numerous times–”the global effort to prevent Tehran from getting a weapon,” and the United States perhaps “using military force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” We’re even told that Obama “offered to let Iran keep a peaceful nuclear program. But Iran’s leaders rebuffed Obama’s efforts.”

Nowhere does Time‘s Massimo Calabresi mention one rather inconvenient fact: There is no evidence that Iran is actually pursuing a nuclear weapon. Regular inspections have failed to turn up any evidence of that. Instead, we read things like this: “Iran itself has slowed down its efforts, converting some enriched uranium to a form that can be used only in research, not in weapons.” This is treated as evidence that Iran is heading towards its nuclear weapons more slowly.

This is alarming, especially since the article is about whether the U.S. will launch a military attack on Iran. Time ominously warns that soon “time will run out,” and tells us that “the Pentagon has launched the largest buildup of forces in the Gulf since the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.” It closes by noting that “Obama will soon face the hardest decision of his presidency.”

Time faces a decision too–whether or not it wants to repeat the mistake of the Iraq War by treating allegations about another country’s weapons as if they are facts.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 3 Comments

US Air Force scrubs drone strike data from reports

RT | March 9, 2013

The US Air Force has stopped sharing information on the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan. Going one step further, it has removed those statistics from prior reports on its website.

The Air Force’s Central Command began keeping track of drone weapon releases in October 2012, according to the Air Force Times. The move was described at that time as a bid to “provide more detailed information on [drone] ops in Afghanistan,” said Central Command spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender, the magazine reports.

Statistics were recorded as part of the policy for November, December and January. But when February’s numbers were published on March 7, there was only a blank space where the drone statistics were normally placed.

And beyond that, the monthly reports posted to the Air Force’s website had the drone data removed from them in recent weeks, with the data still being posted as late as February 16.

The data wipe comes as drone-use has fallen under close scrutiny in connection with the nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA. Brennan faced fierce opposition in the Senate, though he was ultimately approved, because of his defense of drone use while acting as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights

Emptywheel | March 8, 2013

According to the White House, John Brennan was sworn in as CIA Director on a “first draft” of the Constitution including notations from George Washington, dating to 1787.

Vice President Joe Biden swears in CIA Director John Brennan in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 8, 2013. Members of Brennan’s family stand with him. Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it.

That means, when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments — or any of the other Amendments now included in our Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not become part of our Constitution until 1791, 4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.

I really don’t mean to be an asshole about this. But these vows always carry a great deal of symbolism. And whether he meant to invoke this symbolism or not, the moment at which Brennan took over the CIA happened to exclude (in symbolic form, though presumably not legally) the key limits on governmental power that protect American citizens.

Update: Olivier Knox describes how the White House pushed the symbolism of this.

Hours after CIA Director John Brennan took the oath of office – behind closed doors, far away from the press, perhaps befitting his status as America’s top spy – the White House took pains to emphasize the symbolism of the ceremony.

“There’s one piece of this that I wanted to note for you,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters gathered for their daily briefing. “Director Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution that had George Washington’s personal handwriting and annotations on it, dating from 1787.”

Earnest said Brennan had asked for a document from the National Archives that would demonstrate the U.S. is a nation of laws.

“Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” Earnest said.

Update: I’m assuming this copy of the Constitution is the one Brennan used.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 3 Comments

Massimo Calabresi’s ‘Path To War’

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep in America | March 5, 2013

On February 28, TIME reporter Massimo Calabresi published a lengthy piece on the Iranian nuclear program and the Obama Administration’s attitude toward it, notably reflecting the same, tired mainstream myopia and uncritically accepted false choice over the Iranian nuclear program. Calabresi quotes Netanyahu cipher Dennis Ross, who served as Obama’s senior Middle East adviser, as saying, “There was a debate within the Administration over prevention vs. containment.”

Never, in the course of Calabresi’s report, is there a question that Iran is actively seeking nuclear weapons (or, at least, “capability”), despite the fact that no evidence exists to support this assumption.  No one quoted in the article ever suggests Iran is anything but intransigent, its intentions are obviously assumed to be nefarious.  It comes as no surprise then that TIME would title the piece, “The Path to War: Inside Barack Obama’s Struggle to Stop an Iranian Nuke.”

