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DOJ wants Bush, senior cabinet members exempt from Iraq War trial

RT | August 22, 2013

The United States Department of Justice has requested that former President George W. Bush and the highest figures in his administration receive full exemption from being tried for the Iraq War, which the DoJ says was in line with international law.

Apart from Bush, the names listed in the paper the DoJ filed on Tuesday are former Vice President Richard Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, retired four-star General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and former Deputy Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.

Sundus Saleh, an Iraqi single mother of three who became a refugee, filed a complaint in March in the San Francisco federal court, claiming that the war in her country can be judged as a ‘crime of aggression’, according to the same legal standards that the Nuremberg Tribunal used for convicting Nazi war criminals of World War II.

Saleh is the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.

The reason for the decision is connected with the ‘Westfall Act’ certification. The 1988 law gives the Attorney General the power to personally decide whether the United States is actually a defendant in the case. This in turn allows the granting of absolute immunity to politicians for actions carried out while in the government’s employ.

Inder Comar of Comar Law has agreed to take the case. The San-Francisco-based firm normally specializes in support to private companies, particularly those in the tech industry. Comar met with Saleh at her home in Jordan to discuss the case.

Chief counsel Comar wrote on the War Is a Crime website explaining that, “The DoJ claims that in planning and waging the Iraq War, ex-President Bush and key members of his Administration were acting within the legitimate scope of their employment and are thus immune from suit.”

The lawsuit filed by Saleh says that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz orchestrated the Iraq War in 1998 as part of their involvement with the ‘Project for the New American Century’, a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that pushed for the overthrow of Iraq’s former leader, Saddam Hussein.

Salleh then alleges that the tragedy of September 11, 2001, was pitched to other members of the Bush cabinet as the perfect excuse to scare the American public into supporting the war in Iraq. The lawsuit also claims that the United States failed to obtain United Nations approval for the invasion, making it an illegal and aggressive act of war.

According to Corey Hill, who is a member and outreach coordinator for Global Exchange, an international human rights organization, Comar Law is invoking something called the Alien Tort Statute, which is a 1789 law that permits a foreign national to sue the US federal court for injuries “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” Hill explained this in his article for YES! Magazine, for which he also writes.

All the defendants in the case have been summoned to appear in accordance with the usual legal proceedings. The trial is expected to start in early 2014.

There are, however, several problems that could arise with the allegations. As Paul Stephen, who teaches law at the University of Virginia and is former international law consultant for the Department of State told YES! Magazine, that it would be difficult to sue a government employee for acting “under the scope of employment” in this case, because of the modified nature of the Westfall Act, giving officials more scope for action.

The second problem may arise from the fact that their actions did not take place on US soil, making it difficult to validate the accusation.

And lastly, “courts aren’t open to ruling on matters of a political nature”, Hill said in reference to a doctrine in US Constitutional Law that separates clear-cut court cases with those better left to the legislative and executive branches of the government. This doctrine then means that the invasion of Iraq is a political case – not a legal one.

“If the expectation is that a federal court will declare that the invasion, although duly authorized by Congress, violated international law and thus violates U.S. law, I would respond that we walked up and down that hill with respect to Vietnam… No federal court ever has recognized such a claim,” Hill explained.

But Comar is optimistic in so far that in order for the Westfall Act to work in this case, the US government would have to prove that the act of preparing the invasion through a non-profit organization took place within office. But since that was not the case, the law cannot be invoked here. He further explained to Hill that separating a political matter from a purely legal one will also not be easy for the US government, as it may often be a very blurry line.  Comar expanded on this position to the ‘War Is a Crime’ website.

“The good news is that while we were disappointed with the certification, we were prepared for it,” he said. “We do not see how a Westfall Act certification is appropriate given that Ms. Saleh alleges that the conduct at issue began prior to these defendants even entering into office. I think the Nuremberg prosecutors, particularly American Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson, would be surprised to learn that planning a war of aggression at a private non-profit, misleading a fearful public, and foregoing proper legal authorization somehow constitute lawful employment duties for the American president and his or her cabinet.”

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on DOJ wants Bush, senior cabinet members exempt from Iraq War trial

NSA Program Found Unconstitutional Went On For 3 Years; Started Right After Telcos Got Immunity

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | August 21, 2013

A further delve into the latest NSA surveillance bombshell from the WSJ highlights the ridiculousness of the claims that there were “no violations” by the NSA over the years. We’ve been aware for a while that the FISC ruled a certain NSA program unconstitutional, but the details had been kept secret. It only came out that something was found unconstitutional a year ago, through the efforts of Senator Ron Wyden. Since then, people have been digging for more. The DOJ finally has agreed to release a redacted version of the FISC ruling after fighting it for a while, but as we wait, some more details have been coming out. Last week’s Washington Post story about abuses claimed that this particular program wasn’t reported to the FISC for “many months.”

Yet, as we mentioned last night, the WSJ article claims that the program actually went on for three years:

For example, a recent Snowden document showed that the surveillance court ruled that the NSA had set up an unconstitutional collection effort. Officials say it was an unintentional mistake made in 2008 when it set filters on programs like these that monitor Internet traffic; NSA uncovered the inappropriate filtering in 2011 and reported it.

No biggie. The NSA just illegally collected information that clearly violated the 4th Amendment (even the rubberstamp FISC says so!) for three years. But there’s no abuse. No sir. No problems at all.

Marcy Wheeler, however, puts two and two together, and notes that the “start” of this admitted unconstitutional spying was in 2008 — which is exactly when the telcos received immunity from all such cases involving warrantless wiretapping. And, so, she points out the administration and various NSA defenders may actually be using an incredibly twisted level of reasoning to claim that this program that violated the 4th Amendment doesn’t count as a “violation” because since the telcos have immunity, there’s no one to “prosecute” for breaking the law. Under this twisted interpretation, the government grants telcos retroactive immunity on such surveillance, and can then use that immunity to pretend that everything it does is legal since the telcos can’t be prosecuted. If that turns out to be true, it’s downright evil.