Calabresi, whose access to senior officials appears to rely on his fealty to government talking points and never questioning American benevolence, claims that Obama “has worked hard to avoid war” with Iran before praising the president’s efforts “to slow or derail the Iranian program through a combination of diplomacy, sanctions and covert action.” One wonders how the United States would classify having its economy deliberately targeted and being the victim of collective punishment, cyberattacks, industrial sabotage, surveillance, espionage, and lethal operations conducted by foreign-backed terrorist organizations. The word “war” certainly comes to mind.

Nevertheless, Calabresi credits Obama for “pushing the timeline for war back at least 12 months,” despite his ominous determination that “eventually time will run out,” leaving Obama to “soon face the hardest decision of his presidency.”

While there is nothing new revealed in Calabresi’s report, he readily repeats a number of disingenuous claims and some outright falsehoods right off the bat which set the tone for what follows.

He writes that, throughout 2009, “Obama had been delivering on his dovish campaign pledge to reach out to the regime in Tehran.” Calabresi explains,

He beamed in a conciliatory greeting to the entire country on the Persian New Year and had offered unconditional talks. In Cairo that June, he offered to let Iran keep a peaceful nuclear program. But Iran’s leaders rebuffed Obama’s efforts, and in the fall of 2009 the Obama Administration revealed that Iran was building a secret uranium-enrichment plant deep in a hillside outside the holy city of Qum.

The misinformation and mythology contained in these mere three sentences is staggering.

What Calabresi leaves out of his glowing assessment of Obama’s noble outreach to Iran is that just nine days before delivering his much-touted March 2009 Nowruz message to Iranians and their government in which he declared that his commitment to diplomacy and “pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community” would “not be advanced by threats,” Obama had already announced the extension of economic sanctions on Iran in place since 1995. It has also been reported that the earliest versions of the Stuxnet computer virus were deployed in June 2009, less than three months after Obama supposedly extended an open hand.

Furthermore, Calabresi oddly believes that the President of the United States of America is somehow responsible for doling out nuclear programs to those nations he deems worthy of such an honor. This is not actually true. Iran’s program is not, under any circumstances, subject to the beneficence, generosity, or magnanimity of any other state, government or world body. Its right “to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination” is “inalienable” and enshrined in international law by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The idea that Obama is in a position to “offer” Iran anything in this regard is not only patronizing, it is pure imperial arrogance.

In his Cairo speech, President Obama declared,

No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that’s why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I’m hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

What both Obama and Calabresi apparently don’t know – or willfully ignore – is that Iran has never been found to have breached its NPT obligations as such a violation could only occur if Iran began “to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.”

Obama’s own intelligence and military agencies have consistently concluded that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. On February 3, 2013, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta begrudgingly reaffirmed this assessment on Meet The Press in response to ignorant leading questions from Chuck Todd. “What I’ve said, and I will say today,” Panetta told Todd, “is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon. They’re developing and enriching uranium. They continue to do that.”

After Todd curiously wondered why Iran would possibly be enriching uranium, Panetta explained, “I think– I think the– it’s a clear indication they say they’re doing it in order to develop their own energy source,” adding his own factually incorrect opinion, “I think it is suspect that they continue to – to enrich uranium because that is dangerous, and that violates international laws.”

Still, Todd pressed harder. “And you do believe they’re probably pursuing a weapon, but you don’t– the intelligence doesn’t know what… ,” he said before Panetta cut him off. “I– no, I can’t tell you because– I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says we– we– we’re– they’re doing right now,” Panetta said.

The third sentence in Calabresi’s litany is perhaps the most absurd.  First, Iran hardly had a chance to “rebuff” any American diplomacy since there never was any to begin with that didn’t consist of intimidation, ultimatums, threats and take-it-or-leave-it demands, hardly the stuff of honest (let alone “conciliatory”) negotiation.

Moreover, the enrichment facility outside Qom was not “revealed” by the Obama Administration, but rather by Iran itself on September 21, 2009, days before the sensationalist press conference held by Obama, Nicholas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown, on September 25, 2009. At that time, IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire had already told reporters, “I can confirm that on 21 September, Iran informed the IAEA in a letter that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction in the country.”

Obama even acknowledged this, noting, “Earlier this week, the Iranian government presented a letter to the IAEA that made reference to a new enrichment facility.” He omitted, however, the inconvenient fact that Iran was well within its legal obligations as it had announced the facility to the IAEA far in advance of the 180 days before becoming operational as required by Iran’s Safeguards Agreement. At the time, the facility was still under construction and did not actually begin uranium enrichment until early January 2012, a full 840 days after it had been officially declared.

As journalist Gareth Porter has noted, IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei later recounted that “Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, had informed him on Sep. 24 about U.S. intelligence on the Fordow site – three days after the Iranian letter had been received.” When ElBaradei “demanded to know why he had not been told before the Iranian letter… Einhorn responded that the United States ‘had not been sure of the nature of the facility’, ElBaradei wrote.”

ElBaradei subsequently described the facility at Fordow as “a hole in a mountain” and “nothing to be worried about.” Since then, the IAEA has consistently confirmed that “all nuclear material in the facility remains under the Agency’s containment and surveillance.”

Calabresi also claims that Obama “made bolstering the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty a top priority,” in spite of Obama’s clear refusal to advocate and encourage a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East even though every single country in the region, save Israel, supports its establishment.

The voice of Dennis Ross (or is it Netanyahu?) is prevalent throughout the article and it is clear he is the primary source for most of Calabresi’s  information. The piece is premised upon the notion that the Iran-U.S.-Israel stand-off is in its “final stages,” thereby presenting a situation that demands tough choices by Obama. This is straight out of the Ross (or is it Netanyahu?) playbook.

In December 2012, Ross told The Times of Israel that 2013 would be a critical year for Washington and Tehran. “I think there’s the stomach in this administration, and this president, that if diplomacy fails [to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons] — to use force,” Ross said at a gala dinner for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an AIPAC-spawned D.C. think tank, that was held in his (and convicted criminal Elliott Abrams‘) honor.

Such a statement is nothing new for Ross. At a WINEP event in January 2012, he said that “the Iranians should never think that there’s a reluctance [on the part of Obama] to use the force.”  Ross has long advocated a policy of economic warfare against Iran while pretending to conduct negotiations, all for the purpose of making what he believes is an inevitable military confrontation more palatable and justifiable to the American public.

When determining the risks and consequences of American military attack on Iran, Calabresi warns that such an act “would likely mean the deaths of American service members–and civilians too,” as well as precipitating a spike in oil prices and having a negative effect on the United State’s “reputation.” He also points out that an attack “could mean the devastation of [Iran’s] nuclear program and much of its armed forces, plus unimaginable costs to its economy.”

Never once does Calabresi mention the lives (or deaths) of Iranian civilians in his calculus, even though such an assault would potentially kill tens of thousands of Iranians (at minimum). Such is the level of concern for Iran’s population in both government policy and mainstream reporting.

Calabresi’s article is yet another example of how facts about Iran and its nuclear program are routinely dismissed, ignored or misrepresented in our current discourse. Such irresponsible journalism has misinformed and terrified the American public into believing that Iran poses a looming threat that must be dealt with through force, threat or coercion, an impression that bares little resemblance to the truth.

Unfortunately, the path to war – all too present under our feet these days – continues to be paved by people like Massimo Calabresi.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

The BBC’s ‘Bogeyman’ Narrative on Hugo Chavez

News Unspun | March 7, 2013

Highslide JS
The BBC maintained a strong a record of misleading reporting throughout the presidency of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday, following a two year battle with cancer. Yet today’s article by Jon Kelly, ‘Hugo Chavez and the era of anti-American bogeymen,’ takes a particularly spiteful slant on the issue of what is presented as ‘Anti-Americanism’ in Chavez’s stance toward US foreign policy.

The premise of Kelly’s analysis is that Hugo Chavez is simply the latest in a long list of ‘bogeymen’, identified by ‘anti-American’ sentiment. To illustrate the ideological company that Kelly suggests Chavez kept, his image appears on the same panel as murderous despots and terrorists such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Osama bin Laden. This may have been normal practice for news organisations such as Fox News, but for the BBC it must be noted that this is a move particularly devoid of integrity, perhaps a new low.

Kelly writes that Chavez was by turns ‘portrayed as a six-times elected champion of the people or a constitution-fiddling demagogue’, implying that the polarisation of commentary concerning Chavez’s presidency makes it difficult to perceive where the truth lies. Perhaps if Kelly had indulged in the journalistic habit of presenting the bare facts, it might help to dispel such confusion. It is factually accurate to acknowledge that Hugo Chavez was democratically elected six times, also that his base of support was amongst the poor, the vast majority of Venezuelans. The ambiguous claim of ‘constitution-fiddling’ is in line with the speculative approach the BBC has consistently leaned towards in reporting on Venezuelan politics, relying on the hyperbole of the opposition, yet lacking in facts (in a similar vein, the link to the BBC video on Hugo Chavez’s life on the BBC website has been updated and is now titled ‘Life of people’s hero and villain’).