And, you wonder why the key part of CISPA was to basically extend blanket immunity on privacy violations between not just telcos and the government, but basically all tech companies. The more immunity the government grants, the more “legal” all its actions become. It’s sickening.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on NSA Program Found Unconstitutional Went On For 3 Years; Started Right After Telcos Got Immunity

Brazil: 4,000 Cuban Doctors to be Hired

By Kahina Boudarène | The Argentina Independent | August 22, 2013

Brazil’s Health Minister, Alexander Padilha, yesterday declared that the country will receive 4,000 doctors from Cuba.

The decision is part of the “More Doctors” government programme, which was set out in June to increase the number of health workers in the country, currently lacking 15,460 doctors. The move has come after only 15% of the demand was satisfied during the first month of the initiative.

Padilha stated that Brazil will hire “doctors with standards that the Ministry of Health established”. In that sense, he said that doctors “with international experience, especially in Portuguese-speaking countries” would be sought.

A first group of 400 doctors will arrive in the country next weekend and will have to pass a three weeks evaluation. The other groups will come before the end of the year, to work in 701 municipalities in Northern and North-Eastern Brazil.

They will receive a US$4,200 monthly wage. In total, Brazil government will pay over US$212m to receive required Cuban doctors. This investment has been made possible by next week approval of the law to fund public services with oil revenue – 25% of these incomes is now dedicated to the health sector.

Brazil is not the only nation to enjoy Cuban doctors experience. In last may, Cuba had 38,868 health workers abroad. In total, 40 countries receive these services for free.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Brazil: 4,000 Cuban Doctors to be Hired

Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic)

  By Gilad Atzmon | August 22, 2013

The campaign against me and my work fell apart a while ago. I assume that my Jewish detractors came to realise that I enjoy their attention and use it to affirm my criticism of their tribal and exclusivist identity politics.

But yesterday I had a nostalgic moment reading Max Blumenthal dissing me publicly. When Blumenthal was asked about Israeli critics he ended up talking about the vile ‘anti Semites’, ‘neo Fascists’ and the ‘racists’ in the movements. Interestingly enough, he failed to remember any name but one – Gilad Atzmon.

Atzmon is a “pure anti Semite who believes that all of the problems of Israel flow not from colonialism but from Judaism.” said Blumenthal.

Apparently, not buying into the clumsy ‘colonial paradigm’ makes me into a ‘neo Fascist’, ‘anti Semite’ and a ‘racist’.

It is obviously clear that Blumenthal didn’t read a single word by me. I naively believe that if someone insists to criticise my work, he or she better spend some time to read me first. It is an established fact that Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah also called for my disavowal while admitting to Prof. Norton Mezvinsky that he has never read a single word by me. Tragically enough, the fear of intellectual exchange and open discourse is endemic within the Jewish progressive ghetto but also within some quarters of the solidarity movement.

However, those who are even mildly familiar with my thoughts know that Blumenthal reacts out of hysteria rather than knowledge. My scholarship is not concerned with Judaism (the religion) nor am I referring to Jews (the people). I am critical of Jewish Identity politics and Jewish ideology. I elaborate on Jewish-ness and Jewish culture as opposed to Judaism. Race, genetics or biology have never been part of my study. If anything, I am critical largely of Jewish secular politics and culture rather than the Jewish religion.

I am indeed critical of the ‘colonial paradigm’ which Blumenthal adheres to. Colonialism is defined traditionally as a material exchange between a settler state and a mother state. Israel is clearly a settler state, however, it is far from being clear what is its ‘mother state’.  Is it the USA, Britain or actually the Jewish people?  In fact I argue adamantly that the colonial paradigm is there to divert the attention from the embarrassing fact that the Jewish State being racially driven, nationalist and expansionist is actually closer in its political nature to Nazi Germany rather than to South Africa. I guess that Max Blumenthal, who operates within Jews-only political cells doesn’t like this equation. Yet, such an argument doesn’t make me into a neo Fascist or an anti-Semite. If anything, it secures my status as an out-spoken observant mind.

Unlike Blumenthal and his comrades, I also believe that if Israel defines itself as the Jewish State, we are more than entitled to verify what its Jewishness stands for. Does this make me into a racist? I guess that the huge lists of scholars and humanists who decided to endorse my work didn’t think so.

But I also believe that since Max Blumenthal identifies politically as a secular Jew who operates within Jews-only political cells (and even signs on ‘Jewish letters’, as he himself admits), is actually a legitimate case study of Jewish tribal political operation.

Sooner or later Blumenthal and his comrades will have to make an effort and tell us what their ‘Jewishness’ stands for. Is it a love of chicken soup they share, or is it something more profound?

Being an expert on the matter and an avid reader of Jewish history, I know pretty well why Blumenthal is tormented by my work. Jewish hegemony within radical movements always backfired. My work indeed exposes an intrinsic dishonest element within the Jewish Left in general and Jewish anti Zionism in particular. I guess that the vastly growing popularity of the descriptive abbreviation AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists), only suggests that Blumenthal & Co have a good reason to panic.  In The Wandering Who I give this very panic a name – Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre – TSD).

I would like to take this opportunity and advise Blumenthal that killing the messenger is not going to rescue his cause: it would only attribute him the characteristics of just another Judas and he has himself to blame for it.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Max Blumenthal on Anti Semitism, Neo Fascists and Gilad Atzmon (Amusing As Well As Tragic)

Join ISM for the 2013 Olive Harvest Campaign

International Solidarity Movement | August 22, 2013

Occupied West Bank – At a time of regular settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to join us for the 2013 Olive Harvest Campaign at the invitation of Palestinian communities.

The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted, burned and destroyed by Israeli settlers and the military – according to the UN settlers alone destroyed or damaged over 7,500 trees just in 2012 – harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance.

The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual, and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Despite attempts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest.

ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities each year to harvest olives, in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence when working their land. Your presence can make a big difference, with Palestinian communities stating that the presence of international volunteers reduces the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers and the Israeli army.

We support Palestinians’ assertion of their right to earn their livelihoods and be present on their lands. International solidarity activists engage in non-violent intervention and documentation, practical support which enables many families to pick their olives.

The campaign will begin mid October and will last around 5-7 weeks.  We request a minimum 2 week commitment from volunteers but stress that long-termers are needed as well. We ask that volunteers start arriving in the first week of October, so that we will be prepared when the harvest begins.

Training

The ISM will be holding mandatory two day training sessions which will run weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please see the join ISM page or contact palreports@gmail.com for further information.

In addition to the Olive Harvest Campaign, volunteers can also participate in regular ISM activities in support of the Palestinian popular struggle.

Join us in our solidarity with the Palestinian resistance at this crucial time of year!

In Solidarity,

ISM Palestine

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Comments Off on Join ISM for the 2013 Olive Harvest Campaign

Million American March Against Fear on 9/11/13

Brothers and Sisters In The Struggle For Peace and Justice,
On September 11th, will you stand in peace with us?

Event: MAMAF – Million American March Against Fear on 9/11/13

AMPAC – The American Muslim Political Action Committee AMPAC in cooperation and solidarity with PANDAA – People Against the National Defense Authorization Act, AMA – American Muslim Alliance,  AMT – American Muslim Task Force, NDPAAC – National Democratic Party  Asian American Caucus, NYDPAAC – New York Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, NABAB – North American Bangladeshi Association for Bangladesh, MDPAAC – Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus, CLA – Community Leadership Affairs, SACC – South Asian Chamber of Commerce, Mosque Care, DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement, A&E – Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, OWS Movement, MAS Freedom – Muslim American Society, MMAT –  Muslim Marching Against Terrorism, MD Rabbi Alam – the Founder of AMPAC, Richard Gage – the Founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Movement, Dr. Kevin Barrett – the National Spokesperson for Muslim Think Tank, Imam Mahdi Bray the National Executive Director of MAS Freedom, and The March Against Drones (MAD) will be gathering on the National Mall, and then launching a march on the halls of power.

We invite you to stand with and join us to Rally Against Fear at 12 noon on The National Mall, then the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House, to hold truth to power at the three major branches of American government.

We ask all individuals and organizations working for peace to attend this collective action to tell our Government leaders we want transparency and policies of peace.  In the past 12 years since 9/11 the United States government as failed to protect and promote Constitutional liberties and human life, here and abroad.  We feel that accountability in government has been ignored and the time has arrived to collectively speak truth to power.

Speaking will be experts and individuals on the lack of transparency and questions plaguing 9/11, steady erosion of domestic civil liberties, drone policy and the very dire effect of these on of plight of American Muslims here at home, and Muslim communities globally in the scope of U.S. imperialism, and the modern face of resistance to unmanned aerial surveillance and warfare.

At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones.  The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress.  We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue.  We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.

This will be a professional, positive, and proactive event for the whole family, as we expect very soon for the National Park Service to grant us the permit we requested.  At 2:00 pm we will embark from the Rally Against Fear, and onto the March Against Drones.  The march will go from the rally point between 7th and 14th Streets on the National Mall to the Capitol building, around the Capitol, and onto the street between the Supreme Court and Congress.  We will rally there, in the streets, for about 15 minutes, and then we will continue.  We will take Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenue and down to the White House, where we will rally again in the street between Lafayette Park and the North Lawn.

We will have water available for anyone that needs it, we know it is a healthy march, but we feel it will call due attention to the issues at hand, and that it is worth the challenge.  We hope you do too, and we sincerely hope you bring your good energy, your friends and family as well, and you stand up and speak out with us.  Love, light, and solidarity to you!

Sincerely,

MD Rabbi Alam – Founder, AMPAC

Isa Hodge – Chief of Operation MAMAF (AMPAC)

Chris Phillips – DC Area Organizer

Darrell Willis – Directors Marching Against Drones

Greg Boyd – Executive Member DC Area 9/11 Truth Movement

Daniel Johnson – Founder, PANDA

Michael T. Leslie – AMPAC Texas Organizer

Dr. Kevin Barrett – National Spokesman, Muslim Think Tank

Richard Gage – Founder, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Imam Mahdi Bray – Executive Director, MAS Freedom

Abu Zafor Mahmood – National Political Director, NABAB

Derron Black AKA Shahid Abdullah – Founder, Alpha Male Nation

Ishaq Beg – Executive Member, AMA, AMPAC Florida Organizer

Angela Habibullah – Attorney-at-Law, Executive Member, Mosque Care

Amanda Buckner – AMPAC South Carolina Organizer

Will Coley – AMPAC Tennessee Organizer, M4L – Muslim for Libertry

Syed Asif – South Asian Chamber of Commerce, MO

Florentino Camacho Jr. – Latinos for MAMAF

Ruby Al-sous – Women Co-Chair, Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus

Dr. Talat Khan – AMPAC California Organizer

Sam Khan – AMPAC New Jersey Organizer

Anwarul Haque – AMPAC Atlanta Organizer

Joe D’Angalo – AMPAC Chicago Organizer

Imam Hanif Khalil – AMPAC Kansas Organizer

Chris Hemmer – AMPAC New York Organizer

http://www.MAMAF.webs.com

August 22, 2013 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Islamophobia, Solidarity and Activism | Comments Off on Million American March Against Fear on 9/11/13

The Media Deception About the Bombings in Lebanon

By Mahdi Darius NAZEMROAYA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 21.08.2013

There has been an ongoing information war being fought for hearts and minds inside and outside of the Middle East. The war has mostly been tied to Syria. As the US and its allies begin to focus their attention on Hezbollah in Lebanon, the media war now includes the events in Lebanon. This, however, has not stopped the media attempts to depict the fighting in Syria in sectarian terms as a regional war between Shias and Sunnis or to demonize Syria’s allies…

In regards to Syria, the Israeli media, the Saudi media, and Lebanon’s Hariri-owned media — which belongs to Hezbollah’s US/Saudi-supported rivals — have all carried the same August 2013 AFP story or some derivative of it that deceitfully reports that Iran and Hezbollah are now running Syria. The Jerusalem Post, Arutz Sheva, the Daily Star, Ya Libnan, Al-Arabiya, the Saudi Gazette, Hürriyet, Naharnet, France 24, Fox News, and the Dubai-based Gulf News are examples of the type of media that carried this so-called news. Here is an extract of the text which sums up the entire image that the article is trying to engrain into the minds of its readers: “Assad ‘no longer runs Syria. The real rulers of Syria are the Iranian (elite) Revolutionary Guard… with the participation of Hezbollah fighters,’ Jarba said.” The entire report is built around a quote by Ahmad Al-Jarba, the leader of the foreign-controlled and funded Syrian National Coalition.

How the Mainstream Media Legitimizes Terrorism Against Lebanese Civilians

3509408544518512Next the same media outlets finessed the news about the terrorist bombs planted in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahiyeh. The August 15, 2013 terrorist bombings in the neighbourhood of Al-Rouweiss (Al-Rweiss) were downplayed and, in a manner of speaking, legitimized by the media through their selective use of language. The attack on Al-Rouweiss come about a month after the July 9, 2013 terrorist attack on the neighbourhood of Bir Al-Abed. Both are densely populated neighbourhoods in Dahiyeh. The Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) in the United States took quick notice of the biased media framing. IPA asked the following, on August 16, 2013, through the title of report: “Why Isn’t Beirut Bombing Called ‘Terrorist’? What’s Behind It?”

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akbar is worth looking at to get a grasp of the biased media reporting that has been used to reframe the events as legitimate. It commented thus on August 17, 2013: “The Western media have double standards when it comes to ‘terrorism.’ Within hours after two bombs were detonated at the Boston Marathon last April, many in the media had christened it a ‘terrorist attack.’ Meanwhile, the August 15 bombing in Rouweiss that killed at least two dozen is a ‘blast’ that occurred in a ‘Hezbollah stronghold.’” As Al-Akhbar observes, the phrase “Hezbollah stronghold” plays a prominent role in giving the impression that the civilian neighbourhoods bombed in Beirut were armed barracks. Al-Akhbar even nicely sums up some of the biased titles used to describe the terrorist attacks:

Wall Street Journal: «Car Bomb Blasts Hezbollah Stronghold in Lebanon»

BBC: «Deadly Lebanon Blast in Beirut Stronghold of Hezbollah»

LA Times: «Massive Explosion in Beirut Rocks Hezbollah Stronghold»

Washington Post: «Bomb Explodes in Hezbollah Stronghold in Beirut, Injuring Dozens»

Reuters: «Over 50 Hurt as Car Bomb Hits Hezbollah Beirut Stronghold»

Associated Press: «Car Bomb Rocks Hezbollah Stronghold in Lebanon»

France24: «Car Bomb Rocks Hezbollah Stronghold in Beirut»

Mixed with the other narratives that the same media outlets are painting, the terrorist attacks are being tacitly portrayed as some type of legitimate retaliation. Readers are basically led to think that that the terrorist attacks in Dahiyeh were a military act against some type of Hezbollah base.

How the Mainstream Media Lies and Deliberately Places the Blame on Sunni Muslims

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, responded to the terrorist attack on Al-Rouweiss by categorically saying that the attacks were not the work of Sunni Muslims. He gave a speech saying that there were going to be those groups and individuals that would try to blame the terrorist attacks in Beirut on the Sunnis and said that these groups and individuals should be outright dismissed. In fact, he said that anyone that used this divisive logic was an “Israeli” and a partner in the goal of creating massacres. He made it clear that the individuals who planted the bomb did not represent the Sunni Muslims or the Arabs or the Syrians or the Palestinians. In a message to the US and its allies, he also said clearly stated that Hezbollah was aware that the intelligence services of the US and its allies had infiltrated various terrorist groups and manipulate them as tools.

Despite Nasrallah’s clarity, his words were totally changed by the same media outlets that were legitimizing the terrorist attacks in Beirut. The Israeli media, the state-run British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Al Jazeera, and Al Arabiya would blatantly fabricate the news and claim that Nasrallah “blamed the Sunnis” or try to manipulate readers into getting the impression that he did. The New York Times titled an August 16, 2003 article on the terrorist attacks as the following: “Hezbollah Makes Vow to Step Up Sunni Fight”. It never even mentioned that Nasrallah went out of his way to say that the people involved in the terrorist attacks were the tools of the US and Israeli government and not really Sunni Muslims. Instead Ben Hubbard focused on sectarianism in Lebanon and wrote: “In short, Hezbollah has more enemies than it used to have.”

The BBC wrote a similar article on August 16. It also used a grossly misleading title. The title being “Hezbollah blames Sunnis for bomb”. After a large number of people caught it, the BBC changed the title to “Beirut bomb: Hezbollah’s Nasrallah blames Sunni radicals”.

Exposing the Yellow Journalism at Work as a Tool of War

Aside from their direct or indirect links to these media outlets, even the political actors involved show that the way the news is reported is not isolated. Saad Hariri, the leader of the Future Party and a Saudi client, even responded to Hassan Nasrallah’s speech by saying that he had no right to designate what groups are terrorists. Hariri’s overlords in Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, refused to even condemn the terrorist attacks. This again is tied to the attempts to reframe the terrorist attacks in Beirut as a legitimate military act.

This type of yellow journalism that relies on misleading headlines that essentially say everything while the hollow articles carry and have little or no newsworthy material is not politically neutral. It is a weapon of war. All these articles are agitating for bloodletting in the Middle East, specifically between Shias and Sunnis. This type of journalism either directly or indirectly stokes the fires of sectarianism in Lebanon and the Middle East with the intentions of spreading sectarian animosity. This is why it deliberately ignores and refuses to even acknowledge the main points of Nasrallah’s speech that clearly pointed the finger at Israel and the US and said that the terrorist attacks had nothing to do with Sunni Muslims.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Media Deception About the Bombings in Lebanon

How Rotella Reported Another Dubious Iranian Bomb Plot

By Gareth Porter | LobeLog | August 20, 2013

Introduction by Jim Lobe

While the terrible events in Egypt have delayed my plans to reply to ProPublica’s response to my critique of Sebastian Rotella’s report on the alleged build-up of Iran’s terrorist infrastructure in the Americas, Gareth Porter has written the following essay on a 2009 article by Rotella for the Los Angeles Times about an alleged bomb plot to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2008. It offers a very good illustration of some of the problems raised in my original critique of Rotella’s most recent work, notably the virtually exclusive reliance on sources that are clearly hostile to Iran with an interest in depicting it in the most negative light possible. But you be the judge.

It happened in Baku, transforming the capital of Azerbaijan into a battleground in a global shadow war.

Police intercepted a fleeing car and captured two suspected Hezbollah militants from Lebanon. The car contained explosives, binoculars, cameras, pistols with silencers and reconnaissance photos. Raiding alleged safe houses, police foiled what authorities say was a plot to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic that borders Iran.

Thus begins the only detailed English-language press account of an alleged Iranian terror plot in Azerbaijan in 2008: a May 2009 article, written with a Paris dateline, by Sebastian Rotella for the Los Angeles Times.

But despite the sense of immediacy conveyed by his lede, Rotella’s sources for his account were not Azerbaijanis. Rather, the sources Rotella quoted on the details of the alleged plot, the investigation and apprehension of the suspects consisted of an unnamed “Israeli security official”, and Matthew Levitt, a senior fellow at the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the author of a constant stream of articles, op-eds, and Congressional testimony reflecting the Israeli government’s interest in promoting the perception of a growing Iranian terrorist threat around the world.[1]

It was Levitt who described the alleged plot in Baku to Rotella as having been “in the advanced stages” when it was supposedly broken up by Azerbaijani security forces, an assertion echoed by the anonymous Israeli security official cited in the article:

 ”[Iran] had reached the stage where they had a network in place to do an operation,” said an Israeli security official, who requested anonymity for safety reasons. “We are seeing it all over the world. They are working very hard at it.”

So readers of the LA Times received a version of the plot that was filtered primarily, if not exclusively, through an Israeli lens.[2] Relying on Israeli officials and a close ally at a pro-Israel US think tank for a story on an alleged Iranian bomb plot against an Israeli Embassy is bound to produce a predictable story line where the accuracy can hardly be assumed at face value. Indeed, in this case, there were and remain many reasons for skepticism.

Yet, three years later, in a July 2012 article for ProPublica, he referred to the plot as though it was established fact.

Had Rotella sought an independent source in Azerbaijan, he would have learned, for example, that such alleged plots had been a virtual perennial in Baku for years. That is what a leading scholar of Azerbaijan’s external relations, Anar Valiyev, told me in an interview last November. “It’s always the same plot year after year,” said Valiyev, Dean of the School of International Affairs of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy in Baku.

In fact, security officials in Azerbaijan had claimed the existence of a similar plot in October 2007 and January 2012 and only two months later, authorities arrested Azerbaijani suspects in two different allegedly Iranian-initiated plots to carry out terrorist actions against Western embassies, the Israeli Embassy and/or Jewish targets. In early 2013, prison sentences were announced in yet another alleged terrorist plot to attack the Eurovision song contest in Baku in 2012. Valiyev told me that those detained by Azerbaijani security officials are always charged with wanting to kill Israeli or US officials and subsequently tried for plots to overthrow the government, which carries the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

In a 2007 article in Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Focus, Valiyev observed that plots, assassination and coup-attempts were “thwarted” with regularity in Azerbaijan. “Periodically the government finds a scapegoat,” he wrote, to justify attacks on domestic critics, including “Wahabbis”, followers of Kurdish-Sunni scholar Said Nursi and/or Shiite radicals. Valiyev suggested that security officials might be “trying to show that radical Islamists could come to power… should the incumbent government lose the election.”

The Azerbaijani government and its security forces are not known for their devotion to the rule of law. The current president, Ilham Aliyev, is the son of Azerbaijan’s first president, Heydar Aliyev, who, in turn, was the head of the Soviet KGB before Azerbaijan’s independence. According to Jim Lobe, who visited Baku last year, dissidents regard the first Aliyev’s tenure as relatively liberal compared that of his son. A 2009 State Department cable described Ilham Aliyev as a “mafia-like” figure, likening him to a combination of Michael and Sonny Corleone in the “The Godfather”.

Valiyev observed that virtually nothing about the alleged plot made sense, beginning with the targets. According to Rotella’s story, the alleged Hezbollah operatives and their Azerbaijani confederates had planned to set off three or four car bombs at the Israeli Embassy simultaneously, using explosives they “intended to accumulate” in addition to the “hundreds of pounds of explosives” they had allegedly already acquired from “Iranian spies.”

But the Israeli Embassy is located in the seven-story Hyatt Tower office complex along with other foreign embassies, and no automobiles are allowed to park in close proximity to the complex, according to Valiyev. So the alleged plotters would have needed a prodigious amount of explosives to accomplish such a plan.

For example, the bomb that destroyed the eight-story US Air Force barracks at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 was estimated at 23,000 pounds of explosives detonated less than 100 feet away from the building. Valiyev told me that it is “practically impossible to find such components in Azerbaijan” because “Even a few kilograms of explosives would be tracked down by the ministry of national security.”

In his article, Rotella also referred — though only in passing — to the prosecutor’s charge that the alleged conspirators were planning to attack a Russian radar installation at Gabala (sometimes spelled Qabala) in northern Azerbaijan. But that part of the plot was also highly suspect, according to Valiyev. No reason was ever given for such a target, and it would have made no sense for either Hezbollah’s or Iran’s interests.

Built in 1984, the Gabala radar station was leased to the Russians until 2012, and 900 troops from the Russian Space Forces were stationed there. An attack on the station by Hezbollah or its supposed proxies in Azerbaijan would have represented a major provocation against Russia by Iran and Hezbollah, and was therefore hard to believe, as Valiyev pointed out in a July 2009 report for the Jamestown Foundation. Valiyev said it was far more plausible that the alleged plotters were simply carrying out surveillance on the station which, according to some reports, was being considered for possible integration into a regional US missile defense system.

Rotella failed to mention yet another aspect of the prosecution’s case that should arouse additional skepticism. The indictment included the charge that the leader of the alleged terrorist cell plotting these attacks was working simultaneously for Hezbollah and al-Qaeda. Even though it has been long been discredited, the idea of an Iran-al-Qaeda collaboration on terrorism has been a favorite Israeli theme for some time and one that continues to be propagated by Levitt.

Rotella’s account of how the suspects were apprehended also appears implausible. In May 2008, when the bombings were supposedly still weeks away, according to his story, the suspects realized they were under surveillance and tried to flee.

But instead of hiding or destroying incriminating evidence of their terrorist plot — such as the reconnaissance photos, the explosives, the cameras and the pistols with silencers — as might be expected under those circumstances, the two suspects allegedly packed all that equipment in their car and fled toward the border with Iran, whereupon they were intercepted, according to the official line reported by Rotella.

Somehow, despite the surveillance, according to anonymous “anti-terrorist officials” cited by Rotella, “a number of Lebanese, Iranian and Azerbaijani suspects escaped by car into Iran.” Only those with the incriminating evidence — including, most implausibly, hundreds of pounds of explosives — in their car were caught, according to the account given to Rotella.

Even Rotella’s description of the two Lebanese suspects, Ali Karaki and Ali Najem Aladine, as a veteran Hezbollah external operations officer and an explosives expert, respectively, should not be taken at face value, according to Valiyev. It is more likely, he said, that the two were simply spies working for Iranian intelligence.

Even the US Embassy report on the trial of the suspects suggested it also had doubts about the alleged plot. “In early October after a closed trial,” the reporting cable said, “an Azerbaijani court sentenced a group of alleged terrorists arrested the previous Spring and supposedly connected to Lebanese Hezbollah plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku AND the Qabala radar station in northern Azerbaijan” (emphasis in the original). It added, “In a public statement the state prosecutor repeated earlier claims that the entire plot was an operation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.”

Yet another striking anomaly about the alleged plot was the fact that nothing was published about it for an entire year. No explanation for the silence was ever made public. This silence is all the more significant because during 2009 and 2010, the Israeli government either publicly alleged or leaked stories of Iranian or Hezbollah plots in Turkey and Jordan about which the host country authorities either did not comment on or offered a different explanation. But despite the extremely close relationship between Azebaijani and Israeli intelligence services (confirmed by this US Embassy cable), neither the Israeli media nor foreign journalists were tipped off to the plot until the Israelis leaked the story to Rotella a year later.[3]

The complete absence of any leak by the Israelis for an entire year about an alleged Iranian plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Baku casts some circumstantial doubt on whether such a plot had indeed been uncovered in 2008, as claimed in the article.

Despite the multiple anomalies surrounding this story — the complete lack of any publicly available corroborating evidence; the well-established penchant for the Aliyev government for using such alleged plots to justify rounding up domestic critics; the US Embassy’s apparent skepticism, his failure to consult independent sources; and the 2009 publication by the Jamestown Foundation of Valiyev’s own critique of the “official” version of the case — Rotella has shown no interest in clarifying what actually happened. In fact, as noted above, he referred to the plot again in a July 2012 article for ProPublica as if there was not the slightest doubt with regard to its actual occurrence, identifying it, as he did in the original article, as an attempted retaliation for the assassination of a senior Hezbollah operative three months before:

Conflict with Israel intensified in February 2008 after a car bomb in the heart of Damascus killed Imad Mughniyah, a notorious Hezbollah military leader and ally of Iranian intelligence. Iranian Hezbollah publicly accused Israel and vowed revenge.

Within weeks, a plot was under way against the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan. Police broke up the cell in May 2008. The suspects included Azeri accomplices, a senior Hezbollah field operative and a Hezbollah explosives expert. Police also arrested two Iranian spies, but they were released within weeks because of pressure from Tehran, Western anti-terror officials say.[4] The other suspects were convicted.

As narrowly sourced as it was, Rotella’s original 2009 story thus helped make a dubious tale of a bomb plot in Baku part of the media narrative. More recently, he continued that pattern by promoting the unsubstantiated charge by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman and various pro-Israel groups and right-wing members of Congress, such as Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, that Iran poses a growing terrorist threat to the US in the Americas. While Jim has helped deconstruct that story line, I have recently marshaled evidence showing that Nisman’s charges about alleged Iranian involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing and the 2007 JFK airport plot were tendentious and highly questionable.

[1] In one illustration of Rotella’s and Levitt’s long-time symbiosis, Levitt cited Rotella’s account of the alleged Baku plot as his main source about the incident in a 2013 article on alleged Hezbollah terrorism published by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center (CTC).

[2] Rotella referred twice to “anti-terrorism officials” as sources for describing the surveillance of the alleged perpetrators that preceded their arrest and past work for Hezbollah. Of course, the phrase “anti-terrorism officials” does not exclude the possibility that they, too, were Israeli.)

[3] The first time the alleged plot’s details appeared in the Anglophone Israeli press was when Haaretz published a several hundred-word piece based virtually exclusively on Rotella’s account with the added detail, citing “Israeli sources,” that the “plotters also planned to kidnap the Israeli ambassador in Baku…”

[4] This account, incidentally, was the first to report the arrest in the case of “two Iranian spies”, another anomaly that may be explained by a flurry of media reports in 2010 that it was the two Lebanese who were released as part of a larger prisoner exchange that also included an Azerbaijani nuclear scientist arrested as a spy by Iran.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Comments Off on How Rotella Reported Another Dubious Iranian Bomb Plot

Syria chemical mayhem: Another Israeli false-flag?

By Kevin Barrett | Press TV | August 22, 2013

On Wednesday – just hours after the massacre of hundreds of Syrians with chemical weapons – Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Yaalon claimed he knew who did it: The Syrian government.

Other world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, did not rush to judgment. Instead, they called for a United Nations investigation. Many experts, including the BBC’s Frank Gardner, former UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus, and Swedish chemical weapons expert, Ake Sellstrom, ridiculed or cast doubt on the notion that Syrian President Assad would launch a chemical attack at the exact moment weapons inspectors arrived in Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry came right out and called the chemical attack “a provocation planned in advance.”

But planned by whom?

To answer that question, we must ask: How could Israel immediately know who was behind the Syrian chemical attack?

Israeli leaders have amazing powers of clairvoyance. Whenever a huge, history-steering terror attack happens, the Israelis immediately know who did it. Before the dust settles, they stand up and tell the world exactly what it all means – and provide the script for the way they want the world to react.

Christopher Bollyn reminds us: “Within minutes of the airplane crashes on 9/11, Ehud Barak (the founder and master of the Israeli military’s covert operation force, the Sayeret Matkal) was in the London studio of the BBC World ready to provide a plausible (and political) explanation to the world. Barak, the real mastermind of 9/11, was the first person to call for a ‘War on Terror’ – and US intervention in Afghanistan and the Middle East.”

Like Ehud Barak minutes after 9/11, Moshe Yaalon stood up just hours after the Syrian chemical weapons tragedy and provided an apparently pre-scripted narrative.

Fox News transmitted the Israeli script:

“‘In Syria, the regime has used chemical weapons and it’s not the first time,’ (Minister of Military Affairs) Yaalon told Israeli defense correspondents. ‘It’s a life and death struggle between a regime based on the Alawite minority and a disparate opposition composed of Sunni Muslims, some Muslim Brotherhood members, others linked to al-Qaeda. We don’t see any end to the fighting – even the fall of (President Bashar) al-Assad won’t bring it to a halt, there will a bloody settling of accounts over a long period,’ the minister added. ‘We could see the implosion of Syria with the Alawites controlling the western part – the coastal region and a corridor to Damascus – and the Kurds and Sunnis controlling the east and north.'”

Yaalon’s tirade is not an analysis. It is a program of action. It is what the Israelis want to happen.

First, the Israelis want the world to swallow the unlikely notion that the Syrian government is crazy enough to launch a massive chemical weapons strike at the exact moment weapons inspectors are entering the country. They want the world to believe that the Assad government would risk all of the huge gains it has made in recent months by launching a poison gas attack designed to provoke massive Western intervention against it.

The Israelis want the world to see the conflict as an intractable, endless struggle between Sunni and Alawite Muslims. The Israelis “don’t see any end to the fighting” meaning they do not want the fighting to end – in fact, they will do whatever it takes to keep the fighting going, including launching false-flag attacks like the recent chemical weapons massacre. Israel’s goal, as Yaalon admits, is the destruction of Syria: “We could see the implosion of Syria with the Alawites controlling the western part – the coastal region and a corridor to Damascus – and the Kurds and Sunnis controlling the east and north.”

The destruction of Syria would be the culmination of a decades-long Israeli project: The Oded Yinon plan for the Balkanization of the Middle East. Since at least the 1970s, Israeli strategists have planned to smash neighboring Middle Eastern countries into tiny ethnic and sectarian Bantustans.

The Oded Yinon plan to break up the Middle East became Netanyahu’s 1996 “Clean Break” plan. To achieve the destruction of Israel’s neighbors, Netanyahu’s neocons – led by Richard Perle, the self-styled “Prince of Darkness” – schemed to trick the US into doing Israel’s dirty work. In September 2000, Perle, Wolfowitz, and the other Zionists at Project for a New American Century (PNAC) called for a “new Pearl Harbor.” Their goal: A long-term US war against Israel’s enemies. One year later, on September 11th, 2001, their New Pearl Harbor became a reality.

The Israelis and their American proxies have already smashed Iraq, Libya, and Sudan into pieces. Now they are targeting Syria and Egypt – two countries whose land they plan to steal to create a “Greater Israel” stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Shortly before the false-flag chemical attack against Syria, the Israelis orchestrated a fascist coup d’état in Egypt. General al-Sisi, an Israeli pawn throughout his career, spent the days before and during the coup on the phone with his Israeli handlers.

As in Syria, the Israeli goal in Egypt is to “not see any end to the fighting.” That is why the Israelis have convinced al-Sisi and the Zionist-controlled Egyptian deep state to release criminal ex-dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The move is calculated to outrage the Egyptian masses, and to accelerate the ongoing slaughter of thousands by the al-Sisi regime.

The people of Syria and Egypt must stop falling for Israel’s tricks.

And the world must recognize that all of the biggest and most spectacular “terror attacks” attributed to Israel’s Arab and Muslim enemies – from the Lavon Affair, to the USS Liberty massacre, to the Achille Lauro and Entebbe hijacking incidents, to the bombings of Jewish targets in London and Buenos Aires, to 9/11 and its follow-up operations in Bali, Madrid, London, Mumbai and elsewhere – have been Israeli-sponsored false-flag operations.

Moshe Yaalon’s clumsy attempt to steer the world’s reaction to the Syrian chemical weapons massacre suggests that the attack was yet another Israeli false-flag operation.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on Syria chemical mayhem: Another Israeli false-flag?

To be a Palestinian, especially in Gaza

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this misery inflicted on Palestinians, for years, for decades, gets continually worse.

aside from being essentially locked-down by the occupying Zionist regime since at least 2006 (closures began way back in the 90s), leaving the vast majority of Gaza’s  Palestinians unable to freely travel from their tiny, overpopulated, suffocating Strip (not all is bad about the lovely Gaza Strip, but it is extremely difficult and impossible for the majority of the 1.7 million living there), every facet of life in Gaza is either in ruins or devolving towards ruin.

for years Gaza’s fresh water has been getting more and more contaminated, to the point where 95% of their already very limited fresh water is now not drinkable by WHO standards. solution? there is none, and the water authority in Gaza estimates that by 2016, that’s it. Palestinians in Gaza can hardly just build reverse-osmosis machines–they can’t even import building materials to re-build Israeli-bombed homes, buildings, schools…the rainy season is one or two months at best, and Israeli bombings and bulldozers have destroyed the majority of wells and cisterns in border regions of Gaza, meaning families have no ability to conserve rain water. Israeli wells flanking Gaza’s borders cut off the natural flow of water from east to west, depriving Gaza a means to replenish it’s depleting aquifer.  so people buy drinking water from Israel, how benevolent. and the vast majority who are too impoverished (rendered poor by the occupation’s policies **check this one out on Israel’s starvation policy!) drink the contaminated water, consuming alarming levels of nitrates and chlorides, leading to obvious health risks.

there’s the same old nasty habit of Israeli soldiers gunning down or shelling Palestinian farmers and workers anywhere within 2 km of the border, rendering at least 35% of Gaza’s agricultural land off-limits. damn fine land too, rich, formerly host to endless olive, fruit and nut trees now mostly vacant, razed land, by the colonizers to keep Palestinians in misery, oh yes, and for “security” reasons, of course.

and the same old dirty game of Israeli soldiers gunning down or shelling Palestinian fishers anywhere up to just one mile off Gaza’s coast….when fishers have under Israeli-signed accords the right to go 20 nautical miles off Gaza’s coast. the “three mile limit” imposed by the Zionists cuts Palestinian fishers off from 85% of their waters. oh yes, and the Israeli navy loves to abduct fishers, interrogate them on everything but actual fishing, and steal or destroy their boats, nets, radars, lives…what kind of fish does one catch a mile or two off the coast anyway? not much. and the little fish they do catch are the stock fish–literally little fish– and now greatly contaminated.

why the contamination? same reason the aquifer is polluted: up to 80 million litres of partially or not all all treated sewage pumped into the sea every day, because Palestinians in Gaza don’t have the means to treat and recycle that sewage.  why? because although for years they have wanted to expand on sewage containment pools and improve sewage plants and lines, the occupying forces do not allow the building materials needed into the Strip, and greatly restrict the entrance of chemicals needed in treating the sewage, as well as fuel needed to run the plants when the electricity cuts (as it does daily, from 8 to 16 hours depending on what stage of crisis Gaza is being rendered into). bombing water and sewage facilities doesn’t help much either:

“over 30 km of water networks were damaged or destroyed by the Israeli military in addition to 11 wells operated by the water authorities in Gaza. The UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict (the Goldstone report) deemed this destruction “deliberate and systematic”; most of the infrastructure is yet to be repaired for lack of access to spare parts.” [lots of info here]

what else is rosy about life in Gaza? the Israeli warplane fly-overs, the drones, the daily power outages (would that they could completely restore their sole power plant, bombed by the Israelis in 2006 and import sufficient fuel to run the maimed plant as best it could be run), the fuel and cooking gas shortages, the ban on exporting, the ban on travel (oh yes, some privileged can travel, those with connections, some of the truly ill–but not all!–can leave for treatment in occupied Palestine or Egypt), political in-fighting (engineered by who in the end? well, who benefits from the rift between the big 2 parties?), and the psychological torture for the majority in Gaza that is constantly living on the edge: when will the Zios bomb next; when will the crossing into Egypt (Palestinians sole option, realistically) open and remain open; when will we be allowed to export our produce, furniture, clothing and have a functioning economy; when will we not only have the right to travel for study (of course this applies to Palestinians in the rest of occupied Palestine), medical treatment or just for the hell of it like the rest of humanity; when will the world stop screwing us over; when will the sham of “peace talks” end; when will our imprisoned loved ones be released from Zionist jails; and when will it become actually unacceptable that Israeli politicians and military brass call for our execution, call for our expulsion, for the destruction of our infrastructure and means of living (come on Ban, can’t you at least utter your pathetic “I strongly condemn” against these racist death-threats??)?

oh, a final note: even those traveling to Gaza in solidarity with Palestinians are subject to some of the wrath of Zionist-supporting regimes. A number of internationals, including a Canadian doctor and a Canadian film-maker, are being held under ridiculous pretexts by the coup-regime in Egypt, with worrying little contact with consular officials (see here and here for updates and ways to support these men).

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Comments Off on To be a Palestinian, especially in Gaza