In discussing US-Venezuelan relations, Kelly does not mention probably the most seminal event of the last fourteen years: the US-backed coup in 2002. As an interesting aside, straight after the death of Hugo Chavez, in the BBC ‘look back’ at his life, the coup was also omitted by James Robbins, who instead described events as ‘a general strike’ when ‘Chavez was briefly pushed from office’.

Kelly creates a ‘spectrum’ of ‘bogeymen’ with ‘anti-American’ tendencies: socialism to secular Arab nationalism to Islamic fundamentalism. The article ties together the homogenously applied label ‘anti-American’ and the term ‘bogeymen’ to somehow equate the two: if you don’t like the behaviour of the US this mode of reasoning renders you no less than a bogeyman, an object of fear and a threat. Kelly comments that where Hugo Chavez belonged on this spectrum was hotly debated. He presents as indisputable the claim that Chavez should be viewed as a ‘bogeyman’; it is only where he sits in relation to other bogeymen that is up for debate.

The article notes that Chavez ‘floridly lambasted “imperial” American policies’, the word ‘imperial’ placed in double quotes, and the notion that the most powerful country in the world with 900 military bases in 130 countries might have imperialist tendencies portrayed as ludicrous. In fact, the BBC never refer to US imperialism without quotation marks; imperialism is a word for history books it seems, today’s western militaries simply invade countries for the greater good. Those who think the US is an imperial power are simply ‘anti-American’ goes the gist of this article.

Anti-American

The term anti-American is one applied to negate critical positions on the policies of the US. Noam Chomsky has commented on the term ‘anti-American’ that it ‘is an interesting expression, because the accusation of being anti-nation is used typically in totalitarian societies, for example, the former Soviet Union accused dissidents of being anti-Soviet. But try “anti-Italian” or “anti-Belgian,” people in Milan or Brussels would laugh’.

By this tendency to apply one label to a range of political viewpoints, Hugo Chavez joins the ranks of the ‘most prominent critics’ of US power have recently ‘exited the spotlight’. The implication here is clear: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Kim Jong-il have been prominent critics of the US, and if anyone happens to disagree with the US, they are in the same boat. All who do not ‘agree’ with the United States, including disagreement with any and all elements of US foreign policy, are designated to one ideological grouping. Naomi Klein discusses how this approach was taken by critics of anti-corporate protesters following September 11, 2001, who ‘attempt to make ideological links between anti-corporate protesters and religious fundamentalists like bin Laden, as British secretary of State for international development Clare Short did in November 2001. “Since September 11, we haven’t heard from the protesters,” she observed. “I’m sure they are reflecting on what their demands were because their demands turned out to be very similar to those of Bin Laden’s network.”’

The attempt to place a range of political positions in one or another camp (‘us’ or ‘theirs’) works to deter dissent. ‘To engage in dissent in this climate [following September 11] was unpatriotic’, as Klein writes. ‘The new battle lines have been drawn, crude as they are: to criticize the U.S. government is to be on the side of the terrorists, to stand in the way of market-driven globalization is to further the terrorists’ evil goals’.

This is precisely the position propagated by the Bush administration at the launch of the ‘war on terror’, ‘the binarism that Bush proposes’, as Judith Butler described, ‘in which only two positions are possible – “Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists”’. Liberally applying the label ‘anti-American bogeyman’ on the basis of a divergence of position with US policy, as Kelly does, is consistent with this position of binarism.

The BBC claims to take an impartial stance on international issues, yet this article propagates a worldview in black and white terms. In this presentation of political positions as a choice between only two options, that of the US and the political ideology of free market are presented or that of the despotic and terroristic bogeyman.

It is important that the events which have taken place in Venezuela, and throughout Latin America, over the past decade, the development of peaceful, democratic alternatives to the policies of neoliberalism, are not airbrushed from the historical record. The standards of living have improved for millions of people following a process that has had popular, democratic support, yet the international perception of the changes in Venezuela are at risk of being written off as simply the actions of another ‘anti-American’ ‘bogeyman’ due to the media’s relentless negative treatment of the Venezuelan government.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment